Archive for the ‘Snowclones’ Category

Allusions to titles past

February 13, 2019

The Economist, wildly given to jokey headlines for its stories (and sometimes also their lead paragraphs or final paragraphs), performed a Proustian double play in its 2/2/19 issue: in two successive stories, headlines that are both plays on Proust’s title À la recherche du temps perdu, in two different English translations (both of them widely quoted in English).

on p. 21, about Facebook turning 15: “Remembrance of posts past” (Remembrance of Things Past)

on p. 22, about the consequences of the US government shutdown: “In search of lost time (and money)” (In Search of Lost Time)

(more…)

The thread drifted in my direction

February 5, 2019

Conversations typically drift in topic, as one thing suggests another. (Occasionally, the conversation is reset when one of the participants introduces a new topic or external events intrude with fresh things to talk about.) On-line threads similarly drift, sometimes in unexpected directions.

Case in point. I posted enthusiastically on this blog (with links elsewhere) about John McIntyre’s book The Old Editor Says: Maxims for Writing and Editing (2/2/19, “The crusty old editor speaks”), and John then noted my review on Facebook. I expected the Facebook discussion to continue with more observations about John’s little book, but since my name had entered the thread, several commentators shifted the topic to me. Whoa!

(more…)

The symbolisms of the pig

February 5, 2019

Today is the lunar New Year, celebrated as the beginning of the Year of the Pig in China, Vietnam, and a number of other places. From Wikipedia:

The Pig (豬) is the twelfth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. In the continuous sexagenary cycle of sixty years, every twelfth year corresponds to hai, 亥 [’12th earthly branch’ (in astrology)]

And in this PinMart enameled Chinese zodiac pin ( 1″w x 3/4″h):

Text: Pigs are hardworking, kind, and liberal. With their intense concentration and calm demeanor when facing trouble, Pigs will dedicate full energy into reaching their goals.

Not how most Western people would characterize pigs.

(more…)

The natural history of snowclones

February 1, 2019

The title of an abstract of mine for the 20th Stanford SemFest (Semantics Festival), to take place on March 15th and 16th (the Ides of March and National Panda Day, respectively). The SemFests feature reports (primarily 20-minute presentations, plus 10-minute question periods)

on recent work on any topic touching on meaning broadly construed, ranging from traditional topics in semantics and pragmatics to social meaning to natural language understanding and beyond

This posting is primarily about my snowclone paper, but there will also be some very personal reflections on the conference and its significance in my academic life.

(more…)

Yet another Switzerland

December 28, 2018

In Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown S11 E4 “Armenia” (first aired 4/20/18), he travels from the capital, Yerevan, to Lake Sevan, which he characterizes as “the Switzerland of Armenia”. Ah, yet another (metaphorical) Switzerland, indeed yet another (snowclonic) Switzerland of X.

In general, wherever you have alpine terrain, especially with snow, forests, lakes, and quaint villages, you have another Switzerland.

(more…)

The family of Word Inclusion snowclones

December 27, 2018

Keep X In AXB, Put X (Back) In(to) AXB, Take X Out of AXB

(where X is a word included in a larger word AXB — included in pronunciation (exactly or approximately) or spelling or both)

I’ll start with one of the most complicated examples, the seasonally apropos slogan with KEEP:


(#1) An outdoor vinyl banner from ChurchSupplier.com

then go on to a seasonal example with TAKE, and end with the great mass of examples, with PUT.

(more…)

Festoonists

December 22, 2018

(Warning: brief reference to sexual body parts in a caption.)

As I observed yesterday, in the posting “22-festoon!”, today (December 22nd) is the holiday of Festoonus, celebrating “the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”, with “elaborate light shows, decorating your bodies, sharing exotic food, dancing, and making public and communal art and music”. Inevitably, there are people who are intensely devoted to, identified with, the holiday. These are the Festoonists.

(more…)

News for bears: cities of bears

December 8, 2018

On the 5th here, postings on the patron saint of bears and on Swiss saintly dogs (with a bow to the city of Bern(e)). Now: more on Bern; on the movie BearCity; and on two California cities of bears, Big Bear City in San Bernardino County and Los Osos in San Luis Obispo County.

(more…)

Swiss Tasmania

November 29, 2018

The raw material: a poster on Pinterest, which led to photos of a quaint village:


(#1) Mt. Ida and Lake St. Clair, in the highlands of central Tasmania


(#2) The faux-Swiss village of Grindelwald, near Launceston, TAS

(more…)

The elephant in therapy

August 8, 2018

Today’s Rhymes With Orange combines two cartoon memes, Psychiatrist and Elephant in the Room:

(#1)

Not the first time this combination has been drawn.

(more…)