Archive for the ‘Lexical semantics’ Category

The triune Emperor of the Swamp: a muskrat, a fox, and a bear

April 3, 2020

The swamp is Pogo’s Okefenokee, and its emperor has three faces: Deacon Mushrat (a muskrat and a moral monster); Seminole Sam (a grifter fox); and P.T. Bridgeport (a huckster bear). Powerful members of the emperor’s inner circle include Mole MacCarony (aka Molester Mole) and Simple J. Malarkey, a malevolent wildcat.


(#1) The Deacon, Malarkey, and Mole (plus Mole’s minions, the bats Bewitched, Bothered, and Bemildred) at a 5/6/53 meeting of the Jack Acid Society

I found myself pulled into this world by Lisa Cohen, who wrote on Facebook on 3/31 that she’d just heard someone on the radio referring to [REDACTED] as a rabid muskrat, which made her suddenly feel more cheerful. Indeed.

The reference to metaphorically fanatical muskrats immediately, of course, called to mind Deacon Mushrat [Muskrat], a hypocritical conservative who speaks in Gothic text (as above), in Walt Kelly’s Pogo comic strip. And from that everything else fell out.

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Higashi Day cartoon 5: hoods and newts

March 15, 2020

(Little kids, but I pursue them into the weeds of sexual anatomy, though without the photos or raunchy talk. Take appropriate cautions.)

The One Big Happy cartoon from 2/9:


(#1) Once again, about the kids finding a word (un)familiar in a particular sense: the apparel noun hood

And the OBH from 2/17:


(#2) And minute ‘extremely small, tiny’

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A diverse holiday

March 14, 2020

(Mostly an essay on American social practices and traditions, but with major helpings of manflesh and mansex, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

St. Patrick’s Day is the holiday. In the US, where its celebration is especially significant, it has taken on something of a carnival character, so of course there are gay porn sales for the holiday; gay men are ever bent on putting the carnal back in carnival, after all.

Meanwhile, at least in America, the saying is that on St. Patrick’s Day everybody is Irish. And in the US, we conspicuously — though very erratically — celebrate our diversity. So it’s not entirely a surprise that a brand of gay porn (the playfully and crudely named Peter Fever) devoted to the “highest quality Asian men, pants down” should undertake a big sale for St. Patrick’s Day. A sale including a bdsm porn flick set in the world of Japanese gangsters.

Now, that is diversity: go green, kinky queer yakuza!


(#1) Suit and Tied: Yakuza Control (“Submission, Obedience, Love, Deception”), with bdsm furniture in the background: dom Duncan Ku, subs Caged Jock (CJ), Tyler Slater

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Revisiting 43: the Socka Hitsch nominal on the rural Swiss roadside

February 15, 2020

In my “Socka Hitsch” posting yesterday, Christian Zwicky / Socka Hitsch described by the nominal

old eccentric rural Swiss roadside sock vendor ‘old, eccentric sock vendor on the roadside of rural Switzerland’, ‘seller of socks along the road in the countryside of Switzerland who is of advanced age and exhibits unconventional behavior’

An unusually long nominal — I was showing off some — but not one with unusual components, put together in unusual ways. In the middle of it, rural Swiss roadside, with the complex adjectival rural Swiss, modifying the compound noun roadside — a perfectly routine and unremarkable expression    (compare rural Dutch in the attested rural Dutch landscape, urban English in the attested urban English roadworks, etc.), but one of some interest to people who fret about how the form — the morphology and syntax — of expressions (like rural Swiss) links to their meaning — their semantics and pragmatics.

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Verbizing on the lam

February 4, 2020

From the American tv police detective series Nash Bridges, S3 E19 “Lady Killer” (from 4/10/98): detectives Bridges (played by Don Johnson) and Joe Dominguez (played by Cheech Marin) have learned that Insp. Rick Bettina, under arrest in this episode, has escaped from custody:

Bridges, on the phone: He fugitized!

Dominguez: He fugitized?!

Yes, the verb fugitize ‘flee as a fugitive, go fugitive’. And no, it’s not in the OED, not that you should have expected it would be; fresh verbizings — with meanings that are clear in context, as here — are coined almost daily. In fact, this one has been independently innovated several times in the past.

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Guy gear

February 1, 2020

(Sex toys and all they bring with them, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Today, a leek (for St. David’s Day, March 1st), but yesterday (the intercalary day February 29th) a leap.

The mail arrives and wow! (you exclaim) there’s a Leap Day flash sale at the Guy Gear Store, just for today! You have visions of well-designed equipment for hunting, fishing, and camping; cool bikes; hot athletic shoes;  t-shirts for teams, bands, and plain ol’ aggression; tools Craftsman never dreamed of; electronics to rule the world of the future; and all that good guy stuff.

And then you examine the ad in detail:


(#1) Quick! Identify the three sale items in the ad; the model’s shapely buttocks are not actually on offer

Probaby not your father’s idea of guy gear.

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An infestation

January 19, 2020

A quirky Joe Dator cartoon from the January 20th issue of the New Yorker:


(#1) “We’re not a seafood restaurant–this building has a pretty severe lobster infestation.”

NOAD‘s account of the everyday usage of infestation (with notes added by me in square brackets):

noun infestation: the presence of an unusually large number of insects or animals [not plants or microbes] in a place, typically so as to cause damage or disease [of concern to human beings]: infestation with head lice is widespread | efforts were made to deal with an infestation of rats in the building.

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There was a singer had a dog

January 8, 2020

The Epiphany Rhymes With Orange is an exercise in cartoon understanding:

(#1)

Without the title and the comment balloon (on the left), the cartoon is still compensible, and funny — this material adds some extra humorous depth — but none of it works at all unless you know the song.

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Three comic rabbits for December

December 1, 2019

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit on the first of the month. The Mother Goose and Grimm from 12/30, with a textbook attachment ambiguity. The Rhymes With Orange for today, with an updated version of a classic tongue twister. And the Bizarro for today, with a Mr. Potato Head  wielding a terrible slang pun.

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At the onomatomania dinette

November 27, 2019

Today’s Zippy is set in the Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk VA of a few years back, in a Do-Nut Dinette — whose name throws Zippy into a fit of onomatomania (aka repetitive phrase disorder) compounded with Spooner’s affliction (compulsive exchange of word elements in phrases):

(#1)

(Separately, there’s the use of dinette to refer to a diner, as a type of restaurant.)

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