Archive for May, 2017

Corn snakes and eggplants

May 23, 2017

… with belladonna as a bonus.

Two more photos by my man Jacques (of uncertain date), in Columbus OH:

(#1)

The snake is curled up in a crevice in the house’s crumbling cellar wall. The corner on the upper right is the edge of the back steps. (Eventually the cellar wall was completely rebuilt, and this spot was transformed into an excellent wooden deck.)

The snake just turned up on a sunny day, looking a bit like a copperhead, but seeming to be unthreatening, which copperheads are not.

The plants in pots in front of the snake are eggplants, bearing their glossy black fruits. The eggplant has come up frequently on this blog as a versatile foodstuff, several times as a member of the Solanaceae / nightshade family — it’s essentially edible nightshade — and occasionally as a phallic symbol, but I haven’t done justice to it as a plant.

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“Farley”, the dog said, “get me a slice”

May 23, 2017

Three cartoons in today’s feed: a Bizarro with a talking dog; a One Big Happy with a slice that OMG might grow into a pizza; and a Zippy riff on Farley Granger and They Live by Night:

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A medical mouthful

May 22, 2017

That would be endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). It’s the cholangiopancreatography that especially interests me. I was hoping that there would be some way to break that monster into pieces, like this:

cholangio-pancreato-graphy ‘imaging of the bile duct and the pancreas’

but cholangio- and pancreato- are both combining forms, with a linking –o– that has to be written solid with what follows. So we’re stuck with the whole long business.

All this is on my mind because I’m undergoing this procedure on June 7th; I had the diagnostic MRCP (magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography) back on the 11th.

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Prepositions matter

May 22, 2017

Today’s Zits:

V + P~Ø (V with oblique object, marked by a P, vs. a direct object, with no P) was the topic of my 2009 Stanford SemFest paper; detailed handout here.

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A failure of parallelism, sort of

May 22, 2017

In this headline from the 21st:

The crucial part is the NP

(PA) child- and gang-rapes

a reduced variant of the coordination child rapes and gang rapes — with rapes “factored out” of the full coordination, leaving the two-conjunct constituent child and gang. What gives this reduced coordination the whiff of non-parallelism is the difference in the way the factor rapes is semantically related to the two conjuncts child and gang: the first conjunct, child, functions as patient, or affected participant, with the factor rapes (like a canonical syntactic object; in a child rape, someone rapes a child), while the second conjunct, gang, functions as agent, or active participant, with this factor (like a canonical syntactic subject; in a gang rape, a gang rapes someone).

The coordination of patient with agent has a mildly zeugmatic flavor. It probably adds a bit of processing difficulty to this example — and it’s certainly enough to make a linguist like me take notice of the headline.

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The patio report

May 22, 2017

(About my life and plants.)

Following up on yesterday’s patio-restoration posting, four photos of the results so far: two literally out the window by my work table (with the blinds just as they are now), two from better angles out on the patio.

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Hang On Sloopy

May 21, 2017

On Friday, while Kim Darnell and I worked on moving plants and cleaning closets (not just routine spring cleaning, but a counter-offensive against a severe moth infestation — more on this in a later posting), for background I called up an iTunes playlist of dance music from the 50s through the 90s, which included “Hang On Sloopy”.

Now, Kim and I both have serious Ohio State connections, so we recognized the song as an OSU anthem, as played by TBDBITL, The Best Damn Band In The Land, aka the OSU Marching Band, which, like OSU football in general, is surrounded by a kind of frenzied irrational devotion. (When I lived in Columbus, I found this truly scary, since it led to crowds torching vehicles, smashing storefronts, and generally behaving like crazed hooligans,)

So Kim asked the obvious question: Who the hell is Sloopy?

We get that it’s a name, here used as an address term. But who is the Sloopy of the song, what do we know about them? And was there an actual Sloopy in the history of the song, or was the name just pulled out of a hat? And what kind of onomastic hat has Sloopy in it? (Related puzzle re: “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” — though in this case, Rikki and Ricky are both reasonably frequent names.).

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The front patio redivivus, and having Our House

May 21, 2017

(All about my life.)

Two occasions for this posting. First, another set of my man Jacques’s photographs, including this one of our house (722Ramona St.) as seen from the street in 1986, not long after we moved into it:

(#1)

— with a note about why J thought it was important to take this picture (and one of the back of the condo, which is much more boring even than the picture above).

Second, the news that the work on my front patio (which began early in November) was finished this Thursday, so I’m finally reconstituting my little container garden there.

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Injurious language (and the Lawrence family)

May 21, 2017

Working to clear out four more file drawers of accumulated papers (more recycling fodder, to follow on many dozens of file drawers of stuff that have already been sacrificed to the Great Recycler), I came across a print-out of a 1991 posting “Injurious language” to the Usenet newsgroup soc.motss. Still, I think, entirely relevant — and it takes us to a fascinating set of people connected to Chuck Lawrence (Charles R. Lawrence III).

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Audiences

May 21, 2017

Two recent cartoons, a One Big Happy in which the grandmother copes with black street speech with an app for her audience; and a Doonesbury in which marijuana companies tailor their products and their advertising for gay and black audiences.

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