Archive for the ‘Diners’ Category

Charlie’s Dog House Diner

July 29, 2023

From the great book of diners of fanciful design (compare, more generally: restaurants of fanciful design and motels of fanciful design), from Tim Evanson: Charlie’s Dog House Diner, 2102 Brookpark Rd, Cleveland OH:

(#1) The facade, representing a doghouse, with dogs; but this is just one face of the diner, which is otherwise of more ordinary form

Now: on the compound noun dog house; on Charlie’s Dog House Diner; on what is no doubt the most famous dog house in pop culture, Snoopy’s from the Peanuts comic strip; and on diners that have taken dog house entirely for its name value, without any attempt to mimic or represent a dog house — taking the Dog House Diner in Encinitas CA as one exemplar of these. Hot dogs! Getcher hot dogs here!


Auguries in a diner

June 5, 2023

Another brief posting. And yes, I am not dead yet, and my second breakfast — sriracha-spicy soy-salty Singapore-style rice noodles (which has shrimps and chunks of ham in it) with sliced mushrooms and a ton of chopped celery (wielding my excellent new kitchen angle knife!) in chicken broth — was yummy, and will make at least one more meal (several, if I decide to turn it into mostly-garbanzo soup, a sort of deranged Chinese posole).

Today’s Zippy strip finds our Pinhead musing poetically, à la Blake, on the symbolic potential of the diner:

It’s the initial quatrain of Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence”, as seen from a vinyl-covered counter stool

The original:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour


Zippy theorizes, syncretically, on the comic strips

January 31, 2023

🐅 🐅 🐅 tiger tiger tiger for Ultimate January, as we leave the darkest period of the year in my hemisphere

The 7/24/22 Zippy strip:


Zippy theorizes that comic-strip characters and their stories are an overlay of characters, personalities, settings, and tales from elsewhere in popular culture — in particular, from television shows. (Just to get some grip on these things in the real world, rather than ZippyWorld: Billy in The Family Circus has never marinated a duck breast.)

(Note: this is a Zippy strip, always liable to veer into surrealism and the injection of Zippreoccupations into things, so that not all the details are going to hang together coherently.)

Zippy offers these theories to Griffy from inside a sort of monument to pop-cultural syncretism, Davies’ Chuck Wagon Diner in Lakewood CO: something that was created as a reproduction of East Coast diner culture, but got crossed with the symbols of mythical cowboy culture, in the shape of a gigantic neon cowboy and a life-sized fiberglass horse. Located not in the dusty high plains of cowboy country, but on a commercial strip in a thoroughly built-up suburb of Denver. (I grant that you can at least see the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains from there.)


What I tell you three times is true

July 16, 2022

Today’s Zippy strip takes us to triple Dinerland in Rockford MI (as it was before it closed in 2011), in a celebration of the rule of three — a narrative principle that favors trios of events or characters in all sorts of contexts:

(#1) The Three Musketeers (in the Dumas novel and the movies), the Three Little Pigs (vs. the Big Bad Wolf in the fable), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (the 1966 epic spaghetti Western), and the Three Stooges (the vaudeville and slapstick comedy team best known for their 190 short films)

The rule of three in a little while, but first, the diners of Rockford MI (a town of a few thousand people about 10 miles north of Grand Rapids).


Vincent Price and his sushi at the Boulevard

February 17, 2022

Today’s Zippy strip has Griffy and Zippy inside the Boulevard Diner in Worcester MA while snow falls outside:

(#1) The two men exchange opinions about their two favorite things, which are definitely not raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens: Griffy’s (diners and snow) are more conventional, and are linked to their context; while Zippy’s (Vincent Price and sushi) are decidedly eccentric, and have no connection to the context or to each other

And now the time has come to speak of many things.


Il Castello del Formaggio

June 22, 2021

The 6/21 Zippy strip takes us to Kenosha WI, on the highway between Chicago and Milwaukee, along the shore of Lake Michigan — to the location of Mars Cheese Castle, which is why Zippy is there:

(#1) Nothing directly to do with the two principal foci of this blog — language and linguistics, gender and sexuality — but plenty on food, pop culture (along the roadside), and absurdist comedy

As for my interests, Kenosha does have the headquarters of Jockey International — hail to men’s underwear! — and a local woolly mammoth skeleton in its museum — my totem animal! — and, best of all in mid-America’s Land of Cheese, an annual fall Cheese-A-Palooza festival (devoted to the grilled cheese sandwich and to mac and cheese). But best of all is Mars Cheese Castle.


Chips on the west, Chip’s on the east

May 17, 2021

Yesterday’s (5/16) Zippy strip shows a Zippy-like Pinhead actor playing the Zippy role in the comics; Zippy strips often advance the unsettling view that characters in the comics are, or at least can be, just roles that are played by actors, who have lives of their own, outside the strips their characters appear in. But then (as here) these Zippy strips sometimes feature such actors as characters in the strips, hence as roles that can themselves be played by actors. And so on down the surrealistic rabbit-hole.


So much for the content of the strip. My attention was immediately caught by the diner, Chips, that the Zippy-actor is studying his script in, and its arresting architecture, which cries out “L.A.!” So it is.

But a search for “Chips diner” pulls up as its first hit a set of 5 east-coast eating establishments, the Chip’s Family Restaurants located throughout Connecticut — equally offering old-fashioned diner fare, but architecturally crying out “New England!”


By their consumer products you shall know them

March 11, 2021

The Zippy strip from two days ago (3/9) on the roadside culture of working-class (and largely white and male) North America:

(#1) By their consumer products you shall know them: gas, energy drinks, cigarettes, lottery tickets, candy, batteries, beef jerky — “everything anyone could ever need”

The strip is dominated by the Irving gas station, with its accompanying Mainway convenience store. Irving Mainway, which looks and sounds like a man’s name, and so has taken on  lives of its own. Beyond the gasoline from Irving, Mainway can offer Red Bull, motor oil, smokes, and maybe a frozen burrito.


The allusive shark shack

February 11, 2021

Today’s Zippy has Zippy and Claude strolling in a fantasy city not unlike San Francisco (note the analogue of the Transamerica Tower) and remarking on an advertising display, a shark fin extolling “Joe’s seafood shack [or possibly Joe’s Seafood Shack] on the waterfront”, a fantasy eating establishment:


Now, Zippy strips are often about/in specific diners (and motels and fast food restaurants and casual dining places and bowling alleys etc.), places that (with some work) can be tracked down (from their names and/or locations) and depicted (there’s a Page on this blog on my postings about these strips.

But #1 is different. Pretty clearly, it’s not about some actual seafood shack (or Seafood Shack) that advertises with a shark fin, but spins a little fantasy on such eating places as a type.

However, it might still be a (suggestive) allusion to one such specifc place, especially if there’s (just) one that’s well-known over a wide area. An allusion doesn’t have to be exact in detail; close will do.


Loss of perspective

January 2, 2021

Today’s (1/2/21) Zippy strip, set in a diner tucked away in a corner of the small rural town of Hillsville VA:

(#1) Virgil is the counterman at the Hillsville Diner; the other speaker is an unnamed (and flatly drawn) Dingburger customer

Note that Bill Griffith’s drawing of the Hillsville Diner is perspectival, as his drawings generally are. The shift to a flat line drawing half-way though the strip is jarring.