Categorization & labeling

postings on categorization (a matter of concepts in a taxonomy) and labeling (a matter of linguistic expressions), stressing the sociocultural categorizations of ordinary life rather than technical categorizations and ordinary language vs. technical vocabulary; unlabeled taxa are a repeated theme

all of the postings listed on the Page “Labels Are Not Definitions” are relevant to this Page, whether they are also listed here or not

the bulk of this inventory was prepared by Kim Darnell; her material begins and ends with a row of five asterisks

a few postings I view as especially important are marked with a ☛

☛☛ handout for 2005 Stanford Semantics Festival paper “Ideal types: peacocks, chameleons, and centaurs”, on systems of categorization: Ideal types


5/1/10:  Define “scrimmage t-shirt”: Define “scrimmage t-shirt”
An offer for free shipping from a gay-oriented clothing company inspires thoughts about the Define X trope, the hypermasculine and homoerotic “pits and tits” display, and the sometimes nebulous categorization and labeling of simple garments

5/2/10: wife-beaters: wife-beaters
How and why did American English speakers settle so easily on the sociopolitically complicated term “wife-beater” for a typically white, 100% cotton, ribbed, sleeveless, neckbandless garment that covers the entire upper body and is worn as an undershirt by men?

5/3/10: Does this contain any X?: Does this contain any X?
It can sometimes be difficult for people with certain food restrictions to determine accurately whether a dish is “safe,” because others don’t think of food derivatives (e.g., peanut oil or chicken broth) as exemplars of the forbidden ingredients in question

5/8/10: 69: 69
In English (vulgar) slang, simultaneous reciprocal oral sex is commonly referred to as “a 69,” but this is a fairly new label for a very old sexual activity

5/11/10: More diets: More diets
The degree to which others will respect/approve of a person’s chosen food restrictions is mostly dependent on whether those restrictions are obligated (e.g., by religious doctrine or a medical condition) or individual (e.g., out of personal preference)

5/25/10: Waltzing with Bears: Waltzing with Bears
Reflections on a possible gay subtext in what is usually presented as a children’s song

7/12/10: Fair and balanced: Fair and balanced
There are a lot of ways to answer the question, “What kind of representation would gay characters need in entertainment media for their numbers to ‘balance out’ the traditionally high proportion of straight characters?” Inspired by a William Haefeli cartoon.

7/14/10: Dolls and action figures: Dolls and action figures
Plastic figures of adult humans with removable and exchangeable clothing (and accessories) are called either dolls (like Barbie) or action figures (like G.I. Joe), but the neat “dolls are for girls, action figures are for boys” split turns out to fail in both directions

7/20/10: A useful acronym: A useful acronym
People sometimes show ingenuity in devising labels for unlabeled folk taxa, as in the case of the acronym STEM, which refers both conjunctively and disjunctively to the frequently co-occurring domains of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

☛ 7/26/10: Notes: categories 7/26/10: Notes: categories 7/26/10
Some thoughts about categories — folk categories, technical categories, scientific categories, ad hoc categories, etc. — and the associated labels connected to music, inspired by the many ways one can classify a song on iTunes

8/6/10: Gay flags: Gay flags
As far as cognitive science goes, gay rainbow flags with six stripes are right, and Newton’s rainbow with seven stripes is wrong.  Also: Some hunky men in skimpy briefs with rainbow elastic.

8/7/10: Portmanteau Prunus: Portmanteau Prunus
A plunge into the mysteries of the genus Prunus (peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, and almonds) and the names for its bewildering collection of varieties and hybrids (e.g., pluots and nectaplums)

8/21/10: Return to rainbow flagwear: Return to rainbow flagwear
Some descriptions of “gay” rainbows, with examples of such rainbows integrated into men’s underwear

11/18/10: Taste Y: Taste Y
An exploration of the complicated uses of the label gay, including novel concepts like Taste Y, or a man’s significant desire for physical intimacy with other males and significant arousal by (some) other men

11/20/10: Bullying and rage: Bullying and rage
From rocker Keith Richards to gay journalist Dan Savage, those who endured bullying in their youth often report living with a lifetime of rage that underlies their need to pursue justice for others in their adult lives

