Archive for February, 2023

Zwicky on the Art of the Skateboard

February 28, 2023

Notified via Google Alert on Saturday: on the Jenkem Magazine (skateboarding) site, “Allies: Calder Zwicky of MOMA” (with a YouTube video) by Alexis Castro & Ollie Rodgers on 10/2/18. Another chapter in the story of artist Calder Zwicky — previously reported on in this blog back in 2016, so this is an update, but not actually up-to-date (though it gets skateboarding into CZ’s story, which is a good thing).

(#1) Screen shot from the video: CZ talking about a work of his from the Lonely Thrasher series — slang thrasher, roughly ‘excellent skateboarder’, also the name of a skater magazine — showing a cover of this magazine with the skater removed, to yield an image that, CZ argues, is still a skateboarding image, of the huge space and the complex physical structure that offers a challenge to a serious skateboarder; the skater is implicit in the image


Swiss snowdrops

February 27, 2023

Ann Burlingham, posting on Facebook today, recalled with delight the emergence in 2020 of the snowdrops that she had planted when she and Jason first moved to Pittsburgh:


And then the discussion roamed far and wide, to fragrances, Switzerland, and Viking ships.

Stroll with me now through the fields of associative memory…


Linguistics Washi Tape from Cognitive Surplus

February 26, 2023

Which came to Monica Macaulay yesterday, who reported on Facebook, “I’m confused, as always.” The stuff:

(#1) [caption:] Here’s an emerald green and canary yellow roll of Linguistics Washi Tape featuring an array of global alphabets

Several readers wondered what the market would be for such stuff, except for us linguists, and would any of us actually want it? Fair questions, but as it turns out, they pretty much apply to all of Cognitive Surplus’s products, which are simultaneously earnest, quirky, and intellectually lightweight. But some are great fun, and some are beautiful.

But what’s it all about, Alfie?


Penguins on the town

February 26, 2023

Penguin spots — showing four penguins on holiday in New York City — by Milanese illustrator Antonio Giovanni Pinna in the 2/27/23 issue of The New Yorker:

(#1) Six of the spots: p. 21, bellhop / porter transporting the penguins in a hotel luggage cart; p. 24, special polar-temp accommodations for the penguins; p. 31, two penguins on a horse-drawn carriage ride in Central Park; p. 42, a penguin contributes to a street musician; p. 46, the four penguins emerge from the subway; p. 49, the penguins collaborate so that one of them can use a tower viewer to appreciate scenic views


Bronze Bob

February 25, 2023

The Story of Bob, by Max, in two parts, wood and bronze. In a Facebook posting this morning. There will be two pictures. one in wood, one in bronze.


Ruthie meets the challenge of the unfamiliar

February 24, 2023

It’s an old theme on this blog: 6-year-old Ruthie in the comic strip One Big Happy as a constantly entertaining source of efforts to cope with unfamiliar words and larger expressions by assimilating them, in one way or another, to things that are familiar to her. Some examples surveyed in my 2/3/19 posting “Ruthian lexical items in real life”; and then, yesterday, in the posting “Ruthie goes for the donuts”, she understands windchill as Winchell’s (donuts): the unfamiliar element is the technical meteorological term windchill. and Ruthie copes with it by replacing it with a phonologically similar item that’s familiar to her (she’s fond of Winchell’s donuts):

(#1) unfamiliar windchill / familiar Winchell’s

Over the past three years or so, I’ve been accumulating One Big Happy strips in this vein and am now disgorging six of them: a similarity case, in which Ruthie copes with unfamiliar material by treating it as phonologically similar familiar material (as with windchill / Winchell’s); two ambiguity cases, in which unfamiliar material is homophonous with familiar material, so she has to cope with her mistaken interpretation of what she hears; and three more complex cases (one involving portmanteaus, one involving orthographic abbreviations, and one involving Ruthie’s own analogical creation — Ruthie is indeed ingenious).


