Archive for the ‘Subsectivity’ Category

The fan, the spathiphyllum, and the impressionist garden

September 10, 2017

Juan came by on Friday to replace the left fan in my laptop (it had reached airplane takeoff mode) and bring me small birthday presents: some mini-cheesecakes from Whole Foods (one berry, one espresso), an excellent but hard to pronounce houseplant, and a visit to the Gamble Garden to view ranks of gauzy late summer and autumn plants in bloom.

The computer repair took only a few minutes — I am now enjoying the silence of the fans — so I’ll focus here on the vegetative side of things: the birthday plant, a spathipyllum (say that three times fast!); and those seasonal flowers, which are gauzy only to a cataractive guy like me (but the Monet impressionist-garden effect is actually quite pleasing, one of the very few positive consequences of gradual vision loss).

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Runner ducks, runner beans, rubber ducks

September 9, 2017

Back on the 6th, in “Birthday notes”:

From Benita Bendon Campbell (and Ed Campbell) a Jacquie Lawson animated card of Indian runner ducks in the rain, ending with a duck and a rainbow. In medias res: [image #1]
To come, in a separate posting, on Indian runner ducks and Indian (or scarlet) runner beans, which are not at all the same thing.

And then to add to those, India(n) rubber ducks, which aren’t ducks, though they are duck-simulacra (runner ducks are ducks, and runner beans are beans — that is, bean plants).

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California fuchsia

August 29, 2017

A low-growing sturdy plant, now in bloom in many places around here. Observed yesterday in the Palo Alto Demonstration Garden, a small plot of city park land devoted to illustrating “Bay-friendly principles” of gardening.

(#1) Epilobium canum

The plant is commonly known as California fuchsia, a name that’s strictly speaking not subsective, since California fuschia is not in fact in the genus Fuchsia — but its genus, Epilobium, is closely related to Fuchsia, and you could argue that the common name fuchsia takes in a range of plants, not limited to the botanists’ Fuchsia., in which case California fuchsia would be a perfectly ordinary subsective compound, not a resembloid.

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Fungus gnats

August 13, 2017

Appearing around the drain of my bathroom sink on Friday, a small swarm of tiny black flies, which fled from my investigations by running, rather than flying, away. Ah, fungus gnats — usually found in soil, as around houseplants, rather than in household drains, but there probably was organic material in the trap for them to feed on.

A shot of bleach, followed by flushing with hot water, cleaned up the infestation.

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Christian Sauce

July 29, 2017

As on this advertisement, recently noticed in New Orleans by John Dorrance, who posted it in Facebook with only the comment “Seriously?”:

(#1) Available at the French Market, next to the Voodoo Sauce?

Well, yes, seriously. It’s a Hispanic man’s name Christian Sauce /krístian sáwse/, not an English compound noun Christian sauce, though commenters on John’s page (including the one who provided the basis for the caption of #1) preferred to have sport with the English compound noun, which affords a number of entertaining understandings.

Then there’s Christian Sauce, un abogado bilingüe practicing in Gretna LA, especially providing services to the Hispanic community (though not restricted to that). Of some linguistic interest with regard to both parts of his name.

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pretzel dog

July 13, 2017

It’s about the N + N compound pretzel dog, and its many possible understandings: a dog that delivers pretzels, a dog that likes pretzels, a dog twisted into the shape of a pretzel (or merely contorted), a dog-like object made of pretzels, and so on.

If I tell you that the dog in pretzel dog is to be understood as short for hot dog ‘frankfurter’, you’ll come up with another set of possible understandings: a contorted hot dog, a hot dog with pretzel bits on it, a frankfurter-like object made of pretzels, and so on. But unless you’ve actually experienced something marketed as a pretzel dog (at a Sonic Drive-In or from the Auntie Anne’s company, say), you probably woudn’t think of interpreting pretzel as a reference to pretzel dough. But that’s where we’re going.

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Ruthie copes: Moses and the doggie bag

July 9, 2017

Two recent One Big Happy strips, in which Ruthie wades into interpreting unfamiliar expressions (bulrush, Israelite) and interpreting one familiar expression (doggie bag) in a non-standard way.

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The patriotic fig leaf

July 2, 2017

(About men’s bodies; some readers may want to exercise caution.)

The Michael Lucas (gay porn studio) Fourth of July sale for this year:

(#1)

They are covering their junk with the Stars and Stripes (and their hands): the flag as fig leaf, or modesty shield.

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