Archive for the ‘Language and animals’ Category

Navy flamingos and roseate spoonbills

July 7, 2020

An excellent line of dactylic tetrameter — Navy flamingos and roseate spoonbills — featuring two strikingly pink birds, and these birds on fancifully patterned men’s swimwear and shorts. Then a bonus item that’s not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.

We begin with yesterday’s Daily Jocks ad, for the Elia beachwear company:


(#1) A not entirely human apparition on the beach, a superreal PlasticMan hunk, staring down fixedly at his big (artificially enhanced) package and at the wonderfully playful pink flamingos on his navy-blue swim briefs (note the typo flip fops, which I’ll get to in the bonus section)

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Suicidal cats

July 6, 2020

A brief cartoon cat note — I have been pressed with other things, and am just barely hanging on — starting from a FB re-posting of an old  (9/15/12) Bizarro, in French:


(#1) Do not derange yourself; the original English version is soon to come

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Budgies on the roadside

July 5, 2020

Two cartoons from March — I keep telling you I’m not on top of anything in my life — a One Big Happy from 3/3, about Ruthie and the name budgie; and a Zippy from 3/25, with “On the Roadside”, a burlesque of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.

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Variability: juncos

July 3, 2020

Recent episodes in the fauna report from my house in Palo Alto.

I remind you my entire engagement with the outside world is through my little walled-in front patio, where I grow plants in containers and try to attract birds to entertain me; mostly I watch all this from the inside, through the big windows by my worktable.

The most recent development has been the reappearance of a pair of LBBs (little brown birds) / LBJs (little brown jobs / jobbies), who’d been absent since February (when they took dust baths in the shallow garden strip). This time, there was birdseed sprinkled on the ground outside my window, so they came close enough for me to study them as they fluttered about, and they were clearly juncos.


(#1) A male slate-colored junco (from Wikipedia); my juncos have dark heads, but then each junco subspecies is immensely variable

Then I learned that JuncoWorld is a marvel of variability, so I should just settle for junco as the identifying label, and be satisfied that my birds are not rare Guadelupe juncos, though slate-colored juncos (or something not far off) wouldn’t be a bad guess.

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Bark if you’re Swiss

June 28, 2020

Today is Sarajevo Day (1914), a dreadful occasion, and also Stonewall Day (1969), an astounding occasion, but this posting has nothing to do with either of them. Instead, it’s a little present for my grand-daughter Opal, to whom the paucity of dog postings on this blog must be absolutely scandalous.

So, from Pinterest this morning, this group photo of the four types of Swiss Mountain Dogs:


(#1) [from the National Purebred Dog Day [May 1] site (“celebrating the heritage, diversity and predictability of the purebred dog”) on 2/27/17:] “The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is the largest, the Entlebucher is the shortest, the Bernese Mountain Dog has the longest hair, and the Appenzeller Sennenhunde has a tail that curls”

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Meet the Jays

June 27, 2020

A follow-up to my 6/9/20 posting “The June flora and fauna report”.

The apricot cymbidium orchid I’ve called Cuppy (in #4 in that posting), aways the last to bloom, finally came to an end on 6/24, extraordinarily late. The orchids will now put their energy into their root systems and into shoots that will spring up when the rainy (and cool) season begins in late November.

Then there was the bird feeder (#3 in that posting), which on 6/9 had not attracted any birds, nor had the birdseed spread out as a lure, on the ground near it and on the fence tops. But as the days wore on, I came to be adopted by a pair of California scrub jays — big, often noisy (though not for me), territorial, seriously clever, and amenable to human company (they are corvids, like crows and ravens). They are also crazy fond of peanuts (which my birdseed provides) and acorns (which they can get from the California live oaks that are all over the place here, and in which they are probably nesting).

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Gay hedgehog

June 21, 2020

A week before Stonewall Day (1969), this celebratory hedgehog:


(#1) Gay Hedgehog design by JP House from Threadless, available in a great many colors

The hedgehog army

We are the hedgehog army!
Rainbow flags are the weapons we wave
In the fight against prejudice, fear, and rejection.
Ready, aim, be brave!

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The June flora and fauna report

June 9, 2020

Continuing a long series of postings about things I happen to come across in my immediate neighborhood. Particularly plants, sometimes with notes about their taxonomy and their names. And particularly plants I can see out my window, and the various creatures that afflict them. My most recent posting in this series seems to have been from 1/21/20: “A squirrel in the hand” (excerpted below).

Now the 2020 report.

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Minimalist, and sometimes anti-bacterial

May 20, 2020

(Extremely minimally dressed men, with discussion of their bodies and of mansex in street language, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Annals of men’s underwear, starting with some extremely minimal items, including one that claims to be anti-bacterial; notes on armpit and crotch sweat and its associated bacteria, with their characterstic smells and tastes; and (a surprise bonus) the advertised virtues of merino wool underwear and t-shirts.

Under the fold, I’ll start with two of the more remarkable minimalist items: the Echo Mesh jock pouch (and harness) from CellBlock13; and pro wrestler John Cena in a hot pink banana hammock.

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Our reclusive pangolinists

May 4, 2020

On the dangler watch, a report by Ben Zimmer on 4/29 about this Reddit posting, which seems to have appeared without any preceding context:

TIL [Today I Learned] Due to their reclusive nature, scientists are unsure how long a pangolin lives in the wild.

(now entry Z4.87, coded SUB(due to)-I-EMB-3P, in my collection of examples)

The writer of Z4.87 was no doubt intending to write about the endangered animal the scaly anteater, or pangolin, and the creatures were paramount in their consciousness; and they also wanted to introduce an observation on scientists’ knowledge about pangolins. All of that is fine. But we can’t be mind-readers, and what they wrote fell afoul of a general strategy in sentence comprehension that leads even well-intentioned readers to understand, at least for a perceptible moment, the claim to be that scientists, not pangolins, are reclusive.

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