Archive for the ‘Language and food’ Category

What’s on the menu?

December 6, 2021

By Matt Diffee, in today’s (12/6) New Yorker:

(#1) There is a header on the menu that says Breakfast Served All Day, intended as an assertion that all the breakfast items are served all day — but understood by these diners as a label for a category of menu items, or even for a specific menu item, a label similar to Breakfast Special or (Special) Breakfast of the Day (an item whose identity is further specified on the menu or by a server)

(Yes, there is yet another reading, in which the diners are supposing that they can have their particular breakfast order served to them throughout the day, as one monumentally extended meal.)

So a rather complex kind of ambiguity, which might seem unlikely to be significant in real life, until you look at some actual menus without the knowledge that the assertion Breakfast Served All Day is a commonplace on menus at American family-style restaurants (fancy places don’t serve breakfast all day). But even if you’re firmly in possession of that knowledge, some menu designs invite the label understanding.


The shirt and the scent

November 28, 2021

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro takes us to the Men’s Department, where a salesman of extraordinary style purveys clothing, shoes, accessories, and men’s fragrances:

(#1) The striped shirt is a marinière, and the two scents are jokey takeoffs on men’s fragrances (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

From my 2/16/21 posting “Hello, sailor”, this description of

la marinière, the cotton long-sleeved shirt with horizontal blue and white stripes; characteristically worn by seamen in the French Navy, it has become a common part of the stereotypical image of a French person

More on the shirt below. Meanwhile, the cologne Horse Soccer (from Barf Lauren) is a play on Polo (from Ralph Lauren); the source of the name Royal Whiff for the other cologne is still a mystery to me, but no doubt an enlightened reader will explain the joke to me (though Royal Whiff would be an entertaining name even if it has no direct model).


Now we’re cooking with carrots

November 20, 2021

From Ann Gulbrandsen (in Sweden) on Facebook today, a wonderful still life of earthy carrots:

Ann wrote (in Swedish; what follows is the Google Translate version in English, which is, um, flatfooted, with one paraphrase by me):

Thought to pick up the last small harvest of carrots when it will be minus degrees next week. I clearly underestimated what was [underground]. May be cooking with carrots [Sw. matlagning med morötter] a couple of weeks ahead.


Comes a pause in the day’s occupations

November 18, 2021

… that is known as Miller Time … when you deserve a beer break today.

None of this makes sense unless you know the advertising slogans: It’s Miller Time (for Miller High Life beer, not for novelist Henry Miller, playwright Arthur Miller, or bandleader Glenn Miller), You Deserve a Break Today (for McDonald’s, hawking hamburgers, not beer). But Calvin knows:

(#1) The Calvin and Hobbes strip distributed today, originally published 10/9/86, alluding to “Miller Time” slogans in Miller High Life beer commercials from the period

Calvin is supposed to be 6 years old — admittedly, with the sensibilities of a boy of roughly 10, but, still, not expected to be familiar with the ways of beer-drinking, so his father is alarmed that Calvin seems to be looking forward to a brew after the occupations of his day. (Whatever happened to the Children’s Hour? Television happened.)


Line 1, doctor, that crazy coconut again

November 17, 2021

And the doctor said to her — everybody join in! — “Put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up”.

Yesterday’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro Desert Island cartoon, with Wayno’s title “Coco Loco”:

(#1) The terrible toll of isolation (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page.)

The extraordinarily versatile coconut — the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) — pressed into service as a telephone receiver for a desperate and deranged castaway.


A double desert cartoon

November 13, 2021

It arrived this week, just published: Send Help! A Collection of Marooned Cartoons, edited by Jon Adams and Ellis Rosen: a compendium of Desert Island (DI) cartoons that has given me much pleasure. More on the book and its contents to come below, but here I note cartoons that combine the DI cartoon meme with another cartoon meme: in the book, DI + Psychiatrist and DI + Grim Reaper. And then, stunningly, Desert Island + Desert Crawl.

A Desert Crawl cartoon has a man (or, more generally, people) crawling, parched and hallucinatory, across a seemingly endless desert — without escape, something the DC meme shares with DI. (The most recent DC cartoon on this blog is by David Sipress in my 11/10/21 posting “Four cartoons on familiar themes”.) The wonderful DC + DI combo in Send Help! is by Mort Gerberg. A terrible scan of it, but the best I could do:

(#1) The original is a bit bigger than this, and even wispier, almost ethereal, like an indistinct vision; as a result, it takes a bit of time for you to realize the deep absurdity of the scene


Briefs: Greg’s new shoes

November 7, 2021

This morning Greg Parkinson announced on Facebook that, needing comfy house shoes, he’d gotten these:


There’s a song for that:


The scent of a pumpkin

October 17, 2021

It’s that time of the year again, you can smell it in the air: Pumpkin Spice Season. For some, a keenly arousing moment, as in this e-card (#1 in my 10/26/17 posting “Three more pumpkin-spicy bits”):

(#1) A POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau): verb pumpkin spice up = noun pumpkin spice + verb spice up  ‘make more interesting or exciting’


This day

October 11, 2021

This is the day. It’s the 2nd Monday of October: Indigenous Peoples’ Day / Columbus Day in the U.S.; and Thanksgiving in Canada. And it’s October 11th: National Coming Out Day; and Jacques and Arnold’s Anniversary (celebrated) — the actual moment would be 45 years in December.

Mostly this posting will be about J&A Day, with affection, silliness, and a certain amount of playful raunchiness (just to warn you, there will be tiny chocolate penises, in Pride Flag rainbow wrappings). I will have a few words on Columbus Day, Thanksgiving holidays, and NCOD, before the main event. But to establish the main context, here’s the Robert Emery Smith photograph of Jacques and me after having been declared domestic partners by the city of Palo Alto on Valentine’s Day in 1996:

(#1) The two husband-equivalents, in their cymbidium garden (the plants themselves being gifts of love)

The third, and most emotionally significant, of our domestic partnerships. The first two were administrative procedures, at Ohio State and Stanford, while this one, though entirely symbolic, was designed to be as much like a conventional wedding as possible: there was a public ceremony and a celebration in front of City Hall, with friends and family in attendance; people wept with happiness; and the city issued a certificate. More below.


Home warranties for the dead

October 2, 2021

Bring out your dead, and extend their home warranties!

Pretty much everybody has experienced the Extended Car Warranty scam, carried out largely via phone spam — and now widely derided, entertainingly (examples to come). And many have experienced the mail solicitation of the dead, the result of the automated winnowing and combining of databases, iteratively: for instance, my wife Ann Daingerfield Zwicky, who died (in Columbus OH) over 36 years ago, every so often gets a mail solicitation at the address of my condo in downtown Palo Alto CA (bought the year after Ann died). Ah, in the mail just moments ago, from Essence Healthcare in Maryland Heights MO: important information Ann needs before the Medicare annual enrollment period begins on October 15. Grotesque.

Now, by U.S. mail (yesterday in Palo Alto) comes the cousin of Extended Car Warranty: Extended Home Warranty (no doubt this scam has been around for a while, and I just haven’t noticed; I haven’t been very attentive to the world). But addressed not to me or to my husband-equivalent Jacques (though he, too, is dead, 18 years now), but to Ann: