Archive for March, 2023

Alien jeans

March 13, 2023

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, featuring the straight-leg denim favored by the spacefolk who visit us in the Nevada desert:

(#1) Levi’s 501® Originals, always the choice of the discerning visitors to Area 51 in Nevada (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page)

So: Area 501 is a goofy portmanteau of Area 51 and 501 (jeans).

Two parts: the Area 51 part, the 501 denim part.


Bowls of gumbo

March 12, 2023

In the mail from bon appétit magazine this morning (Daylight Saving Day in the US), this hymn to the gumbo restaurants of New Orleans:

(#1) Artwork for the story, “The 8 Best Bowls of Gumbo in New Orleans: Pretty much everyone in this city has strong opinions about gumbo. Writer and New Orleans native Megan Braden-Perry shares her picks for the eight best versions you can find”, by Braden-Perry on 3/5/23

As it happens, I am a gumboiste, a gumbophile, known in years long ago at academic conferences in New Orleans for indulging in 7 or 8 different gumbos in a single day. As I wrote in my 8/17/22 posting “Knuckle macaroni”, about elbow macaroni, and then “knuckle dumplings”, that is, gnocchi:

for me gnocchi are like gumbo: there are a zillion variants, hugely different in their ingredients and preparations, some of them transcendent, some of them delightfully weird, some of them pedestrian, but all of them good, each in its own way.

So bon appétits celebration of New Orleans gumbos derailed my intended posting for the day.  Now, from Braden-Perry’s main text, plus her notes on two of the eight restaurants, with photos.


Two afflictions and a nebulous dream world

March 10, 2023

The latest chapters in my medical history, providing some account of why I’ve mostly been absent from these precincts since, roughly, the 4th of March. (I tried to conceal the gravity of my situation, but there was only so much I could do, given that the worst affliction prevented me from using my hands and feet for anything without extravagant soul-destroying pain, some of which I had to endure anyway just to manage the very basics of daily living.)

This was clearly yet another auto-immune condition, no doubt triggered by the latest change in my medications for these afflictions (the final one for some time to come), so that I had reason to hope that it would afflict me for some period of time before passing away, as had the industrial-strength narcolepsy and the spontaneous tremors (reported on here in earlier postings.)

There was some relief available through what I understood at the time to be an independent affliction, a need for vast amounts of sleep (11 to 14 hours a day, in chunks throughout the day), which I understood to be the need for sleep that goes along with having an infection. Whatever this is — it continues unabated; I’ve had 11.5 hours of sleep already today, and it’s just just short of 11 am — it’s not even slightly like narcolepsy, and I finally realized yesterday that it’s also not the sleep of infection (my recent lab tests showed no indicator of an infection, and, now that I can use my hands again to take my daily vitals, I see that I have no fever).

In fact, I can curl up in my recliner chair, wrapped in a comforter for warmth, and quickly and easily fall into a restorative sleep that takes me away from the joint pains and the electric pain from my damaged right ulnar nerve, and so on, awaking refreshed after an hour or two. So the sleep is a kind of gift; I can wait for it if I need to — it doesn’t overwhelm me — and it’s an aid in difficult times. It does, however, eat up an awful lot of my day.

Meanwhile, back in the days of the actual immune affliction. when the sleeping was a welcome respite from the unmanageable pain, during the 4 days from 4 through 7 March: my dreams were entirely taken up with nebulous, unfocused, and constantly shifting wisps of recollection about a particular comic strip, a familiar strip, everyone’s great favorite. I wanted to search for an exemplary strip to post about, but nothing about it would stay clear in my mind long enough. But the strip was fabulous, everyone knew that, with an adorable, funny central character who also was tremendously clever and possessed of great moral clarity, somehow, some way that I just couldn’t quite get a handle on.

The above is probably about as much as I’m going to be willing to say about the afflictions right now, but I’d like to try to talk about that nebulous dream world over those four days. In a separate posting, to come as I try to get my life back together again.


They do not act that way

March 6, 2023

From my comics backlog, a One Big Happy strip that turns on the distinction (in the philosophy of language) between descriptive statements (about what is)  and normative statements (about what should be) and shows Ruthie and Joe’s mother exploiting normative statements for her own parental ends — using one to convey injunction or prohibition: saying that this should be the case implicating that you should — or must — act to make it so.

Oh yes, there’s also the third-person reference to her addressees, framing an injunction on them specifically as a kind of normative universal — a manipulation of address terms that the kids simply fail to comprehend (in the last two panels of the strip)

Joe and Ruthie are in fact tearing through the grocery story like wild animals. Ellen Lombard, their mother, asserts that her children do not act like that, meaning this statement normatively. Conveying, in fact, that not only should her children not act like that, but that they must stop acting like that.

An exchange of childish ritual taunts

March 5, 2023

Of the form

V1 ya, wouldn’t wanna / shouldn’t hafta V2 ya (where V1 and V2 rhyme)

In a One Big Happy strip from the backlog on my desktop:

(#1) Ruthie and the tough neighborhood kid James trade taunts, until Ruthie’s mother drags her away from the encounter

This is a competitive performance of verbal skills, designed to insult without wounding. James’s first move is a pre-existing model, and then they go on from there.


Why not oneteen, twoteen?

March 3, 2023

(Or, for that matter, why not onety-one, onety-two?)

These are questions that kids acquiring English frequently ask, as Ruthie does in this One Big Happy strip:

(#1) Kids are pattern-seeking organisms, and when confronted with a deviation from a pattern, are inclined either to silently, unconsciously, eliminate the deviation in favor of the pattern; or to explicitly lodge a complaint, as Ruthie does here

Ruthie asks a why-question, and there is an answer to it — a complex, fascinating answer supplied briefly for the general reader by Arika Okrent in several places (see below) — but it’s of no use to Ruthie, because that answer is about the history of English, while she wants to know what sense it makes for English to work this way now, and why don’t we fix it.

Alas for Ruthie, the only fair answer to her question is that English just is as it is, and it doesn’t really make sense. Bite the bullet, kid.


Thai Tanic restaurants

March 2, 2023

From the annals of goofy commercial names, in this case a Thai restaurant name that seems to be intended to project both playfulness — the name is a pun — and power, as in the model for the pun, the adjective titanic ‘of exceptional strength, size, or power’ (NOAD). Thai food that will blow you away.

What makes it goofy is the unfortunate echo of the proper noun Titanic; from NOAD:

a British passenger liner, the largest ship in the world when it was built and supposedly unsinkable, that struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage in April 1912 and sank with the loss of 1,490 lives.

I was made aware of the restaurant name by a Susan Fischer Facebook posting yesterday; she was passing on, from others on the net, this restaurant image:

(#1) Not identified in its net appearances, but this is a real Thai restaurant, not a piece of digital art or photoshopping: Thai Tanic at 1326 14th St NW, Washington DC (near Logan Circle)

Commenter on this image, someone who got the ship echo: This restaurant is going down.


Egg-themed Scrabble

March 1, 2023

🐇 🐇 🐇 rabbit rabbit rabbit for the first of March; meanwhile, it’s St. David’s Day, and here comes Taffy with the leeks (from which many excellent soups can be made) and the daffodils (strictly for admiring; they are poisonous)!

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, with an egg-themed Scrabble game, providing an excuse for the pun Scrabbled eggs, based on scrambled eggs:

(#1) Six ways of referring to eggs (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

At this point, I discovered that there’s a Scrabble cartoon meme, with huge numbers of cartoons using the word / board game as the setting for a variety of jokes.

Also that though Scrabble has been mentioned many times on this blog, I’d never posted anything about the game. So I’ll start with that.