Archive for the ‘Names’ Category

Two questions about today’s Bizarro cartoon

September 24, 2023

Today’s Piraro-only Bizarro (it’s a Sunday; Wayno’s doing other things) —

The gargantuan chalking project is, it seems, debilitating (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 11 in this strip — see this Page)

— is comprehensible only if you recognize the huge inert creature in it as the legendary prehistoric ape of a century of film, King Kong; and you recognize the fact that cops are drawing an outline around the creature in chalk as a sign that this is a scene of suspicious death. Kong is not just sleeping in the street, he’s dead; the cops are tracing Corpse Kong.

Two questions then occurred to me, and might well have occurred to others:

Q1: What do you call that chalk outline?

Q2: Just how big is / was King Kong?

Both questions have answers. Both answers are unsatisfying, but in different ways.


Come back to the street, Wiener honey!

September 22, 2023

A gift for today’s equinox (the autumnal one in my hemisphere), from the AP News site yesterday: “Hot dog! The Wienermobile is back after short-lived name change”:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Some names are just the wurst.

Just four months after announcing that the hot dog-shaped Wienermobile was changing its name to the Frankmobile, the one-of-a-kind wiener on wheels is reverting to the original.

Oscar Mayer announced Wednesday on Instagram that the Frankmobile is toast. The Wienermobile rides again.

The name change announced by The Kraft Heinz Company in May was meant to pay homage to the brand’s 100% beef franks and their new recipe.

For fans of the original name, the change was, frankly, ridiculous.

“It’s been a franktastic summer!” the Instagram post said. “But like you, we missed this BUNderful icon. Help us welcome back the Wienermobile!”

Oscar Mayer was headquartered in the Wisconsin capital, Madison, for nearly 100 years before it moved to Chicago in 2015. The first Wienermobile was created in 1936, and it has gone through several iterations since then.

Now, the everyday name for the foodstuff is hotdog. The name wiener is slang, rather playful in tone, coming with suggestions of both dachshunds and penises. The name frank (short for frankfurter) seems to be primarily a commercial term, lacking in any kind of soul. Wienermobile is a delightful name — funny, cute. Frankmobile has none of that. It’s hard for me to understand how Oscar Mayer got that so wrong. But now they’ve reversed their course, and the beloved Wienermobile is back on the roads

Now, some history, plus some puzzled notes on how Oscar Mayer labels its two main products, the pork-based (and no-beef) sausages and the all-beef sausages. They are, first of all, wieners, always. Then things get complicated.


Original Rockers

September 16, 2023

“Original Rockers”: Wayno’s title for yesterday’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro; the published title “AC/BC” is a pun on the name AC/DC (for the rock band), cavemen being from a great many years BCE

(#1) Lead guitar with caveman backup (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page)


Turkish marches

September 8, 2023

It’s the time of the year when I re-connect with Ellen Sulkis James, an old friend, going back to the early 1960s, when we were both on the staff of the Reading Eagle newspaper in Reading PA, an old friend whose birthday (on 8/30) is just a week before mine, a fact we play with annually. (As it happens, this year I’m also in almost daily contact with Ellen M. Kaisse, another old friend — and linguistics colleague, now retired from the University of Washington in Seattle — going back to the early 1970s, who is now plotting a possible visit to me here in Palo Alto; for the record, my other old friends named Ellen, Ellen Evans and Ellen Seebacher, who came to me through the newsgroup soc.motss in the late 1980s, are also a regular presence in my life. Yes, this is all very confusing.)

Back then, ESJ and I were college students who did not go into the newspaper business — she went on to become a professor of art history, I went on to become a professor of linguistics — but it turned out that we shared an enthusiasm for classical music (we still exchange discoveries of new performers and performances), and we were both pianists. So in my visits to her house, we ended up playing together, including what she remembers as a 1 piano 4 hand version of Mozart’s Rondo alla turca, originally written for solo piano. For complex reasons I’ll eventually explain to you, I wasn’t so sure it was the Mozart, but might have been a 1 piano 4 hand version of what is known as the “Turkish March” (by Beethoven, from his incidental music for the play The Ruins of Athens), originally written for symphony orchestra.

Now, EMK is also a musician (an accomplished singer) with an enthusiasm for classical music (we exchange discoveries of new performers and performances). You can see that at the moment I tend to suffer from Ellen Blending. At least neither of the Turkish pieces seems to have been supplied with a vocal line.

