Archive for the ‘Categorization and Labeling’ Category

The dubious appetizer board

October 26, 2022

A digression from today’s intended posting, “The groaning phallic board”, the final chapter in the story of a raunchy appetizer board, which began in my 10/20 posting “The Funny Aperitif Board”. One of the photos of this appetizer board:


A Facebook ad for a wooden appetizer board in the outline shape of the male genitals (head with frenulum and urinary cleft), gently bent shaft, and testicles — highly stylized, highly schematic, but with these crucial details; shown here with the compartments filled with appetizers of various sorts, and with accompanying bowls of other appetizers

The story continued in my posting yesterday, “Appetizer boards”, about two conceptual categories — the foodstuff category to which appetizers belong (call it SMALL-START-FOOD); and the implement category to which food-service boards and platters belong (call it FOOD-SERVER-THING) — and the accompanying lexical fields of appetizer vocabulary and appetizer-board vocabulary.

I then went to collect some more images of the raunchy appetizer board and similar objects, only to discover some really fishy stuff (which is what this posting is about). And then I was struck down for the rest of the day by overwhelming exhaustion and deep, unpleasant sleep. So this my Mary, Queen of Scots Not Dead Yet posting for the day.

The intended posting, “The groaning phallic board”, is still to come, and it has lots of surprising neat stuff in it that turned up in my searches for appetizer-board images.  Just not today.

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Appetizer boards

October 25, 2022

A follow-up to my 10/20/22 posting “The Funny Aperitif Board”, with its entertaining word confusion between appetizer and aperitif — but now getting serious about the two categories involved in the compound appetizer board:

the foodstuff category to which appetizers belong (call it SMALL-START-FOOD);

and the implement category to which food-service boards and platters belong (call it FOOD-SERVER-THING)

I’ll put off the funny part — the (intentionally) phallic appearance of the appetizer board in question — for a third posting in this series, taking off from my 9/11/22 posting “Plush life” (with its distinction between four modes of phallicity). But before we go on to ransack the modern English lexicon, let’s stop to appreciate the inspiration for all of this, the Grassooze appetizer board, laden with meal-preliminary foodstuffs:

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My sister-in-law’s birthday

October 23, 2022

Marriage with deceased wife’s sister is trivial, whatever vexations it might have presented to British light-opera law. I’m here to talk about birthday celebrations for deceased husband-equivalent’s deceased brother’s wife: Virginia Bobbitt Transue; of Auburn AL for most of the year, Machiasport ME during the summer; nurturer of chamber music in Auburn and of a family spread around the country;  energetic, enthusiastic, and charming friend of nearly five decades now; and a kid, a whole month younger than me (my birthday is 9/6), so that there’s a month in the fall when I am nominally a year older than she is (the scheme of reckoning ages in our culture has its goofy corners), but that this is righted on 10/12 — the day after NCOD, National Coming Out Day (which is a big thing in my world) — and she and I always take note of the event. 1940 rules!

That was, alas, 11 days ago ago — my life has been overfull with event and then I’ve been felled by sickness — but now I’m here to effervesce a little more about Virginia and then, in a second posting (to come  in a while) to go all social-sciency on you with observations about the (often covert) kinship categories in my sociocultural world and about the labels we use in English for the relationships in question, which enable me to talk about her as my sister-in-law — ‘the wife of the brother of my husband’ = ‘my husband’s brother’s wife’ — and her to talk about me as her brother-in-law — ‘the husband of the brother of her husband’ = ‘her husband’s brother’s husband’.

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Microphallic symbols from Pretzelvania

September 24, 2022

(Content warning: considerable phallic talk, but with distanced vocabulary and no vivid images.)

It started back on 7/22 with a Facebook ad for the pretzels.com (hereafter, P.C) company, a page of (highly flavored) pretzel sticks looking routinely rod-like and therefore phallic — plus, you put them in your mouth, and they’re salty, like, whew, semen (for some of us, this is in fact a plus, but de gustibus non est disputandum).


(#1) In other words: eat me!

