Archive for the ‘Language play’ Category

Three comic rabbits for December

December 1, 2019

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit on the first of the month. The Mother Goose and Grimm from 12/30, with a textbook attachment ambiguity. The Rhymes With Orange for today, with an updated version of a classic tongue twister. And the Bizarro for today, with a Mr. Potato Head  wielding a terrible slang pun.

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At the onomatomania dinette

November 27, 2019

Today’s Zippy is set in the Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk VA of a few years back, in a Do-Nut Dinette — whose name throws Zippy into a fit of onomatomania (aka repetitive phrase disorder) compounded with Spooner’s affliction (compulsive exchange of word elements in phrases):

(#1)

(Separately, there’s the use of dinette to refer to a diner, as a type of restaurant.)

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Chart pie

November 14, 2019

The Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo from the 9th:


(#1) If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page. Meanwhile, the pie segments run through the flavors in the order named, clockwise from the pumpkin segment at the top.

Transpositional wordplay of an especially simple sort, involving a two-word expression, with X Y ~ Y X — in this case taking off from a conventional N + N compound, the metaphorical  pie chart ‘chart resembling a pie’, and reversing the parts to yield the novel, and entertaining, (also metaphorical) compound chart pie ‘pie resembling a chart’.

The model expression pie chart refers to an object familiar in our culture, while the play expression chart pie refers to something novel and surprising: a pie made up of segments drawn from various different pies. Not a combination or mixed pie, like the familiar strawberry rhurbarb pie — a kind of hybrid pie — but instead a composite (‘made up of various parts or elements’ (NOAD) or chimerical pie, with distinct parts taken from different pies. (On chimeras, see my 11/13 posting “The chimera of Faneuil Hall”.)

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Ruthie plays with Joe

November 3, 2019

A recent — 10/7 — One Big Happy has Ruthie willfully misunderstanding a usage, something she does every so often, sometimes as a joke, usually to annoy her brother Joe:


(#1) Joe asks about /plen/ plane vs. plain, and Ruthie mischievously shifts to a pun on /pléɪn/ playin’.

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The Potato Fried

October 27, 2019

A Wayno cartoon from 4/11/16, an exercise in cartoon understanding:


(#1) “My name is Idaho Montoya. You peeled my father. Prepare to fry.”

(See the comments. It turns out that Wayno’s original was wordless, so this caption was added by some wag  — who deserves credit.)

If you don’t get a crucial reference, the cartoon is just silly, two cartoon potatoes having a duel with potato peelers. So you need to recognize that the figures are anthropomorphized potatoes, and that the things they are wielding are potato peelers. Then there are potato references in each sentence of the challenge: Idaho, famously a source of potatoes in the US; peeling, a step in preparing potatoes for many sorts of dishes; and frying, one common method of cooking potatoes (in French fries, for instance).

You will probably also catch the groaner pun in Prepare to fry, based on the stock expression from popular adventure fiction, Prepare to die.

But otherwise, it’s just a bit of fanciful silliness. In fact, it’s rich and complex, if you’re in on the jokes.

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B.Z.P.D.

October 25, 2019

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

I’m going in disregard everything in this strip except the B.Z.P.D., presumably an initialistic abbreviation for BiZarro Police Department — the police department in Bizarro’s world. Compare N.Y.P.D., L.A.P.D., and S.F.P.D., just to pick three similar initialisms prominently displayed in tv police dramas. However, this is the first time I’ve noticed the B.Z.P.D. in the Bizarro strip.

The police department in Bizarro’s world then led me to Bizarro World, the dark part of DC Comics’ world that is the mirror-image of Superman’s world.

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In an Indian pickle

October 21, 2019

… with a pun

In this bon appétit story by Carey Polis on 10/11/19 (which came to me in e-mail from ba today): “I Put This Condiment on Everything When I Can’t Be Bothered to Make a Sauce: Brooklyn Delhi’s tomato achaar is a little spicy, a lot of awesome”:


(#1) Brooklyn Delhi tomato achaar (photo by Laura Murray, pun on Delhi / deli by the food company)

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Complimentary bread

October 17, 2019

In the 10/21 New Yorker, this sdf (Seth Fleishman) cartoon, hinging on an ambiguity in the adjective complimentary:


(#1) complimentary ‘praising, approving’ vs. ‘supplied free of charge’

It’s not just that it’s complimentary; it’s also that it’s complimentary bread.

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The better body butter, with Whipped Shea Butter

October 15, 2019

Now seen on tv, commercials for Gold Bond creams. In particular, this remarkable item:

(#1)

Radiance Renewal Whipped Shea Butter. Body Cream: 8 oz. Buttery smooth, ultra-rich hydration moisturizes skin for 24 hours.

Have you ever wished you could have all the benefits of a raw Shea Butter, but with a smooth, easy application? Meet GOLD BOND® Radiance Renewal Whipped Shea Butter.

Oh, honey, I have yearned for raw Shea Butter, but always hoped it could somehow be whipped into smoothness, for I am a sensitive fellow. And I’ve long mused about the fabulous Irishman Shea who gave his name to this remarkable ultra-rich hydrating substance.

Imagine my astonishment when I discovered that Shea was not Irish at all but West African, and that he was a nut-bearing tree. Also that Shea Butter, like Coconut Oil, provides not only moisturization, but also nourishment. Shea is, in a word, eminently edible.

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Unaccompanied

October 13, 2019

This touching Sara Lautman pun cartoon from the 10/14 New Yorker:


(#1) “You know, sooner or later we’re going to have to let her go out unaccompanied.”

It all depends on what you mean by unaccompanied.

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