Archive for October, 2023

Three cartoon approaches to the eve of the Day of the Dead

October 31, 2023

Three that have come to me today:  in today’s comics feed, a Wayno / Piraro Bizarro showing a young René Magritte trick-or-treating; on Facebook, passed on by Robert Poletto for Halloween, an Edward Gorey 1973 skull-tossing watercolor with the sly title A Dull Afternoon; and also on FB, reposted by Jeff Bowles for Halloween, an old Charles Schulz Peanuts cartoon in which Linus enthusiastically reconceptualizes the eve of the Day of the Dead as a version of Christmas Eve.


Two Halloween exercises in comics understanding

October 30, 2023

In this morning’s comics feed, on the day before Halloween, two Halloween-related strips that are also exercises in comics understanding: there are crucial things you must recognize or know if you are to make sense of the strip at all. A Wayno / Piraro Bizarro (a confrontation at the front door that somehow turns on names and relatedness) and a Rhymes With Orange (travelers with a significant road sign). Both presented as single-panel cartoons:


The Zits Halloween substance massification comic

October 29, 2023

For the pre-Halloween weekend, today’s Zits comic strip shows Jeremy (driving his car) and his buddy Pierce on a holiday errand for Jeremy’s mother; there is some dispute as to exactly how Connie Duncan (J’s mother) framed her instructions:

Did she ask for lots of pumpkins — using the PL[ural] C[ount] noun pumpkins — or for lots of pumpkin — using the (SG) M[ass] noun pumpkin ‘expanse of pumpkin substance’ (a special-use M counterpart of the C noun pumpkin)?

I have to say that I was not expecting to find an arcane C>M conversion — of the sort I’ve labeled substance massification — as the hinge in a Zits joke, but there it is, a wonderful holiday present for the ordinary working linguist. It certainly warmed my morning (which is now autumnally cold; as of yesterday I’m back in flannel shirts).


When Mehmet met Ahmed

October 28, 2023

Caught on Pinterest this morning:

(#1) “Night Romance” by the anonymous artist Queer Habibi (available as a postcard, or in several other forms)


Doctor vs. vampire

October 27, 2023

A wonderful wordless cartoon by Liana Finck from the 10/30/23 issue of the New Yorker presents a  challenge in cartoon understanding: what do you have to know and what do you have to recognize in the cartoon if you’re going to understand what’s going on in it and why that’s funny?

An intense confrontation between a doctor and a vampire: the doctor seeks to repel the vampire. while the vampire, in turn, seeks to repel the doctor; each is shielding their eyes, to avoid seeing the repellent brandished by the other (the crucifix threatening the vampire, the apple threatening the doctor); the confrontation appears to be a standoff

A full appreciation of this comical Mexican standoff requires that you recognize the two characters, one drawn from the real world, the other from a fictive world of popular culture, somehow (absurdly) joined, indeed frozen, in mortal combat — which means recognizing why the crucifix is a threat to the vampire (this requires your knowing some vampire lore) and why the apple is a threat to the doctor (this requires your recognizing the joke’s inspired mainspring, a subtle pun on a proverb in English).  Truly awesome.


Two pun cartoons

October 22, 2023

Promised on 10/3 (yes, 19 days ago), in my posting “coming soon, two pun cartoons” (by Kaamran Hafeez and Tom Chitty), now realized: the puns hìp replácement (from KH, on the model híp replàcement) and you look like you’ve seen a goat (from TC, on the model you look like you’ve seen a ghost) — both of them (phonologically) imperfect, but close.

(Both KH and TC have Pages on this blog: KH here; TC here.)


Contra mundum

October 19, 2023

Glimpsed on Pinterest a little while back, this MMS (male-male sex) painting, Contra Mundum by Fyodor Pavlov: a pair of young men kissing, seductive male buttocks highlighted, their Edwardian-picnic amour unfolding beneath the point of a potent abstract phallic design, the down-pointing triangular shape of the male genitals (often given physical form as a hanging bunch of grapes, here as a cluster of leaves on the tree that shades the young men’s secret tryst):

(#1) Packed with further details worthy of comment, among them: the dark-light (paired with dominant-submissive) contrast of the two men, the overarching U of the tree’s branches complementing the cupped U of the submissive man’s body, the red of the strawberries against a mostly b&w composition, the stuffed bear, the vibrant green of the men’s sweaters, the neck of the wine bottle poking out from the confines of the picnic hamper, the phallic reeds on the far shore of the lake

Things to comment on: picnics; contra mundum; and the artist. This turns out to be quite a lot.


Halloween homowear: party in pink

October 18, 2023

Male underwear models minimally covered by garments designed for the sweaty dance floor of a raunchy fantasy gay club, so certainly not to everyone’s taste. And then (in somewhat distant homage to Barbie the movie), the garments in a full range of shades of butch-faggy pink: huge jutting packages wrapped in deep pink (the Brutus jockstrap); muscular buttocks, yearning for a depth pronging, framed by dark pink camo (the Combat jockstrap); and much more.

All this in the 10/17 e-mail ad from Daily Jocks, displaying some of its pink homowear for, surprise, Halloween. This year, the gaybros are tricking in pink.

The full ad, broken into three sections for this posting (label the whole thing as image #1):


From the Harry Pottery Barn

October 13, 2023

In today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro cartoon, really wizard vases from the Harry Pottery Barn:

A POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau) Harry PotteryHarry Potter + Pottery: vases in the style of J. K. Rowling (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page)

(plus my play on wizard in really wizard vases. From NOAD:

adj. wizardBritish informal, dated wonderful; excellent: how absolutely wizard! | I’ve just had a wizard idea.

A little pun to go along with the extra POP in the Pottery Barn reference.)


Green grow the pickles, O

October 13, 2023

This remarkable photo left me dumbstruck yesterday when Monica Macaulay passed it along on Facebook, having gotten it from the Art Deco FB group on 10/10:

The Pickle Sisters, a vaudeville group from the 1920s (photo:

[Here I repeat a note from the last posting I was able to manage, the 10/7 posting “THE shirts”, six days ago:

Note: this is massively a Mary, Queen of Scots, Not Dead Yet posting, indeed something of a celebration of my being able to post anything at all, not to mention through enormous pain in my swollen fingers. But no details about any of that here; at the moment, I truly am pleased to be still alive and want to show that I can manage a posting.

This caution applies fully to this Pickle Sisters posting.]