Archive for the ‘Language play’ Category

Vasodilation

March 8, 2019

(References in later sections to men’s bodies and mansex, sometimes in plain terms; that material is not suitable for kids or the sexually modest. First, though, some pressure music and some stuff about blood pressure.)

Two things that happened to come together: my blood pressure readings of 97/59 on Wednesday, 105/57 yesterday; and an Out magazine story “Lucille Ball Did Poppers to Ease Chest Pains, Says New Show” by Mathew Rodriguez yesterday. The connection being that poppers trigger a (temporary) signficant drop in blood pressure.

If you don’t know what the poppers in question are (maybe you’re thinking of fried stuffed jalapeño peppers), don’t be alarmed; it will eventually become clear.

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Another 100k spams

March 5, 2019

… just came up on this blog. Since I last reported on the crowds of spam comments here, in my 10/20/18 posting “Numbers and names” (“The number of pieces of comments spam on this blog … passed 5.5 million a little while ago”).

Well, on the 3rd, when I first checked, some 5,600,601  had accumulated since this blog started in December 2008. At the moment, there’s an attack underway from a site with a clever strategy for evading spam recognition programs, so I’m getting more than a thousand new spam comments a day..

Meanwhile, there’s a certain amount of entertainment in the ebbs and flows in the views of postings on this blog — which will lead me eventually to some remarks on location expressions in the world’s language.

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The didactyl anteater, Anteater D, aka The Antedater

March 3, 2019

It began five months ago, on ADS-L, the American Dialect Society mailing list, with a note from the compiler of the Yale Book of Quotations about a piece he’d recently published:

Fred R. Shapiro, Confessions of the Antedater. Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America 39.1.23-42 (2018).

An engaging and informative essay about finding earlier and earlier citations for English words and phrases. At the time, ADS-Ler Mark Mandel exclaimed:

At first I saw it as “Confessions of an Anteater”!

and Larry Horn chimed in:

Me too … Indeed, my mailer tells me that when I type “antedater” I really meant “anteater”.  Maybe someone should work on a logo

I seconded the suggestion, but then no one did anything until Fred’s piece came up again yesterday, and everybody made the same misreading again — and I came up not with a logo, but with a mascot, an Anteater With a D, the adorable little Silky Anteater didactylus.

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My darling clematis

March 3, 2019

(Yes, a totally cheesy play on the name “My Darling Clementine”. Though it does clarify that the name clematis is accented on the first syllable. Note: this posting is mostly clematis appreciation.)

Passed on by Joelle Stepien Bailard, another wonderful flower painting by Emil Nolde, this time of clematis in the purple range:


(#1) Japanese-Impressionist Clematis (1934)

A great many varieties of the plant grew wild throughout most of the world; then from the 16th century on, plant collectors began to spread a number of them to Europe and elsewhere; and programs of selective breeding and hybridization eventually produced an extraordinary range of gorgeous flowers.

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The wherewolf

March 3, 2019

Passed on by Joelle Stepian Bailard, this Cyanide and Happiness strip by Rob DenBleyker from 9/30/10:

A tour of the interrogative words of English.

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For gay penguins, science and Canada!

February 21, 2019

A few days ago, this full-page magazine display made the rounds of Facebook:


(#1) Deriding the “Libtard Agenda” while imitating the Johnson Smith Co.’s ads for novelty items in the back pages of comic books and other publications aimed at children

The first copies I saw didn’t identify the creator or the publication the page came from, and there was some question whether it was (as George V. Reilly, invoking Poe’s Law, put it) “a right-wing parody of progressive views, or a left-wing parody of right-wing opinions of progressive views”. Parody, certainly, but from what viewpoint?

So in its form it’s a parody of a genre of advertising hucksterism. And then in its specific content it’s a parody of a style of political talk (either mocking what’s framed as a preoccuption with kale, gun control, facts, and the like, or mocking those who engage in such mockery).

Much has now become clear. To start with, the copy of the page in #1 identifies the creator as Mary Trainor, and that provides enough context to eventually sort things out.

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Wading with Vladimir and Estragon

February 19, 2019

That, at least, is where it started, with this bit of playfulness on Facebook:

(#1)

One among a great many available versions of Wading for Godot (like this one, hardly any have an identifiable origin, but just get passed around on the web, along with jokes, funny pictures, and the like: the folk culture of the net). I’m particularly taken with #1, as a well-made image and as a close reworking of lines from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot:

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Three exercises in cartoon understanding

February 18, 2019

Two from the 2/18&25/19 New Yorker — a Seth Fleishman (wordless) and a Lars Kenseth (a captioned meta-cartoon) — plus a vintage Gary Larson (considered both without caption and with).

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Eat it! The oral humiliation you deserve

February 17, 2019

Yesterday’s Wayno & Piraro Bizarro:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

A play on desserts (on the menu) vs. the deserts of just deserts. Plus a small cascade of idioms on oral humiliations. With a nod to the nasty rough edges of the verb eat (and, while we’re on the subject, suck). (Eventually, this will lead to some very plain-language talk — not for kids or the sexually modest — about some social and sexual practices among gay men. I’ll warn you when the topic is imminent.)

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Revisiting 25: Alligator Goodbyes, now in song

February 14, 2019

Back on 6/4/11, in “Alligator Goodbyes”, a t-shirt with 14 instances

of a verse form that I’ll call the Alligator Goodbye, on the model of “see you later, alligator” (at the top of the shirt):

(#1)

Now, a much bigger assemblage of AGs — 27 of them — on the Language Nerds Facebook page, in b&w:

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