Archive for June, 2022

Ultimate Queen Day

June 30, 2022

🐆 🐆 🐆. (That’s a ritual tiger-tiger-tiger for the last day of the month; details below.) Today is Ultimate June, the final day of a month packed with occasions of considerable emotional content, also (etymologically) a month dedicated to the Roman goddess Juno: queen of the gods (in fact, also called in Latin Regina ‘queen’), counterpart to Greek Hera; protector of women and motherhood; also embracing warlike features of Greek Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war (the deities of classic times were marvels of intersectionality, as we would now put it), and oh yes, wife of Jupiter, the counterpart to Greek Zeus.

So I am suggesting that 6/30 be recognized as Ultimate Queen Day, especially celebrating men who are flamboyant (in any way) and those who are effeminate (in their presentation of themselves). Stereotypically, these two bundles of characteristics are manifested together, in the cultural type the queen (not to be confused with royalty, with the drag queen, with X queen used to label tastes or preferences of many kinds — imagine a white-cross queen, a man who prefers Swiss men as sexual partners, or a fan of Swiss things — or with various other uses of /kwin/).

To come: on the content of the month of June; a bit more of etymology; on flamboyance; on some queens; and, yes, on 🐆 🐆 🐆.

The month of June. Relevant for everyone: June has the Summer Solstice in it, and Midsummer Day quite close to that. The Summer Solstice Day is often labeled “the first day of summer” (in the Northern Hemisphere), but no ordinary person talks that way; folk (and commercial) usage treats the season of summer as embracing June, July, and August, with exact starting and ending dates a matter of local custom. There are ways of thinking about summer, but June is, first of all, a summer month — time for exposing the body, in minimal (or no) clothing; playing in the water (in swimming pools or, especially, at the beach ); randy sex (all over the place, by day or by night); and, in the US, baseball.

I must confess that I have a 🐇 🐇 🐇 posting for 6/1 that looks at this summer-month stuff, still not finished and polished after about 30 hours of work; I am overwhelmed by life. As a place holder, vividly illustrating June As Summer, the image (Hot Water) on the June page in the Tom of Finland 2022 calendar:

(#1)

Then, relevant to various parts of my life:

— June is Gay Pride Month

— and has Juneteenth in it, a US holiday celebrating the end of slavery in my country

— and has Flag Day in it, a US patriotic occasion, memorializing the adoption of the US flag in 1777

— and has the commercial holiday Father’s Day in it, which functions as a gender event, celebrating conventional masculinity in all its forms — in particular, it’s a Masculine Meat Holiday (see my 6/17/22 posting “Be the Master of the Meat!”) — and also as a sexuality event, through being hi-jacked by gay porn studios as a vehicle for Daddy – Boy sex films.

A little more etymology. If I read the OED right, the month of June (in English) gets its name from the month name in Classical Latin, the masculine noun Jūnius, which is the masculine version of the feminine name Jūnō — the goddess Juno.

Flamboyance. Queens are flamboyant, etymologically  ‘flaming’. Then from NOAD:

adj. flamboyant: 1 [a] (of a person or their behavior) tending to attract attention because of their exuberance, confidence, and stylishness: a flamboyant display of aerobatics | she is outgoing and flamboyant, continuously talking and joking. [b] (especially of clothing) noticeable because brightly colored, highly patterned, or unusual in style. …

On flamboyance in action, consider, among others: flamboyant entrepreneurs (Malcolm Forbes, Richard Branson, Jack Ma) and flamboyant musicians (Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler). Here’s Freddie Mercury (of Queen), queening flamboyantly in performance:


(#2) Note armband on the right arm, indicating a sexual receptive or subordinate

On flamboyance in dress, consider, among others: historical dandies, peacocking by men, extravagant fashion models, and the costumes of some flamboyant musicians. Here’s Freddie Mercury again:

(#3)

Meanwhile, I’ve posted often about flamboyant items of apparel: underwear and gymwear in fabulous colors and patterns, loungewear, and shirts of all kinds. I bought my first gorgeously patterned shirts at the B. Altman flagship store on 5th Avenue in NYC in 1958; I was 17, and you can see, from the fact that I remember so many details, that it was a moving experience. Many others followed.

