Archive for the ‘Languages’ Category

Mourning Son

March 23, 2020

… or Social Distancing. More art of the pandemic: a CGI homage to Edward Hopper’s Morning Sun (1952) by Vadim Temkin:

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Higashi Day cartoon 1: grim Bliss surprise

March 12, 2020

Here at Ramona Electronica, the cartoons have been piling up haphazardly, making awkward barriers to even the smallest simulated movements around the labyrinth of virtual rooms. So now, a modest effort at house-clearing — to celebrate March 15th: Higashi Day, formerly known in these parts as (spring) Removal Day, marking the day when, for roughly 10 years in the fabled past, Jacques and I set off to car-trek east, from Palo Alto (and Stanford) to Columbus OH (and Ohio State).

(Its winter counterpart is December 15th, Nishi Day, marking the send-off for the corresponding trip west, from Columbus to Palo Alto.)

I note that, ominously, March 15th is also — oh, Julio! — the Ides of March, but that the preceding day is that edibly mathematical event Pi Day and that only two days later comes the spring green of St. Patrick’s Day (which J and I experienced annually on the road in northern Arizona).

The inaugural Higashi Day cartoon is by Harry Bliss, in the March 9th New Yorker. But first — surely you saw this coming — a note on compass directions in Japanese.

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Schwinger outet sich als schwul

March 11, 2020

The news from gay Switzerland, in headline form: ‘Swinger [Swiss swing wrestler] outs himself as gay’. From the Outsports site: “Swiss wrestler Curdin Orlik comes out as gay, first out active male athlete in nation: The Swiss wrestler competes in an [un]usual version of the sport, but his coming out as gay is universal”, by Jim Buzinski on 3/10/20:


(#1) Orlik in ceremonial regalia, wearing a victor’s wreath and a jacket with edelweiss embroidered on the lapels

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Where is the fishmonger?

March 8, 2020

(On facial expression and gaze in sexual negotiations between men, definitely mansexually raunchy, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Yesterday’s ad from Next Door Studios (specializing in regular-guy boy-next-door types — twinks and swimmer-body young men — enthusiastically engaged sexually with each other, covering a range of acts from vanilla mansex on out to moderately kinky stuff). In it, Dakota Payne is preparing to slip his cock (fuzzed out here) into a deliciously sling-bound Alex Tanner. But these next-door boys aren’t focused on each other; they are instead staring penetratingly into the eyes of their audience, who are pantingly stroking their dicks in appreciation of their performance. This particular image now exploited to illustrate a dialogue for learners of the Spanish language; the by-ways of kink are strange indeed.


(#1) Alex y Dakota, Diálogo 17: ¿Dónde está el pescadero?

Alex: ¡Ay caramba! / Dakota: No lo creo.
Alex: ¡Que desastre! / Dakota: No importa.
Alex: Pero te deseo, mi querido. / Dakota: ¡Vete a la mierda!

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Morning tum

March 3, 2020

(There will be penis allusions, but nothing actually raunchy.)

My morning names of 2/26, which arrived three in a bunch, all tum-words, all body-related, but in two different ways:

(a) noun tumor, a tissue growth

(b) adj. tumid, enlarged or distended (as applied to erect penises in particular, but to other things as well)

(c) adj. tumescent, ditto, but more strongly evoking penises

(a) has a somewhat medical tone, but has been taken into everyday usage. The other two are elevated in tone, distanced from carnality; they sound literary or technical. When I came fully to consciousness, I realized that all three traced back to the Latin tum– stem in tumere ‘to swell’. It’s all about swelling; (a) has gone in one direction of semantic specialization, (b) and (c) in another.

And then, of course, there turned out to be more, stuff I hadn’t anticipated at all: the nouns tumulus ‘ancient burial ground’ (they are mounds) and tumult ‘loud noise, disorder’ (the sound rises).

Where will it end? Is a tummy so called because the bellies of babies are often rounded and the bellies of pregnant women are distended? (No. So the antacid Tums is irrelevant to this story.) What about the bodyparts scrotum and rectum, or even the proper name Tatum, suggesting Channing Tatum and his impressive endowment? (No, a thousand times, no. And you should be ashamed of yourselves for having suggested it.)

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Magical Mystery Crotch Rocketman

February 21, 2020

(Male body parts, vividly evoked though not pictured. Not for kids or the sexually modest.)

The spectre of the Daily Jocks Mystery Crotch, which materializes every so often, by commercial magic, to offer DJ’s bargain Mystery Underwear:

(#1)

Around this enigmatically seductive figure there has grown up a rich folk tradition of poetry, song, and visual art, the seminal work being the text Magical Mystery Crotch Rocketman, created by the appropriately mysterious queer cooperative Darts of Desire.

