Archive for the ‘Formulaic language’ Category

Between Parody and Pastiche

January 2, 2018

Today’s Zippy takes us to the rolling green hills between Parody and Pastiche:

(#1)

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Is that all there is? Just platypi and clichés?

December 19, 2017

Today’s Zippy has our Pinhead hero trading diner thoughts with a Pinhead named Nesbitt:

For two panels, Zippy spouts the idea that nothing represents, or stands for, something else; things are what they are, and that’s all there is. Meanwhile, Nesbitt runs through two idioms that he thinks of as clichés (rock s.o.’s world, takeaway), and the pair ping-pong plural platypi.

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Food rebellion

November 12, 2017

Yesterday’s posting “Rice pudding in the land of quilted steel” focused on diner rice pudding, but the Wikipedia article covers quite a large territory, including rice puddings in different cultures around the world and rice pudding in popular culture. On the latter front, there’s a humorous poem “Rice Pudding” by A.A. Milne (of Winnie the Pooh fame) that Benita Bendon Campbell has reminded me of. The poem takes off from the Anglo-American tradition of rice pudding as plain food for children or invalids — and shows young Mary Jane’s rebellion against the tradition: “She won’t eat her dinner – rice pudding again”.

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Off like a herd of turtles

November 6, 2017

Came up in a Facebook discussion involving Ann Burlingham and Aric Olnes, the catchphrase in this bit of digital art by Methune Hively:

 

off like a herd of turtles, referring to a very slow start or to slow progress after an auspicious start – based on the horse-racing announcer’s They’re OFF!, plus the legendary slowness of turtles, with the rhyming play thrown in.

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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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He opened his mouth

October 5, 2017

… and a/his purse dropped / fell out.

Meaning: and he revealed himself to be a flaming faggot. Said by someone (usually a gay man) who is distancing himself from flaming faggots and (usually) expressing disdain for them. A variant of the formula in an ecard:

    (#1)

(Eventually there will be a bit of sex talk, from Dan Savage, but otherwise this material shouldn’t be problematic.)

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One-hit grinders

October 2, 2017

The Zippy from September 30th, featuring Mary’s Coffee Shop, which also offers grinders:

(#1)

Plays on several senses of grind, plus the idiom one-hit wonder (with its phonological play on /wʌn/).

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Bear chairs

September 23, 2017

Today’s Zippy lumbers through some plays on bear, in a bear chair:

(#1) The bear figure as both comforting and threatening

Bear chairs, gay bears, flags, and more.

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Husbands and wives

September 22, 2017

Three veins of spousal humor, starting in the early 19th century and ending in an edgily close-to-life comic stereotype realized in cartoons, tv shows, and movies.

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I like pig butts and I cannot lie

September 19, 2017

Noted on a sign in Dan Gordon’s in Palo Alto yesterday — a place that specializes in barbequed meat, especially brisket and pulled pork. Meanwhile, I like pig butts and I cannot lie, with its double entendre play on butt, has apparently achieved meme status; it’s now available in many forms, including t-shirts from several suppliers:

(#1)

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