Now I collect images of such things, rather than the things themselves, and I tend to specialize in floral patterns (well, I’m a plant person as well as a queer person). From the GentleManual site, “Floral Style: A Masculine Guide to Fresh Floral Prints” from 8/1/19, this attractively flamboyant floral t-shirt, worn by a model who’s also to my taste (though not flamboyantly posed):

(#4)

Finally, flamboyance in personality. First, a little study in Going Too Far. From the MentalHelp site on “DSM-5: The Ten Personality Disorders: Cluster B”:

the dramatic, emotional, and erratic cluster. It includes: Borderline Personality Disorder; Narcissistic Personality Disorder; Histrionic Personality Disorder; and Antisocial Personality Disorder. Disorders in this cluster share problems with impulse control and emotional regulation.

… Persons with Histrionic Personality Disorder are characterized by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking. Their lives are full of drama (so-called “drama queens”). They are uncomfortable in situations where they are not the center of attention.

People with this disorder are often quite flirtatious or seductive, and like to dress in a manner that draws attention to them. They can be flamboyant and theatrical, exhibiting an exaggerated degree of emotional expression. Yet simultaneously, their emotional expression is vague, shallow, and lacking in detail. This gives them the appearance of being disingenuous and insincere. Moreover, the drama and exaggerated emotional expression often embarrasses friends and acquaintances as they may embrace even casual acquaintances with excessive ardor, or may sob uncontrollably over some minor sentimentality.

People with Histrionic Personality Disorder can appear flighty and fickle. Their behavioral style often gets in the way of truly intimate relationships, but it is also the case that they are uncomfortable being alone.

They tend to feel depressed when they are not the center of attention. When they are in relationships, they often imagine relationships to be more intimate in nature than they actually are.

People with Histrionic Personality Disorder tend to be suggestible; that is, they are easily influenced by other people’s suggestions and opinions. A literary character that exemplifies the Histrionic Personality Disorder is the character of Blanche DuBois in Tennessee William’s classic play, “Streetcar Named Desire.”

That’s the bad news. The world is, however, well supplied with delightful flamboyant queens, extravagant but empathetic, fully in control of their emotions while presenting an exaggerated version of themselves. There are, in fact, several subtypes. From my 5/29/22 posting “The pansies and the birds will speak for us”, with Paul Harfleet, author of Pansy Boy, displaying his Tough Queen face:


(#5) This along with illustrations of a tough queen — Emory in the 1970 movie of The Boys in the Band — and a ditzy queen — Randy Rainbow giving his musical commentaries on the news

Both characters [Emory and Randy] are dead serious, with moral agendas behind the apparent superficiality of the personas they project (of eye-rolling, disdainful self-involvement for Emory; of wide-eyed, scatter-brained silliness for Randy). This they share with Harfleet, whose ornamental, often sexualized presentations of himself can’t conceal the almost painful urgency of his aim to rescue the children, honor the despised, and celebrate nature’s gifts of flowers and birds.

There’s more. For several years, my department chair at Ohio State was a good friend who presented himself as what I now think of as an ornamental queen: full of amiable laughter, warm companionship, and energy, with the gay gestures, the gay voice, all the gay eye stuff (side-eyes, wide eyes, eye rolls), all of that dialed up to about 150% of normal. He had a fine conventional three-piece suit that he wore when one of his students defended their PhD dissertation (the suit was a mark of respect for them), but mostly dressed flamboyantly. He went to Humanities College Executive Committee meetings (with the deans and the other department chairs) in very worn denim short shorts that showed off his gym-developed lower body, plus an equally worn Mickey Mouse t-shirt that showed off his upper body. Vibrating energy and enthusiasm.

