Cartoon characters’ self-awareness

August 24, 2016

Yesterday’s Bizarro, way meta:

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbol in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there’s just one — see this Page.)

The conceit here is that the characters that appear in comic strips are in fact actors playing roles, so that they can go on strike (among other things). Even more, when the actors are absent, the activities in the strips just go on without them, as if the actors had simply become invisible. Invisible waiter (on strike) takes order from invisible diner (also on strike).

It’s not called Bizarro for nothing.


Associating with Zippy

August 24, 2016

In today’s Zippy, our Pinhead falls into reveries of word association, prompted by the flatiron in his hand:


Not ironic words, but ferrous words, which takes us into the world of Ferris wheels, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ferris mowers, Ferris State (in Big Rapids MI), Tim Ferris (the self-help writer and entrepreneur), Ferris TX and Ferris IL, Southern folklorist Bill Ferris (former chairman of the NEH), and from there we could branch into ferries and fairies and all sorts of good stuff.

Meanwhile, from percolate and percale, we can get all the perks available to those who only stand and iron.

Gorey on evil

August 24, 2016

On Pinterest this morning, the first two panels of Edward Gorey’s The Disrespectful Summons (1971) (also in the collection Amphigorey Too):



Pleased by contemplating this reign of evil, I’ve assembled postings on Gorey into a Page on this blog.

Read the rest of this entry »

Briefly: vice-presidential anagrams

August 24, 2016

In the August 2016 issue of Funny Times, a reprinting of a Dave Barry column (from the 7/26 Miami Herald), “Is this what really goes on inside the Democratic dance and beer hall?” (about the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia), ending:

I will conclude today’s report with the following:

UPDATE ON TIM KAINE: At this point, all we know for certain about him is that the letters in “Tim Kaine” can be rearranged to spell “I eat mink.”

Even better: “Ain’t Mike”.

As for his Repblican counterpart: “Mike Pence” anagrams to “Keep mince”, or better: “Pink emcee”. I love the idea of anti-gay Pence flouncing on stage in pink.

That concludes today’s political commentary.

Q-Neg scope in the comics

August 23, 2016

The One Big Happy in my feed today (dated 7/25):

It’s a question of the relative scoping of a quantifier ∃, of existence, and ¬, negation, with respect to the propositional-attitude verb (Ibelieve. In a crude informal symbolism:

¬ (∃ (X: one-word-you-said, I-believe X)) ‘there’s not one word you said that I believe’ (equivalent to ‘every word you said, I didn’t believe it’) — what Ruthie’s mother intends

∃ (X: one-word-you-said, ¬ (I-believe X)) ‘there’s one word you said that I don’t believe’ — what Ruthie understands


More on the David

August 23, 2016

News for Italian Renaissance penises, part 2. Material from the New York Times Magazine on the 21st — racy topic, but not officially X-rated.

Part 1 yesterday, with the cover of the issue, showing a crew working on a reproduction of Michelangelo’s David in Carrara, Italy (photo by Maurizio Cattelan), with David’s penis right in the center of the image. Then the story, “David’s Ankles: How Imperfections Could Bring Down the World’s Most Perfect Statue: My obsession with the flaws, reproductions and potential collapse of Michelangelo’s masterpiece” by Sam Anderson. Not ordinary reportage, but a “personal essay”, about Anderson’s experiences and emotions — though with plenty of research about the city of Florence (Firenze), its history, the artist Michelangelo, and the creation of the statue (which Anderson refers to as the David), also with Anderson’s interviews with significant parties in the current rescue efforts.

The penis of the David — probably the most famous and the most viewed penis in the Western world — is a recurrent theme in Anderson’s essay. A few words about the David’s genitals, and then on to excerpts from Anderson’s essay.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Fine Art Exemption

August 22, 2016

The media news for penises.

The cover of yesterday’s New York Times Magazine, illustrating a story about Michelangelo’s David:

Shocking! A penis in the NYT! The word penis, quite a lot, but photographs, sculptures, drawings, etc. of penises, no. They would be at the very least crude, tasteless, and offensive, at the worst dangerous, because viewing them (so the story goes) is by its very nature damaging to sensitive people: to women in general, to children in general, hence especially to girls.

There is a customary Fine Art Exemption to the general ban on penises (or accurate representations of them)  in “family publications” (where the sensitive might come across them). This clause exempts penises in fine art, especially of high reputation and considerable age, where fine art is

creative art, especially visual art, whose products are to be appreciated primarily or solely for their imaginative, aesthetic, or intellectual content (NOAD2)

I’ve always found the FAE baffling, at least in its application to children.

Read the rest of this entry »

A ewer in the morning

August 22, 2016

Today’s morning name: ewer. An eminently useful object that has received the attentions of designers for millennia, craftsmen who lavished their skills on these objects to create items of great beauty. for instance;


Read the rest of this entry »

Leading by jargon

August 21, 2016

The Dilbert from a couple days ago, the pointy-haired boss exhibiting leadership:

I have often defended some uses of what outsiders think of as mere jargon as useful, even necessary, for insiders’ purposes. But there are fashions in everything, vocabulary included, and there are occasions when people paper over a lack of thought with verbiage.

When necessary, the pointy-haired boss can roll out a veritable jargonaut. And then pass the baton of leadership on to his nonplussed staff.

A compound puzzle

August 21, 2016

Thursday on ADS-L, a report from Wilson Gray, with his baffled reaction (shared by others in the mailing list):

Headline of political ad: “Meet TPP Champion [Name]!”

Body of political ad: “Among a handful of shining examples of fighters for social, economic, and environmental justice stands [Name], who has opposed the TPP and TTIP since before most of us had even heard about them!” [TPP: Trans Pacific Partnership; TTIP: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership]

Is this headline meant to convey the idea, somehow, that [Name] is a “TPP champion” not in the obvious sense that he champions the TPP against the left, but, instead, in the opposite sense, that he champions the left against the TPP?

How are we to interpret X champion? It’ll be helpful to get away from the particulars of this particular example by introducing an X that (I hope) will have no political associations for my readers: Fosdick. What might Fosdick champion refer to? In NPs like:

a Fosdick champion, the Fosdick champion, our Fosdick champion

an early Fosdick champion, the celebrated Fosdick champion, our greatest Fosdick champion

Read the rest of this entry »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 987 other followers