Archive for December, 2016

Surrealists, but especially Jess

December 31, 2016

On Thursday, back to the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford for the successor to the “California: The Art of Water” exhibition (posted on here): “The Conjured Life: The Legacy of Surrealism” (12/21/16 – 4/3/17). A lot of wonderful stuff, covering a wide range of material (artworks in several media, manifestos, poetry, and more) over a long time span, and a nice size (comprehensive but not at all overwhelming). And including one artist I had been dimly aware of but should have investigated more thoroughly long ago, the San Francisco collagist, painter, and comic-book parodist (also gay activist) Jess (Collins) — “the essential San Francisco artist” (according to Harry Parker, director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco).

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Howard at 57

December 30, 2016

My iCalendar told me that today would be Howard Arthur Faye’s 57th birthday. I was startled, and then even more startled when I checked and saw that Howard had died over 21 years ago (born 12/30/59, died 6/2/95).

I came to know Howard through the lgbt newsgroup soc.motss (way back), where he was a notable presence: funny, perceptive, contentious, sharp-tongued, full of enthusiasms (for music, food, ideas, and, especially, wines). (We finally got to meet face-to-face in L.A. in January 1993.) Howard lived life fully, no matter what came his way. I was reminded of my great admiration for the way Carrie Fisher, Prince, and George Michael lived their lives, openly and fearlessly.

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In the middle of things

December 30, 2016

A riddle leading to yesterday’s morning name: What do you get when you cross someone who has a compact, muscular build with a huge thick-skinned semi-aquatic African mammal?

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square feet

December 29, 2016

The One Big Happy in today’s feed:

Ruthie takes square foot to be Adj + N, so interpreted as ‘a foot that is square’; takes foot to denote the bodypart (rather than the unit of linear measure); and takes square to denote the shape of a square (rather than a square itself). In fact, square foot (in general, square M, where M denotes a unit of linear measure) is an idiomatic phrase denoting the area of a square that is one foot on each side (that is, as denoting the area of a foot square).

Now, whether human feet are round (or, more accurately, oval) or rectangular (that is to say, squarish) is a question open for discussion.

One more Santa cap

December 29, 2016

The holiday season rolls on, with clothing and a musical accompaniment. Notably, with this long-sleeved t-shirt (which came to me from Chuk Craig on Facebook):

Deck the halls with Godzil-la,
Fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

It comes, wreaking havoc, in green, black, blue, red, and purple.

Wally Cox

December 29, 2016

Today’s Zippy, about a figure from American pop culture (and also about masculinity and male friendship):

(#1)

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re-up syntax

December 28, 2016

From Jon Lighter on ADS-L early in the month:

CNN advises us … to “get re-upped on” our MMR [measles / mumps / rubella] vaccinations. I.e., join the crusade against vaccine avoidance: get the kids their booster shots, you nut-case parents!

And W Brewer recalls the connection to

re-up ‘to re-enlist’ (U.S. military slang), with possibility of getting a re-enlistment bonus

The military usage we’ve looked at on this blog. It goes back over a hundred years, with early cites having especially simple syntax: no object, either direct or oblique, but interpreted as having an oblique object referring to a branch of the service: to re-up understood as ‘to re-enlist in/with (branch of service)’, with the specific branch understood from context. Call this the objectless re-enlistment use.

My earlier posting was primarily focused on the issue of external vs. internal inflection for this verb (PST re-upped vs. re’d-up). Here I’m interested in the syntax and semantics of the verb, getting from the objectless re-enlistment use to the oblique-object renewal use in get re-upped on.

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“an infamous pincher of ladies’ bottoms”

December 28, 2016

(Eventually about a set of social practices and the vocabulary — mostly transparent — referring to them.)

A standout phrase from a moving, and also wryly funny, Gail Collins op-ed column in the NYT on the 22nd, “The Senate Bathroom Angle”. The infamous pincher in question is the monstrous Strom Thurmond, a stridently anti-black and anti-gay politician and notorious sexist pig, also the U.S. Senator from South Carolina for 48 years.

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The Christmas pickle

December 26, 2016

The song for today: “Good King Sauerkraut look out / On his feets uneven / Beware the snoo lay ’round about / All kerchoo achievin’…” (discussion here).

There seems to be no end to the blizzard of holiday material that comes my way. Recently: the Christmas game of Hide the Pickle or Find the Pickle, which I don’t recall having heard about until about two days ago, when the topic popped up on Facebook. At the center is a Christmas tree ornament like this one:

(#1)

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What’s seasonal, round, white, and has berries on top?

December 26, 2016

At least two answers to this question, one antipodal (pavlova) and one Japanese (Christmas cake), and they seem to have nothing to do with one another. In pictures:

(#1)

(#2)

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