Ark of Triumph

May 28, 2022

Today’s morning name (from who knows where): the word-playful Ark [vs. the usual Arch] of Triumph. In French, somewhat confusingly Arche [vs. the usual Arc] de Triomphe.

The Ark (that is, Noah’s Ark), Arche de Noé + the Arch of Triumph (that is, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris).

Wherever it came from, Ark of Triumph led me to the wonderfully playful artist Rodney Alan Greenblat, some of whose work it turns out I was familiar with (without knowing he was the artist), but whose 1984 work Ark of Triumph I’m pretty sure I’d never even heard about before, much less seen.

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Woolly mammoths in Birkenstocks

May 27, 2022

Knowing that the woolly mammoth is my primary totem animal, Anneli Meyer Korn has pointed me to this little slice of the University District in Seattle:


(#1) The Woolly Mammoth shoe store, 4303 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105: “Comfortable, high quality, good-looking shoes and excellent customer service”

And from Wikipedia, on the excellent qualities of Mammuthus primigenius, the original woolly mammoth:

The woolly mammoth coexisted with early humans, who used its bones and tusks for making art, tools, and dwellings, and hunted the species for food.

M. primigenius provided humans with comfort, offering up its huge bones  to form into shelter, and beauty, in ivory carvings. Plus useful tools and life-sustaining meat. The Woolly Mammoth store’s shoes provide comfort and good looks, but can they be used as needles or stave off hunger? I thought not.

Still, those are damn fine shoes. Especially the Birkenstocks:

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Faces and phalluses

May 26, 2022

(The title is an indictor of what’s to come. No visible phalluses, but plenty of references to them, in plain speech, so not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

Brief musings on this morning’s ad from the Gay Empire company, with a sale on their DVDs:

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The Threat Illusion

May 26, 2022

More from the annals of selective attention and confirmation bias, now in the journal Psychological Science.

The umbrella phenomenon is the Frequency Illusion: if your attention is drawn to some phenomenon, it’s likely to appear to you to be very frequent, all around you. Then in the special case of the Out-Group Illusion, in which your attention is drawn to a phenomenon associated with a group you don’t belong to (which then appears to you to be characteristic of that group and especially frequent there). Now in the even more special case of what I’ll call the Threat Illusion, in which your attention is keenly drawn to a phenomenon associated with an out-group you perceive as being threatening to you (which then appears to be not only characteristic of that group but extraordinarily frequent there).

A Frequency Illusion cartoon (under the more colorful label of Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, a name based on one example of the effect, the sudden omnipresence of the Baader-Meinhof Gang’s name):

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The Stanford Dragfest

May 25, 2022

From the Stanford Events Calendar for 5/20: at 7 p.m. on Wilbur Field:


(#1) The poster

The announcement:

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How did you come to be this way?

May 24, 2022

(A few references to man-on-man sexual acts, which I have, contrary to my usual practice, reworded with technical terminology, rather than plain street talk, so as not to contaminate this whole posting for some readers. But the references remain.)

Today’s Zippy strip:


(#1) Ah, the peri-natal trauma: the film podfolk have robbed Lippy of the ability to experience pleasure

But as Bill Griffith fully realizes, it’s a pressing question: how do we come to be the way we are? Framing the answer in this preposterous fashion only points up the complexity and mystery of the question. And how it nags at us: could I have been otherwise?

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Two more Bizarro balloons

May 23, 2022

The speech balloon as physical object, in a continuing series of Wayno / Piraro Bizarro cartoons on the theme. Previously on this blog, my 5/18/22 posting “Orienting your speech (balloon)”, in which speech balloons have front sides and back sides. And now the 5/19 cartoon, in which you can record what’s in a balloon by plugging into it. And the 5/21 cartoon, in which the speaker’s laryngitis manifests itself as an empty balloon; it’s the balloon that’s afflicted.

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Reading the face, reading the body

May 22, 2022

Reading the face and body that nature gave me — what do these features mean? and where did they come from? — and the face and body that I have fashioned, and re-fashioned, over time — what was I aiming for, and why? and what did others make of it? — and my face and body as I use them in action, presenting myself to the (sociocultural) world around me — what sorts of persons do I think I am? and what sorts of persons do others see in me? (Yes, persons. Like everyone, I am a conglomerate of identities and personas.)

Well, yes, life, the universe, and everything. But I can bash at a bit of the answer — if not 42, then maybe 2, or 3, or even 7, or at least some satisfying ancillary information about 2, 3, or 7.

The raw material for these musings is pictures of me collected in my 5/20 posting “Forty facial years”:

1958 through 1995, so not quite 40 years. For my face, in 8 shots, the last two providing more of my body as well. Today just the visuals, with little commentary, beyond locating the photos in time, place, and occasion.

(also, significantly, noting facets of my appearance and of the way I’m presented in the photos).

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Today’s rainbow sprinkles cake

May 21, 2022

‘Cause today is Belgian Pride Parade day in Brussels!

From Johan Rooryck (in Brussels) to Facebook today:

So what do you do when you have misjudged the size of sprinkles containers you ordered online, and have come to own more sprinkles than you can eat in a lifetime? You just make a load of cakes for Belgian Pride Day, is what you do. Andrea did, that is.

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Forty facial years

May 20, 2022

More precisely, 1958 through 1995, so not quite 40 years. For my face, in 8 shots, the last two providing more of my body as well. Today just the visuals, with little commentary, beyond locating the photos in time, place, and occasion. (My day was consumed by labors of an non-writerly sort. Not at all unpleasant, though mighty sweaty, but unexpectedly time-consuming.)

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