Roost Lake Trout

September 26, 2014

Yesterday’s Zippy:


Three things: the location of this scene; lake trout; and what “happens” in the strip.

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September 25, 2014

In a sale on the Mental Floss site, this delightful t-shirt:

N + N compounds are notoriously interpretable in many ways, so they lend themselves to (perfect) puns, as here, where two different senses of hedgehog are both at play.

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Banned comics

September 24, 2014

For this year’s Banned Book Week, the focus is on comics. From a story today on NPR by Lynn Neary, “Too Graphic? 2014 Banned Books Week Celebrates Challenged Comics”:

Comics and graphic books are flourishing these days — writers and illustrators are taking on increasingly sophisticated topics and children’s authors are finding just the right balance between naughty and nice. But a number of the books have come under fire from critics who would like to see them banned from schools and libraries. That’s why comics and graphic books are the focus of this year’s Banned Books Week, an annual event that calls attention to challenged titles.

Two books catch most of the attention: Jeff Smith’s Bone and Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants.

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Spam journals, spam conferences

September 24, 2014

From the scholarly Martin Haspelmath on Facebook a few hours ago, a report on a spam conference, the Global Summit on Languages & Linguistics, June 16-17, 2015, in Alicante, Spain, with a glossy website calling for papers. Martin noted that the sponsoring organization, OMICS, “is well-known as a spam publisher, and now seems to be moving into organizing spam conferences”; on OMICS, see this Wikipedia page.

(Spam publishers make money by collecting fees from authors, and spam conferences make money from registration fees.)

As Martin’s posting was arriving on Facebook, not one but two messages in my e-mail solicited submissions to spam journals in linguistics.

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Puns and their allies

September 23, 2014

It starts with today’s Zippy, with a punning title; continues with a Discover Card tv commercial for fraud protection (or frog protection); and ends with some bilingual play involving Nadia Boulanger. There will be digressions at each stage.

The Zippy:


The title, “Getting a Bad Feline”, puns on feeling and (with reference to the actual theme of the strip, the cat-replacement phenomenon in Dingburg) feline. Feline survivalism in the last panel (which I won’t comment on here), and, throughout, an entertaining pattern of naming from trade names (which I will).

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Ned talk

September 22, 2014

Sent earlier to Facebook friends, but now for everyone: today’s Bizarro:

A pun on TED Talks:

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, under the slogan: “Ideas Worth Spreading”. (link)

Ted and Ned are both nicknames for Edward (and both can be given as names for boys on their own). But Ted is generally seen as a strongly masculine name, while some see Ned as potentially nerdy (see Ned Flanders on The Simpsons), though of course in real life there are many exceptions. (I say this as someone with a first name that’s often associated either with nerdy/dorky characters or with villains.)

Bad to the Bone

September 22, 2014

Today’s Zits:

Ah the young, failing to appreciate musical history!

The video, with George Thorogood and the Destroyers:

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Hero sandwiches

September 21, 2014

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

Dragons eat heroes. In this case, in hero sandwiches.

hero sandwich is the New York term for a submarine sandwich, or sub, first attested in 1937; several unlikely etymologies have been suggested, but the likely source is as a relatively transparent compound — something like ‘sandwich for a hero’.

On synonyms for submarine sandwich, see 8/22/11’s “Zippy makes a sandwich”, with links to sources.

The cock cushion

September 21, 2014

(Annals of phallicity, gift division.)

Back on my birthday, earlier this month, Kathryn Burlingham sent me congratulations and added: “The package is in the mail”. At the time I thought this was a little joke, a kind of echo of “The check is in the mail”. But then the package arrived, with this amazing piece of stitchery (by Kathryn and her friend Nandi) in it:


(Photo by Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky.)

A friend (male and straight) was greatly entertained by the cushion, noting to a woman friend on his cellphone (with photo) that the design could be used for a handbag. Or, I added, a briefcase. Use your imagination.


September 21, 2014

On the 12th, a Facebook posting announcing that the day was Maria Muldaur’s 71st birthday. How could that have happened? Well, we age; I’m now 74. Only slightly less startling is the report in the latest Out magazine that Stevie Nicks is 66.

Back on my birthday, two comments on age: one from my grand-daughter, distinguishing between really old and just old; and one from my first male lover, now 66 (like Stevie Nicks) to my 74, an age difference that no longer seems significant.

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