Archive for the ‘Idioms’ Category

The holidays of our lives

October 27, 2018

(Near the end, there will be a hunky male model wearing nothing but a Halloween jockstrap. A warning in case you’d prefer to avoid a holiday men’s underwear discussion.)

Yesterday’s Zippy features a Dingburg-local idiomatic holiday:

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Of course, I immediately went to sources to discover what was celebrated on October 26th. Well, not only is October National Pumpkin Month, the 26th is the day specifically devoted to the fruit of Cucurbita pepo, this orange squash / gourd / melon / cucurbit: National Pumpkin Day. The day ushers in the Pumpkin Season, which is prefigured by a period in which pumpkin spice erupts as a ubiquitous descriptor of foods and much more (see my 10/20/17 posting “A processed food flavor”); which embraces a number of Halloween-specific cultural practices and symbols (jack-o-lanterns, dressing up in costumes, and trick-or-treating, plus witches and black cats as symbols — and orange and black as a decorative theme); and which is culinarily realized in pumpkin pie as a holiday food for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

So pumpkin pie can last you from mid-October to early January. Meanwhile, some riffs on the cartoon and some on edible pumpkiniana.

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Use skate in a sentence

October 23, 2018

The One Big Happy in today’s comics feed, from 9/26:

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Ruthie is faced with the task of demonstrating what a word means by using it in a sentence — a task often assigned to children as a test of their understanding of word meanings. But choosing effective example sentences is a challenging art for professional lexicographers, and children are not particularly good at it.

In this case, “the word skate” could be a verb (‘move on ice skates or roller skates in a gliding fashion’ (NOAD)) or any one of several nouns, but, on hearing about her tightwad great-aunt, Ruthie fixes instead on the otherwise opaque /sket/ portion of the compound cheapskate ‘tightwad, miser’ (which she analyzes as a composite nominal cheap skate).

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PUMP!ing it up

October 17, 2018

(Homowear: male models in underwear, displaying their bodies homoerotically, with archly queer ad copy. Not X-rated, but not to everyone’s taste.)

The Daily Jocks ad for PUMP! underwear from the 15th:

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Underwear model as sculptural form. Mahogany Man.

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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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Fly formulaicity

October 8, 2018

… in the 10/3 Wayno/Bizarro collab entitled “Off the wall”:


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

A little festival of formulaicity. In the title, the (informal) idiom off the wall and an allusion to the idiom fly on the wall. In the interviewee’s remark, the (colloquial) idiom fly in the buttermilk and perhaps an allusion to the song “Ole Buttermilk Sky” [10/9: but see the comment below on “Skip to My Lou”]; an allusion to a family of “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup” jokes; and the idiom fly in the ointment. Plus a pair of excellently anthropomorphic houseflies on a tv talkshow; if it’s a late-night show, it could be Fly By Night (with the idiom fly-by-night).

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Sexual faces

October 1, 2018

(Men’s bodies and mansex in plain talk, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

It began with a recent TitanMen (gay porn firm) sale, with this come-on photo (cropped here for modesty):

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The cartoon milkman

September 11, 2018

… and a bad grandpa pun, in the One Big Happy from 8/14:

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(The characters, left to right in the first and last panels: the neighbor boy James; the son of the OBH family, Ruthie’s older brother Joe; and Joe’s grandfather.)

Grandpa reproduces a bit of culture lore, about liaisons between housewives and milkmen. The boys are no doubt somewhat vague about what would be involved in a woman’s running off with the milkman. But, more pressingly, they don’t know what a milkman is: the N +  N compound is scarcely transparent semantically, so unless you’ve actually had milkmen in your experience, tales of women and milkmen are just baffling.

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Ruthie reanalyzes, and so do lots of others

September 2, 2018

The 8/5 One Big Happy has Ruthie doing her best to make sense of the idiom the spitting image (of) as, roughly, ‘the person someone looks like when they spit’.

Behind this lies a whole chain of reanalyses, none of them due to Ruthie. Ultimately, sex is probably involved. (Oh, isn’t that always the way?)

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The elephant in therapy

August 8, 2018

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

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Not the first time this combination has been drawn.

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Mud, shit, and chocolate

July 30, 2018

Caught on re-run tv yesterday, in the Law & Order S19 E10 episode “Pledge” (from 1/21/09):

Your entire case rests on this girl’s testimony. If her only impetus to cooperate is greed, you’re in trouble. Who dangled money in front of her in the first place?

The cops. They knew she was in debt, so they pressed her pretty hard.

It’s going to look like we bought her testimony. What a mud sandwich this is turning into.

And only a few months before that, in an emotional  9/29/08 speech on the floor of the U.S. Congress by Rep. John Boehner in support of the TARP bill bailing out big banks:

None of us came here to have to vote for this mud sandwich!

(You can watch it here.)

Yes, mud sandwich. A euphemism for shit sandwich.

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