Archive for the ‘Technical and ordinary language’ Category

Lounge shorts

July 7, 2021

Ultimately, about the (semi-technical, commercial) categories of the clothing industries: named types of Xwear that mostly lack labels in everyday language. (Parallel in many ways to the categories of the household supplies industries, with named types of Xware.) But first:

On my Facebook feed yesterday, this ad for men’s lounge shorts (a type of outerwear) from the Nice Laundry company:


(#1) “The Palms Lounge Short”; from their ad: “The most comfortable lounge shorts ever featuring 4-way stretch nylon with soft Micromodal® interior. Made in the shade.”

— which caught my eye for two reasons. First, the label lounge short (with the commercial singular usage; from other companies, lounge shorts, with the everyday plural usage); I didn’t recall having previously experienced lounge as a modifier naming a type of short(s) before. Second, the gorgeous pattern (of palm fronds), rivaling some gorgeous floral patterns for men’s underwear — briefs, boxers, jockstraps — that had been appearing on my Facebook page recently. (As for colors, the Nice Laundry company offers lounge shorts in everything from the plainest of solid black and navy blue through various more arresting solid colors and patterns to the palms.)

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diaphoretic

September 10, 2020

Today’s morning name, and for a change I was able to figure out why it was in my head.

From NOAD:

adj. diaphoreticMedicine [a] (chiefly of a drug) inducing perspiration. [b]  (of a person) sweating heavily. ORIGIN late Middle English: via late Latin from Greek diaphorētikos, from diaphorein ‘sweat out’.

It’s the b sense I had in my head, and I got it from watching reruns of the old Emergency! tv show.

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Fear of furniture

July 23, 2020

Yesterday’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, a Psychiatrist strip (Wayno’s title: “Out of Frame”):


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page.)

And now we’re in the world of phobias, extreme or irrational fears of or aversions to particular things. People are exceptionally fond of finding or inventing unusual phobias — and, correspondingly, of finding or inventing unusual philias (attachments, especially sexually fetishistic attachments, to particular things).

Fear of furniture, as it turns out, is real but rare. There is even a celebrity afflicted with it.

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The hollow

September 18, 2019

In a comment on my 9/14/19 posting “Clavicular knobs” (aka Ricardo’s acromia), Robert Coren writes about “the hollow space above the inner end of the collar-bone”, and I confess to not knowing a name for it. Roger Phillips (in England) fills in:

It’s not in Merriam-Webster, but all my British dictionaries have “saltcellar” for the collarbone pit. The first OED citation is:

[1870 O. Logan Before Footlights 26] I was a child of the most uninteresting age..a tall scraggy girl, with red elbows, and salt cellars at my collar-bones, which were always exposed, for fashion at that time made girls of this age uncover neck and arms.

The item has a complex social and cultural distribution, but knowing this much eventually led me to the technical term from anatomy: the suprasternal, or jugular, notch. Sometimes referred to in ordinary language as the hollow of the neck or the neck hollow.

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Three Pride moments

July 11, 2019

Pride Month is past, and so is the Fourth of July (US Independence Day), but my postings on these celebrations will go on for some time. Today, three images for Pride: the art of the flag; penguins at work; and the M&S sandwich.

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My industry

July 9, 2019

In my e-mail on the 7th, this offer — merely the latest in a long series of virtually identical such offers from a wide assortment of sources — to provide postings on this blog:

I manage some relevant blogs and ecommerce sites in your industry and can write a feature blog, article or other piece with a link to our site.

Occasionally, these offers come with the suggestion of a possible payment for this site use, but usually not: the transaction is conceived of as one of mutual benefit, providing greater public access — eyes on the page — for both host and guest (the guest presenting themselves as experienced in the art of SEO, search engine optimization; the host having an already-established audience).

Characteristically, the offer above is pure boiler-plate, utterly vague about what industry the prospective host is in. What, in fact, is my industry?

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A postcard from the (northern) edge

June 26, 2019

From the northern edge of the world, specifically: the town of Inuvik NWT in Canada, from which a postcard showing this welcoming billboard:

(#1)

The card was from Chris Waigl (bought in Dawson City YT), who mailed it from the extremely small town of Chicken AK.

And now there’s a surprising lot of stuff to say about the card.

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Le Pingouin aux Parapluies Roses

April 18, 2019

Umbro, the ceramic horticultural penguin, gay lover of wild strawberries, who lives in the shade of a pink cocktail umbrella:


(#1) Umbro, shaded by his pink cocktail umbrella and luxuriating under the spreading spathyphyllum tree and the watchful eye of the llama Glama Grrl

Cross the novel La Dame aux Camélias with the movie Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, cast a cocktail-loving penguin as the protagonist, and you get Le Pingouin aux Parapluies Roses, one of the famously bibulous singing penguins of Cherbourg (seen here visiting in Palo Alto).

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A snappish portion of the class

December 19, 2018

The One Big Happy of 11/20, in which, as usual, Ruthie copes with an unfamiliar (semi-)technical term (here, cross section) by extracting a familiar word (here, the cross of irritability) from it:

Ruthie crosses the cross ‘representative’ of cross section with the cross ‘snappish, angry’ of cross words. These are grossly different lexical items in modern English, but in fact they share an etymology that goes back to the noun cross of the hymns “The Old Rugged Cross” and “In the Cross of Christ I Glory”.

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Green flowers

November 30, 2018

It starts with this design by Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky on her Instagram account on the 8th, with her comment “Not sure why I keep making flowers green”:

(#1)

And then it leads all sorts of surprising places, botanical, cultural, and linguistic.

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