Archive for the ‘Language and food’ Category

Meatballs!

August 19, 2016

My breakfast this morning — my breakfasts are often hearty — was Cajun meatballs with sauteed vegetables (prominently, okra) and rice. Quite pleasant, but I can’t help thinking that meatballs are intrinsically funny. Maybe it’s the balls thing, or maybe the assortment of deprecatory uses of meatball(s), or maybe just the appearance of four sizable stolid globes of ground meat on a plate. (I would blame the kid song “On Top of Spaghetti” — see here — if I could, but it wasn’t written until well after my childhood.)

An arrangement of (as it happens, Italian) meatballs on a platter, looking much like an array of cannonballs:

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Then I began wondering about the conventionalized phrase meatball surgery, which I remember from the American television show M*A*S*H and also from an overheard argument among my surgeons about how to handle the necrotizing fasciitis advancing on my right arm.

And now my meatball bulletin.

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Pink motels, Cadillacs, etc. etc.

August 19, 2016

Today’s Zippy takes us into the land of pink motels, pink fairies, and pink Cadillacs, which then takes us of course into the Forest of Pudendiana and sexual symbolism. There will be innocent drinks, plants, and animals, but mostly this is a world drenched in sex, gender, and sexuality.

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We are in scenic Cherokee NC, home of a Pink Motel, with a fairy as its mascot — blue-winged in the cartoon, but pink-winged in older versions of the actual neon sign.

Symbolism I. Both fairies and the color pink have come to be symbols of femininity, and by extension, faggotry. But also, both of them, are symbols of kitsch: fairies and pink stuff are “cute”. Presumably the Pink Motel in Cherokee was designed not to bring in women or gay men, but to project a strong general senses of cuteness, like Tinkerbell and Hello Kitty run amok.

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Gross and flying penguins, Barsotti and flying squirrels

August 15, 2016

Unearthed in today’s clearing out of material piled up in a cabinet, two New Yorker cartoons: a Sam Gross (published in the 9/4/95 issue) in which a penguin achieves flight, a Charles Barsotti (published in the 8/12/96 issue) in which squirrels question whether they are in fact flying squirrels (there are tree squirrels, ground squirrels, flying squirrels, and questioning squirrels — TGFQ):

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(#2)

If you try harder, you might succeed; and if you give it a try, you might discover your identity.

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Violet-blue, white, and deep purple

August 10, 2016

On a visit to the Gamble Garden in Palo Alto yesterday, two striking plants (among the classic garden flowers of high to late summer): Catananche caerulea (with violet-blue flowers) and Angelica stricta ‘Purpurea’ (with deep purple flowers). Not on display: the familiar garden angelica plant (A. archangelica, with white flowers).

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Advances in the fast food world

August 9, 2016

An announcement in my Facebook feed this morning, from Adverising Age yesterday:

Burger King Introduces Whopperito, a Whopper Burrito: Tex-Mex Mashup to Be Sold Nationally From Aug. 15

Burger King’s latest new item is taking a cue from Chipotle Mexican Grill, which is still reeling from a string of foodborne illness outbreaks.

The Whopperito, which puts Whopper burger ingredients like beef, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and pickles inside a flour tortilla, will be sold nationally beginning Aug. 15 [after marketing trials in Pennsylvania]. A queso sauce replaces the mayonnaise from the hamburger.

I had two reactions. One, that the Whopperito as described in AdAge is very close to my conception of an American burrito, with (possibly) only the tomatoes and pickles outside the usual list of ingredients, though with beans (or refried beans) crucially absent, so the thing hardly looks like a hybrid food (Whopper plus burrito), but more like a stunted variant of a burrito — but then this is advertising (for Burger King, home of the Whopper), not food studies. Two, that althugh the name could be construed as a portmanteau (Whopper + burrito, with the shared r indicated by underlining), the first interpretation I got of the name was that it was a diminutive of Whopper, in –ito, that is, as ‘little Whopper’ — an oxymoron if I ever saw one.

Then I discovered that AdAge had spelled the name wrong. It’s Whopperrito, much more clearly a portmanteau.

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Cereal mascots

August 1, 2016

Today’s One Big Happy, with the kids’ grandparents at breakfast, contemplating the cereals on offer, with some dismay:

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Arthur Godfrey and friends

July 27, 2016

Today’s Zippy appears to be just a surrealist melange of pop-cultural absurdity (and can be enjoyed at that level), but in fact many of those absurdities are knit together in a web of allusions to elements of pop culture — probably even more densely than I appreciate.

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It all starts with Arthur Godfrey, who appears transformed as the central character of the strip, Siddartha Godfrey, with Arthur replaced by the phonologically very similar name SiddarthaSiddharth or Siddhartha is the birth name of the founder of Buddhism, Gautama Buddha.

Meanwhile, the title “Jerry Van Dyke Lives” introduces a secondary, parallel, theme having to do with Jerry Van Dyke.

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Let’s go paleo

July 23, 2016

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.)

Implementing he Paleolitic diet, Paleo diet, caveman diet, Stone Age diet, or hunter-gatherer diet, right along with the appropriate hunting practices, for the appropriate prey.

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Word play for 7-11

July 11, 2016

Three cartoons today (July 7th, or 7/11 in American usage; this will be important): a perfect pun (from Rhymes With Orange), using an ambiguity in local; a more distant pun (from Mother Goose and Grimm), linguistically and visually combining Bonnie and Clyde with Blondie ad Dagwood; and a Scott Hilburn (from The Argyle Sweater today) using the 50th anniversary of the Slurpee to float an almost-perfect pun
perches / purchase
(/z/ vs. /s/).

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goober

July 10, 2016

Today’s Bizarro, with a terrible pun (and a large number of Dan Piraro’s symbols):

  (#1)

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