11/22/10: Encounters and pranks: Encounters and pranks
Published reports on the suicide of Rutgers-Piscataway freshman Tyler Clementi seem to downplay the responsibility of the roommate who covertly recorded and publicly posted Clementi’s sexual interactions because those interactions were with another man

12/8/10: The idea of reality: The idea of reality
Inspired by a Zippy cartoon, some thoughts on that part of the American Dream that allows you to reinvent yourself as an act of will (and money)

12/9/10: Slave status, racial status, and slurs: Slave status, racial status, and slurs
The Shinnecock tribe’s push for a casino in the Hamptons of Long Island is being challenged, in part, because of the history of Black male slaves intermarrying with tribal women to secure the freedom of their children

12/21/10: Expressive matter/material: Expressive matter/material

Art, photography, books, sculpture, and other sorts of creative products collectively constitute “expressive matter” or “expressive material” in various legal contexts

1/3/11: Cosmetic disease: Cosmetic disease
A cosmetic disease is one that may be embarrassing or disfiguring, but is still thought of as ostensibly harmless because it results in no physical pain or disability

1/15/11: What’s the word for this?: What’s the word for this?
What do you call a man who identifies himself as straight but nevertheless has sex with other men?

1/17/11: A note on gay for pay: A note on gay for pay
It’s difficult to sensibly discuss whether engaging in homosexual acts without taking sexual pleasure in them is enough to classify one as gay, because it depends on what you think the labels like gay really mean.

1/23/11: The alphabet soup of sexuality and gender: The alphabet soup of sexuality and gender
The list of letters in the acronym to refer to sexual and gender minorities is sometimes very long and far from transparent, even to people who are members of these groups.

☛ 1/27/11: Drawing sharp lines: Drawing sharp lines
It’s the practice of scientists to draw sharp lines (e.g., health vs. disease and normal vs. abnormal), even in domains like medicine, psychology, and society/culture where there’s quite a lot of gradience

1/31/11: Labels: homosexual: Labels: homosexual
The label homosexual tends to focus on sexual practices as opposed to sexual orientation, which generates more negative connotations and consequences than the less sex-focused labels gay and lesbian.

2/27/11: Dubious diagnostics: Dubious diagnostics
When patients are given diagnostic tests to ascertain their potential for or degree of mental illness, the questions often have “correct” answers that presume a lot of cultural and contextual knowledge that the patients don’t have, even if their mental faculties are just fine.

2/27/11: Annals of slurs: Annals of slurs
There is a nasty jungle of technical terms, euphemisms, semantic shifts, lexical replacements, specific slurs, and generalized insults related to “mental defectiveness”

3/11/11: Associations and connotations: Associations and connotations
The usage of terms for referring to homosexuals — including the term homosexual itself — gets complicated, in part because of the web of ideological and sociopolitical associations and connotations these terms are intertwined with

3/20/11: Dean Phoenix on gay-for-pay: Dean Phoenix on gay-for-pay
It’s hard for pornstar Dean Phoenix to imagine that anyone who performs sexually as well as co-star Chris Rockway, who insists that he is straight, truly lacks desire for his partners

3/31/11: partners: partners
There are a variety of terms for referring to same-sex partners

4/8/11: No more cookery: No more cookery
Those in the library sciences face a long task of revising catalogue entries to conform to a Library of Congress decision last year to replace the older COOKERY category by one labeled COOKING

☛ 4/10/11: Vernacular ethnonyms: Vernacular ethnonyms
When referring to members of other ethnic groups with special terms (e.g., Chino, hapa, Dutch) the category distinctions and the accompanying labels are local, they change over time, and they are variable (so may be in dispute)

4/14/11: Rebranding: Rebranding
Anti-gay Christian activists’ are attempting (and failing) to assume authority over a social arena wider than they really control by “rebranding” the word gay and related terms in a negative way

5/28/11: Dishes: Dishes
Speakers of English — like Jeremy’s mother in the cartoon Zits —  often use the term dishes in a broad sense to include plates, bowls, utensils, glasses, cups, and other “foodware”

