Archive for November, 2021

Mr. Nutz sez …

November 30, 2021

… “Pull my tail, and see my eye light up!” Mr. Nutz is a squirrel of brass, also a notorious flasher (if you don’t pull his tail, he’ll do it himself, in the road) — all at once a squirrel, a brass sculpture, a flasher, and a flashlight too (alas, though he tries to be all things to all people, he is neither a floor wax nor a dessert topping). The eye in his brass face lights up lewdly to show us the way to squirrel verse #2:

We’ll walk in the light, beautiful light,
Come where the dew-drops of morning are bright;
Shine all around us by day and by night,
Squirrels, the light of the world.

(Truly, no squirrel’s light was ever hidden under a basket. Mr. Nutz is not only brazen and bawdy, but also bold and boastful. And, he truly believes, beautiful.)


Paisley weather

November 29, 2021

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, with weather forecasting in action:

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

Ah, a bit of word play: a pun on pattern.


The shirt and the scent

November 28, 2021

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro takes us to the Men’s Department, where a salesman of extraordinary style purveys clothing, shoes, accessories, and men’s fragrances:

(#1) The striped shirt is a marinière, and the two scents are jokey takeoffs on men’s fragrances (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

From my 2/16/21 posting “Hello, sailor”, this description of

la marinière, the cotton long-sleeved shirt with horizontal blue and white stripes; characteristically worn by seamen in the French Navy, it has become a common part of the stereotypical image of a French person

More on the shirt below. Meanwhile, the cologne Horse Soccer (from Barf Lauren) is a play on Polo (from Ralph Lauren); the source of the name Royal Whiff for the other cologne is still a mystery to me, but no doubt an enlightened reader will explain the joke to me (though Royal Whiff would be an entertaining name even if it has no direct model).


Who’s a good boy?

November 26, 2021

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, combining two cartoon memes: the familiar Psychiatrist, plus Good Doggie, a meme that is extraordinarily popular but, I believe, has appeared on this blog only once before:

(#1) Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good doggie? (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

Conventional ways of rewarding dogs by praising them, and so training them in whatever behavior they are being rewarded for. Just the tone of voice can be very satisfying to a dog, even more satisfying than a food reward.

But there’s still a puzzle here. Who’s a good boy? and Who’s a good doggie? are WH-questions, which in English have final falling intonation, the same as strong assertions, like You’re a good boy! and You’re a good doggie!; and the same as exclamations, like WhatSuch a good boy! and WhatSuch a good doggie!. All can be delivered with higher than normal pitch overall,  even higher pitch maxima than normal, and “warm” vocal qualities — in the “talking to dogs” voice.

So why use the who-question form, with its self-supplied answer You are! Yes, you are!? Where does this convention of language use come from? The assertions and exclamations are available anytime, off the shelf, as it were, but the who-questions are indirect in their effect and presumably have to be learned as conventional schemes for rewarding dogs with praise. Somewhere, sometime, there had to be first users of the schemes. However, as far as I know, no one has investigated the rise and propagation of these notable ways of talking to dogs.


zhuzh it up!

November 25, 2021

(#1) Available as a sticker from Redbubble, also as a t-shirt

Enter Monica Macaulay (in Wisconsin), who posted this ad for seasoning packets from Uncommon Goods on Facebook yesterday, with her innocent comment:

(#2 & 3) Monica: “zhuzh it up! apparently a well-known expression”

Well, yes, well-known in some circles (dictionary resources, in considerable detail, to come below). It was popularized earlier in this century in the US by the tv program Queer Eye for the Straight Guy; but then back in the 1960s and 70s in the UK by the BBC radio program(me) Round the Horne, with high-camp characters who made much use of a secret lexicon called Polari.


Pissing and moaning with Ed Koren

November 24, 2021

From the 2018 cartoon collection Koren in the Wild (my copy of which arrived today), this New Yorker cartoon (published in the magazine on 9/6/99):

Working-class masculinity — the bar, pissing and moaning — meets the intellectual — verify what you’re saying with data: who verifies their pissing and moaning with data?

Then there’s the slang idiom to piss and moan.


Squirrel verse #1

November 23, 2021

The first in what I hope will be an occasional feature, brief AMZ verse about squirrels. This installment has two contrasting little poems: a four-line note about squirrel sex in free verse; and a travesty poem you could sing, if you wanted to.

There are no pictures, but you could, I suppose, for the first, call up a climactic moment for Georgina Spelvin and Harry Reems in The Devil in Miss Jones; and for the second, a photo of Rex Harrison speak-singing.


Annals of holiday commerce

November 22, 2021

Brief bulletin from the Native deodorant people (super-earnest, offering coconut oil-based deodorant sticks, no aluminum or parabens, etc., usable on private parts):

Treat your armpits to holiday cheer with specially crafted scents for the season.

For holiday-cheerful armpits. Sugar cookie. Candy cane.

Do I want my armpits to smell like sugar cookies? Or my crotch to smell like candy … oh, hmmm …

If these won’t do, then men can get the regular bergamot + pine scent, all woodsy and manly.


Cooking with gas: a guest posting

November 21, 2021

Grant Barrett (of the Barnette-Barrett radio show A Way with Words — and a real lexicographer, one of the lexicographers I sometimes hang out with, even though I’m not of that tribe) tried to post this as a comment on my posting yesterday, “Now we’re cooking with carrots”, but it appears to have been indigestible to WordPress, so I’m publishing it here as a guest posting. Remember: what follows below the line is Grant, all Grant, not me (except for some formatting).


Now we’re cooking with carrots

November 20, 2021

From Ann Gulbrandsen (in Sweden) on Facebook today, a wonderful still life of earthy carrots:

Ann wrote (in Swedish; what follows is the Google Translate version in English, which is, um, flatfooted, with one paraphrase by me):

Thought to pick up the last small harvest of carrots when it will be minus degrees next week. I clearly underestimated what was [underground]. May be cooking with carrots [Sw. matlagning med morötter] a couple of weeks ahead.