Archive for the ‘Spelling’ Category

Ultimate spelling bee

May 31, 2019

A Bob Eckstein cartoon circulated today, on the occasion of an unprecedented event in the world of English spelling competitions:


(#1) FB note from Bob: “Can you use it in a sentence?”

Story in the New York Times today,  “National Spelling Bee, at a Loss for Words, Crowns 8 Co-Champions” (octo-champs, as one of them said) by Daniel Victor.

(more…)

Le retour des hiéroglyphes

March 19, 2019

From a recent chain of postings on Facebook, a 1/9/14 Bizarro strip rendered en français:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

Il faut mettre l’œil avant le scarabée, sauf si le participe passé est placé devant le serpent. (more or less literally) ‘It is necessary to put the eye before the beetle, except if the past participle is placed in front of the snake.’

(more…)

Cum, sweat, and broccoli

March 18, 2019

(Yes, this will get into bodily fluids in ways that many people will find really icky, especially in connection with food. There will be some complicated plant stuff and some analysis of fragrances, but you’ll have to be prepared for spurts of semen and the smell of sex sweat. Use your judgment.)

I blame it all on Ryan Tamares, who posted on Facebook a few hours back on some yummy broccoli he’d had for dinner. With a photo — not a great cellphone image, but you could get a feel for the dish — and appropriate hashtags, starting with:

#cuminroastedbroccoli

Oh dear, “cum in roasted broccoli”, probably not such a crowd-pleaser as the dish in the photo (though it would have a small, devoted audience). Spaces can be your friends.

(more…)

The leek and the daffodil

March 1, 2019

(Warning: scattered amidst the daffodils, substantial allusions to some technical linguistics)

From John Wells, a greeting for the day, March 1st:

(#1) Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus! ‘Happy St David’s Day!’ (word by word: ‘Day Festival Davy happy’)

(more…)

Another family food holiday, and alternatives to it

February 3, 2019

The Hi and Lois cartoon from 2/7/16:

(#1)

Super Bowl Sunday — today, this year — joins Thanksgiving and Christmas as a holiday that serves as an occasion for gatherings of family and friends plus a spread of characteristic food. A family food holiday, for short.

The SBS holiday crucially involves the Super Bowl football game, for the NFL championship: this year, SB LIII  (El Ay Ay Ay!), New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta GA (6:30 ET).

While much of the US population gathers around tv sets for the game, its half-time show, and its ads — virtually emptying out many public spaces —  others seek out alternatives. (I myself have an unbroken record of studied inattention to the game, from SB I in 1967 on.) Alternatives that are cultural, recreational, commercial, and even sexual. (This posting will devolve into tales of SBS mansex, but I’m putting that material at the end, so kids and the sexually modest can enjoy the rest of this material and then bail out when the gay guys strip and go at it with one another like weasels in heat.)

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Taking the trolley

July 20, 2018

Background: this Facebook posting on the 18th by Chris Hansen:

My online friend Arnold Zwicky is a kind of chronicler of comic strips, from a historical and a linguistic perspective. A transit group to which I belong recently reprinted a large number of cartoon panels from the Toonerville Trolley series. Aside from the very exacting drawings, the hand lettering is a beautiful example of what lettering can be. Here’s the link to the website; there’s a lot of trolley stuff in front of the comics and some afterward, but these cartoons are an intriguing collection of history and comedy from the 1920’s.

(more…)

The Taco Bell doll

July 3, 2018

The One Big Happy from June 6th:

— in which Joe eggcornishly re-shapes the name Tinkerbell (otherwise unfamiliar to him) into a name he knows well, that of the fast-food restaurant Taco Bell. The words tinker and taco share the consonant skeleton /t … k …/, but are not otherwise particularly close phonologically. But the following bell presumably facilitates the reanalysis.

(more…)

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).

(more…)

bossercize

May 26, 2018

Today’s Dilbert, in which the pointy-haired boss goes portmanteauing:

(#1)

boss + exercise (in a spelling variant with –ize) = bossercize, formed on the model of the name of the dance fitness company Jazzercise.

(more…)