Archive for the ‘My life’ Category

Books from Stanford

February 13, 2017

Recent books from Stanford-connected authors, some my colleagues, some my former students (so I have warm feelings). Two in sociolinguistics / educational linguistics, one on the (gasp) morphosyntax-phonology interface.


Our allotted span

February 13, 2017

At the Palo Alto Sacred Harp singing yesterday (singing from the 1991 Denson Revision), a moment of mortality (50t), with a 1707 text from Isaac Watts:

(You get humility for free.)


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):



A kiss is just a kiss

January 27, 2017

(About men kissing and how people interpret such acts. There will be references to man-on-man sexual acts, so you should be prepared to exercise some judgment.)

A kiss is not just a kiss; it’s almost always something else as well. Sticking to the topic of men kissing men, we’ve got MSMs (“men who have sex with men” — but identify as straight) who sometimes won’t kiss men; and then we’ve got people who are offended and disgusted just at the sight of same-sex kisses, especially between men, and lash out in various ways, from having them banned from public view to verbally abusing the kissers to physically attacking them. These two reactions spring from two different views of same-sex kissing: for MSMs, who want “just sex”, kissing can be problematic because it isn’t sex, it’s affection and love, and emotional intimacy is not what they’re in the market for; while for enraged objectors, same-sex kissing is a sex act, and doing it in public is having sex in public, which is offensive, simply unacceptable.

Then there are people like me, for whom images like this —


— are deeply satisfying, because we see the kiss as embodying both loving affection and sexual connection, while not being in itself a sex act. Two responses, together: “Awww, so sweet!” and “Wow, that’s hot!”


Queens & Cowboys

January 2, 2017

A documentary I watched recently:

“Queens & Cowboys: A Straight [that is, ‘full, complete’] Year on the Gay Rodeo” chronicles a complete season of the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA). (site link)


cover: Wade Earp on horseback


Howard at 57

December 30, 2016

My iCalendar told me that today would be Howard Arthur Faye’s 57th birthday. I was startled, and then even more startled when I checked and saw that Howard had died over 21 years ago (born 12/30/59, died 6/2/95).

I came to know Howard through the lgbt newsgroup soc.motss (way back), where he was a notable presence: funny, perceptive, contentious, sharp-tongued, full of enthusiasms (for music, food, ideas, and, especially, wines). (We finally got to meet face-to-face in L.A. in January 1993.) Howard lived life fully, no matter what came his way. I was reminded of my great admiration for the way Carrie Fisher, Prince, and George Michael lived their lives, openly and fearlessly.


The abacus

December 9, 2016

Some reminiscences, in which Ann Daingerfield Zwicky figures prominently. The inanimate object at the center of the story is this abacus:


The device entered our lives in a shop in Boston’s Chinatown in 1962; went on to serve with distinction in MIT’s Science Teaching Center for three years; and then followed us to Urbana IL and Columbus OH and then me to Palo Alto, where you see it now on a shelf in my living roon, alongside books on the nature of comics and just above a shelf of books of gay cartoons and comics.


Con Ed and the Ramona St. Squirrel Squad

December 4, 2016

… share a slogan: Dig We Must.

For Consolidated Edison (the NYC energy company), it was a slogan from the 1950s, asserting the company’s need to excavate under city streets to install power and gas lines, to create a better city.

For the squirrels around my Ramona St. condo, it describes their relentless drive to dig in the nice loose soil of my container gardens, to bury the nuts they find in the neighborhood, leaving devastation in their wake.



November 24, 2016

… the recent movie. Which I saw on Monday and am still in the grip of. A stunning film, tracking its central character from a small, weak boy (in black Miami) to a big, hard man (in black Atlanta), as he struggles to carve out a place for himself in the world and to come to terms with his sexuality.

(#1) (more…)

Zwicky annals: David W. Zwicky

November 20, 2016

Message from Ned Deily back on August 20th, with this photo (“As seen near the Reading Public Museum this afternoon”):


W. D. Zwicky is my uncle Walter, the son is my cousin David. And we’re all proud of what David has done with the company.