Archive for the ‘Pop culture’ Category

Just one peanut

January 13, 2020

(Lots of off-color jokes, some of them gay-inflected, along with a number of peanut cartoons. So: crude, and perhaps not to everyone’s taste.)

Today’s Rhymes With Orange — entertaining if you get the crucial pop culture allusion, incomprehensible if you don’t:


(#1) An elephant at the doctor’s office, with an x-ray showing the contents of his stomach to be a top hat, a monocle, and a cane; in the face of this evidence, the doctor asks the patient if he’s sure that all he ate was one peanut (presupposing that the patient has claimed just that)

How does this even make sense, much less be funny? Even granting the poploric association between elephants and peanuts — which is actually pretty baffling (see below) — why do peanuts come up in #1 at all? We have a trio of men’s accessories and no visible peanuts.

There’s a hint in the bonus commentary on the left: elephant to elephant, “It’s a medical Mister-y”, where the clue is Mister. But the clue is useless if you don’t know your way around the symbolic figures of American commerce.

You have to be a friend of Mister Peanut.

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Boy oh Boyu!

January 9, 2020

David Bowie seems to have a considerable following in Russia, to judge from the Pinterest materials about him, for instance this album:


(#1) Дэвид Боуи: David Bowie in Cyrillic transiteration

Боуи gets the [wi] of Bowie just right, but to Latin-alphabet-oriented eyes that уи looks like YU [ju], so Боуи looks like Boyu: Boy oh Boyu!

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Holimanteaus and restaumanteaus

December 27, 2019

Two bulletins in the portmanteau news: portmanteau holiday names for combinations of holidays (especially in the December holiday season); portmanteau restaurant names for types of restaurants with something extra added. For example: the holimanteau Chrismukkah, the restaumanteau breastaurant.

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A syncretic religious holiday

December 8, 2019

Recently posted on Facebook, this melding of the traditions of Judaism with the traditions of Jedi-ism for the holiday season, in French:


(#1) ‘May the light be with you’: the Jedi Master Yoda wields a lightsword menorah for Hanukkah (Fr. Hanoucca) — Happy Hanukkah! (Joyeuse fête de Hanoucca!)

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Thanksgiving sacks of cement

November 28, 2019

A Thanksgiving cartoon by graphic designer Matt Reedy, requiring crucial background knowledge for understanding:


(#1) From Reedy’s pages of Den of Apathy prints (riffs on popular culture) on Etsy: WKRP “As God As My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly” (an 11×17 print is on sale there for $15)

A completely wordless cartoon (just the helicopter, the plummeting turkeys, the cityscape in the background) might not have worked, but “Cincinnati” is enough to make it the composition into a funny cartoon — if you know the background. “Thanksgiving” would work instead (with the same proviso). Or both: “Thanksgiving in Cincinnati”.

If you know Reedy’s title, you have even more of the story, but you still need to know how all these parts fit together, though you might reasonably infer that someone has dropped turkeys from a helicopter in the belief that they could fly, and that’s funny in itself. For the whole story, WKRP is crucial.

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Bears in the woods

November 1, 2019

Today’s Wayno/Piraro wordless Bizarro collabo (titled “Confirmed” by Wayno), on one of the two pop-culturally celebrated activities of bears in the woods (picknicking being the other one):


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

According to this cartoon, bears do indeed, as the idiom has it, shit in the woods, but not indiscriminately. Instead, there are designated defecation sites, alongside those facilities — gender-marked portable toilets — specifically for people to shit in the woods; the ones for bears, however, are open-defecation sites (in Bizarro-World, at least).

As it happens, bears have often been cartooned in the woods, especially when bent on defecation; the idiom, both wry and dirty, is irresistibly attractive to humorists.

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Reaper days

October 31, 2019

For the dead season, Grim Reaper cartoons from Will McPhail. For today, Halloween, the GR goes trick-or-treating in the city:


(#1) ReaperWeen in McPhailia

And for tomorrow, the Day of the Dead, a whole series about the GR searching for a fashion look; the title image:


(#2) The New Yorker‘s Daily Shouts column from 1/28/19, “Death finds a signature look” by Will McPhail — in which the GR tries five experiments in fashion before settling on his signature black hooded robe and scythe

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The Potato Fried

October 27, 2019

A Wayno cartoon from 4/11/16, an exercise in cartoon understanding:


(#1) “My name is Idaho Montoya. You peeled my father. Prepare to fry.”

(See the comments. It turns out that Wayno’s original was wordless, so this caption was added by some wag  — who deserves credit.)

If you don’t get a crucial reference, the cartoon is just silly, two cartoon potatoes having a duel with potato peelers. So you need to recognize that the figures are anthropomorphized potatoes, and that the things they are wielding are potato peelers. Then there are potato references in each sentence of the challenge: Idaho, famously a source of potatoes in the US; peeling, a step in preparing potatoes for many sorts of dishes; and frying, one common method of cooking potatoes (in French fries, for instance).

You will probably also catch the groaner pun in Prepare to fry, based on the stock expression from popular adventure fiction, Prepare to die.

But otherwise, it’s just a bit of fanciful silliness. In fact, it’s rich and complex, if you’re in on the jokes.

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Heavenly POP

October 18, 2019

It’s been about ten days since the last POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau) here — a 10/9/19 posting “Two old cartoon friends”, with doctors without border collies — so, on the theory that regular POPs are good for the mind and the spirit, today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo, at the very gates of heaven:

pearly gates + gate-crasher

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

Appreciating the cartoon requires that you be familiar with the pop-culture story (whose source is the Christian Bible) of St. Peter at the pearly gates to heaven; that you be familiar with the belief (spread by an 1989 animated movie) that all dogs go to heaven; that you know the idiomatic synthetic compound gate-crasher; and that you know the idiomatic nouning plus-one. That’s a lot of cultural stuff.

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Big sexy prime birthday gay ice cream

September 7, 2019

(References to gay male life, men’s bodies, and mansex, so not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

Yesterday was my birthday, my 79th, 79 being, as I noted in a 8/29 posting for the day, a sexy prime. 8/29 is also, every year, National Coffee Ice Cream Day, and coffee is my favorite ice cream flavor. Put all this together and you get this birthday present, delivered by Kim Darnell yesterday:


(#1) Coffee ice cream, plus a selection of Big Gay Ice Cream flavors for Big Gay Arnold

This will take us to the pornstars of the end of summer, to Greenwich Village, and to South Park, with a final side trip to visit with the Marquis de Lafayette.

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