Beware the bucephalic serpent bearing a wheel of cheese

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, with a fresh reading of Genesis:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.) She found the tree with its serpent and cheeses on the Rindr site, a decidedly sketchy place

The story is about Adam, Eve, a serpent, and a piece of fruit (in Genesis in the KJV, it’s simply the fruit — in the Hebrew original, the generic term peri — but twice in Milton’s Paradise Lost it’s specifically an apple, Latin malus; the story is complicated, but I’m pretty sure Hebrew peri didn’t embrace cheese of any sort), and it’s always an apple in popular tellings of the story in English.

Then there’s the pun, which on the face of it is just the difference between the /n/ of Eden and the /m/ of Edam — a very high frequency pairing in imperfect-puns, especially after a vowel in syllable offsets, where the nasal is likely to be realized entirely as nasalization of the preceding vowel, with no closure for the nasal stop (making these two words potentially identical phonetically).

(Phonetic complexities. Some speakers of English — I am one — have different unaccented vowels in the second syllable of Eden (ɪ, phonetically nasalized) and Edam (ə, again phonetically nasalized). In these varieties, when the nasal stops are not actually articulated, the words are still distinct phonetically, but are very close to identical, so very easily serve in puns.)

The Garden of Edam. Illustrated. On t-shirts, coffee mugs, or pretty much anything else you can slap an image on. From the TeePublic company, which provides a space for artists to offer their illustrations (they have an immense catalogue, on a variety of themes and subjects, including a very large and entertaining gay catalogue area). Their Garden of Edam pattern, alas now discontinued, here on a coffee mug:


(#2) Lacking the serpent, but including the crucial tree (of the knowledge of brie and cheddar)

East of Edam. The puns roll on, now on the title of John Steinbeck’s 1952 novel East of Eden, set in California’s Salinas Valley — in the name of East of Edam cheese, from The Cheese Shop in Carmel CA; it’s produced on the Schoch family farm in, yes, Salinas CA:


(#3) East of Edam, on the cheeseboard (is that a bouzouki I hear playing?)

Edam and Eve. Just one more, and then I promise I’ll stop. Back to Genesis:


(#4) I keep hoping to come across images of Edam and Steve in their cheesy primal scene: dipped in fondue, licking the hot sticky fluid from one another’s naked bodies (shudder of delight) — but without success so far

Titular lexical note. (Hook ’em, horns!) Putting aside both cuckoldry and sexual excitement:

adj. bucephalic: bull / cow / ox-headed; horned

A rare condition in serpents.

4 Responses to “Beware the bucephalic serpent bearing a wheel of cheese”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    A Facebook comment by Éamonn McManus:

    The similarity to La Vache qui rit cannot be coincidental.

  2. Stewart Kramer Says:

    Those cow eyebrows are quite expressive! Also, perhaps a better translation might be the Tree of Knowledge of Gouda and Emmental.

  3. William Forrest Stewart Says:

    That was a bries!

Leave a Reply to William Forrest Stewart Cancel reply


%d bloggers like this: