Archive for the ‘Language and religion’ Category

A Biblical moment at the therapist’s

September 16, 2023

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, a Psychiatrist cartoon with a Biblical theme:

(#1) Wayno’s title:”Revised Translation” (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page)

Note the concessions to the ancient setting in the furnishings of the therapist’s office. (Do not write me about the impossibility of writing with a quill pen on parchment in the fashion shown in the cartoon; this is, after all, a kind of imaginative fiction, combining features of some fictional world and the modern real world. Get a grip on things: there were no psychoanalysts in Flood Times.)

However, a Biblical theme is appropriate for the day, since it’s Rosh Hashanah, Jewish new year.


Donut burgers by another name

August 14, 2023

In response to my “DONUT BURGER” posting yesterday, Kyle Wohlmut wrote on Facebook:

Isn’t that “just” a Lutherburger? (with a Wikipedia link)

Well, screw you, Snark Boy; if I’d known about Lutherburgers / Luther Burgers I would have posted about them, so your slagging me for not mentioning them is just gratuitous assholery. I think you need a humongous sticky donut burger stuffed up your raggedy butt.

The Wikipedia article does make it clear that the donut burger has spread much further than I’d realized in my posting — something I’d contemplated there. But I had no idea …

So here’s all the stuff from Wikipedia (where I learned that, whew, Martin Luther had nothing to do with Luther Burgers; who could possibly want a burger designed by a humorless, pleasure-wary, fiercely dedicated Protestant reformer?). We don’t need the pictures, though; no one needs more pictures of, omigod, bacon cheeseburgers crammed between two glazed donuts.


The definite article of salience

August 6, 2023

The Mother Goose and Grimm strip of 12/3/15 (lots of stuff hangs around on my desktop for a really long time), depicting a canine guardian of the gates of dog heaven:

The definite article of uniqueness, here distinguishing a proper name St. Bernard (unique in some salient world for the user and their audience), the name of a specific saint, from a common noun St. Bernard (a type name), the name of a breed of dogs

Now it turns out that this usage can be employed to distinguish two proper nouns (according to their salience in a particular sociocultural context); and to distinguish two common nouns (picking out the salient type, rather than naming an individual). (Necessarily rather complex) examples follow.



July 10, 2023

My caregiver at home yesterday and today is a young Mexican man (working on a green card) named Camilo Torres. I was interested in his personal name, which turns out to have an interesting history. Its recent antecedent is a saint’s name. From Wikipedia:

Camillus de Lellis, M.I., (25 May 1550 – 14 July 1614) was a Roman Catholic priest from Italy who founded the Camillians, a religious order dedicated to the care of the sick. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XIV in the year 1742, and canonized by him four years later in 1746. De Lellis is the patron saint of the sick, hospitals, nurses and physicians.

… De Lellis established the Order of Clerks Regular, Ministers of the Infirm (abbreviated as M.I.), better known as the Camillians. His experience in wars led him to establish a group of health care workers who would assist soldiers on the battlefield. The large red cross on their cassock remains a symbol of the Congregation today, worn on their habits, today a universal symbol of charity and service.

Wikipedia image of the saint

De Lellis was beatified by Pope Benedict XIV in the year 1742, and canonized by him four years later in 1746.

In 1886, Pope Leo XIII proclaimed him patron of all hospitals and of the sick. In 1930, Pope Pius XI named him co-patron, with Saint John of God of nurses and nursing associations.

The saint’s name then provided a route to its popularity as a masculine personal name in various Romance languages: Camillo in Latin, Camille in French, Camilo in Spanish and Portuguese.

The antecedent of the saint’s name was apparently the Roman name Camilius, referring to a temple servant or altar boy.


SUMC moments: the apple juice

June 27, 2023

At one point in my most recent SUMC stay we had gotten to the place where I was about to be taken off NPO (see my previous posting “SUMC moments: NPO”) and given some modest real food, but the orders to do this had not yet been issued. The head nurse (about whom more in another posting, which will take us to India and the northeast corner of South America) took pity on me and extracted — oh great pleasure! — a tiny box of apple juice for me. With a wonderful name.

The box:

Photo by Erick Barros, whose fingers in the picture give you a feel for the size of the box

Not Adam & Eve, but Eve together with (one candidate for) the biblical forbidden fruit affording knowledge of good and evil:  an apple offered to Eve in the Garden of Eden by the serpent.

