Archive for the ‘Semantics’ Category

Seahorse on a stick, GBF, and the Describe-A-Muffin Task

April 21, 2017

All in the 4/24/17 New Yorker: Beijing street food on the cover, a William Haefeli cartoon, and a Tom Chitty cartoon.

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Annals of normalization: on the Santa Claus watch

April 7, 2017

From HuffPo on the 4th, this advance announcement about a Christmas book, “Santa Claus Will Be A Gay Black Man In A New Children’s Book: He’ll also be married to a white man”, by Curtis M. Wong:

Get ready to see Santa Claus in a new (and refreshingly diverse) light this holiday season, courtesy of a forthcoming parody children’s book.

On March 28, publisher Harper Design announced plans to release Santa’s Husband, which re-casts Kris Kringle as a black man in an interracial, same-sex relationship. Slated for an October release, the book will follow Santa’s life in the North Pole, except in this version, he’ll have a white husband who fills in for him at shopping malls around the world.

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National PB&J Day

April 2, 2017

Right after April Fool’s Day, April 2nd is a sweet day that sticks to the roof of your mouth. So I learned from bon appétit magazine this morning, with this (somewhat puzzling) photo:

(#1)

(The photo is part of a big ad push to get people to subscribe to the magazine, but I’ve extracted the photo so we can study it without distractions.)

And from the National Calendar Day site, proclaiming the holiday (though nobody seems to have any idea who created it or why they chose April 2nd):

(#2)

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Bizarro compounds

March 28, 2017

The Bizarro from the 22nd:

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

Interpreting N + N compounds can be the very devil, as I point out on this blog every so often, sometimes in connection with cartoons (where the possibilities for ambiguity are easily exploited). What to make of Girl Scout cookies (Girl Scout + cookies)?

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The invention of the X job

March 24, 2017

(Sex acts up the wazoo, so very much not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Passed on by Gregory Ward, this entertaining Onion video “This Day In History: The Invention Of The Handjob”, in which

Handjob inventor Fred Gilgoff describes the inspiration for the two-person masturbation technique [invented this day 60 years ago].

The conceit is that the hand job technque was devised, much in the way that the Heimlich maneuvre was devised, and that before Gilgoff’s great discovery, people had no effective technique for manually getting one another off. (According to the video, the hand job breakthrough was followed by a string of others: the blow job, the rim job, and fisting.)

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Pop, ejaculated the weasel

March 14, 2017

I set it off with my 3/11 posting on “Ejaculatory pop”, about the vivid ejaculatory V and N pop. On ADS-L the next day, Larry Horn cracked:

And it does add a whole new perspective on that hanky-panky between monkey and weasel in the neighborhood of that mulberry bush…

And then the discussion branched into dispute over what the right words were for the nursery rhyme/song “Pop Goes the Weasel” and what the words meant (everybody wants texts to tell coherent stories, and that applies even to nursery rhym — despite their frequent bizarrenesses). There’s a nice Wikipedia page on the subject, which is good on the variant words and on the interpretations, most of which are ingenious inventions.

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On the N + N compound watch

March 6, 2017

Passed on by Ken Callicott, presumably from his browsing in supermarkets:

As I note from time to time, N + N compounds (like infant water) are always subject to multiple interpretations, even if we stick to interpretations that involve only the relatively small set of canonical semantic relations between the parts. Usually knowledge about the world and about the context in which a compound is used is sufficient to make one interpretation by far the most likely one. But that doesn’t stop  mischievous people from seeking out possible but unlikely interpretations and making antic hay out of them. (And cartoons often show henighted people fixing on possible but unlikely interpretations.)

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Two Ztoons on language use

February 27, 2017

The Zippy and the Zits in my comics feed today:

(#1)

(#2)

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Pretty in pink

February 26, 2017

Another little bulletin from my house: the third of the cymbidium orchids to bloom this season (they’re winter-blooming flowers):

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Ten language cartoons

February 25, 2017

On the Comic Kingdom site on the 21st, “Tuesday’s Top Ten Comics on Language” (where language is understood broadly), with comments from the site.

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