Morning: A Long Slow Drag

October 10, 2015

Morning names have been piling up; I’ve been consumed with many things. Here’s the backlog, in order:

methylene blue, Prussian blue (early synthetic dyes, with a raft of uses)

Gluyas Williams (cartoonist)

“A Real Slow Drag” (Scott Joplin composition, from his opera Treemonisha)

The Cockettes (psychedelic theater troupe of the early 1970s)

Today I’ll talk about “A Real Slow Drag” (written in 1910).

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Annals of phallicity: nozzles (and glycerin, lubes, and posing oils)

October 10, 2015

(A posting drenched in the contemplation of the male body and man-man sex, but with linguistic points along the way. Use your judgment.)

It starts with a Channel 1 Releasing (C1R) ad for their current fire sale on gay porn, featuring the flick Full Service:


A remarkable photo. There’s the big-ol’ phallic symbol, that huge gas pump nozzle (in red, indicating that it’s engorged) that Brad Phillips is about to wield on Butch Taylor, both of their muscular tanned bodies drenched in sex sweat (well, covered in glistening glycerin — the film is from 1986, in what I like to think of as the Golden Days of Gay Glycerin). This shot is technically not X-rated, since Phillips’s hard cock is concealed by Taylor’s shoulder and Taylor’s fist wrapped around his own hard cock is concealed by the hoses.

On to the film, to nozzles as phallic symbols, and to various glycerin-related topics, ending up in the world of bodybuilders and fighters, all in posing oils.

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Party in the back / rear

October 9, 2015

(There will be some frank talk of man-man sex, which some might want to avoid.)

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:


The immediate reference is to haircuts (hence, the reference to groomers). But then we get to shady business practices and to gay porn flicks.

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Two New Yorker cartoons

October 9, 2015

Two recent cartoons: a Zach Kanin on the male body in cartoons (in the 9/28 issue), a Liam Francis Walsh on social media (in the 10/5 issue):



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tri-state (and quad-state)

October 9, 2015

Came across a news item on Facebook with a reference to the “tri-state area”, in this case around New York City. A common media usage, serving as “semi-technical” terminology: not subject to a technical definition for some sort of official purpose (like the designations of various metropolitan areas by federal agencies in the U.S.), but still not freely used by ordinary people in everyday speech. Instead, it’s special to some group of users and contexts; it’s a media term. (Though ordinary people might still use it, in effect quoting the usage of newspapers, tv news reporters, and the like.)

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October 8, 2015

Today’s Bizarro:

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Don Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

Well, yes, people do misplace these little tubes all the time, so maybe it would be a good idea to make some larger versions (though then they’d be less portable). But what I’m interested in here is the reference to chapsticks, no initial or medial cap. The brand name is ChapStick, the generic common noun is lip balm, but very few people use the “proper” generic, preferring chapstick instead.

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Rocky Horror at 40

October 8, 2015

From the (UK) Daily Mail on the 6th, a feature on the Rocky Horror Picture Show, in “Let’s Do The Time Warp again! Susan Sarandon and Tim Curry reunite with Rocky Horror Picture Show cast for 40 year anniversary of cult comedy-horror musical” (a long and informative title), which begins:

It started as a quirky art-house film that was panned by critics – but grew to be one of the most-loved cult phenomenons of our time.

And cast of the The Rocky Horror Picture Show movie got together for the first time in 25 years to celebrate the 1975 camp classics’ 40th anniversary for a special issue of Entertainment Weekly.

And the stars reminisced about being part of the musical comedy horror classic in an interview with NBC’s Today on Tuesday.

A still from early in the movie:


Camp classic: Dr Frank-N-Furter, played by Tim Curry, greets Susan Sarandon’s Janet and Barry Bostwick’s Brad in The Rocky Horror Picture Show movie, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary

A wonderful show, created by Richard O’Brien, who also plays Riff Raff in the movie (and who, not entirely coincidentally, sees himself as 70% male and 30% female, as transgender or perhaps third sex). A music comedy + horror movie — not the only one, but surely the high point of the genre.

Now a bit on the movie, which will take us (via Tim Curry) to the tv show Criminal Minds, of all places.

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Taking the third

October 7, 2015

Newton’s third, that is. In the most recent ad from Daily Jocks:

Action – Reaction

In Beefcake 101 at Underwear Model U., Arthur
Mastered the one-armed pitsntits presentation, but
Nobody explained that it flattened one pec and
Expanded the other: To every action there is an
Opposite and equal reaction.

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Tawkin’ the tawk

October 7, 2015

An op-ed piece in the NYT on Monday (the 5th) by my old friend Michael Newman (who professes linguistics at Queens College and the Graduate Center of CUNY) entitled “Voters May Just Want to ‘Tawk’” (in print) and “How a New York Accent Can Help You Get Ahead” (on-line) and beginning:

Their partisans may be loath to admit it, but Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump do in fact share some common ground. There is of course their upstart, outsider image. Then they share a posture of forthrightness and candor. A third similarity is how they talk. Not what they say, but how they sound: Like they’re from New York.

Trump and Sanders

Newman cites the work of Deborah Tannen on conversational style:

New Yorkers tend to have a different conversational style than other Americans. New Yorkers usually favor being more direct. We speak over one another, particularly to show our engagement with what our interlocutor is saying. We like to tell long stories. And we don’t mind arguing as long as it is not too personal.

Back in 2012 I wrote about “Overlapping” in speech and associated stylistic features, citing Tannen on Sonia Sotomayor, referring to

what I’ve called “machine gun style,” the rat-tat-tat impression made on those who expect less directness, slower speech, and longer pauses between turns.

I added:

This high-involvement style is stereotypically associated with New Yorkers and Jews, but is more widespread than that. I use the style myself, in a (usually) muted variant, but didn’t realize that until I moved from the East Coast to the middle of Illinois, where the locals found my speech “rude” and “pushy”. Unsurprisingly, it’s most pronounced when I’m in a conversation with someone (like Tannen herself) who uses the style.

Now back to Newman:

Sociolinguists — scholars of language in society — call the way that forms of speech entail social meanings “indexicality.” A sound or a system of sounds, popularly called an accent, points to or indexes a particular social meaning. A basic example is dropping Rs, saying “coffee” with a raised aw vowel and producing Ts and Ds on the teeth rather than the alveolar ridge behind the teeth, which all index together a New York identity…The New York identity, in the case of a speaker like Mr. Trump or Mr. Sanders, in turn links to stereotypes of New Yorkers that exist in the culture, such as being frank and combative in speech.

… Voters might not want to hear from politicians at all, but for many, a stump speech is, it seems, more palatable in a New York accent.

Adventures in Arnoldia

October 7, 2015

In response to my recent posting on Saint Arnold craft beers, two friends wandered further, to Arnold Island (Luc Vartan Baronian, who, however, did it in French, since the island is in Québec) and to people with the family name Arnold (Ryan Tamares, who started with Matthew Arnold, the English poet and cultural critic).

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