Archive for September, 2018

The dog therapist is IN

September 25, 2018

Today’s Bizarro/Wayno collaboration (entitled “Recurring Dream”) is, from the point of view of this blog, quite timely:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

That’s a dog therapist ‘therapist for dogs’ (a Use N + N compound); see discussion in my 9/22 posting “therapist dog, dog therapist”. In this case, for a patient who’s had the canine equivalent of the common nightmare of being naked in public (especially in front of a class or while giving a speech).

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Sleep on, harvest moon

September 24, 2018

Sunday night, on the way to the PAMF (Palo Alto Medical Foundation) Sleep Disorders Clinic in Sunnyvale CA (for a night sleeping in a forest of electrodes and other monitoring devices), an absolutely gigantic moon, slightly short of full, hanging low in the sky. Sunday (the 23rd) was the Autumn Equinox and tonight (the 24th) the moon is full, so we are now experiencing a harvest moon — which means today is the Mid-Autumn Festival in China and other East Asian countries (and elsewhere), so it’s the prime day for mooncakes / moon-cakes / moon cakes, paper lanterns, and family reunions. It’s also the beginning of the holiday of Sukkot in the Jewish calendar (this year, sunset on the 23rd through sunset on the 30th), so it’s a harvest festival there too, also a solemn religious holiday and a family festival.

Meanwhile, my days have been physically / medically dreadful and emotionally disastrous, so I haven’t been able to assemble all the text for a proper posting. But here’s a photo gallery for a posting to come.

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Stormy compounds in English

September 23, 2018

(Extensive references to male genitals, with photos of phallic simulacra, so not to everyone’s taste.)

About a hitherto unstudied class of English N + N compounds that I will call Stormy compounds (in honor of Stormy Daniels, aka Stephanie Gregory Clifford), or Stormies for short. In a stormy, one N is mushroom and the other is a N referring to the penis (penis, phallus, dick, cock, in particular). For example, the subsective resemblance compounds mushroom penis ‘penis resembling a mushroom’ and penis mushroom ‘mushroom resembling a penis’.

Resemblance is one of a small set of canonical semantic relations between the head N2 and the modifier N1 in an N + N compound — relations that are in some sense always available for interpreting such compounds (within the bounds of  real-world and contextual plausibility). Otherwise, there’s an essentially open-ended universe of interpretations specific to the context and the shared experiences of speaker and addressee. In my writing about semantic relations in compounds, I’ve referred to the first set of relations as O-type (to suggest ordinary-type) and the second as X-type (to suggest extraordinary-type); others have used other terminology.

But even for O-type relations, there’s some room for specificity in how particular compounds are understood, and this fact is signficant for stormies.

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therapist dog, dog therapist

September 22, 2018

Exercises in English N + N compounds (for use in another context), illustrated in cartoons exemplifying the Psychiatrist cartoon meme, with dogs either as patient or therapist (or both): therapist dog ‘dog that is a therapist’ (also ‘dog for therapists (to use, for example as companions)’, a sense I’ll disregard here); dog therapist either ‘therapist that is a dog’ (sense 1) or ‘therapist for dogs (taking dog as patients)’ (sense 2).

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A transatlantic exercise in cartoon understanding

September 21, 2018

To fully appreciate this cartoon (passed on to me on Facebook), you need to have two pieces of pop-cultural knowledge, one originally American, one originally British (though it is the way of such things to cross the Atlantic culturally):

(#1)

You need, of course, to recognize — American cultural knowledge — that this is a baseball diamond, with a game in progress, and that there’s an object on first base. Then — further American cultural knowledge — you need to recognize the (note: declarative, not interrogative) sentence Who’s on first as the first move in one of the greatest America comedy routines ever. Then — British cultural knowledge — you need to recognize the thing on first base and connect it to the fact that Who’s on first, both of them elements from one of the most popular British tv shows ever.

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Neighborhood flora: phormiums

September 20, 2018

Continuing my project of reporting on plants that are very widely grown in my neighborhood — recently, from 8/16, “Lantana on the trail”, on trailing lantana; from 9/14, “Neighborhood flora: the cranesbills”; and from 9/15, “Neighborhood flora: Chinese elms” — I turn today to a striking foliage plant growing all over the place around me, especially widely on city ground, but also in private gardens. Big straplike leaves, striped in several colors (mostly green, yellow, and white), with tall flower stalks  (looking much like the giant alien-planet flower stems of agave plants), currently bearing long seed pods that are green when fresh but then turn to black as they ripen. Of the genus Phormium, highly recommended by the City of Palo Alto for filling space in xeriscapes.

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Two bookish Tom Gaulds

September 20, 2018

More from the cartoonist of the bookish class, passed on by Facebook friends: on translation, and on book formats.

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Bridge Over the River Kawaii

September 19, 2018

… for Talk Like a Pirate Day, arrr:

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La décolletagiste dans la cuisine

September 18, 2018

In today’s e-newsletter from bon appétit magazine, celebrity Chrissy Teigen flaunts her ribs — Thai soy-garlic fried ribs — and wields her baguettes — on a tray of banh mi — for family and friends:

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Mornings in Greece and Rome

September 17, 2018

Two morning names: from the 8th, the Greek dessert wine mavrodaphne; and from the 9th, the garment peplum (the ancient Roman garment, based on the Greek peplos; the modern flounce in women’s clothing — and more).

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