Archive for the ‘Poetic form’ Category

The House of the Writhing Pun

November 17, 2015

Yesterday’s Zippy, continuing a series about a ventriloquist’s dummy:

A burlesque of “The House of the Rising Sun”.



November 17, 2015

An entertaining photo that’s been floating around the Internet for some time:


In speech, the intended parsing

(1) [ Alaskan cod ] [ pieces ]

is indistinguishable from the humorous parsing

(2) { Alaskan ] [ codpieces ]

In writing, the conventional spelling distinguishes the two and enforces parsing (1). But if you’re not aware of the item of apparel the codpiece (more on that to come), or if the possibility of an ambiguity hadn’t occurred to you, you might be tempted to the spelling codpieces instead of cod pieces.


Morning: monotreme, marsupial

October 18, 2015

The morning names a little while back came as a pair (monotreme, marsupial) — with related referents (both are taxonomically eccentric mammals) and names that are somewhat similar phonologically. And in sequence they made a nicely metrical line.

And that led me into a certain amount of silly language play.


That’s a moray

October 17, 2015

Yesterday I posted about (among other things) the song “That’s Amore”, as made famous by Dean Martin. Immediately friends began providing plays on the title: That’s a Moray”. Eels! It turns out that there is a small industry in this bit of linguistic playfulness. On to the parodies, and then some words about morays.


Land of 1,000 Dances

July 26, 2015

Following up on my “Name Rhymes” posting (with examples from Cab Calloway and Paul Simon), Mike Pope wrote to remind me about Wilson Pickett’s “Land of 1,000 Dances”, with a rather different rhyme scheme involving names. From one version of this song (there are many):

Got to know how to pony
Like Bony Maronie
Do the Watusi
Like my little Lucy
Out in the alley
With Long Tall Sally
Twistin’ with Lucy
Doin’ the Watusi

In my earlier posting, the rhyming words are adjacent in a line. Here we have rhyming couplets, but still involving names.



July 13, 2015

New at Applebee’s Grill & Bar:

Cedar-seasoned chicken, cheddar, maple mustard, bacon, grilled Piadini wrap. $10.49


This is one of Appelebee’s new “handheld” sandwiches, a wrap-and-roll inumber that should (depending on the diameter of the roll) be reasonably manageable with one hand.

Three things here: the meter of the sandwich name; the notion of a handheld sandwich; and the word piadini.


The names of birds

May 4, 2015

In the May 2nd issue of New Scientist, a piece “The Impersonators” by Daniel Cossins, about birds mimicking all sorts of sounds. It’s full of wonderful names of birds (mimics and those mimicked) from around the world:

the greater racket-tailed drongo, the forked-tailed drongo, orange-billed warblers, ashy-headed laughing-thrushes, southern pied babblers, the cape glossy starling, the superb fairy wren

The drongos are the stars here.


A playful poetic footnote

April 26, 2015

In my “More detection” posting, we came across writer E. C. Bentley, with fame in two areas. From Wikipedia:

E. C. Bentley (full name Edmund Clerihew Bentley; 10 July 1875 – 30 March 1956) was a popular English novelist and humorist of the early twentieth century, and the inventor of the clerihew, an irregular form of humorous verse on biographical topics.

… His detective novel, Trent’s Last Case (1913), was much praised, numbering Dorothy L. Sayers among its admirers, and with its labyrinthine and mystifying plotting can be seen as the first truly modern mystery. It was adapted as a film in 1920, 1929, and 1952. The success of the work inspired him, after 23 years, to write a sequel, Trent’s Own Case (1936). There was also a book of Trent short stories, Trent Intervenes.

… From 1936 until 1949 Bentley was president of the Detection Club.


Underground Mastodon

April 25, 2015

From Sim Aberson, this tile from the NYC subway, at the 81st Street – Museum of Natural History Station:


That’s the American mastodon. And this is a marker for an underground mastodon (note nice double dactyl: Higgledy piggedy / Undergound mastodon …).

A few words about mammoths and mastodons.


The end of March

March 23, 2015

Today’s Frazz:

Ok, buh-bye is indeed an iamb, but it’s not a lamb. Anyway, the end of March is eight days away.


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