Archive for November, 2011

The body and its parts

November 30, 2011

Not (yet) a report on the results of my little experiment, but an exploration of how the human body and its parts are viewed in websites that intend to be informative and instructive: a summary of the coverage in 10 websites, with from 12 to 42 terms listed.



November 30, 2011

Yesterday’s Rhymes With Orange:

haiku + coupon = haikupon


Puma in pink

November 30, 2011

It’s been a while since I posted on men’s underwear and its gay subtexts, so now (via Will Parsons) this notable Puma ProTech Jock Strap from Macy’s, available in three neon colors:

The model also provides an excellent illustration of the inguinal ligament, discussed here.

Text and tune

November 30, 2011

A little more on singing the words to “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” to the tune of the Sacred Harp song “Northfield” (here and here).

If you look at the words for the first line —

(1) How long, dear Savior, O how long

and the way they are set to music, you’ll see a potential disparity: the natural reading for (1) (as the beginning of a sentence of spoken English or as a line of poetry) has alternating accents, starting with a WS (iambic) initial phrase how long, but the tune begins with SW (trochaic). (Shapenote music has very strong accents on the first beats of measures; you can hear these in recordings of Northfield with its Isaac Watts  text — from the Lookout Mountain Convention of 1968, here — and of the Rudolphized Northfield — from Jon Boden’s “A Folk Song a Day”, here.)

The Watts text has SW as a possible reading for the first foot of (1), with emphatic accent on how; the Rudolph text requires SW for its first foot, the word Rudolph. But in any case the tune requires SW. What allows the substitution of SW for WS?

This substitution (of trochee for iamb in the first foot of a line) is known in the trade as “iambic inversion”, and it’s probably the most common variant of iambic lines in poetry — a deviation from strict iambicity, but an entirely allowable one; lines with iambic inversion aren’t unmetrical. So hów lòng and Rúdòlph are fine beginnings for iambic verse.

Enjoy the music (thanks to Tané Tachyon for the Rudolph clip), and the gross disparity between the Watts text (with its joyful anticipation of death) and the silly Rudolph text.

Borrowing texts

November 29, 2011

In “Rudolph in Northfield”, I explained how a cheesy Christmas song could be sung to the tune of the hymn Northfield. Now, from some explorations I did some 20 years ago, a few more text borrowings into the Sacred Harp:


Respecting beliefs

November 29, 2011

Today’s Scenes from a Multiverse:

The strip is about “respecting beliefs”, but here I’m picking on the amoral cockgoblin slur.


Rudolph in Northfield

November 29, 2011

In my Christmas music update (here), I reported that

Last year, Tané Tachyon recommended a version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” sung to the tune of the Sacred Harp song “Northfield” (#155: “How long, dear Savior, O how long / Shall this bright hour delay”) …

Now, the music, plus some notes on how Rudolph can get to Northfield.


Annals of causativization

November 29, 2011

From today’s AAAS Member Spotlight newsletter:

A contagious type of cancer has hit the Tasmanian devil population hard — declining wild populations by almost 70 percent.

That’s the transitive verb decline ’cause to decline’. Entirely comprehensible, but apparently a revival of a usage that went obsolete in the 18th century. Causativization of intransitives is always an option, so the way is open for new creations (though there’s considerable animosity to innovative causatives).


An experiment

November 27, 2011

For those of you who are willing to spend a few minutes on it: a little experiment, in which you’ll be asked to supply words in some semantic domain. For example: list the first 10 colors that come to your mind (without reflecting on them, mulling them over, trying to be original or clever, etc.), in the order they come to you.

There are actually two experiments. Flip a coin to choose Experiment 1 or Experiment 2 (but not both). The instructions for Experiment 1 are here, for Experiment 2 here. I’ll close the submissions in 4 days, on December 1st.



November 27, 2011

Marching on from Thanksgiving on Thursday, the U.S. has seen a celebration of shopping, Black Friday (featuring big chain stores especially), and then Small Business Saturday (I did in fact buy some things from small businesses in Palo Alto). Now, in anticipation of Cyber Monday tomorrow, one big store, Walmart, has moved the commercial event to Saturday (Cyber Saturday!), and quite a few have turned today into Cyber Sunday. Deals, deals, deals.

I’ve been lying down and mostly avoiding these occasions. Instead, I’ve done a couple of postings on AZBlogX.

The first, “Black Friday Sales”, is a piece of low-down entertainment, an ad from porn purveyor Gamelink with an assortment of extravagant porn flicks and sex toys, including a kit for making penis molds in chocolate.

The second, “Pierre et Gilles and dicks at play”, is a brief Cyber Sunday celebration of the wry artist couple (with three playful works featuring penises), plus James Bidwell and David LaChapelle (doing his version of The Last Supper) as bonuses.