Archive for the ‘My life’ Category

Sad farewells

July 26, 2021

Brief report from my house on things falling apart, or Why I Hardly Post Anything of Substance These Days. New medical problems — no serious details now, but a symptom of one is enormous exhaustion, so sleeping 10 to 12 hours a day, so not getting much done; and my hands all painfully seized up with arthritis in a terrible flare-up. But yesterday I had some remission and could slowly say farewell to my succulent garden. And then, later, could take some time at the computer slowly clearing out a chunk of a giant iceberg of unanswered e-mail going back to 2009 — a Monument of Things Undone, things that will never be done.

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Tripping over the signature

July 23, 2021

Yes, I’m not dead yet, but I’ve had grave difficulties in getting even a tiny posting together. So here’s today’s (7/23) Mother Goose and Grimm cartoon, from the meta-cartoon world:

We’ve seen piles of cartoons in which speech balloons play a role as physical objects in the cartoon’s world: people point at their contents, they act as actual balloons carrying someone away, etc. Now it’s the artist’s signature.

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tenure, tenor, tenner

June 15, 2021

The One Big Happy cartoon from 5/21, in which the word tenor (which is apparently unfamiliar to Ruthie) leads Ruthie to a word with a similar pronunciation, whose meaning she knows (at least approximately) — tenure:


(#1) I got tenure at Ohio State in 1970, but the singing boyfriend didn’t come along until years later

That’s an error taking us from tenor to tenure. Meanwhile, on the comedy stage, a pun takes us from tenner to tenor.

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The Grip family

June 13, 2021

Easy and the Dr., bringing help to the manually afflicted. As I become less and less able to hold onto objects, lift them, use tools and utensils, open jars and bottles, and so on — no longer able to coordinate small muscles or summon the strength for many everyday actions, and obliged to endure considerable pain to accomplish the things I can manage —  I have come to rely on Easy Grip utensils and tools from the OXO company and on the Dr. Grip pens from the Pilot company, with their thick bodies and slightly flared front ends.

The Dr. has been a friend of mine since I suffered significant ulnar nerve damage in my right arm in 2003 — damaging or disabling various muscles in my right hand, so that I had to switch as much as I could to my left hand (but handwriting was unswitchable, so that unless I wrote very slowly and carefully, even I often couldn’t decipher the result); and leaving me with constant low-grade pain in that arm and hand, with occasional sharp strikes of electric pain. There wasn’t much to do about that pain, but I could improve my handwriting with well-designed pens from the Dr.

Then, in a separate development, osteoarthritis advanced upon me, appearing in different joints on different days, sometimes with crippling pain. More recently, it has settled pretty much constantly in the joints of my hands, both hands, sometimes making them red and swollen and painful to the touch. Most recently, two fingers on my left hand have developed trigger finger, in which the finger gets locked in a bent position and will release, painfully, with a pop. Dr. Grip has become even more significant in my life, and I’m now appealing to Easy Grip more and more just to manage simple tasks.

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News from the rose garden

May 12, 2021

Mail from the Park of Roses in Columbus OH a few days ago, to say that the variety in the rose bed dedicated in my man Jacques’s memory had recently been replaced by a new variety, with an interesting name:


(#1) Grandiflora rose ‘Cardinal Song’ (from the Dave’s Garden website)

It’s all about that shade of red: the color of the bird whose song provides the name for the flower. Both the bird and that shade of red get their name from the color of a cardinal’s robes in the Roman Catholic Church.

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Musical numerology: two days in May

May 5, 2021

5/4 (yesterday; yes, I’m late, but I was without internet access for about six hours and couldn’t finish assembling the materials for this posting); and 5/9 (Ann Daingerfield (Zwicky)’s birthday, and, this year, Mother’s Day). About the occasions, but also about the dates as 54 Day and 59 Day — in the pages of the Sacred Harp.

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Rollin’ on the roadway

May 2, 2021

The mobility equipment piles up. I now have a cool cane (with four feet); an indoor walker (fairly recently equipped with a tray for carrying things around the house); and now a big fancy outdoor walker — a Rollator! — that can, in seconds, be turned into a comfortable seat to rest in on the street.

And now a tour of my assistive devices, as they’re called in the trade.

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Alex Adams

April 29, 2021

(Some bits on sex between men, including in gay porn, so not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

Alexander Adams began as a pseudonym of mine for making restaurant reservations (“Arnold (Zwicky)” over the phone is perilous indeed, especially if the person taking the reservation isn’t a native speaker of English). Which turned out to be so useful that I abbreviated it to Alex Adams, sometimes just Alex, for more informal reservations — at the barbershop, at places where you leave a name with your order at the counter and then it’s used to call you when the order is ready. Eventually, I became ready to answer to the name Alex on any occasion. That was better than having to be prepared for Ronald, Harold, Donald, Alan, Alvin, Albert, Herbert, Robert, or whatever struck other people as being more reasonable than Arnold.

And Alex (Adams) gradually evolved from being just an occasional pseudonym for Arnold (Zwicky — Arnold as a problematic name is as nothing compared to Zwicky) to being the name of an alter ego. Used at first as my sex name: people engaged in casual sex with strangers sometimes exchange (first) names, usually using pseudonyms for these occasions, that is, sex names (partly to protect their identities, sometimes also using names that seem more emotionally satisfying than their real names).

So the name Alex (Adams) was invested with transgressive sexiness for me, and eventually became the name of my alter ego in writing participant-observer accounts of sex between men, as well as continuing as a more innocent pseudonym; in effect, the everyday Alex Adams developed a subterranean sex life that he then began exposing to the world.

Then it turned out that since Alex Adams is such an ordinary, regular-guy name — one like Eric Carter, Chris Tyler, Paul Walker, and Brad Mason, all attested pornstar names — it’s been adopted by gay pornstars at least twice, including one of some fame in the business, who was active in gay porn from 2012-15.

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LSA to announce award for LGBTQ+ linguistics

April 26, 2021

Details still to be settled, but the Linguistic Society of America will be offering a regular award for LGBTQ+ linguistics. With the permission of COZIL (the LSA’s Committee on LGBTQ+ [Z] Issues in Linguistics), which proposed the award and will administer it, I am pleased to give a little peek ahead:

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Baxter on language

April 22, 2021

Three more cartoons from the Glen Baxter collection Almost Completely Baxter, all having to do with language in one way or another: the study of vowels as religious observance in the abbey of the fabled town of Brocklehampton; the tragedy of empty speech balloons; and smoke signals pressed into service to spread higher literary culture.

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