Predicative / locational

January 26, 2020

(In the illustrations section below, there are some racy images; just a warning for the sexually modest.)

From the annals of ambiguity: the Mother Goose and Grimm from the 20th:

(#1)

Both terms of the ambiguity are of interest on their own: short-form location names (as in Men’s Fragrances in Meet us in Men’s Fragrances, with the PP in Men’s Fragrances functioning as a VP adverbial, referring to the place of the meeting) vs. (subject-oriented) predicative adjuncts (as in Meet us without a shirt, with the PP without a shirt functioning to denote some characteristic — here, shirtlessness — of the referent of the subject).

Mother Goose intended the VP location adverbial reading of in Women’s Dresses, where Women’s Dresses is the name of a department in a department store (readers are expected to know, even these days, what department stores are and how they are organized and labeled). The dogs Grimm and Ralph understood instead the predicative adjunct reading of in women’s dresses, and so they appeared wearing women’s dresses, outré though that might be.

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This isn’t hospitality, this is animosity

January 24, 2020

Today’s Wayno/Piraro collabo, on the opposition of hospitality and animosity, which I take to be an homage to Terry Jones (of Monty Python’s Flying Circus), who was released from life’s afflictions three days ago:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 7 in this strip — see this Page.)

Wayno’s title for the cartoon is “Putdown Service”, a play on turndown service, and that‘s an allusion to the hospitality industry.

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Three little digits

January 22, 2020

Today’s Wayno/Piraro collabo, another little exercise in cartoon understanding:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.) Wayno’s title: “Number, Please”

No doubt you recognize the speaker as Satan / the Devil / Beelzebub, but the cartoon will still be incomprehensible unless you know that there’s a particular three-digit number that’s sometimes said to belong to Satan.

Pursuing this topic on my man Jacques’s birthday, today, will lead us, through a favorite verse of his, on a circuitous route passing through a mysterious British village, Chicago, and Santa Monica, on its way to the Big Gay Village, where men hug, spoon, and screw. (There will eventually be a content warning. I’ll warn you when the screwing is imminent.)

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A squirrel in the hand

January 21, 2020

A literally eventful time of the year, surrounding the Mournful Valley of my life, that rift of bereftness between Ann Daingerfield’s death day, 1/17, and Jacques Transue’s birthday, 1/22; see my 1/16 posting “At the rim of the Mournful Valley, singing”.

By accident, in this period fall two odd celebratory dates: 1/20, Penguin Awareness Day; and 1/21, today, Squirrel Appreciation Day. Plus, on a Monday in or near this period, MLK Day in the US (this year: yesterday, 1/20/20).

This year I’ve been terribly sick and deeply dispirited, but I was cheered by coming across a sweet photograph of a young Jacques and a squirrel he had, to some degree, tamed:

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It’s a metaphor, son!

January 21, 2020

On Facebook recently, this supermarket snap, presumably from a store in Quebec, with a notable offering highlighted:


(#1) Five parts to the labeling: the name of the product in French (ailes de lapin); the name of the company (Canabec, a Quebec distributor of game — gibiers — and exotic meats; cf. elsewhere Plaisirs Gastronomiques, a Quebec company offering gourmet food, and Gaspésien, another Quebec fine food company); the name of the product in English (rabbit wings); the weight (in grams); and the price (in C$ / CA$ / CAD)

Much FB merriment over ailes de lapin ‘rabbit wings’, to which I responded:

Um, these are rabbit legs, right? Metaphorical? They resemble chicken wings and can be cooked in all the same ways. (Chinese rabbit wings are yummy.) M. Lapin: “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! for then I would fly away, and be at rest.” (Psalm 55) — later adding: “Oh, that I had wings like a rabbit! for then I would bound away, and be at rest.”

It’s a metaphor, son! A metaphor! Apparently one that is dead in Quebec, and so unremarkable in Quebecois — cf. Fr chauve-souris ‘bat’ (lit. ‘bald mouse’), Engl head of lettuce (where are its eyes and mouth?), and other dead metaphors that become entertaining when you attempt to breathe life back into them.

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Meat on the Beach

January 19, 2020

(Eventually, significant talk about the lexicon of men’s genitalia, so not to everyone’s taste.)

From the annals of remarkable commercial names, this name of — surprise!* — a gourmet grocery store in Toronto, in the news recently because it closed after 24 years in business. [* Note: a surprise, of course, only to non-Torontonians; to locals, it’s not only familiar, but semantically unremarkable (see below).]

Two things here: the relatively straightforward playful half-rhyme meat – beach: /mit – bič/, with stop /t/ vs. affricate /č/ (both voiceless coronal obstruents); and the complex playfulness of the name — with possible sexual double entendres involving meat and with the carefree associations of beaches, often evoking sex as well (and giving rise to the cocktail name Sex on the Beach).

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Rent Spikes / Stoke Dread / By the Sea

January 19, 2020

That’s the head:

Rent Spikes
Stoke Dread
By the Sea

The subhead:

Coney Island Businesses
Fear Being Priced Out

The story is that increases in rents have promoted anxiety on the part of seaside business owners on Coney Island.

This from the national print edition of the NYT on the 15th (p. A19), story by Aaron Randle.

A story I have then playfully travestied:

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An infestation

January 19, 2020

A quirky Joe Dator cartoon from the January 20th issue of the New Yorker:


(#1) “We’re not a seafood restaurant–this building has a pretty severe lobster infestation.”

NOAD‘s account of the everyday usage of infestation (with notes added by me in square brackets):

noun infestation: the presence of an unusually large number of insects or animals [not plants or microbes] in a place, typically so as to cause damage or disease [of concern to human beings]: infestation with head lice is widespread | efforts were made to deal with an infestation of rats in the building.

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Amado Spears and his husband, fulfilled by Peter

January 17, 2020

(Queer linguistic playfulness, but with plain talk about men’s bodies and mansex, so probably not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

From the latest avalanche of comments spam on my blog this morning (thousands a day at the moment, traceable to Russia, though knowing a bit about the source is not at all useful), what happens when programs randomly paste together personal names, family names, and small chunks of text all assembled from truly gigantic databases: sometimes you get goofy gay porn scenarios.

So it was that my morning was improved by the appearance in this gigantic spam queue of the obviously massively queer Amado Spears, the bearer of a wonderfully two-barreled porn name, with the following eccentric message from him about his racy adventures with his husband and a phallic friend:

My husband and i have been absolutely fulfilled when Peter managed to finish up his investigations from the precious recommendations he had from your own weblog.

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At the rim of the Mournful Valley, singing

January 16, 2020

(About other things as well, but centrally about my life, which some readers might just find annoying and want to avoid.)

January 16th today. At the very rim of the Mournful Valley. From my 1/21/15 posting “Antonio Soler and the Mournful Valley”

Not long ago, WQXR [NYC FM radio station specializing in classical music] played some keyboard sonatas by Padre Antonio Soler, a favorite composer of mine since my student days at MIT but one not especially widely known. That tweaked bittersweet memories of those days in Cambridge MA, especially powerful at this time of the year, in what I’ve come to think of the Mournful Valley of Mid-Winter, in between January 17th, the anniversary of Ann Daingerfield Zwicky’s death ([in 2020, the 35th anniversary; she died at age 47]) and January 22nd, my man Jacques Transue’s birthday ([in 2020, his 78th]; Jacques died in 2003) — and with celebrations of love, for Valentines Day, very much in the air.

In the context of the Mournful Valley, VDay is definitely bittersweet. On the one hand, I’ve been alone since 1998, when J went into a dementia care facility. On the other hand, VDay is Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky’s birthday, and that makes the holiday a very big thing.

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