Archive for June, 2022

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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Smockery

June 21, 2022

Today’s morning name came to me not as I emerged from sleep, but as the first thing I saw on my computer: today’s Calvin and Hobbes blast from the past (from 6/23/92, summer time 30 years ago) with Hobbes in the grip of onomatomanic fascination with the word smock (warning: it’s catching):


(#1) Smick, smock, sweaty old jock … Well how was I to know there was a party going on? (1958 apologies to Bobby Darin, Murray the K, and Murray’s mother Jean Kaufman; their version is much cleaner)

Zippy the Pinhead is celebrated for his onomatomania, but anyone can play, even stuffed tigers.

The modern smock is a plain functional garment, a kind of protective overshirt (functionally akin to aprons, coveralls, and the like), associated with artists, who work with messy substances. But its history is more complex.

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Sisgender Night’s Dream

June 20, 2022

Start with the sexual-identity terms cis(gender) and trans(gender), which I looked at on this blog yesterday, and they’ll lead you to various forms of language play. If there’s a Transylvania — actually, there are several —  where is its counterpart Cisylvania? Is there a (punning) gender-identity term sisgender for sissies and fems?  And a Sis(s)ylvania for them to live in — perhaps the fairies’ wooded land (as in Midsummer Night’s Dream)?

It’s the curse of the associative mind. We all have them, but some of us have really big ones.

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Extended cisgender

June 19, 2022

A physician writes to the NYT Magazine‘s ethicist about a patient who used a racist slur (the N-word) to his Black nursing staff and a homophobic slur (probably the queer F-word, but maybe the queer D-word) to his receptionist, and contemplated ways to support these staff members as an outsider, explaining in the letter that he’s “a Hispanic, cisgender male”.

The first identifier, Hispanic, is a racial / ethnic identifier, counterposed to Black, White, API, Indigenous, etc. The second identifier, cisgender, is clearly intended to be counterposed to homosexual / gay / queer, terms that refer to same-sex (rather than other-sex) sexual orientation; but that looks like some kind of category mistake, since the standard usage of cisgender (with the prefix cis– ‘on this side of’, opposed to trans– ‘on the other side of’) is for a sexual identity that aligns with birth sex (and so is opposed to transgender) — a matter that’s orthogonal to sexuality / sexual orientation. Indeed, most same-sex-oriented people are cisgender; I myself am a cisgender queer, one of millions, though we’re hugely outnumbered by the cisgender straights, who are all over the place. And while some transgender people are sexually oriented towards their own sex, some are oriented towards the other sex. (more…)

From the annals of commerce: Doggie and Whippy do it in a leather bar

June 18, 2022

(This is obviously going to go where no kids or sexually modest people should go, and it’s going to get there fast.)

The commercial names Doggie Diner and Mr. Whippy, both surely conceived in all innocence, but, to the prepared mind, easily evoking sexual images (as it happens, my mind is prepared for man-on-man sexual images, so that’s where I’m inclined to go): the doggie / doggy position for anal intercourse; and a leatherman master whipping a leatherman slave.

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Be the Master of the Meat!

June 17, 2022

(Warning: some discussion of sexual slang in a serious but straightforward tone.)

From the annals of masculine meat holidays in my country, a Blackstone tv spot “Father’s Day: Griddle Envy” (first aired 6/1/22), in which the announcer projects macho good-buddy enthusiasm for a Blackstone griddle as a Father’s Day gift (6/19 this year, just two days away! And the next American MascMeatHol, Independence Day, aka the Fourth of July, is only two weeks away):


(#1) The envy-inciting appliance: a Blackstone 4-burner 36″-griddle propane-fired cooking station with side shelves (about $300); you can view the ad at this site

From the alliterative text:

Give him what he really wants … Your Dad can be the master of the meat, the king of the cookout, the sultan of steak

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