Archive for the ‘Abbreviation’ Category

The heifer executive

May 17, 2022

Yesterday’s wry Rhymes With Orange strip, wordless and spare-looking, but packed with tons of meaning on two fronts, the dairy and the managerial; meanwhile, it presents a challenging exercise in cartoon understanding.


(#1) If you see that there’s something sweetly funny about a dairy cow managing a business, well, that will do — but the pleasure of the cartoon is in the details

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Auntie Em and the hex wrench

March 21, 2022

Two cartoons in today’s feed: the 4/5/10 One Big Happy, in which James copes with an unfamiliar technical label by assimilating it to a name he knows; and the 3/21 Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, with a cute play on hex wrench.

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AZ: LXII

March 7, 2022

No, not Linguistics 2, though LX, Lx, or lx often serves as an abbreviation for linguistics. (Meanwhile, when I was a lad at Princeton, the Lx / Ling 1 course — whatever its actual number was — was the Introduction to Descriptive Linguistics (taught by Samuel Atkins, a linguist in the Department of Classics), and the Lx / Ling 2 course was the Introduction to Historical Linguistics (taught by Henry Hoenigswald, commuting from the University of Pennsylvania for the semester).) But in any case, not the second linguistics course (or, for that matter Lx.2, the 2nd release of the field of Linguistics: only the second?).

Instead, Roman numerals for ’62, my class at Princeton. From my 2/11/22 posting “A note of pedagogical pleasure”:

I’m working on a silly photo for the 60th reunion of my Princeton class [May 19-22] — wearing a LXII class cap (provided by the class for this purpose), plus (as per instructions) “some orange and black” (and, because it’s me, a bit of rainbow Pride). Stay tuned for the visual.

Well, the request came in January, and I didn’t get around to fussing about the photo until well into February — my life is constantly fraught (‘affected by anxiety or stress’ (NOAD)) — and then, as I’ll detail below, I did a piss-poor job of it, so here I am reporting on the whole affair in March, well past the time when the photo might be useful, and anyway I’m not going to Reunions.

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FREDs and their kin

February 24, 2022

(References in plain language to men’s bodies viewed as sexual objects, with a photo, so not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

On Facebook yesterday, information from train-watcher Ned Deily about FREDs. That’s FRED, an acronym for flashing rear-end device — an alternative name for end of train device, no doubt devised to provide a pronounceable acronym (FRED) rather than a mere initialism (like ETD). But then we get then nominal rear end, referring not only generally to the back part of something, but also specifically to a person’s buttocks. Which takes us into racy or frankly raunchy territory.

FRED 1, the flashing rear-end device. In brief, from Wikipedia (a) on the end of train device; and then from the Trains & Locomotives Wiki (b) on “End of Train Device” (edited for readability):

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Flipping with the cowboys

October 3, 2021

(Substantial section on English syntax and semantics, but even that is about raunchy sexual vocabulary — so it’s pretty much wall to wall about sex between men, in street language, with photos: absolutely inappropriate for kids or the sexually modest)

What got me into this was the cover of a CockyBoys gay porn DVD Flipping Out (#1 below, after the fold), showing two men engaged in the variety of anal intercourse known as Asian Cowboy. More descriptively, Squatting Cowboy: the receptive man rides the insertive man’s penis roughly the way a cowboy rides his horse, by sitting on it — in this case, from a squatting position. In plain Cowboy, the receptive guy lowers himself onto his ride while kneeling, so in more descriptive terminology, that’s Kneeling Cowboy.

I was struck by the photo because the Cowboy sex positions hold a special resonance for me, and because I’d been looking for Cowboy illustrations in which the insertive guy is sitting up (in a chair or on a sofa), a position that invites the men to kiss, the way my man Jacques and I did when we enjoyed Cowboying together. The cover of Flipping Out gives me just what I was looking for, in an especially attractive and wonderfully intimate composition of bodies.

Then, as a linguistic bonus, there’s the verb to flip-fuck, played with in the DVD’s title.

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Zippo, the comic strip

March 25, 2021

The 3/14 Zippy strip shows Claude and Griffy (and eventually Zippy too) caught up in what seems to be affixoid attraction (similar to word attraction), an irrational appreciation of or enthusiasm for a particular word-part — in this case, the word-final element –o (whatever its source might be):


(#1) All of the panels except the fourth are framed as two-person exchanges, in which the second is a response to the first: offering a competing alternative (panel 1), trading insults (panels 2 and 3), or expressing appreciation (panel 5)

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A jointed-limb portmanteau and a sugary front-clipping

March 18, 2021

Two recent Wayno/Piraro Bizarro strips, from the 15th and (for St. Patrick’s Day) the 17th, both of linguistic interest: among other things, the portmanteau arthropodcast in the first; and the front-clipping ‘shmallows (for marshmallows, of the psychedelic sort) in the second:

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Beheaded spots

March 3, 2021

In yesterday’s posting “The lost years for LGBT seniors”, about a Talk of the Town piece from the New Yorker, my attention was drawn to spot illustrations as a form of the cartoonist’s art and also to the term the magazine used to refer to a spot illustration: spot, an abbreviated version of the N + N compound, specifically a beheading of the two-word expression, in which the head element illustration is suppressed. (This sense of spot seems not to have found its way into standard dictionaries, but the magazine uses it consistently, in every issue.)

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The bull validates Peter’s family

February 7, 2021

Three more Bizarro cartoons from the past, from another crop on Pinterest, with: an allusion you need to catch to understand the cartoon; a complex pun; and laugh-inducing names.

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Two parrots and a pear tree

February 1, 2021

On Pinterest recently, a board devoted to Bizarro cartoons, including a fair number relevant to this blog but not previously posted here — from which, the three below (all the work of Dan Piraro alone, without Wayno’s collaboration). Two are about parrots and crackers (the first is also an instance of the Psychiatrist cartoon meme); the third offers a groaner pun on a sexual idiom previously discussed on this blog. (I’ll start with a digression on the most common way parrots figure in cartoons, as adjuncts to pirates.)

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