Archive for March, 2017

The Phantom of the jungle library

March 31, 2017

… and his servant Guran, in a scene from early in the 1996 movie The Phantom:

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Secure in the Chronicle Chamber within his jungle stronghold, The Phantom (Billy Zane) and his servant Guran (Radmar Agana Jao) discover the secret of the Skulls of Touganda.

The Phantom of course works shirtless in his jungle library (amidst his collection of manuscripts and books) — I mean it’s in the steamy goddam jungle (and anyway we all need to appreciate his pecs). Outside of the jungle (where he’s the 21st Phantom), he’s Kit Walker, raised in the U.S., college-educated, and NYC-savvy. Then there’s his servant Guran, who’s obviously not a member of the African tribe the Phantom works with; instead, he looks Filipino and is dressed in Indian garb. The movie is packed with cultural mixtures, and this is just one of them.

I’ll write some about these, but first a bit about the fascinating life story of Radmar Agana Jao.

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He bloomed in March

March 31, 2017

Now at its height, this excellent cymbidium orchid, in a hard-to-describe shade of light peach or apricot, with yellow highlights and a dark red lip:

A caption with the flower personified:

He was a big man, Cuppy, with
Florid, juicy sexual parts and a
Passion for ripe peaches and
Apricots. His drag name was
Cymbidia.

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No, they didn’t say that

March 31, 2017

A brief book notice for an admirable volume from the Quote Investigator Garson O’Toole. From Ben Yagoda’s excellent review on the CHE’s Lingua Franca blogHemingway Didn’t Say That: The Truth Behind Familiar Quotations on the sources of misattribution.

Garson’s book is not just a collection of misattributed quotes — there are lots of those — but an inquiry into the sources of, reasons for, mechanisms of these misattributions: ten of them.

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The Ahab-Moby affair

March 31, 2017

Today’s Bizarro:

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(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

A new version of the Ahab and Moby-Dick (the captain and the whale) meme, now set to music.

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Men swear about menswear

March 31, 2017

Today’s One Big Happy:

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Ah, a potential orthographic ambiguity, turning on word division: MENSWEAR as MENS WEAR ‘men’s clothing’ (what the store intends) or MEN SWEAR ‘men curse’ (what Ruthie reads).

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More on early “is is”

March 30, 2017

Background: a posting of mine (“An early “is is”? Probably not”) on the 27th, looking at a 1964 quote (from published fiction) submitted by Jon Lighter to ADS-L:

(1) “The thing of it is, Waldron said… “is that this order was set up for you personally.”

(1) is a quotation from the writer that seems to have Waldron saying:

(2a) The thing of it is is that this order was set up for you personally.

or, possibly,

(2b) The thing of it is, is that this order order was set up for you personally.

(that is, a spoken sentence like (2a), but with a pause between the two occurrences of is).

JL responded the next day on ADS-L:

1.8 million raw Googlits for “The thing of it is is.”

This is supposed to be evidence about how the sentence from fiction in (1), from over 50 years ago, is to be interpreted: as (2a) — which would be an early example of the vernacular construction Isis, hitherto dated only back to 1971 — or as (2b), an utterly everyday disfluency in speech.

Now to look at the reasoning.

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Boris and Natasha advise POTUS

March 30, 2017

Pat Byrnes’s New Yorker daily cartoon yesterday:

Another chapter in the great book of what you have to know to understand what’s going on in a cartoon and what you have to know to see why it might be funny.

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Billy Zane

March 30, 2017

I first noticed him in some episodes of the tv series Charmed, playing a personable (and hunky) ex-demon named Drake. And now he’s coming past me again, in the second season of Twin Peaks, once again charming, boyish, playful, and sexy (his perennial actorial persona). In between Twin Peaks (1991) and Charmed (2005) came, among other things, the movie version of The Phantom (1996), with Zane in the title role.

So this will be about actors, the comics, tv and movies, and some of Zane’s masculine attributes: that persona, a strong physical presence, a sensuous masculine face, and (of course) an attractive body. Not a lot about language here.

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Three

March 29, 2017

Yesterdy, a posting on Michael Ontkean, who I’ve been re-watching in Twin Peaks, but who also played the central role in the 1982 movie Making Love — which led me to an earlier film with a similar plot device (a love triangle with a gay twist), 1971’s Sunday Bloody Sunday, and to reflect on three-person relationships — a subject of great interest to me, since I spent about eight years in a married triple.

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Another phenomenally bad idea

March 29, 2017

(Mostly about food, but there’s a mansex interlude, so be warned.)

A couple days ago it was (thanks to Margalit Fox) the hologram-bunny (a hollusion) that comes to life to decorate homes and parties. I’m not quite sure why the idea struck so many people (including Margalit and me) as disturbing, but it was. Now comes an edible counterpart, but this time I think I understand the source of the unease that it arouses.

Reported by Kim Darnell, this is Delighted By (sometimes: delighted by) dessert hummus. On the grocery shelf:

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It comes in four flavors: Brownie Batter, Snickerdoodle, Orange Dreamsickle, Vanilla Bean.

Thing is, hummus is a savory food, and these flavors are all sweet (apparently, achingly so).

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