Archive for the ‘Morphology’ Category

Manscape architects

September 6, 2023

The background, from 9/3 in my posting “Manscaping your junk”:

A tv spot ad (only 15 seconds long) for the Gillette Intimate Manscape Kit (Gillette Intimate Pubic Hair Trimmer, Gillette Intimate Pubic Hair Razor, Gillette Intimate Pubic Shave Cream + Cleanser), released at least twice, under different titles:

(#1) The Gillette Intimate Manscape Kit

— ‘It’s Not Junk, so Treat It Right’  [apparently it’s your “pubic region” instead], published 10/31/22

— “Respect Your Junk!”, published 3/11/23

Two matters of linguistic interest here: the noun manscaping and verb manscape; and the noun junk ‘male genitals’. The material I’ve collected on these is extensive enough that I’m not going to try to cram it all into one posting, but will split things in two, in follow-up postings on the noun junk and on the noun manscaping / the verb manscape.

The first of these I did two days go (on 9/4), in my posting “From the genital junkyard”. Today it’s manscaping day. Just to remind you, my focus is on vocabulary — the noun manscaping and the verb manscape — not on the practices this vocabulary refers to, of trimming, shaving, and removing male pubic hair.

Nevertheless, the practices provide the background, so a few words on them are in order.


From the annals of political portmanteauing

August 25, 2023

(This is very much a Mary, Queen of Scots, Not Dead Yet posting — coming after two days in which I was almost totally felled by the humid heat we’ve been experiencing (though I did get in a much-needed shower at 2 in the morning yesterday), and barely functioned. All this sadly in utter solitude: not a word with another human being between two exchanges with caregivers, on Saturday morning and yesterday afternoon.)

… with a note on Stanley Kubrick’s directorial techniques.

First, Don Boorleone.


Annals of error: the carptenters of Southwest Ohio

August 18, 2023

A typo in writing — CARPTENTER, with an anticipation of the T in CARPENTER — which was then not caught by a proofreader, so that it got published looking like CARP-TENTER ‘someone or something for tenting carp’, but written solid. Exposed by Michael Palmer on Facebook on 8/15. The published display, with the beginning of the accompanying news article:

US Senator Sherrod Brown August 15 at 11:09 AM: Today our Butch Lewis Act saved the pensions of 5,400 carpenters in Southwest Ohio, restoring full benefits with NO cuts. When work has dignity, workers can take comfort that the pensions they’ve earned over a lifetime will be there for them when they retire

And then, of course, the playful Facebook comments, starting with Michael Palmer’s initial salvo:



August 15, 2023

Provoked by the Merriam-Webster site‘s “Words We’re Watching: ‘Nibling’: An efficient word for your sibling’s kids”: some reflections on the portmanteauing that gives rise to nibling ‘niece or nephew, sibling’s child’; on “having a word for X in language L”; and on neologism and its discontents.

First, the fun. There’s a book for kids, and there’s a t-shirt for kids, too.



August 13, 2023

The donut burger is the centerpiece of a photo on Jenny Marinello’s Facebook page on 8/5, from the Ohio State Fair (the booth in the photo also touts Philly fries and butt fries, which will require some explication for many readers). The sign on the booth reassures us that these are real, fresh donuts, and we are in fact looking at shamelessly sweet and sticky glazed donuts here, not some earnest wimpy-hippie fried dough:

The DONUT BURGER, a burger with doughnuts for buns: not, it turns out, just some freakish state fair attraction, but a genuine cultural thing

Now, brief notes: on hybrid food, with and without portmanteau names (the donut burger currently lacks one); and then on six places around the SF BayArea where you can get donut burgers (the glazed donut as bun is standard). So far as I know, they aren’t available in chain burger places, and the fashion for them might pass, but then again they might be a coming thing.



August 11, 2023

In the current issue of the New Yorker, in the Talk of the Town section, a Paris Postcard by Lauren Collins: on-line on 8/7, with the title “Bartender, There’s a Beer in My Wine: Paris has been blanketed by posters for vière, a mix of vin and bière drunk from a wineglass, whose name, its creators say, started out as a joke”; in print on 8/14, with the title “Vière here” — about the hybrid beverage with a portmanteau name. Beginning:


Crotch pong

August 9, 2023

(Intimate talk about male bodies, mostly mine, in plain terms, though not so racy as to ban kids — but I will freely use the vernacular noun and verb piss, nouns dick and balls. In any case, some people will find the topic of crotch odor unsavory.)

I’d hoped to be able to post about meat dreams and crotch pong on the same day — just for the sound of the two off-color compounds together, but meat dreams took a lot longer than I’d expected (I somehow ended up in the 16th century), so crotch pong had to wait a day. So it goes.


Meat dreams

August 8, 2023

Not manmeat dreams, which I have all the time, usually quite pleasantly, my desires being inclined that way. But slabs-of-meat dreams, all through last night’s sleep. Not distressing, but inescapable: a continuing presentation of one piece of raw animal flesh after another, with titles out of Monty Python, things like:

#10, the breast of chicken; #45, the ham hock; #17, the pork loin; #99, the strip of bacon; #4, the leg of lamb; #57, the veal cutlet; #62, the porterhouse steak

I kept thinking: these are all really important, I’ve got to write them all down. But it was all in my head, where there’s no place to write things down. Frustrating.

When I eventually woke fully, at 1 am, I realized that my subconscious was sending me a message: IT’S TIME TO START EATING REAL MEAT. My subconscious was firmly convinced that my body had recovered sufficiently from my gall bladder surgery (almost 2 months ago) to cope with the full range of food. It was now shouting at me: GET ON WITH IT, DUDE!


Barthropods seeking silverfish

August 8, 2023

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, a complex composition in which two centipedes look for bar snacks:

(#1) First bit of language play: the portmanteau barthropod = bar + arthropod, centipedes being arthropods, creatures in the gigantic phylum Arthropoda — also encompassing insects (including silverfish and springtails as well as flies, butterflies and moths, beetles, and more), spiders. crustaceans (among them, shrimp, crabs, lobsters, and barnacles), and millipedes (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page)

Then there’s a more subtle bit of language play in silverfish serving as bar snacks in a world in which centipedes drink in bars — given that Goldfish crackers (gold fish, silver fish, bring out the bronze) are often served as bar snacks in the real world.


The peapod pendant

August 5, 2023

Georgia Morgan (now retired from linguistics in Brattleboro VT, where she creates and sells amazing jewelry) on Facebook on 8/3:

— GM: I will be at the Brattleboro Area Farmers’ Market this Saturday in the Rosie’s Wonders booth. Bringing these, and lots more …

(#1) Including this peapod pendant

— AZ: Love the peapod. I would wear that (except that I can no longer manage any kind of jewelry with my poor disabled hands)

— GM > AZ: If you ever want one, I do make pendants with an adjustable sliding closure that just go on over your head

— AZ > GM: Georgia, if you can do that for the peapod, I want one.

And it has been done. Georgia is working on the pendant; the check is in the mail. It’s my birthday present to myself; I have a prime birthday, my 83rd (I still can’t quite believe that I have somehow managed to live this long) in a month from now, 9/6.