Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Buzz me, baby

March 19, 2020

Today’s Calvin and Hobbes re-run strip, on Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs (CFSBs), which offer “100% of the daily recommended allowance of caffeine”:


(#1) Just in case you had a fleeting moment of wondering about it, there is no caffeine RDA (recommended dietary allowance — recommended by the US National Research Council); the RDAs are for nutrients, and caffeine is not a nutrient

C&H Sugar Bomb strips. Hummingbird metabolism. The getting-high sense of the noun buzz and its verbing. The near-instant buzz of concentrated caffeine. Adalbert Stifter’s 1845 novella Bergkristall.

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Write about what you know

March 4, 2020

An alert from Phil Rubin about this Tom Gauld cartoon:

(#1)

Gauld — who has a Page on this blog — does a lot of strips on genre writing of various kinds, including a series on mystery fiction (two more below). This one plays on the advice given to writers to write about what you know, so that if you want to write about some subculture, you’ll need to immerse yourself in it — to become, insofar as this is possible, an insider.

Somewhat problematic if you want to write about murders. On the other hand, murder mysteries are devices for taking readers into little worlds they might know nothing of — quaint English country villages, or change-ringing, or medieval monasteries, or thoroughbred racing, or Australian aboriginal life, whatever. Or several themes at once, as Edith Maxwell has done with murder mysteries set in 19th-century New England, among Quaker midwives. (Edith is herself a Friend in Amesbury MA, so she has first-hand knowledge of some of this; the historical setting and the midwifery, however, are acts of imagination, fostered by research.)

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Timothy and Agrimony

February 25, 2020

(Plants, but also gay male life, with the latter focus leading to talk of mansex in street language (also with some deeply carnal (but fuzzed) photos of 69ing), so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

My morning names for 2/15: timothy and agrimony. A familiar crop grass (for grazing and hay) and a yellow-flowered bitter-tasting medicinal herb. Then these personified as two queer types: Timothy — called Timmy — the twink, a cute country boy, a hayseed, sometimes found with a stalk of grass between his teeth; and Agrimony — called Agro — the bitter old queen, jaded, sharp-tongued, largely disaffected with the queer community and feeling alienated from those in it.

The two men are of course unlikely to hook up, or even have anything to do with one another socially, but they share one bit of their sexual makeup: they both adore 69, find the exchange deeply satisfying. But characteristically, they prefer different positions for the act.

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Lincoln Darwin Valentine Day

February 13, 2020

(Uncompromisingly raunchy references to male bodyparts and mansex, so absolutely not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Lincoln Darwin Valentine Day lies in the cleft between Lincoln Darwin Day, February 12th, and Valentine’s Day, February 14th. It is a day of unbridled mansexual excess, coming as it does between the high seriousness of the day that honors two towering figures — two Great Men — of the 19th century and the romantic heterosexual excesses of Valentine’s Day. It’s Carnal Carnival without reference to the religious calendar (actual Mardi Gras can fall any time between February 3rd and March 9th).

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The rose parade

February 9, 2020

… with figurative roses. Recent gifts to me of many kinds: symbolic roses for me, in accord with a 1/29/20 posting of mine on a line from the Sacred Harp: “Give me the roses while I live” (SH340 Odem (Second)). I’m an old man, currently writing things under the Python Queen of Scots cry “Not Dead Yet”. Meanwhile, I have been given some excellent roses.

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The Dread Pirate Swisserhand

February 7, 2020

A Dale Coverly Speed Bump cartoon from 2012:


(#1) Not just the pirate captain of legend — Captain Hook from Peter Pan — with his hook, but one with a whole Swiss Army knife of tools as his (right) hand, in the spirit of Edward Scissorhands (this is where the prisoner says, “That’s funny, you don’t look Swiss”)

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HardSoft

November 18, 2019

(Hunky young men with very little on, in a sexualized context, so not for everyone.)

The Daily Jocks ad for 11/13, with ad copy, plus a caption, and then further illustrations for the caption:


(#1) “Introducing the Covert collection by [fantasy homowear company] CellBlock13: This jockstrap features a snap off pouch made of luxuriously smooth coated PU [polyurethane] that showcases your goods just right, and extra-soft fleece w/ u-bulge on the inside will feel great against your package. Available in Red, Blue & Khaki.”

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The Potato Fried

October 27, 2019

A Wayno cartoon from 4/11/16, an exercise in cartoon understanding:


(#1) “My name is Idaho Montoya. You peeled my father. Prepare to fry.”

(See the comments. It turns out that Wayno’s original was wordless, so this caption was added by some wag  — who deserves credit.)

If you don’t get a crucial reference, the cartoon is just silly, two cartoon potatoes having a duel with potato peelers. So you need to recognize that the figures are anthropomorphized potatoes, and that the things they are wielding are potato peelers. Then there are potato references in each sentence of the challenge: Idaho, famously a source of potatoes in the US; peeling, a step in preparing potatoes for many sorts of dishes; and frying, one common method of cooking potatoes (in French fries, for instance).

You will probably also catch the groaner pun in Prepare to fry, based on the stock expression from popular adventure fiction, Prepare to die.

But otherwise, it’s just a bit of fanciful silliness. In fact, it’s rich and complex, if you’re in on the jokes.

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Chocolate-covered amidst the statuary

September 21, 2019

Today’s Zippy takes us to the shore of Lake Erie, in the roadside realm of Dolly Dimples (but, startlingly, it will end with the minstrel-show character Rastus and the Cream of Wheat box; you never know where things will go these days):

(#1)

DD is actually selling chocolates, statuary, and tchotchkes, not hamburgers. Her head is indeed unrealistically gigantic, but even with this selling point she’s probably not going to leave Silver Lake NY to pursue a failed movie career in L.A. (note the whimsical tense-aspect-mood semantics of intending to pursue a failed career).

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The outrage of a new menu

September 18, 2019

Today’s Zippy takes us to the banks of the Connecticut River in Chicopee MA, to a historic diner, and to the bizarre foods that Zippy fancies:


(#1) If you’re Zippy, everything goes better with a dollop of Valvoline on it — and, maybe, some canned beets:

(#2)

Zippy and Gladys are in Al’s Diner, a well-known feature of Chicopee, a northern industrial city that took advantage of the falls on the Connecticut to drive mills — which then entangled the place in the slave economy of the early 18th century.

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