8/9/11: Categories and tags: Categories and tags
Recent WordPress recommendations for WordPress for tags that might make a recent post “easier for others to discover” included cowboys and indians, word sequences, intergalactic battle, cliticization, and unpublished version

8/11/11: Criterial features: Criterial features
Inspired by a Scenes From a Multiverse cartoon, a list of features that are criterial for classifying a creature as a mammal

8/24/11: Zippy subs, take 2: Zippy subs, take 2
Inspired by a Zippy cartoon, thoughts on the taxonomy of food types involved with “sub” sandwiches, the bases for distinguishing (sub!)types, and the accompanying terminology

9/29/11: Category in need of a label: Category in need of a label
English needs a word for what the Economist calls “biggish non-oil-producing poor countries”

10/17/11: “phonetic sounds”: “phonetic sounds”
While describing some interesting research in developmental psycholinguistics, the NYT’s Perri Klass endeavors to describe linguistic concepts in terms non-linguists will easily understand

10/31/11: work: work
Over centuries, the word work has become specialized to focus more and more on paid activities and leading to a devaluing of effort that is not made for money

☛ 11/30/11: The body and its parts: The body and its parts
Reporting on a survey of websites that summarize parts of the body that are “important” to know the names of

12/11/11: Food families: Food families
Food families, like that which includes saltimbocca and Wiener schnitzel, reflect degrees of variation on a “mother recipe” and typically lack common names

12/20/11: Concavities: Concavities
Ordinary English vocabulary is poor in words for concavities, while being rich in words for areas of the body that project

12/25/11: Hair: Hair
Although the categorizations of people into two gendered groups (e.g., GIRLS vs. BOYS) in ordinary life are grounded in cues of many kinds, kids focus particularly on the social cues, not the physical ones

1/20/12: Christians: Christians
Exploring the set of judgments underlying how people are grouped into socially (and personally) salient categories, such as Christians vs. non-Christians

1/30/12: erection enhancer: erection enhancer
Thoughts on the complex structure of the categories for products intended enhance men’s sexual pleasure

2/5/12: Pasta books: Pasta books
On Hildebrand & Kenedy and Lengendre, two books surveying types of pasta, with attention to each pasta’s physical form

2/9/12: Valenpizza: Valenpizza
The taxonomy of some types of prepared food, inspired by Papa Murphy’s take-and-bake HeartBaker pizza, created for Valentine’s Day

2/9/12: SemFest 13: SemFest 13
Judgments were made, and AMZ’s abstract for the Stanford Semantics Festival 13 on Parts of the Body was accepted

2/17/12: bedbug / bed bug: bedbug / bed bug
A (supposed) linguistic rule for writing the common names of insects, along with examples, counterexamples, and commentary

3/13/12: Parts: vulva and vagina: Parts: vulva and vagina
Ordinary and technical (in this case, anatomical) vocabulary, narrow vs. broad interpretation of terms, variation and change in ordinary language, and the problems of ostensive definition

4/19/12: Gender-appropriate playthings: Gender-appropriate playthings
From Shortpacked! by Dave Willis, a cartoon about a gay brony

4/22/12: Dilbert 2: engineers and knowledge workers: Dilbert 2: engineers and knowledge workers
Another Dilbert strip (from 2/4/96), this time with our office hero confronted by his mother (as he often is)

4/25/12: No word for hot flashes in Japanese?: No word for hot flashes in Japanese?
When olfescs (i.e., ordinary-language fixed expression of some currency) don’t map one-to-one across languages, we sometimes read too much into it

5/27/12: Comics Books: Comics Books
Some history of the term graphic novel

7/13/12: In the comics: In the comics
A few notes on comics vs. cartoons, inspired by Comic-Con International

8/1/12: Letter Vitamins: Letter vitamins
Letter vitamins are tablets that supply a single specific vitamin (identified by letter), in contrast to multivitamin tablets or multivitamin/multimineral tablets

