Archive for the ‘Shoes’ Category

Stilettoed on the balcony

August 3, 2022

The killing of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri by a targeted U.S. drone strike (taking him down as he stood on a balcony) over the weekend in Afghanistan was described by an MSNBC commentator yesterday morning as

a stiletto strike:  with the N1 + N2 compound N stiletto strike ‘sudden (military) attack resembling a stiletto (in being very narrowly focused lethal weaponry)’; the sense of the N2 strike here is NOAD‘s 2 [a] a sudden attack, typically a military one

Possibly it was stiletto airstrike; it went by very fast, I haven’t seen another broadcast of it, and it’s not yet available on-line, so I can’t check — but I am sure of the N stiletto and the N strike and the intent of the commentator to commend the pinpoint accuracy of the operation.

It seems that the metaphor has been used occasionally in military circles for some years, but very rarely outside these circles, so that it came with the vividness of a fresh, rather than conventional, metaphor — but while it worked well for me (evoking the slim, pointed, lethal daggers of assassins), it might not have been so effective with others, whose mental image of a stiletto is the heel of a fashionable women’s shoe (slim and pointed,  but alluring rather than lethal).

Yes, the two senses (plus a few others that I won’t discuss here) are historically related, with the dagger sense the older and, in a series of steps, the source of the shoe sense. But of course ordinary speakers don’t know that, nor should they be expected to (such information is the province of specialists, historical linguists and lexicographers); what they know is how stiletto is used in their social world, and that’s likely to involve trendy footwear rather than medieval weaponry.

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Pride feet!

June 12, 2022

So announced Gwendolyn Alden Dean on Facebook yesterday, as she modeled her astonishing new Teva Rainbow Pride platform sandals (black straps, rainbow soles):


(#1) The platforms are 2.5ʺ  in the back, and those stripes are separate laminated layers, not just dye jobs; these particular sandals are “all-gender”; meanwhile, I note that Gwendolyn has definitely shapely feet (something I notice because no one would ever say such a thing about my feet; I’ll spare you the details)

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Woolly mammoths in Birkenstocks

May 27, 2022

Knowing that the woolly mammoth is my primary totem animal, Anneli Meyer Korn has pointed me to this little slice of the University District in Seattle:


(#1) The Woolly Mammoth shoe store, 4303 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105: “Comfortable, high quality, good-looking shoes and excellent customer service”

And from Wikipedia, on the excellent qualities of Mammuthus primigenius, the original woolly mammoth:

The woolly mammoth coexisted with early humans, who used its bones and tusks for making art, tools, and dwellings, and hunted the species for food.

M. primigenius provided humans with comfort, offering up its huge bones  to form into shelter, and beauty, in ivory carvings. Plus useful tools and life-sustaining meat. The Woolly Mammoth store’s shoes provide comfort and good looks, but can they be used as needles or stave off hunger? I thought not.

Still, those are damn fine shoes. Especially the Birkenstocks:

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Three cartoons for 4/12/22

April 12, 2022

(Warning: as is my way, a soupçon of smart-ass street talk.)

Two on gendered topics, plus another cartoon that’s incomprehensible unless you recognize one of its elements (and only incidentally has a gendered bit in that element).

Masculine identity for young teens in a One Big Happy (a re-play from 4/26/10 in my comics feed today); a display of femininity in today’s Rhymes With Orange; and then, in today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, on the equipment needed for a night lighthouse (with an incidental display of maleness).

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