Archive for the ‘Idioms’ Category

Inhaling pop culture

February 27, 2019

Today’s Zits, featuring teenage boys goofing off, but in a specific way:

(#1)

Thereby presenting an exercise in cartoon understanding that’s a snap if you’re plugged into American pop culture of the past century, but is something of a challenge otherwise.

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In the land of supertitles

February 22, 2019

Revived on Facebook recently, this 2/20/12 Cyanide and Happiness cartoon by Jay A.:

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The first three panels are routine (but annoying): Character 1 produces an example of AccConjSubj (the non-standard Accusative Conjoined Subject me and Steve) and Character 2 reacts with hysterical peeving, becoming physically sick from experiencing the AccConjSubj.

But then we discover that we’re not in anything like the real world, where someone speaks and someone else hears what they say, but instead in the Land of Supertitles, where someone produces a banner with writing on it and someone else reads it. That has to be what’s going on — since otherwise how could Chr2 know how Chr1 was spelling what they said? YOUR instead of YOU’RE, ALLERGYS insead of ALLERGIES, AFFECT instead of EFFECT, THEIR instead of THEY’RE, ITS instead of IT’S — they’re all homophones, so how could Chr2 know that Chr1 was spelling them wrong? UNLESS CHR2 COULD READ WHAT CHR1 WAS SAYING.

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Eat it! The oral humiliation you deserve

February 17, 2019

Yesterday’s Wayno & Piraro Bizarro:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

A play on desserts (on the menu) vs. the deserts of just deserts. Plus a small cascade of idioms on oral humiliations. With a nod to the nasty rough edges of the verb eat (and, while we’re on the subject, suck). (Eventually, this will lead to some very plain-language talk — not for kids or the sexually modest — about some social and sexual practices among gay men. I’ll warn you when the topic is imminent.)

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Allusions to titles past

February 13, 2019

The Economist, wildly given to jokey headlines for its stories (and sometimes also their lead paragraphs or final paragraphs), performed a Proustian double play in its 2/2/19 issue: in two successive stories, headlines that are both plays on Proust’s title À la recherche du temps perdu, in two different English translations (both of them widely quoted in English).

on p. 21, about Facebook turning 15: “Remembrance of posts past” (Remembrance of Things Past)

on p. 22, about the consequences of the US government shutdown: “In search of lost time (and money)” (In Search of Lost Time)

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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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