Archive for the ‘Lexical semantics’ Category

Vasodilation

March 8, 2019

(References in later sections to men’s bodies and mansex, sometimes in plain terms; that material is not suitable for kids or the sexually modest. First, though, some pressure music and some stuff about blood pressure.)

Two things that happened to come together: my blood pressure readings of 97/59 on Wednesday, 105/57 yesterday; and an Out magazine story “Lucille Ball Did Poppers to Ease Chest Pains, Says New Show” by Mathew Rodriguez yesterday. The connection being that poppers trigger a (temporary) signficant drop in blood pressure.

If you don’t know what the poppers in question are (maybe you’re thinking of fried stuffed jalapeño peppers), don’t be alarmed; it will eventually become clear.

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Another 100k spams

March 5, 2019

… just came up on this blog. Since I last reported on the crowds of spam comments here, in my 10/20/18 posting “Numbers and names” (“The number of pieces of comments spam on this blog … passed 5.5 million a little while ago”).

Well, on the 3rd, when I first checked, some 5,600,601  had accumulated since this blog started in December 2008. At the moment, there’s an attack underway from a site with a clever strategy for evading spam recognition programs, so I’m getting more than a thousand new spam comments a day..

Meanwhile, there’s a certain amount of entertainment in the ebbs and flows in the views of postings on this blog — which will lead me eventually to some remarks on location expressions in the world’s language.

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individuals, people, persons

February 13, 2019

From a mail pointer to a 1/30/19 article in the journal Psychological Science, “Similarity Grouping as Feature-Based Selection” by Dian Yu, Xiao Xiao, Douglas K. Bemis, & Steven L. Franconeri:

Individuals perceive objects with similar features (i.e., color, orientation, shape) as a group even when those objects are not grouped in space.

Point at issue: individuals rather than people, a mark of a consciously formal, “scientific” way of writing, appropriate (some believe) for reporting on research in psychology.

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Cowboy casserole

February 4, 2019

On Pinterest this morning, this Crock Pot Cowboy Casserole:


(#1) Two stages in preparation and the final product

Ah, the N + N compound cowboy casserole. Clearly not an Ingredient compound (‘casserole made from cowboys’), but instead a Use compound, roughly ‘casserole for cowboys (to use)’, or — most likely — an Object compound, roughly ‘casserole of the sort that cowboys (like to) eat’.

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Nighthawks on New Year’s

January 2, 2019

A memorable New Yorker cover for the New Year: an Owen Smith parody of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (one of a great many such parodies):

(#1)

Three things: Nighthawks parodies, Owen Smith, and party hats.

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The Swiss diaspora: Steinlen in Montmartre

December 18, 2018

From Wikipedia:


(#1) Steinlen poster of 1896 advertising the Montmartre cabaret Le Chat Noir

Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (November 10, 1859 – December 13, 1923), was a Swiss-born French Art Nouveau painter and printmaker. Born in Lausanne [in Canton Vaud in Francophone Switzerland], Steinlen studied at the University of Lausanne before taking a job as a designer trainee at a textile mill in Mulhouse in eastern France.

He then found his spot, the place that suited him in life: the Montmartre district of Paris.

And became Swiss French (in the narrow sense): a French person who emigrated from Switzerland. Narrowly Swiss French, in the way that distinguished 19th-century scientist Louis Agassiz was narrowly Swiss American: from my 2/7/13 posting “Swiss American”:

Agassiz was Swiss American in the narrow sense; he emigrated from Neuchâtel (in Francophone Switzerland) to Boston and took American citizenship.

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Cartoon understanding in parallel worlds

November 10, 2018

Two cartoons that have come by me recently that work only if you have a fair amount of cultural knowledge in two dfferent domains, which are presented in the cartoon as parallel worlds equally present there. A Brevity strip by Dan Thompson from 4/27/18 (thanks to Joe Transue for help in identifying the strip); and a Wayno & Piraro Bizarro from yesterday:

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Chic peas and more

October 13, 2018

The fall special at Dan Gordon’s (on Emerson St. in Palo Alto), as it first appeared on the menu, about a month ago:

Summer Stew $16.95
smoked pork / cippolini onions / chic peas / prunes / red rice

(with the very notable spelling chic peas and with the misspelling cippolini for cipollini). But now the ingredients list reads:

smoked pork / cippolini onions / chickpeas / dehydrated plums / red rice

(with the notable dehydrated plums). Actually, all four ingredients have linguistic interest.

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Molesting and abusing ambiguously

September 2, 2018

The news stories are appalling, but this is about an expression in one of the stories:

(1) More needs to be done to protect children from molesting priests. (Gregory Ward in e-mail on 8/29, reporting on a WBEZ-FM (Chicago) news story)

Which led to the contemplation of the N + N compounds:

(2) child molester

(3) child abuse

All of them ambiguous, though all with a (dire) conventionalized sense.

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The nacho cart

August 13, 2018

Drew Dernavich in the August 20th New Yorker:


(#1) “Would you like to sample something from the nacho cart?”

An office cart conveying a gigantic heap of nachos, with hot cheese dripping over the side. Underneath are who knows what astounding toppings for the taco chips, your choice.

A demented dessert cart, transporting horror-movie foodstuffs. The fanciest of high-end dining  juxtaposed with low-end cheap thrills and street food, smelling of Mexican food trucks.

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