Archive for the ‘Language and food’ Category

Ovaltine mornings

July 20, 2017

On Facebook, from several sources, these vintage ads for Ovaltine, notable (these days) for their use of the adjective gay ‘light-hearted, carefree’:



Two things here: the lexical items gay; and the beverage Ovaltine. Along the way we’ll pick up some Los Angeles lesbian rap.


POP with Poe

July 18, 2017

Another POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau) from Hilary Price in today’s Rhymes With Orange:

(#1) Edgar Allan Poe + po’ boy

The Raven flies to New Orleans.


pretzel dog

July 13, 2017

It’s about the N + N compound pretzel dog, and its many possible understandings: a dog that delivers pretzels, a dog that likes pretzels, a dog twisted into the shape of a pretzel (or merely contorted), a dog-like object made of pretzels, and so on.

If I tell you that the dog in pretzel dog is to be understood as short for hot dog ‘frankfurter’, you’ll come up with another set of possible understandings: a contorted hot dog, a hot dog with pretzel bits on it, a frankfurter-like object made of pretzels, and so on. But unless you’ve actually experienced something marketed as a pretzel dog (at a Sonic Drive-In or from the Auntie Anne’s company, say), you probably woudn’t think of interpreting pretzel as a reference to pretzel dough. But that’s where we’re going.


Chast, Haefeli, Kaplan

July 6, 2017

Three cartoons from the latest issue (July 10th and 17th) of the New Yorker, by Roz Chast (heirloom hot dogs), William Haefeli (gay couple with dog and baby), and Bruce Eric Kaplan (a visit from Dr. Seuss).


Coconuts and Trumpets

July 6, 2017

Notes from my (mostly unfabulous) gay life in Palo Alto CA: drinks yesterday with folks from QUEST (the Stanford LGBT staff group) at Coconuts, the Caribbean restaurant just up the street from my house (posted about here), wearing a notably gay t-shirt from Trumpets, a celebrated gay bar and restaurant in Washington DC in the 1990s. A shirt from 1995, a shirt not only past the age of consent, but one old enough to vote.

Coconuts is a pleasant unpretentious place, not at all gay-oriented — there are no such places in Palo Alto (for gay life, you travel 34 miles to San Francisco or 17 miles to San Jose) — and flourishing; Trumpets was a serious restaurant with an interesting menu, with a major gay bar in front, and it’s long gone, though for Pride month this year, there was a reunion celebration; a lot of people remembered it with great affection.


Another prohibition on tipping

July 4, 2017

Yesterday’s posting on cow-tipping and related matters distinguished two verbs tip, played with in a cartoon by Daniel Beyer:

(1) give (someone) a sum of money as a way of rewarding them for their services

(3) overbalance or cause to overbalance so as to fall or turn over

and provided a joke sign prohibiting cow-tipping. There are of course also NO TIPPING signs, usually in restarants, prohibiting gratuities.

Now Benita Bendon Campbell reminds me of NO TIPPING signs in the UK that often baffle American visitors because they appear along roads, in places where gratuities would seem to be irrelevant. There are variants that show that a third verb tip is at issue here, one related to the

noun tip: British a place where trash is deposited; a dump. (NOAD2)


Getting the comic

July 3, 2017

Yesterday, from Chris Hansen, this cartoon by Daniel Beyer:


Chris’s comment:

It took me a minute to “get” it (I’ve been in England for a looooong time)

(Chris is an American long resident in England.)

Another exercise in understanding comics. In this case, requiring a crucial piece of knowledge about American popular culture.


Annals of spiciness

June 30, 2017

On my posting on the 27th, “Scalarity on the menu”, about a Korean restaurant in Berlin offering food with sauces that were: not spicy, medium spicy, German spicy, Korean spicy — this comment on Facebook from Antonia Clicquot:

Reminds me of the menu of an Indian restaurant in Erlangen [in Bavaria, not far from Nuremberg] – they do all their meals germanisch, indogermanisch and indisch scharf.

The adjective indogermanisch leaps out to a linguist’s eye, because for us it picks out not a kind of food but a kind of language, namely Indo-European.


Scalarity on the menu

June 27, 2017

From Roey Gafter on Facebook a few days ago, going Korean at the Flohmarkt (flea market) am Mauerpark, Berlin:

A little exercise in scalarity, in this case with respect to spiciness (German adjective scharf ‘sharp, spicy’, English adjective spicy, alternatively hot).


News for cacti and succulents 6/20/17

June 20, 2017

Two reports on the cactus and succulent front: two photos from a visit to the Stanford garden yesterday (a foxtail and an assortment of columnar cactuses), plus edible miniature cactus and succulent gardens (cakes and cupcakes!).