Archive for the ‘Languages’ Category

The news for shoes

September 17, 2018

… and toucans, but not, surprisingly, pandas, despite the brand name.

Originally encountered in ads from the Footwear etc. stores (a California chain with a store on University Ave. in Palo Alto): Wanda Panda,

We Are Wanda Panda

Shoes, ankle boots and sandals for women. Made in Spain. [The company’s headquarters are in Alicante, on the Costa Blanca]

Hours of attention: Monday to Thursday, 9:00 – 13:00, 16:00 – 18:00, Friday 9:00 – 13:00 [notably Spanish hours]

Phonemically /wandǝ pændǝ/ in English, apparently involving the bamboo-eating bear Ailuropoda melanoleuca (I have two friends with the panda as a very serious totem animal, so I’m alert to pandas) — but phonemically /wanda panda/ in Spanish, with no allusion to (el) panda ‘panda’ at all; instead the reference is to (la) panda ‘gang, crowd, group of friends’ (in European Spanish slang). And the Wanda Panda mascot is a cartoon toucan (tucán in Spanish):

(#1)

Some notes on the shoes. And then a digression on why Wanda and panda don’t rhyme in English (though they do in Spanish).

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toro katsu and more

September 12, 2018

Another birthday report, from the 6th: a sushi lunch at Kanpai (Lytton Ave. in downtown Palo Alto), a gift from Kim Darnell — with mostly standard items, but featuring toro katsu (and there lies a tale of borrowing words from one language to another). Photo of a man, bowl of miso soup in hand, seriously contemplating Japanese food, wanting a photo of the meal, and really not wanting a photo of himself:


(#1) The author with a Kanpai lunch special

Your left to right: bowl of miso soup, salad of fresh baby greens with Japanese dressing, toro katsu (with tonkatsu sauce, sriracha mayonnaise, and cooked broccoli floret), bowl of rice; then a platter of California roll and sashimi (tuna and salmon), mug of green tea (with images of sushi on it, labeled in Japanese and English), glass of Chardonnay. The side order of eel (unagi) sushi has not yet arrived.

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Through the centuries in the morning

September 10, 2018

The morning name for the 6th: Attraverso i Secoli, the title of an elementary Italian textbook from about 60 years ago. Not mine, but Ann Daingerfield Zwicky’s. No longer in my possession, after several years of the Great Library Divestment, but still I remember it, and it somehow surfaced in my dreamtime.

The title attraverso i secoli ‘(down) over / through(out) / across the centuries / ages’ is a PP with the very interesting P attraverso, which (historically) is itself a P + a N derived from a verb of motion (cf. the English V traverse).

And the expression as a whole is formulaic, a conventional way of referring to (all of) historic time.

As a bonus, there’s the book Il Quidditch Attraverso i Secoli by Kenilworthy Whisp.

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Swiss art supplies in the morning

August 31, 2018

Today’s morning name: Caran d’Ache. A Swiss art supplies company specializing in pencils. With a complex linguistic and social history behind its name. There will be cartoons as well. (No food, sex, music, or plants, but you can’t have everything. On the other hand, there will be clowns and some chemistry / materials science.)


(#1) The box for a 40-color selection of pencils, proudly flying the Swiss flag

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The Three Marcos, the Three Marcusites

August 27, 2018

(Hunky men in skimpy underwear, but otherwise not alarming. And it will take you to some surprising places.)

Today’s Daily Jocks guy, for Marcuse underwear, with the ad copy (lightly edited):


(#1) Marco Brown, the pool boy with a white thong in his heart

Sporty & sexy, the premium Egoist collection from Marcuse will give everyone around you wild thoughts. Available in 2 colors [white and navy] and 3 styles, jockstrap, [bikini] brief & thong.

The first of the Three Marcos. On to the others…

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Morning names: Hai Karate, Dirk Diggler

August 18, 2018

(The Dirk Diggler section has some plain talk about men’s bodies — penises here, penises there, penises everywhere — so some readers might want to skip that section.)

