Archive for the ‘My life’ Category

Jacques and Arnold’s presidential adventure

October 4, 2021

More notes on the 1993 annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, at the Biltmore Hotel (now the Millennium Biltmore) in Los Angeles, at which I gave (on 1/9/93) my 1992 presidential address to the society, “Mapping the ordinary into the rare: Basic/derived reasoning in theory construction”.

The setting. The hotel is a landmark building of downtown Los Angeles (on Pershing Square).


(#1) The exterior, viewed from Pershing Square; you will have seen bits and pieces of the exterior and (especially) the interior in numerous movies and tv shows (Business Insider photo)

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Lila Gleitman

October 1, 2021

🐇 🐇 🐇 Discouraged day yesterday, which I tried to find relief from by posting something small but entertaining, but every posting I started ballooned into a sizable project — including this one, but I’m going to ruthlessly cut out a big file on Lila that I assembled a couple of years ago, when she was still alive and I wanted to celebrate her, but then it just became one of hundreds of other similar merely nascent projects, so instead I’m going to ramble on about Lila and my life and Chuck Fillmore and probably my Aunt Marion, who like Lila was a sporty woman, direct and funny and tonic to be around.

The spur for this posting was Lane Greene’s Johnson column in the 8/21/21 issue of the Economist (which I finally got to yesterday; I’m hopelessly behind on my reading as well as my writing — though I got the bulletin about Lila’s dying — on 8/8, at the age of 91 — from Barbara Partee the day it happened).

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Fireworks! Bang!

September 22, 2021

This posting originally came in two parts, united in fact by a sheer accident of timing, that two celebratory — fireworks! bang! — things happened  during a July weekend in the US: the first is a personal celebration, of an honor from the Linguistic Society of America that marks me as officially a kind of famous faggot (I happily embrace faggot); the second is the 4th of July holiday, an occasion as American as baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie, but capable of being hijacked for raunchy purposes. But in the interests of getting something posted while I still live, I’m putting the second part off, to appear as a separate posting (which will require a warning of  irredeemable raunchiness; this part dips into sexual topics with some frequency, no surprise, but needs, I think, no more severe a warning than that).

Notes: I do love fireworks, because there are occasions when only excess will really do the trick; but like a stereotypical queer, I am at best lukewarm on sports (though I have an enthusiasm for the San Francisco Giants when they’re in the World Series — go figure); I enjoy eating the occasional hot dog (for its taste and texture as well as its phallicity), but it has to be kosher (I had my ritual Independence Day Hebrew National wurst on the 3rd); and I also enjoy eating apple pie, but my preference is for Julia Child’s Tarte aux Pommes (another faggy enthusiasm).

The other thing about holidays, the Fourth of July notably among them, is that they are occasions for elaborate advertising campaigns hawking homoware: men’s premium underwear (including oh my, jockstraps), steamily presented, and gay porn videos (not to mention sex toys for gay men), all of these items that I view both as sources of deep personal satisfaction (which I am happy to talk about in detail, in the plainest of street language) and as objects of academic analysis, on several levels.

And then I have contrived to make a more than accidental connection between celebrating my recognition as an LGBTQ+ linguist and celebrating the Fourth of July, by selecting a holiday porn ad that turns on the ambiguity of N and V bang, as referring to noise-making or as referring to sexual intercourse: consider this exemplary text, the Falcon Big Bang 2021 sale ad (for gay porn) that came in my e-mail on July 2nd:

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Unfree variation, summer of 2007

September 18, 2021

From a wildly defensive comment of mine on my 9/16 posting “The pengring”, a comment about my loss of an audience in linguistics:

Story. My proposal for a course at the 2007 Linguistic Institute (at Stanford) was rejected on its merits, but was added at the last minute (after I appealed in wounded anger) because I was a local faculty member. (This is the position of the applicant for college admissions who would not be admissible on the merits but is accepted as a legacy.) The course was, by all accounts, a tremendous success and I’m proud of what I did. (I’ll post the course description and my course-end summary of its content; all of the material for the course is in a Page on this blog.)

So here it is.

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The flowers that bloom on the 6th, tra la

September 6, 2021

My birthday — 9^2, 3^4 — rolls around again, in its relentless way, and people are sending me flowers. Well, electronic images of flowers. (Meanwhile, I’m wearing my, sigh, gay dinosaur t-shirt, and I had coffee ice cream for lunch dessert, because it’s my favorite and because 9/6 is, whoopee, National Coffee Ice Cream Day, as well as AMZ’s and the Marquis de Lafayette’s birthdays, 1940 and 1757 respectively.) Today, three floral compositions:

— a sidewalk-crack garden (on the street in Dovercourt Village, Toronto), posted by Randy McDonald on his Facebook page on 9/3 and sent to me by e-mail on 9/4 to cheer me up (despair lurks in doorways, ready to pounce on me and rob me of joy): cleomes and snow-on-the-mountain

— from Benita and Ed Campbell (outside of Denver), a Jacquie Lawson electronic birthday card, “Golden Chain”: laburnum (yellow), drumstick alliums (purple and blue), plus seven parrots and a peacock

— from Rod [Williams] & Ted [Bush] (in Oakland), a different Jacquie Lawson card, “Birds and Flowers”: an arrangement of flowers to be identified, plus several little chirpy birds, with the accompaniment of a much-abbreviated orchestral arrangement of Chopin’s Grande valse brillante

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From the culture desk: images

September 3, 2021

Or: Pomodoro will get you Bellows, and Monet too. (Backward in time ran the artists until reeled the mind.)