And it all worked. Well, he was an able administrator, a solid scholar (in Indo-European historical linguistics!), a wonderful teacher, and a tireless, thoughtful adviser. And yes, a treat to look at and a hell of a lot of fun to be around.

The jaguar-jaguar-jaguar goodbye. The counterpart to the rabbit-rabbit-rabbit hello. For which, see these two postings:

from 5/1/17 in “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit: three cartoons for the 1st”, on the ritual

that calls for everyone to greet the new month, upon awakening, by saying “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit”

from 5/1/20 in “Trois lapins pour le premier mai”

So the question became: what’s the opposite of a rabbit? The closest animal opposition to rabbit is hare, but that’s way too narrow. What we want is something opposed to rabbits in a number of relevant features.

Rabbits are small, furry, large-eared mammals; they are gregarious, gentle, fast-moving, shyly reclusive, prolifically breeding, herbivorous prey animals. They are folklorically cunning (in trickster figures) and hypersexual (so serving as symbols of fertility and rebirth, and then of spring and Easter).

So, sticking to the world of mammals, we’re looking for a large fierce carnivorous predator (forget about the fur, which most mammals have, and the ears, since most mammals have smaller ones; and the big broods, since large predators in general have small broods). Jaguars were my first choice, because they’re viciously fierce and much fleeter of foot than even the fastest rabbit (even the Energizer Bunny), and because I just love the name jaguar. Alas, Apple has no jaguar emoji, or even a panther; so I settled for the tiger emoji. Tiger tiger tiger, goodbye, month.

Patsy Baloney

June 29, 2022

On Twitter yesterday, given a little push by my posting “Did that actually just happen?”, Merrill Markoe tweeted:

The Jan 6 hearings were once again amazing, stunning and magnificent. In a related story, because it is my responsibility and my job, I have recorded the valiant attempts made by the closed-captioning software to spell Pat Cipollone [AZ: the attorney who served as White House Counsel for [Helmet Grabpussy]]

MM supplied a series of screen captures with attempts at an orthographic rendering of

/ ˈpætˌsɪpǝˈloni /

of which her favorite (and mine) was Patsy Baloney:


(#1) Left, for the committee: US Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming; right: the witness Cassidy Hutchinson

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Did that actually just happen?

June 28, 2022

Or words to that effect, from Rachel Maddow, describing her stunned reaction to watching pieces of Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony on 6/28 before the Jan 6 committee (the US House select committee investigating the 1/6/21 insurrection at the US Capitol). And yes, it did actually just happen. And I was stunned too; I watched the whole thing, amazed and appalled. (Also moved to recall my rapt attention through the Army-McCarthy hearings when I was 13 and the Watergate hearings and House impeachment hearings when I was 33).

6/28 is also Stonewall Day (remembering 1969), this year an occasion for a mixture of extreme emotions, among them distressed disbelief that we lgbt-folk are threatened with a return to the mindset — and the laws — of the Pinko Communist Scare fostered by Joe McCarthy about 70 years ago.

6/28 is also Sarajevo Day (remembering 1914), the anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Archduchess Sophie, which somehow tipped the world into the nightmare of the Great War. Followed by the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the great influenza pandemic of 1918 — the wars echoed now in the monstrous evil of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Great Flu mirrored in the Covid pandemic we’re living through now.

Meanwhile, here in 2022 everything is happening at once, and a lot of it is unbelievably awful. (Did that actually just happen?) See the above, and add last week’s US Supreme Court decisions on concealed carry of weapons in public and on abortion. The last of which moved Ann Burlingham to whip off a postcard of rage and protest to me (written and mailed in Pittsburgh on the 6/25, arrived in Palo Alto on 6/28, whoopee!):

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Zwicknames

June 28, 2022

On 6/26, this query from genealogist Randi Zwickel-Patrick (hereafter, RZ), offered as a comment on one of my very many postings on people named Zwicky (there’s a Page on this blog chronicling these postings):

Was the Zwicky family’s name originally Zwickel or another variation?

