Cute pornstars

July 23, 2016

(A number of gay pornstars, but no man-man sex and just a bit about male bodies, so somewhat racy but probably not a danger for kids or the sexually modest.)

I start with a gay pornstar whose performances I enjoy, for several reason: Tommy Defendi shown here in a porn publicity shot (back on 7/23/11, he was featured in flagrante in an AZBlogX posting):

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Here I’m primarily focused on faces and evaluative judgments of them. Defendi’s face is certainly attractive; he’s a good-looking man, but the question is: in what category of masculine attractiveness? And what label to apply to it? — at the high-masculine end, ruggedly handsome or just rugged; or handsome; or beautiful; or cute; or at the low-masculine end, boyishly cute or just boyish. I’d label him cute, along with some other pornstars, some male models, and a fair number of mainstream actors (all men whose livelihood depends of their faces and their bodies, among other things).

To come: very brief notes on Defendi. Comments on categories and labels in the domain of male attractiveness. Further examples of cute gay pornstars, of a variety of types. And a note on cute male actors outside of porn, notably Matt Damon.

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Let’s go paleo

July 23, 2016

Today’s Bizarro:

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

Implementing he Paleolitic diet, Paleo diet, caveman diet, Stone Age diet, or hunter-gatherer diet, right along with the appropriate hunting practices, for the appropriate prey.

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The giant lava lamp of Soap Lake

July 23, 2016

(Not much about language here, just weirdness.)

Today’s Zippy, with a bow to a novelty item of the 1960s and a modern piece of visionary Americana:

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This being a Zippy strip, of course there is a giant lava lamp (roughly 60 ft. high), complete with observation deck, in the middle of the little town of Soap Lake WA — but it’s still a vision (of local resident Brent Blake), a prospect not yet realized. It’s a spectral lamp, a companion to Zippy the heartburned spectral rutabaga and the overripe parsnip he longs for:

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Beginning the day with the sins of the world

July 23, 2016

I woke to the words peccata mundi ‘the sins of the world’ playing from my iTunes. Well, not bad at all, because this is the end of the phrase qui tollis peccata mundi ‘who takes [or taketh] away the sins of world’ (from the Latin Mass), so it was a kind of morning cleansing.

The Agnus Dei from Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, the “Trinitatis Mass”, K. 167 (written in Salzburg in 1773, while Mozart was still a teenager).

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queer

July 22, 2016

Today’s Bizarro, on categories in the domain of sexuality and gender:

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

Some brief introductory words on homosexual, gay, and queer. Then on LGBTQ. And on to a recent NYT Magazine article on queer. Which leads, remarkably, to the Penrose triangle (of interest to scholars of both perception and art).

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Michael Crawford

July 21, 2016

In the July 25th New Yorker, an affectionate brief memorial (by David Remnick, the magazine’s editor) for cartoonist Michael Crawford, “Remembering an adored cartoonist: Michael Crawford was a wry and sensitive artist whose sweet, jazzy personality converged with his work”, beginning:

Michael Crawford was a cartoonist and a painter, a wry and sensitive artist who woke each day with his head full of dreams. Straight from bed he reached for his pencils and pad, the better to get those images and word clusters down on paper. For at least an hour every morning, “Michael was mining his dreams,” his wife, Carolita Johnson, also a cartoonist for this magazine, said. “And when it came to cartoons he just started drawing, without any idea where things might go. Lots of drawings sat around for years without any caption. He was his own one-man cartoon-caption contest in that way. But he was patient.

There was a wild, improvisational streak in Crawford’s work. He loved baseball, and imagined a cockeyed intimacy in the talk between, say, two pros in the dugout: “Why so aloof in here? When you’re on base, you yak your ass off with every Yankee in sight.” A student of American art, he redrew many of Edward Hopper’s moody paintings as cartoons and then provided snappy dialogue for the painter’s lonely souls.

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The kangaroo’s paw

July 21, 2016

(Mostly about plants rather than language.)

A visit with Juan Gomez to Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden this morning. Mostly a riot of midsummer garden standards (dahlias, alstromerias, phlox, snapdragons, foxgloves, ageratum, zinnias, cornflowers, salvias, rose of sharon, yarrows, and much, much more), but with some surprises in there, including a stand of a wonderfully weird plant that turned out to be a celebrated Australian native that’s been bred in a number of varieties and exported to (at least) the U.K. and the U.S.: kangaroo paw.

A (not fantastic) photo of the variety we saw, “Tequila Sunrise”:

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guv

July 21, 2016

I’m a fan of the ITV police procedural series Midsomer Murders and also a sometime scholar of address terms, so my ears perked up in S16 E1 of the show, in which DS Charlie Nelson (N), played by Gwilym Lee, joins DI John Barnaby (B), played by Neil Dudgeon, for their first case together and B tells N to investigate recording devices at the scene of the murder. Then:

N: I’m on to that, guv.

B: I’m sure this is the start of a successful working relationship, DS Nelson, but it’ll go a lot more smoothly if you don’t call me “guv”.

N: Sir.

B objects to N’s guv ‘sir’ (used for a boss). B sees it as inappropriately informal: too matey. B is middle class, while N is depicted as of working class origins — guv is notably working class  — and also quite informal in his dress and approach to social relations. So N probably sees guv as respectful within his bounds of class and formality (though he understands how to use sir), but for B it’s doubly out of bounds; it’s hard to imagine B ever using guv to anyone, except playfully.

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Lola Albright

July 21, 2016

Today’s morning name, risen up from my subconscious for reasons I cannot fathom. But there she is, an icon of the ’50s and ’60s, all sultry-voiced, notably on American tv’s Peter Gunn (1958-61), with its film noir tone and jazz music. Here she is with the star of the show, Craig Stevens:

(People smoked a lot in those days. Cigarettes provided the film noir haze.)

You can watch, and hear, Albright singing “How High the Moon” on the show in this YouTube clip.

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Let’s just call it “grammar”

July 20, 2016

Yesterday’s Rhymes With Orange:

A visit to a theme park with a linguistic theme: it deals, at least, in onomatopoeia (rattle for the sound a rattlesnake’s tail makes), palindromes (expressions that read the same forwards and backwards, like the names Anna and Otto), and portmanteaus (like palindomedary, palindrome + dromedary) and their visual equivalents, like the palindromedary in the cartoon, a nice counterpart to Anna and Otto.

What to call a place that displayed such things — and anagrams and chiasmus and puns and limericks and knock-knock jokes and sports chants and ritualized insults and auctioneers’ patter and damning with faint praise and Cockney rhyming slang and all sorts of culture-specific phenomena that are manifested in a language (in this case, all are manifested in  English) but are not part of the system of that language, the way, say, Subject-Auxiliary Inversion is part of the system of English. Instead, they are things you can do with, or in, the language.

But we have no good word (or other fixed expression) for this rich assortment of language uses and rouitines, so (as in other cases) the poor overworked word grammar is pressed into service. And the theme park is called Grammar Land.


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