Archive for the ‘Language play’ Category

This week’s terrible literary food pun

January 6, 2018

It starts with the piece by Calvin Baker on the life of poet Derek Walcott in the recent NYT Magazine “The Lives They Lived” issue (12/28 on-line, 12/31 in print), with this photo of the Nobel laureate:


(#1) Walcott in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, in 1993; photo credit: David Hurn/Magnum Photos

The village of Hay, on the river Wye, on the border between England and Wales, is famously picturesque, and I’ll get to that. But I was then struck by a recollection that there was in fact a village in England called Ham (also picturesque, and I’ll get to that too), which is not on the river Wye (though it’s close to the river Avon, as in Stratford-on-Avon, cue Shakespeare, so you could reasonably think of it as Ham-on-Avon) — but if it were, it would be (insert massive groan here) Ham-on-Wye. Well, it gets worse.

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Two puns for Thursday

January 4, 2018

A caption in yesterday’s New York Times (front page); and a Bizarro + Wayno cartoon:

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Adventures in buggery and beanbags

December 18, 2017

On ADS-L, Wilson Gray reported getting an announcement of a contest in which the prizes were Sutliff cornhole boards. Wilson was taken aback by this; obviously, the cornhole of cornhole board wasn’t the cornhole (an anatomical noun and a related sex-act verb) he was familiar with. Respondents pointed Wilson to information about a lawn game — called, among other things, cornhole — in which participants toss weighted bags at round holes in boards.

From NOAD:

noun cornhole: 1 a game in which small bags filled with dried corn are tossed at a target consisting of an inclined wooden platform with a hole at one end: many are introduced to cornhole at a tailgate or family outing. 2 vulgar slang the anus.

verb cornhole: [with object] vulgar slang have anal intercourse with (someone).

So there’s the vulgar cornhole ‘anus, asshole’ or ‘to bugger’ — call this anal cornhole — which is about a hundred years old, and there’s cornhole naming a lawn game — call this ludic cornhole, which is on the order of 35 years old. What they share is the round hole and the act of putting something through that hole: ludic cornhole is clearly a metaphorical development from anal cornhole, a development encouraged by the fact that the bags in the game are often filled with dried corn (beanbags will serve as well, and plastic pellets, though not traditional, make a durable alternative to corn or beans as stuffing).

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Moby Chick, Moby Duck, Moby Dip

December 17, 2017

… and more, starting with Moby Chick in today’s Bizarro:

(#1)

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 8 in this strip — see this Page.)

Watch out for the big white one — you could lose your leg!

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The Pun of the Month® for November 2017

November 29, 2017

This month’s winner — meriting the November trophy, the  Silver Fook of St. Andrew’s Day — was committed by Stephanie Shih:

(#1) Steph in her tuturo, singing “I love it when I get to live out a pun. 🎶tutu-ro tu tu ro

A punmanteau, tutu + Totoro. Steph is in a tutu, wearing a Totoro jersey. If you know about Totoro as well as tutus, it’s a massive, satisfying November groan.

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BF pornopaloozas

November 24, 2017

(Gay porn sales for Black Friday and beyond. So: men’s bodies and mansex, in plain language, definitely not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Most of the hard-core raunch is in a posting on AZBlogX, but here’s one BF ad (for the Lucas studios) that I can get by with here:

(#1) Some word play is evergreen

The ad is a study in lean, swimmer body types and also in rise heights for tighty-whities: from left to right, lo, mid, and hi. And it satisfies what ought to be a rigid requirement for all BF ads: a significant Black.

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The pun within the pun

November 24, 2017

From a chain of Facebook friends, this Dan Thompson Brevity cartoon:

(#1)

The outside (perfect) pun: Gallos’ humor / gallows humor (which depends on your knowing about the Gallo brothers and also the concept of gallows humor). The inside, Ernest and Julio, (imperfect) pun: Bordeaux (wine) / border (collie) (which depends on your knowing about both the wines and the dogs).

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The silence of the H’s and the nastiness of the narg

November 9, 2017

Two recent One Big Happy strips on linguistic themes, one phonological / orthographic, the other semantic / pragmatic:

(#1)

(#2)

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Off like a herd of turtles

November 6, 2017

Came up in a Facebook discussion involving Ann Burlingham and Aric Olnes, the catchphrase in this bit of digital art by Methune Hively:

 

off like a herd of turtles, referring to a very slow start or to slow progress after an auspicious start – based on the horse-racing announcer’s They’re OFF!, plus the legendary slowness of turtles, with the rhyming play thrown in.

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Edgar Allan Peau

November 4, 2017

From King Features’ Comics Kingdom on the 1st, “Ask A Cartoonist: Favorite Authors!”, with a cartoon from Isabella Bannerman of Six Chix:

  (#1)

That’s French peau ‘skin, pelt’. Some people have bear skins on the floor in front of the fireplace; literary types opt for poet pelts.

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