Archive for May, 2018

Non sequiturs meet associative thinking

May 27, 2018

On a larger scale, the war between randomness and organization, in which Zippy fights on both sides. In today’s strip, he’s in his random mode, distributing non sequiturs from a polka-dot van:

(#1)

One thing doesn’t lead to another. Instead, things just pop up from out of nowhere, without rationale.

But at other times in Zippy’s world, everything leads to something else, in steps. On paths that might go in surprising directions, the way conversations tend to wander.

Either way, linearity bites.

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Porn for the holidays, with narrowed eyes

May 26, 2018

On AZBlogX today, a posting “Memorial mansex”, about a Lucas studio gay porn sale for Memorial Day 2018, with an ad offer (cropped below to avoid penises) showing three naked men with narrowed eyes, plus a shot of the onset of fellatio (with two men knee-deep in a pool of water, for added interest), to show you the sort of thing you can get from the Lucas sale offer:

(#1)

To come: on porn for the holidays; then on narrowed eyes and drooping eyelids and how these might be interpreted.

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In the morning: the B list actor and the scholar

May 26, 2018

On the 20th, the morning name was W. Sidney Allen; if you’re not a linguist or a classicist, you’ve almost surely never heard of him — but then great scholars rarely work in the spotlights of public attention. On the 25th, the morning name was Lisa Whelchel, an actor you would probably recognize under the name of her most famous role: Blair Warner in the American tv sitcom The Facts of Life. So, in the penumbra of the spotlights, a B list celebrity.

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Involuntary memory

May 26, 2018

From Day 2 (May 25th) of the 2018 Association for Psychological Science’s convention in San Francisco:

“For many years, involuntary memories were ignored. I’m here to tell you what we have learned about this intriguing phenomenon,” said APS Board Member Dorthe Berntsen in the 2018 Presidential Symposium. Berntsen’s multi-decade body of research on this unique form of autobiographical memory has shown the wide-ranging influence of the memories that simply pop into our heads without intentional retrieval. She presented an impressive body of experimental findings on the role of involuntary memory across the lifespan in humans as well as in apes.

For some time, I’ve been collecting examples of one particular form of involuntary memory in my life — morning names, the expressions that come to me unbidden when I rise in the morning. There’s a Page on this blog listing my postings on them. So it’s nice to discover that there’s actually a research community working on involuntary memories.

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bossercize

May 26, 2018

Today’s Dilbert, in which the pointy-haired boss goes portmanteauing:

(#1)

boss + exercise (in a spelling variant with –ize) = bossercize, formed on the model of the name of the dance fitness company Jazzercise.

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Discordance

May 25, 2018

Via Esha Neogy on the Our Bastard Language Facebook group, this Andertoon:

(#1)

Sentence 1 asserts that some text is grammatically active, but sentence 1 itself is a grammatically passive. Vice versa for sentence 2. Each sentence shows a discordance between a grammatical voice as the topic of a text and the grammatical voice of the sentence about that text. Not actually a contradiction, much less a paradoxical self-contradiction, but a language prank that flirts edgily with these possibilities.

What it is like is the discordance of the Stroop effect, where a color name and the color the name is presented in are at odds, as in this New Yorker cover by the artist Saul Steinberg:

(#2) In my 6/15/17 posting “For Saul Steinberg”, a discussion of the effect

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Similarities

May 25, 2018

Brief visit to Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden this morning, to take in the riot of summer flowers in bloom (7-foot tall white foxgloves! sweet peas climbing on everything, with intensely colored blossoms you can see from across the garden! giant bronze fennel plants, with feathery, scented leaves! and more!). On entering the garden Juan and I came across Plant 1, which I recognized as being a fancy (but unfamiliar to me) relative of the weed Queen Anne’s lace. A bit later, in the South African garden section, a huge thick-stemmed plant  — Plant 2 — caught our attention, and Juan took it to be a monster relative of the artichoke (elsewhere in the garden, artichoke plants were yielding up their edible flower buds in profusion), but I guessed that the similarities were inconsequential and that Plant 2 wasn’t related to the artichoke plant (a huge cultivated thistle) at all.

Homology — similarity due to common descent — for Plant 1 and Queen Anne’s lace; but analogy — similarity resulting from convergent evolution, or just accident — for Plant 2 and thistles, including the artichokes.

Crucial leading ideas in evolutionary biology, and also in historical-comparative linguistics (though I’m not going to pursue the linguistic side of things in this posting).

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Syntactic phrase, compound word, portmanteau

May 24, 2018

(Gay sex talk in street language: use your judgment.)

Encountered today in reports of the slang of young gay men, three words for ‘male anus viewed as a sexual organ, male sexcavity, (figurative) vagina of a man’:

munt /mʌnt/; mussy /’mUsi/, bussy /’bUsi/ (bunt /bʌnt/ is not recorded, but has probably been coined on occasion)

These are portmanteaus derived from the compound nouns man / boy + cunt / pussy, as examined in my 7/26/13 posting on expressions for the male anus viewed as a sexual organ.

Three steps in the tightness of connection between the elements participating in an expression:

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Today’s misreading: life behind piano bars

May 24, 2018

The header on the e-mail appeared to promise:

Prison Gay Nite Every Friday in San Mateo – Piano Bar this week

A piano bar behind bars, gayfolk mingle with the incarcerated at the San Mateo Jail. Not really my thing, but I know people it might appeal to. And San Mateo is about 16 miles from where I live, so it would take some effort.

The message appeared in really tiny type on my computer screen, and its actual first word was entirely unpredictable in context, so it’s not entirely a surprise that I misread it. An announcement for the actual event [called Prism]:

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Crude japery

May 24, 2018

(If the image and text in #1 make you uneasy, pass on to something else. Otherwise there’s only coarse humor here, of the sort that delights middle-schoolers.)

From Aric Olnes on Facebook yesterday, this bit of crude foolishness, to which Aric added the title “Get Lei’d!”:


(#1) Marilyn Monroe + oink (of a pig) = Marilyn Monroink (the hula-dancing pig)

Dancing on what appears to be a slab of Spam (the canned meat product made mostly from ham), from a roll of the stuff. Spam from pig meat, boned and processed.

Providing an opening for coarse sexual word play on bone and roll (in a context where sexual pig and pork lurk).

Of course, I wondered where the image and text came from, who composed them. Searching took me to a larger and much more complex page of crude japery (an ad for “Dickman’s Boned Rolled Pig: Institutional Meat Food”, from Dickman Rendering & Creaming Inc.), on Reddit, where it came from Imgur (without attribution, of course). I then found some of the components of the joke ad, and eventually the identity of its creator, the cheerfully crude graphic artist Cris Shapan.

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