Archive for the ‘Signs and symbols’ Category

The Black Friday Banana

November 25, 2022

(Just a bit about the ceremony of the BFB, which is of course date-specific. But only a hint; my day has been a complete shambles, prominently featuring long intervals of narcoleptic sleep. But a small bowl of pesto posole for lunch; its name alone rolls off the tongue.)

(Warning: two hunky men in nothing but jock straps, bonding over a banana, so not to everyone’s taste.)

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Zwicky logos

November 3, 2022

Return with me now to the middle of June, when I was impelled into the world of Zwicky logos, including not only ones for prominent Swiss commercial enterprises in grain, sewing thread, and real estate (the grain company is where it all started on 6/14), but also for beer (in Colorado), hair styling (also in Colorado), car repair (in Canton Aargau in Switzerland), and astronomical surveys (in California).

The original impulse came from Kyle Wohlmut, posting on Facebook on 6/14 “at Zwicky Areal”, with this photo taken from his commuter train:


(#1) KW > AZ (about the gnome in the logo): I don’t think that’s a very good likeness…

The logo in question:


(#2) The gnome is indeed not a good likeness of me

There ensued a confusion that turned out to have to do with the word Areal, but eventually it was established that the gnomic logo in #1 and #2 is for the Zwicky grain company (Schweizerische Schälmühle E. Zwicky AG), headquartered in a corner of Canton Thurgau; while the Zwicky sewing-thread company (now merged into the German company A&E Gütermann) and the real-estate company (Zwicky & Co AG, headquartered in the Zürich suburb of Wallisellen) base their logos on the Donald Brun silk-cat poster of the 1950s (which I’ve posted about repeatedly).

But Kyle’s note sent me on a search for Zwicky logos, which took me immediately to the 4 Noses Brewing Company in Broomfield CO, makers of Zwicky P (a Pilsner-style lager) and on to all the rest.

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The Tale of Raunchy Appetizers

November 1, 2022

A gripping adventure, begun yesterday in my posting “Invitation to the groaning phallic board”, which was temporarily abandoned due to illness. The final chapter in the story of this raunchy appetizer board:


(#1) From a Facebook ad for a wooden appetizer board in the outline shape of the male genitals (head with frenulum and urethral cleft, gently bent shaft, and testicles) — highly stylized, highly schematic, but with these quite specific details; shown here with the compartments filled with appetizers of various sorts, and with accompanying bowls of other appetizers

The photo appears to be a scam come-on, created either by photographic manipulation or by the crafting of a single wooden model for advertising purposes.

My interest was in both the appetizer board (so called) and in the foodstuffs — the appetizers (though they sometimes go by other names) — that fill such boards. On appetizer boards in general, and then

some reflection on the modes of phallicity, extending my thoughts in two earlier postings, “Enhanced phallicity” of 12/10/21 (about things that are not merely phallic by nature, but (also) deliberately designed to resemble penises in some detail) and “Plush life” of 9/11/22 (about four modes of phallicity). What, in this world, are we to make of the raunchy appetizer board?

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Invitation to the groaning phallic board

October 31, 2022

(Below is the introduction to what was intended to be the fourth and final posting — “The groaning phallic board” — in what I’ve come to think of as The Tale of Raunchy Appetizers. But I was felled, once again, by hours of irrestistible exhausted sleep (no, I don’t know why, but my life has been very unpleasant for a while). Back in the world to get some dinner, but I’ll never get this posting done today. Think of this as a Halloween teaser; save it for its eventual continuation, along the lines promised below

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The dubious appetizer board

October 26, 2022

A digression from today’s intended posting, “The groaning phallic board”, the final chapter in the story of a raunchy appetizer board, which began in my 10/20 posting “The Funny Aperitif Board”. One of the photos of this appetizer board:


A Facebook ad for a wooden appetizer board in the outline shape of the male genitals (head with frenulum and urinary cleft), gently bent shaft, and testicles — highly stylized, highly schematic, but with these crucial details; shown here with the compartments filled with appetizers of various sorts, and with accompanying bowls of other appetizers

The story continued in my posting yesterday, “Appetizer boards”, about two conceptual categories — the foodstuff category to which appetizers belong (call it SMALL-START-FOOD); and the implement category to which food-service boards and platters belong (call it FOOD-SERVER-THING) — and the accompanying lexical fields of appetizer vocabulary and appetizer-board vocabulary.

I then went to collect some more images of the raunchy appetizer board and similar objects, only to discover some really fishy stuff (which is what this posting is about). And then I was struck down for the rest of the day by overwhelming exhaustion and deep, unpleasant sleep. So this my Mary, Queen of Scots Not Dead Yet posting for the day.

The intended posting, “The groaning phallic board”, is still to come, and it has lots of surprising neat stuff in it that turned up in my searches for appetizer-board images.  Just not today.