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love nest

February 20, 2020

(The text veers into sex of a number of varieties, including hard-core mansex, with references in very plain terms to both female and male sexual parts, so not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

In one scene of the 1998 gay porn flick Logan’s Journey, the protagonist Logan spends a night in a cheap hotel called El Nido. Two young men in the adjoining room have noisy ecstatic sex with one another, culminating in enthusiastic flip-fucking. The film is set in a gorgeous mountain-West landscape, where there are plenty of Mexican Spanish speakers.

Nearly every one of these details is relevant to understanding what it might mean for the hotel to be called El Nido (Sp. ‘The Nest’). The name is surrounded by a gigantic cloud of potential interpretation — of literal meanings, fresh metaphorical understandings, conventional metaphorical understandings, conventionalized slang, allusions to all sorts of cultural practices, transfers of conceptual frameworks for heterosex to mansex, all of this in two languages and a number of (sub)cultures.

Some of this was surely intended by the makers of the film — this particular El Nido is a love nest — but much of it is mere potential, wisps of penumbral interpretation in that cloud, visible to some viewers but not others, and barely within focus to many of those.

Out in the far reaches of my consciousness, there appeared the Spanish phrase su pajarito en mi nido (lit. ‘his little bird in my nest’) — or better, su pinga en mi nido (‘his cock in my pussy’) — and I was seized by a pointed desire to be fucked (alas, only in my imagination) by the Cuban American pornstar Damien Crosse, who grew up in Miami — even Miami, as it turns out, is relevant in all of this, as is the fact that Crosse favors porn scenes that are both fully democratic sexually (well, remember the flip-fucking) and also affectionate (Logan’s Journey is a love story). And then there’s the more obvious stuff, with the little bird in a nest.

Eventually, there will be poems, and a Cubano-inflected song, about encounters in love motels and lounges.

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The BSDR files

February 7, 2020

This posting represents the intersection of two posting topics that have pretty much gotten out of hand for me, so I’ll be extracting pieces from the larger material.

Topic 1 is the 1993 annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, at which I gave (on 1/9/93) my 1992 Presidential Address to the society, “Mapping the ordinary into the rare: Basic/derived reasoning in theory construction”. In trying to retrieve memories of the event, I discovered that my computer files for the paper (the BSDR files) were in a format that was inaccessible to me and that all my paper files had been destroyed. So I put an appeal out on 12/21/19, on several sites, for help in finding a copy of (at least) my (very detailed) BSDR  handout.

Topic 2 is recent gifts to me of many kinds: symbolic roses for me, in accord with a 1/29/20 posting of mine on a line from the Sacred Harp: “Give me the roses while I live” (SH340 Odem (Second)). I’m an old man, currently writing things under the Python Queen of Scots cry “Not Dead Yet”. I have been given some excellent roses.

One of these wonderful gestures to me was a reconstruction of the BSDR handout — with formatting preserved — done for me, purely in the spirit of colleagueship, by Luigi Talamo, now at the Univ. of the Saarland. Whose labors I will celebrate here, with some notes about Luigi and his interests. But first I exhibit his gift.

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Medical news not for penises

January 30, 2020

(Plenty of talk about male genitals. Not particularly salacious, but some might prefer to avoid this material.)

The term is osteopenia, which I briefly had hopes would combine the stems osteo– ‘bone’ and peni– ‘penis’ and so mean something like ‘hard penis, erection, boner’ (As I’ve noted elsewhere on this blog, I’m fond of penises. For some guys, it’s sports cars; for me, it’s penises.) . But alas, no. From NOAD:

noun osteopenia: reduced bone mass of lesser severity than osteoporosis. ORIGIN 1960s: from osteo– and Greek penia ‘poverty’.

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It’s a metaphor, son!

January 21, 2020

On Facebook recently, this supermarket snap, presumably from a store in Quebec, with a notable offering highlighted:


(#1) Five parts to the labeling: the name of the product in French (ailes de lapin); the name of the company (Canabec, a Quebec distributor of game — gibiers — and exotic meats; cf. elsewhere Plaisirs Gastronomiques, a Quebec company offering gourmet food, and Gaspésien, another Quebec fine food company); the name of the product in English (rabbit wings); the weight (in grams); and the price (in C$ / CA$ / CAD)

Much FB merriment over ailes de lapin ‘rabbit wings’, to which I responded:

Um, these are rabbit legs, right? Metaphorical? They resemble chicken wings and can be cooked in all the same ways. (Chinese rabbit wings are yummy.) M. Lapin: “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! for then I would fly away, and be at rest.” (Psalm 55) — later adding: “Oh, that I had wings like a rabbit! for then I would bound away, and be at rest.”

It’s a metaphor, son! A metaphor! Apparently one that is dead in Quebec, and so unremarkable in Quebecois — cf. Fr chauve-souris ‘bat’ (lit. ‘bald mouse’), Engl head of lettuce (where are its eyes and mouth?), and other dead metaphors that become entertaining when you attempt to breathe life back into them.

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