Almond Joy, Mounds, Mars bars! Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.
I don’t watch the Oscars shows, but you can’t avoid being exposed to information about them and images from them. So this shot of host Neil Patrick Harris (apparently in an allusion to the movie Birdman) from yesterday’s show came my way:
Shirtless, showing off his carefully tended body, and in snug briefs, showing off a nice but not extravagant package, in the fashion of underwear ads for many many years. This is the Neil Patrick Harris of, among other things, Doogie Howser, M.D.; How I Met Your Mother; and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
Today’s One Big Happy, in which it turns out that Ruthie isn’t the only character who’s unsure about word meanings:
NOAD2 identifies gormless as informal and specifically British, so it’s no surprise that the adults don’t know what it means (though the appalling Avis takes it back to a putative noun stem gorm, which she treats as a mass noun (gormless ‘without gorm, lacking gorm’), though it could be a count noun (gormless ‘without gorms, lacking gorms’)).
Passed on to me by Eleanor Houck, this seasonal penguin story from channel 10 in Philadelphia: “Stay Safe on Slippery Sidewaks” by Greta Iverson, beginning
The trick to balancing on slick sidewalks is to “walk like a penguin.”
Today’s Bizarro, continuing Piraro’s ambiguity theme:
PST lost of the transitive verb lose, used here in a specialized subsense of a ‘be deprived of’ sense. From NOAD2:
be deprived of (a close relative or friend) through their death or as a result of the breaking off of a relationship: she lost her husband in the fire.
This in contrast to an ‘unable to find’ sense:
become unable to find (something or someone): I’ve lost the car keys.
How do we work out that these two senses intersect in the cartoon?
This morning’s name (which just popped into my head; I’m pretty sure I’d never seen or heard it before) was the playful Elrond Hubbard, which has been adopted by a fair number of people on the net — for instance, a fictional character with a Facebook account:
Elrond Hubbard is a renowned science fiction author and prophet. His mother was an elf and his father was an alien from a master race. He claims the face on Mars is of his father.
And in a Twitter account for @Elrond_Hubbard:
By truly believing in Scientology, you too can be an immortal Elf.
From Ben Zimmer, this whom from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (p. 311):
Krum, whom Harry would have thought ___ would have been used to this sort of thing, skulked, half-hidden, at the back of the group.
The position that the relative pronoun fills in this sentence — as the subject of a subordinate clause (itself functioning as the object of the verb thought) with VP would have been used to this sort of thing is marked by the underlines. In now-standard, but somewhat misleading, terminology, the pronoun is “extracted” from the subject position of an object clause, a configuration I’ve labeled ESOC (for Extracted Subject of Object Clause).
The fact that the pronoun functions as a clausal subject would predict, in most syntactic frameworks, that it should be nominative case (who). However, it immediately follows a verb, a position where an accusative pronoun is often called for; it “looks like” an object, and ESOC pronouns are often marked as accusative: whom (as in the Harry Potter sentence).
Barreling from a first date towards mid-life in three panels. And then we get “Am I th’ divorced father of 2.3 kids with visitation rights yet?!”, a 1sg variant of the Are We X Yet snowclone with a complex X — both features Bill Griffith has exploited before.
(On music rather than language.)
On WQXR this week, Exploring Music programs on the theme “Child’s Play”, with Tuesday’s show featuring music by children. An Elgar piece written when he was 12, several very early Mozart works, of course, and the Mendelssohn Octet, written when he was 16.