Archive for November, 2012

Nightmare stories

November 30, 2012

Today’s Zippy, with recollections by Bill Griffith of his childhood:

My main interest is in the last panel, with its recollection of the children’s story “Struwwelpeter”, but first a few words on other points.


Libfix tech disasters

November 29, 2012

A story making the rounds the past few days, here from Gawker:

NYU Student Accidentally Hits Reply All to 40,000 Students, “Replyallcalypse” Ensues (link)

A familiar sort of technological annoyance that is often responded to with great alarm, hence the ‘disaster’ libfix -(po)calypse. The story excites interest in the general press because of the nature of the annoyance (it slows down an everyday operation), its source (in basic features of mail programs and human factors in their use), and the way people tend to react to it (by mailing to all the victims, by way of outraged complaint, hence compounding the problem). My interest here is mostly in the libfix and its cousin in disaster -(ma)geddon, as applying to technological woes.


More threats to the body politic

November 29, 2012

Today’s Zippy, with two creepy steel-jawed squint-eyed beefy characters listing the threats presented to society by a notorious public figure woefully lacking in red-blooded American masculinity:

For three panels, you get to speculate: Tinky Winky? Truman Capote on a bender? Pee Wee Herman cruising the movies? Or who?

Then it comes: Poppin’ Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy.


The war on errorism

November 29, 2012

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

Keeping up the paranoid sense of threat in the world of grammar, style, and usage, and combining errorism as a play on terrorism with the snowclonelet composite X police, in this case the very common grammar police (most recent posting here).


White House holiday

November 29, 2012

Passed on by Benita Bendon Campbell, this slide from a show of “2012 Christmas Decorations at the White House”, on Politico yesterday:


Brief mention: a racy sandwich blend

November 27, 2012

Michael Krasny, on KQED’s news and public affairs program Forum this morning, interviewed SFSU philosophy professor Jacob Needleman about his recent book “An Unknown World”. Krasny set the stage by summarizing Needleman’s work and his credentials. Along the way, we got Krasny saying:

He’s also genital … general editor of the Penguin Metaphysical Library.

I don’t see anything in the context that would have set this off — but it’s a nice example of an inadvertent sandwich blend, with a piece of one contributor sandwiched in between pieces of the other.


Truncated lame duck

November 27, 2012

Caught on Facebook this morning:

Help us protect Social Security and Medicare benefits during the lame duck by signing our petition! (link)

This has the nominal lame duck as a truncated version of the N + N compound lame duck Congress/session — an ad hoc truncation that is interpretable given context and background knowledge.


More rainbow fruit

November 27, 2012

Passed on by Karen Chung on Facebook, this set of rainbow fruit skewers:

An addition to my growing collection of rainbow food.


Packaging content into words

November 26, 2012

A 2005 Savage Chickens cartoon (by Doug Savage) with what’s labeled as a “future perfect passive”:

The label isn’t exactly wrong — it alludes, somewhat indirectly, to the semantics of the material will have been disappointed with subject you and complement with your life — but the label invites comparison to material like amāverō ‘will have loved’ in Latin (expressing the “future perfect”). But English and Latin work very differently in how they package content into words.


Dr. Zippy

November 25, 2012

Today’s Zippy, a treasure of language play and pop culture, as our Pinhead decides to be a patient no longer:

First, some etymological notes on patient and historically related items; then, notes on each of Dr. Zippy’s three patients.



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