Brainless Tales, with more news for penises

#4 in my “Squid Pro Quo” posting is from Marcus Connor’s Brainless Tales, a new webcomic for me, but one largely devoted to language play. And immediately I came across this cartoon, with a portmanteau noun denoting a hybrid, doubly phallic, foodstuff:


baniener = banana + wiener, denoting a decidedly louche anthromorphized banana-wiener. Hey, baby, wanna dance?

[Digression. A baniener is of course to be distinguished from a bananier, a (French) banana tree — a plant made musically famous by Louis Moreau Gottschalk, the flamboyant virtuoso pianist and composer of extravagant piano and orchestral works. You can listen to Gottschalk’s Le Bananier here, where the YouTube poster supplies this pared-down version of the Wikipedia article on the piece (lightly edited here):

Le Bananier is third in the cycle of four Louisiana Créole pieces written in France between 1848 and 1851. Bananier is based on the Créole tune En avan’ Grenadie and this little piece literally took Paris by storm. The publisher, according to Gottschalk scholar Robert Offergeld, earned 250,000 francs from sales of the piece before selling the rights for another 25,000. And that is but a partial measure of its appeal, since pirated copies abounded. Georges Bizet had the piece in his performing repertoire for years and a hand-written copy of it was found in the personal effects of Alexander Borodin who, many insist, used Bananier as a blueprint for his Polovtsian Dances

Wikipedia on Gottschalk:

Louis Moreau Gottschalk (New Orleans, May 8, 1829 – Rio de Janeiro, December 18, 1869 [of yellow fever]) was an American composer and pianist, best known as a virtuoso performer of his own romantic piano works. He spent most of his working career outside of the United States [touring in Europe and in Central and South America].

Gottschalk was born in New Orleans to a Jewish businessman from London and a Creole mother. He had six brothers and sisters, five of whom were half-siblings by his father’s mixed-race mistress (she would have been called mulatto at the time)

… Gottschalk’s music was very popular during his lifetime and his earliest compositions created a sensation in Europe. Early pieces like Bamboula, La Savane, Le Bananier and Le Mancenillier were based on Gottschalk’s memories of the music he heard during his youth in Louisiana. In this context, some of Gottschalk’s work, such as the 13-minute opera Escenas campestres, retains a wonderfully innocent sweetness and charm. Gottschalk also utilized the Bamboula theme as a melody in his Symphony No. 1: A Night in the Tropics.

Gottschalk is a guilty musical pleasure for me. So over the top, so much fun.

Morphological note: French bananier ‘banana tree’ is a derivative of the fruit noun banane ‘banana’, with the suffix –ier. It’s parallel to prunier ‘plum tree’ (prune ‘plum’), pommier ‘apple tree’ (pomme ‘apple’), poirier ‘pear tree’ (poire ‘pear’), cerisier ‘cherry tree’ (cerise ‘cherry), etc.]

Now on Brainless Tales. From its own site:

Brainless Tales is a daily single panel comic by me, Marcus Connor. Puns aplenty are served up with a side of your ol’ pop’s humor, and a bit of “Huh?” thrown in for good measure. Sit back, relax, and enjoy life the way it’s meant to be: expressed by anthropomorphic food, plants, and tools. Just like the good doctor says, “a Tale a day keeps the boredom away.” Each panel is like a daily multi-vitamin only much better, and safer for you. Please view responsibly.

… May 7, 2016 was the final daily comic from Brainless Tales — which was published every day for 9 years. The site now shows a classic comic each day at the top of the homepage.

Much, much language play in these cartoons. Four more examples:


Something that is both a potato and a (computer) chip, so playing on an ambiguity of chip.


Playing on an ambiguity in the adjective: Cornish orig. ‘from or relating to Cornwall or its language’, in the fixed expression Cornish hen ‘Rock Cornish ((game) hen)’, referring to ‘a stocky chicken of a breed that is kept for its meat’ (NOAD2); or cornish ‘like or resembling corn’, in this case, incorporating an ear of corn, both cob and husk.


Another ambiguity, in pork’n beans: pork ‘n’ beans ‘pork and beans’ (such as one might buy in cans, to eat) vs. pork’n’ beans ‘porking beans, beans that are fucking’,

Apparently, the sexual noun and verb pork have not been covered in this blog before. From GDoS:

noun pork 1 in senses of flesh [AZ: cf. meat]. (a) a generic term for a woman or women viewed as sex objects [Partridge lists it as 18th to early 20th century; GDoS’s first cite is 1942] (b) the penis [first site 1835] … (d) the vagina [one cite from 1983]

verb pork 2 of a man, to have sexual intercourse [first cite 1967-8 in a dictionary; 1978 Animal House [film script] Boon: Marlene! You’re gonna pork Marlene Desmond!]


Ambiguities in /aj fon/ I phone (with verb phone) or iPhone (with noun phone), and /ju t(j)ub/ you tube (with verb tube*) or YouTube (with noun tube).

*noun tube: informal fit (a person or animal) with a tube to assist breathing, especially after a laryngotomy. (NOAD2)

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