On the pickle watch

From Alex [Alessandro Michelangelo] Jaker yesterday on Facebook, this photo of him at the Mr. Pickle’s in Millbrae CA, very near SFO (in 2005, when he lived above the shop and right under the jet planes):

(#1) Another line of trochaic tetrameter: Mister Pickle Alex Jaker

A wry bilingual word play, involving the alternative Latin 3rd decl. neut. nouns

nom. sg. alec, gen. alecis

nom. sg. allec or allex, gen. allecis

all meaning ‘fish sauce, herrings, pickle’. Alex is Mr. Pickle.

(With the inevitable phallic allusion to images of or references to pickled cucumbers, usually referred to briefly as just pickles.)

[Digression. The nicknames Alex and Alec (and more distantly, Sasha) and the Italian Allesandro are all related to the name Alexander. From Wikipedia:

The name Alexander is derived from the Greek Ἀλέξανδρος (Aléxandros), meaning “Defender of the people” or “Defending men” and also, “Protector of men”, a compound of the verb ἀλέξειν alexein, “to ward off, to avert, to defend” and the noun ἀνήρ anēr, “man” (gen. ἀνδρός andros). It is an example of the widespread motif of Greek (or Indo-European more generally) names expressing “battle-prowess”, in this case the ability to withstand or push back an enemy battle line.

Nothing to do with pickled fish, meat, or vegetables.]

The pickle files on this blog. Notable postings start with two on 8/24/13:

“Men and their pickles” (link), on pickles as phallic symbols

“pickles” (link), on pickled food and on penises

Then a wide-ranging posting on 2/17/16, “A passion for pickles”, on pickle-making at United Pickle in the Bronx, on pickles and pickle-making in general, with links to earlier pickle postings and with four fresh expressions and images:

  1. the tv show Mr. Pickles
  2. the Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shops (as in #1)
  3. Buddy Sorrell’s wife Fiona Conway “Pickles” Sorrell on The Dick Van Dyke Show
  4. The Pickle Family Circus

And an addendum on 12/26/16, “The Christmas pickle”, with a pickle Christmas ornament,

Two bonuses. First, some entertaining ad copy for Mr. Pickle’s, written by someone with a fancy for uppercase for emphasis (enthusiasm, astonishment, whatever), in both all-caps and initial caps:


We utilize California Grown Fresh Produce, high quality Deli Meats & Cheeses to create our delicious sandwiches & salads. Our service is Fast, Friendly, Cheerful and we always add a Chocolate Chip Cookie which leaves our customers with a smile on their face!

With Sandwich Shops located throughout the Bay Area, Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, Central California, TriValley, and the East Bay, give us a try, it’s just that good!

The sandwiches are, by all accounts, tasty, but not, I think, to the point of inspiring people to break out in excited shouting.

Now a further piece of picklemania, the Paul Mazursky movie The Pickle. From Wikipedia:

(#2) You can watch the trailer here

The Pickle is a 1993 film produced, written, and directed by Paul Mazursky, telling the story of a formerly powerful film director whose recent string of flops has forced him to make a commercial piece that is artistically uninspired. The absurdity of the film within the film satirizes big-budget Hollywood pictures, while the rest of the story serves as a character study of fictitious film director Harry Stone.

Danny Aiello stars as Harry Stone, an NYC film director who has been living in Paris, France for the past ten years. Despite the fact that he still has a loyal fan base, his last three films were flops, and he returns to New York to hear a pitch from a studio executive. The movie turns out to be The Pickle, a science fiction film with an absurd storyline, but when the executive offers him “a ton of money,” Harry immediately sells out his better judgment and agrees to direct the picture.

… The movie featured within the movie — also called The Pickle — involves a group of farmers who grow a pickle to gigantic proportions and convert it into a spaceship, which they fly into outer space. They land on a planet nearly identical to Earth, where one of the farmers (played by Ally Sheedy) develops a romance with an advisor to the President of the United States. (The President is played by Little Richard as himself, and performs an impromptu rendition of “Good Golly, Miss Molly”.) The romance is ended when Sheedy decides that, as a vegetarian, she cannot live on a planet where all food is made out of meat.

[also featuring Dyan Cannon, Clothilde Courau, Shelley Winters, Barry Miller, Jerry Stiller, Chris Penn, Stephen Tobolowsky, Spalding Gray]

Mazursky films before this one: Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), Alex in Wonderland (1970), Blume in Love (1973), Harry and Tonto (1974), Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976), An Unmarried Woman (1978), Willie & Phil (1980), Tempest (1982), Moscow on the Hudson (1984), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Moon over Parador (1988), Enemies, A Love Story (1989), Scenes from a Mall (1991)

The film was not a critical or box-office success. Apparently, broad pickle humor will get you only so far.

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