One more time: Magritte and Schrödinger

May 13, 2021

Two Bizarro cartoons on variations on themes, from art (Magritte’s Son of Man) and science (Schrödinger’s cat):

Read the rest of this entry »

News from the rose garden

May 12, 2021

Mail from the Park of Roses in Columbus OH a few days ago, to say that the variety in the rose bed dedicated in my man Jacques’s memory had recently been replaced by a new variety, with an interesting name:


(#1) Grandiflora rose ‘Cardinal Song’ (from the Dave’s Garden website)

It’s all about that shade of red: the color of the bird whose song provides the name for the flower. Both the bird and that shade of red get their name from the color of a cardinal’s robes in the Roman Catholic Church.

Read the rest of this entry »

Revelatory masks

May 11, 2021

(On homomasculinities, with plain talk about men’s bodies and sex between men. So not for the sexually modest, and at best inadvisable for kids.)

The Daily Jocks mailing yesterday (5/10), with an ad under the header “Mask for Masc?”:


(#1) [ad copy:] $10 MASKS: This reusable two-layer fabric face mask is manufactured from a high quality fabric. Get one for just $10 while stocks last

This is the underwear model I have been calling Aradesque, used in advertising largely to convey butch fagginess, here wearing a mask announcing quite publicly that he’s butch / masculine. So he’s claiming a gender identity that would normally be inferred from the clear evidence of publicly visible characteristics: stance, gesture, facial expression, and so on — it’s something you show, not something you announce.

As a result, announcing that you are masculine, macho, or butch suggests that you are unsure that the high (in your estimation) level of your masculinity can be correctly inferred from  your visible characteristics, and so undercuts your claim; if you have to tell people how butch you are, you’re probably not very butch.

On the other hand, mask and masc make a cute pun. Maybe that’s all that’s going on in #1.

And then there’s the possibility that the character Aradesque is playing in #1 is boasting, with self-assurance, that he’s solidly masculine.

The problem with severely abbreviated messages is that they can convey so many different things. More on this theme below, on the sexual associations of unicorns.

Read the rest of this entry »

A POPular cartoon

May 10, 2021

The Wayno/Piraro Bizarro from 5/4 (which was, appropriately, Star Wars Day):


(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau), but here’s behavioral science + science fiction = behavioral science fiction. There’s something to be said about each of the contributing expressions.

Read the rest of this entry »

A memic triple

May 9, 2021

Version I. A J.C. Duffy cartoon published in the New Yorker on 4/19/10:


(#1) The strip takes two cartoon memes, Desert Island (with a tiny single-castaway island) and Grim Reaper (with Death at the prow of a sleek modern boat); and packages them together as a memic title, the name of a formulaic joke routine: Good News / Bad News

Read the rest of this entry »

Two holidays in one

May 8, 2021

Falling together this year on 5/7: No Pants Day (the first Friday in May); and, now that you have your pants off, the way is smoothed for you to celebrate a May 7th event, Masturbation Day, if you have a mind to.


(#1) An appeal from Comics Kingdom (an on-line platform for King Features Syndicate), with Dennis the Menace as their spokescharacter for the occasion; note the usage in the name of the day — AmE pants, referring to outerwear, vs. BrE pants ‘underpants’

Read the rest of this entry »

Research papers

May 7, 2021

It started in late April with Randall Munroe’s wry xkcd cartoon #2456, “Types of Scientific Paper”:

(#1)

Though the cartoon is primarily gentle ridicule of the natural sciences, some of the topics are applicable to the social sciences as well: My colleague is wrong and I can finally prove it; Some thoughts on how everyone else is bad at research. And several are adaptable to linguistics with only small changes: Check out this weird thing one of us heard while out for a walk; We ran experiments on some undergraduates.

The xkcd cartoon immediately set off an avalanche of variants in various specific fields, including at least two in areas of linguistics: Indo-European studies and syntax.

Read the rest of this entry »

Speaking in tongues

May 6, 2021

Specifically, cod tongues. In a brief piece in the Economist‘s April 17th 2021 issue (behind a paywall,alas), p. 46, with the following assortment of headers:

[superheadline] Lip service [on-line] / Norwegian cuisine [in print]

[headine] Fish tongues, a Norwegian delicacy harvested by children [on-line] / Fish tongues, harvested by children [in print]

[subheadline] The piece of cod that passeth all understanding

My focus is that subhead, which is a play — very close to a perfect pun — on the beginning of a verse from the Christian Bible, Philippians 4:7. In the KJV:

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Read the rest of this entry »

Musical numerology: two days in May

May 5, 2021

5/4 (yesterday; yes, I’m late, but I was without internet access for about six hours and couldn’t finish assembling the materials for this posting); and 5/9 (Ann Daingerfield (Zwicky)’s birthday, and, this year, Mother’s Day). About the occasions, but also about the dates as 54 Day and 59 Day — in the pages of the Sacred Harp.

Read the rest of this entry »

With knitted brows

May 3, 2021

(Significantly about sex between men, often in street language, so thoroughly unsuitable for kids and the sexually modest.)

On 5/1, e-mail from HUNT magazine (which hawks gay video porn) featuring a new bareback release, Show Hard, all about t-room / tearoom sexual encounters — a recurrent theme on this blog (there’s a Page on postings about sex in public, especially focused on t-room sex). I’ll take up the flick (and its name) later in this posting.

But on viewing the still from the first scene of Show Hard in the mailing — muscle hunk Beau Butler getting pronged on a mensroom sink by equally hunky Sean Maygers — what really caught my eye wasn’t the sexual action, arousing though that is, but the expression on Butler’s face. One that is so common that we have a name for it in English: knitted / knit (eye)brows. It turns out that there’s more than one physical gesture that is so called; and also, unsurprisingly, that this family of gestures can convey a variety of affects. Also that there are a number of other closely related gestures, with a collection of vocabulary that refers to them; it’s a rich domain of meaning.

Read the rest of this entry »