I sent away for some P.C pretzel sticks to see what they were like — brief answer, variously yummy (I tried the beer cheese, buttermilk ranch, and green chile bbq flavors), but tiny and cute (like 1.5in long), so if phallic, then microphallic (see below) — and then more recently ordered in some everyday pretzel rods (from Snyder’s of Hanover (PA)), which turn out to be of gay-porn standard length (just over 7in, significantly above the American phallic mean, which is roughly 5.5in, with a standard deviation of roughly .5in, so that most of us are between 5 and 6 inches, and about 95% of us between 4.5 and 6.5 inches).

Then, P.C makes a lot of being “baked fresh in “Pretzel Country” Pennsylvania, home to the very first commercial pretzel company”. Pretzelvania turns out — unsurprisingly — to be pretty much Pennsylvania Dutch Country (PaDuCo), which is where I was born and grew up, just up the road from a third southeastern PA pretzel company, Tom Sturgis Pretzels (“America’s First Pretzel Baking Family”), in the Reading area.

So, to come, the three Ps: pretzels, penises (real and symbolic), and PaDuCo.

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Moon Over Palo Alto

August 26, 2022

Facebook ads alert me to the fact that the Mid-Autumn Festival is fast coming — mooncakes! mooncakes! time to get your mooncakes! —  and that it’s on the early side this year — Saturday 9/10 (with the holiday extending over the next two days) — so comes just a few days after my 82nd birthday, Tuesday 9/6, which this year is the day after the American end-of-summer holiday Labor Day (also a MascMeatHol, that is, masculine meat holiday, though this posting will be meatless).

I have decided to more or less wrap most of  these things together into a Moon Over Palo Alto event, with red bean mooncakes (no yolk) that I have already ordered, on a day during the 9/3-9/10 period (day, time, and place still to be determined) in honor of 1982, which has lots of good associations, including red bean mooncakes (acquired in San Francisco’s Chinatown that spring for Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky’s 17th birthday, Valentine’s Day regularly coming close to Lunar New Year — another mooncake holiday).

What I’m about to acquire:


(#1) A box of 4 Imperial Palace red bean mooncakes (no yolk); the red beans in question (here, in the form of a sweetened paste filling the mooncakes) are not the red beans of the New Orleans dish called red beans and rice, and the objects called mooncakes are (full-)moon-shaped but are not in the CAKE category of foodstuffs (instead, they’re in the PIE category)

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Knuckle macaroni

August 17, 2022

Yesterday’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, at the grocery store:


(#1) Wayno’s title: Joint Replacement (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

So: let’s start with elbow macaroni and go on from there.

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Mi okapi es su okapi

August 12, 2022

From Bert Vaux on Facebook on 8/10, one in a series of digitally altered artworks:


(#1) [BV caption:] “renaissance portrait of herd of okapis with king’s college cambridge in background, digital art”

My FB response: I’m just fond of okapis. We need more okapi art.

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How did you come to be this way?

May 24, 2022

(A few references to man-on-man sexual acts, which I have, contrary to my usual practice, reworded with technical terminology, rather than plain street talk, so as not to contaminate this whole posting for some readers. But the references remain.)

Today’s Zippy strip:


(#1) Ah, the peri-natal trauma: the film podfolk have robbed Lippy of the ability to experience pleasure

But as Bill Griffith fully realizes, it’s a pressing question: how do we come to be the way we are? Framing the answer in this preposterous fashion only points up the complexity and mystery of the question. And how it nags at us: could I have been otherwise?

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In the menswear ROJ

May 15, 2022

As in yesterday’s posting “Romper buddies”, about an ad for Romperjacks: not RAJ the land of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh, but ROJ the land of rompers, overalls, and jumpsuits. With a photo gallery. To whet your interest, two Romperjacks items:


(#1) The floridly beautiful Jungle Print romper


(#2) The elegant White Chateaux romper

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Romper buddies

May 14, 2022

Taking off from a delightful ad for Romperjacks on Facebook back in November and December:

Here I give you the ad photo, and inventory some of the things it inspires me to write about in future postings (several being themes from earlier postings on this blog).

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