Archive for the ‘Idioms’ Category

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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Mind-Blowing Theories

April 21, 2021

Tom Gauld cartoons from New Scientist magazine, in a 2020 collection:

(#1)

— with three cartoons that especially caught my interest. One  on science vs. journalism over de-extinction (already posted on this blog); one on the agony of Science Hell, the scene of eternal scientific mansplaining; and one on the adverbial literally understood literally (which then provides the title for the 2020 book).

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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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By their consumer products you shall know them

March 11, 2021

The Zippy strip from two days ago (3/9) on the roadside culture of working-class (and largely white and male) North America:


(#1) By their consumer products you shall know them: gas, energy drinks, cigarettes, lottery tickets, candy, batteries, beef jerky — “everything anyone could ever need”

The strip is dominated by the Irving gas station, with its accompanying Mainway convenience store. Irving Mainway, which looks and sounds like a man’s name, and so has taken on  lives of its own. Beyond the gasoline from Irving, Mainway can offer Red Bull, motor oil, smokes, and maybe a frozen burrito.

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Smell the roses in a field

February 26, 2021

Two cartoons in my comics feed on 2/25 (otherwise known as Yay! Pfizer1 Day! at my house) on language play: a Wayno/Piraro Bizarro playing on formulaic language (the metaphorical idiom / cliché stop and smell the roses), and a Piccolo/Price Rhymes With Orange with a play on the ambiguity of field.

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Taming the bull

February 13, 2021

In the New Yorker issue of 2/15&22/21, the winning caption to a drawing by Joe Dator:


(#1) ‘Twas commissions tamed the bull

Well, yes, the cartoon has the bull talking and taking orders and handling money and all that, but this is CartoonWorld, where animals routinely do such things. What’s remarkable is that the bull has given up a core aspect of his bull nature: aggressiveness (an especially troublesome characteristic in a creature of such size).

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The bull validates Peter’s family

February 7, 2021

Three more Bizarro cartoons from the past, from another crop on Pinterest, with: an allusion you need to catch to understand the cartoon; a complex pun; and laugh-inducing names.

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Two parrots and a pear tree

February 1, 2021

On Pinterest recently, a board devoted to Bizarro cartoons, including a fair number relevant to this blog but not previously posted here — from which, the three below (all the work of Dan Piraro alone, without Wayno’s collaboration). Two are about parrots and crackers (the first is also an instance of the Psychiatrist cartoon meme); the third offers a groaner pun on a sexual idiom previously discussed on this blog. (I’ll start with a digression on the most common way parrots figure in cartoons, as adjuncts to pirates.)

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Frequently asked questions

January 31, 2021

A Roz Chast cartoon in the latest (2/1/21) New Yorker:

Questions asked often enough that they border on clichés. They’re frequently asked questions — but they’re not Frequently Asked Questions, Frequently Asked Questions being an idiomatic expression usually reduced to an alphabetic abbreviation, the noun FAQ.

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Collocation restriction

January 17, 2021

Today’s Ada@Home cartoon by Rob Harrell exemplifies the restriction of lexical items to specific collocations:

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