Archive for September, 2019

Sousa thump

September 19, 2019

The springboard is a Facebook exchange between Doug Ball and me back on August 11th — in the midst of which I erupted parenthetically and largely irrelevantly in recollections of Reading PA (an area I left in 1961):

Doug: I wonder which Sousa march was stuck in my head as I walked this evening. On second thought, I don’t want to know…

Arnold: In my experience, you really don’t. I once tried to identify a Sousa march by speed-listening through a collection of them, and it just clogged my mind up with all these very similar compositions and then I could no longer sing the melody line of the one I was after and had all of them jangling in my head for days. Perhaps you are made of sterner stuff.

(Reading PA, where I am sort of from, is prime marching band territory, with the Ringgold Band dating back to the 1850s (yes, 8), a local band composer, Althouse, of some note, and lots of bandshell concerts. Sousa conducted the last band performance of his life in Reading in 1932 — retired for the night to the Abraham Lincoln Hotel and died there. My dad remembered the occasion; he was 18 then.)

Doug: I’m suspicious that it was a blend of several marches, including The US Air Force song, which is not by Sousa. [AZ: melody line and original first verse — “Off we go into the wild blue yonder” — by Robert McArthur Crawford in May 1939, the winner of a competition]

Arnold: If so, you’re probably not going to extricate yourself from it. Flee!

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The hurtful dog

September 18, 2019

Back on the 13th, David Horne passed on this cartoon on Facebook:


(#1) Explosm-style dog hurts man with words

This is in fact a Cyanide and Happiness meme, a 4-panel cartoon template with all the artwork taken, as is, from a particular Cyanide (Explosm.net) cartoon, and all the words too — except for the dog’s dagger to the heart in the 3rd panel. Meme sites supply the template; all you have to do is fill in your own nasty words in the 3rd panel; you get to judge what would truly wound your intended audience.

In this case, David’s FB readers included a large number of people who had failed to finish their PhD dissertations, or completed the work over long painful self-doubting years, or finished but without any enthusiasm for the dissertation they somehow squeaked though with, or gave up before embarking on the task at all (believing that they could only be defeated) — or who were close to people who went through such experiences. Waves of pain washed over quite a few of David’s FB friends, me included.

On the other hand, others found the cartoon wickedly funny, which was David’s first response, and I appreciate that reaction too.

To come: more on the Explosm Hurtful Dog meme, and on uncompleted PhD dissertations, and on another Explosm cartoon involving that same dog, whose bark turns out to be much, much worse than its bite, even though its bite is exquisitely painful.

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The hollow

September 18, 2019

In a comment on my 9/14/19 posting “Clavicular knobs” (aka Ricardo’s acromia), Robert Coren writes about “the hollow space above the inner end of the collar-bone”, and I confess to not knowing a name for it. Roger Phillips (in England) fills in:

It’s not in Merriam-Webster, but all my British dictionaries have “saltcellar” for the collarbone pit. The first OED citation is:

[1870 O. Logan Before Footlights 26] I was a child of the most uninteresting age..a tall scraggy girl, with red elbows, and salt cellars at my collar-bones, which were always exposed, for fashion at that time made girls of this age uncover neck and arms.

The item has a complex social and cultural distribution, but knowing this much eventually led me to the technical term from anatomy: the suprasternal, or jugular, notch. Sometimes referred to in ordinary language as the hollow of the neck or the neck hollow.

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The outrage of a new menu

September 18, 2019

Today’s Zippy takes us to the banks of the Connecticut River in Chicopee MA, to a historic diner, and to the bizarre foods that Zippy fancies:


(#1) If you’re Zippy, everything goes better with a dollop of Valvoline on it — and, maybe, some canned beets:

(#2)

Zippy and Gladys are in Al’s Diner, a well-known feature of Chicopee, a northern industrial city that took advantage of the falls on the Connecticut to drive mills — which then entangled the place in the slave economy of the early 18th century.