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Appetizer boards

October 25, 2022

A follow-up to my 10/20/22 posting “The Funny Aperitif Board”, with its entertaining word confusion between appetizer and aperitif — but now getting serious about the two categories involved in the compound appetizer board:

the foodstuff category to which appetizers belong (call it SMALL-START-FOOD);

and the implement category to which food-service boards and platters belong (call it FOOD-SERVER-THING)

I’ll put off the funny part — the (intentionally) phallic appearance of the appetizer board in question — for a third posting in this series, taking off from my 9/11/22 posting “Plush life” (with its distinction between four modes of phallicity). But before we go on to ransack the modern English lexicon, let’s stop to appreciate the inspiration for all of this, the Grassooze appetizer board, laden with meal-preliminary foodstuffs:

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The Funny Aperitif Board

October 20, 2022

This is today’s Mary, Queen of Scots Not Dead Yet posting. I am overwhelmed by piles of undone things, but suffering from deep exhaustion (no doubt a consequence of the most recent jigglings with my medications). I am posting in a brief period (during which I’ve had salmon teriyaki and edamame gyoza delivered for sustenance) between long stretches of stunned unconsciousness.

I offer you, without critical comment (analysis to come in a later, more thoughtful posting), this remarkable Grassooze Services ad on Facebook back on 9/11:


Funny Aperitif Board on sale for $24.99
⭐Who says size doesn’t matter? With an illusionary length of 40 cm, this magnificent penis with perfect curves will keep all its promises
… One day, a great sage said, “Don’t let anyone convince you that your dreams are too big, buy a board in the shape of a penis.”

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Tastes like glazed donut

October 16, 2022

(Gets right into gay men’s sexual  parts, fore and aft, and man-on-man sexual acts, using street language, so not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

… or like cherry, vanilla, peach, or pumpkin spice. These are the Tasty Hole flavored body scrubs, formulated to make your hole tasty for the guy who’ll be rimming you.

(Just for the record: I hate flavored condoms. And flavored lubes. And flavored douches, which is the territory we’re moving into here. Unless the flavor is something like Male Sex Sweat. As for cherry flavoring, I hate it in cough drops and syrups and all that stuff, so I’m certainly not going to get it up for licking cherry scrub out of my trick’s hole. Your tastes might differ, of course. But you should know ahead of time that I’m inclined to mock the basic idea of Tasty Hole products.)

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Male art: the hidden talent of the conch

October 14, 2022

(There will be discussion of penises and vaginas, some of it using street language, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Having discovered and posted about a vintage photograph of three young men displaying their swimmer’s bodies (which I bought and mounted on a bookend, to make a free-standing portable photo display), I was led by Etsy to other sources of somewhat similar photographs, in particular the trove of photographic male art offered by The Male Image Art Shop (dba TheMaleImageArtShop), among which this photo caught my eye:


(#1) “Dmitry and Matteo”, as advertised on-line: the more Slavic-looking bodybuilder type on the left is presumably Dmitry, and the more Mediterranean-looking swimmer type on the right Matteo; their gazes are fixed on us, the viewers, with no expression; Dmitry has a friendly, or perhaps a proprietary, arm on Matteo’s shoulder

Other than this, we know nothing. But we struggle to extract a story that it’s telling us, some story about the relationship between the two men (and possibly about why they’re posing for us), so we ask: when was this photo taken? where are they?  why are they naked? what are their lives like? what does that arm on the shoulder mean? is this photo a slice of these men’s lives, or are the men random male models posed to create a puzzle for us?

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Keep watching this space

October 7, 2022

Yesterday, the posting “Watch this space”. I’m still away meeting a writing deadline, and I have a medical appointment too. So this posting is another Mary, Queen of Scots notice that I am Not Dead Yet. Meanwhile, I offer you, as entertainment and for Gay History Month, a recent Daily Jocks ad featuring a rainbow bandana worn as a sexual-advertisement hanky (on the right, or receptive / subordinate, side):


(#1) Take me, I’m yours

(OED3 (June 2022) takes bandana to be the primary spelling; OED2 had bandanna, and for a long time that was my orthographic practice. But it’s clear that bandana is now far and away the most common spelling.)

Plus its use as an actual bandana (here in a unusual, but pectorally satisfying, barechested deployment):


(#2) I pulled my harpoon from my sparkling rainbow bandana…

In related developments (not illustrated here): rainbow bandanas as headbands and as dog bandanas.

Meanwhile, none of my sources on the meaning of colors for gay hankies says a thing about rainbow bandanas. Of the six colors in the Pride rainbow (R O Y G B P), only three seem to have been used with any frequency as hanky colors:

R for fisting; Y for watersports, light B for oral sex, dark B for anal sex

(Some sources on the other three say: O for anything (on left) / nothing (on right), G for hustling, P for piercing. Completely out of my experience, though I have seen black for S&M, and heard of brown for scat. You would have thought that one of the  characteristically gay-signaling colors, like pink, lavender, or purple, would have been pressed into service to convey (generally) servicing a penis — wanting mine serviced (on left) / wanting to service one (on right) — but no. The elaborated hanky code is, or was, more an exercise of imagination than a practical scheme of communication.)