Archive for June, 2011

Cultural celebrations

June 26, 2011

The calendar is full of celebratory days and periods, some of national/cultural significance (in the U.S., Independence Day and Thanksgiving, for instance), some of religious significance (Passover, Easter, Christmas, Ramadan), some of ethnic significance (St. Patrick’s Day, Columbus Day, Chinese New Year, San Gennaro, Diwali), some celebrating sentimental attachments (Valentine’s Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day), some of obscure origin to modern people (Halloween), almost all with complicatedly mixed associations.

Now we’re in the Pride Season in the U.S. (with its focus on Stonewall Day, June 28, and on local Pride Parades, on different dates in June in different places — June 26 in San Francisco — with a penumbra of other events). This has gone from being a celebration specifically for the LGBT community to being, in some places, an ethnic celebration for everyone.

The Bay Area is one of those places.


Three positive monkeys

June 26, 2011

A Bizarro revision of the Three Wise Monkeys (“hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”):

Wait a minute! What are the three of them, taken together, saying to us?


Cave painting

June 25, 2011

A Zippy on art and writing:

(Earlier Zippy on cave painting here.)

The cave paintings tell a story — every picture tells a story, as they say — but not in words. As Griffy notes, the extraordinary cave paintings came long before there was written language. And even then, the earliest writing seems to have been used for pedestrian purposes (like marking property and keeping inventories); it was some time before we got to narratives, love letters, and all the good stuff. I wonder when jokes came into it.

So: fascinating art, but not yet stories in words. And no punch lines.

NY logos

June 25, 2011

Now that same-sex marriage is legal in the state of New York, the

I ♥ NY

logo for New York City —

(Milton Glaser’s original) has been bent to new purposes to refer to New York State:


The Dingburg book districts

June 25, 2011

There are No e-Book Zones of Dingburg, where the locals appreciate the look and feel of book books:

For some time, Zippy strips have catalogued resistance to electronic media (as opposed to books and newspapers) in Dingburg and some acceptance as well:

“Memories of media past” (LLog 12/24/09) on newspapers

“Love of books in Dingburg” (AZBlog 2/12/10)

“The Saturday cartoon crop” (AZBlog 3/27/10)

“Actual vs. virtual” (AZBlog 2/20/11)



June 24, 2011

Larry Horn on ADS-L yesterday, on the slang term duds ‘clothes’:

a particularly impressive word, showing up in 15th and 16th c. slang compendia and having remained as a slang word ever since. Can’t think of any rival to its status for slangevity.

Ah, the wonderful slangevity ‘slang longevity’. No Google hits at all — we can credit Larry for the coining, I think — though Google offers sungevity, lungevity, and leangevity as possible alternatives.


Accented buttocks

June 23, 2011

Following up on my buttocks posting, Wilson Gray reminded people on ADS-L on June 21 that some people pronounce buttock(s) with a secondary accent on the final syllable (as if it were a compound), rather than with the unaccented final syllable that’s recorded in all the dictionaries I’ve seen.

Perhaps the pronunciation comes from interpreting the spelling as representing a compound, and perhaps also from treating the word as unfamiliar and therefore resistant to deaccenting — the opposite of the Familiarity Breeds Deaccenting principle that I mentioned in an April posting on metrical feet (a principle evidenced, for example, in “insider” pronunciations of the state names Wisconsin and Oregon).

I haven’t a clue as to the social or geographical distribution of this variant; it could be sporadic.

I’m sure I’ve heard other examples in which a normally unaccented syllable is elevated to secondary accent. (This is a separate phenomenon from accent shifts, where there is variation as to which syllable in a word gets the primary accent.) For the moment the prime example that comes to my mind is a British vs. American difference in the treatment of a final -ard in family names (like Willard, Woolard, and Pollard): this syllable is unaccented in American English, but British speakers regularly (though not, I think, invariably) give it a secondary accent.

(Additional complexity: I’m sure I’ve come across British speakers who have Willard as a family name with secondary accent on the final syllable, but Willard as a personal name — think of Willard Scott — with an unaccented final syllable.)

(Further complexity: Some British speakers use the secondary accent for British family names, but reproduce the preference of Americans with -ard family names — like the linguist Carl Pollard — for an unaccented final syllable.)

More plants of love

June 23, 2011

Following on yesterday’s posting on agapanthus (roughly ‘flower of love’), here are a few more plants of love. Five plants that I grew back in Columbus.



June 22, 2011

Yesterday was the first day of summer, and it was seriously hot (just a little while ago it was chilly and wet). The agapanthuses are coming into full bloom; they have a long blooming season, extending through the warm part of the year here (which is most of the year).

They are old favorites of mine, a symbol of California for me from my first visits here, in the early 60s. (For years we had a big vase of silk agapanthuses in our Palo Alto living room. Eventually, they got tatty, and last year I replaced them with two vases of intense anemones and Japanese irises.)

But only yesterday did I get curious about the name.


Top searches

June 22, 2011

WordPress provides bloggers with stats on Top Posts (in number of views during the past week) and Most Active (in the past day), plus a list of Top Searches. There’s a certain amusement (and puzzlement) value in all of these, but especially the last. Yes, I post on a wide variety of topics (including sexuality), and anything having to do with sexuality attracts interest, so it’s no surprise that that’s a recurrent theme in the Top Searches. Sometimes oddly mixed in with other things.

As this morning: five items, three gay-related (gay cartoons, dean phoenix, jockstrap — porn actor Dean Phoenix, with his opinions on gay-for-pay, is a perennial Top Search, on the list almost every day), two not (libfix and barbara scholz — two very different topics).