Archive for the ‘Movies and tv’ Category

A transatlantic exercise in cartoon understanding

September 21, 2018

To fully appreciate this cartoon (passed on to me on Facebook), you need to have two pieces of pop-cultural knowledge, one originally American, one originally British (though it is the way of such things to cross the Atlantic culturally):

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You need, of course, to recognize — American cultural knowledge — that this is a baseball diamond, with a game in progress, and that there’s an object on first base. Then — further American cultural knowledge — you need to recognize the (note: declarative, not interrogative) sentence Who’s on first as the first move in one of the greatest America comedy routines ever. Then — British cultural knowledge — you need to recognize the thing on first base and connect it to the fact that Who’s on first, both of them elements from one of the most popular British tv shows ever.

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Mornings in Greece and Rome

September 17, 2018

Two morning names: from the 8th, the Greek dessert wine mavrodaphne; and from the 9th, the garment peplum (the ancient Roman garment, based on the Greek peplos; the modern flounce in women’s clothing — and more).

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I gotta go

September 11, 2018

The catch phrase of writer and performer Merle Kessler’s alter ego Ian Shoales, just a bit short of the more vernacular I’m outta here. That’s motion go. Then there’s elimination go, and an ambiguity between the two, as exploited by Calvin in this (recently re-cycled) Calvin and Hobbes strip:

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Goldenrods and Boston cops

September 3, 2018

… with a note on the pronunciation of botanical names.

The crucial moment came in a re-run showing of the Rizzoli & Isles episode “Love the Way You Lie” (S3 E12, first aired 12/4/12), when the Boston detective (Rizzoli, played by Angie Harmon) and medical examiner (Isles, played by Sasha Alexander) pondered the significance of the fact that they had identified some pollen as coming from Solidago macrophylla, with the species name macrophylla pronounced /ˌmækroˈfɪlǝ/ (with primary accent on the third syllable). I was startled by the pronunciation: it’s Greek ‘big leaf’, so surely it should have the accent on the second syllable (as in thermometer, Hippocrates, etc.), something on the order of  /mǝˈkrafǝlǝ/, and the writers had just gotten it wrong.

But no. The writers did their homework, and I was the one who was wrong.

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Mandarin orange at the Malamute Saloon

August 30, 2018

Yesterday’s morning names. I have a ghost of a clue as to why Mandarin oranges came to me at dawn, but the Malamute Saloon is a total mystery.

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Melodramamine

August 28, 2018

Today’s Bizarro/Wayno collab:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

Not one, but two portmanteaus: for the ailment,  overemotion sickness = overemotional + motion sickness; and for the treatment, Melodramamine = melodrama + Dramamine. Plus the (melo)dramatic gesture.

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But is it a cartoon?

August 25, 2018

From the Pun Based Humor Facebook page (ultimate source not identified):

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A photograph (composed and posed for humorous effect), but if you drew this scene, it would straightforwardly be a (captionless) cartoon, so why shouldn’t  this count as a cartoon too? Not your prototypical cartoon, but a cartoon nevertheless.

An analogy would be to the art work of Pierre et Gilles: photographs elaborately composed and posed for artistic effect (often humorous effect as well), and meant as a photographic equivalent of a fantasy painting or drawing.

Meanwhile, there’s the matter of cartoon understanding: the young man, the box of breakfast cereal (Kix brand), and the highway route sign (for US Route 66) are the three elements focused on in the photograph, but what’s funny about that? Is it relevant that the route is historic, or that it’s a loop, or that the young man’s belt end is dangling (something to do with loops, maybe)? Or maybe stuff in the background is subtly significant. Or the setting, on a town street, at an intersection with a crosswalk.

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Rainbow. Sharks. Rainbow sharks.

August 16, 2018

First, rainbow: from Andrew Winnard on Facebook, a photo of a rainbow-lit Metro escalator in Stockholm.

Then, sharks: in my posting earlier today “Central Shark”, about Sharknado Week on the SyFy channel (Trailer Park Shark (2017) is just about to begin!).

Which led me to the Italian clothing company Paul & Shark, with its sharky logo — and its line of rainbow shark t-shirts. And to a slew of artworks depicting rainbow sharks. And to a popular aquarium fish, the rainbow shark.

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Central Shark

August 16, 2018

We’re in the middle of the SyFy Channel’s Sharknado Week (the 12th through the 19th), an event that continues to fly the banner of life-threatening sharp-toothed monster-fish even after the Discovery Channel has largely turned over its own SHARK WEEK offerings (July 22nd through 29th this year) to putatively informative feature stories. None of that wimpy speculative journalism for the staff at SyFy, who steadfastly maintain the tradition that has brought us SyFy-original gems like their 2010 Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda (which I watched again yesteday).

Each year some new movies (plus, of course, the classics of past years). Fresh meat this year:

Deep Blue Sea 2, Megalodon, Santa Jaws, Frenzy, Nightmare Shark, 6-Headed Shark Attack, with, as an extra attraction on Sunday, The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time!

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Cultural knowledge

August 4, 2018

Three recent cartoons in my feed that depend on their readers supplying crucial bits of background cultural information: a Rhymes With Orange from the 1st (the eating habits of Japanese movie monsters); a Mother Goose and Grimm from the 1st (the His Master’s Voice dog); and today’s Bizarro/Wayno collab (clergy visiting parishioners).

In each case, the cartoon shows some situation from everyday life (which you have to know about) juxtaposed with, or translated into, another more remarkable world (which you also need to know details of).

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