The query has no particular relevance to my posting “A Swiss thread in Paris”, from 6/24/18; that posting just happens to be about some Zwickys (and their thread company). So I’ve detached the query from that posting, to give something of an answer here.

But the briefest response is to say that a family name often has a number of histories (names are changed, inadvertently or intentionally, in ways small and large; names get mixed up with one another), but in any case almost never has something identifiable as the original name, and even for one version or variant of the name, we almost never have access to the first use of a name, to the circumstances surrounding that version’s choosing, an event or events that happened very long ago, far away, involving people who not only didn’t keep records of these things but were, most of them, illiterate.

So I can’t answer RZ’s query as it stands, and I don’t think anyone could. Even a much less ambitious query — what’s the history of the Zwicky name in the male line going back just from me? (forget about all those other people with the surname Zwicky) — runs aground 5 to 7 centuries ago, still in the same part of what is now Switzerland (a village in the canton of Glarus) that serves as Zwicky Central. (Brazil, where the nuts come from; Mollis, where the Zwickys come from.)

I have, however, looked at Zwicknames — not just Zwicky, but also Zwickey, Zwicki, Zwicke, Zwickie, Zwick, Zwicker, Zwickel, Zwickl — and also at Zwicky-adjacent names, like Zawicky, Swicky, Sowicky, and, oh my, Tsviki. This is all about names, not actual (genetic) ancestry, and given the naming conventions in Anglophone countries, it’s also all about descent in the male line, disregarding entirely all the female ancestors.

And going back 500-700 years ago is going back about 20-28 generations ago (with each generation about 25 years), so there are 20-28 ancestors in the male line, but (in principle) 2^20 to 2^28 ancestors total (1,048,576, or about a million, to 268,435,456, or about 300 million).

In either case, I can’t imagine much in this that could be actually relevant to Arnold Arnoldson. Swiss people can generally peg me as of Swiss ancestry from my facial features, but they also peg me (like my father but unlike my grandfather) as American, from my gestures, facial expressions, postures and gaits, speech, grooming, ornament, and dress. As for character traits, I (b. 1940) do have Swiss stubbornness, but I got that from the models of Arnold Melchiorson (b. 1914) and Melchior Johannson (b. 1879).

So this genealogical stuff, though entertaining, offers nothing revelatory. On to some of my postings on the subject.

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Words at the Java Lanes

June 27, 2022

Today’s Zippy strip is a triple riff on masspop culture — on bowling as recreation, on the Googie style of architecture, and on Polynesian-stye “Tiki” culture (architecture, food and drink, and entertainment) — enlivened by our Pinhead’s fascination with words (and the images they call up), here with: bowl, Java, lane, cocktail, alley, ball. Cocktail, with its combination of sexual associations (plus penumbral associations with mai tais and other Polynesian-associated drinks), gets a panel all to itself, so setting the tone for interpreting the rest:


(#1) As usual, the setting is taken from real life; those are drawings of Java Lanes in Long Beach CA (3800 E. Pacific Coast Highway) — but a Java Lanes from the past, since the place was demolished in 2004, almost 20 years ago, to be turned into condos

The historical setting, first from the bowling point of view, then from the architectural and Tiki-culture point of view:

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Ask AZ: fat-fingered typos

June 26, 2022

In response to my posting yesterday on “Thing sliced ham” — “thing sliced [in English muffin topped with thing sliced ham] looks like a nice example of a pure typo, an error in hitting the right keys on a keyboard” — Mike Pope asks on Facebook today:

MP > AZ: To what extent does your understanding / explanation of typos overlap with the verb to fat-finger as used in tech (and possibly elsewhere)?

And my reply begins:

AZ > MP: As a largely tech-ignorant person, I wasn’t familiar with the usage, but, yes, another species of typo.

