Archive for the ‘Nonsense’ Category

O tasty Tweety! O Tweety, my prey!

July 26, 2022

… What a delicious Tweety you are!

The 7/24 Mother Goose and Grimm strip, with a police line-up of cartoon cats, for little Tweety to pick out the threatening pussy cat that he thought he saw:


(#1) The potential pussy predator perps on parade, left to right: 1 the Cat in the Hat (Dr. Seuss picture book), 2 Stimpy (Ren & Stimpy tv animation), 3 Sylvester (Looney Tunes film animation), 4 Catbert (Dilbert strip), 5 Attila (MGG strip — note self-reference), 6 Garfield (Garfield strip)

The number of domestic cats in cartoons is mind-boggling — there are tons of lists on the net — and then there are all those other cartoon felines: tigers, panthers, lions, leopards, and so on. Out of these thousands, the cops rounded up the six guys above — all male, as nearly all cartoon cats are, despite the general cultural default that dogs are male, cats female — as the miscreant. (It might be that male is the unmarked sex for anthropomorphic creatures in cartoons as for human beings in many contexts; females appear only when their sex is somehow especially relevant to the cartoon.) And that miscreant, the smirking Sylvester, is the only one of the six known as a predator on birds, though in real life, domestic cats are stunningly effective avian predators, killing billions of birds annually.

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Panjandrumery

July 19, 2022

My morning name of 6/5, which came to me, not in my head on awakening (the way morning names usually do), but on Facebook upon my firing up my computer, from John Wells, who was exclaiming with surprised delight: “I’m now a panjandrum“.

JW had just come across a 1/29/19 piece on Tony Thorne’s language and innovation site, “Mockney, Estuary — and the Queen’s English”, in which Thorne referred to “the Linguistics and Phonetics department at UCL [University College London] under the panjandrum of phonology Professor John Wells”.


(#1) Not JW, but the Great Panjandrum of Randolph Caldecott’s 1885 picture book, on its cover (on the book, see below)

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Zippyphrases 2

March 11, 2022

Some riffing on yesterday’s posting “Catchphrases for sale”, about this Zippy strip:


(#1) Offering fresh phrases — not already in circulation as catchphrases, sayings, proverbs, slogans, famous quotations, well-known names and titles, and the like — chosen at random

Zippy’s fresh phrases sound like catchphrases — roughly, free-standing expressions that you recognize as coming from a stock of quotations widely known in your culture, which then (if you wish) can be conventionally used to make some point — but are in fact novel. The things called catchphrases are then exquisitely embedded in particular cultures (note: “widely known in your culture” and also “can be conventionally used”).

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dildo, the insult

April 1, 2021

A Twitter comment on yesterday’s posting on dildos, the sex toys — entitled “Mitch is always DTF”  (Mitch is a dildo) — reminded me that the word dildo has developed a use as a slur or term of abuse, and that — despite this blog’s long-standing attentions to dildos as sex toys, to slurs in general, and to the development of vocabulary in the sexual domain into terms of abuse — I hadn’t previously recorded this development here. So here comes a gang of fuckin’ stupid dildos.

From GDoS:

1 a general term of abuse: a fool, an incompetent [clear examples are 20th century; in American slang dictionaries in the 1960s, e.g. College Undergraduate Slang Study 1967-8 Dildo A person who always does the wrong thing; 1998 what a pair of fuckin dildos] …

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Martin Van Buren, feeding nachos to a hyperactive squirrel

April 10, 2020

Yesterday’s Zippy has Our Pinhead imagining empathetically identifying with Grover Cleveland, Gwyneth Paltrow, Frank Zappa, Martin Van Buren, … and a (particular) squirrel:


(#1) The title of the set piece in Zippy’s dream — “Martin Van Buren, Feeding Nachos to a Hyperactive Squirrel” — uses a familiar syntactic template for describing scenes

This is the world of “Washington Crossing the Delaware” and “Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer”.

Meanwhile, Zippy engages in a mental exercise that has absorbed philosophers of consciousness for about 50 years, as distilled in the title of an influential paper by Thomas Nagel: “What Is It Like To Be a Bat?”

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The hand that cradles the tree

May 3, 2019

… and the monster that guides the elderly. Both pieces of outdoor art in Switzerland, the first in the town of Glarus (in my ancestral canton of Glarus), the second in the city of Zürich.


(#1) The Caring Hand in Glarus

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Song of the season

December 12, 2018

It’s time for that moving, rousing carol that makes this time of the year so special. I refer of course to the great seasonal song of Okefenokee County, the Pogolicious, Kellytastic “Deck us all with Boston Charlie”:

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A morning in the Blue Period

December 2, 2018

That morning was 10/29, and the morning name then was Paloma Picasso: an alliterative double amphibrach. Bringing with it an allusion to her fashionable clothes and accessories, and to her father’s paintings.

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Swiss spin-off: Wallisellen

June 27, 2018

The town of Wallisellen in Canton Zürich, Switzerland, has just come up again on this blog (in the posting “Three Züricher Peter Zwickys”), as the site of the Zwicky silk-thread company and now the Zwicky construction and real estate company. Two notable things about the place (from its Wikipedia page): the etymology of its name, which looks like a compound (and is), but without easily identifiable parts; and a Swiss German nonsense rhyme that incorporates the town’s name.

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Morning name: mock-Swedish nonsense

March 15, 2016

A recent morning name, a ghost from my childhood: a novelty song first recorded in 1941. From Wikipedia:

“The Hut-Sut Song (a Swedish Serenade)” is a novelty song from the 1940s with nonsense lyrics. The song was written in 1941 by Leo V. Killion, Ted McMichael and Jack Owens. The first and most popular recording was by Horace Heidt and His Musical Knights.

The lyrics of the chorus are supposed to be a garbled rendition of a Swedish folk song. The chorus goes in part: Hut-Sut Rawlson on the rillerah and a brawla, brawla sooit.

The song then purports to define some of the words, supposedly Swedish: “Rawlson” being a Swedish town, “rillerah” being a stream, “brawla” being the boy and girl, “hut-sut” being their dream and “sooit” being the schoolteacher.

You can listen to the 1941 Horace Heidt recording here.

Many other recordings were made over the years.

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