Archive for the ‘Language and medicine’ Category

Further annals of remarkable commerce

April 10, 2022

(Sex toys, anal pleasure, and all that jazz. Too crude for kids and the sexually modest.)

An e-mail ad from the Fort Troff company today:


(#1) The whole package, with two parts.

There’s the pig snout part — pig as in gay sexpig — and there’s the leather scent part.

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non-profits

April 4, 2022

Today’s morning name, the C[ount] noun non-profit, as in this real-life example (lifted from this very blog):

Partners of the Common Cents Lab are tech companies, banks, credit unions, non-profits, and government organizations

And in this NOAD entry:

adj. nonprofit [AZ: very frequently non-profit]: [attributive] not making or conducted primarily to make a profit: charities and other nonprofit organizations. noun mainly North American a nonprofit organization: I spent the next six years working for small nonprofits.

(With clearly C noun occurrences boldfaced)

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Zippyphrases 2

March 11, 2022

Some riffing on yesterday’s posting “Catchphrases for sale”, about this Zippy strip:


(#1) Offering fresh phrases — not already in circulation as catchphrases, sayings, proverbs, slogans, famous quotations, well-known names and titles, and the like — chosen at random

Zippy’s fresh phrases sound like catchphrases — roughly, free-standing expressions that you recognize as coming from a stock of quotations widely known in your culture, which then (if you wish) can be conventionally used to make some point — but are in fact novel. The things called catchphrases are then exquisitely embedded in particular cultures (note: “widely known in your culture” and also “can be conventionally used”).

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Bug on the couch

October 24, 2021

The 10/23 Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, a Psychiatrist cartoon, with a bug — specifically, a mosquito — on the couch (Wayno’s title: “Interspecies therapy”):


(#1) Consider the mosquito, how it grieves (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 8 (an unusually large number) in this strip — see this Page.)

Not just the Psychiatrist meme (with all of its conventions), but also:

— the intersection of the human world (in which people go to therapists) and the insect world (in which mosquitoes have six legs, antennae, compound eyes, and proboscises)

— the bug-on-windshield trope

— Rorschach ink blots, as used by clinical psychologists

— autopsy photos

— fatal polytrauma, such as sometimes occurs in car crashes

Fully appreciating the cartoon then calls on a wide range of knowledge, both factual and cultural. I’ll take for granted here the (extensive) conventions of the Psychiatrist meme and go on to the rest.

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Cuticura, it’ll cure ya

August 23, 2021

(As far as I know, not actually used as an advertising slogan for any of the line of Cuticura skin care products — probably too jaunty and wise-cracking for the company, which seems to have been marketing primarily to women since 1865.)

From my 8/17 posting “The grocery order”: “When I was a boy, I applied Vaseline (from the family medicine cabinet) to minor burns and scrapes”. There was Vaseline — petroleum jelly — and then there was a curious patent medicine for somewhat more serious skin problems, a thick green ointment with an intriguing medicinal scent, then sold in glass jars: Cuticura ( /kjùtɪkjúrǝ/ ).

Now, having recovered this childhood memory, I got curious about Cuticura’s history — and its ingredients. Some of my findings (sketchy, because the company’s website is not at all forthcoming with details, and the Wikipedia entry is skeletal) …

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Peter Mark’s clogged drain

August 13, 2021

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, with a plumber who really knows how to sling synonyms:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 7 in this strip — see this Page.)

Hard to believe that any actual person ever uttered egress conduit for drain pipe, or saponaceous residuum for soapy residue — or, better, soapy gunk. So the plumber’s report on an ordinary household repair is absurd; it’s as if he’d been seized by a terrible fit of technicalism that left him unable to resist thesaurisizing.

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The Grip family

June 13, 2021

Easy and the Dr., bringing help to the manually afflicted. As I become less and less able to hold onto objects, lift them, use tools and utensils, open jars and bottles, and so on — no longer able to coordinate small muscles or summon the strength for many everyday actions, and obliged to endure considerable pain to accomplish the things I can manage —  I have come to rely on Easy Grip utensils and tools from the OXO company and on the Dr. Grip pens from the Pilot company, with their thick bodies and slightly flared front ends.

The Dr. has been a friend of mine since I suffered significant ulnar nerve damage in my right arm in 2003 — damaging or disabling various muscles in my right hand, so that I had to switch as much as I could to my left hand (but handwriting was unswitchable, so that unless I wrote very slowly and carefully, even I often couldn’t decipher the result); and leaving me with constant low-grade pain in that arm and hand, with occasional sharp strikes of electric pain. There wasn’t much to do about that pain, but I could improve my handwriting with well-designed pens from the Dr.

Then, in a separate development, osteoarthritis advanced upon me, appearing in different joints on different days, sometimes with crippling pain. More recently, it has settled pretty much constantly in the joints of my hands, both hands, sometimes making them red and swollen and painful to the touch. Most recently, two fingers on my left hand have developed trigger finger, in which the finger gets locked in a bent position and will release, painfully, with a pop. Dr. Grip has become even more significant in my life, and I’m now appealing to Easy Grip more and more just to manage simple tasks.

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Rollin’ on the roadway

May 2, 2021

The mobility equipment piles up. I now have a cool cane (with four feet); an indoor walker (fairly recently equipped with a tray for carrying things around the house); and now a big fancy outdoor walker — a Rollator! — that can, in seconds, be turned into a comfortable seat to rest in on the street.

And now a tour of my assistive devices, as they’re called in the trade.

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gay therapy

April 13, 2021

An ad in my Facebook feed for a Gay Therapy Center, which briefly gave me pause because of an ambiguity in the Adj + N composite gay therapy. Now, Adj + N composites, like N + N compounds, are notoriously open to multiple understandings, even if we restrict ourselves to general patterns for the semantic relationship between the two parts. In this case, I had a moment of deep unease that gay therapy was to be understood as a treatment composite, parallel to treatment compounds: pain therapy, flu therapy, cancer therapy, etc. ‘therapy to treat condition or disorder X’. Thus viewing homosexuality as a disorder, which would make gay therapy here a synonym of the now-conventional label conversion therapy, for a scheme that proposes to treat homosexuality and cure it.

But, whew, no. The Gay Therapy Center in San Francisco (with a satellite center in Los Angeles) offers “LGBTQ therapy to help LGBTQ people love themselves and each other” — with the composite gay therapy understood as ‘therapy for gay people, to help / benefit gay people’. Indeed, the Facebook ad offered brief videos showing male couples embracing affectionately (other ads have female couples as well). A still from one of these:

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TV Day

April 2, 2021

Today’s my TV — Totally Vaccinated — Day, two weeks after I got my second Pfizer COVID-19 shot, the point when, authorities think, the vaccine is fully effective.

So this morning I ventured out in the neighborhood alone, for the first time in 13 months. With a (penguin) face mask, and using a walker (I’m still working on learning to walk again on my own), and only for a block (I still have the dyspnea problem from well before pandemic time — I had to stop two times along the way to catch my breath — and I’m going through a bad osteoarthritis patch, so most of my joints screamed) — but the hell with all that, it felt wonderful, like a fresh start.

I was wearing my GAY AS F🧁CK t-shirt, but it was cool, so the tee was under a flannel shirt. And on that flannel shirt I had proudly pinned my badge:

(#1)

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