Archive for the ‘Names’ Category

Clash of the titular Peppers

September 1, 2021

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, a cartoon that would be totally incomprehensible without several pieces of pop-cultural knowledge:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

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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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Gail Rubin

August 9, 2021

Another spinoff from a posting in progress on the playful sexual slang trouser trout for penis (on an earlier spinoff, about the gay porn flick Trouser Trout, see my 8/7 posting “Melecio / Biaggi”). This time it’s about  the antic book A Girl’s Pocket Guide to Trouser Trout: Reflections on Dating and Fly-Fishing, by Gail Rubin:

This posting isn’t about the content of the book — that’s to come in the main posting — but about the identity of the author, something that bears not at all on the sexual slang compound.

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Twirly and girly

August 3, 2021

The One Big Happy from 6/5, in which Ruthie struggles, eggcornishly, to rationalize an unfamiliar name with familiar parts:

Mary, Susan, whatever.

Meanwhile, I now have “Honey Bun” from South Pacific in my head:

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A snowfall of diacritics, an avalanche of röck döts

July 12, 2021

Like most publications about science news for a general public, the weekly New Scientist has a notable sense of humor: two cartoons about science in every issue (see below), bits of word play inserted all over the place, and the occasional wryly funny news brief, like this one (“Bleak, very bleak”) in the 29 May 2021 issue, p. 56 (a note in “The back pages / Feedback” section):

We are grateful, for some value of grateful, to Michael Zehse for drawing our attention to the music of Nænøĉÿbbœrğ VbëřřћōlöKäävsŧ. We discover, as the extensive use of röck döts [AZ: and other diacritics] was perhaps inviting us to conclude, that this is “an extremely underground band that plays a dank, bleak, light-void music commonly referred to as either ‘ambient cosmic extreme funeral drone doom metal’ or ‘post-noise’.”

Having begun listening to one track, 10^100 Gs of Artificial Gravity, from their album The Ultimate Fate of the Universe, we can’t confirm the accuracy of the first description, but the second seems pretty fair.

The “windy, staticy” tone was achieved by the two band members, researchers who describe themselves as having met while studying carnivorous Antarctic predators, loading a bass, an amp and a laptop onto a dog sled to sample at the precise geographic South Pole during a long winter. Whatever we think of the outcome, this is true dedication to art. Rëspëkt.

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Annals of commercial naming: Bear Naked Granola

June 18, 2021

Brought to me by Facebook in recent days, advertisements for two playful trade names: one — for the Boy Smells company, offering scented candles, unisex fragrances, and (unscented) underwear, all for LGBT+-folk — covered in my 6/16 posting “Annals of commercial naming: Boy Smells”; and now, for the Bear Naked® Granola company. The two cases turn out to be very different.

Boy Smells belongs with a series of postings on this blog on dubious and unfortunate commercial names — some clearly unintentionally racy, some playfully suggestive, some openly, even brazenly, suggestive, given the nature of the establishments (Hooters). The Boy Smells company is almost painfully earnest about its LGBT+ mission, which makes its name — so evocative of teenage pong — especially unfortunate.

Bear Naked Granola, in contrast, is knee-deep in playfulness, starting with the pun on bare naked, so that on the one side, you get a reference to bears, with their fondness for nuts and fruits and honey (all relevant to granola); while on the other side, you get bare naked, suggesting purity and simplicity. And you also get the pop-culture view of bears, as cute and entertaining.

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Annals of commercial naming: Boy Smells

June 16, 2021

Smells like queer teen spirit.

Ads for the Boy Smells company have been popping up with some regularity in my Facebook feed — no doubt because I posted a while back on some fragrances for men, one of the two scented product lines the company offers, the other being candles. A third line is underwear, all of it explicitly labeled by the company, “This comes unscented”, but in an ad for Boy Smells products, it’s hard not to think of pungent teenager skivvies. Some ads combine the boy image of actor Tommy Dorfman with an Extra Vert Candle. Ad copy:

Discover the intimate world of Boy Smells with unique candles, fragrances & underwear. 10% of Proceeds From The Pride Collection Will Be Donated to Support the Trevor Project [providing suicide prevention efforts among LGBT+ youth].


(#1) The boyish Tommy Dorfman, something of a queer, and genderqueer, icon — attired in jade


(#2) French vert ‘green’ (suggesting the green herb tones in the scent) + extravert / extrovert ‘an outgoing, expressive person’

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Phosphorus and Hesperus

June 2, 2021

(Folded into this posting there will be some discussion of male-male sexual acts, and paintings of these, so the posting isn’t suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

🐇🐇🐇 To greet the new month — Pride Month, though that’s no doubt an accident — my Facebook ads on 6/1, yesterday, included one new to me, for art.com, offering giclee or canvas prints of Evelyn De Morgan’s 1882 painting Phosphorus and Hesperus:

(#1)

An embodiment of complementarity: two half-brothers (sharing their mother, Eos), one (Phosphorus) lighter haired, eyes open, facing up, bearing a flaming torch aloft; one (Hesperus) darker haired, eyes closed, facing down, holding a cold torch pointing down; with their arms intertwined and their bodies aligned complementarily, in a 69, or sideways astrological Cancer, or yin-yang pattern (with Hesperus as yin, Phosphorus as yang).

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Reversed meanings

May 19, 2021

In the One Big Happy strip of 4/25, Joe is being grilled by his father on the meanings of words — “defining words” being a common task for schoolchildren — and, on being challenged by the word /tæktɪks/, whose meaning is unclear to him, he proposes to break the word down into recognizable meaningful parts, from which the meaning of the whole can be predicted. A perfectly reasonable strategy, but one that is stunningly often useless.

(#1)

Joe appears to have isolated the parts /tæk/, /tɪk/, and the plural /s/, but didn’t identify the first as any item spelled tack or the second as any item spelled tick; instead his attention was caught by the combination /tæktɪk/, so similar to /tɪktæk/, the trade name Tic Tac.

And went on to assign some meaning to the reversal of the two parts, reasoning (apparently) that reversing the order should correspond, iconically, to reversing (in some way) the meaning of Tic Tac. What would be the reverse of a breath mint? Well, the function of a breath mint is to sweeten the breath, to make it smell good —  so the reverse function would be to make the breath smell bad.

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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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