Archive for May, 2015

Faith vs. WF in the magazine world

May 29, 2015

From The Atlantic‘s March 2015 issue, “Mind the Gap: As more U.K. publications woo U.S. readers, British and American English are mixing in strange, sometimes baffling, ways” by Sophie Gilbert, beginning:

Imagine first making someone’s acquaintance, perhaps in a classroom or an office, and having him immediately and unabashedly ask you for a rubber. Is he gleefully transgressing normal social boundaries? Is he drunk? Is he brandishing a pencil?

Such are the choppy and perilous waters that have long divided American and British English.

(covered recently in my posting “Rubber trees, rubber plants”).

This is a lexical difference, but there are also spelling differences, punctuation differences, and more, all of which present difficulties for publications with writers and readers on both sides of the Atlantic.


Kids these days

May 29, 2015

Today’s One Big Happy, in which Joe seems not to be fully plugged in:

What comes at the end? A top-level domain name, of course, or so thinks a child in these modern times.

And then, as an bonus, Ruthie mistakes her dad’s Y (the letter name) for why (the question word).

Insult for fun

May 29, 2015

Today’s Dilbert has Alice persecuting the pointy-headed boss:

She has him over a barrel, as the saying goes.

Another round with Schlitzie

May 29, 2015

Today’s Zippy returns to one of Bill Griffith’s preoccupations, the pinhead Schlitzie (Simon Metz) from Tod Browning’s Freaks:

On this blog, on 4/19/15, a posting with a Zippy on Pip and Flip Snow, other pinheads from Tod Browning’s Freaks, plus a list (with links) of earlier postings on Schlitzie, including three Zippys (1/8/11, 8/7/13, 8/18/13). Griffith keeps re-telling the story.

Pun in the field

May 29, 2015

Yesterday’s Zippy:

Our Pinhead puns on corny: his corny ideas have to do with corn.


The stories of our lives

May 29, 2015

Yesterday’s Calvin and Hobbes:

From a 4/4/09 posting:

Human beings are story-tellers. As Erving Goffman once observed, we spend an enormous amount of time telling each other the stories of our lives. We use stories to make sense of things.

And we tell the stories of our own childhoods to our children and grandchildren, hoping to give them some sense of history and change, My daughter and I often do this with her daughter — who, unlike Calvin, seems to welcome the stories, even when she finds some of it incredible: did we really grow up in neighborhoods, and go to schools, that had essentially no racial or ethnic diversity? What, no Chinese or Indians, even? (In my case, no Jews, all the way through high school.)

Rubber trees, rubber plants

May 29, 2015

In the NYT on the 27th, a piece “China’s High Hopes for Growing Those Rubber Tree Plants” by Becky Davis:

[in the face of a huge drop in the price of rubber,] environmental officials just outside Jinghong, [southwest Yunnan Province’s] major city, have been testing a plantation model that they hope will become the blueprint for a more sustainable and economically stable rubber industry.

On approximately 165 acres of land, workers have interspersed the rubber trees with cacao, coffee and macadamia trees, as well as high-value timber species. The mix, promoted as “environmentally friendly rubber,” is intended to decrease soil erosion, improve water quality and increase biodiversity, among other benefits.

So here we have rubber trees. But what about the houseplants commonly called rubber plants? Those, believe it or not, are a species of fig.


Three New Yorker graphic Xists

May 28, 2015

Collected recently, three New Yorker cartoonists producing graphic fiction, graphic memoirs, etc. (often lumped together as graphic novels, though only some of these works are novels in the traditional sense; novel has developed a widespread new sense as ‘book’.) Roz Chast, who’s appeared in postings here a number of times; Chris Ware, who’s appeared here just once, with a New Yorker cover for Mothers Day; and Adrian Tomine, new to this blog.


Naming that company

May 28, 2015

Here’s a clip of an ad for the Wealthfront firm, with two friends playing with possible names for a company they’re thinking of creating.

Text from Wealthfront:

A man and his friend are knitting together and discussing Wealthfront’s automated investment services. Because Wealthfront has such low fees and minimums, they’ll have enough money to buy all kinds of yarn, or even open that yarn shop. But what to call it? The Yarn Barn, Knit Wit, Knitty Knitty Bang Bang or Knit Happens? Visit and you too can decide what to do with all your savings.

All very playful.


More new Pages

May 28, 2015

Recently added to the Pages on this blog:

Under “Linguistics notes”, a Page on “Anaphoric Islands” and one on “Faith vs. WF” (on reproducing material as it appeared in the original — being faithful (Faith) — vs. altering it to fit your own preferences — adhering to your idea of well-formedness (WF)).

And under “The Language of Comics”, a Page on “Graphic X”, on graphic novels, memoirs, etc.