Archive for October, 2013

kale

October 26, 2013

In the 10/20 NYT Magazine, a piece by Pagan Kennedy, “Who Made That Kale?”:

Scientists disagree about when humans first tasted kale. But it is known that the ancient Greeks cultivated leafy greens, which they boiled and ate as a cure for drunkenness. And early Roman manuscripts include references to “brassica,” a word that encompassed wild turnips, cabbages and kalelike plants. By the Middle Ages, kale had spread through Europe and Asia. The Italians developed plants with “dinosaur” scales, while the Scots created varietals with leaves like frilly petticoats. The Russians produced kale that could survive in the snow. But by the time Tim Peters, who was then farming in Oregon, began experimenting with the plant in the 1980s, kale had become “boring.” “You only saw the green kind in the supermarket,” he says, “if you could find it at all.”

Classic green kale:

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More palindromes

October 25, 2013

Yesterday’s Bizarro:

One-word palindromes. Then there are phrasal palindromes: AVID DIVA, and more complex expressions like the playful variant

ANAL WAS I ERE I SAW LANA

in a Bizarro cartoon here.

Antaeus

October 25, 2013

In an AZBlogX posting this morning, there’s an image (#3) evoking Hercules / Heracles / Herakles together with Antaeus / Antaios — a grinning man hoisting his lover over his shoulder (something my man Jacques did with me when we were young, vigorous, and playful). In an earlier AZBlogX posting, there was

a version of Hercules lofting Antaeus, brought firmly into the modern gay world by tattoos, an earring, Antaeus’s muscular butt and thighs, and Antaeus’s hand stroking Hercules’s hard cock

The legend lives on, now with an explicitly homoerotic context. And with an echo of Jacob wrestling the angel (posting here).

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The Czech finger

October 24, 2013

From several sources, pointers to this piece of in-your-face public art:

(#1)

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Anecdote: the eagle in the bushes

October 23, 2013

Some years ago, at a linguistics conference in a village along the Danube in Austria, a Hungarian colleague announced with great pleasure that he’d come across an eagle in the bushes along the way from our lodgings. This did in fact seem remarkable to the rest of us. Then I got it.

I asked him to describe the creature, and got, not an account of a huge wide-winged bird of prey, but one of a small furry mammal: the hedgehog (naturally found in bushes, underbrush, and hedgerows). In German, Igel (which sounds a lot like eagle in English, and indeed my colleague knew only the German name and not the somewhat fanciful English compound noun hedgehog). (more…)

Portmanteau news

October 23, 2013

Two portmanteaus that came past me recently, from several sources: racino and this year’s conjunct holiday (in the U.S.), Thanksgivukah.

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Remembering

October 23, 2013

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

(Play on mnemonicdemonic.) But can grammarians exorcise possession?

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It floats! (ch. 2)

October 23, 2013

Commenting on my Ivory Soap posting (“and it floats!”) yesterday, Ann Burlingham asks about the images of naked boys and men in these vintage ads:

Do you or Chris [Ambidge, who sent me the images] have dates? The boys’ naked bottoms in Harper’s – it strikes me as normal, then that strikes me as odd, that a general-interest magazine would so easily have male nudity.

The ads seem mostly to be from 1918-19; the war-time in question is World War I. And their homoerotic subtext has been noticed by others — notably by Bruce H. Joffe in A Hint of Homosexuality?: ‘Gay’ and Homoerotic Imagery in American Print Advertising (2007).

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and it floats!

October 22, 2013

(Advertising and the display of men’s bodies.)

From Chris Ambidge, a set of six vintage ads for Ivory Soap (99 44/100 % Pure … It Floats), mostly featuring men or boys bathing in groups.

The first has appeared on this blog before, in a posting on men in recruiting posters and ads (“Recruiting men” of 7/27/13):

  (#1)

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The Slants, still at bat

October 22, 2013

From several sources recently, news of the battle by the band The Slants to register their name for trademark protection in the U.S. Here’s an NPR story, “Asian-American Band Fights To Trademark Name ‘The Slants’ “, and a brief thoughtful piece “The Slants v, the USPTO” by Mark Liberman on Language Log.

The Slants have been up against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for some four years now (an earlier report appeared on this blog here). At issue is a U.S. statute that bars granting registration to a name that “consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter”; USPTO objects to “Slants” on the ground that it is a disparaging term for people of Asian descent. The band has taken various legal tacks over the years; the current case (in a federal circuit court) relies on appealing to the First Amendment, arguing that the USPTO rulings deny the benefits of trademark on the basis of the content of the Slants’ speech.