Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Budgies on the roadside

July 5, 2020

Two cartoons from March — I keep telling you I’m not on top of anything in my life — a One Big Happy from 3/3, about Ruthie and the name budgie; and a Zippy from 3/25, with “On the Roadside”, a burlesque of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.

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The ceramic grocery store

May 23, 2020

NOTE: The beginning of this posting is perfectly fine, but it turns out to be about not Stanford’s Steph Shih, but instead about a New York-based ceramic artist Stephanie H. Shih. From her website:

STEPHANIE H. SHIH explores concepts of home —— not just as a physical place, but also as cultural, generational, and emotional spaces we inhabit —— through the lens of Asian-American identity. Her work has been shown at the American Museum of Ceramic Art (Pomona, CA), Wieden+Kennedy (Portland, OR), and Hashimoto Contemporary (San Francisco, CA) and featured by NPR, Los Angeles Times, Vogue, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. She lives in Brooklyn.

(Rueful thanks to Patrick Callier for exposing my error to me.)

I will now attempt to reorganize the previous material to preserve the discussion of the ceramic art, which I find moving; and to preserve a celebration of Stanford graduate Steph Shih, for her multifarious academic and artistic talents

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The Age of Anxiety

May 22, 2020

That was January and February and it was unpleasant. Then things got really bad (last day out of the house on 3/8, then two brushes with death, but that’s not my topic here).

So: the Auden poem; FPNs (faggot persecution nightmares), one set off by Torch Song Trilogy; and the astonishing devastation of Beethoven’s “Rage Over a Lost Penny”.

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Bro Buddies

May 21, 2020

(Men’s bodies and mansex discussed in very plain language — not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

Bro Buddies, a recent gay porn flick from Falcon Studios, with three topics plucked from it: a bit of sexual slang; facial expressions communicating sexual messages and expressing emotions during sex; and detached body parts that take on a life of their own. Two images (way over the line for WordPress) are stashed away in a posting today on AZBlogX, “Cock run amok”; they’ll be described below.

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Edgar Allan Wrench

May 15, 2020

Time for a POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau), today in a Wayno/Piraro Bizarro strip: Edgar Allan Poe meets the Allen wrench:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

The two contributions: Poe and his story “The Premature Burial”; and the Allen wrench, or hex nut, a device analogous to an ordinary screwdriver, designed to tighten or free up  specially designed screws or bolts with a recessed hexagonal slot in their head.

Buried alive, with the casket top screwed or bolted down? Reach for your Allen wrench!

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The goblet with the hobbit has the wine that is fine

May 13, 2020

Yesterday’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, about gobs and goblets:


(#1) Wayno’s title: “Liquid Economics” (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

Start with the straightforward stuff: goblet vs. gob, with goblet playfully treated here as if it were gob + diminutive –let.

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Thrifty, Brave, Clean, & Flammable

May 8, 2020

Wayno’s title for today/s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, in which the world of summer scout camp for kids intersects with the complex fictional world of the animate marionette Pinocchio. To understand the cartoon, you need to recognize both of these worlds (a matter of considerable cutural knowledge); and to understand why it’s funny, you need specific detailed information about each of these worlds.


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page

The key words are kindling and fibs.

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Morning name: Bene Gesserit

May 3, 2020

Today’s name. From Wikipedia:


(Wikipedia caption) Reverend Mother Mohiam (Siân Phillips) and other Bene Gesserit, from David Lynch’s Dune (1984)

The Bene Gesserit are a key social, religious, and political force in Frank Herbert’s fictional Dune universe. The group is described as an exclusive sisterhood whose members train their bodies and minds through years of physical and mental conditioning to obtain superhuman powers and abilities that can seem magical to outsiders. Acolytes who have acquired the breadth of Bene Gesserit abilities are called Reverend Mothers within the organization’s ranks.

… Etymology: In Dreamer of Dune, Brian Herbert’s 2003 biography of his father, the younger Herbert speculates that the name “Gesserit” is supposed to suggest to the reader the word “Jesuit” and thus evoke undertones of a religious order. Like the Jesuits, the Bene Gesserit have been accused of using casuistry to obtain justifications for the unjustifiable.

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The Grim Mouser

April 16, 2020

The 4/13 Rhymes With Orange brings us the Grim Reaper and his cats (we know from Terry Pratchett that Death is fond of cats):

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We don’t know if this Grim Reaper is a general operator, reaping souls of many creatures, including mice; or whether this one is a specialist in mice — perhaps of a tribe, or race, of Grim Mousers; or of a professional guild of them. (See below, on the Death of Rats.)

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Stanko Day?

April 2, 2020

Yesterday was, as always on 4/1, April Fool’s Day, and just for this year, Census Day; but also Leonard Bloomfield’s birthday, an occasion with meaning for linguists. Yesterday was the 123rd anniversary of his birth.

On Facebook, I said of the occasion, “That ought to be some specially named anniversary” — and got two different proposals: one for naming a 123rd anniversary, one for re-naming Bloomfield’s birthday.

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