Archive for the ‘Names’ Category

A touching memorial

November 20, 2022

My life continues to be mostly absorbed by the Respiratory Virus and what I’ve come to call the Sleep Monster, which has had me knocked out for five hours of today already. Bits of my waking time have been taken up by useful domestic things, like replacing my dead slipper / moccasins and assembling a pleasing Thanksgiving meal for myself (a bowl of very eccentric but satisfying posole — pork, white hominy, red, with idiosyncratic embellishments).

Otherwise, I’ve been consumed by fits of red-hot rage combined with body-wracking weeping sorrow over the shootings at Club Q in Colorado Springs; I hope to be able to post on that subject soon, but not now. In any case, before this news came to me, today’s Zippy strip came in, with a touching (and characteristically funny) memorial by cartoonist Bill Griffith to his cartoonist wife, Diane Noomin, who died back in September and then was memorialized in a service  by a bunch of unruly friends back on the 10th.

This is way too brief, but it’s the best I can do before my day runs out.


Just to note that these people are of my generation: Griffith is 4 years younger than me, Noomin was 7 years younger. For comparison: I’m essentially the same age as Nancy Pelosi, Anthony Fauci, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan, and only 2 years older than Joe Biden.
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Midnight Oxtail Stew

November 19, 2022

(Another Mary, Queen of Scots Not Dead Yet posting. I’m still in the Sick Zone — up at 4 after a rocky, painful night, then two two-hour periods of knocked-out unconsciousness by 10, so I don’t expect to get much work done today.)

(Oh yes, a pornstar flaunts his body shamelessly, so the posting is not for kids or the sexually modest.)

The text for today was supplied late last night on Facebook:

— Owen Campbell: What am I doing you ask? Just simmering a midnight oxtail stew for tomorrow

— AZ > OC: I do like midnight oxtail stew. Not a bad band name. And then there’s the gay pornstar Midknight Oxtail Stu.

First the food, then the gay pornstars.

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Dotty Zippy

November 16, 2022

The Zippy strip of 9/10, in which our Pinhead, anticipating little balls of flash-frozen ice cream, embraces dot dot dot in two ways at once:


(#1) Ellipsis dots meet Dippin’ Dots at the carnival

Two very different uses of NOAD‘s noun dot-1 ‘a small round mark or spot’ (dot-2 is an archaic noun referring to a dowry):

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MARCIA M Zwicky

November 15, 2022

That’s who the postcard was addressed to. The postcard announcing the annual holiday fair of the artifactory / The Artifactory in Palo Alto:


(#1) Arnold M Zwicky has been getting these announcements for a couple of decades, but I believe that this is the first time MARCIA M Zwicky got one and I didn’t (it’s possible that I didn’t notice for a couple of years, because COVID-19, but my replacement by MARCIA M is surely a recent thing)

I suspect that this address is incorrect — it should be MARCIA M M Zwicky, because her full name is MARCIA MARCIA MARCIA Zwicky. As in The Brady Bunch.

Back in the real world, there’s the question of where MARCIA came from, and for that I have no idea, beyond the possibility that the Artifactory’s address database somehow mingled two different addresses, MARCIA + X and Y + M Zwicky.

In the world of consensus reality, there’s the Artifactory cooperative and the tv series The Brady Bunch (though I have to point out that we’re interested in the series for the (fictive) narrative in it, for the stories it tells). And then the fantasies and inventions I’ll spin out will use some other established fictive narratives: the story of the Three Magi and the tales of the Archangel Michael. With a side reference to the comics and graphic novels of Alison Bechdel.

In fact, Bechdel will serve as the entry point into the (real-world) story of the Artifactory cooperative.

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The Tale of Raunchy Appetizers

November 1, 2022

A gripping adventure, begun yesterday in my posting “Invitation to the groaning phallic board”, which was temporarily abandoned due to illness. The final chapter in the story of this raunchy appetizer board:


(#1) From a Facebook ad for a wooden appetizer board in the outline shape of the male genitals (head with frenulum and urethral cleft, gently bent shaft, and testicles) — highly stylized, highly schematic, but with these quite specific details; shown here with the compartments filled with appetizers of various sorts, and with accompanying bowls of other appetizers

The photo appears to be a scam come-on, created either by photographic manipulation or by the crafting of a single wooden model for advertising purposes.

