Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

You’re a linguist; where’s your tongue?

June 5, 2020

A tangled food story that started with a 5/25 quiz from Barbara Partee on Facebook:


Here’s a quiz – what’s this? I’m not about to eat it – it’s on the table only because the light is better here than on the counter near the sink. Volodja [Barbara’s husband Vladimir Borschev] cooked something today that we ate some of for dinner and then sliced the rest for future lunches. We bought it at the farm. (Our farm raises both meat and vegetables.) This was left after Volodja “cleaned” it after boiling it. Expectation Americans like me wouldn’t recognize it. Georgians and Armenians would, and probably a number of people who grew up on farms.


Masturbation May finale: the naked brownies

May 29, 2020

(Consider the title: not for kids or the sexually modest.)

(#1) Josh Rider and his baking pan; his half-hard dick has been cropped for WordPress modesty, but can be viewed in my AZBlogX posting today, “Josh Rider bakes raw”


Happy Memorial Day

May 27, 2020

From two friends on Facebook (lightly edited) on Tuesday (US Memorial Day having been on Monday):

1: What is up with “Happy Memorial Day?” It’s a day to remember the dead … I feel like people have no idea what Memorial Day is!

2: I’ve seen a lot of “happy” Memorial Day comments too. Unfathomable.

For them, such well-wishings are akin to “Happy Yom Kippur” (the Day of Atonement in Judaism) or “Merry Good Friday” (Crucifixion Day in Christianity) as expressions of goodwill — deeply at odds with the solemnity of the occasions.

Their reactions have been shared by many others. There’s a simple response, which I gave on Facebook and repeat below. Then there’s a more complex, messy response. (The topic will eventually lead, given my inclinations, to discussions of homowear and gay porn for the holiday — definitely racy, but not, I think, quite over the line into Not Safe For Minors territory.)


Trois lapins pour le premier mai

May 1, 2020

It’s the first of the month, which I have learned to greet with three rabbits — by starting the day saying “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit”. More than that, it’s the first of May — by some cultural reckonings the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere and also (in some countries) International Workers Day, so: dance around the maypole, set bonfires for Beltane or Walpurgis, prepare for outdoor bo(i)nking (rabbits again!), break out the lilies of the valley (muguets pour le premier mai), cue the choruses of L’Internationale, and march in solidarity with the workers. (Feel free to choose from this menu, as your taste inclines and your schedule allows.)

Into this rich multicultural stew, Julie Taaffe forwarded to me a Facebook posting for the day by John Forti, “the Heirloom Gardener”, whose centerpiece is this leporine re-working of Botticelli’s Three Graces from La Primavera (Spring):

(#1) Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit: Melinda Copper’s Dancing Graces


The wolves of Rome (and Venice)

April 23, 2020

I see from my calendar that Tuesday (4/21) was Wolf-Suckling Day, celebrated around the world: Romulus and Remus, their lupine foster mother, the founding of Rome, the year 753 (conventionally assigned to this event, and then sometimes used in reckoning dates: AUC ab urbe condita ‘from the founding of the city’), and the equally conventional date that is April 21st on the (Gregorian) calendar we currently use.

Then, right before the day itself, a stern warning from the World Wolf-Suckling Foundation site:

IMPORTANT BULLETIN: Because of COVID-19, all events for Wolf-Suckling Day must be virtual, NO EXCEPTIONS ALLOWED. There is a site matching up prospective wolves and suckling boys, but it’s run by the city government of Rome and is currently in some disorder. EXPECT LONG WAITS FOR SERVICE.

Meanwhile, could we suggest some excellent, well-produced WOLF-SUCKLING PORN sites, providing guides to satisfying wolf-suckling experiences in the privacy of your own homes.

Then, my mentioning this Italian wolf on Facebook naturally led Ned Deily to ask about Il Lupo di Venezia, the composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari: what about his day? As it happens, I have not disregarded this native of Venice on this blog. Details below.

