Archive for the ‘Pop culture’ Category


November 21, 2015

Today’s Zippy takes us to Seattle:


The pop-culture experience of the EMP Museum.


Follow-up: Heino

November 1, 2015

In my posting on things Rosamunde, I provided a video of the German singer Heino performing the hymn to beer-drinking “Rosamunde”. Now more information about the man, from Wikipedia:

Heino (born 13 December 1938 as Heinz Georg Kramm) is a German singer of popular music (Schlager) and traditional Volksmusik. Having sold a total of over 50 million records, he is one of the most successful German musicians ever.
Known for his baritone voice and trademark combination of light blond hair and dark sunglasses (which he wears due to exophthalmos [bulging eyeballs, from Graves’ disease]), Heino resides in the town of Bad Münstereifel, where he owned a cafe until June 2012. His interest in music started when his mother gave him an accordion in 1948, although his family could barely afford it.



October 31, 2015

I woke to the sound of the famous theme from Schubert’s incidental music for the play Rosamunde, a tune to which a friend had been taught a rhyme in grade school that was supposed to help kids fix the theme and its creator in their minds:

Franz Peter Schubert,
Kind and gentle spirit,
Wrote with his quill pen
Melodies like these.

A performance (rather slow for my taste) by the Neue Orchestra under Christoph Spering:

This little melody will take us far afield, eventually to the “Beer Barrel Polka” and the brewpubs of San Francisco.


Zombie X

September 16, 2015

For some time, Mike Pope has been (gently) after me on Facebook to assemble a list of linguistic terms that are my innovations. This turns out to be a devilishly difficult enterprise, for several reasons, a prime one being something that afflicts any attempt to discover the “inventor” of an expression: as I’ve noted several times on this blog, most innovations exploit potentials in the language that are in principle available to everyone (various figures of speech, semantic extensions and specializations, patterns of word formation, and so on), so that it’s quite likely that an innovation has been made by many people on many different occasions, without anyone taking special notice or recording these events.

But sometimes one of these events is noticed, at least within a particular sociocultural community, and that’s taken to be a founding event (with an identifiable source), from which the innovation can spread within the community; the innovator is then given credit within the community.

And so to the story of metaphorical zombie.


Flintstone days

September 3, 2015

In the local real estate news (from NBC Bay Area yesterday), “‘Flintstones’ House in Hillsborough Listed for $4.2M” by Tamara Palmer and Ian Cull:

Hillsborough’s most recognizable piece of real estate has hit the market.

The home at 45 Berryessa Way, though relatively small by the town’s standards at 2,730 square feet, is seeking a big price tag of $4.2 million


A story that will take us through several twists and turns of pop culture.


Morning name: Herbert Huncke

August 14, 2015

As usual, I have no idea why the name was in my head when I woke up, though it is Huncke’s centennial year:


Yes, a celebration of the archetypical outsider and outlaw. But now there’s a blog devoted to him, here.


Ice cream, roadside fiberglass, Caillebotte, and more

August 13, 2015

Today’s Zippy takes us lots of places:


It shows our Pinhead talking French Impressionism with a roadside ice cream stand that happens to be a fiberglass replica of an ice cream cone. (In Zippy, roadside fiberglass artifacts are almost always chatty.)  Degas (gauzy ballerinas), Monet (soft-focus water lilies), but especially Gustave Caillebotte: men scraping floors and flying, drying, laundry.


The spread of popular culture

August 6, 2015

An entertaining piece in the NYT on the 4th (in the print edition that I get): “Iran Capitalizing on a Taste for America’s Biggest Brands” by Thomas Erdbrink:

Tehran— Despite the smiling clown, a symbol of the Great Satan’s love for meat, buns and fries, there were no angry mobs punching fists in the air, shouting “Death to America”; nor did the smell of burned American flags permeate this Tehran neighborhood.

It smelled of juicy burgers, flipped by a cheerful Iranian teenager named Jahan. His kitchen was crowned with a flashing logo that looked remarkably similar to the golden arches of McDonald’s, perhaps the best-known symbol of American fast-food imperialism.


Dingburg names

July 31, 2015

Today’s Zippy, with two sets of names to savor:


First, there are the preposterous Dingburger names: Flexo Sodafiber, Glassine Bookpaper, Flemish Spindleplunger. Then there are the products, their mascots, and their names. Commerce and pop culture.



July 26, 2015

Today’s Bizarro, with yet another King Kong cartoon (it’s a cartoon meme):

The movie King Kong has a firm place in American popular culture: the giant gorilla has appeared as a character in a long series of movies and tv shows after the 1933 original film.

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Don Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page.)



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