Archive for the ‘Metaphor’ Category

Words at the Java Lanes

June 27, 2022

Today’s Zippy strip is a triple riff on masspop culture — on bowling as recreation, on the Googie style of architecture, and on Polynesian-stye “Tiki” culture (architecture, food and drink, and entertainment) — enlivened by our Pinhead’s fascination with words (and the images they call up), here with: bowl, Java, lane, cocktail, alley, ball. Cocktail, with its combination of sexual associations (plus penumbral associations with mai tais and other Polynesian-associated drinks), gets a panel all to itself, so setting the tone for interpreting the rest:


(#1) As usual, the setting is taken from real life; those are drawings of Java Lanes in Long Beach CA (3800 E. Pacific Coast Highway) — but a Java Lanes from the past, since the place was demolished in 2004, almost 20 years ago, to be turned into condos

The historical setting, first from the bowling point of view, then from the architectural and Tiki-culture point of view:

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Prone, splayed, and humped up

June 13, 2022

(Warning: this posting starts out being about food, but quickly shifts into man-on-man sex, in very plain anatomical and interactional language, so it’s not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

The morning name from 6/7: spatchcock. From NOAD on spatchcock:

noun: a chicken or game bird split open and grilled. verb [with object] [a] split open (a poultry or game bird) to prepare it for grilling: these small spring chickens can be bought already spatchcocked. [b] informal, mainly British add (a phrase, sentence, clause, etc.) in a context where it is inappropriate: a new clause has been spatchcocked into the Bill. ORIGIN late 18th century (originally an Irish usage). [but in any case, the cock in question refers to poultry and not to penises]

Illustrated on the Fifteen Spatulas site, in “Spatchcock Chicken” by Joanne Ozug on 12/7/18:


(#1) [from the site:] Spatchcock Chicken roasts in half the time of a whole trussed chicken, and also cooks more evenly. … Once you spatchcock, you don’t go back to roasting whole chickens.

I had two visceral responses to the photo: one, as an umami-loving carnivore, my mouth watered in pleasurable anticipation of consuming that spatchcocked chicken; and two, as a hookup-loving pedicant, my sexual parts all tingled in pleasurable recollection of past encounters in which I was that spatchcocked chicken. On my belly, legs apart, buttocks in the air. Or, more briskly: prone, splayed, humped up. (You have to make some allowances for the anatomical differences between your typical roasted chicken and me in heat, so that drumsticks ≈ buttocks.)

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Angel Band

May 6, 2022

(At various points, there will be moments of plain talk about men’s genitals and man-on-man sex, so this posting is dubious for kids and the sexually modest.)

Yesterday in my posting “Joyous praise”, about joyous praise of God, joyous praise for military victory, and joyous praise for victory over death:

in this vein [of joyous praise of God] … is this exulting carol by Jeremiah Ingalls, “Glory to God on High”, Andrew Parrott leading the Taverner Choir and the Taverner Consort (Warner, 1989), link here. And it has angels: give me angels (muscular angels, angels of power, not delicate or cute angels) or trumpets (equally powerful) or both, and I’m in

The angels and trumpets then took me from the music of joy to music expressing a quite different emotion through similar means: the music of hope. Such music expresses longing for the release of death — release from the pains and tribulations of earthly life — and for the reward of eternal life in heaven with Jesus / God, this reward achieved by rebirth, by resurrection and transportation to heaven. This is gospel music.

And despite the fact that I don’t hold any of the beliefs that undergird gospel music, I am passionately attached to much of it, for reasons both narrative — the (metaphorical) stories that gospel music tells are wonderful stories, deeply satisfying emotionally (oh, to be carried away on the wings of angels to a world free from pain and full of delight!) — and musical — much of the music is fabulous, in both tune and text.

You get angels in both the music of joy and the music of hope, but they serve different functions: for joy, the angels announce the good news to you, as in the Ingalls fanfare; for hope, the angels provide a means for you to satisfy your longings, as in the gospel song Angel Band (which is what this posting is mostly about). In both cases, the angels are resplendent, bathed in light, and robust, loudly trumpeting the good news or sturdily bearing souls away. They are beautiful; they are powerful; they are intense, awesomely so. (Cue the archangel Michael.)

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The Merry Homomonth of May

May 3, 2022

(Men’s genitals, man-on-man sex, lots of street talk about them, entirely unsuitable for kids and the sexually modest.)

The Merry Homomonth of May on my two male calendars for 2022: the Tom of Finland calendar (which is mostly free of naughty bits) in my living room, where visitors (I do have an occasional one) can see it; the Cocky Boys / CockyBoys / Cockyboys calendar (which is all about the naughty bits) stashed away in my bedroom, where it can be viewed from my bed and so can provide me with an inspirational penis boost as called for by the exigencies of the moment.

So, in order: the ToF, which turns out to be primarily (though not exclusively) about gay men’s nipples, or tits, as we usually call them (metonymically); and then three months of CockyBoy cocks (April through June).

