Archive for the ‘Pop culture’ Category

Traveling around with Zippy

October 13, 2017

(Fun with names and language play, but mostly Zippyesque popular culture in many manifestations.)

In recent days, Zippy has gone to a psychic shop (offering “crystals, past lives, tarot cards”), to the Tropical Treat in Hanover PA, to Luna Park in Sydney (NSW), to the ghost of a  Mickey Rooney hotel in Downington PA, and to the ghost of the Justin Time diner in Meriden CT.

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The archangel Michael

September 30, 2017

(And other wingèd men.)

Yesterday was Michaelmas, devoted to Saint Michael the Archangel, a figure of great power and terrible beauty, who among other things lent his name to the gorgeous autumn-blooming aster commonly known as the Michaelmas daisy (see my 10/5/13 posting).

(Today on the calendar of religious holidays it’s Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. A very different thing.)

Angels and archangels are messengers of god, also protectors. As protectors, they can be either militant (usually masculine) or maternal (usually female);  Michael, wielding his sword against the serpent / Satan, is definitely one of the militant band — but he can be portrayed either as a muscled hero (an Achilles or Ares figure) or as an ethereally beautiful young man doing holy battle (so a hybrid of Apollo and Ares, but Christian).

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freak shows

September 19, 2017

Today’s Zippy reflects on a bit of culture — a fascination with deformed and otherwise outrageous human beings — name-checks Lady Gaga, Anderson Cooper, and (indirectly) the current residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington — and exploits the ambiguity of the compound freak show:

(#1) At the menagerie / side show

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Steak bombs

September 16, 2017

Yesterday’s Zippy:

(#1)

Steak bomb as the name of a type of steak sandwich was new to me. Steak sandwiches in general are torpedo-shaped, hence bomboid, but the point of the name is probably to assert that it is in fact the/da bomb, the best: the best of all possible steak sandwiches, because it has everything.

The play of steak bomb vs. stink bomb then just makes the name more memorable.

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Irmas

September 8, 2017

Hurricane Irma works its way through the Caribbean, now aiming at Florida. There’s nothing useful I can do at this distance, so I’ve been frittering away my time recalling the famous Irmas of my world — your list might well be different — namely Irma S. Rombauer, the Irma of Irma la Douce, and, top of the list, the Irma of My Friend Irma, the apotheosis, oh alas, of the Dumb Blonde stereotype in American popular culture.

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Where is Gilroy?

September 5, 2017

Restrain the impulse to reply “Gilroy was here” (I’ll get to that below); the title is an echo of my 7/7/15 posting “Where is Ojai?”, which was about whether the city of Ojai, in Ventura County CA, is in California’s Central Coast region or in in the South Coast region (along with Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties).

Just so for Gilroy, a city in (far southern) Santa Clara county: is it in the Central Coast region, or in the Bay Area region on the northern California coast?

Ojai and the rest of Ventura County are in a cultural liminal zone, between central and south; and Gilroy and neighboring Santa Cruz county are in a cultural liminal zone, between central (with small cities, picturesque open spaces, and extensive rural or semi-rural areas) and Bay Area (mostly dense urban and surburban settlement).

I stumbled onto the Gilroy question through food, specifically through Original California Style Hot Pepper Sauce, made in Gilroy (but encountered on a table at the Peninsula Fountain Grill, here in Palo Alto), whose makers advertise:

Pepper Plant Pepper Sauce was developed by a lover of spicy peppers who wanted to enjoy their unique taste year round. Pepper Plant quickly became a favorite of the California Central Coast.

The Pepper Plant folks seem pretty clear that they’re on the Central Coast (along with Watsonville, Salinas, Monterey, and Carmel) — at the northern tip of the region, granted, but in it.

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Four more Kite collages

August 13, 2017

A recent Pinterest mailing included a board devoted to the Aberrant Art collages of Barry Kite — this because I posted on them a while back (on 11/30/16 in “Poet in Search of His Moose”). Six of them in that earlier posting, now four more I’ve chosen from those in the Pinterest mailing. They range from relatively simple compositions to an enormously complex one. But like the collages I posted about last year, they’re zany educations in art and popular culture, packed with astonishing juxtapositions of images.

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The taunt

August 8, 2017

Today’s One Big Happy has James reciting a piece of American childlore, the taunt “X is a friend of mine” (where X is a name, preferably a trochaic one, like Ruthie, to fit the trochaic tetrameter pattern of the verse):

  (#1)

A cornucopia of pop culture references.

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Musical synchronicity

July 27, 2017

I spent much of Tuesday putting together material for my posting on Mikey Bustos and his parody “I Wear Speedos” of the hit song “Despacito”, by Puerto Rican pop stars Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. That led me of course to the great Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin, who’s been steadily on public view ever since he joined the boy band Menudo back in the 1980s.

So I had a day experiencing several versions of “Despacito”, many times over, and also returning to the pleasures of Ricky Martin’s performances, starting with “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and going on from there through his oeuvre (with digressions to Enrique Iglesias and Shakira).

Then yesterday to lunch at the Mexican restaurant Reposado, where they play pop music in Spanish as background. As I sat down, I recognized RM’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca”. Which was followed immediately by Fonsi & DY’s “Despacito”. How unlikely was that?

Synchronicity at work.
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Taking a dark ride

July 21, 2017

Today’s Zippy brings on scary clowns in Laff in the Dark tunnels:

(#1)

— and, worse, threatens to unleash Tom Cruise (and his Outsider Art).

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