Yesterday morning, the cheap men’s aftershave of the 1960s, Hai Karate, with an ad campaign that’s hard to forget (nerdy guys karate-chopping away hot models who were irrestistibly drawn to them by the powerful fumes of their Hai Karate). And then this morning, at the tail of an elaborate  character-rich dream, the dream me discovered he was actually the son of Dirk Diggler, the supremely porn-named porn star character in two movies (the mockumentary The Dirk Diggler Story and the dramatic narrative film Boogie Nights).

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The Gay Village, Swiss Chalet, poutine

August 8, 2018

Further notes on the 31st motss.con in Montréal (which came to an end with a stragglers’ breakfast on Monday); background in my 8/3 posting “The rainbow pillars of Montréal”. And further explorations of things Swiss, or at least things called Swiss, in particular that Canadian institution, the Swiss Chalet restaurant chain. Motssers on holiday in Québec, food: that means poutine, (by report) consumed often and by many during the con.

Brief visual background on the con’s location, the Gay Village of the city:


(#1) Aerial view of Rue Ste-Catherine E. in the Gay Village, with its overhead rainbow-colored balls (from Chris Ambidge)

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furūtsu sando

July 23, 2018

From the bon appétit magazine site on 7/19/18, “A Fruit Sando Is a Dessert Sandwich Filled with Joy and Whipped Cream: I’m obsessed with this Japanese dessert and was dying for a recipe. Now we have one.” by Elyse Inamine:


(#1) furūtsu sando ‘fruit sandwich’: strawberry, kiwi, peach (or mango) (photo from the magazine)

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Aspectual distinctions in the comics

July 22, 2018

Today’s Zippy involves a distinction in the interpretation of the VP own thirty-one muu-muus:

Does Zippy happen to own (only) 31 muu-muus at the moment? Griffy asks how many muu-muus Zippy owns, and that’s what Zippy apparently says in reply.

Or is Zippy’s way of life such that he always has (only) 31 muu-muus in his possession? That would indeed predict that Zippy has (only) 31 at the moment, but it would also predict that if you took one away, he’d have to get a new one to replace it, and that if you gave him a new one, he’d have to get rid of an old one — all to maintain the stable state of owning 31 muu-muus. That’s what Zippy says in his reply.

The distinction is aspectual, corresponding very roughly to the circumstances in which you’d choose a ‘to be’ verb in Spanish: estar (roughly) for temporary situations, not necessarily extending beyond the reference time period (hence mutable, contingent), ser (roughly) for enduring, even permanent situations, extending through time before and after the reference time period (hence unchanging, even necessary).

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Chard semantics, chard art, and chard food

July 17, 2018

My recent Swiss steak posting,”Braised short ribs with Swiss chard, and the Swiss Hotel” on the 15th, in considering Swiss chard as an ingredient in cooking, also looked at the semantics of the composite Swiss chard (it’s relational rather than predicational: Swiss chard isn’t Swiss, but instead is related to or associated with Switzerland in some way — but in what way?) and illustrated one culinary use of the plant’s leaves.

But there’s more. First, there’s more on the semantics. Swiss chard is a synonym of chard; all chard is Swiss chard. That is, the Swiss of Swiss chard isn’t restrictive, but rather appositive: not ‘chard that is related to Switzerland (in such and such a way)’, but ‘chard, which is related to Switzerland (in such and such a way)’.

Second, thanks to the striking colors of its ribs and leaves and to the complex textures of its leaves, Swiss chard is beautiful: it’s a frequent subject for artists (in paintings, water colors, and pencil drawings) and photographers, and it’s grown as an ornamental plant (like ornamental cabbage and kale — the ornamental crucifers — and some herbs, notably rosemary, thyme, and sage).

Finally, my adventures with the composite Swiss chard led me to two specific culinary uses of the plant: in the characteristic dish of Romansh-speaking Switzerland, the chard-wrapped meat dumplings capuns; and the combination of   Swiss chard with white beans (in sautés, stews, and soups) — one of the staples of my Swiss grandmother’s cooking.

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