Archive for the ‘Social interactions’ Category

Annals of home upkeep: again, the plumber

July 20, 2023

Two chapters in this story. One from 7/13, the other from yesterday, 7/19.


A Levinstein street hustler

July 17, 2023

(Focused on stud hustlers, with one really racy but not X-rated photo, and text that manages to talk about the male genitals and man-on-man sex entirely in decorous language. But still, it’s about stud hustlers, so not to everyone’s taste.)

Encountered through a Pinterest posting, this photo of a young street hustler from a 2010 exhibition of Leon Levinstein’s urban photography:

(#1) Street Scene: Young Man Leaning against Shopfront Window, from 1972

Now, about the exhibition, and then about this hustler and his presentation of himself.


The grocery order

August 17, 2021

A report from my grandchild Opal a few weeks ago, about one of their adventures as a customer service employee at a Redwood City Safeway supermarket / grocery store. In this event, they observed as another employee coped with a male customer who had come with a small but somewhat eccentric shopping list from his wife (who he had on the phone) and needed help in finding the items. (I’m telling the story from memory and no doubt have gotten some of the details wrong, and have embroidered on some of the others; an experienced story-teller always reserves the right to improve on their tales.)

First, some soap. Bar soap. Lavender bar soap. Possibly it had to be some specific brand. I’ve picked a very earnest lavender bar soap to fill this slot.

Then, Vaseline. The original petroleum jelly — once from Chesebrough, now from Unilever, still available.

Then a third item I’ll put off. It’s the clincher.

As it turned out, the store had no lavender bar soap, though stores very close to it carried some. And then, somewhat surprisingly to me, they had no Vaseline either, though neighboring drugstores did. Well, for a Safeway it’s not very big, and it’s in a shopping center with lots of well-stocked specialty shops, so it’s inclined to focus on, you know, groceries. Anyway, she wanted all three together: the order was coherent, serving a single purpose, not a random assortment of household items the woman needed (cat fd, loaf pumpernickel, tampons, grn chartreuse — that sort of thing).

Stop for a moment to reflect: what might unite the lavender bar soap and the Vaseline? (My friend and helper Kim got it right off, called it out, even before I got to item #3.)


The rose parade

February 9, 2020

… with figurative roses. Recent gifts to me of many kinds: symbolic roses for me, in accord with a 1/29/20 posting of mine on a line from the Sacred Harp: “Give me the roses while I live” (SH340 Odem (Second)). I’m an old man, currently writing things under the Python Queen of Scots cry “Not Dead Yet”. Meanwhile, I have been given some excellent roses.


Today’s art quiz: Skylunch III

June 28, 2019

Identify that Artwork, 6/28/19: a piece of conceptual art (what I’ll call Skylunch III) taking off on a sculpture (Skylunch II) reproducing a photograph (Skylunch I) showing construction workers eating lunch on a girder high in the sky. Skylunch II and III are mounted on trucks so that they can easily move from place to place.

Bob Eckstein caught sight of Skylunch III in NYC’s Columbus Circle this morning, on top of a pickup truck:


Presumably just part of the composition (Skylunch I and II have 11 men, we see 8 here), and the photo is none too clear. I wondered who created it, when, with what materials, for what purpose, and why the men are — or appear to be — all clones of a single model.

Informed answers to any of these questions would be appreciated; comment on this posting, or send me e-mail. (Google Images is useless; it thinks #1 is a photo of a musical group.)


You shouldn’t have done that

June 22, 2019

Today’s Zippy, with Mr. Toad’s chide … deride … upbraid — a one-line poem and an exercise in lexical semantics:

(#1) Mr. Toad condescends to the counterman at the Nameless Diner


The trail mixer

April 6, 2019

Maggie Larson cartoon in the New Yorker‘s 4/8/19 issue:

(#1) (Dried) fruits and nuts meeting and greeting, under the disco ball

A POP (phrasal overlap portmanteau): trail mixer = trail mix + mixer. Combining two elements very much grounded in particular sociocultural worlds (plus that disco ball glittering overhead).


The cable gremlins

March 7, 2019

(A version of things I posted on Facebook earlier today about my life, with glancing allusions to various phenomena of social life. Posted here to have a more permanent and accessible record, on WordPress. There will be a little bit of linguistics.)

(#1) (Not an accurate portrayal of Xfinity/Comcast staff)


Now We Are Nine, a Journey to the East

June 6, 2018

(Underwear and race / ethnicity / nationality / religion among gay men.)

News from Daily Jocks: a birthday for the Australian premium men’s underwear firms 2eros and Supawear (brothers in sexwear):

(#1) 2eros

(#2) Supawear

Notably, Asian models for the birthday celebration. Most sexunderwear firms are very light on black models, Latino models, Asian models (of all ethnicities and nationalities), and, for that matter, identifiably Jewish models. Andrew Christian is, on the whole, a stunning exception: his advertising reflects the use of “exotic” models in the fashion industry rather than the custom in the premium men’s underwear industry of relying on models whose looks are pumped-up mirrors of their customers’. The customers are mostly SAE-D — standard average European-descended — men (“standard average European” here is a little linguist’s joke, making reference to Standard Average European (SAE) languages, in Benjamin Lee Whorf’s terminology); the products either flatter their self-images or feed their fantasies of exotic men (for certain values of exotic).



June 4, 2018

About the N bro, used first as an address term and then as a referential N with several senses, and available as an element in N + N compounds: as the first element in Bro Code and bro subculture, as the second element in code bro (roughly) ‘guy into coding’ and (hat tip to Tyler Schnoebelen) the academic-cool character named Philosophy Bro. Then, thanks to Ben Barrett on ADS-L (on May 23rd), on to crypto bro / cryptobro, which looks like it might be a portmanteau of cryptocurrency (or cryptocoin(age)) and bro, but is probably better analyzed as a straightforward compound of the clipping crypto and the N bro.