Two whimsical Bizarros

In a time of great distress (the sadness of so many deaths, punctuated by flashes of extraordinary hope), two delightful Wayno/Piraro Bizarro strips to divert my attention: from yesterday (8/11), a sweet strip in which the Pied Piper takes his son into the family business; and from today (8/12), an outrageous pun on the geographical name the Greater Antilles:

(#1) Wayno’s title: “Market Expansion”

(#2) Wayno’s title: “Culinary Expedition” (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoons — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in each of these this strips — see this Page.)

Pied Piper & Son. The Pied Piper disposes of rats, so when his son joins the firm, the boy (with his proportionately smaller pipe) is in charge of disposing of mice.

The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin turns out to be remarkably complex and multiform, in ways explored at some length in my 6/24/18 posting “The musician, the mayor, his instrument, and their vermin”, taking off from this absurdist Bizarro cartoon:

(#2) The Pied Sousaphonist, disposing of pestiferous moose

(The posting ends up with some reflections on eunuchs and castration, a topic that is, astonishingly, tied to the Pied Piper story. You never know where this stuff is going to go.)

The Grater Antilles. Well, yes, an outrageous pun. But worked into a larger parallel-worlds joke, pairing the colonialist exploration of worlds (specifically, the West Indies) with the wielding of common kitchen implements.

First, the food and its preparation. From Wikipedia:

Parmigiano-Reggiano or Parmesan is an Italian hard, granular cheese that is produced from cow’s milk and has aged 12–36 months.

It is named after the producing areas, the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, the part of Bologna west of the Reno, and Modena (all in Emilia-Romagna); and the part of Mantua (Lombardy) south of the Po. Parmigiano is the Italian adjective for Parma and Reggiano that for Reggio Emilia.

(#3) Rounds of Parmigiano-Reggiano on sale in the Rungis International Market, France (from Wikipedia)

Both “Parmigiano-Reggiano” and “Parmesan” are protected designations of origin (PDO) for cheeses produced in these provinces under Italian and European law. Outside the EU, the name “Parmesan” can legally be used for similar cheeses, with only the full Italian name unambiguously referring to PDO Parmigiano-Reggiano.

… Parmigiano-Reggiano is commonly grated over pasta dishes, stirred into soups and risottos, and eaten on its own. It is often shaved or grated over other dishes like salads.

(#4) A chunk of the cheese (from Wikipedia)

Slivers and chunks of the hardest parts of the crust are sometimes simmered in soup. They can also be roasted and eaten as a snack.

… Generic parmesan cheese is a family of hard grating cheeses made from cow’s milk and inspired by the original Italian cheese. They are generally pale yellow in color, and usually used grated on dishes like spaghetti, Caesar salad, and pizza. American generic parmesan is frequently sold already grated and has been aged for less than 12 months.

Within the European Union, the term Parmesan may only be used, by law, to refer to Parmigiano-Reggiano itself, which must be made in a restricted geographic area, using stringently defined methods. In many areas outside Europe, the name “Parmesan” has become genericized, and may denote any of a number of hard Italian-style grating cheeses, often commercialized under names intended to evoke the original, such as Parmesan, Parmigiana, Parmesana, Parmabon, Real Parma, Parmezan, or Parmezano. After the European ruling that “parmesan” could not be used as a generic name, Kraft renamed its grated cheese “Pamesello” in Europe.

And then the grater. From my 5/1/18 posting “The cheese grater”, on Mouli graters, but especially on classic metal graters — box graters, flat graters — as shown in #2.

Finally, the geography. From Wikipedia:

The Greater Antilles is a grouping of the larger islands in the Caribbean Sea, including Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands. Six island states share the region of the Greater Antilles in total, with Haiti and the Dominican Republic sharing the island of Hispaniola.

… the Greater Antilles constitute nearly 90% of the land mass of the entire West Indies, as well as over 90% of its population. The remainder of the land belongs to the archipelago of the Lesser Antilles, which is a chain of islands to the east, running north–south and encompassing the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea where it meets the Atlantic Ocean, as well as to the south, running east–west off the northern coast of South America.

(The Lesser Antilles encompass the Windward Islands, the Leeward Islands, and the Leeward Antilles (primarily the Dutch ABC islands — Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao — off the coast of Venezuela).)

As usual, the region names have some geographical plausibility, but are otherwise complex and uneasy compromises on delineations of political, economic, and cultural zones.


One Response to “Two whimsical Bizarros”

  1. Robert Southwick Richmond Says:

    As you note, “pied” has become a rare word in English, surviving mostly in the Pied Piper story and piebald horses, magpies, and the familiar baked item. We have no common word to replace it – “variegated” is a familiar technical term, but rare in ordinary usage.

    In contrast, “bunt” is a common German adjective, frequently seen in children’s books, and is always a nuisance to translate.

    But the Pied Piper in German is simply der Rattenfänger von Hameln, though his clothes are “bunt”: >>Er hatte ein Obergewand aus vielfarbigem, buntem Tuch an und gab sich für einen Rattenfänger aus.<< "He had on a cloak of many-colored, "bunt", fabric, and said he was a rat catcher." (Wikipedia)

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