Archive for the ‘Language and animals’ Category

Japanese symbolic culture, inscribed on León’s arm

September 8, 2023

About my friend (and former caregiver) León Hernández Alvarez (hereafter, LH) and the tattoos covering his left arm, from wrist to shoulder, reflecting his deep sympathy with the symbolic culture of Japan. Here’s LH in a face shot that will serve as an introduction to his text (as I edited it for compactness) taking us on a tour of the ink, along with seven photos he took to accompany the text (as I cleaned them up for presentation here):

(#1) LH showing off the arm (and the muscles he’s developed at the gym)

After most sections of LH’s text (which I’ve boldfaced), there’s some background material about the things depicted in the tattoos, with some photos from real life.

I hope to post separately about LH, including some about his personal qualities, but here I offer four important pieces of biographical data: LH is in his early 40s, he’s Mexican (here on a work visa), he has an MBA and a previous history working in business in Mexico, and (like me) he’s gay.


An artistic allusion

September 6, 2023

(Or, Quoth the Sperm Whale “Swimming Hole”)

From Rod Williams, commenting on Facebook on my 9/6 posting “Rowing on the River”, about a Thomas Eakins painting:

— RW: We [Ted Bush and Rod] have a print that quotes from Eakins’s “Swimming Hole”


in an unusual and delightful way

(#2) The allusive work, by an unknown hand


Rubber ducky

September 6, 2023

And now for something completely different: a rubber-tire duck statue in today’s Zippy strip:

(#1) As with all things Griffith, this is a real thing, not a fanciful invention: Villu Jaanisoo’s sculpture Rubber Duck

The Estonian-born creator of this duck heads the sculpture department in the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts.


The news for penises: the Buffalo Bills original logo

September 5, 2023

From cartoonist Bob Eckstein’s The Bob newsletter of 9/5 “Back to School BONUS EDITION”, in a section on “The Worst NFL Logos” (published in Run Your Pool), about the original Buffalo Bills logo:

The original Buffalo buffalo

The old water buffalo was so unassuming, so unexpected, you thought, watch out! What are they up to? It was the only sports logo with the outline of genitals. With the understated white dot for an eye, I contend it was sport’s funniest logo … ever. We lost that.


The Weaponized Cat

August 23, 2023

Very briefly noted: this photo on Facebook today from Dan Edmonds (but not of him, and he doesn’t know where he got it):

A guy wielding a Karabiner 98k Mauser rifle

In its kitten release, a dangerously hair-trigger firearm. But famously effective at ridding barns of mice.



August 21, 2023

In today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro: croissants as a characteristically French pastry; then pulling out the ANTS part of the spelling CROISSANTS (never mind how this word is actually pronounced, in either French or English) for a far-fetched pun, with two ants — the insects — exemplifying characteristics of the stereotypical Frenchman (Wayno’s title is “The French Bugs”):

(#1) Breton striped shirts, or marinières; berets; a pungent cigarette in a cigarette holder for Ant 1; a mustache (curled at the tips), French scarf, glass of wine, and baguette for Ant 2 (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page)


The vipers of Santa Clara County

August 19, 2023

I wrote on Facebook a little while ago:

Just heard on a tv public service announcement from Santa Clara County: … Watch for walkers and vipers. (Ah, that must have been: bikers. Fortunately, vipers are sparse in the county.)

Follow-up: there seem to be plenty of Dodge Vipers in the county, also Pit Viper Sunglasses. And we have the Silicon Valley Vipers quadball team. According to the US Quadball site: “quadball is a mixed gender contact sport with a unique mix of elements from rugby, dodgeball, and tag”. (Until 2022 it was known as quidditch. Yes, that quidditch. Players must have a broomstick between their legs at all times. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.)

Logo of the Silicon Valley Vipers quadball team


De Interpretatione

August 11, 2023

From the New Yorker issue of 8/14 (arrived in my mailbox yesterday), two cartoons about interpreting what we perceive — on what we see, a Stephen Raaka cartoon on the perils of pointillism; and on what’s been said, a Will McPhail drawing paired with this issue’s winner in the caption contest, with a text about literal vs. figurative understandings.


Meat dreams

August 8, 2023

Not manmeat dreams, which I have all the time, usually quite pleasantly, my desires being inclined that way. But slabs-of-meat dreams, all through last night’s sleep. Not distressing, but inescapable: a continuing presentation of one piece of raw animal flesh after another, with titles out of Monty Python, things like:

#10, the breast of chicken; #45, the ham hock; #17, the pork loin; #99, the strip of bacon; #4, the leg of lamb; #57, the veal cutlet; #62, the porterhouse steak

I kept thinking: these are all really important, I’ve got to write them all down. But it was all in my head, where there’s no place to write things down. Frustrating.

When I eventually woke fully, at 1 am, I realized that my subconscious was sending me a message: IT’S TIME TO START EATING REAL MEAT. My subconscious was firmly convinced that my body had recovered sufficiently from my gall bladder surgery (almost 2 months ago) to cope with the full range of food. It was now shouting at me: GET ON WITH IT, DUDE!


Barthropods seeking silverfish

August 8, 2023

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, a complex composition in which two centipedes look for bar snacks:

(#1) First bit of language play: the portmanteau barthropod = bar + arthropod, centipedes being arthropods, creatures in the gigantic phylum Arthropoda — also encompassing insects (including silverfish and springtails as well as flies, butterflies and moths, beetles, and more), spiders. crustaceans (among them, shrimp, crabs, lobsters, and barnacles), and millipedes (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page)

Then there’s a more subtle bit of language play in silverfish serving as bar snacks in a world in which centipedes drink in bars — given that Goldfish crackers (gold fish, silver fish, bring out the bronze) are often served as bar snacks in the real world.