Archive for the ‘Derivation’ Category


March 18, 2017

The Bizarro from 1/6/16:


(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

But elephantitis would refer to an inflammation of the elephant. And elephantiasis is an actual (dreadful) disease. Maybe elephantosis would cover the condition depicted in the cartoon.


At the Zippy Mart

February 1, 2017

Yesterday’s Zippy takes us to a convenience store, whose name communicates speedy service and also seems to refer to him (so that he takes a proprietary interest in the business):



Language Sunday in the comics

December 12, 2016

Four in my comics feed Sunday morning: a One Big Happy with the derived adjective quotatious; a Zippy on pangrams; a Mother Goose and Grimm with an ambiguity in marine biologist; and a Doonesbury nominally about pronoun choices, but about much more.


The news for cigars

November 18, 2016

Following up on yesterday’s posting “No cigar”, on a Tom Chitty cartoon with phallic foodstuffs striving to become cigars, two items: You’re no Cigar (Lloyd Bentsen: You’re no Jack Kennedy) and Sometimes a cigar is a lot more than a cigar (apocryphal Sigmund Freud: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar).


The old oaken desk

October 2, 2016

More home decor, this time in a report on Peninsula Furniture Moving Day, which was two Sundays back. The basic strategy: take Jacques’s fold-up Scandinavian desk (of rosewood) from Ramona St. to a consignment shop in Sunnyvale; move the big oak desk from Staunton Ct. to Ramona, to replace Jacques’s desk there; move the big CD carousel (solid cherry, originally from Levenger) to Staunton Ct., from which it can be sold or donated. Later, move a small bookshelf from Staunton Ct. to replace the CD carousel; acquire a desk organizer and a swing-arm desk lamp for the oak desk; and finish removing the contents of my Stanford office (now given up) for recycling or for processing at Ramona St. The result was a gigantic task of sorting and storing, still in progess.

Meanwhile, here’s the oak desk (originally from the study in my Columbus OH house, now in my Ramona St. bedroom), with accessories:


(Large “memory collages” on the wall, plus the Jacques and Arnold wedding-equivalent photo from 1996.)


Feet in footage, pawns at the pawnshop

September 9, 2016

Two cartoons in my feed yesterday, both turning on ambiguities: a One Big Happy involving foot, a Mother Goose and Grimm involving pawn:




Advances in the fast food world

August 9, 2016

An announcement in my Facebook feed this morning, from Adverising Age yesterday:

Burger King Introduces Whopperito, a Whopper Burrito: Tex-Mex Mashup to Be Sold Nationally From Aug. 15

Burger King’s latest new item is taking a cue from Chipotle Mexican Grill, which is still reeling from a string of foodborne illness outbreaks.

The Whopperito, which puts Whopper burger ingredients like beef, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and pickles inside a flour tortilla, will be sold nationally beginning Aug. 15 [after marketing trials in Pennsylvania]. A queso sauce replaces the mayonnaise from the hamburger.

I had two reactions. One, that the Whopperito as described in AdAge is very close to my conception of an American burrito, with (possibly) only the tomatoes and pickles outside the usual list of ingredients, though with beans (or refried beans) crucially absent, so the thing hardly looks like a hybrid food (Whopper plus burrito), but more like a stunted variant of a burrito — but then this is advertising (for Burger King, home of the Whopper), not food studies. Two, that althugh the name could be construed as a portmanteau (Whopper + burrito, with the shared r indicated by underlining), the first interpretation I got of the name was that it was a diminutive of Whopper, in –ito, that is, as ‘little Whopper’ — an oxymoron if I ever saw one.

Then I discovered that AdAge had spelled the name wrong. It’s Whopperrito, much more clearly a portmanteau.


William Hamilton

April 26, 2016

In the latest (April 25th) New Yorker, a brief appreciation (by Bob Mankoff) of the cartoonist William Hamilton, who died on the 8th

William Hamilton had a lot to say about the nation’s country-club class and how it viewed itself. His cartoons were peopled by ladies and gentlemen of the Park Avenue variety, speaking confidently about their place in the upper crust, even as that crust was crumbling. Hamilton first found a place at this magazine in 1965, when he was only twenty-six. At the time of his death, last week, at seventy-six, he had published more than nine hundred and fifty drawings that lampooned sophisticates and pseudo-sophisticates with dry, incisive jabs. He was that rare artist whose style suits his humor perfectly

(Mankoff had a longer on-line appreciation on the 11th.)



April 13, 2016

(On sexual vocabulary and its uses, but not in street language.)

Back a few days, in my sexy-playful posting “Magnitude boys” (underwear with captions), the Rocky character calls out (to two other men), “Move over boys, Daddy needs nookie!” What he wants is sexual intercourse, but he’s saying this playfully. He could have used much earthier and more direct phrasing (and he could also have been more specific about what role he wanted to take in intercourse), but he chose instead to use the lighthearted, even sweet, word nookie (variant spellings nooky, nookey, nookee).

Three things about the word: its range of meanings (narrowly focused on sexual matters); its etymology (disputed and unclear, but culturally fascinating); and its penumbra of associations, which makes it sound “cute”, so much so that it can be used (albeit still with sexual overtones) in the name of an Australian brand of clothing for hip young women, Nookie Nation (with its cheeky mascot, the Nookie Girl).


Briefly: more -ible -able

April 10, 2016

Over on ADS-L, a discussion of distract{i/a}bility, by squirrels and by people with ADHD, but there’s the spelling thing, which I happen to have looked at for collectible / collectable just a couple of days back. But every pair has its own story.