Archive for the ‘Metaphor’ Category

Conventional and creative metaphors

July 24, 2019

In a recent comics feed, the 6/27 One Big Happy, with an exchange between Grandma Rose and the grotesquely smiling Avis

(#1)

In panel 2, the baggage of emotional baggage is a conventional metaphor, one no longer requiring the hearer to work out the effect of the figure and so now listed in dictionaries. But then Rose immediately brings it back from dormancy to life in a long riff of creative metaphor (in panels 2-4), composed on the spot and calling up a complex and vivid scene for the hearer.

We use the same term, metaphor, for both phenomena, and the mechanism is the same in both — but one is a historical phenomenon (whose figural character is usually out of the consciousness of speaker and hearer), while the other is a phenomenon of discourse production and comprehension in real time.

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The Dickson Poon School of Law

July 24, 2019

(As you might guess from the title, this posting treats several English expressions of varying degrees of offensiveness, so some readers might want to avoid it.)

A message from Gadi Niram a month ago:

I can’t get past the name of this school: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/law
The Dickson Poon School of Law in the University of London

— and wondering if poon doesn’t have the meaning in BrE that it does in AmE. (And then there’s the dick in Dickson.)

Briefly, the answer is: no, the lexical item poon ‘vagina, pussy’ is largely unknown in BrE. But it is an estimable Chinese name, especially in Hong Kong. If they had known about the crude offensiveness of poon in AmE, Dickson Poon’s family might have chosen another variant of their name in English, say Pan. Or maybe not; they might have decided that it’s their family’s English name and they’re proud of it. (I will compare it to the Hindi surname often spelling Dikshit in English.)

Then there’s the question of why the University of London has anything named after Dickson Poon. That’s where I’ll start.

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I do like a bit of cowboy butter to my meat

July 17, 2019

The original spur was this Pinterest item:


(#1) [ cowboy butter ] [ dipping sauce ]

On the dipping sauce in #1; the cowboy butter that is its basis; the interpretation of cowboy butter and other cowboy X compounds (cowboy casserole, cowboy rub); the combination of cowboys, butter, and meat (each with possible sexual associations); Jackson Hole Cowboy Cream; and cowboy cheese bites.

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The clown barber of Custard Street

July 12, 2019

Friday’s Wayno/Piraro collabo Bizarro strip (titled “Shaving Cream Pie”):


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

Ordinary barbers use shaving cream; clown barbers use cream pies. It’s just like spas: ordinary spas use facial creams (for moisturizing); clown spas use cream pies.

Bonus: the cartoon shows a clown barber twice over: a barber who is a clown, and also a barber for clowns.

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Three Pride moments

July 11, 2019

Pride Month is past, and so is the Fourth of July (US Independence Day), but my postings on these celebrations will go on for some time. Today, three images for Pride: the art of the flag; penguins at work; and the M&S sandwich.

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My industry

July 9, 2019

In my e-mail on the 7th, this offer — merely the latest in a long series of virtually identical such offers from a wide assortment of sources — to provide postings on this blog:

I manage some relevant blogs and ecommerce sites in your industry and can write a feature blog, article or other piece with a link to our site.

Occasionally, these offers come with the suggestion of a possible payment for this site use, but usually not: the transaction is conceived of as one of mutual benefit, providing greater public access — eyes on the page — for both host and guest (the guest presenting themselves as experienced in the art of SEO, search engine optimization; the host having an already-established audience).

Characteristically, the offer above is pure boiler-plate, utterly vague about what industry the prospective host is in. What, in fact, is my industry?

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A postcard from the (northern) edge

June 26, 2019

From the northern edge of the world, specifically: the town of Inuvik NWT in Canada, from which a postcard showing this welcoming billboard:

(#1)

The card was from Chris Waigl (bought in Dawson City YT), who mailed it from the extremely small town of Chicken AK.

And now there’s a surprising lot of stuff to say about the card.

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Over the edge with formulaic language

June 22, 2019

It looks simple at the start, but then (as Mark Liberman explained earlier today on Language Log, in “[REDACTED]’s “cocked and loaded”: a tangled history”), it gets intriguingly convoluted.

It starts with Iran shooting down an American drone, upon which Helmet Grabpussy first ordered a military strike on Iran and then called it back. Grabpussy tweeted:

(#1)

And with “cocked & loaded”, we were off into the worlds of technical terminology, formulaic expressions, and speech errors — and then, thanks to Bill Maher, gay porn videos.

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perennial, evergreen, hardy

June 4, 2019

From an exchange on Facebook a few days ago, in which (at least) two of the participants use the term perennial to refer to plants that are green all year round, that don’t lose their leaves for a dormant season. The discussion was set off by DA (not knowing the privacy wishes of the participants, I refer to them by their initials), posting about a practice that puzzles him:

DA: I never understood why [people] bother to plant [fruit] trees that don’t bear fruit.

To which DS replied with a number of reasons for the practice, but along the way introducing perennial in the sense ‘green all year long’ (relevant materal boldfaced):

DS: They provide many other benefits, for birds, shade, soil augmentation … they hold together hills so they don’t wash away .. and much more. Besides, they can be lovely. As far as I know, there are no perennial fruit trees so they can’t be used for privacy.

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Learnèd cowboy joshing on the dusty plains

May 28, 2019

Cowboy cuisine you were probably unaware of, from the tv Western Rawhide S7 E8 “Damon’s Road: Part II” (first aired 11/20/64), in a short bit in which the drovers on a cattle drive are treated to a fancy brunch out on the dusty plains (literally on the trail), with the trail boss Gil Favor (played by Eric Fleming) getting his own table (white tablecloth, nice glassware, and all). The cook, assuming the role of a French chef, appears with a dish made specially for Favor: eggs à la Robespierre!. He removes the lid from the silver serving dish to reveal what Favor confirms is indeed eggs à la Robespierre, explaining wryly:

eggs in the shell with their heads cut off

(as I took the words down on the fly). And the brief scene comes quickly to a close, with everyone returning to the main story line. Nothing draws attention to the line, which goes by in an instant. Snap.

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