My interest was in both the appetizer board (so called) and in the foodstuffs — the appetizers (though they sometimes go by other names) — that fill such boards. On appetizer boards in general, and then

some reflection on the modes of phallicity, extending my thoughts in two earlier postings, “Enhanced phallicity” of 12/10/21 (about things that are not merely phallic by nature, but (also) deliberately designed to resemble penises in some detail) and “Plush life” of 9/11/22 (about four modes of phallicity). What, in this world, are we to make of the raunchy appetizer board?

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More watching this space

October 8, 2022

I’m still away meeting a writing deadline, so this posting is another Mary, Queen of Scots notice that I am Not Dead Yet. Meanwhile, I offer you a droll note I posted on Facebook back on 10/3, with a chain of punning responses, and some sad facts about the publishing industry.

What’s in a name? I wrote:

— AZ: Just came across a political reporter named Simon Schuster (talking about the war in Ukraine on MSNBC). I see from the net that he mostly goes by Simon D. Schuster (rather than, say, Simon & Schuster), probably a wise decision.

A p.r. photo of the man, looking genial:


Simon D. Schuster, not any sort of publishing company, much less a gigantic one (photo: Bridge Michigan)

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Zhock jocks at play

October 5, 2022

In today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, the (somewhat idealized, but real) world of male athletes intersects with the (fictive) world of stereotypical Frenchmen via an imperfect pun:


(#1) In both worlds at once: the object that is a (symbolic) baseball bat in the sports world and also a (real) baguette in the French world (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

The elements of my titular phrase Zhock jock (admittedly, a play on shock jock, though the cartoon isn’t about disc jockeys — jocks — or provocative, offensive humor — shock — or provocative, offensive talk radio — shock jocks): Jacques [žak] (with initial fricative, in both French and English, though with different phonetic details in the two languages) vs. jock [ǰak] (with initial affricate, in English). So we get these three hybrid guys, flashing signifiers from both the French Zhock world — details below — and the (American) jock world (football, soccer, baseball) — cleated shoes, football jersey, padded pants, sports shorts, baseball cap.

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Outrageous POP

September 30, 2022

🐅 🐅 🐅 tiger tiger tiger for ultimate September; tomorrow the inaugural rabbits of October will bound in

In today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, set in the Schmancy auction house — think Christie’s or Sotheby’s — a Mötley Crüe cruet POPped (phrasal overlap portmanteaued) to  Motley Crüet (somehow the first röck döt got lost in the compression process):


(#1) Wayno’s title: “Tinny Aftertaste”, combining the metal of heavy metal with the taste of a cruet’s contents (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

To understand this, you need to know about fancy-schmancy auction houses and how they operate; about cruets and their function in dining; and about heavy metal music and the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe and their reputation for vulgarly outrageous behavior, which clashes with the civility of oil-and-vinegar dressings for salads, so yielding the humor of anomalous juxtaposition.

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Mortal power

September 9, 2022

The 8/11/22 Rhymes With Orange, exploiting an ambiguity in the noun killer as the modifier N1 in N1 + N2 compounds, in this case in killer abs (literal ‘abs that are killers, abs that kill’ vs. figurative ‘abs that are killer / remarkable’):


(#1) In the worlds of advertisements featuring beautiful people, the health and fitness literature, and soft porn, figurative killer abs are commonplace; abs that kill, however, have (so far as I know) never once appeared on a police blotter

Wider topic: the figurative modifiers of mortal power — premodifying killer (killer abs, a killer app), postmodifying of death (the cruise of death, referring to a penetrating sexual facial expression).

Male body parts and sexual connections between men plus a ton of linguistic expressions in their social contexts, what more could I ask for?

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Cartoon-cat fame-naming your cat

September 5, 2022

From my 8/15 posting “Fame-naming and family history”:

My intention was to get on with Cats 4, about naming cats for / after famous cats — in particular, famous fictional cats; in further particular, cats in cartoons and comics. If I name my cat Stallone (after the actor) or Rocky (after the fictional pugilist), I’m fame-naming a cat; if I name my cat Cheshire (from Alice in Wonderland) or Pyewacket (from the Salem witch trials and then various films, for example the wonderful Bell, Book and Candle (1958)), I’m cat-fame-naming my cat; if I name my cat Garfield or Sylvester, I’m cartoon-cat-fame-naming my cat. This is intricate, but pretty straightforward. And the topic of Cats 4 will in fact be the cartoon-cat-fame-naming of cats.

This is Cats 4. Where you could, if you were so moved, name your cat Garfield:


(#1) A lined notebook / journal for cat lovers (available via Amazon)

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