Archive for the ‘Pop culture’ Category

Body works

March 5, 2017

(Frank talk about the male body, but no sex in this particular posting. Use your judgment.)

Four body items that have come my way recently: bouncing penises and testicles (and other intimate views of the body) in a new computer game; mussels as vaginal symbols; axillary delights; and anal art.

This is Part I: Dangly Bits.


Name fame

March 3, 2017

Still going back in my blog queue, now to a 12/15/16 NYT piece by Sam Roberts, (in print) “Increasingly, Surnames Are Latino, Census Says” and (on-line) “Hispanic Surnames on the Rise in U.S. as Immigration Surges”:

Taylor and Thomas are out. Lopez and Gonzalez are in. Six of the 15 most common surnames in the United States were of Hispanic origin in 2010, compared with four of 15 in 2000 and none as recently as 1990.

Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown and Jones still remain the most common of 6.3 million last names reported in 2010, according to a Census Bureau analysis released on Thursday, but Garcia had edged up from eighth to sixth, closing in on Jones and Brown. (Rounding out the Top 10 were Miller and Davis.)

The ascendancy of the Hispanic names reflects both the surge of immigrants from Latin America over the last several decades and the fact that Hispanic surnames tend to be less diverse (a disproportionate 16 percent of Hispanic people have one of the top 10 Hispanic names).

Garcia and Rodriguez were joined in the Top 10 in 2010 by Martinez (the 15 most popular also include Hernandez).

“I hope it means that more people named Gonzalez and Garcia and Hernandez become civic leaders and teachers and become the future of America,” said Eric Gonzalez, the acting Brooklyn district attorney.

Most of the surnames increasing fastest among the highest-ranking 1,000 are Asian (Zhang was up 111 percent, followed by Li, Ali, Liu and Khan) and three of the 15 fastest growing were Hispanic (led by Vazquez, which was up 63 percent, followed by Bautista and Velazquez).

Among those 15, Patel proliferated by 58 percent, and also by the most numerically, nearly 250,000.[The name Patel is primarily from Gujarat, but there are also Patels from surrounding areas.]

Summary of the data:


To welcome the name Lopez to the #12 slot (in 2010, remember), here are two Lopezes from pop culture: Jennifer and George:


Jennifer Lynn Lopez (born July 24, 1969), also known as JLo, is an American singer, actress, dancer, fashion designer, author, and producer. (link)


George Lopez (born April 23, 1961) is an American comedian and actor. He is known for starring in his self-produced ABC sitcom George Lopez. His stand-up comedy examines race and ethnic relations, including Mexican American culture. (link)


February 17, 2017

Today’s Zippy:

On Henny Youngman and his famous one-liner “Take my wife … please”, see the Youngman section of this 9/8/12 posting.


Dwarfs for a new age

February 9, 2017

A Benjamin Schwartz cartoon in the latest (February 13th/20th) New Yorker:

The German folk tale of Snow White provides the basis for this name play, though the published version of the story by the Brothers Grimm didn’t name the dwarfs who help Snow White. The modern names entered pop culture with the 1937 Disney animated film. At which point they provided an inventory of names to play with (supplementing another source of pop culture names, the names of Santa’s eight reindeer from “A Visit From St. Nicholas”).


Wally Cox

December 29, 2016

Today’s Zippy, about a figure from American pop culture (and also about masculinity and male friendship):



It’s beginning to look a lot like Fishmas

December 20, 2016

Today’s Bizarro, combining ice fishing for walleye with an annoying Christmas song (plus the Christmas / Fishmas pun):


(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbol in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there’s just one in this strip — see this Page. The object by the fisherman’s left boot is an auger, for drilling holes in the ice, not a Bizarro symbol.)


The shop of many things

December 3, 2016

Today’s Zippy, set in a place that’s hard to trace:


Steeped in popular culture. It’s a launderette (possibly with some connection to a bus terminal or an airport terminal or computer terminals), or at least it says it is; a gas station (selling kerosene); a convenience store for food (like, maybe, Stewart’s Shops, in upstate New York, but anyway, some place named Stewart’s where you used to be able to get legendary salami subs, at least back in 1971); and (last panel) a diner (where the figure of Death seems to be having a soda).

I haven’t tracked down any part of this definitively. For me, an exceptional failure. But intriguing.

[News flash! Fresh information! (From Jim Martin.) Turns out the problem was likely due to my advancing cataracts. The building in the cartoon is the Terminal Luncheonette (now Restaurant, apparently), not Launderette. In Willow Grove PA (north of Philadelphia):


Note the kerosene, even.]

Seward Johnson

November 7, 2016

It looks like the bots at Pinterest are doing a pretty good job. Thanks to my having posted, in “Giantess Jackie” on the 2nd, a bit about Seward Johnson’s “Forever Marilyn” statue in Chicago, this morning Pinterest offered me a page of “New ideas for you in Sculpture”, entirely devoted to Johnson’s bronze oeuvre, for example this visual parody of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic”, entitled “God Bless America” (now in Florida):



Giantess Jackie

November 2, 2016

Today’s Zippy takes us back to Kennedy Camelot times (January 1961 – November 1963), through the medium of a gigantesque Jackie:


This is Bill Griffith’s work, so there is of course an actual giant statue of a Jackie Kennedy look-alike, a fiberglass Uniroyal Gal in Bolton NC (based on an original in Rocky Mount NC):


(The hair color and bikini color on these roadside figures are easily adjustable, as is the thing on the giantess’s hand; and in fact the bikini can be replaced by more decorous clothing. But the basic figure and its stance are fixed in fiberglass.)


Two cartoons for month’s end

October 31, 2016

.. and Halloween, though, pleasingly, neither has anything to do with All Hallows’ / All Souls’ / All Saints’. A One Big Happy that’s a study in American (and Antipodal) phonology; and a Zippy with a fallen roadside fiberglass hero, the Green Giant of Pahrump NV: