Archive for December, 2012

David Arnot

December 31, 2012

(Male photography, not language.)

As the old year changes into the new, my 2012 Boy Next Door wall calendar (prominent in my living room) has been replaced by the 2013 number. All with photos by David Arnot (very minimal information on him here).

These calendars avoid explicit images, but often just barely; the models, lovingly viewed, are minimally clothed, so as to show off the physical features Arnot tends to fix on: pecs, abs, and armpits as accompaniments to crotches as the central focus. His men’s faces show a variety of expressions, but they are almost never amiable; it’s as if a smile would be inconsistent with the strong masculinity he seeks out in his models.


The Dingburger bar bat, or barbat

December 31, 2012

The New Year’s Eve Zippy, with (among other things) a repeated theme of the strip:

The line I’m focusing on:

Do you realize this “discovery” of yours could cause th’ sales of Poindexter bar bats to plummet?!

Poindexter bar bats: Poindexter is just one of those names that entertain Bill Griffith because of the sound; but what about bar bat? Like many things in Zippy, this is surely meant to be absurd but suggestive.


Spam poetry

December 30, 2012

Inspired by this posting, a bit of light verse:


You have fail to speak reply,
Yet we ask again again.
We do wonders why oh why
You is silents, strange of men:

Give us now of some account,

So demanding, these spamfolk.

Gay Santas

December 30, 2012

(Holiday silliness, gender and sexuality, but not much language. Risqué but not actually X-rated.)

For the sixth day of Christmas, Daddy Kissing Santa Claus. I’ll get to that soon, but first a few of this year’s crop of hot guys in Santa gear (but minus Daddy).


French infestations

December 28, 2012

(Collages, and gender-and-sexuality, rather than language.)

Holiday project: assembling a set of thematic collages based on images by the French male photographer Marc Bessange (see my posting here), with two added elements: a brief text from the New Yorker (all cartoon captions, except one quotation from Jim Carroll) and insect stickers. I like these highly constrained schemes for collages (though, god knows, I also do much more unconstrained stuff), as in my academic collages.

Here Bessange offers a wonderful assortment of images of young Frenchmen relating to their bodies sexually — with assurance, invitation, puzzlement, unease, trepidation, inquisitiveness, whatever, each image with its own tone. The stickers introduce a sense of threat into this world: the insects are infesting the men’s bodies and beings. And the New Yorker captions make the whole relationship problematic by stating a topic, thus making the collage into what I called (here) a puzzle picture:


Praise singing

December 28, 2012

(About music rather than language.)

This morning’s coming-to-consciousness music on my iTunes was the moving and joyous Sacred Harp song Bridgewater (276 in the 1991 Denson Revision), as sung at the 1999 United Sacred Harp Convention (one of seven versions I have of the song). It’s a simple tune with a fine fuguing chorus giving the effect of banks of trumpets sounding praise. Words by the prolific hymnwriter Isaac Watts, text by Lewis Edson (1748-1820), one of America’s first composers; according to the Wikipedia entry,

He began working as [a] blacksmith, but soon after became a singing master and was a notable singer in his day.

His settings (including Lenox (SH 40) as well as Bridgewater) were published in the collection “Choristers Companion” in 1782.


The wonders of spam

December 28, 2012

I get huge amounts of spam, both in e-mail and in blog comments, so I mostly don’t even look at the stuff. But here’s one (lightly edited to remove links) that caught my eye as I was deleting spam from my mail:

The Better Business Bureau has been recorded the above mentioned plaint from one of your users as regards their business relations with you. The information about the consumer’s uneasiness are available at the link below. Please give attention to this issue and notify us about your glance as soon as possible.

We amiably ask you to click and review the [Grievance Report] to respond on this grievance.

We awaits to your prompt rebound.

It has been coming in multiple copies, with small variations in form. The text looks like it’s inexpertly translated from another language, but whether that effect is inadvertent or intentional I cannot tell.

I am, however, considering using “We awaits to your prompt rebound” in my own writing, or possibly working it into a piece of light verse.

Confidence (and Bear Creek)

December 27, 2012

(About music rather than language.)

Came to consciousness yesterday to the sound  of the shapenote hymn Confidence (270 in the 1991 Sacred Harp, Denson Revision, in a recording of the Alabama State Sacred Harp Convention, 1991-93 — one of seven recordings I have of it), notable for one little rhythmic touch in performance. And then while I was copying this one, I also copied the preceding song, 269 Bear Creek, a fuguing song (with ten thousand angels) that’s a old favorite.


Not X but Y?

December 26, 2012

Two pieces of mail to AZBlog, both telling me that I’d said some expression E was an X but that it was really a Y instead. I stand by my original claims, while adding that E is in fact both an X and a Y, though in two different senses:

conjunctive: E is an X and E is a Y, and those two claims are not incompatible;

disjunctive: what we’re calling E is in fact two different expressions, E1 and E2 (that is, E = E1 ∨ E2), which happen to be phonologically identical; E is “sometimes an X and sometimes a Y”, in that E1 is an X and E2 is a Y

The first case has to do with the expression Latkepalooza: portmanteau (as I claimed) or neologism? And the second with expressions like bi, homo, and hetero: common nouns (as I claimed) or prefixes?


Brief notice: holiday portmanteau 12/25/12

December 25, 2012

The lead story in the NYT Sunday Review section on the 23rd was headed “One Nation Under God?: A fifth of Americans now list their religious affiliation as ‘none.'” and began

This week millions of “Chreasters” — Americans who attend church only on Christmas and Easter — will crowd into pews to sing carols and renew their vague relationship with the Christian God.

The portmanteau Chreaster isn’t new, although I have no idea of its history, but what makes it more than routine is the connection between its form and meaning.

The crucial fact is that Chreaster refers to a type of person, not to an assemblage of two holidays (as you would expect from its sources). That interpretation is encouraged by the appearance of the -er, which has no function in Easter but is otherwise involved in a variety of derivational formations, some of them referring to types of persons:   not only the agentive -er of reader and the like, but also more inventive uses, as in nutter ‘crazy person’ and birther ‘someone who denies that Barack Obama was born in the United States’. So Chreaster is a portmanteau with an extra twist.