Archive for the ‘Figurative language’ Category

I wandered lonely as a pork cloud

March 15, 2018

Yes, pork cloud. What the Bacon’s Heir company has re-named their version of chicharrones, aka (fried) pork rinds, which they believe are so fluffy that they have to be thought of as pork puffs:

We take fresh pork skin, melt off the fat, cure the skin in salt, and rapidly puff it in olive oil [so: pork skin puffs]. The result is so outrageously fluffy we had to change the name.

To my ear, the name is risible, very close to oxymoronic.


Mistakes in avian medicine

March 13, 2018

Brought to my attention on Facebook by Chris Hansen, this grotesque Bizarro from 2013:


A real test in cartoon understanding, this one. Some readers on Facebook never got it, many (including me) took a few moments to figure it out.


Four exercises in cartoon understanding

January 27, 2018

Two from the January 29th New Yorker, a recent Bizarro, and yesterday’s Rhymes With Orange, all requiring considerable background knowledge to understand:


This week’s stellar typo

January 24, 2018

(Passing references to various sexual practices, so you might want to use your judgment.)

Today’s mail labeled [SPAM:#####]:


The ad copy is seriously non-native English, so liquid pears for liquid pearls is an unsurprising typo, though the image of a man ejaculating liquid pears — pear brandy (Poire William(s)), for instance), pear liqueur, or pear cider — has a certain kinky charm to it.

The text in the video is clean, idiomatic English, right down to liquid pearls ‘semen’.


A zeugmoid in high office

January 4, 2018

Elizabeth Joh on Twitter today, reporting this statement from [REDACTED]:

Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.

which she identified as zeugma, though that’s not quite right.


Adventures in buggery and beanbags

December 18, 2017

On ADS-L, Wilson Gray reported getting an announcement of a contest in which the prizes were Sutliff cornhole boards. Wilson was taken aback by this; obviously, the cornhole of cornhole board wasn’t the cornhole (an anatomical noun and a related sex-act verb) he was familiar with. Respondents pointed Wilson to information about a lawn game — called, among other things, cornhole — in which participants toss weighted bags at round holes in boards.

From NOAD:

noun cornhole: 1 a game in which small bags filled with dried corn are tossed at a target consisting of an inclined wooden platform with a hole at one end: many are introduced to cornhole at a tailgate or family outing. 2 vulgar slang the anus.

verb cornhole: [with object] vulgar slang have anal intercourse with (someone).

So there’s the vulgar cornhole ‘anus, asshole’ or ‘to bugger’ — call this anal cornhole — which is about a hundred years old, and there’s cornhole naming a lawn game — call this ludic cornhole, which is on the order of 35 years old. What they share is the round hole and the act of putting something through that hole: ludic cornhole is clearly a metaphorical development from anal cornhole, a development encouraged by the fact that the bags in the game are often filled with dried corn (beanbags will serve as well, and plastic pellets, though not traditional, make a durable alternative to corn or beans as stuffing).


Exercises in high macho style

December 11, 2017

Passing between channels on my tv on the 6th, I caught a moment from the show Mr. Robot (S3 E9) in which Terry Colby, an exec at the Allsafe Corporation, spins out a riff in high-macho figurative language, a piece of crude poetry:

That’s all teddy bears and hand jobs, but what are your financials?  We can’t wake up one day and find ourselves tits up, dicks blowing in the breeze.

The masterstroke in all this is all teddy bears and hand jobs, an invention intended to convey an ironic, dismissive version of the high-toned all sweetness and light or, better, the vernacular all beer and skittles ‘all fun and pleasure’ (skittles, the game of ninepins)


sharp, sour

November 8, 2017

My morning name from a few weeks ago was the technical term oxytone. From NOAD2:

adj. oxytone: (especially in ancient Greek) having an acute accent on the last syllable.

with an etymology < Gk. ὀξύτονος, oxýtonos, ‘sharp-sounding’. with the first of our ‘sharp’ elements in modern English: OXY, oxy– (from Greek) or oxi– (from Latin).

As a prosodic term in Greek, it’s part of the set:

oxytone – paroxytone – proparoxytone

corresponding to the more familiar Latin terms:

ultimate – penultimate – antepenultimate

— that is,

final, last – next to last, second from the end – third from the end

OXY is familiar from the rhetorical term oxymoron < Gk. ὀξύς oksús ‘sharp, keen, pointed’ + μωρός mōros ‘dull, stupid, foolish’ — as it were, ‘sharp-dull’, referring to apparently contradictory combinations of expressions.

But wait, there’s more!


From the great Anatomic War

November 8, 2017

Q: Did they ever have anatomic war?
A: Have you never heard of the great Anatomic War and one of its signal encounters, the 1346 Battle of Extremities, in which the Phalanges, with their long bones, overwhelmed the armored Carpals and Metacarpals?

(#1) Phalanges shooting down the Carpal and Metacarpal forces


In a bun, in a bun!

November 5, 2017

Today’s Bizarro:


(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbol in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there’s just one in this strip — see this Page.)

Hairstyles; baked goods, including buns, rolls, and loaves; buttocks; and of course Monty Python’s lupin(e) bandit Dennis Moore