Archive for the ‘Languages’ Category

On the black cat patrol

July 15, 2018

Just mounted on the wall I face when I’m at my work table: a digital reproduction of the famous Zwicky Cat poster by Donald Brun (for the Zwicky silk thread company in Wallisellen, Canton Zürich), and a postcard Amanda Walker sent me because it reminded her of the cat Kurniau (what cats say in Estonian — it’s a purr and a meow) from the Zwicky household in Columbus OH many years ago:

(#1)

I’ve posted the Zwicky Cat image before, and about Brun. To come here: about the source of the framed poster (the Wee Blue Coo company in Edinburgh); about the fuller version of the poster, in which a cat may look at a cat icon (as Kurniau seems to be doing above); and about another entertaining Brun poster that I came across while searching for a copy of the two-cat version of the Zwicky silk thread poster.

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What did the Cretan bull say to Hercules when the hero tamed him?

July 10, 2018

μ μ

(but the bull was real butch about it, and anyway that’s the Greek Way)

Meanwhile, the Greek letter mu is wide open for cow cartoons, like this recent one (from February 1st) by Scott Hilburn, passed on to me by Facebook friends:

(#1)

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Swiss spin-off: Züricher Geschnetzeltes

June 27, 2018

While searching on Züricher (and its variant Zürcher), as part of a look at men named Peter Zwicky in the Zürich area, I came across Züricher Geschnetzeltes, a characteristic Swiss dish that I did not experience as a child, but in fact first encountered at a little restaurant on Limmatstraße in Zürich — in September 1972, almost 46 years ago. A very simple veal dish, served on freshly made noodles, but absolutely perfect: melt-in-the-mouth strips of veal in a sauce that was both brown and creamy, elegant yet intense. Julienned carrots sauteed in butter. A crispy white wine. A plain green salad.

Something along these lines, but with noodles:

  (#1)

(A style of food that is, unfortunately, not particularly photogenic.)

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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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Fried eggs and fairy wands

June 18, 2018

Also blazing stars, gayfeathers, and wandflowers. All plants, colorfully named. Providing a little exercise in taxonomic names vs. common names.

The fried eggs come from Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, who posted this on her Facebook page yesterday:


(#1) EDZ: “Portrait mode makes fried egg flowers even more absurd” (by erasing the flower stem, so that the flower appears to be floating in the air)

The fairy wands I came across at Palo Alto’s Gamble Gardens this morning:


(#2) Angel’s (fishing) rods, wand flowers, or fairy wands

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The possessed and the damned gather over cheese dip

June 8, 2018

A 1969 Velveeta ad:

Ingrid Superstar is obviously possessed, perhaps as a consequence of the entire company of the damned dipping into her chafing dish.

With a little lesson in pronouncing Spanish, and of course a celebration of the processed cheese product Velveeta, which has been beguiling the unwary with its silky smoothness since 1918.

Plus the inventively crude sexual slang dip into s.o.’s chafing dish.

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There oughta be a word

May 16, 2018

Darya Kavitskaya on Facebook yesteday:

This is sour cherry clafoutis. No more food for today.

I commented:

I think French needs a verb clafouter ‘to cook a clafoutis; to devour a clafoutis’.

Come to think of it, I could use an English verb clafoute /kla’fut/ with these senses:

I think I’ll clafoute for tonight’s dessert. Maybe plum.

Terry piggishly clafouted. Seven at a sitting!

To come: a reminder about what clafoutis is; about the forms of the invented French verb clafouter; on “having no word for” some concept; about needing — or at least wanting — a word for it; about the ambiguity of these invented verbs (both ‘to cook’ and ‘to eat’); about the source of such ambiguities in marker-poor combinations of elements (lacking explicit indicators of the semantic relationship between the elements — there’s nothing in French clafouter or English clafoute to indicate the semantic role of the referent of their subjects, as creator or consumer); and about the motivation for marker-poor combinations, in a drive for brevity (vs. clarity). French and English could be clearer, less ambiguous — I’ll illustrate with still more invented French verbs — but only at the cost of greater length and effort.

All this from (delicious) French sour cherry flan.

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Beat Me, Daddy, Eight to the Bar

May 12, 2018

(On the social and sexual lives of gay men, with photos, so not to everyone’s taste. Almost surely not to Facebook’s taste.)

Recent Facebook conversation, initiated by poster J1:

First time being called “Daddy” while playing with a guy at a bar. Bittersweet!

With a response from J2:

Yeah, I can see the bittersweet part, for sure. Heh. I remember you as a total twink.

And from me:

Ah, those days. For me, it was papacito from a cute server at a Mexican restaurant. I was charmed.

daddy here is the name of a social identity, a gay “type” (like twink, bear, muscle-hunk, or leatherman); and by extension, of a subculture of men of this type; and by a different extension, of a role or relationship between men, between an older and a younger man. Such identities, subcultures, and roles can intersect and combine, as here:

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Food news in the neighborhood

April 30, 2018

Two recent developments: the closing in December of the neighborhood homey Mexican restaurant La Morenita (at 800 Emerson St., across Homer Ave. from Whole Foods and around the corner from my house, to the southwest) and its replacement a week ago by Taverna, a stylish Greek restaurant; and the recent opening of the Georgian restaurant Bevri (at 530 Bryant St., a couple of blocks from my place, to the northeast).

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Pride Time #5: on Barceloneta beach

March 30, 2018

(From June 2017. Underwear men, Catalonia, gay life, Barcelona beaches, art and architecture, and, eventually, food. First, underwear with my captions.)

The saints of Catalunya
Pretty in purple and pink

(#1)

Sant Jordi the savory in heat
Stretched out on rocks
Homage to Barceloneta
Between sail and fish

(#2)

Sant Joan the sweet
Celebrant of gay pride
Summer solstice confection
Of fruit and nuts

It’s all about Barcelona, the beach, and swim briefs.

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