Archive for the ‘My life’ Category

Teddy Bears’ Picnic Day

November 17, 2018

On Facebook today, Anneli Meyer Korn posted this Bizarro cartoon from 11/17/14:


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

I was moved to declare November 17th Teddy Bear Picnic Day, in honor of Anneli and her husband Peter, but it turns out that (by whatever obscure mechanism these things happen) July 10th is already taken for this occasion, according to the Days of the Year site.

Well, of course, if you don’t know the song, you won’t find the cartoon particularly funny. (Suppose that the teddy bear’s message were “I’m sorry, the teddy bears are conferencing at Davos today”. That would be absurd, and so to some degree humorous, but nowhere near as funny as “I’m sorry, today is the day the teddy bears have their picnic”.)

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News for penises: salt and pepper

November 12, 2018

A bulletin from Coral Gables FL, with penis pepper mills in gorgeous hand-turned wood; and a patriotic phallic (salt/pepper) shaker, standing tall for US Veterans Day (today). Photos under the fold (so the phallically averse among you can avoid engaging with these simulacra)…

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On the doo-wop gender train from the past

November 11, 2018

Going the Facebook rounds:

the song that was number 1 on your 14th birthday defines your life

(pretty clearly intended: #1 in the US — though you could certainly carp about that)

Hey nonny ding dong: it’s “Sh-Boom (Life Could Be a Dream)” as recorded by the Crew-Cuts in 1954.


(#1) Trading card photo of The Crew-Cuts. In 1957, Topps gum cards issued a series of movie stars, television stars and recording stars.

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Taffy was a Turk

October 23, 2018

… well, sort of Turkish. In fact,

Taffy was a sweetmeat,
Taffy was a Turk,
Taffy came to my house
And shattered with a jerk.

From Ned Deily on Facebook yesterday, this vision of Bonomo Turkish Taffy, one of the vintage candies available at the (new) Hotel B Ice Cream Parlor on Main St. in Bethlehem PA (the place sells ice cream from the Penn State Creamery — yes, the commercial dairy division of Pennsylvania State Univ. in University Park PA):

(#1)

Affectionate childhood memories of Turkish Taffy — I remember only the vanilla variety — hard and soft at the same time, pleasantly sweet and chewy. Its relationship to (salt-water) taffy was unclear to me (beyond their both being chewy candy), and I had no idea what made the stuff Turkish (the presumably Ottoman minaret on the package might just be imaginative marketing).

So: about the candy; about the name and its semantics; and a bonus bit about Bonomo’s Magic Clown (on tv when I was in my teens).

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The Warren Cowgill student fellowship

October 16, 2018

Press release on the 2nd from the Linguistic Society of America, “New Diversity Fellowship Established in Honor of Warren Cowgill”, beginning:

The LSA is delighted to announce that the family of deceased (1985) LSA member Warren Cowgill (Yale University) has established a new endowment to support a student fellowship serving historically under-represented scholars wishing to attend the LSA’s Linguistic Institute.

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Contractualism, the sitcom!

October 11, 2018

From the most recent NYT Magazine (in print 10/7, on-line 10/4), “The Ultimate Sitcom” by Sam Anderson, about Michael Schur’s sitcom “The Good Place”:


(#1) Ted Danson and Kristen Bell

 “The Good Place” is not about philosophy in the way that “The Big Bang Theory” is about science — as a set of clichés to tap for silly jokes. A sitcom is not a grad school seminar, obviously, so the philosophy is highly abridged. But it is not insubstantial, and philosophical ideas actually determine and shape the plot.

I had been tangentially aware of the show (from its availability on Netflix), but didn’t appreciate its premise or its grounding in actual philosophy — a very specific brand of philosophy, as it turns out.

As embodied in a specific book.

By — moment of sheer astonishment — one of my oldest friends.

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Figgy clamshells

October 9, 2018

Precious black figs, in a plastic clamshell box with a separate teardrop compartment for each fig:


(#1) 7 of 12, in their figgy clamshell

(The figs were dead ripe, and delicious.)

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Angerland in Cambridgeport

September 30, 2018

Inspired by my 9/26 posting “Angerland”, with its One Big Happy play on Ireland as ire ‘anger’ + land, Nigel Fabb sent on this early 1980s view (apparently a favorite of locals for some years) of a building in Cambridge MA, more or less across the street from MIT’s main building:


(#1) The Metropolitan RAGE / IRE building on Mass. Ave. in Cambridgeport

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Inch by inch

September 25, 2018

… every week or two, the succulents grow. A report on the turquoise planter on my patio, from a week ago (9/19). A synoptic view (thanks to Kim Darnell):

(#1)

Four conspicuous plants: the central Echeveria ‘Blue Curls’, with its tall flower stalk (up to the height of the doorknob last week, now 2 inches above it, with a base wider by an inch as well); the little silver rosette Echeveria, with its 2-foot+ flower stalk; the two sturdy Senecio (blue chalksticks) stems, with thin flower stems at their tips; and (in the upper right corner) a crassula stem still working up to budding (but now with several offsets, not visible in this photo, at its base).

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Proustian paradise poems

September 17, 2018

In the most recent New York Times Magazine, “On a Line by Proust” by Adam Giannelli. Then, from the “graduation dinner” for the 1990-91 Fellows at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, my “class poem”, “Les vrais paradis sont les paradis qu’on a perdus” (the very line by Proust). The Giannelli is a villanelle of sorts, for a general audience; mine is very free verse, also occasional verse written for a small community.

In chronological order.

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