8/7/12: Comic machines: Comic machines
Cartoons of complicated machines for doing ordinary or unexpected tasks by Heath Robinson, Rube Goldberg, and Storm P., as well as some comments on how artists are categorized

8/10/12: Brief mention: malls: Brief mention: malls
Malls vs open-air retail centers

9/2/12: Regions: Regions
Approaches to dividing up the United States by geography, culture, climate, law, politics, and — of course — language

9/29/Y12: Mapping the territory: Mapping the territory
Considering Drew Hoolhorst’s jaunty redefinition of San Francisco neighborhoods by stereotypical resident type

10/11/12: Brief mention: euphemism: Brief mention: euphemism
On euphemistically referring to toilet paper as bath tissue

10/28/12: Odds and ends: Odds and ends
Four brief items in familiar categories: (1) a malapropism; (2) a mishearing; (3) a silly pun; and (4) a bit of folk categorization

11/10/12: Brief mention: Calder’s forks: Brief mention: Calder’s forks
About some quirky and artistic forks, some of which aren’t clearly forks at all

11/13/12: Sylvia: Sylvia
Samples of the language play in Nicole Hollander’s satyrical comic strip Sylvia, inspired by book The Sylvia Chronicles: 30 Years of Graphic Misbehavior from Reagan to Obama

12/2/12: Brief mention: More wiping: Brief mention: More wiping
Comments on disposable personal cleansing cloths (not made of cloth) for adults

1/14/13: Colors: Colors
Admiration for two collections of colorful puns generated to describe crayons and shirts

1/16/13: The H-fly: The H-fly
Commentary and images related to men’s underwear with a horizontal fly

1/19/13: Kinu Sekigushi: Kinu Sekiguchi
Drawn images of nude and nearly nude manga-style men by the gay French artist known as Kinu Sekigushi, along with some discussion of yaoi and bara manga

1/21/13: Horror of the penis: Horror of the penis
For many, penises — especially erect penises — cannot be art, only pornography, and thus should not be displayed publicly

1/22/13: Porn / art: Porn / art
About photography books that examine male pornstars as models — Is it porn or is it art? Is this an exclusive choice?

1/24/13: Watersports: Watersports
A connector for three substantial postings on AZBlogX regarding the sexual fetish of gay watersports (i.e., “piss porn”)

1/25/13: Define “living room”: Define “living room”
Some thoughts on the folk and technical taxonomies of domestic rooms, inspired by events related to AMZ’s recovery from hip replacement

1/27/13: boys: boys
On using boy to refer to adult males in various ways, including the subordinative, affiliative, and jocular

☛ 2/13/13: Ad hoc categorizations: Ad hoc categorizations
The Know About series of sticker books offers some interesting insight into what characteristics one culture (at least) thinks children should notice about animals

2/18/13: Commercial categories: gay sex toys: Commercial categories: gay sex toys
A look at some of the rich category structure for gay sex toys, including a number of categories that (not surprisingly) have no ordinary-language labels

3/13/13: bullying:bullying
Emily Bazelon’s NYT op-ed piece, “Defining Bullying Down”, addresses discrepancies in everyday uses of the term bullying and its formal, psychological definition

☛ 3/20/13: Stone fruits, nuts, and berries: Stone fruits, nuts, and berries
Some complexities in the classification of fruits, due in part to a divergence between the technical terminology of botany and ordinary language

3/27/13: Abutilon and its relatives: Abutilon and its relatives
This vining flower is related to Hibiscus, Lavatera, and Althaeaokra, as well as cacao, marshmallow, and cotton, among others

4/4/13: Calendars: Boy Next Door, Philip Fusco: Calendars: Boy Next Door, Philip Fusco
Reflections on the untwinkish “boys” of Boys Next Door calendars, with a focus on and photos of Philip Fusco

4/15/13: pinnies: pinnies
A modern twist on pinafore, a pinnie is a reversible sports shirt similar to a scrimmage shirt

4/15/13: Synthetic compounds and back-formation: go-go truth-telling: Synthetic compounds and back-formation: go-go truth-telling

