Archive for the ‘My life’ Category

Singout at the CA chorale

July 16, 2019

As I arrange for a small Sacred Harp singing at my house in Palo Alto next month, a Bizarro from the past, this 1/10/07 strip:

(#1)

Relevant fact: SH singing is famous for being loud and harsh in tone — especially the altos, whose voices are often described as having a “glass-cutting” timbre.

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On this day in 2019

June 16, 2019

At least seven occasions of significance to me today: three fixed to the date June 16th, plus four movable occasions that happen to take place on this Sunday this year. There will be a section in the middle with seriously raunchy material from gay porn that some will want to avoid; I’ll provide a warning when this stuff is imminent.

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Lemon is the vanilla of Italian ices

June 9, 2019

The 6/7 Zippy takes us to the Jersey Shore for some water ice in a squeeze cup:


(#1) At the Strollo’s Lighthouse Italian Ice shop in Long Branch NJ: Zippy (alarmed at climate change) speaking on the left, Claude Funston (who denies climate change) on the right

On the setting. On Strollo’s. On lemon as the vanilla of Italian ices. On the relevant C(ount) noun ice, the nominal Italian ice, and the compounds water ice and squeeze cup. On Italian ice and the family of similar confections.

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The larval menace in their tents

May 15, 2019

Yesterday on the My Home is California group on Facebook, Jen Ede posted this scene of creatures afflicting greenery at Subway Cave, Old Station (in Lassen National Forest):

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That’s an amateur shot; here’s a more dramatic photo, with much better lighting:

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Wooden arches

May 5, 2019

Another posting about the objects of everyday life and how good design can provide us with small pleasures. In this case, the wooden arches that grace my condo complex, serving as entrance ways on the street, as trellises for vines, and as decorative elements for people on the street as well as for those of us inside the complex. The  current installation (recently repaired):


(#1) Dark-stained wood in the morning sun: four uprights; horizontally on top, two lintels (lintels going left to right) deep and ten rafters (rafters going front to back) wide; ivy climbing on the two front uprights

(That’s my place, 722, on the left, the stairs to 718 and 720 on the right.)

The repair job replaced the right back upright and all the stuff on top. Some details below

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get ’em, stop it, gimme

May 4, 2019

Among the everyday examples of a phenomenon subjected to analysis in an awesome new paper by Joan Bresnan, “On Weak Object Pronouns in English”, which she will present at the Lexical Functional Grammar conference this July in Canberra (LFG2019, 8-10 July, sponsored by the ARC’s [Australian Research Council] Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, program on-line here).

Joan’s paper is a demonstration of what can be done with serious resources — really big databases, serious statistical tools, complex analytic tools — in investigating  very ordinary, but intricately structured, phenomena, and in how you might try to integrate the approaches of usage-based frameworks with those of formal grammar.

For me the paper has a special resonance, because the analysis develops some ideas of mine in a little note from 1986 that appeared only in a working papers volume and has mostly gone unnoticed since then: “The Unaccented Pronoun Constraint in English” (OSU Working Papers in Linguistics 32.100-113, 1986).

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Early summer

May 2, 2019

Plant news from my house, now we’re definitely into summer here in Palo Alto — plus a notice that my 4/13 posting on Easter egg quotations has been fixed, sort of: the idea and the term are introduced, with an Economist example in an issue on synthetic biology, a subtly deployed quotation from Gertrude Stein (which leads to a Gertrudian snowclone).

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Where are you going with that?

April 30, 2019

The One Big Happy from 4/3, recently in my comics feed: the tough neighborhood kid James and his sledgehammer:

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What I hear in the first panel is an echo of a quotation with an ax, not a sledgehammer:

‘Where’s Papa going with that axe?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.

One of the great first lines in English literature, just grips you right off, does E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.

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The white and the red

April 19, 2019

The (Christian) liturgical colors for the season: white for Easter Sunday, red for today, Good Friday, the day of crucifixion (and for some churches, red for all of Holy Week). White the color of purity and perfection, and so of Jesus as Christ. Red the color of blood and sacrifice, and so of the crucifixion.

As it happens, yesterday’s events included a visit to the Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, where I encountered two especially notable flowers, one white, one deep red. First, the flowers, not (at first) identified:


(#1) Blanchier


(#2) Rougier

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Vasodilation

March 8, 2019

(References in later sections to men’s bodies and mansex, sometimes in plain terms; that material is not suitable for kids or the sexually modest. First, though, some pressure music and some stuff about blood pressure.)

Two things that happened to come together: my blood pressure readings of 97/59 on Wednesday, 105/57 yesterday; and an Out magazine story “Lucille Ball Did Poppers to Ease Chest Pains, Says New Show” by Mathew Rodriguez yesterday. The connection being that poppers trigger a (temporary) signficant drop in blood pressure.

If you don’t know what the poppers in question are (maybe you’re thinking of fried stuffed jalapeño peppers), don’t be alarmed; it will eventually become clear.

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