Archive for the ‘Metaphor’ Category

Noodling with formulaic language

October 6, 2017

Today is National Noodle Day. Yes, an event fabricated by people in the food indusry to showcase their products and sell them, on a date no doubt chosen only because it hadn’t already been claimed by any other food. But noodles are delicious, they’re multicultural, and they’re fun.

I celebrated the occasion at lunch with some porcini mushroom and truffle triangoli (stuffed ravioli, but triangular rather than square) from Trader Joe’s, with arrabiatta sauce (a spicy tomato sauce). Pasta in English food talk for Italian food, but  noodles in English food talk for Chinese (and other East Asian and Southeast Asian) food — so today they’re noodles to me. (I recommend a broadminded view on what counts as noodles.)

I also recommend that we adopt a symbolic figure for the occasion, something like the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Halloween pumpkins and witches, Pilgrims for Thanksgiving, the New Year baby, and so on. I suggest the Flying Spaghetti Monster, with his noodly appendages.

But first let’s get down to some recent noodling with formulaic expressions in the comics: One Big Happy (an idiom), Rhymes With Orange (a frequent collocation or an idiom, depending on who you read), and Mother Goose and Grimm (a proverb):

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Nazis and neo-Nazis

August 21, 2017

Discussions on many Facebook pages about the use of the term neo-Nazis to refer to marchers in Charlottesville VA on August 12, with their swastikas, torch-marching, Hitler salutes, chanting anti-Jewish slogans and “Blood and Soil” (Blut und Boden) — plus specifically American touches like the Confederate battle flag, KKK hoods, and open displays of assault rifles. Some participants in these discussions maintained with some passion that they called the marchers Nazis, because that’s what they were.

I can’t of course legislate how people talk — but if you want both accuracy and punch, neo-Nazi is the way to go.

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An urban jungle

August 19, 2017

Back on the 12th, I posted about the “War of the Weeds” in back of the Palo Alto downtown library, across the street from my house: a contest between common ivy, ailanthus, and golden bamboo for control of the territory. Now I have better photos, showing the whole length of the jungle, in three sections, without cars.

Meanwhile, at the Y where I go to my senior fitness class, there’s a whole rank of California peppertrees covered with red berries, and with leaves already turning for the fall.

All this caused me to delve into the notion of an urban jungle. Turns out different people have very different ideas about what that phrase refers to, and that exploration will take us to Hong Kong, Chongqing, urban gardening, and “wild” parks in various cities, including the Ramble in NYC’s Central Park — with Al Pacino in full gay cruise mode.

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More news not for penises

July 5, 2017

Start with this little poem, “Spurring him on”, which seems to be heavily sexual:

Hotspur Cockspur:
Thorny, horny, over-
Heated prick.
Spiky, showy dandy,
Sharply tipped.

Actually, this is a continuation of my 2/4/16 posting “Some news not for penises”, which was about senses of cock that aren’t about penises, and it’s mostly about plants, a whole hell of a lot of plants, some of them with sharp thorns (like spurs) that will prick you, some of them with showy spikes (like a rooster’s comb), all of them with cock in one of their common names. So, what with the noun cock, the phallic spurs, and the phallic combs, the topic fairly drips with male sexuality — but this posting is not about men’s bodies or mansex. It’s mostly about birds and plants, plus some vintage dandies and Sir Henry Percy.

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Put a sock on it in parade season

June 26, 2017

(There will be discussions of men’s naughty bits and pictures of these barely covered. Sometimes celebratory, sometimes silly, but not at all (I think) arousing. Still, if that’s not you want to read or see, pass on to something else.)

It began with this arresting photo from Carson Link on the Stealthy Cam Men Facebook site on the 24th, dated “Yesterday New York, NY” [that is, on the 23rd]:

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Link’s text:

Caught him off guard they were getting ready for a parade from the E. Village [Tompkins Square Park] to the West Village

If Link has the dates right, then this was the annual NYC Drag March, from Tompkins Square Park to the Stonewall Inn (note the guy in heels on the left) — though the central figure in the photo looks like he came from the June 11th Body Pride Parade (also annual), from Tompkins Square Park to Washington Square Park, and everyone in the photo looks like they’d find a place in the big Pride Parade on the 25th (for which there are many sub-celebrations).

In any case, Sock Man on Parade is, um, remarkable, as a piece of living sculpture, if nothing else.

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You can dress a fox in hen’s clothing, but…

June 11, 2017

… you’ll do better dressing a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The Rhymes With Orange from the 9th:

Wolves and sheep share a basic body pattern (four legs, tail, etc.), but foxes and chickens diverge substantially. A wolf might pass for a sheep, but not a fox for a hen.

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Rodeos and sword dances

May 27, 2017

(Warning: there will be talk of penises and mansex.)

On The Hill site on 5/21, “Tillerson: ‘Not my first sword dance’ in Saudi Arabia”, by Jill Manchester:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that his sword dance the previous night in Saudi Arabia was not his first.

“I hadn’t been practicing, Chris, but it was not my first sword dance,” Tillerson told Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace.

Tillerson and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross linked arms during the dance with Saudi performers on Saturday night. [REDACTED] also took part, swaying to the music, and appeared to enjoy the ceremonial dance. The event took place on [REDACTED]’s first day visiting Saudi Arabia, his first stop on his first foreign trip as president.

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Ross and Tillerson sword-dancing among Saudis

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The maiden, the monster, and the hero

April 15, 2017

In the LGBT precinct of Facebook recently, this Jim Benton cartoon (eventually this posting will be about Benton, but first the folktale scenarios):

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The basic scenario is Beauty and the Beast: a beautiful maiden (that is, a virgin), often a princess; and a monster, a grotesque creature, either literally an animal (a gigantic ape, a dinosaur, a mutant lizard, a dragon, whatever — but male) or a man animalistic in form, sometimes in nature as well. The monster desires the maiden: to devour her (literally), to despoil her (sexually), or merely to love her (romantically).

A third character, the Knight, figures in an extended scenario: a hero, a handsome and virile young man, often in armor, often a prince, whose role is to challenge the monster in battle and overcome him, thereby rescuing the maiden — for himself; she is his prize. In the extended scenario, two males are rivals for the maiden.

In Benton’s version, the hero challenges the monster, demanding that the monster deal with him rather than the maiden. And so the monster does. Sometimes in a love triangle, the rivals become lovers. (Combat between men is sometimes a route to mutual respect, male bonding, and friendship; in this case, the relationship goes one step further.)

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Sparky, Jasper, and Bunky

April 3, 2017

Three morning names a few days ago: used as nicknames, address terms, common nouns. Each with its own story.

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Ejaculatory pop

March 11, 2017

(This will end up going way into graphic man-man sex territory, so it’s not for kids or the sexually modest.)

It started mildly enough, with an ADS-L posting yesterday by Joel Berson entitled

“pop”, noun, = ‘an ejaculation’ in 1722? As a verb, it dates from 1958

about the sexual slang verb pop ‘ejaculate’ (a natural metaphorical extension of explosive pop) and its nouning pop ‘an ejaculation’. The OED has the verb from 1958 on, but doesn’t have the noun at all, yet Berson found a 1722 quotation that might conceivably have an instance of the noun — though the text is far from straightforward in its interpretation.

According to the evidence in OED3 (Dec. 2006) and in GDoS, taken together, the verb seems to go back only to the mid-20th century, while the noun might go back as far as the mid-19th century (which would bring it much closer to Berson’s 18th-century text).

And then I have a vivid recollection of my first experience with the verb, which is what will take us into graphic mansex territory.

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