Archive for the ‘Language and animals’ Category

A squirrel in the hand

January 21, 2020

A literally eventful time of the year, surrounding the Mournful Valley of my life, that rift of bereftness between Ann Daingerfield’s death day, 1/17, and Jacques Transue’s birthday, 1/22; see my 1/16 posting “At the rim of the Mournful Valley, singing”.

By accident, in this period fall two odd celebratory dates: 1/20, Penguin Awareness Day; and 1/21, today, Squirrel Appreciation Day. Plus, on a Monday in or near this period, MLK Day in the US (this year: yesterday, 1/20/20).

This year I’ve been terribly sick and deeply dispirited, but I was cheered by coming across a sweet photograph of a young Jacques and a squirrel he had, to some degree, tamed:

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An infestation

January 19, 2020

A quirky Joe Dator cartoon from the January 20th issue of the New Yorker:


(#1) “We’re not a seafood restaurant–this building has a pretty severe lobster infestation.”

NOAD‘s account of the everyday usage of infestation (with notes added by me in square brackets):

noun infestation: the presence of an unusually large number of insects or animals [not plants or microbes] in a place, typically so as to cause damage or disease [of concern to human beings]: infestation with head lice is widespread | efforts were made to deal with an infestation of rats in the building.

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Just one peanut

January 13, 2020

(Lots of off-color jokes, some of them gay-inflected, along with a number of peanut cartoons. So: crude, and perhaps not to everyone’s taste.)

Today’s Rhymes With Orange — entertaining if you get the crucial pop culture allusion, incomprehensible if you don’t:


(#1) An elephant at the doctor’s office, with an x-ray showing the contents of his stomach to be a top hat, a monocle, and a cane; in the face of this evidence, the doctor asks the patient if he’s sure that all he ate was one peanut (presupposing that the patient has claimed just that)

How does this even make sense, much less be funny? Even granting the poploric association between elephants and peanuts — which is actually pretty baffling (see below) — why do peanuts come up in #1 at all? We have a trio of men’s accessories and no visible peanuts.

There’s a hint in the bonus commentary on the left: elephant to elephant, “It’s a medical Mister-y”, where the clue is Mister. But the clue is useless if you don’t know your way around the symbolic figures of American commerce.

You have to be a friend of Mister Peanut.

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The penguinocalypse

January 3, 2020

Circulating on Facebook (and many other sites) recently, this penguinocalypse cartoon:

(#1)

I call this a cartoon because it’s a marriage of a quite specific text with a quite specific image, circulated as humor. In fact, I haven’t been able to find this text without this image, or this image without this text (right down to the illegible credit in the lower right-hand corner). Nor have I found any variants of this text, or any variants of this image. #1 is a unique artistic creation, just like the other cartoons I post about here — of the subtype in which the image is taken from some other source (in this case, it’s a photoshopped carnivore penguin) rather than drawn by the creator. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to discover who the creator was.

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Revisiting 40: Bird X

December 25, 2019

Yesterday’s posting “Hung with care” was about, among many other things, animal alphabets, including in #8 one from Sally King McBride (going from alligator A to zebra Z), about which Robert Coren asked in a comment:

(#1)

Do you happen to know who the “X” bird in #8 is? It’s the only one I can’t identify.

How many X birds could there be? you ask. Well, a fair number, but my guess on this one is the ovenbird xenops, but I could be wrong. (McBride is alive and working in NYC, so if someone wants to figure out how to get in touch with her and is willing to write to her, they might be able to find out her intentions and report on them here.)

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Revisiting 39: penis fish on California beaches

December 13, 2019

A 12/12 story in the Guardian, “Thousands of ‘penis fish’ appear on California beach: Fat innkeeper worms typically burrow under the sand but recent storms have swept away layers, leaving them exposed” by Vivian Ho, beginning:


(#1) A beachgoer holds a fat inkeeper worm – otherwise known as a ‘penis fish’ – in Bodega Bay in June 2019 (photograph: Kate Montana / iNaturalist Creative Commons)

I’m not sure this is what the Weather Girls meant when they sang, “It’s raining men.”

Following a bout of winter storms in northern California, “thousands” of pink, throbbing, phallic creatures wound up pulsating along a beach about 50 miles north of San Francisco, Bay Nature reported.

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Two actor POP days

December 13, 2019

It’s Eva Marie Saint Lucy’s Day and, in today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro combo, a Kurt Russell terrier bounds in:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbol in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there’s just one in this strip — see this Page.)

First, Kurt Russell and the Russell terrier. Then Eva Marie Saint and St. Lucy’s Day. In both cases, a member of what I’ve called the Acting Corps (see the Page on this blog), with a name in a POP (a phrasal overlap portmanteau; see the Page on this blog).

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Here’s to adorable Gina

November 21, 2019

… Friend of the skate and the cod

The Gina is a Zwicky, and adorable is a self-description. On her Twitter account:

(#1)

(I believe Gina is my first Zwicky of the Sea.)

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Toadsuck catfish

November 16, 2019

Today’s Zippy, with a catfish buffet in the Toad Suck / Toadsuck AR area:


(#1) Buffet at the Toadsuck Catfish Inn (in Choctaw AR, on US 65 South), obviously of keen interest to Mr. (The) Toad

As is so often the case with establishments in Zippy strips, this one closed a few years ago — though alternatives, like Eat My Catfish in Conway, flourish in the area (which is prime catfish territory).

And, well, yes, there’s the name Toad Suck.

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The lizard on the 101

November 8, 2019

From Ela Thurgood on Facebook today, this photograph of a recent visitor to Ela and Graham’s house in Chico CA:


(#1) An alligator lizard, presumably a southern alligator lizard, Elgaria multicarinata; alligator lizards are a western US thing

That’s in Chico, in NorCal. But at least since 1972, alligator lizards have been famous as a SoCal phenomenon, celebrated in song as apparitions in the air above “Ventura Highway”:


(#2) DeviantArt by nightly03 illustrating America’s “Ventura Highway”

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