Archive for the ‘Language and medicine’ Category

Every picture tells a story

October 28, 2020

(This posting starts with a homoerotic Daily Jocks ad — nothing close to the line visually or textually, but you might still want to exercise your judgment — moves through Doan’s pills and ends with musician Rod Stewart.)

… but what story? They’re just pictures, after all, subject to many interpretations. Even when the creator’s intentions are clear, there are often two (or more) intended stories for the same picture — typically, one literal and one allusive (consider still lifes with moral messages). In any case, other viewers are free to see stories the creator did not. And sometimes the pictures have no clear interpretation.

Which brings me to the Daily Jocks mailing of 10/26:


(#1) At the gym, two hunks eye each other’s crotches with facial expressions that would be heavy sexual cruises if exchanged face to face

Well, it’s a menswear ad, and comes with no explicit clues as to how it’s to be interpreted — maybe just as a generic homoerotic encounter (certainly homoerotic). But still you wonder: what’s their story? Are they an established couple, shown here appreciating each other’s bodies for the camera? Or did they just come across one another in the gym and are now setting up a trick? Or maybe merely complimenting each other through their gaze and facial expressions, each conveying that he thinks the other is really hot? (Nice body, buddy.)

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Annals of remarkable commerce

September 20, 2020

(About anatomical organs and sex between men, totally not suitable for kids or the sexually modest)

On the Naked Sword site yesterday (9/19), this remarkable ad for Fort Troff BOOF CBD suppositories (“It’s like poppers for your ass”):

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The croup

September 12, 2020

The One Big Happy strip from 8/21:

Ruthie, faced with the unfamiliar medical term the croup, does her best to assimilate it to what she knows, namely the ordinary-language term for a physical condition, the creeps. But this time, she guesses that croup is a portmanteau, of group and creeps.

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Nighthawks in a time of coronavirus

July 3, 2020

Edward Hopper’s famous painting Nighthawks, like so much of his work, depicts poignant social disconnection; it also offers a cast of four characters in its bleak setting, which makes it an easy target for parody (by varying the nature of the characters). Meanwhile, the basic theme makes it easily available for symbolizing the way we live during the coronavirus.

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Death trap

June 5, 2020

The 5/27 Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo brings us two Grim Reapers confronting what might be a trap for them:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

If you want to catch Death in a trap, what do you use as bait? Obviously, not the conventional chunk of cheese, but dead cheese: moldy cheese. (Moldy cheese is, of course, not actually dead; in fact, the cheese is alive with the swarms of microbes.)

The cartoon nicely exploits an ambiguity, between the semantics of the conventionalized compound death trap / deathtrap, and the semantics of a compound Death trap, parallel to mouse trap / mousetrap.

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Annals of advertising: the new normal for noses

May 9, 2020

A new tv commercial for Naväge (sometimes just Navage) touts it as just the thing for current times:

Now is the time to make good nasal hygiene the new normal.

The commercial doesn’t seem to be available on-line yet, but here’s an earlier print ad:


“uses powered suction to relieve nasal congestion” (with a saline solution)

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Quick shot: a job title

April 17, 2020

Background: MSNBC now has a regular feature with a report from Dr. Calvin Sun, a native New Yorker who works as an ER doc in NYC, going to a different hospital each day, filling in wherever he’s needed; on MSNBC, he describes the situation at the ER of the day.


Dr. Sun on tv: earnest, passionate, compassionate, and terribly, terribly weary

Above, I used the familiar, everyday English job title for Dr. Sun: he’s an ER / E.R. doctor, ER doc for short. The formal job title is emergency physician (who practices emergency medicine, in an emergency department).

Meanwhile, I didn’t know any AmE name for a physician who filled in for other doctors as needed.

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The predictable blend error

March 24, 2020

It was bound to happen: the parts of

COVID-19 and coronavirus

were going to get mixed, to yield

CORVID-19

And, yes, then we see ravens, ravens of death.

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coronteaus

March 22, 2020

… that is, coronovirus portmanteaus (where the underlined n is the overlap shared by the two contributing words). A modest collection from recent days.

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Golcorona

March 21, 2020

The art of the pandemic continues at Vadim Temkin’s CGI atelier, with Golconda 2020, an homage to Magritte (on Facebook yesterday):


(#1) They way we live now

A many-depthed airscape of naked young men (with modesty hands) and fuzzy coronavirus molecules.

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