Archive for November, 2018

Randy Blue purifies the air

November 18, 2018

(Warning: eventually this posting devolves to references to, though not illustrations of, gay porn; a video of a guy dancing in nothing but his Calvins; and the decidedly raunchy, though not actually X-rated, lyrics of Beyoncé’s song “Blow”. So: rated “unhealthy for sensitive groups”, in particular, kids and the sexually modest.)

Day 11 in the smoke — not nearly as bad here on the SF peninsula as in SF itself (or, of course, closer to the Camp Fire around Paradise) — and today the local AQI (the American Lung Association’s Air Quality Index) has dipped to 129, merely “unhealthy for sensitive groups”, but I’m in several of the compromised groups, and life has been hellish for a long time. [A few hours later: up to 158, “Unhealthy”, period.]

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Aid arrived Thursday night, in the form of a Blue Pure 121 air purifier, which now stands majestically in the middle of the main area of my Ramona St. house, humming softly as it offers me clean air to breathe. Puckishly, I have named the machine Randy Blue (after a big gay porn company, itself puckishly named), so this posting will segue from pure air to raunch.

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Teddy Bears’ Picnic Day

November 17, 2018

On Facebook today, Anneli Meyer Korn posted this Bizarro cartoon from 11/17/14:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

I was moved to declare November 17th Teddy Bear Picnic Day, in honor of Anneli and her husband Peter, but it turns out that (by whatever obscure mechanism these things happen) July 10th is already taken for this occasion, according to the Days of the Year site.

Well, of course, if you don’t know the song, you won’t find the cartoon particularly funny. (Suppose that the teddy bear’s message were “I’m sorry, the teddy bears are conferencing at Davos today”. That would be absurd, and so to some degree humorous, but nowhere near as funny as “I’m sorry, today is the day the teddy bears have their picnic”.)

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Reciprocity in the profane domain

November 16, 2018

At the request of colleagues who are working on reciprocal and symmetric expressions in English, yesterday I scanned in a classic paper on the topic, which is also a classic paper in profane-domain linguistics (aka scatolinguistics ‘the linguistics of dirty talk’): Quang Phuc Dong’s “A note on conjoined Noun Phrases”. Having gone to the trouble, I’m reproducing the scans here so that they will be generally available through this blog.

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Shake, shake, shake that death rattle

November 15, 2018

Today’s Calvin and Hobbes re-play has the two protagonists engaged in a heavy game of Cowboys and Indians:

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A play on two senses of rattle, denoting either a sound or a thing that makes a sound.

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Bite me, Count Bendix!

November 15, 2018

Today’s Zippy, set in the Bendix Diner in Hasbrouck Heights NJ (in Bergen County, in the NJ suburbs of NYC, near Passaic), celebrates grilled or fried ham and cheese sandwiches:

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A word for it: teknonymy

November 13, 2018

On the Linguistic Typology mailing list recently, David Gil (Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany) relayed a query from a friend:

Teknonymy is the phenomenon in which a parent is referred to by the name of his or her children.  For example, my father was addressed and referred to by his Arabic-speaking friends as “Abu Daud”, or ‘father of David’. Teknonymy is attested in many different cultures around the world.

In at least some Arab societies, teknonymy interacts with gender in the following way. Whereas men, once assigned a teknonym, may still be addressed or referred to by their original name, women who are assigned a teknonym [like Umm Malik ‘mother of Malik’] may no longer be addressed or referred to by their original name — their original name is simply lost.

My question: Is anybody familiar with similar cases of gender asymmetry in teknonyms in other languages/societies?

I was familiar with the phenomenon, but didn’t have a name for it. Now I have several.

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News for penises: salt and pepper

November 12, 2018

A bulletin from Coral Gables FL, with penis pepper mills in gorgeous hand-turned wood; and a patriotic phallic (salt/pepper) shaker, standing tall for US Veterans Day (today). Photos under the fold (so the phallically averse among you can avoid engaging with these simulacra)…

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On the doo-wop gender train from the past

November 11, 2018

Going the Facebook rounds:

the song that was number 1 on your 14th birthday defines your life

(pretty clearly intended: #1 in the US — though you could certainly carp about that)

Hey nonny ding dong: it’s “Sh-Boom (Life Could Be a Dream)” as recorded by the Crew-Cuts in 1954.


(#1) Trading card photo of The Crew-Cuts. In 1957, Topps gum cards issued a series of movie stars, television stars and recording stars.

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Cartoon understanding in parallel worlds

November 10, 2018

Two cartoons that have come by me recently that work only if you have a fair amount of cultural knowledge in two dfferent domains, which are presented in the cartoon as parallel worlds equally present there. A Brevity strip by Dan Thompson from 4/27/18 (thanks to Joe Transue for help in identifying the strip); and a Wayno & Piraro Bizarro from yesterday:

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A commercial zeugmoid

November 8, 2018

A recent Arm & Hammer Slide TV commercial, ‘Change Your Cat’s Litter’ (viewable in an iSpot.tv posting here) exhorts the viewer:

If you hate changing your cat’s litter, then change your cat’s litter.

A cute zeugmoid, playing on two (related, but distinct) senses of the verb CHANGE.

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