Archive for the ‘Names’ Category

Non-standard sex talk

May 26, 2017

I’ll start with the steamy gay sex talk from an on-line messaging site — sensitive readers are hereby warned about this content — and then go on to focus on a non-standard syntactic construction in this exchange, what the YGDP (the Yale University Grammatical Diversity Project: English in North America) calls the Needs Washed construction (using as a label an instance of the instruction), involving a PSP complement of a head V.

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Light, and sometimes mixed

May 25, 2017

It started with Chris Hansen posting this London bus ad on Facebook:

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On the bus:

IT’S SMOOTHIFIED.
WE’RE AMERICAN.
WE CAN MAKE UP WORDS.

NOW IN THE UK

So: about the morphology; about the advertising tactic; and about the beer.

Emily Rizzo then threw this into the mix:

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with chelada (a variant of michelada), a type of beer cocktail — that is, a mixed drink with beer as one of its ingredients.

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Veronica Salpiglossis, the Greek goddess of Gamble Garden

May 24, 2017

From a visit to Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden yesterday: two striking flowers I have never grown, though they are common ornanentals: Veronica spicata, or spike speedwell; and Salpiglossis sinuata, or painted tongue. In the garden (photos by Juan Gomez):

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Hang On Sloopy

May 21, 2017

On Friday, while Kim Darnell and I worked on moving plants and cleaning closets (not just routine spring cleaning, but a counter-offensive against a severe moth infestation — more on this in a later posting), for background I called up an iTunes playlist of dance music from the 50s through the 90s, which included “Hang On Sloopy”.

Now, Kim and I both have serious Ohio State connections, so we recognized the song as an OSU anthem, as played by TBDBITL, The Best Damn Band In The Land, aka the OSU Marching Band, which, like OSU football in general, is surrounded by a kind of frenzied irrational devotion. (When I lived in Columbus, I found this truly scary, since it led to crowds torching vehicles, smashing storefronts, and generally behaving like crazed hooligans,)

So Kim asked the obvious question: Who the hell is Sloopy?

We get that it’s a name, here used as an address term. But who is the Sloopy of the song, what do we know about them? And was there an actual Sloopy in the history of the song, or was the name just pulled out of a hat? And what kind of onomastic hat has Sloopy in it? (Related puzzle re: “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” — though in this case, Rikki and Ricky are both reasonably frequent names.).

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Ruthie faces the unfamiliar, again

May 19, 2017

The One Big Happy in my comics feed today:

Rockefellers / rocky fellows. How was Ruthie to know her grandmother was using a proper name? And fellers is a familiar dialect variant for fellows – and an old one (Americans have been labeling feller an “impropriety” or “provincialism”, with an “excrescent” r, since at least 1795, according to DARE).

Ruthie undoubtedly also didn’t know that the Rockefeller family has long been seen as the richest family in the world, hence as the, um, gold standard of wealth. Which gives We’re no / not Rockefellers as an idiom meaning, roughly, ‘We’re not rich’.

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Special counsel appointed

May 19, 2017

Informed opinion has been very positive about the appointment of Mueller as special counsel to investigate allegations in the semolina affair. Commenters are generally agreed that Mueller is a respected authority in such matters, with a long public career in the field and experience in both semolina matters and the byzantine world of elbow-cheese casseroles.

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ice plants

May 16, 2017

… that is, plants in the Aizoaceae, or ice plant, family. On the occason of recent visits to Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden, where there’s a spread of gorgeous Lampranthus spectabilis (syn. Mesembryanthemum spectabile), trailing ice plant:

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(photo by Kim Darnell)

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Names in the comics

May 15, 2017

The One Big Happy in today’s comics feed:

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Ouch: Creighton Barrel / Crate & Barrel.

There’s quite a path in the history of Creighton as a first name. This will take us to probably the most famous person with first name Creighton, US Army General Creighton W. Abrams — and his son Creighton W. Abrams, a classmate of mine at Princeton.

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Blooming on the street

May 9, 2017

… on Ramona St., in front of the Ramona Townhouses. A little while back, it was the white calla lilies a few doors up the street from my place, but they have now collapsed to the ground, their bloom time over. Then, in the arches over the entrances to several of the units, a sign of spring: showy displays of yellow trumpet vine, growing amongst the ivy there; and in front of my unit, a spray of very pretty fancy pink geraniums (that is, pelargoniums).

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Mothers

May 9, 2017

I’ll start with Roz Chast’s cover art for the May 15th New Yorker, “Motherboard”, a droll celebration of Mothers Day in embroidery. With notes on uses of mother. From there to a sepia-toned mother and baby photo (more baby than mother) from 1965: mother Ann Daingerfield Zwicky, baby Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky. On the occasion of Ann’s birthday, today, May 9th; Ann would have been 80 today (but she died at 57). And then something celebratory: a lot of gorgeous foxgloves, a plant that Ann much liked; locally, they’re at their peak around the time of Ann’s birthday (and Mothers Day, which she detested; and Derby Day, which she loved).

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