On the octopus watch

Two recent octopus postings on Facebook.

Octopi Wall Street. The first is a cartoon that Bert Vaux and Barbara Need passed on from the I fucking love science (name of a blog) site:

The source seems to be the Oregon Institute for Marine Biology site, which said last November:

This lovely piece of art, by graduate students Laurel Hiebert and Kira Treibergs with artwork by Marley Jarvis, made the rounds last week.

Here the economic message has been turned into a taxonomic one, standing up for invertebrates.

A posting on an Octopi Wall Street composition earlier on this blog noted that the pun works only if octopi is chosen as the plural of octopus. (And Ben Zimmer provided a link there to a Mother Jones piece on the octopus figure in political contexts.)

Octopuses as figures of fun. Earlier on this blog: in 2010 and 2011, references to the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus; and then in 2012, a Rhymes With Orange with the portmanteau doctopus (referring to a cartoon creature that is apparently a heptapus).

Japanese-Mexican fusion food. About the same time as the cartoon above, William Steed posted a

Bizarre marketing idea: A Japanese-Mexican fusion food. Octopus in a hard corn shell – a tako-taco.

(tako is Japanese for ‘octopus’).

This incorporates the tako/taco (perfect) pun in  what looks like a “reduplicative compound” (hoity-toity, tittle-tattle). And immediately reminded me of the song “Tico Tico”:

Tico-Tico no Fubá is the title of a renowned Brazilian choro music piece composed by Zequinha de Abreu in 1917.

… Choro (literally translated meaning lament) is also popularly known as chorinho in the affectionate diminutive form of Brazilian Portuguese. “Fubá” is a type of maize flour, and “tico-tico” is the name of a bird, the rufous-collared sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis). Hence, “tico-tico no fubá” means “tico-tico on the cornmeal”.

Tico-Tico no Fubá was recorded and made popular internationally by Carmen Miranda (who performed it onscreen in Copacabana (1947)) and Ray Conniff. (link)

There have been many other recordings. In fact, WFMU has a site on which a fan has inventoried 61 versions.

Carmen Miranda doing her thing:

On to other taco and tico combinations. Alongside tako taco, we have various restaurants called Taco Taco. And a franchise chain Taco Tico, which offers Taco Burgers and Taco Salad — that is, Taco Tico Taco Burgers and Taco Tico Taco Salad (that’s what the menu says). And also at least one restaurant called Tico Taco.

Then there’s Tako Tako King, a takoyaki restaurant in Osaka.

Takoyaki [‘octopus’ + ‘fried/grilled’] … is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus, tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce, a sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce, and mayonnaise. The takoyaki is then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi). There are many variations to the takoyaki recipe. (link)

This is nibble food. More substantial is tako packaged as nigiri sushi:

Here the octopus is more easily identifiable. (It’s definitely chewy, not to everyone’s taste. Like Octopi Wall Street.)

3 Responses to “On the octopus watch”

  1. Victor Steinbok Says:

    We’ve been punning on the tako taco theme since discovering takoyaki at a Chicago-area Japanese supermarket food court some time in 2006. Takoyaki is an addictive treat (when made well) and itself can be a source of puns. Then, there is the visual but imperfect pun with mako taco. And, of course, there is a whole cluster of sushi puns that involve variations on tako, tacky, taco, mako, yaki, lucky, kaki (oyster) and the category maki.

  2. Reduplicative compounds | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] (as in these cases), there’s also exact reduplication (yada yada, wee wee, chi chi; see this posting for the clever  punning invention tako-taco) and ablaut reduplication (chitchat, dilly-dally, […]

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