Archive for the ‘Ambiguity’ Category

Chast, Haefeli, Kaplan

July 6, 2017

Three cartoons from the latest issue (July 10th and 17th) of the New Yorker, by Roz Chast (heirloom hot dogs), William Haefeli (gay couple with dog and baby), and Bruce Eric Kaplan (a visit from Dr. Seuss).

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Another prohibition on tipping

July 4, 2017

Yesterday’s posting on cow-tipping and related matters distinguished two verbs tip, played with in a cartoon by Daniel Beyer:

(1) give (someone) a sum of money as a way of rewarding them for their services

(3) overbalance or cause to overbalance so as to fall or turn over

and provided a joke sign prohibiting cow-tipping. There are of course also NO TIPPING signs, usually in restarants, prohibiting gratuities.

Now Benita Bendon Campbell reminds me of NO TIPPING signs in the UK that often baffle American visitors because they appear along roads, in places where gratuities would seem to be irrelevant. There are variants that show that a third verb tip is at issue here, one related to the

noun tip: British a place where trash is deposited; a dump. (NOAD2)

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Getting the comic

July 3, 2017

Yesterday, from Chris Hansen, this cartoon by Daniel Beyer:

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Chris’s comment:

It took me a minute to “get” it (I’ve been in England for a looooong time)

(Chris is an American long resident in England.)

Another exercise in understanding comics. In this case, requiring a crucial piece of knowledge about American popular culture.

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Fixing things

June 21, 2017

A Pearls Before Swine strip that’s been sitting in my queue since, omigod, 2/14/16:

All about fixing things.

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The terrible truth about bubble wrap

June 20, 2017

A Joe Dator cartoon in the June 19th New Yorker:

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which will lead us to today’s Mother Goose and Grimm:

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Along the way we’ll visit the naugas and their hides.

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Briefly: a demented p.r. pitch, an off-the-rails headline

June 18, 2017

In the past few days, some tidbits from Facebook friends: from Margalit Fox, another demented p.r. pitch in her mail; from Jean Berko Gleason, an unfortunately ambiguous headline.

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For Eve V. Clark

June 17, 2017

… two recent cartoons, one a Rhymes With Orange with a notable verbing of a noun, the other a One Big Happy with a child coping with an unfamiliar word:

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These on the occasion of Eve’s retirement from Stanford, celebrated at a department party yesterday afternoon.

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An old resultative joke

June 8, 2017

From Wilson Gray on ADS-L on the 6th, in a discussion of a joke that turns on a structural ambiguity, a totally different joke of this sort:

A drunk is staggering along the sidewalk muttering to himself, “It can’t be done! I couldn’t do it!” A passer-by comments, “Damn, man, you all fucked up!, It must have been something terrible! What couldn’t you do?!” The drunk answers, “Drink Canada dry!”

The joke doesn’t quite work in print like this, unless you use all-caps, the way artist Richard Prince did in this “joke painting”:

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Untitled (Drink Canada Dry), acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, 1998

The joke of course also works fine in speech. (Early occurrences in print have only either Canada Dry or Canada dry, with text that points the reader towards the other.)

Two things: the joke and its history

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1 Bizarro, 2 Bizarro

May 25, 2017

Yesterday’s and today’s Bizarro strips:

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(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoons — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in both strips — see this Page.)

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missing it

May 13, 2017

Yesterday’s Mother Goose and Grimm:

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Ok, a simple ambiguity. The relevant subsenses of the transitive verb miss, from NOAD2, with my sense id codes:

— in the set of 12 failure-miss senses:
[1f] fail to attend, participate in, or watch (something one is expected to do or habitually does): teachers were supposed to report those students who missed class that day. [Mother Goose’s sense]

— in the set of 3 absence-miss senses:
[2c] feel regret or sadness at no longer being able to go to, do, or have: I still miss France and I wish I could go back. [Grimm’s sense, a willful misunderstanding of Mother Goose]

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