Archive for the ‘Anniversaries’ Category

Centennial moments in NYC

November 7, 2022

(On the brief, skeletal side; I continue to lose most of my days in irresistible exhausted sleep, so this is something of a Mary, Queen of Scots Not Dead Yet posting. My apologies.)

Two events of 1924. First, the Linguistic Society of America (hereafter, the LSA) was founded at a gathering in New York City (hereafter, NYC) on 12/28/1924 — at the very end of the year, but in 1924, so 1924 counts as the founding year of the LSA. Second, also in NYC, Harold Ross and Jane Grant (with the financial support of entrepreneur Raoul Fleischmann) embarked on the creation of a sophisticated humor magazine, with Ross as its editor. Their plans for this magazine, named simply The New Yorker (hereafter, the NYer), were realized in its first issue, of 2/21/1925. So 1925 counts as the founding year of the NYer.

A forthcoming event of 2024. The 2024 annual meeting of the LSA will be held at the Sheraton New York Times Square on 4-7 January. Meeting in NYC is of course no accident, and several centennial events have already been scheduled.

Now, since Ross and Grant (and their associates) were cooking up the NYer in NYC at the very same time the LSA’s founders were gathering there to formally establish that organization, and since the NYer’s one-panel gag cartoons — very often turning on linguistic points — were a central feature of the magazine, it’s natural to think about celebrating the LSA and the NYer together in some way. So there are modest plans for a display project at the 2024 annual meeting looking at cartoons in the NYer over the past 100 years that have to do with language. Cool. As an eminence grise versed in the ways of NYer cartoons, I’ve agreed to provide a bit of help to the young scholar who will be doing the actual work of preparing this display.

This posting is a rumble about things that are just now getting underway. More information to come, with an invitation to make suggestions about stuff for the display. Meanwhile, play with the idea.


It was thirty years ago

July 31, 2021

… well, not today, but this summer. From my 10/23/19 posting “OUTiL: a historical note”:

For LGBT History Month, some notes on a little piece of that history in linguistics, in the loose network of academic acquaintanceship that formed at the Linguistic Institute at UC Santa Cruz in the summer of 1991:

The t-shirt, once available in both pink and purple (design by Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky)

OUT in Linguistics, OUTiL, OUTIL (the abbreviation pronounced /áwtǝl/, through some wags joked about its being French outil /uti/ ‘tool’, with the expected sexual slang use).

The group was primarily social, offering physical places for LGBTQ+ folk and their friends to gather, network, talk about linguistics and their lives — with a mailing list to coordinate these gatherings, and then also to offer a net-place for such talk. Over the years, it changed its mode of operation, ending up as a private group on Facebook, with me as its administrator. But now it’s been years since I was able to travel anywhere, and I’m now an old man in fragile health, not an appropriate administrator.

Meanwhile, OUTiL has served its purpose and ceased to carry any traffic. So, in the absence of anyone willing to take over from me and revive it, I have closed it down. I removed the newsgroup — with some difficulty — this Wednesday morning. Thirty summers after the first.


A dark week in early December

December 4, 2017

A week of death, punishment, and destruction. This week: deaths on M W F, punishment on Tu, destruction on Th.

(#1) John Cleese as the host on Monty Python’s “It’s Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart” show

Hello again, and welcome to the show. Tonight we continue to look at some famous deaths. Tonight we start with the wonderful death of Genghis Khan, conqueror of India.

Well, acually, today, the 4th, is Frank Zappa (1993). Friday, the 8th, is John Lennon (1980). And Wednesday, the 6th, is Wolfie M. himself (1791). Tomorrow, the 5th, is Krampusnacht, when the Christmas demon Krampus punishes naughty children (the night before St. Nicholas rewards the good ones, on his feast day). And Thursday, the 7th, is Pearl Harbor Day, the anniversary of the Japanese bombing of the naval base in Honolulu, which brough the United States into World War II.



January 28, 2016

Two things yesterday: it was Mozart’s birthday, and it was a bright sunny day, cool but not cold, so after a long time away, Juan and I had an al fresco breakfast at Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden, which was packed with things in bloom (winter-blooming flowers and also spring-blooming flowers, since for plants spring starts locally in January) or simply flourishing (like many cool-weather food plants).


Drunk on words, and a lot of whiskey

October 28, 2014

From the New York Times yesterday, “In Wales, a Toast to Dylan Thomas on His 100th Birthday” by Katrin Bennhold:

Laugharne [pronounced LARN], Wales — Down the footpath from his writing shed, along the curve of the water and up the hill, you see what the poet Dylan Thomas once saw: tall birds on the “heron priested shore,” a “sea wet church the size of a snail” atop the ridge, the castle ruin to your left still “brown as owls.”

… Thomas died young, at 39, after boasting that he had downed 18 straight whiskeys (“I believe that’s the record”) in New York in 1953. On Monday, he would have turned 100. His small country, long ill at ease with its hard-living, hard-loving son who wrote in English, not in Welsh, and caricatured his roots as much as he claimed them, is celebrating perhaps its greatest poet.