(The Apple & Eve company makes nothing but apple juice, though they are of course folded into a corporate conglomerate that does many things.)

No redundo

June 27, 2023

This is about the expression return again, as in the title of my 6/26/23 posting. You might have suspected that the expression is often pleonastic / redundant (for emphasis or clarity), a kind of combo of return and come (back) again: like 3 am in the morning or see with one’s one eyes.

But my title was in fact about returning a second time — my second return home from SUMC within a few days. And it turns out that the expression almost always is used for a second, or repeat, return. Not redundantly at all.

A further example: the hymn Return Again (SH335, that is, on page 335 of the (1991) Denson revision of The Sacred Harp, a standard collection of shapenote hymns). (more…)

The Introversion Star

June 8, 2023

From Max Vasilatos on Facebook yesterday, her report of a 9-pointed star (you don’t see a lot of them) in a notice for a meeting (the details of which are not relevant here): octagrams with rewards for attending — snacks! prizes! — plus a central enneagram, with the inducement of introvert-friendliness; presumably, no one will be pushed or prodded into participating actively in anything that would make them uncomfortable. Ah, the Introvert, or Introversion,  Star!

(#1) It’s ok, you can just sit on the sidelines and watch (Nora Ephron’s 1970 collection of essays, Wallflower at the Orgy, leaps to my mind)

Now it turns out that a 9-pointed star is a symbol of the Baháʼí faith. But before you get all excited by that, let me remind you that the most neutral of stars, the 5-pointed star — which little kids in my country learn to draw rapidly as “a picture of a star” and which older kids here learn to fold as “paper stars”, especially for Christmas — is also the pentagram, the symbol of Satan and his powers; and that 9-pointed stars could be taken to stand for a vast number of things in different contexts (I’ll provide a sample below), not just for Faith and the Godhood in Baháʼí. The enneagram doesn’t intrinsically mean these Baháʼí notions, or introversion, or whatever; it’s just a shape. It’s Just Stuff, as I’m given to saying. (There’s a Page on this blog about my postings on It’s Just Stuff.)


Piñatarians, proselytizing

May 26, 2023

Very much a Mary, Queen of Scots, not dead yet posting — but in fact a wildly celebratory one. Explanations after the main event, in which eccentrically costumed (but neatly attired) enthusiastic young men have appeared at the front door to push their niche religious beliefs on the resident (who views them dubiously):

(#1) Offering the (good) word / the (good) news to the heathen — feel free to imagine the emphatic pronunciations that are often represented by initial caps on Good, Word, and News — in a goofy cross of dead-serious LDS evangelism and the jokey belief system of the Pastafarians (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page)


The poutine checkup

March 17, 2023

Yesterday’s (3/16) Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, with poutine checkup as an outrageous pun on routine checkup — something for the celebratory days of mid-March, from Pi Day on the 14th through St Patrick’s Day today:

(#1) A regular checkup on the state of the patient’s poutine — the fries, cheese curds, and gravy of this Quebecois specialty (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 7 in this strip — see this Page)

Meanwhile, the patient is presented as stereotypically Canuck — among other things, wearing a tuque (that knitted wool watch cap) and earmuffs.

Wayno’s title for the cartoon: Say “eh” — evoking another piece of Canadianness, the discourse particle eh; see, from my 5/18/14 posting “… plus four”, this New Yorker cartoon by Benjamin Schwartz:

(#2) On the (mostly) Canadian discourse particle eh, used (roughly) to confirm the attention of the listener (but appearing here in a medical exam in the place of ah); Canadianness is signaled by the RCMP uniform


Engorged in hues of blue

February 16, 2023

(seriously phallic, so not to everyone’s taste)

The readings for the day, inspired by Max Vasilatos posting on Facebook about weird garden statues:

(#1) The Penisaurus Poems; there will eventually be acknowledgments of Edward Lear and Isaac Watts, respectively

The inspiration for these poetic eruptions was just one of those weird garden statues; from the beginning of my response to MV:

[Max wrote:] “There’s one that might land me in FB jail, though amazon thinks you can put it in your yard. I have known people with this sensibility.” — that would be the blue-headed WPODWO resin Dino-Dick (which, by the way, is clearly pretty small, though the company doesn’t say how small, only that it’s “compact”).