Archive for the ‘Languages’ Category

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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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:

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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:

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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:

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

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