Archive for the ‘Metonymy’ Category

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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Half-assing things

March 20, 2022

(It’s all about some English expressions using the bodypart-term ass, but without any reference to human buttocks. The verb fuck (up), figuratively ‘mishandle, damage, ruin’, puts in a cameo appearance at the beginning. But: no actual bodyparts, no sexual acts, presented either verbally or visually.)

Advertised in my Facebook feed yesterday, this t-shirt, available from many sources (this via Amazon, in five colors):


The verb half-ass, here ‘do (something) incompletely or incompetently’ — as opposed to totally messing it up

We start with the racy slang verb half-ass and work back from there.

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The self-rising mascot

March 13, 2022

(Considerable discussion of sexual practices in this posting — largely in cautious language, but some may find the topics — male masturbation and male-male sexual acts — distasteful.)

To understand the brilliant 3/11 Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, you need to marshal detailed information about the Pillsbury Doughboy, the Roman Catholic confessional, the language of male masturbation in English, and self-rising flour (I wonder what, say, a Japanese exchange student in the U.S. would make of the cartoon; there is just so much culturally specific knowledge needed to understand it):


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

You must recognize the central figure as Poppin’ Fresh the Pillsbury Doughboy (though you can’t see the Pillsbury label on his chef’s hat), the dough-creature mascot of the (American) Pillsbury baking brand since 1965; and you must recognize that he’s at the grill, or screen, separating the penitent from the priest in the confessional box of a Roman Catholic Church, where he is confessing his sins (seeking absolution from the priest); then you must understand that the particular sin he’s confessing is masturbation (stimulating his penis by hand to become erect — to rise — for the purpose of sexual pleasure), and that this is a grave sin, requiring confession; and finally, and crucially, you have to see that his reference to his masturbating as self-rising (metonymically causing himself to rise) is a play on words, the ordinary use of self-rising being to flour (available mostly in the US and the UK) with added ingredients that will cause dough made from such flour to swell — to rise — on its own.

What makes the cartoon so delightful is that all of this is woven together by the fact that Poppin’ Fresh is an anthropomorphic being — a male one, with the desires of a sexually mature male — made of dough.

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FREDs and their kin

February 24, 2022

(References in plain language to men’s bodies viewed as sexual objects, with a photo, so not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

On Facebook yesterday, information from train-watcher Ned Deily about FREDs. That’s FRED, an acronym for flashing rear-end device — an alternative name for end of train device, no doubt devised to provide a pronounceable acronym (FRED) rather than a mere initialism (like ETD). But then we get then nominal rear end, referring not only generally to the back part of something, but also specifically to a person’s buttocks. Which takes us into racy or frankly raunchy territory.

FRED 1, the flashing rear-end device. In brief, from Wikipedia (a) on the end of train device; and then from the Trains & Locomotives Wiki (b) on “End of Train Device” (edited for readability):

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Mr. Nutz sez …

November 30, 2021

… “Pull my tail, and see my eye light up!” Mr. Nutz is a squirrel of brass, also a notorious flasher (if you don’t pull his tail, he’ll do it himself, in the road) — all at once a squirrel, a brass sculpture, a flasher, and a flashlight too (alas, though he tries to be all things to all people, he is neither a floor wax nor a dessert topping). The eye in his brass face lights up lewdly to show us the way to squirrel verse #2:

We’ll walk in the light, beautiful light,
Come where the dew-drops of morning are bright;
Shine all around us by day and by night,
Squirrels, the light of the world.

(Truly, no squirrel’s light was ever hidden under a basket. Mr. Nutz is not only brazen and bawdy, but also bold and boastful. And, he truly believes, beautiful.)

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9/9: not a non-event

September 9, 2021

(Astonishingly, this silly posting will devolve into references to male pubes (NOAD entertains both /pjúbìz/ and /pjubz/ as pronunciations, by the way, so do as thou wilt) and photos of hunky young men stripped down to them, so it’s not to everyone’s taste.)

It is once again Negation Day, a festival for semanticists, also customarily the day for the annual convention of No Joke, aka the Society for Language Play.

This year, the semanticists will gather en masse at the Square of Opposition, where a statue of Larry Horn, caught in mid-smile, will be unveiled; and in collaboration with the No Joke meeting, there will be staged performances of Monty Python’s “Argument Clinic” sketch. Then, as usual: a clinic for those suffering from overnegation and undernegation; and a bazaar where shoppers can rummage for negative polarity items and reinforcements for their everyday negatives. (Just Don’t Do It: because of ugly incidents in the past, metalinguistic negatives have been banned from the festival site.)

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Where is your bathroom?

June 20, 2021

A comic gem from the very first episode (“Give Me a Ring Sometime”) of the American tv show Cheers (S1 E1 9/30/82).  An exchange (call it the D&C exchange) between the character Diane — at this point, merely a patron sitting in the bar Cheers — and Coach, the bartender on duty:

Diane to Coach: Excuse me. Where is your bathroom?

Coach in response : Uh, next to my bedroom.

The character Coach  turns out to be empathetic and warm-hearted, but regrettably slow and defective at calculating people’s intentions in speaking as they do. In this brief exchange with Diane, Coach is faced with several linked tasks in understanding deictic elements: the locative deixis in where, the person deixis in your.

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Pandering to the bass

June 6, 2021

About a Wayno/Piraro Bizarro from 5/29, which turns on the title phrase pandering to the bass being understood as a pun:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page.)

We are to understand pandering to the bass as a pun on pandering to the base (which has become a stock expression in political contexts), and, given the image and text of the cartoon, as involving bass (/bes/ rather than /bæs/) ‘someone who plays the bass guitar in a rock band’ (rather than in one of 7 or 8 other possible senses).

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With knitted brows

May 3, 2021

(Significantly about sex between men, often in street language, so thoroughly unsuitable for kids and the sexually modest.)

On 5/1, e-mail from HUNT magazine (which hawks gay video porn) featuring a new bareback release, Show Hard, all about t-room / tearoom sexual encounters — a recurrent theme on this blog (there’s a Page on postings about sex in public, especially focused on t-room sex). I’ll take up the flick (and its name) later in this posting.

But on viewing the still from the first scene of Show Hard in the mailing — muscle hunk Beau Butler getting pronged on a mensroom sink by equally hunky Sean Maygers — what really caught my eye wasn’t the sexual action, arousing though that is, but the expression on Butler’s face. One that is so common that we have a name for it in English: knitted / knit (eye)brows. It turns out that there’s more than one physical gesture that is so called; and also, unsurprisingly, that this family of gestures can convey a variety of affects. Also that there are a number of other closely related gestures, with a collection of vocabulary that refers to them; it’s a rich domain of meaning.

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Tramp stamps

March 30, 2021

and odalisques (with their erotic lumbar regions, aka lower backs) and rhyming disparagements (like tramp stamp and slag tag). It starts with the Zits comic strip of 3/26:


(#1) The rhyming (and disparaging) idiom tramp stamp had passed by in the fringes of my consciousness, but this strip foregrounds it

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