Archive for the ‘Language and animals’ Category

Amoeba humor

July 17, 2017

A classic Gary Larson cartoon, which came up on Pinterest this morning:

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Pun time at the protist corral, playing on Anglicized Spanish adios, amigos ‘goodbye, friends’ (perhaps better in AmE: ‘so long, buddies’).

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More news not for penises

July 5, 2017

Start with this little poem, “Spurring him on”, which seems to be heavily sexual:

Hotspur Cockspur:
Thorny, horny, over-
Heated prick.
Spiky, showy dandy,
Sharply tipped.

Actually, this is a continuation of my 2/4/16 posting “Some news not for penises”, which was about senses of cock that aren’t about penises, and it’s mostly about plants, a whole hell of a lot of plants, some of them with sharp thorns (like spurs) that will prick you, some of them with showy spikes (like a rooster’s comb), all of them with cock in one of their common names. So, what with the noun cock, the phallic spurs, and the phallic combs, the topic fairly drips with male sexuality — but this posting is not about men’s bodies or mansex. It’s mostly about birds and plants, plus some vintage dandies and Sir Henry Percy.

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O Canada! Au Canada: le huard!

July 1, 2017

Today is Canada Day, the 150th, and also the 30th anniversary of the Canadian dollar coin, the loonie (le huard):

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Music hath powers to repel the savage pest

June 10, 2017

In today’s Zits, Connie Duncan schemes to rid the house and garden of chipmunks:

Her weapon in this anti-sciurid campaign? Her son’s rock band.

It’s a lot like using classical music to disperse loitering teenagers from public areas.

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Corn snakes and eggplants

May 23, 2017

… with belladonna as a bonus.

Two more photos by my man Jacques (of uncertain date), in Columbus OH:

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The snake is curled up in a crevice in the house’s crumbling cellar wall. The corner on the upper right is the edge of the back steps. (Eventually the cellar wall was completely rebuilt, and this spot was transformed into an excellent wooden deck.)

The snake just turned up on a sunny day, looking a bit like a copperhead, but seeming to be unthreatening, which copperheads are not.

The plants in pots in front of the snake are eggplants, bearing their glossy black fruits. The eggplant has come up frequently on this blog as a versatile foodstuff, several times as a member of the Solanaceae / nightshade family — it’s essentially edible nightshade — and occasionally as a phallic symbol, but I haven’t done justice to it as a plant.

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Squid Pro Quo

May 20, 2017

This Non Sequitur cartoon by Wiley Miller:

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squid / quid. And squid as a source of ink, squid as food. .

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Chenillar moments, including frass and lepidopterism

May 14, 2017

Two caterpillar notes, an old one and a very recent one.

First, from a Language Log posting of mine from 6/2/06:

As for the oak moths, we’ve been exceptionally afflicted by them this spring at Stanford — a rain of caterpillars [California Oakworms, Phryganidia californica], then masses of cocoons, and now clouds of moths.  Ick.  Susie Fork [posting on the Elkhorn Slough site], however, sounds pretty pro-moth.  Well, the Elkhorn Slough staff seem to value all the organisms they study.  But then they don’t have to live with clumps of cocoons disfiguring the pieces in the New Guinea Sculpture Garden, the way we do.

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Then from a visit to Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden last week:

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Toxic moments

May 13, 2017

First, a story came by on NPR in which a tale of five dead hunters in Oregon played a central role, as did the terrible poison tetrodotoxin. And then an episode of the tv series Death in Paradise in which this poison plays a central role. Rough-skinned newts, pufferfish, and garter snakes all have parts to play in the story, as do arms races in evolution. And of course tetrodotoxin and the entertainments of Death in Paradise.

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blue jack

May 5, 2017

It started with my observing to a friend that a container in which a blue cheese had been stored can be used to start “blu(e)ing” any cheese, citing the blue cheddar I had recently created in my refrigerator. And then this friend went off to buy some cheese for me, and came across some blue jack, a blue version of Monterey Jack. Jack is a mild cheese that has the virtue of being sliceable, and sliceable blue cheeses aren’t easy to come by (most blue cheeses crumble or shatter), so blue jack could be a good find. And so it was:

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Like a mayfly

May 1, 2017

Today’s Bizarro:

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

Appropriately for May Day, this strip is ephemeral: this month, if you keep up with popular culture, it’s wryly funny, but a year from now, almost no one will understand it. (Yes, I’m going to explain it.)

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