Archive for the ‘Metaphor’ Category

Dotty Zippy

November 16, 2022

The Zippy strip of 9/10, in which our Pinhead, anticipating little balls of flash-frozen ice cream, embraces dot dot dot in two ways at once:


(#1) Ellipsis dots meet Dippin’ Dots at the carnival

Two very different uses of NOAD‘s noun dot-1 ‘a small round mark or spot’ (dot-2 is an archaic noun referring to a dowry):

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The news for wieners

September 26, 2022

(Phallic preoccupations abound in this posting, sometimes in street language — I mean, look at the title above —  so some readers may want to skip over it)

Passed on by a friend on Facebook yesterday, this German grocery-store snapshot plus a joking double-entendre intro in English (together making what appears to be a a fast-spreading meme):


(#1) Hähnchenschnitten Wiener Art ‘Viennese-style chicken cutlets’ from the (German) Vossko company, the name of the product including the German phrase Wiener Art ‘Viennese-style’ — that is, prepared like Wiener SchnitzelWienerschnitzel); meanwhile, the English-language intro alludes to wiener art, in the sense ‘penis art’, referring to artworks in which penises are significant elements (or, in an hugely extended sense, to any artworks in which human penises are visible) — the label wiener art involving the (mildly racy) AmE sexual slang term wiener ‘penis’

German Wiener Art ‘Viennese-style’ (a) leads to English Wiener art ‘Viennese art’ (b) and then to four AmE slang uses of wiener art: (c) ‘sausage / frankfurter art’; (d) ‘dachshund art’; (e) ‘penis art’; (f) ‘weenie art’. All will be illustrated below.

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Linebacker or congressional reporter?

August 28, 2022

From MSNBC’s American Voices with Alicia Menendez this morning, under the header “Republicans criticize Justice Dept. for protecting state secrets in Trump documents”:


(#1) Screen shot: Murray, Broadwater, Menendez, Dowd

Former President Trump’s allies are demanding more “transparency” from federal authorities about the stash of classified records at Mar-a-Lago. “This seems to me the weakest part of their argument,” says CountryOverParty founder Matt Dowd. “The more things are put out, the worse it is for President Trump.” Dowd joined New York Times congressional reporter Luke Broadwater and New York University law professor Melissa Murray to unpack the newly unsealed Mar-a-Lago affidavit.

Broadwater’s reporting was nicely done, but my attention was captured at first by the thickness of his neck, closer to a linebacker’s than to a congressional reporter’s. Are the NYT‘s front-line reporters subjected  to repeated head confinements and impacts, as linebackers and wrestlers are? The sort of thing that would build up solid neck muscles supporting their heads? Are Broadwater’s excellent reporting chops just a cover for a secret — or former — life as a jock who can take a lot of abuse?

Broadwater has what is known, informally and metaphorically, as a bull neck (or bullneck). He’s not as extravagantly bullnecked as some linebackers, but, still, he’s definitely a bullneck boy (about his cheeks I cannot say).

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Three peanuts meet in a bar

August 18, 2022

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, requiring a boatload of popcultural knowledge to understand:


(#1) The easy part: these are three anthropomorphic peanuts, M, M, F from left to right, and they are sitting at a bar, with drinks in front of them (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

Somehow the meeting of these three exemplifies the N1 + N2 compound N wingnut / wing-nut / wing nut (which has 4 senses in NOAD, plus a bunch more you can imagine). But how?

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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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The Joy of the Penis

August 16, 2022

(Well, yes, about — among other things — men’s genitals and the beauty of Black bodies, some of it in plain language, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

The Joy of the Penis: A Study in Chocolate. A stunningly designed Daily Jock ad that came in my e-mail today: a Self-Regard composition, showing a man contemplating his penis with a gaze downward. Not gravely (as with the examples collected in my 11/18/21 posting “Helgi Narcissus (again)”), but with joy, pleasure, delight (his smile made me smile reflexively in response). Also, unlike my earlier examples, he’s a handsome Black man with luminously brown skin. The whole thing is a loving study in brown tones — charcoal, chocolate, leather, golden brown — and amiable masculinity (with his penis and testicles neatly, but not obtrusively, outlined in his charcoal longline trunks):

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cogedores

August 10, 2022

(Warning: the posting quickly descends into various kinds of vulgar, unsavory slang.)

From Kyle Wohlmut (from Twitter) on Facebook this morning, with the comment “good morning fuckers’:


(#1) A set of three plastic kitchen scoops, in a package designed to hang on a supermarket display hook; note the notch at the top of the package, for slipping over the hook; the back of the package has the name of the item in four languages, from four countries, the countries identified by flags (in tiny, muddy, b&w images), and as you go down the list, the referents of the names — names evidently supplied by some translation software — drift rapidly away from a kitchen scoop and get raunchier and raunchier: ‘scraping, scratching’, figurative ‘son of a bitch’ (literally ‘son of a whore’), figurative ‘fucker’ (referring to a contemptible or stupid person; to any man, to a guy; or to some unspecified object)

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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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Many a pickle packs a pucker

July 29, 2022

O pickle, my love / What a beautiful pickle you are!

Blame it on Nancy Friedman (@Fritinancy on Twitter), who took us down to the pickle plant in Santa Barbara on 7/18, citing these 5 delights, with their label descriptions:

Unbeetables (pickled beets with unbeatable heat) – pun on unbeatable

Carriots of Fire (pickled carrots to light your torch) – punning allusion to the film Chariots of Fire

¡Ay Cukarambas! (dill-icious spicy dill pickle spears) – complex portmanteau of the American Spanish exclamation ¡ay caramba! and the noun cuke ‘cucumber’

Asparagusto (pickled asparagus with a kick) – portmanteau of asparagus and gusto

Bread & Buddhas (semi-sweet bread & butter pickles) – pun on bread and butter (pickles)

(#1)

Pickles are automatically phallicity territory, and the Pacific Pickle Works in Santa Barbara CA (website here) doesn’t shy away from their penis potential, augmenting it by references to phallic carrots, asparagus spears, and unpickled cucumbers. If you have the eye for it, we all live in Penis Town.

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Take it from the man on the can

July 17, 2022

Another adventure in dubious commercial names and slogans. In the past few days the hyperkinetic tv pitchman Phil Swift — the id of the Flex Seal company, the Billy Mays of liquid rubber — has been assaulting my senses with a slogan that annoys me every time — just the way it was supposed to — because I get the sleazy sense of the commercial’s slogan

Take it from the man on the can

(‘from the guy sitting on the toilet (doing his business)’) instead of the innocent sense ‘from the man whose picture is on the label of the can (of Flex Seal)’. (In passing, I note the mini-festival of metonymy here: the man isn’t on the can, his picture is; well, not on the can itself, but on the label affixed to the can.) Let me start with a photo of an exemplary Flex Seal can:


(#1) You will note the absence, on the label, of a face of any person whatsoever, much less Phil Swift; as far as I can tell, the labels are all like that, and that’s no accident: Swift’s face is entirely beside the point — you’ll see that plenty in the commercials — because the ad’s all about taking your thoughts, memorably, into (or onto) the toilet

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