Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

A children’s book from Walsh

October 15, 2016

Having just posted a Liam Francis Walsh cartoon (#2 here), I came across his announcement of first children’s book (published on May 31st):

An adventure in letters. From the publisher’s blurb on amazon:

A boy and his dog embark on a fishing journey.

Their first catch of the day: a big fat letter F.

Their second? A slippery I.

After an epic journey beneath the lake’s surface, they find what they came for– a FISH, along with some unanticipated menace from a few other letters.

This clever, wordless picture book, by a popular New Yorker cartoonist, is filled with charm and heart and will have no problem swimming its way into the hearts of young readers.


News for penises: NCOD, Portlandia

October 11, 2016

(Some plain talk about male bodies and man-man sex, but nothing extravagant. Use your judgment.)

Yes, I will make a connection, via my guy Jacques Transue: our anniversary is National Coming Out Day, that’s today. Marky Mark will be involved (because sexy underwear), and finger pointing (thanks to Portlandia) and Kyril Bonfiglioli and men’s ties.


Naming his Essence

October 8, 2016

(Sexually suggestive, but not explicit.)

From Daily Jocks on 9/14, with its ad copy (which an Austraian friend found deeply embarrassing) and my caption:


Aussie Essence captures the spirit of living in the great land of Australia. From sweating it out on the land, to closing the big deal in the city and catching all the waves in between, we celebrate the diversity of backgrounds we all come from whilst being proud of the aussie culture.

Sweating on the station, he was known as
Ned (the Outlaw) — in the city, where he was
Made by tons of Aussies, they called him
AbsFab and PecMate — on Bondi Beach he was just
Salty Dog


A conundrum

October 5, 2016

From Kim Darnell, this puzzle, which she found on Tumblr (no one seems to know the ultimate source, as is usual in such things):


You can see this as a puzzle, or you can see it as a wordless cartoon. In either case, it draws on a piece of popular culture, and if you don’t have that, you’re lost.

For Kim, the big point was phonological, but the cultural reference is crucial.


Julian and Sandy

September 9, 2016

(Some coarse sexual slang, so it might not be to everyone’s taste.)

From the August issue (pp. 37-39) of The Advocate, “Speaking Lavender” by Chadwick Moore, about Bill Leap and the Lavender Languages and Linguistics Conferences (Lav Lgs 23 in February 2016 at American University, Washington DC; Lav Lgs 24 in April 2017 at the University of Nottingham (UK)), with the subtitle: “From Regency England to 1920s Harlem to Miss Piggy, gay vernacular has given voice to homosexual identity and desire in a hostile world. It still does.” and a section on Polari (and its scholar and champiom Paul Baker). Eventually the story leads us to the campy queens Julian and Sandy, and from there by sound associations to the remarkable entertainment (also campy) Façade, uniting the playful poetry of Edith Sitwell and the music of William Walton, notably in the “Valse” / “Waltz” movement beginning “Daisy and Lily”.


How sweet the daphne smells

September 7, 2016

… and how poisonous it is.

A birthday present from Chris Waigl (plants and poetry, with something of an Edward Gorey twist) , this note:

I was thinking of you the other day when I remembered a little (somewhat twee) poem my mother liked. It’s from a German humorous herbarium (the book is called Heiteres Herbarium [‘Bright/Cheerful Herbarium’]) by someone with the extraordinarily Bavarian name Karl Heinrich Waggerl. The book’s still in copyright [and is described as lyric poetry], so there doesn’t seem to be much online. Apparently, it sold extremely well for a book of, at least on the surface, poetry.
The poem I was thinking of was about the pretty, traditionally medicinally used (and quite poisonous) Seidelbast (Daphne mezereum). Not native to the Americas and therefore not much talked about here. It has a ton (dozens) of common names in German. I knew it as Zeiland in Austria and Lorbeerkraut (lit. laurel herb) at home. Much lore and warnings. The poem is a warning, too, with a quasi-moral level of meaning and at the same time a … rhyme at the end that marks it as jocular.


Gorey the illustrator

August 31, 2016

Just posted on Pinterest by Terry Castle, a set of nine book covers by Edward Gorey, illustrating the range of his work for Doubleday Anchor Books. Two examples here of books Gorey might have been expected to feel some association with, but there are also a number of books the company apparently just passed on to him:




Osmunda, Königin des Waldes

August 29, 2016

Yesterday’s morning name, Osmunda (a genus of ferns), here understood as a central royal figure of an opera (like Die Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte) or an operetta (like Die Csárdásfürstin, Gräfin Maritza, or Die Zirkusprinzessin).


Iatrogenic grammar sickness

August 28, 2016

From 8/26 on Lithub, “How a Self-Published Writer of Gay Erotica Beat Sci-Fi’s Sad Puppies at their Own Game”, by M. Sophia Newman:

When I was a little kid, my mother would come into the bedroom I shared with two of my sisters each night and read us a book before we slept. Inevitably, a minor fight would erupt over whose bed beside which Mom would sit

Another WTF moment, to go along with the moment of failed anaphoric reference in my posting of the 26th. In this case, it’s hard to believe that the boldfaced relative clause comes from a native speaker of English, but it was, by a professional writer, in fact — and that’s surely the source of the problem. (In contrast, the source of the problem in the anaphoric reference example is almost surely that its writer was unpracticed at the task.)

In brief, Newman would never have committed the bizarre strangulated relative clause above — let’s call it Hern — if she hadn’t been subjected to rotten advice about how to write and taken it to heart: she was told that stranded P (“ending with a preposition”) is a grammatical disorder, which can, fortunately, be treated by a simple procedure, fronting the P. That is, the putatively malformed relative clauses

which/that/∅ Mom would sit beside

(in the Strand family) should be remedied by relocating the P beside (to the front of the relative clause) and using the (prosthetic) relative pronoun which to support it. The result of this procedure  is the appalling Hern, actually a bit of sick grammar caused by ill-advised therapy: iatrogenic grammar sickness.


Dress for success

August 15, 2016

Another item unearthed today: a collage of sorts (well, an altered poster) from 1998, amended by Chris Ambidge in 2000:

It’s all about clothing and displaying the body.