Archive for the ‘Language play’ Category

Briefly: vice-presidential anagrams

August 24, 2016

In the August 2016 issue of Funny Times, a reprinting of a Dave Barry column (from the 7/26 Miami Herald), “Is this what really goes on inside the Democratic dance and beer hall?” (about the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia), ending:

I will conclude today’s report with the following:

UPDATE ON TIM KAINE: At this point, all we know for certain about him is that the letters in “Tim Kaine” can be rearranged to spell “I eat mink.”

Even better: “Ain’t Mike”.

As for his Repblican counterpart: “Mike Pence” anagrams to “Keep mince”, or better: “Pink emcee”. I love the idea of anti-gay Pence flouncing on stage in pink.

That concludes today’s political commentary.

Balls!

August 17, 2016

Today’s Zippy takes us to Nowata OK, a tiny, flat, and dusty place at the northeastern edge of the state (not far from Kansas and Missouri, not far from Tulsa):

  (#1)

This is Zippy, so of course Nowata is a real place, with Chris Barbee’s Bowling Ball Yard in it.

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Morning name: The Right Honourable The Lord Rees-Mogg

August 16, 2016

… as Baron Rees-Mogg of Hinton Blewitt was to be properly addressed (from 1988 until his death in 2012). Before that, he was just William Rees-Mogg, of The Times:

  (#1)

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PE6-5000

August 14, 2016

Chatting last week with a friend about changes in New York city, centered around the demolishing of Pennsylvania Station, the inadequacies of the current building known as Penn Station, and the endlessly unfulfilled plans (perhaps now moving forward) to turn the Farley Post Office into a new Pennsylvania Station. And my friend remarked that he’d been in NYC a few years ago and was astonished to discover that the Pennsylvabia Hotel still had the phone number PEnnsylvania 6-5000 — trusting that that reference would, um ring a bell for me (this only works for people of a certain age, or fans of swing music). So it did, and gave me an earworm for the rest of the day.

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Ziplinguists

August 5, 2016

Prompted by a Zippy posting of mine, Dan Everett posted on Facebook that he had a signed copy from Bill Griffith of a Zippy that was, in some sense, about him (though he’s not actually mentioned in the strip), “Supreme Throwdown” from 1/9/09:

(#1)

The allusions by the space-alienoid character (Happy Boy) are to Everett’s work on the Amazonian language Pirahã, its speakers, and their culture — work that drew Everett into confrontation with Noam Chomsky, who’s figured in Zippy strips at least six times, from 1993 through 2015.

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Politically prescient G&S

August 5, 2016

Two days ago, a political portmanteau (about Herr Drumpf) committed by Susan Fischer on Facebook:

So when Donald goes off on a rant, is it a tantrump?

To which I replied, bowing to Sir Arthur Sullivan:

Loudly let the trumpet bray!
Tantantarump, tantantarump!

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Zippy and the Edsels

August 4, 2016

Today’s Zippy, a little poem in three panels:

Or: Zipama Drama King Kong.

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Let’s just call it “grammar”

July 20, 2016

Yesterday’s Rhymes With Orange:

A visit to a theme park with a linguistic theme: it deals, at least, in onomatopoeia (rattle for the sound a rattlesnake’s tail makes), palindromes (expressions that read the same forwards and backwards, like the names Anna and Otto), and portmanteaus (like palindomedary, palindrome + dromedary) and their visual equivalents, like the palindromedary in the cartoon, a nice counterpart to Anna and Otto.

What to call a place that displayed such things — and anagrams and chiasmus and puns and limericks and knock-knock jokes and sports chants and ritualized insults and auctioneers’ patter and damning with faint praise and Cockney rhyming slang and all sorts of culture-specific phenomena that are manifested in a language (in this case, all are manifested in  English) but are not part of the system of that language, the way, say, Subject-Auxiliary Inversion is part of the system of English. Instead, they are things you can do with, or in, the language.

But we have no good word (or other fixed expression) for this rich assortment of language uses and rouitines, so (as in other cases) the poor overworked word grammar is pressed into service. And the theme park is called Grammar Land.

Morning name: Colquhoun

July 16, 2016

Today’s morning name was not one that came to me apparently from outer space, but had a clear basis in my recent experience — namely, watching the British detective drama Midsomer Murders episode “Blood Wedding” (S11 E1), in which a character with this name plays a significant role. As it turns out, the name (in one of its North American variants) has appeared on this blog before (on 4/21/15, “Verbatim letter”).

To come: the name, my previous posting, and the upper-class twit Randall Colquhoun in “Blood Wedding”.

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Word play for 7-11

July 11, 2016

Three cartoons today (July 7th, or 7/11 in American usage; this will be important): a perfect pun (from Rhymes With Orange), using an ambiguity in local; a more distant pun (from Mother Goose and Grimm), linguistically and visually combining Bonnie and Clyde with Blondie ad Dagwood; and a Scott Hilburn (from The Argyle Sweater today) using the 50th anniversary of the Slurpee to float an almost-perfect pun
perches / purchase
(/z/ vs. /s/).

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