Archive for May, 2013

Transposed proverbs

May 31, 2013

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm, with a proverb altered spooneristically (and a pun folded in):

(A pun on gnu and new and a transposition of dog and new in You can’t teach an old dog new tricks — though a transposition of a N and an Adj is unlikely, though not unknown, in the world of inadvertent errors.)

On the wildebeest, from Wikipedia:

The wildebeest …, also called the gnu … is an antelope of the genus Connochaetes. It is a hooved (ungulate) mammal. Wildebeest is Dutch for “wild beast” or “wild cattle” in Afrikaans (beest = cattle), while Connochaetes derives from the Greek words κόννος, kónnos, “beard”, and χαίτη, khaítē, “flowing hair”, “mane”. The name “gnu” originates from the Khoikhoi name for these animals, gnou.

 

Dilbertmanteau

May 31, 2013

Today’s Dilbert:

Not just an entreprenidiot (entrepreneur + idiot), but a serial entreprenidiot, someone with one dumb business idea after another.

 

Portmanteau news

May 30, 2013

Three portmanteau finds in recent days: cronut, vog, and Prancercise.

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Cattions 4

May 30, 2013

Over on AZBlogX, 13 more cattions (male photography with captions by me and cat stickers by B. Kliban): 2 based on Michael Taubenheim photos, 3 on Benno Thoma, 1 Marc Bessange, and 7 Bel Ami. Some are X-rated, many are not, but none is particularly language-related, so they appear on AZBlogX, rather than here.

However, from Cattions 1, here’s a Taubenheim of interest:

The caption is a nice bit of trochaic tetrameter: Pérry / dréams of / béing / píssed on. With the accented vowels in a tight phonological space: — / ɛ  i  i  ɪ / — and the foot-initial consonants — / p  d  b  p  / — as well, with the repeated vowel /i/ in the center of the line and the repeated consonant /p/ at the edges, and with the closely related lax vowels / ɛ ɪ / at the edges and the closely related voiced stops / d b / in the center. I wish I could say that I achieved this amount of balance in the line by calculation, but frankly, I just went with what sounded good to me (and analyzed the result much later).

Then, of course, the caption dirties up the model’s earnestly yearning facial expression.

Blessed Assurance on Broadway

May 29, 2013

In yesterday’s NYT, on p. 1 of the print edition, “Something Happened on the Way to Bountiful: Everyone Sang Along” by William Grimes:

Not long after the curtain rises on the second act of “The Trip to Bountiful,” the Broadway revival of the Horton Foote play at the Stephen Sondheim Theater, something unusual happens. Cicely Tyson, as Mrs. Carrie Watts, sits on a bus station bench in a small Texas town. She is on the run from her abusive daughter-in-law and henpecked son in Houston, desperate to see the family farm in Bountiful once more before she dies.

Overcome with emotion, she begins singing an old Protestant hymn, “Blessed Assurance.”

From the first note, there’s a palpable stirring among many of the black patrons in the audience, which the play, with its mostly black cast, draws in large numbers. When Ms. Tyson jumps to her feet, spreads her arms and picks up the volume, they start singing along. On some nights it’s a muted accompaniment. On other nights, and especially at Sunday matinees, it’s a full-throated chorus that rocks the theater.

Video here: Blessed Assurance on Broadway

For a big white-gospel production of the hymn (by Bill and Gloria Gaither), see this video:

And for some discussion of the hymn, see this posting of mine.

 

average

May 29, 2013

A One Big Happy that came by me recently:

Two (at least) different senses of the adjective average here: ‘at the statstical mean’ vs. ‘ordinary’ or ‘typical’. So Joe could be right.

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don’t know

May 29, 2013

Today’s Zits:

The dad’s “I don’t know” conveys that he’s unsure of his opinion on the subject (whatever that is), so he says “Ask Mom”, meaning ‘Ask Mom what she thinks”, with ellipsis of the Wh-clause object of ask, but with understood reference (within that object) to the mother. But Jeremy takes the other possible reading, involving reference to the father — i.e., ‘Ask Mom what I think’ — which, though possible, is unlikely in context (how should the mother know what the father thinks, when he doesn’t know himself?).

 

The head tilt

May 29, 2013

Noticed in the NYT Magazine on Sunday, an ad for the “NYT Global Forum: Thomas L. Friedman’s The Next New World” (6/20/13, City View at Metreon, San Francisco), with photos of 10 of the 19 scheduled speakers, including this one of Cynthia Breazeal (Associate Professor, Media Arts and Sciences, M.I.T.):

  (#1)

Not only smiling — many of the speakers pictured on the event’s website are smiling — but doing a head tilt, a characteristically feminine gesture subject to a variety of interpretations, most not appropriate for someone who wants to be taken seriously as an authority.

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Porn play

May 28, 2013

Offered in a current porn sale, this entertaining item:

  (#1)

  (#2)

Yes, a take-off on The Bourne Identity, about the exploits of Chason (Chasin’) Porne rather than Jason Bourne. Perhaps I’m just easily amused, but I enjoy these punning variants on fixed expressions.

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On the mistakes patrol

May 28, 2013

Three recent  mistakes on my part: a writing error; a mishearing; and a misinterpretation of what I heard.

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