Archive for the ‘Language play’ Category

Muffled

September 25, 2016

Today’s Zippy, providing an extreme example of what it can take to make sense of a cartoon or comic strip:

Muffled? Why muffled? No helpful title, but two clues: the reference to the P.C. police and the strangely stiff figure of Zippy in the strip.

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Anniversaries

September 18, 2016

A recent plaint from Aric Olnes (who is now 51) on Facebook:

Ugh. That moment when a retailer automatically spits out post-transaction coupons for Centrum Silver and laxatives! WTH, fifty is fifty! Sigh. Damn you, Walgreens.

Fifty is a cut-off point (at least in the U.S.) for the seque from middle age (beginning at 40 or 45, depending on who you read) to senior status (entered at 60-65, depending on who you read). There are “50+” organizations of many types, and the AARP takes members beginning at 50 — so it’s clearly not literally an association for retired persons (instead, it provides a kind of anteroom to retirement and true senior status).

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Toucan, get what you need

September 12, 2016

Ok, a lame pun on the line from the Rolling Stones’ song “You can’t always get what you want”(from their 1969 album Let It Bleed), here with reference to what we know in my household as the Toucan Bowl:

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The Stones song; toucans; and the Toucan Bowl.

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Penguin Pride

September 1, 2016

… at the Pilsner Inn (in San Francisco):

(Hat tip to Aric Olnes.)

Not only a penguin with a Pride flag, but a nicely alliterative tetrameter line:

Penguin Pride at the Pilsner Inn

(mostly trochaic). Or pentameter:

Penguin Pride on the Pilsner Inn Patio

(clearly dactylic).

Annals of public art

August 30, 2016

(Mostly about art, of sorts, rather than language, though there are two puns.)

Yesterday’s Zippy took us to Tuscaloosa AL, home of Goldie:

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From Roadside America:

Tuscaloosa, Alabama: Collapsed and half-buried on Woods Quad, “Goldie 1971” was built by University of Alabama alumnus Joe McCreary. The rusted humanoid was meant to symbolize the collapse of Alabama’s steel industry, particularly the shutdown of the Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham in 1972.

In fact, the 23-foot-long robot is made from scrap iron cast at the Furnaces by McCreary in 2009. The robot’s name was supposedly taken from graffiti left by a welder and discovered by McCreary while he was making the sculpture.

To us, Goldie looks a lot like the old Marx Toy “Big Loo” robot, which squirted water from its belly-button. But much more artistic, of course.

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Linguistics and its orthographically related disciplines

August 26, 2016

Nathan Sanders writes on Facebook to display the nameplate for his new position at Haverford College:

There are few people in LINGUISTICS who have not been afflicted by the spelling LINQUISTICS, or else LINGUSITICS. But it is a little-known fact that these are actual names of academic disciplines quite distinct from linguistics.

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Associating with Zippy

August 24, 2016

In today’s Zippy, our Pinhead falls into reveries of word association, prompted by the flatiron in his hand:

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Not ironic words, but ferrous words, which takes us into the world of Ferris wheels, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ferris mowers, Ferris State (in Big Rapids MI), Tim Ferris (the self-help writer and entrepreneur), Ferris TX and Ferris IL, Southern folklorist Bill Ferris (former chairman of the NEH), and from there we could branch into ferries and fairies and all sorts of good stuff.

Meanwhile, from percolate and percale, we can get all the perks available to those who only stand and iron.

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):

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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:

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