Archive for the ‘Language play’ Category

A gruop of proofreaders

October 15, 2021

In The Guardian of 2/20/21: “Tom Gauld suggests some literary collective nouns – cartoon”:


(#1) The last collective noun — gruop — excited a certain amount of appalled attention from some readers, who seem not to have gotten the joke

Not just collectives, but terms of venery.

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Gilligan’s aisle

October 9, 2021

The 10/2 Wayno/Piraro Bizarro:


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

A pun on isle ‘island’ vs. aisle ‘a passage between shelves of goods in a supermarket or other building’ (aisle sense b in NOAD (below)). But none of this makes any sense unless you know significant details of an American tv comedy from about 55 years ago: Gilligan’s Island (1964-67), in particular, that the show was about seven castaways from a shipwreck, including the goofy Gilligan, attempting to survive on a tropical island. Hence the tropical fruit-flavored rums and liqueurs. (It’s a nice subtle touch that the cartoon Gilligan appears to be lost in his attempt to choose a bottle.)

So: Gilligan’s aisle … Gilligan’s Isle … Gilligan’s Island.

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He enjambed me

September 24, 2021

To end a difficult week — ending high with a new water heater (thank you, cute and earnest plumber!), after four days without hot water; disconcerted by those same four days of failing to capture and expel the western fence lizard that has taken refuge in my house; and dispirited by those same four days without any voice to, um, speak of — I stumbled once again upon the peculiar practice of Rick-rolling (Facebook, unbidden, brings you all sorts of things, the way a cat will with not-quite-dead mice). And was impelled to some mildly scandalous free verse, which I will explain none of, because there’s just too much.

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Powerfully eruptive, yet respectful of his anatomy

September 20, 2021

(Men’s underwear and its symbolic values, frank talk about male sexuality, but otherwise not over lines; use your judgment.)

Powerfully eruptive, yet respectful of his anatomy: the vaunted twin virtues of Krakatoa underwear for men, especially the company’s Vesuvius collection (which is, presumably, doubly volcanic in symbolic power), all with aggressively full front pouches, designed (as the ad copy has it) to respect a man’s anatomy while preparing him for life’s activities. The goods:


(#1) Krakatoa’s Vesuvius Collection: trunks, boxer briefs, and briefs in intense blue and intense red (power colors) and in black and (for the trunks) saturated gray (strongly masculine “just plain guy” colors), with those volcanic pouches all around

These two volcanos and this underwear will take us many places. But first, two shots of Krakatoa underwear (from lines other than Vesuvius) being modeled by actual men (accompanied by the ad copy “Put a volcano in your pants”).

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Cockateal crotches

September 18, 2021

(Male bodyparts, sex between men, visually right up against the line, so entirely unsuitable for kids and the sexually modest.)

From yesterday’s “Materials for a blog”, reporting on my asking, puckishly, in Facebook:

What happens in the romantic popular song “Teal for Two”? If it’s set in a tealroom, whazzat?

Answers to these and other questions are forthcoming, but first the spur for my silly queries: a Daily Jocks ad for PUMP! men’s underwear, a display of PUMP!’s Activate homowear collection, in teal (with deep purple and white), with four teal studs in four different moose-knuckly garments, displaying four different cruise faces: We’re looking at you, buddy, cause we know what you need!

Ad copy:

Your favourite brand is back with a new collection for 2021. The PUMP! Activate collection comprises … a Trunk, Brief, Jock & Sidecut Brief, all made with premium materials to achieve unmatched levels of comfort and style.


(#1) Cockateal crotches: Cockateal, cockatool! / A-wand’ring I will go

Men’s underwear, a bird, a color, a sportive allusion to cocks of the phallic, rather than avian, sort. As in my 8/15/21 posting “Jock robin”, about Cock Robin and a jockstrap in robin’s egg blue.

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9/9: not a non-event

September 9, 2021

(Astonishingly, this silly posting will devolve into references to male pubes (NOAD entertains both /pjúbìz/ and /pjubz/ as pronunciations, by the way, so do as thou wilt) and photos of hunky young men stripped down to them, so it’s not to everyone’s taste.)

It is once again Negation Day, a festival for semanticists, also customarily the day for the annual convention of No Joke, aka the Society for Language Play.

This year, the semanticists will gather en masse at the Square of Opposition, where a statue of Larry Horn, caught in mid-smile, will be unveiled; and in collaboration with the No Joke meeting, there will be staged performances of Monty Python’s “Argument Clinic” sketch. Then, as usual: a clinic for those suffering from overnegation and undernegation; and a bazaar where shoppers can rummage for negative polarity items and reinforcements for their everyday negatives. (Just Don’t Do It: because of ugly incidents in the past, metalinguistic negatives have been banned from the festival site.)

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My Lollicock has come home!

September 8, 2021

Lollicock, lollicock / Oh lolli lolli lolli

(Look, this is going to be about startling pink dildos — but adorable! — and phallofellatial lollipop playfulness, in art and song, so it’s clearly not to everyone’s taste, but it’s mostly goofy rather than raunchy; and it might actually be useful for kids to learn to suck with pleasure on a rainbow lollipop with adult self-awareness rather than adolescent snickering: yes, we understand exactly what it stands for, and we’re down with that.)

My pink Lollicock dildo arrived yesterday and has been integrated into my très-gay bedroom decor. I’m past using dildos for their intended function, but am now exploring their potential as elements in artful compositions of sexually charged objects.

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Lupine Sapir-Whorf allusions

September 8, 2021

(That’s the adjective /lúpàjn/; the noun referring to a flower in the pea family is /lúpǝn/ — but this is not the Lupine Express.)


Francis Barlow’s illustration of the fable, 1687

Today’s morning name: the phrase the boy who cried Whorf. A paranomasic play — wolf vs. Whorf — on the boy who cried wolf, as in the Aesop fable, alluding to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis on the relationship between language and thought.

Oh, I thought on coming to full consciousness, surely someone has messed Whorfianly with the formulaic phrase.

And so they had; here I’ve just picked the first one that came up in googling: the heading The boy who cried Whorf, in Anthropology for Dummies by Cameron M. Smith, p. 48.

Then I tried some other formulaic expressions (again picking just one occurrence, the first one to come before my eyes):

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Briefly noted: famous or heinous?

August 30, 2021

Caught in passing on tv, a reference to heinous crimes in which the /h/ of /hénəs/ was so brief that the pronunciation came very close to /énəs krájmz/ anus crimes. I reflected for a moment on what those might be, passing over the obvious and distressing possibility ‘anal rapes’ to consider merely improper alternatives, like farting in public, or crimes that were only figurative, like anal bleaching, that crime against fashion.

But then my attention was caught by the rhyming phrase heinous anus, and I fell into musings about meanings for the expression — see below — until Famous Amos hit me (notes on Wally and his celebrated cookies further below). Oh my, now I had

the Famous Amos heinous anus

and my day was complete.

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Zippy exits, pursued by a board

August 16, 2021

(Warning: high fecality content, which some may find unpleasant.)

Todays Zippy strip, in which Zippy is subjected to stoner / surfer verbal abuse:


(#1) Zippy and his surf iron

As usual, there’s a lot here — I admire Beavis’s one wave shy of a wipeout (see Mark Liberman’s 7/14/05 LLog posting “A few players short of a side” on the Snowclone of Foolishness {small quantity of essential items} short / shy of a {desirable collection}) and the laundry-musician pun in the title “Bleach Boy” — but I’ve picked out the mildly abusive expression iron my shorts for full-bore scrutiny.

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