In any case, I’m now convinced that ESJ is right about our having played the Mozart, not the Beethoven, those 60 years ago. I just wasn’t used to the Rondo alla turca being called a “Turkish March”. But Wikipedia reports this alternative name, and ESJ unearthed this performance of the (solo) Rondo alla turca (by Ronald Brautigam) recorded under the title “Turkish March”. So there.


From the annals of political portmanteauing

August 25, 2023

(This is very much a Mary, Queen of Scots, Not Dead Yet posting — coming after two days in which I was almost totally felled by the humid heat we’ve been experiencing (though I did get in a much-needed shower at 2 in the morning yesterday), and barely functioned. All this sadly in utter solitude: not a word with another human being between two exchanges with caregivers, on Saturday morning and yesterday afternoon.)

… with a note on Stanley Kubrick’s directorial techniques.

First, Don Boorleone.


Love wins in the Queen City

August 18, 2023

From Aric Olnes on Facebook yesterday:

(#1) [AO:] “Love Wins” mural [by artist Matthew Dayler] in Cincinnati, Ohio … Flamingos 🦩, Drag Queens 💃🏿 and winged Leather Pigs 🐖, oh my!

For me, it’s the two guys on the left; I’m a fool for men kissing (in fact, this blog has a Page devoted to my postings about men kissing).


At the margins of sleep time

August 17, 2023

(Mentions of male genitalia and masturbation, in street language, so I’m supposed to warn off kids and the sexually modest — though my belief is that these topics (especially masturbation) should be open to adolescents, who have a big stake in the topics. But I’m issuing the warning that laws require.)

This is about the routines of my life, how they have changed as I recover, slowly, from gallbladder surgery (I came home from Stanford University Medical Center about eight weeks ago); adjust to changes in my treatment regimen (which make for fewer whizz breaks during the night, now roughly every two hours, and permit a longer period, on the order of 45 minutes, between the urgent calls to whizz during the day); accommodate the return of my high sex drive (a welcome concomitant of recovery from sickness — but it comes with a certain amount of urgency); adjust to a warming and toning up of my body, plus a huge boost in balance and an infusion of energy and optimism that just magically happened about three weeks ago; and get used to being utterly alone and on my own for essentially everything (my excellent helper León Hernández — who was with me essentially every day for weeks, learned the routines of my life, provided me with excellent company, and became a friend — spent his last day with me a couple of weeks ago; now he has a new full-time patient, in Pacifica, far from here).



August 15, 2023

Provoked by the Merriam-Webster site‘s “Words We’re Watching: ‘Nibling’: An efficient word for your sibling’s kids”: some reflections on the portmanteauing that gives rise to nibling ‘niece or nephew, sibling’s child’; on “having a word for X in language L”; and on neologism and its discontents.

First, the fun. There’s a book for kids, and there’s a t-shirt for kids, too.


Donut burgers by another name

August 14, 2023

In response to my “DONUT BURGER” posting yesterday, Kyle Wohlmut wrote on Facebook:

Isn’t that “just” a Lutherburger? (with a Wikipedia link)

Well, screw you, Snark Boy; if I’d known about Lutherburgers / Luther Burgers I would have posted about them, so your slagging me for not mentioning them is just gratuitous assholery. I think you need a humongous sticky donut burger stuffed up your raggedy butt.

The Wikipedia article does make it clear that the donut burger has spread much further than I’d realized in my posting — something I’d contemplated there. But I had no idea …

So here’s all the stuff from Wikipedia (where I learned that, whew, Martin Luther had nothing to do with Luther Burgers; who could possibly want a burger designed by a humorless, pleasure-wary, fiercely dedicated Protestant reformer?). We don’t need the pictures, though; no one needs more pictures of, omigod, bacon cheeseburgers crammed between two glazed donuts.



August 13, 2023

The donut burger is the centerpiece of a photo on Jenny Marinello’s Facebook page on 8/5, from the Ohio State Fair (the booth in the photo also touts Philly fries and butt fries, which will require some explication for many readers). The sign on the booth reassures us that these are real, fresh donuts, and we are in fact looking at shamelessly sweet and sticky glazed donuts here, not some earnest wimpy-hippie fried dough:

The DONUT BURGER, a burger with doughnuts for buns: not, it turns out, just some freakish state fair attraction, but a genuine cultural thing

Now, brief notes: on hybrid food, with and without portmanteau names (the donut burger currently lacks one); and then on six places around the SF BayArea where you can get donut burgers (the glazed donut as bun is standard). So far as I know, they aren’t available in chain burger places, and the fashion for them might pass, but then again they might be a coming thing.