Le Pingouin aux Parapluies Roses

Umbro, the ceramic horticultural penguin, gay lover of wild strawberries, who lives in the shade of a pink cocktail umbrella:

(#1) Umbro, shaded by his pink cocktail umbrella and luxuriating under the spreading spathyphyllum tree and the watchful eye of the llama Glama Grrl

Cross the novel La Dame aux Camélias with the movie Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, cast a cocktail-loving penguin as the protagonist, and you get Le Pingouin aux Parapluies Roses, one of the famously bibulous singing penguins of Cherbourg (seen here visiting in Palo Alto).

One of Umbro’s Japanese forebears, from my 12/26/18 posting “Four presents”:

(#2) Among the other thirsty ceramic creatures, a Japanese-cute penguin bearing a wild strawberry plant (Fragaria vesca)

And then Umbro himself in Palo Alto, in my 1/23/19 posting “Penguin bearing wild strawberries”:


Umbro is shown here drinking from my man Jacques’s name mug (with his name on it). J also had a mug with his totem animal, the puffin, on it:

(#4) Showing the puffin, a species of auk

This is not just idle nostalgia, but is actually relevant to Umbro and his real-life counterparts. The ornithological term for a penguin in French is (le) manchot; the ornithological term (le) pinguoin refers instead to auks, birds related to penguins but quite distinct from them. (Aha! Enter the auks, or alcids, the puffins and their cousins the murres, guillemots, auklets, and murrelets!)

But everyday French now uses pinguoin for ‘penguin’. So Umbro is Le Pingouin aux Parapluies Roses.

Pink umbrellas. A cute cartoon of a penguin (framed as female — or a seriously flamboyant male) under a pink umbrella:

(#5) On the Deposit Photos site, a cartoon by olga.angelloz

Pink here is the color of feminine cuteness — see Hello Kitty, among other cultural artefacts — but also functions as the color of gay display, which is how I take the delightful pinkness of Umbro’s cocktail umbrella. I mean, Umbro displays himself prominently in my très gai living room!

The native habitat of the little pink paper umbrella is the world of foofy fancy tropicalesque drinks — which are, in fact, often called umbrella drinks. (Personal note: for some time, Susan Fischer and I did our best to maintain the custom of embroidering on Linguistic Society meetings by having umbrella drinks — which she referred to as silly drinks — together in revolving lounges at the top of conference hotels.  Failing that, umbrella drinks at a Trader Vic’s.)

(#6) A pink umbrella consorting with maraschino cherry, lime section, and pineapple wedge in its native habitat: specifically, the Wyndham Reef Resort on Grand Cayman Island

A striking example of a (full-sized and functional) pink umbrella connoting non-normative gender identity: the Umbrella Academy‘s character Klaus Hargreeves (played by Robert Sheehan) projecting gender fluidity under a pink umbrella:


About the show, from Wikipedia:

The Umbrella Academy is an American superhero web television series developed by Steve Blackman and Jeremy Slater for Netflix. It is an adaptation of the comic book series of the same name, created by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, and published by Dark Horse Comics. The plot revolves around a dysfunctional family of adopted sibling superheroes who reunite to solve the mystery of their father’s death, and the threat of an impending apocalypse.

… [featuring] Robert Sheehan as Klaus Hargreeves / Number Four / The Séance, a flamboyant drug addict with the ability to communicate with the dead and temporarily make them corporeal.

[Horticultural note: the wild strawberry plant was moved to a larger pot (and probably will soon move to a still larger one) and moved out of doors, where it is flourishing. Umbro no longer drinks from glasses, but (under his lovely pink umbrella) merely observes.]

5 Responses to “Le Pingouin aux Parapluies Roses”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    It took me a while to find the llama in #1. The photos on the wall behind are a bit, um, distracting.

    The final “s” in #5 is mystifying.

  2. maxvasilatos Says:

    Yes, I agree that the “s” in #5 is intentional cutesy wrong, in the “I can haz cheezburger” vein. AI bots often make intentional errors, not so glaring, to seem human. When they make unintentional errors, their deception is exposed.

    Also and furthermore, while Robert was looking for the llama, I was wearing extra glasses and peering at #1 to find the pink umbrella before going off to figure out wtf the llama Glama Girl was.

    Stream of consciousness going on here, pleasing all around.

  3. [BLOG] Some Monday blog links | A Bit More Detail Says:

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