On the verbing of the synthetic compounds truth-teller (and truth-telling) and  go-go dancer (and go-go dancing) to create to truth-tell and to go-go dance

4/22/13: Gay greens: the Big Two: Gay greens: the Big Two
Some history and commentary on arugula and radicchio, as well relatives of these popular salad greens (e.g., endive, radishes, and a variety of mustards)

5/19/13: X or not?: X or not?
Thoughts on what constitutes an “X-rated” image, including comments and images related to clothing that accentuate male genitalia while keeping them covered

5/20/13: Define “garbage”: Define “garbage”
A discussion of what may distinguish “garbage” from “trash,” “waste,” “refuse,” “rubbish,” “litter,” and “debris,” as inspired by a Dilbert cartoon about gamification

5/27/13: Adulthood: Adulthood
Observations on the “dangerousness” of gay adults inspired by a Scenes From a Multiverse cartoons

6/11/13: -licious sex: -licious sex
An overview of portmanteaus involving –licious (e.g., “twinkilicious”), which are popular in porn advertising and other domains related to sex

6/20/13:Poppies, lilacs, and lilies: Poppies, lilacs, and lilies
The names for flowers vary in their “truthfulness” (e.g., California poppies, are actually poppies, but California lilacs, are not actually lilacs), but often “true” categories don’t matter

6/21/13: forbs:forbs
Regarding the category of herbaceous flowering plants that are not grasses, sedges, or rushes, but are enjoyed by “grass-fed” beef cattle

6/24/13: More gay greens: More gay greens
Notes on watercress, mâche, mesclun, fennel, flat (or Italian) parsley, basil (especially the fancy varieties), and chervil

6/25/13: Stimulating and desensitizing: Stimulating and desensitizing
A sampling of the category of sexual supplements that includes lubricants, stimulating products, and desensitizing creams

7/14/13: Three sex workers: Three sex workers
Reflections following the deaths of three gay male porn stars about the term sex worker (as applied to men) and its penumbra of reference to men who make a living from their bodies

7/26/13:  Benedictine and its kin: Benedictine and its kin
The story behind a cucumber and cream cheese spread from Louisville, KY, along with discussion of similar dips and spreads from around the world

9/14/13: Saturday morning showoff: Saturday morning showoff
A racy Instinct cover photo leads to an article about drug addiction, some peripheral thoughts on (sex) addiction, and another hot photo

2/8/14: Mammoths and flowers: Mammoths and flowers
The last ice age wiped out small, flowering plants called forbs, which were a major food source for wooly mammoths; this may have contributed to the beasts’ extinction

5/11/14: Three on Mothers Day: Three on Mothers Day
Cartoons of linguistic interest, including one each from Rhymes With Orange, Mother Goose and Grimm, and Doonesbury

5/12/14: On the verge of a collective: On the verge of a collective
How many crows does it take to make a murder?

5/20/14: Alan Fletcher: Alan Fletcher
Regarding graphic designer Alan Fletcher, the creator of images on postcards Max Vasilatos sent AMZ in 2008 and 2009

5/30/14: What are they?:What are they?
Examples of types of humorous memes, including quote samplers, e-card portmanteaus, and texty creations

7/5/14: Bunnies run amok: Bunnies run amok
Different types of horror movies, with lists of AMZBlog posts related to this theme

7/8/2014: pentapedal: pentapedal
Musings inspired by the claim that kangaroos are “the first pentapedal animals.” Really?

7/21/14: Peter Mendelsund: Peter Mendelsund
Similarities and differences in what counts as “art” in and out of artistic circles

10/6/14: More television hunks: NCIS: Los Angeles: More television hunks: NCIS: Los Angeles
A discussion of the ectomorphic, mesomorphic, and endomorphic male body types as exemplified by some of the actors on the popular series

10/13/14: Traps: Traps
Regarding trapezius muscles, porn star Ken Ryker, and male body types

1/22/14: black, Black, etc.: black, Black, etc.
On why we should use “Black” rather than “black” to refer to African Americans as a cultural community

12/29/14: Seafood: Seafood
About the English word “seafood” and its Spanish counterpart marisco(s)

