Archive for the ‘Names’ Category

Theophilus

August 20, 2019

From Jeff Shaumeyer on Facebook on the 18th:

(#1)

We were a little surprised to notice that the logo for the Hotel Amadeus is a portrait of George Washington. Rome, Italy. 20171028

I replied:

Ah, that’s George Amadeus Washington, an Italian con man who made a career of passing himself off as the Father of the U.S.A. and, incidentally, the composer of The Magic Flute.

Jeff:

That’s good to know! My knowledge of history is so spotty.

And then Rod Williams in high mischief mode:

Didn’t he write that opera, Il ciliegio bugiardo?

(more…)

Blue and black at the Gamble Garden

August 15, 2019

In anticipation of a visit to Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden with motss.conners on Saturday, two items from my last visit to the garden (on 7/31): blue flax-lilies, which are neither flax nor lily plants, but do have bright blue berries; and dark purple, almost black, hollyhocks.

(more…)

The opossum joke

July 30, 2019

(I posted a version of this under the heading “The opossum” on July 30th, but by a WordPress glitch the link to that posting was later re-directed to the next posting in line, “Ralph at the Port Authority” (here), so that my earlier posting disappeared completely. I lamented this loss on Facebook, and eventually archivist and quote investigator Garson O’Toole magicked up a Google Cache version of the text for me. Thanks to Garson, here’s a reconstituted version.)

(Totally baffled addendum. WordPress has published this revised posting with the date 7/30, though it was actually posted on 8/1.)

A very sweet One Big Happy from 6/30: Ruthie and her grandfather:

(#1)

A granddad joke — well, actually, two of them in sequence, the first sledgehammer simple (a classic dad joke), the second delightfully subtle (a meta-joke in which the audience response becomes a crucial part of the joke).

(more…)

Avocado Chronicles: 7 “eatable only as a salad”

July 27, 2019

A brief note about guacamole and its referent, thanks to this ADS-L posting on 7/26  by Bill Mullins:

OED has 1920 for guacamole. Barry Popik has 1894. [see below]

Bill takes this back a few years:

Springfield [VT] Reporter 25 Sep 1891 p 2 col 3.

“The famous aguacate, known here as the alligator pear, is really no fruit, but a vegetable, eatable only as a salad “guacamole,” and of the daintiest. . .  New Orleans Picayune”

My interest here is not in the antedating, but in the characterization that the avocado is “eatable only as a salad”, guacamole.

(more…)

The Dickson Poon School of Law

July 24, 2019

(As you might guess from the title, this posting treats several English expressions of varying degrees of offensiveness, so some readers might want to avoid it.)

A message from Gadi Niram a month ago:

I can’t get past the name of this school: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/law
The Dickson Poon School of Law in the University of London

— and wondering if poon doesn’t have the meaning in BrE that it does in AmE. (And then there’s the dick in Dickson.)

Briefly, the answer is: no, the lexical item poon ‘vagina, pussy’ is largely unknown in BrE. But it is an estimable Chinese name, especially in Hong Kong. If they had known about the crude offensiveness of poon in AmE, Dickson Poon’s family might have chosen another variant of their name in English, say Pan. Or maybe not; they might have decided that it’s their family’s English name and they’re proud of it. (I will compare it to the Hindi surname often spelling Dikshit in English.)

Then there’s the question of why the University of London has anything named after Dickson Poon. That’s where I’ll start.

(more…)

Choosing the words

July 19, 2019

Two One Big Happy cartoons in which young Ruthie confronts word choices: once in the name of a food, which is yucky or not, depending on what you call it; and once in the telling of a joke you know is incredibly funny, but you have to get all the right names of things in it:

(more…)

A postcard from the (northern) edge

June 26, 2019

From the northern edge of the world, specifically: the town of Inuvik NWT in Canada, from which a postcard showing this welcoming billboard:

(#1)

The card was from Chris Waigl (bought in Dawson City YT), who mailed it from the extremely small town of Chicken AK.

And now there’s a surprising lot of stuff to say about the card.

(more…)

Fashion notes for Pride 2019

June 25, 2019

This year on the Pride catwalk, it’s shorts and one-piece garments. In stunning show-off colors.

(more…)

perennial, evergreen, hardy

June 4, 2019

From an exchange on Facebook a few days ago, in which (at least) two of the participants use the term perennial to refer to plants that are green all year round, that don’t lose their leaves for a dormant season. The discussion was set off by DA (not knowing the privacy wishes of the participants, I refer to them by their initials), posting about a practice that puzzles him:

DA: I never understood why [people] bother to plant [fruit] trees that don’t bear fruit.

To which DS replied with a number of reasons for the practice, but along the way introducing perennial in the sense ‘green all year long’ (relevant materal boldfaced):

DS: They provide many other benefits, for birds, shade, soil augmentation … they hold together hills so they don’t wash away .. and much more. Besides, they can be lovely. As far as I know, there are no perennial fruit trees so they can’t be used for privacy.

(more…)

The dog of ivy

June 3, 2019

… stands guard in the San Fernando Valley, providing poodle thoughts for Zippy on his morning walk today:


(#1) Zipphorism: “Sometimes I feel like my thoughts are thinking me”

We are figments of our thoughts’ imagination; the topiary poodle tells us so.

(more…)