Archive for the ‘Language and animals’ Category

There’s always room for another penguin or two

April 25, 2017

From the British Library on Facebook:


We never miss a chance to share a penguin image. This one is from A History of the Birds of New Zealand, 1873.


Seahorse on a stick, GBF, and the Describe-A-Muffin Task

April 21, 2017

All in the 4/24/17 New Yorker: Beijing street food on the cover, a William Haefeli cartoon, and a Tom Chitty cartoon.


Chub and chums in the morning

April 17, 2017

Yesterday’s morning name was chub (the name of a fish), which led me to the rest of the bilabial-final family: chum, chump, and chup. (And that led to the velar-final family chug, Chung, chunk, chuck, but I won’t pursue that one here.) As it is, the bilabials will lead us into many surprising places, including the Hardy Boys books, eyewear retainers, Australian dog food, gay slurs, and hunky underwear models.


Uneasy lies the head

April 10, 2017

You know about Jimmy Buffet Parrotheads, Wisconsin Cheeseheads, annoying dickheads, and musical Radiohead, and now New Yorker cartoonist Michael Maslin brings us PenguinHead:


(Henry IV, Part 2: “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” Often quoted as the crown, as in the adaptation in #1.)


Hail to the Hyena-in-Chief

April 6, 2017

In my “presidential pet” posting yesterday, I suggested that a hyena would be the best pet for POTUS. This morning I realized that that choice would be particularly apt, since it’s entirely possible that POTUS is a hyena, probably a cross between a spotted hyena and a striped hyena, so it would only be right for him to be with one of his own kind, to become the Hyena-in-Chief, the Supreme Hyena.


Pick your Presidential pet

April 5, 2017

Pat Byrnes has been on an extended POTUS run in the New Yorker‘s daily cartoons. Today’s offering shows us Presidential Pick-A-Pet:

“A pet always boosts a President’s approval rating.”

A large black spider (perhaps a tarantula), a vulture, a scorpion, a rattlesnake, a rat, a hyena, a wild boar, and a shark.

Apparently, [REDACTED] is the first President to move in without a pet in over a century. In fact, they all had at least one dog (some more than one, and TR had a whole menagerie), though Harry Truman didn’t care for dogs (but was given them by admirers). Meanwhile, [REDACTED]’s family has apparently never had a pet, much less a dog. The man himself has a thing about germs and dirt, so he probably finds dogs dirty, disgusting, repellent, not to mention an intrusion on his space.

As for the pets, I vote for the hyena. Though I’m sorry to see that Komodo dragons and Tasmanian devils didn’t make it to the finals.

Lord Jeffrey Mammoth

April 5, 2017

Announcing: the Amherst Mammoths.

On the Boston Globe site on the 3rd, “After sending Lord Jeff packing, Amherst College picks mammoth as mascot”:

Amherst College announced Monday that it had selected the mammoth as its new mascot, turning to a signature member of the institution’s natural history collection as its new symbol and concluding a lengthy — and at times controversial — debate over how best to represent the selective liberal arts school.

“The word mammoth conjures up an image of a mighty, imposing and fierce animal — the perfect symbol of Amherst’s strength, academically and athletically,” a college spokeswoman said in a statement.

The college, whose Beneski Museum of Natural History has kept a skeleton of a Columbian mammoth since 1925, had decided more than a year ago to do away with its unofficial mascot, Lord Jeff. That name had historical connotations that drew increasing concern around campus. Lord Jeffery Amherst, who commanded British forces in North America during the French and Indian War, supported giving smallpox-contaminated blankets to Indians, historians say.

The mammoth will be the school’s official mascot, a distinction that Lord Jeff never held, and one that will allow it to be featured on sports garb and promotional materials.

Amherst chose the mascot after voting by alumni, students, faculty, and staff. Close to half of the 9,295 votes were cast for the mammoth, school officials said. The vanquished finalists were the Fighting Poets, Purple and White, Valley Hawks, and Wolves.

In the Beneski Museum, the Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) with digitally added Amherst College hat:



The news for beavers

March 22, 2017

(Sex talk, but mostly academic, analytically inclined. But still, talk about bodyparts and sex acts, so use your judgment.)

First, cowboys and beavers, via the paratactic preconditional

(1) Save a tree, eat a beaver.


parallel to

(2) Save a horse, ride a cowboy.

Then some news about castorid, rather than genital, beavers.


Risible (faux-)commercial name

March 13, 2017

From a posting by Randy Murray to the Facebook page‎ “THE ERRORIST MOVEMENT – Correct grammar, with humour”, where he comments, “apostrophes mean so much”:


At first glance, this ad would seem to fall into four big topic areas on this blog: dubious commercial names; It’s All Grammar; vulgar slang; and phallic play (in particular, word play). To which I add: the conventions on the form of hashtags, e-mail addresses, and web addresses (URLs). But first, I have to tell you that this particular Dick’s Pizza is a fabrication.


Komodo dragon day

March 6, 2017

Today’s Google Doodle is a tribute to the Komodo dragon:

The world’s most amiable-looking Komodo dragon; the actual animals are big, fierce, aggressive carnivores — but for a variety of reasons, they are in fact endangered. And they have been big in my consciousness ever since I first heard Bob and Ray’s routine about Dr. Darryl Dexter (billed as the great expert on the Komodo dragon), back when I was in high school (60 years ago).