Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Instant Brexit porn

June 27, 2016

The vote was on the 23rd, results announced on the 24th, and by today flamboyant gay pornographer Chuck Tingle has exploited Brexit for queer ends in a 37-page Kindle book (available from Amazon in the U.K.):


Offer offer offer offer

June 24, 2016

More offers from the Zwicky condos of Palo Alto. The offers come as packages: we’re ready to mail out a package for the cost of mailing and no more. If you want one of these collections, SEND E-MAIL to both me and Kim Darnell (who manages the mailing): and . With your postal address. PLEASE PLEASE don’t reply as a Facebook comment or message or a WordPress comment, since this offer is going out in multiple places.


Girl Genius

June 11, 2016

… a comic book, webcomic, and book series centered on the character Agatha Heterodyne:


Graduation Day

May 27, 2016

The cover of the May 30th New Yorker, “Commencement”:


A standard exercise on this blog: what do you have to know to understand what’s going on in this drawing? To see why it might be funny? (It could, of course,  just be an affectionate  portrait of an event of the season, not meant to be funny.)


Gerard Hoffnung

May 26, 2016

Like Thurber, Sendak, Briggs, and some others I’ve written about, another cartoonist / illustrator not generally accounted to be a Real Artist (perhaps at best a “graphic artist” like Bechdel) — especially since his work is funny, and meant to be. But he was a delight, the clear standout in the specialized field of cartoonists / illustrators / humorists who focus on the world of music. The occasion is my unearthing my copy of The Hoffnung Symphony Orchestra (originally published in 1955, reprinted in 1984), with its enormously enjoyable combination of hilarious exaggerated drawings of symphony musicians at work and preposterous invented instruments. A third vein of humor comes in some other books of his, especially Musical Chairs of 1958, with its hybrid concoctions of animal plus instrument (a cat playing on its whiskers as a violin, for example).

Seven examples follow. I had to exercise severe forbearance to keep from swamping you with Hoffnungiana.


Ballad of beef

May 25, 2016

(Not much about language.)

The Daily Jocks ad from yesterday, with a caption of mine:


His name was
Drogo, after the legendary
Horseman, but everyone called him
Oxo, because he was so


Male art: two views

May 22, 2016

(Despite the topic, the content of this posting is decorous.)

(Important proviso: in order to make the two books under discussion here comparable, I’ve focused entirely on male homosexuality. But the Reed book is even in its coverage of homosexuality and art for both sexes.)

Two books that came to me about the sane time in 2011 and have languished on my desktop ever since (I work very slowly and am easily distracted):

Christopher Reed,  Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas (Oxford Univ. Press, 2011)

Kevin Clarke, Porn from Andy Warhol to X-Tube: A Photographic Journey  (Bruno Gmünder, 2011)

The books are very different in tone: the Reed is a scholar’s book (about the interdependence of art and homosexuality in the Western tradition), the Clarke an enthusiast’s book (about the high-end gay visual porn business, mostly in the U.S.).  Reed is nicely but modestly illustrated, Clarke is lavishly illustrated in the Gmünder tradition, with many full-page displays of pornstars. But the two books overlap, especially in the figure of Andy Warhol.



May 20, 2016

Unearthed in my giant pile of books, Arthur Asa Berger’s The Comic-Stripped American: What Dick Tracy, Blondie, Daddy Warbucks, and Charlie Brown Tell us about Ourselves (1973), an early piece of cultural criticism based on the comics:


(That’s Mutt and Jeff on the cover.)

Berger on p. 1:

this is the first book I know of which deals with the way comics reflect our [American] culture.

If not actually the first, certainly a pioneering book.


paying for it

May 6, 2016

A graphic memoir by a veteran cartoonist:

A painfully honest accounting of Brown’s hiring women for sex (yes, not all the sex on this blog is gay sex — though there is a Page here for postings about male prostitution) and, separately (in a set of appendices, pp. 229-80), a case for the decriminalization of sex work.


Down on the farm

May 5, 2016

(Mostly about plants, but there are some points of linguistic interest.)

Yesterday, talk between Juan Gomez and me about weeds, prompted by my revisiting a wonderful gift from Steven Levine back in 2011 (posted about here on 7/6/11): Farm Weeds of Canada (2nd ed. 1923; 1st ed 1909), edited by George H. Clark, illustrations by Norman Criddle (Department of Agricuture, Dominion of Canada). More on the book and its excellent illustrations in a later posting; here the topic is two questions from Juan: What’s your favorite weed? What’s your least favorite weed?

Not easy questions, especially because each asks for just one plant, though a reasonable person might have several candidates. Then there’s the question of what counts as a weed; the Farm Weeds book isn’t just about plants growing where they’re not wanted (a common definion of weed), it’s about pest plants growing where they’re not wanted; any number of plants thrive as weeds in waste and disturbed places without giving grief — the little (scarlet) pimpernel, Anagallis, for instance (disussion in a 9/6/15 posting here) — and any number of lawn or garden escapes are in fact plants growing where they’re not wanted (escaped lawn grasses can easily become pests, in fact), but people don’t call them weeds (their ornamental function seems to take precedence). Finally, most weeds, even very invasive ones, have their good points: the common oxalis in these parts has lush green clover-like leaves and gorgeous yellow flowers, but it’s terribly invasive; poison ivy is dreadful, but its glossy leaves are handsome, and they turn bright red in the fall..

Having unloaded these reservations, I’ll still answer Juan’s questions: goldenrod good, dodder really really bad. With plates from Farm Weeds.



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