Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Today’s outrageous pun

October 24, 2014

Today’s Bizarro:

(medical) marinara as a pun on (medical) marijuana: same prosody (double trochee), same first syllable, same final schwa. Then there’s Mrs. Rotini, the (literal) pasta woman, suitable for treating with marinara sauce.


The 1958 Nash Metropolitan

October 14, 2014

Today’s Zippy, with not much linguistic in it, but it recalls an earlier Zippy posting:


Earlier on this blog: a posting of 10/3/14 on Zippy’s Unicar, a fanciful hybrid creation with a Nash Metropolitan chassis on a unicycle body — and a portmanteau name.


Cowboy Rub

August 25, 2014

From Tara Narcross-Wyckoff, a supermarket scene:

Two points of linguistic interest here: the noun rub; and the semantics of N + N compounds X rub. (Several observers have speculated on possibly raunchy interpretations of the product name Cowboy Rub. I’ll get to that.)


Getting the message across

June 9, 2014

Three cartoons today on some version of this theme: a One Big Happy, a Bizarro, and a Zits.


Implicit content

April 30, 2014

Today’s Zits:

Jeremy’s parents don’t say this, but they intend to convey (something like) ‘…sit down and eat with us‘ and …pull up a chair at the table‘, but Jeremy chooses to disregard this possibility and pulls up a chair in front of the open refrigerator, so he can browse the food there.


More cultural references: Zits

April 16, 2014

Today’s Zits:

Two things from the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz: the flying monkeys and the mantra “There’s no place like home”.


April 3, 2014

On Facebook, Karen Chung has passed along this Xmas posting of 2013 (19 December) from the estimable Arika Okrent in The Week:

‘Tis and 10 other fun proclitic words

English likes to stick contractions on the end of words. “They have” becomes “they’ve,” “I will” becomes “I’ll,” and “do not” becomes “don’t.” The shortened parts of these words are called enclitics — they are a bit more independent than suffixes, but like suffixes, they attach to the ends of words. English also used to have a number of proclitics — shortened words that attach to the beginning of other words. Most proclitic words are now archaic or obsolete, but every December the neglected proclitics get their revenge, as a holiday avalanche of “’tis” rolls through town.

(Yes, ’tis shifts to it’s eventually.)

Jarry at the diner II

March 31, 2014

Extracting this from John Baker’s comment on my previous posting, the image of the Tit’n Diner in Tilton NH:



Now, this matches the image in the Zippy in my previous posting. Nice photo.

Remarkable whom

February 28, 2014

From the 21st, this posting by a woman looking for a home for her two daughters:

My name is Sarah and I live in Edmonton, Alberta. I have two extra-ordinary daughters (aged 8 and 9) whom have been handed a rough time due to life’s unpredictable circumstances.

Notable whom. There are circumstances (examined on Language Log and this blog) when for structural reasons the choice between who and whom is complex and debatable. This is not one of them; the prescriptive standard here is who. But we can speculate as to where the whom might have come from.


The Pope and Doctor Who

February 6, 2014

(Not much linguistic here. But I was seriously tickled by this Dinosaur Comics. It seems to be cartoon appreciation day.)

But there is a linguistic, or at least epistemological, issue here, having to do with the persistence of identity over time. The Arnold Zwicky I am now is very different from the Arnold Zwicky of 1962 or 1946, say. But there’s a historical chain that connects us.

Doctor Who, on the other hand, is a title (and role) that is reassigned periodically to fresh people. That is in fact similar to the Pope (and the President of the United States, and many other cases).


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