Archive for the ‘Language and sports’ Category

Two tennis-playing Zwickys

September 12, 2023

My old friend Ellen Sulkis James, musing on my name, e-mailed today:

I just read about someone else whose last name is Zwicky —  think it was someone involved with tennis.

Memories are often fugitive and hazy. Perhaps that’s what’s going on here. My searches for people named Zwicky with a tennis connection pulled up only two, both of them most unlikely to have come to ESJ’s attention: the investment banker Daniel Zwicky, who’s billed as an avid tennis player now and, when young in Switzerland, competed at a national level; and the Molson Coors IT specialist Michelle Zwicky, who was a notable tennis player in college two decades ago.

Brief notes on the two of them, for the Page on this blog on my postings about Zwickys of note.


Rowing on the river

September 6, 2023

From my old friends Bonnie and Ed — Benita Bendon Campbell and her husband Edward Campbell — a Jacquie Lawson birthday e-card for me in which the Biglin Brothers (two muscular young men in a Thomas Eakins painting) row (on the Schuylkill River, the river of my childhood) for the prize of a birthday cupcake (with a purple banner) — to a noisy band rendition of “Happy Birthday”. Deeply satisfying.

(#1) The Lawson version of the Biglins

And now: the Biglins in real life, and (with a dose of homoeroticism) the painter Eakins.


The news for penises: the Buffalo Bills original logo

September 5, 2023

From cartoonist Bob Eckstein’s The Bob newsletter of 9/5 “Back to School BONUS EDITION”, in a section on “The Worst NFL Logos” (published in Run Your Pool), about the original Buffalo Bills logo:

The original Buffalo buffalo

The old water buffalo was so unassuming, so unexpected, you thought, watch out! What are they up to? It was the only sports logo with the outline of genitals. With the understated white dot for an eye, I contend it was sport’s funniest logo … ever. We lost that.


The vipers of Santa Clara County

August 19, 2023

I wrote on Facebook a little while ago:

Just heard on a tv public service announcement from Santa Clara County: … Watch for walkers and vipers. (Ah, that must have been: bikers. Fortunately, vipers are sparse in the county.)

Follow-up: there seem to be plenty of Dodge Vipers in the county, also Pit Viper Sunglasses. And we have the Silicon Valley Vipers quadball team. According to the US Quadball site: “quadball is a mixed gender contact sport with a unique mix of elements from rugby, dodgeball, and tag”. (Until 2022 it was known as quidditch. Yes, that quidditch. Players must have a broomstick between their legs at all times. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.)

Logo of the Silicon Valley Vipers quadball team


The football story

July 30, 2023

Following up on my 7/27/23 posting “Illusory penguins”, in which the illusory penguins were actually football tackle sleds, which I admitted to actually having crashed into, Ellen Kaisse wrote in e-mail:

I was a little surprised that you had [used football tackle sleds] — did you play middle school or high school football? Or do they have these at some gyms? They strike me as possibly falling into a similar category to those giant ropes you are supposed to fling up and down, which I have done a couple of times. Didn’t garner my allegiance as a training method.

(I have, just now, posted a short story of mine, a piece of fictobiography about those goddam climbing ropes: “Enough rope: A short story”.)

My response to EMK  on 7/27:

I think I’ve told this story on my blog, but it’s an embarrassing moment in my life.

But it seems that I haven’t, or at least that I’ve been unable to search it out. So here’s another piece of fictobiography, as told to EMK a few days ago (writing about events at this distance means the stories have been shaped and re-shaped in incalculable ways). Below the line:


Golf caps

July 23, 2023

Just working through my response to a comment on a posting of mine (from earlier today), which took me to some new places. Innocently falling into the question of what a golf cap is, something of a morass in the world of categorization and labeling (that, at least, is a recurrent subject on this blog, with a Page here about my postings about it).

So: the posting of mine is “Collard shirts: the backstory”, on golf club dress codes, and the comment came from Robert Coren:

[quoting:] Golf courses usually only permit baseball caps (clean and not beaten up) or straw hats to be worn by players.

[RC:] This surprises me, as it does not seem to include what is generally called a “golf cap”.

It occurred to me that these sites think of golf caps as a separate but related species to baseball caps, rather than viewing them as a subtype of baseball caps (as I was inclined to do).


Collard shirts: the backstory

July 23, 2023

From my 7/21 posting “Collard shirts”:

Just went past me on Facebook, a funny-mistake posting (which I didn’t immediately save and now can no longer find) in which a dress code for men stipulates that they must wear a collard shirt (for collared shirt — that is, no t-shirts or tank tops allowed).

Ah, but FB keeps doggedly re-posting old stuff, so the original image has come around again:

No, I don’t know which golf course this is from, but that turns out not to be particularly important, because this mis-spelling is quite common in the world of golf club dress codes.

First, notes on golf course dress codes. Then three examples of such codes (from specific golf clubs) that require collard shirts.


How do you throw a poetry slam?

May 18, 2023

That is the question posed by today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro:

(#1) Dan and Wayno commit the (imperfect, but very close) pun Crime Scheme > Rhyme Scheme (/krajm/ > /rajm/, just lose the /k/) — the crime in question being a novel variety of match fixing (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page)

I’ve been musing on how you would throw a poetry slam — knowingly offering an inferior rap, I guess, though that sounds like a hard thing to pull off.


Zwicky on the Art of the Skateboard

February 28, 2023

Notified via Google Alert on Saturday: on the Jenkem Magazine (skateboarding) site, “Allies: Calder Zwicky of MOMA” (with a YouTube video) by Alexis Castro & Ollie Rodgers on 10/2/18. Another chapter in the story of artist Calder Zwicky — previously reported on in this blog back in 2016, so this is an update, but not actually up-to-date (though it gets skateboarding into CZ’s story, which is a good thing).

(#1) Screen shot from the video: CZ talking about a work of his from the Lonely Thrasher series — slang thrasher, roughly ‘excellent skateboarder’, also the name of a skater magazine — showing a cover of this magazine with the skater removed, to yield an image that, CZ argues, is still a skateboarding image, of the huge space and the complex physical structure that offers a challenge to a serious skateboarder; the skater is implicit in the image


The boys of summer

February 6, 2023

Return with me now to (what was by one reckoning) the beginning of summer, seven months ago, when I started a complex posting on the boys of summer. Now it’s chilly winter / spring in Palo Alto (night-time lows around 40 F.) and it pleases me to contemplate warmer times.