Archive for March, 2023

Denis Sarazhin

March 31, 2023

🐅 🐅 🐅 tiger tiger tiger for ultimate March, a month that seems to have lasted forever, through meteorological disasters, the daily devastation of mass shootings, and the profoundly dangerous paranoid ravings of the moral monster Grabpussy. Oh yes, and the latest chapters in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the event that, quite by accident, relocated two artists from Kyiv to Chattanooga TN (in a state that is currently contending fiercely for the title of Gun Capital of the United States).

This is about one of them, Denis Sarazhin, who came to me through a reproduction of some of his remarkable paintings on Pinterest. In particular:

(#1) Pantomime No. 22 (2017); note the painfully contorted poses


First with anteaters, then with penguins

March 30, 2023

I spare you the details of what these Pacific “bomb cyclone” weather events do to my body when it encounters the very low air pressure that accompanies them, but it’s extremely unpleasant and totally immobilizing (and this time, it included the inability to focus my eyes, so I couldn’t read anything for, like, four hours). That was yesterday; surviving this attack comes with slow recovery over some days. I had an “easy” entertaining posting in preparation, mostly replays from the past, so this is what I’m giving you now, just as proof that I’m not (quite) dead yet.

The occasion is yesterday’s (3/29) Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, set in a little spheniscid restaurant:

(#1) Wayno’s title: “Just Like Mom Used to Spew” (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

Crude spew from Wayno, technical regurgitate in the cartoon text. Both references to penguins feeding their chicks. So: some comments on these practices. Then on to the restaurant — with all the accoutrements of a little neighborhood place — serving homey specialties, by penguins, for penguins.


Is this strip a rerun?

March 26, 2023

“Is this strip a rerun? It looks familiar”, Mike Doonesbury says to his wife Kim (Rosenthal) in the final panel of today’s (3/26/23) Doonesbury strip — in which Mike and Kim savage a (mock) Prevagen commercial they are watching on tv. And it’s an inside joke, because this Doonesbury strip is in fact a (slightly altered) rerun of the one from 2/14/21, which I wrote about in my 2/15/21 posting “The brain health product”. So Kim responds, in today’s (meta-)strip: “Wow. Good recall! No Prevagen for you!”

As I wrote in the 2021 posting, in the mock commercial,

the dietary supplement is openly hawked as a useless (but expensive) placebo for treating mild forgetfulness (with a digression in the 5th panel on a secret ingredient in it derived from the fabulously memorious jellyfish)

And the final panel of that strip Mike asks (echoing the commercial): “Are placebos right for us? I forget.” To which Kim replies: “If they come in gummies, I’m down with gummies.”


Notions, novelties, curios

March 23, 2023

Today’s morning names: notions in the sense ‘cheap, useful articles (especially for the household)’ (and then later specializations to sewing materials); which suggested novelties in the sense ‘small, inexpensive, ornamental items’; and curios ‘rare, unusual, or intriguing objects’.  All three concrete plural nouns arise from abstract nouns: notion ‘impulse or disposition to act’; novelty ‘newness, originality’; and curiosity ‘desire to know or learn things’.

I’ll consider the three concrete plurals in succession. I’m hoping that there’s some literature on the historical development of notions, but, given my very limited search abilities I haven’t been able to discover any of it.


From parts unknown

March 21, 2023

In yesterday’s (3/20) Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, a cowboy — call him FM —  bellies up to the bar in a saloon in the fabled Old West:

(#1) Though he’s wearing jeans and  a handsome Western dress shirt, FM’s greenish pallor, eccentric hair, and neck bolt mark him as an outsider, not from these parts, not from around here; meanwhile, FM is a composite being, cobbled together from random parts — bodyparts — by Victor Frankenstein (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page)

So there’s parts and there’s parts. And FM’s from parts unknown  is a parts ‘bodyparts’ pun on the model of parts ‘places’ in what is now a rather formal and poetical expression from parts unknown ‘coming from an unknown place’. The Frankenstein world superimposed, absurdly, on the Gunslinger world.



March 19, 2023

Phrasal Overlap Portmanteau time, starting with one from yesterday’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, which is (by accident) regrettably topical; and going on to a more complex one from cartoonist Leigh Rubin’s Rubes strip back in 2016 — complex because Rubin probably was thinking of the joke as a cute pun (I told you it was complex).

But first, yesterday’s Bizarro:

(#1) Drag queen meets legendary lumberjack: the POP RuPaul Bunyan = RuPaul + Paul Bunyan (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page)


In the air, three cruises of death

March 18, 2023

(A decidedly lubricious moment of entertainment, to spice up a Saturday; it’s about facial expressions, but men’s genitals figure prominently, so this is not for kids or the sexually modest)

This e-mail ad (cropped here) in my e-mail today (3/18) — an ad for a sale of Raging Stallion gay porn flicks, featuring characters from RS’s just-released Take Off, set in a fantasy world of airline personnel:


The poutine checkup

March 17, 2023

Yesterday’s (3/16) Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, with poutine checkup as an outrageous pun on routine checkup — something for the celebratory days of mid-March, from Pi Day on the 14th through St Patrick’s Day today:

(#1) A regular checkup on the state of the patient’s poutine — the fries, cheese curds, and gravy of this Quebecois specialty (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 7 in this strip — see this Page)

Meanwhile, the patient is presented as stereotypically Canuck — among other things, wearing a tuque (that knitted wool watch cap) and earmuffs.

Wayno’s title for the cartoon: Say “eh” — evoking another piece of Canadianness, the discourse particle eh; see, from my 5/18/14 posting “… plus four”, this New Yorker cartoon by Benjamin Schwartz:

(#2) On the (mostly) Canadian discourse particle eh, used (roughly) to confirm the attention of the listener (but appearing here in a medical exam in the place of ah); Canadianness is signaled by the RCMP uniform



March 16, 2023

Passed around in various forms on the net recently, this truly distant, extremely imperfect, pun, partly in German, partly in English, which does, however, come with the signature of its putative maker (Ella Niemans, who, alas, I’ve been unable to find anything about — perhaps because her name might be a joke, playing on German niemand ‘nobody’):

(#1) A monstrously complex joke alluding to  US President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 speech at the Berlin Wall, in which he declared (in his American-accented German) Ich bin ein Berliner, asserting that he was figuratively, in spirit, a citizen of Berlin

So it’s about bin liners and it’s about the Kennedy speech. Complexities on both counts.


Der Pinguin ist kaput

March 14, 2023

Today’s sad news, an outcome of dramatic high winds that battered and, eventually, smashed my plastic patio plant penguin, the 2-ft b&w sentinel that stood guard by my back door for some years, and before that watched over various very large potted plants.

I’m waiting for the winds to die down to assemble the pieces and put them in the trash.  Then, in a few days we’re supposed to have more rainstorms, floods, and mudslides.

It seems that I have only one photo of the decedent, one that doesn’t show them to best advantage.