Finally, the WWSF bulletin above moved me to reflect some on the syntax of the verb suckle, which I’m putting off to the very end because my discussion is heavy with explicit references to sexual acts in very plain language; kids and the sexually modest should bow out of the posting at that point.


See the Conqu’ring Hero Comes

April 19, 2020

… aka Thine Be / Is the Glory (Risen Conquering Son). But, either way, joyous and triumphant. (Also with a tune that’s an industrial-strength earworm. I warned you.)

The background is that in these plague times, when people cannot physically be with one another, they’re mobilizing existing non-local communities — in my case, the big ones are linguists, queerfolk, and shapenote singers — and creating new ones on-line, and sharing enthusiasms within these communities. Especially music, of every conceivable kind, and food, which can’t literally be shared on-line, though we can share the details of what we’re eating and cooking, how it’s prepared, how it looks and tastes, memories of meals past and imagined and (especially) what they mean to us, and so on. In both cases, we celebrate an amalgam of appetites, of intellectual and sheer physical pleasure.

(Linguists are famously food-music people, and Jim McCawley is our saint.)

But the specific matter at hand is a tune by Handel that came to us later as a cello and piano piece by Beethoven and also as a Christian hymn for Easter. And for me, the recollection of hearing the Beethoven, for the first time, with Ann Daingerfield (Zwicky), in a moment of great pleasure, in Urbana IL in 1968, when our lives were about to shift unimaginably.


Easter eggs 2020.1: Mussorgsky chicken with crocuses

April 10, 2020

The first of two entertaining Easter egg postings on material that came in my mail today. This one is sweet and playful; the other one is raunchy and homoerotic. There’s a lot you can do with eggs.

Ee2020.1 is a Jacquie Lawson animated ecard for Easter, illustrating the Mussorgsky piece “Ballet of (the) Chicks in their Shells” / “Ballet of (the) Unhatched Chicks” from Pictures at an Exhibition with chick after chick hatching, while one egg rolls about in struggle, with its chick finally emerging triumphantly among crocus flowers:

(#1) Eggs, chicks, and crocuses: all symbols of spring and (re)birth

(The sound track has an orchestral version of “Ballet”, with cheeping sound effects.)



April 9, 2020

Today, my calendar tells me, is the 141st anniversary of the birth of my Swiss grandfather, Melchior Arnold Zwicky (I am Arnold Melchior Zwicky, Jr.). Born 4/9 in 1879 (and died in 1965 at the age of 86, an age I’m unlikely to achieve). So I muse on 1879, first on others who were born that year, and after that on two notable wars that were waged then.


Stanko Day?

April 2, 2020

Yesterday was, as always on 4/1, April Fool’s Day, and just for this year, Census Day; but also Leonard Bloomfield’s birthday, an occasion with meaning for linguists. Yesterday was the 123rd anniversary of his birth.

On Facebook, I said of the occasion, “That ought to be some specially named anniversary” — and got two different proposals: one for naming a 123rd anniversary, one for re-naming Bloomfield’s birthday.


Higashi Day cartoon 6: Pi Day cartoon understanding

March 16, 2020

Two cartoons in my 3/14 (Pi Day) feed — a Bizarro and a Rhymes With Orange — that present challenges to understanding; if you don’t get certain cultural references, you don’t get the cartoons at all.

(#1) A Wayno/Piraro collabo; Wayno’s title for it is “Sectarian differences” (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page). So, a snake and a frog, adversaries in real life; but then…

(#2) At the top level, a variation on woman’s complaints that they are given housewares as gifts on romantic occasions (suspend your gender assumptions); but then…

Then it’s no accident that #1 was published in the middle of March, three days before St. Patrick’s Day, which comes at the end of the mid-March run of special days and events (P2P: From Pi To Paddy):

— 3/14 Pi Day
— 3/15 Higashi Day on Ramona St. (see my 3/12/20 posting “Higashi Day cartoon 1: grim Bliss surprise”), but the Ides of March in the larger world
— 3/16 National Panda Day (see the Page on this blog on panda postings) — TODAY! (Take a panda to munch)
— 3/17 St. Patrick’s Day