Ruthie goes for the donuts

February 23, 2023

In my comics feed today, a One Big Happy originally from 1/6/03 (20 years ago, and that turns out to be important) in which Ruthie eggcorns the weatherman’s technical term windchill (factor) to Winchell’s (the name of a chain donut shop), which is more familiar to her — but not perhaps to most readers of the strip, even in 2003, when there were a lot more Winchell’s shops around than there are now. But the strip:

(#1) windchill / wind-chill / wind chill is a N + N compound meaning roughly ‘chill caused by wind’, but is in fact a technical term in metereology (and its connection to chill and wind might not be clear to someone who in passing hears tv reports mentioning the factor)

Especially the connection to wind, since pronunciations of wind chill in ordinary connected speech lack a [d].


More from the Cavewoman Culture Club

February 22, 2023

The CCC — last seen in action in my 2/18 posting “A Neanderthal breakthrough”, in which an inventor cavewoman carves the first definite article out of stone — strikes again in the Piccolo / Price Rhymes With Orange cartoon of 5/21/21, in which a cavewoman devises a precursor of the candlelit dinner:

(#1) An announcement in Caveman Talk of the first romantic dinner for two; since these beginnings, it has evolved into a elaborated cultural practice

Cultural innovations often come with bold experiments in form at the outset (consider the history of photography and film) — in this case, apparently, in the adventure of scented fire.


Explorations in abessive clothing

February 21, 2023

(about bodies, mostly men’s, and the exposure of parts of those bodies, either by complete absence of an item of clothing, or by the absence of part of such an item; there will be plenty of male buttocks on view, and there will be discussion of men’s bodies, sometimes in street language — so not to everyone’s taste)

About items of clothing or parts of such items that are missing, lacking, absent.  (I’ll explain the adjective abessive in a moment; it does some of the work of the English derivational suffix –less or the preposition without, but is of wider applicability.) Two topics in this area are standing preoccupations of this blog: (re: absent items of clothing) male shirtlessness; and (re: absent parts of items of clothing) the assless / bottomless / backless nature of jockstraps.

The actual entry point to this posting came on Facebook on 5/9/19, when John Dorrance asked about the first use of assless chaps and Season Devereux  responded ,”Aren’t all chaps assless though?” To which I replied:

Yes indeed. The assless in assless chaps is an appositive, rather than restrictive, modifier — used to remind the hearer that chaps do in fact lack an ass, or to emphasize this fact in context — cf. appositive ‘chaps, which are assless’ vs. restrictive ‘chaps that are assless’, which is pleonastic.

It will take a little while to work up to chaps as abessive clothing: in this case, an item of clothing that lacks one of its parts (they’re assless) — in fact lacks two, since they’re also crotchless (chaps are essentially outerwear leggings of leather, held up by a belt).

Exploring abessive clothing quickly can take us far afield, and I’m not sure at this point how far I’m willing to go, so I’ll just dig in and see what happens. Come walk with me.


Happy P Day, Mr. President

February 20, 2023

(men’s bodies and sex between men, illustrated just a bit shy of a X-rating and described in vivid detail in street language — tons of F for P day —  so entirely unsuitable for kids and the sexually modest)

It’s Presidents / President’s / Presidents’ Day — P Day, for short — in my country, and suppliers of gay porn flicks have mounted P Day sales of their wares. Their ads sometimes display an image from such a flick, ornamented with patriotic symbols (American flags, stars, plenty of red, white, and blue); the image itself usually has nothing whatsoever to do with P Day, but is an illustration of the deeply satisfying fantasy sex a man-desiring man can get off to by watching one of the flicks on sale. Often the sale ads are just gigantic displays of the covers of the merchandise, so you can search for what might work for you by scanning the titles and cover photos.

Two images from this year’s crop of P Day sale ads. One, from the Falcon company, shows an image of Flying Cowboy, an image in which a grateful citizen thanks his President by serving as the receptive partner in this acrobatic approach to anal intercourse. (The emotional landscape of the actual act is very different from this: the President is working hard to provide pleasure for his constituent.)

The other image is just one of the many covers in the Gay Empire ad for its P Day sale — a cover for a costume flick about pedication among the Norsemen.

This is the end of the careful talk in this posting. Below the horizontal line, and then the fold, is where the wild things have sex.