Archive for the ‘Idioms’ Category

Understanding the comics

February 22, 2017

Once again, I return to the question of what you have to know to understand a comic strip or a cartoon, with two recent cartoons in my comics feed, a Rhymes With Orange and a Bizarro; in both, understanding requires that you supply a word that isn’t in the text of the cartoon:

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Meaty matters

January 19, 2017

(Mostly about language, but male bodies and bodyparts play significant roles.)

Yesterday, a posting about a fantasy agency supplying male hustlers, featuring two meat + N compounds: meat market ‘sexual marketplace’ and meatmen ‘men considered as sexual objects’ (as bodies as wholes, but especially as assemblages of sexual parts — cock, balls, and ass).  The interplay of two senses of meat here (the body, especially the male body, as a whole vs. the central masculine bodypart, the penis) led me to two joking uses of meat, in a Pat Byrnes New Yorker cartoon from 2001 (in which the ‘animal flesh as food’ sense of meat is central) and a piece of advice on the Usenet newsgroup soc.motss from Joseph Francis some years ago (in which the ‘body as sexual object’ sense is central).

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Gay men on the new subway walls

January 5, 2017

Widely reported, in the middle of stories about the extension of the 2nd Avenue subway in NYC, a piece about Vik Muniz’s mural in the 96th St. station, with over three dozen mosaics of typical New Yorkers waiting for a train, including this gay male couple holding hands:

There’s a nice story about these men, “Meet the Gay Couple Holding Hands in That Groundbreaking NYC Subway Mural”, an interview with the men by Alexander Kacala on the (informatively named) Unicorn Booty site on the 3rd.

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Batty stuff

December 12, 2016

Over on ADS-L, there’s been riffing on batshit and other bat-crazy stuff. Which led things to the comic strip Shoe and its character Batson D. Belfry:

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Senator Batson D. Belfry, beltway blowhard, was originally a take-off of former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil. He has evolved over the years and, these days, typifies what outside-the-beltway Americans consider to be the quintessential politician: You can’t trust him as far as you can throw him, and he’s so big, you can’t throw him very far. (link to the strip site)

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The eyes reject

December 9, 2016

From a Facebook discussion between a black woman T, a white guy C, and me, over the interpretation of a baffling — because drastically poor in detail — news story involving two young black men, a set of store employees, and a policeman: the guys asked for sliced cheese; an employee said the store didn’t carry it; the employee then herded the staff into a back room, locked it, and called the police; the cop who turned up told the guys they had to leave the store or they’d be arrested. T and I suspected that race might have been involved in the incident, and I was especially dubious about the sliced cheese part of the story; C maintained that race was not at issue, and in any case we didn’t have enough information to suspect that it did. At this point, T to C:

please don’t use your woke status to affirm your reading of the story and to presume that Arnold is alone in his side eye.

That is, my figurative side eye (or side-eye): I didn’t actually look sideways to express distrust or disbelief, but I certainly did express those attitudes (verbally rather than visually).

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You can’t judge a story by its title

November 21, 2016

The One Big Happy in today’s comics feed:

The assigned story was “The Princess and the Pea”, but Joe had heard only the title (and a bit of the plot), so /pi/ could have been the letter P, or (bizarrely) the vegetable pea, or (given the mention of mattresses) urine, pee. Joe goes with what he knows, and, having not actually read the story, confabulates a tale of enuresis.

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Two poignant cartoons

October 27, 2016

A mildly poignant Zippy, in which things have come to the point where Griffy almost misses Richard Nixon. And another deeply poignant episode in the Doonesbury account of Lacey and Jeremy’s adventures in senior dating.

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Idiom blends, with wine and roses

October 26, 2016

Yesterday’s Doonesbury, with Lacey and Jeremy in the senior dating scene:

Wonderful idiom blends (also mixed metaphors): march to a different kettle of fish (march to a different drummer + a different kettle of fish), have both sails in the water (have both oars in the water + have the wind in one’s sails), play with a full house of cards (play with a full deck (of cards) + a full house (in poker) + house of cards).

tail in the air

October 25, 2016

(Some vernacular sex talk along the way, so some judgment might be called for.)

It started with Dave Hause on ADS-L reporting this item from the seekingalpha site  (with the crucial bit boldfaced below):

The next wave of media consolidation will surely be on investors’ minds today following AT&T’s weekend agreement to buy Time Warner. Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA), Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI), AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), Viacom (VIA, VIAB), and CBS already had their tails in the air on Friday afternoon as merger talk between AT&T and Time Warner heated up.

Hause reflected:

I may be off but I would interpret “tails in the air” as cat body language, “sexually receptive.” Maybe less suggestively as “seeking a dominant partner.”

There are actually two figurative interpretations here: one alluding to cat body language (in which an upraised tail communicates contentment and confidence) and one alluding to sexual receptivity signals in mammals (in which females raise their tails — and, often, back up to males — to communicate readiness for coitus).

Meanwhile, figurative (both metaphorical and metonymic) senses of tail — ‘penis’, ‘vagina’, ‘buttocks’, ‘anus’ — impinge on both of these figurative uses of raise (one’s) tail and similar idiomatic expressions, like put/have (one’s) tail (up) in the air.

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Naked boys playing at liberty

October 24, 2016

About male photography featuring naked men horsing around together, mostly at the beach. The (four) X-rated images are in a posting on AZBlogX; they’re there because they show penises, but in (I maintain) an essentially innocent way, but still there are penises. On this blog we’ll get we’ll get buttocks and concealed penises, but without sexual charge, so the images are technically safe for kids and the sexually modest, but you might want to use your judgment.

There are points about sexuality, about social practices involving the body (notably, horseplay), and about the use of on leave and on liberty.

The whole thing started with a penguin-themed collage based on an image of naked men frolicking in the surf (#2 on AZBlogX). That led (after some hours of searching) to another image of the same men horsing around, an image carefully chosen by the photographer to be technically safe, one that got me to the source, a 1993 book of male photography, Shoreleave, by Andrew Kennedy.

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