A passing mention of Arnaldo Pomodoro recently — I don’t even remember where — took me immediately (but electronically) to the Columbus Museum of Art, where back in the 1980s the artist installed one of his Sfera con sfera sculptures in a prominent place (the central  courtyard of the museum, as I recall), where I visited it often, to admire it: big, solid, reflective (both literally and figuratively), complex (worlds within worlds).


(#1) Sfera con sfera in Trinity College, Dublin

Searching on Pomodoro and the CMA together then brought me to the Joy of Museums site for the CMA, which promised a Virtual Tour of the museum — but offered only thumbnail sketches of three of the museum’s holdings, not showing them in their settings or giving the history of their acquisition. (The site does offer whatever documentary footage already exists about the museum, but it doesn’t create its own tours of museums.)

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Sexual notes from 6/5

August 25, 2021

(Pretty much solidly about man-man sex, in particular anal sex in various entertaining positions, described in street language and plainly depicted in images from gay porn, so this posting is off-limits for kids and the sexually modest. It’s also an act of loving remembrance, but there’s no getting around that it’s dense with coupling, penetration, and ecstatic faces.)

Originally intended for posting on 6/5, right after I got ads for gay porn featuring HOT ASIAN COWBOY — which I at first took to be a hybrid of two subgenres of such porn, Asian guys and cowboys. On 6/5, my man Jacques’s death day, an occasion for reminiscence, in this case of our sexual lives together; our sexual lives evaporated about 25 years ago (a long time for memory), and though during and after our time together I wrote quite a lot about sex between men, a substantial amount of it about my own experiences (viewed analytically), I neglected to say much about the specifics of our everyday sex in a similar way. I took it for granted.

I’m working on recovering memories, but so much is gone. What I do have, easily available, is the stuff that plugged into HOT ASIAN COWBOY back on June 5th, and that’s what I’m writing up today.

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Queer as Duck

August 13, 2021

(Seriously off-color and sometimes tasteless, so not to everyone’s liking.)

aka Quack in a Tank Top:


(#1) Tank top from UniTee International (through Etsy); (very light) orange duckbill mask (N95 surgical mask) from the Halyard Co.; model AZ photographed by Kim Darnell at AZ headquarters; behind model, resting on the A-E volume of GDoS (open to the page for bang), the 2015 documentary Do I Sound Gay? (the answer to which is “Well, queer as fuck”)

Advised, in the face of the Delta variant, to move up to surgical masks, I searched on Amazon for properly certified masks from American suppliers. Orange the next day, or white in two to three weeks, so orange it was. The orange turned out to be a lighter shade than in the pictures; it also turned out to be a duck’s bill. But it’s very comfortable, and my glasses don’t fog up. However, I’m so spectacularly maladroit that I haven’t yet learned to put it on by myself; but I’ll get a tutoring session tomorrow.

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Four little words

August 11, 2021

Meme on FB this morning (I omit the image):

The four words every girl wants whispered in her ear

Susan Fischer (among the 10k+ people who responded):

I’ll clean the house.

That triggered a flood of reminiscence from me, which apparently ran too long for FB, so it cut me off in mid-sentence and allowed no responses, but it was lost in the deep waters of all those other responses in any case. So: this was very much not what I intended to do this morning, but here’s my bit of personal history, now edited and expanded from that posting — but with a lot left out; well, about 65 years of housecleaners isn’t easily reported on.

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Trout, the name

August 9, 2021

Another offshoot of my investigations into the playful sexual slang trouser trout ‘ penis’ (in a posting coming soon on this blog; another offshoot, also not really relevant to the sexual slang, appeared in my earlier posting today, “Gail Rubin”). This posting arose from my hope that Trouser Trout was attested somewhere as a man’s name. An actual man would have been too much to hope for; who names their son Trouser? But I’d hoped that someone would have chosen the name for a character in antic-sexy fiction or other artistic creation. Haven’t found that yet, but Trouser Trout has served as the name of various companies and their products, among them: a brewery, an Austin TX punk band, an underwear company (well, obviously), and the artist and musician Romanowski’s record label.

Then there’s Trout as the name of musical works.

And as a family name, for real people and for the enormously prolific but drastically underappreciated science fiction writer Kilgore Trout.

Like I said, offshoots.

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