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The cadenza and the coda

April 29, 2022

Morning names for today (4/29), set off by a cadenza in a Mozart piano concerto that was playing when I got up just after midnight for a brief whizz break. The word cadenza led me immediately to coda, both musical bits coming at the end, also both sounding sort of Italian (which, in fact, they once were), indeed sounding very similar at their beginnings (/kǝd/ vs. /kod/) — but it turns out that though their etymologies both go back to Latin, a cadenza is a falling (or, metaphorically, a death) and a coda is a tail.

(#1) A tv ad: Help me! I’m in a cadenza and I can’t get up!

(#2) A linguistic Tom Swifty: “Coda, my ass! That’s a coati or a koala, I don’t know which”, quoted Cody in Kodiak.

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A masculinity meze: face men

April 27, 2022

(This has turned out to be quite a large meze, but it’s only about one idiomatic slang expression. Well, men and masculinity come into the thing, and you know what can happen then.)

Reflecting a couple days ago on my Princeton days (1958-62) and the tangle of the attitudes of the (all-male) students at the time towards (among things) masculinity, male affiliation (as systematized in a pervasive system of male bands, the eating clubs of the time), women, homosexuals, race, and social class. The topic is vast, also deeply distressing to me personally, and I suspect that I’ll never manage to write about the bad parts of it in any detail — note: there were some stunningly good parts — but in all of that I retrieved one lexical item of some sociolinguistic interest (and entertainment value), one slang nugget: the idiomatic N1 + N2 compound noun face man / faceman / face-man.

A common noun frequently used among my friends, which was then also deployed as a proper noun nicknaming one of our classmates, a young man notable for his facial male beauty: everybody had to have a nickname (mine was Zot, for the Z of my name and the cartoon anteater), so we called him Face Man because he was a face man.

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The fruitcake and the meze

April 24, 2022

The fruitcake is a metaphor, applied first of all here to  my 4/20 posting “Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen!” — a huge, complex mixture of writing about joy, playfulness, sex, story-telling, intertwined narrative, human nature, memory, artistic performance, Purcell, Jeremiah Clarke, Mendelssohn, Shakespeare, Schubert, Mozart, my life as a child, Lenore Barth and her family, my life with Ann Daingerfield, my life with Jacques Transue, my despair at the evil in the world, and, oh Christ, much more. All compounded together in such a way that no individual topic can easily be pulled out of the mixture. Like a fruitcake.

(You then get the allusion to (offensive) fruit ‘male homosexual’ for free.)

And then this metaphor applied to personal identities, most pointedly mine. Also enormously complex mixtures, a fact merely hinted at my assertions in the 4/20 posting:

I am a prole, proud of it, a union guy from the age of 17 on; I am also a distinguished university professor and all that other good shit.

And then, and then, and then … I am in fact a giant fruitcake of identities, and so are you (just not the same ones).

What about a metaphor counterposed to the fruitcake metaphor? In particular, how do we characterize postings that present pretty much one thing at a time, with the understanding that the postings are parts of some larger assemblage?

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Easter bunnies

April 10, 2022

(Intensely into men’s sexual parts and man-on-man sexual acts, in street language, so completely inappropriate for kids and the sexually modest.)

Today is Palm Sunday, and then next weekend come Good Friday (plus the first day of Passover) and Easter Sunday. (I might have left the church, but I still have the liturgical calendar in my head.) The religious holiday of Easter is, as the Christians tell it, a remembrance of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

The modern American secular holiday of Easter is a wholly different occasion, with Easter parades (with hats), Easter bunnies (and some chicks), Easter baskets (lined with green faux-grass), Easter eggs (actual hard-boiled eggs, candy eggs of many sorts, decorative eggs of plastic, metal, jewels, whatever), egg hunts, chocolate, Peeps, god knows what else. All of it at some considerable distance from Golgotha.

For Easter this year, two things: a Mike Twohy cartoon in the 4/11/22 issue of the New Yorker. On rabbits, easter egg hunts, and modern corporate culture. And then in an e-mail ad a few days ago for a Next Door Studios gay porn flick for Easter. Featuring Easter eggs, a grotesque outsized Easter Bunny figure, and a visual metaphor for gay spitroasting (a three-man sexual act) — those eggs are poised at both ends of a naked, sexually receptive man.

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The Aussie firedog

April 8, 2022

(There will be a few excursions in passing about men’s bodies and man-on-man sex. If you can manage an appearance or two of the sexual verb fuck, you’ll be ok.)

From Ann Burlingham a couple days ago, a greeting card with a photo from the 2020 Australian Firefighters calendar, showing a man and his dog:


(#1) How to read the man, how to read the dog, and how to read the relationship between them

It turns out that there’s an amazing amount of content packed into this photo — I’ll try to reveal a bit of it here — and the photo leads to much more, including andirons, Dalmatians, lexicography, and the cartoonist George Booth.

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Eight Days in Spring

April 5, 2022

Tuesday to Tuesday, linguistics on the march to take over the comics: the Zippy strip of Tuesday 3/29 (on names and things) and the xkcd cartoon for today, Tuesday 4/5 (on esthetic responses to words: from word attraction to word aversion). (Warning: the word aversion discussion will take us to a sexual act, typically between men, that I will discurse on in intimate detail, in a way that’s utterly inappropriate for kids and the sexually modest.)

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