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Thing sliced ham

June 25, 2022

On Facebook yesterday, Stewart Kramer reported from Grandma’s Restaurant in Oceanside CA (way down south, between L.A. and San Diego):


(#1) [SK:] Thing sliced ham? Thing as in Addams family, Fantastic Four, or Cat in the Hat? None of those seem likely ham slicers, except Green Eggs and Ham. The food was good, anyway.

For entertainment, SK jumps right in with a few fictional characters named Thing, knowing full well that they’re entirely, preposterously, irrelevant. Then, commenters chose to lump thing sliced together with “spelling mistakes” that are misapprehensions about how some words are conventionally spelled, surely not what’s going on when a writer is aiming for thin sliced. Instead, thing sliced looks like a nice example of a pure typo, an error in hitting the right keys on a keyboard.

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Gay flamenco day

June 25, 2022

(Naked male bodies — genitals concealed — and references to man-on-man sex, but nothing flat-out raunchy, so use your judgment)

Midsummer Night (6/24, with fairies reveling in the woods) broke onto the feast day of St. George Michael of the Beverley Tearoom (b. 6/25/63), the patron saint of parks at night and of fellatio by men in public places  — a racy lead-up to Stonewall Day (6/28) — and then the Falcon / Naked Sword Store greeted me with e-mail exhorting me to “Get your Pride on” with its $9.97 DVD sale:

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respite space / area, area of respite

June 23, 2022

It’s Midsummer Eve, the day before St. John’s Day and Midsummer Night, on which we can dream about reveling with the fairies. High summer, fiercely hot — I’ve been poleaxed by the heat for several days and trying to write this before today’s shimmer fells me once again — and Stanford (the edge of which is, like, six blocks from the Palo Alto house I’m writing this in) is in day 3 of a PG&E power outage crisis (my electric power is supplied by Palo Alto Utilities, which has so far coped with the heat demands and the occasional small fire, though it all seems distressingly tenuous to me).

Stanford has shut down everything it could and told staff and faculty to stay away if at all possible. But there are all those students in university housing, which is without power for cooling, for lighting, for charging electronic equipment, for opening (keycard-controlled) doors. For them, the university has provided places — spaces or areas — that have emergency power sources and can provide temporary relief in the form of cooling, lighting, and charging. What to call such places?

Stanford’s solution was expressions using the noun respiterespite space, respite area, area of respite — which were new turns of phrase for me, though they probably have a history I’m ignorant of. They have the advantage of being general (cooling station, which has been used in other public heat-crisis emergencies, covers only one of the students’ needs), but not so general that it’s uninformative (as, say, emergency area would be), and not, at least yet, associated specifically with the excretion of bodily wastes (as expressions with the nouns rest, comfort, and relief have become). (Not that excretion is irrelevant in a power outage; the lighting supplied in respite areas lets people see what they’re doing in bathrooms / toilets there, and that’s a very good thing. Meanwhile, back at the dark stifling dorms: flashlights.)

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Leaves like lemons, leaves like holly

June 21, 2022

Arrived in Palo Alto on 6/18, a Gillian Mary greeting card from Ann Burlingham, written on 6/14 to report family news from Pittsburgh — a joyously bright representation of a flowering bottlebrush (genus Callistemon), a wonderful Australian plant that I first encountered in California about 60 years ago. Even better: C. citrinus, with bright red flowers that attract birds, bees, and butterflies; and gray-green evergreen leaves that release a lemony scent when crushed (hence the species name citrinus):


(#1) GMC-076 Crimson Bottlebrush, a Gillian Mary card from Aero Images

That led to more cards from this source — Gillian Mary is a trade name, not a person — and ultimately to the actual artist, illustrator and painter Jill Brailsford (who’s the owner and designer of GMC). GMC offers other cards showing Australian plants and flowers — from which I’ve selected just one more (Banksia ilicifolia, with prickly, holly-like leaves) — also Australian scenes (mostly beach scenes) and Australian animals.

So, lemony Callie and prickly Banksy. And then Jill.

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