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The amazing talking pirate

September 17, 2019

In the run-up to Talk Like a Pirate Day (TLaPD), on Thursday the 19th, this Rhymes With Orange cartoon from the 15th:


(#1) PirateTalk + ParrotTalk, with a cartoon reversal of roles

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Revisiting 35: the protuberant acromion

September 16, 2019

A few days back, an inquiry into a bodypart of personal interest to me: my 9/14/19 posting “Clavicular knobs”, in which these bony protuberances were illustrated on the body of a Scruff guy “Ricardo”. Ricardo’s photo cropped to focus on his shoulder handles:


(#1) Ricardo’s very visible clavicles, aka collar bones, terminating on either side in bony protrusions — an anatomical feature shared by my first male lover Danny and my husband-equivalent Jacques

I noted that clavicular knobs seemed to be very rare, even in lean-bodied men with very noticeable clavicles; and that Danny and I each believed we once knew a name for them but now we couldn’t recall it (or them).

First to arrive on Facebook with some nomenclatural clarity was Chuk Craig, who supplied the term acromion (Gk. ‘top of the shoulder’). Which led to the relevant joint, the AC, acromioclavicular, joint; to separated shoulders; and, in other directions, towards anatomical rarities (like protuberant acromia) and the psychology of perception and attention (if you’ve read my earlier posting, you’ve probaby been noticing clavicles a lot).

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Segregation in the soapy comics

September 15, 2019

Today’s Zippy takes us into the world of soap-opera comics, specifically those by Nick Dallis (with various collaborators):


(#1) Realistic cartoon characters from three Dallis strips: Rex Morgan, M.D.; Judge Parker; and Apartment 3-G (among other well-known soap opera strips: Mary Worth, Brenda Starr)

The characters in realistic cartoons are stylized sketches from life, while those in cartoony worlds are grossly exaggerated, some not even humanoid in form. Zippy himself is human (a Pinhead rather than a Roundhead) but cartoony — though as other Zippy strips have demonstrated, he can be made even more so (cartooniness is a recurrent theme in Bill Griffith’s world).

Then there’s the segregation theme, with realistic cartoon characters mostly taking the position that realistics and cartoonies shouldn’t mix in any way: stick / keep to your own kind! (Note the meta move of having cartoon characters espouse beliefs and attitudes about cartoon characters.) With the predictable tragedy of prejudice against mixed couples, joined by bonds of affection, sexual relationship, or matrimony.

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Clavicular knobs

September 14, 2019

A friend recently was approached on Scruff (the hookup site for men) by this young man — way too young for my friend and a continent away, but nevertheless worth a few moments of contemplation:


(#1) (some hair means ‘some torso hair, lightly furred chest’, no reference to his head hair)

No doubt others will have dwelt first on other of Richardo’s features, but I was immediately struck by the protruding knobs at the ends of his clavicles. Because my first male lover, from 50 years ago (the pseudonymous Danny of my writings about my sexual life), had them, and so did my man Jacques, and that means I look at them with great affection.

The clavicles are quite visible in lean men, but only a few of those men have the sweet bony handles.

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BOY Party!

September 12, 2019

E-mail from the Stanford linguistics department on the 10th, under the header:

Save the Date: BOY Party 9/27

Whoa! I thought, conjuring up images of a department party featuring attractive young men — as entertainers (maybe some lesser-known boy bands), as guests of honor (very young up-and-coming NLP entrepreneurs, perhaps), as party staff (a phalanx of Ganymedes, in costume), purely as eye candy (twinks on parade), whatever — things are really loosening up in Margaret Jacks Hall!

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Giovanni in Ferragamo

September 11, 2019

In the NYT Style Magazine (Men’s Style) on-line on 9/5/19 (in print 9/8), a remarkable piece by Hilton Als, “‘Giovanni’s Room’ Revisited”, with the subtitle: “James Baldwin’s 1956 novel is a layered exploration of queer desire — and of the writer’s own sense of self”. The cover:

(#1)

Als’s text comes with an artful photo-essay illustrating a reimagining of the story of Giovanni’s Room as an interracial gay love story, each photo also serving as a men’s high-fashion spread, displaying extraordinarily expensive clothing from famous brands.

A jarring moment in modern culture.

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