Zippy and the Icon at the Bluebonnet

Today’s Zippy, which leads in several directions:


Zippy at the Bluebonnet Diner in Northampton MA, trading warning signs at the counter with an icon representing a (generic) person.

Stuff here: the diner; broasted chicken; warning signs; icons (for a man, for a person); punchline.

The Bluebonnet Diner. From the VisitNoho site (“the best places to dine, shop and visit in Northampton, Massachusetts”), with some puffery from the diner:

Built by the Worcester Lunch Car Company in 1950, the historic Bluebonnet Diner [324 King St.] stands as a familiar Northampton landmark. The name “Bluebonnet” is derived from the Texas state flower of the same name.

Seeing many additions over the years, yet sparing the original craftsmanship, the diner takes on a character all its own.

The dining room was added in 1960, with the later additions of a lounge and banquet all in 1967. Since its beginning, the Bluebonnet has seen a ten-fold increase in seating; with a present capacity of 110 in the restaurant, and 240 in the banquet hall.

Good food, prepared by competent people is standard fare here. Many recipes have earned us the reputation for good home-style cooking. We are most famous for our home-made puddings and cream pies.

(The diner’s own website is here.)



And inside, but without Zippy and the Icon:


Broasting. The Bluebonnet specializes in broasted chicken. From NOAD2 on the portmanteau verb broast, with part of the story:

verb N. Amer.: prepare food using a cooking process that combines broiling and roasting [as adj.]: broasted chicken.

Now, from Wikipedia, with more of the story:

Broasting is a method of cooking chicken and other foods using a pressure fryer and condiments. The technique was invented by L.A.M. Phelan in the early 1950s and is marketed by the Broaster Company of Beloit, Wisconsin, which Phelan founded.

Broasting equipment and ingredients are marketed only to food service and institutional customers, including supermarkets and fast food restaurants. They are not available to the general public. The method essentially combines pressure cooking with deep frying chicken that has been marinated and breaded.

Broasted chicken at the Golden Basket Restaurant in Green Bay WI:


Broasted chicken is popular in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and is served at Middle Eastern and Filipino restaurants in the US, as well as at non-ethnic places like the Golden Basket.

There are recipes for “broasting” chicken at home (without the brand-name equipment), by oven-roasting prepared chicken parts, turning them periodically; this is like pan-frying, but in the oven, and with very little oil.

Warning signs. Zippy and the Icon trade the texts on warning signs (serving a number of purposes). These tend to be formulaic, using conventionalized abbreviated wording (THIS WAY OUT, for instance). Zippy’s final contribution, as the Icon leaves, whistling, is a variant of


as here:


Icons.Notice that the ‘(generic) person’ icon appears in #5. Here it is in a “pedestrian crossing” sign:


And a “litter container” sign:


Note that this particular icon is used, in other contexts, to refer specifically to men; toilets specifically for men are marked with this icon, even if the sign is wordless:


This double usage is obviously akin to the use of he and man to refer specifically to men in certain contexts, but (for some people, at any rate) to refer generically in others.

Punchlines. What Zippy says in the last panel of #1, as the Icon strolls away, is not




suggesting, perhaps, that this the end of their exchange. On punchline, NOAD2 says:

the final phrase or sentence of a joke or story, providing the humor or some other crucial element

OED3 (Sept. 2007) says the compound noun was originally U.S. (but it has clearly spread); its first cite is from 1916 (spelled punch line); then it has the spelling punch-line in 1921 and punchline in 1993 and thereafter.

And that’s the end of the story.

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