Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

The risonym

October 16, 2020

E-mail today from Gadi Niram:

I seem to recall you coining the term “risonym”. What I can’t remember was whether a risonym made a person laugh because of its meaning or because of the speaker’s perception of the sound as funny. Can you refresh my memory?

I had no recollection of such a coining (though Gadi eventually resurrected a single use by me on Usenet 20 years ago — see below), but I tried to respond to the idea of words that are funny because of their sound.

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The library hookers and booze joke

September 25, 2020

The joke, which was new to me and entertained me enormously:

(#1)

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This isn’t hospitality, this is animosity

January 24, 2020

Today’s Wayno/Piraro collabo, on the opposition of hospitality and animosity, which I take to be an homage to Terry Jones (of Monty Python’s Flying Circus), who was released from life’s afflictions three days ago:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 7 in this strip — see this Page.)

Wayno’s title for the cartoon is “Putdown Service”, a play on turndown service, and that‘s an allusion to the hospitality industry.

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Three little digits

January 22, 2020

Today’s Wayno/Piraro collabo, another little exercise in cartoon understanding:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.) Wayno’s title: “Number, Please”

No doubt you recognize the speaker as Satan / the Devil / Beelzebub, but the cartoon will still be incomprehensible unless you know that there’s a particular three-digit number that’s sometimes said to belong to Satan.

Pursuing this topic on my man Jacques’s birthday, today, will lead us, through a favorite verse of his, on a circuitous route passing through a mysterious British village, Chicago, and Santa Monica, on its way to the Big Gay Village, where men hug, spoon, and screw. (There will eventually be a content warning. I’ll warn you when the screwing is imminent.)

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On the rubber fowl beat

November 22, 2019

In my writing, it goes back a dozen years to a Language Log posting on rubber ducky, with further duck notes over the years; notable from the outset were items like the vinyl rubber ducky, a rubber ducky made of vinyl. And then today Bob Eckstein burst onto Facebook with a new Christmas item from the Archie McPhee company, a rubber chicken Christmas ornament — yes, a glass rubber chicken.

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Deux clouseauismes

August 11, 2019

Morning names from early this past week: fondly remembered quotations from Peter Sellars’s Inspector Clouseau character in The Pink Panther (1963) and the series of movies following it. Both involve a bold effort by Clouseau to fix or remedy some situation, resulting of course in devastation — and clueless insouciance on the inspector’s part.

Besides the absurd situations, there’s Sellars’s deft timing and his control of the physical comedy, and, delicious cherry on top: his way-eccentric Clouseau-franglais syntax and phonetics (with pronunciation governed largely by a rigid constraint against back vowels, especially rounded back vowels, though even [ʌ] is affected, as in monkey > minkey). The transcripts below are in standard English orthography, so you should listen to the film clips.

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The opossum joke

July 30, 2019

(I posted a version of this under the heading “The opossum” on July 30th, but by a WordPress glitch the link to that posting was later re-directed to the next posting in line, “Ralph at the Port Authority” (here), so that my earlier posting disappeared completely. I lamented this loss on Facebook, and eventually archivist and quote investigator Garson O’Toole magicked up a Google Cache version of the text for me. Thanks to Garson, here’s a reconstituted version.)

(Totally baffled addendum. WordPress has published this revised posting with the date 7/30, though it was actually posted on 8/1.)

A very sweet One Big Happy from 6/30: Ruthie and her grandfather:

(#1)

A granddad joke — well, actually, two of them in sequence, the first sledgehammer simple (a classic dad joke), the second delightfully subtle (a meta-joke in which the audience response becomes a crucial part of the joke).

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Avocado Chronicles: 3 the chemical formula

July 14, 2019

Selling avocados in Santo Domingo DR:

(#1)

H2O KT is a play on Sp. aguacate ‘avocado’, treating it as:

the chemical formula H2O for agua ‘water’ + ca, the letter K /ka/, + te, the letter T /te/

that is, as la formula química del aguacate ‘the chemical formula for the avocado’. The joke isn’t quite perfect: K is indeed a symbol for a chemical element, potassium, but there’s no element T (though there is Te, the metalloid tellurium). (There is a compound potassium telluride, K2Te, but I don’t know how it interacts with water.)

The joke will lead us to the demotivational industry (with a penguin interlude); to snark and Mad magazine; to color blindness; to egg and avocado dishes; and to a sexually suggestive cartoon and its gender ideology.

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Hard Tundra

March 4, 2019

Adventures in cross-dialect understanding in the One Big Happy strips of 2/1 and 2/2, both featuring Ruthie and Joe’s playmate James:

(#1)

(#2)

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Piñata under the gun

October 15, 2018

(Bonus content: a news bulletin for penises, with two items.)

Today’s Wayno/Piraro combo:


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

Simultaneously a boy about to bash a rainbow donkey piñata with a bat — a baseball bat, rather than the usual  piñata-specific stick or bat (illustrated below) — and a military officer about to execute a prisoner by firing squad. So both in the everyday world and in a metaphorical world systematically mapped onto the everyday world.

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