Archive for the ‘Language and geography’ Category

Rainforest houseplants

September 11, 2018

A birthday present to me from Riitta Välimaa-Blum, this gorgeous display of plants:

(#1)

Not just plants, but particularly luxuriant houseplants — mostly gorgeous enormous Dieffenbachia plants. Apparently in a rainforest setting, either in the wild or in a conservatory (or as Riitta would say, un jardin des plantes). Riitta tells me it’s in a real rainforest, on the island of Réunion, in the Indian Ocean. Remarkably, Réunion is a department (state in US terms) of France, which just happens to be about 5700 mi (9200 km) from the department of France where she lives (in Nice, in the department of Alpes Maritimes). (Compare the US state of Hawaii, about 2500 mi (4000 km) from California, where I live.)

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The Three Marcos, the Three Marcusites

August 27, 2018

(Hunky men in skimpy underwear, but otherwise not alarming. And it will take you to some surprising places.)

Today’s Daily Jocks guy, for Marcuse underwear, with the ad copy (lightly edited):


(#1) Marco Brown, the pool boy with a white thong in his heart

Sporty & sexy, the premium Egoist collection from Marcuse will give everyone around you wild thoughts. Available in 2 colors [white and navy] and 3 styles, jockstrap, [bikini] brief & thong.

The first of the Three Marcos. On to the others…

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Annals of innuendo

February 3, 2018

Seen on a t-shirt in downtown Pao Alto this morning, this bit of coastal Californica:

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Puns and portmanteaus, polar bears and hippos

November 1, 2017

Or: zoology, geometry, geography, and medicine. In three visual + verbal jokes that have been floating around the internet. Starting, A, with a punning coordinate bears composition — playing geometrically with polar bear — that came to me from Mike Reaser (who got it from an aggregation source), and a buildup to a portmantriple, C, that came to me from Kim Darnell (who got it from the Exploding Fish Shitposting and Senseless Drivel, Inc. Facebook page) — a combo of geometry, medicine, and animals (hippos rather than polar bears). The first led to more geometric play, B, on polar bear, taking us into medical (specifically psychiatric) territory. And then, bonus, there’s some simple geographic play, D, with polar bear.

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The regional languages of France

September 10, 2017

Passed on by Norma Mendoza-Denton, this beautiful map of the regional languages of France, with a tool for playing sound files for each of them:

On the Positivr site, “La France a enfin son atlas sonore des langues régionales: En un seul clic, cette carte interactive permet de faire le tour de France des langues régionales. Du bonheur pour les oreilles.” by Axel Leclercq on 7/21/17.

The posting ends with a paean to the value of regional languages in France — with a treatment of (for example) Picard and Norman in the north and Gascon and Provençal in the south as languages in their own right and not merely local deviations from correct French; and also the recognition of the Germanic languages Flemish, Alsatian, and Franconian as regional languages on a par with, say, Breton and Basque:

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Where is Gilroy?

September 5, 2017

Restrain the impulse to reply “Gilroy was here” (I’ll get to that below); the title is an echo of my 7/7/15 posting “Where is Ojai?”, which was about whether the city of Ojai, in Ventura County CA, is in California’s Central Coast region or in in the South Coast region (along with Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties).

Just so for Gilroy, a city in (far southern) Santa Clara county: is it in the Central Coast region, or in the Bay Area region on the northern California coast?

Ojai and the rest of Ventura County are in a cultural liminal zone, between central and south; and Gilroy and neighboring Santa Cruz county are in a cultural liminal zone, between central (with small cities, picturesque open spaces, and extensive rural or semi-rural areas) and Bay Area (mostly dense urban and surburban settlement).

I stumbled onto the Gilroy question through food, specifically through Original California Style Hot Pepper Sauce, made in Gilroy (but encountered on a table at the Peninsula Fountain Grill, here in Palo Alto), whose makers advertise:

Pepper Plant Pepper Sauce was developed by a lover of spicy peppers who wanted to enjoy their unique taste year round. Pepper Plant quickly became a favorite of the California Central Coast.

The Pepper Plant folks seem pretty clear that they’re on the Central Coast (along with Watsonville, Salinas, Monterey, and Carmel) — at the northern tip of the region, granted, but in it.

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