1/26/15: The general store: The general store
On two images by New Yorker cartoonists Liana Finck that reflect her quirky sense of humor

5/8/2015: But are they cartoons?: But are they cartoons?
On the visual art of Sloane Tanen (with photographer Stefan Hagen), such as “Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same: The Life and Times of Some Chickens” (2003)

☛ 6/27/2015: “part of who we are”: “part of who we are”
On identity labels, such as Southerner or Pole, and who gets to “truly” use them

7/7/2015: Where is Ojai: Where is Ojai?
Geographical and cultural divisions of central and southern California as they relate to the location of the city of Ojai

7/11/2015: Librarians and light bulbs: Librarians and light bulbs
Variations on the joke about the number of librarians it takes to screw in a light bulb, as well as a relevant meme

7/14/2015: The Far North: The Far North
On the attempt to create a meaningful designation for an often overlooked region of California

7/16/2015: More art criticism from Calvin: More art criticism from Calvin
A Calvin and Hobbes cartoon about categorizing types of art

☛ 7/27/2015: Misleadingly named animals: Misleadingly named animals
Technicalism, everyday categorization, and the relation of head to modifier as they relate to the naming of animals

8/4/2015: Childhood memories: Childhood memories
A poignant reflection on some memories of childhood from the cartoon Bizarro

☛ 8/10/2015: Food names, and plant names too: Food names, and plant names too
Notes on names for food, with some parallels to common names for plants; this serves as background for a posting on Italian names for pizza

8/13/2015: Ice cream, roadside fiberglass, Calillebotte, and more: Ice cream, roadside fiberglass, Calillebotte, and more
From Zippy musing on French Impressionism, to American roadside fast food, to the “vulgar” subject matter of work by the French painter Caillebotte

8/15/2015: Crab feast: Crab feast
Musings about what counts as an X crab, for some specific X, and when things called crabs are not crabs or “true crabs” at all

8/19/2015: Penstemon: Penstemon
Images and discussion of beardtongues, a flowering mountain plant, and a few familiar relations

8/19/15: Plant families: Plant families
Some notes on several plant families, in minimally technical language, including five families of high interest, plus four more that merit some attention; all appear frequently at Gamble Garden.

8/20/2015: Cotoneaster: Cotoneaster
A complex journey through pronunciation and etymology, botanical taxonomy, English morphology, lexical semantics, and the pragmatics of expressions of resemblance for this agreeable plant

8/21/2015: More plant families: More plant families
Images and discussion of the Poraceae, Rubiaceae, Cleomes, Cleomaceae, Papaveraceae, Plantaginaceae, Boraginaceae, Ranunculaceae, Commelinaceae, and Tropaeolaceae

8/22/2015: Seedy invasives: Seedy invasives
On the significance of self-seeding and vegetative spread, with images and descriptions of zebrine hollyhocks, dill, larkspur, white valerian, Portulacas, and wild cinquefoil

8/26/2015: Vining invasives: Vining invasives
Images and descriptions of porcelainberry, common ivy, mountain cabbage tree, spikenard, and wisteria

8/30/2015: Cow parsnip: Cow parsnip
About the Bay Area wildflower

8/31/2015: Eat your weeds: Eat your weeds
On edible invasives, such as lamb’s quarters, rose hips, dandelion shoots, stinging nettles, and cattails, with a hat tip to Euell Gibbons

9/4/2015: Cotinus and the cousins of Cotinus: Cotinus and the cousins of Cotinus
About Anacardiaceae, Anacardium, Mangifera, Rhus, and Toxicodendron

9/6/2015: Birthday flowers: Birthday flowers
About flowers on birthday cards, including Asparagaceae and Primulaceae – plus a bonus wooly mammoth!

9/7/2015: Shooting stars, hydrangeas, and lemongrass: Shooting stars, hydrangeas, and lemongrass
Notes about several plants, with a focus on their common and botanical names

9/9/2015: Plant family backlog: Plant family backlog
Descriptions and photos of plants from the Oleaceae, Violaceae, Gesnericeae, Lythraceae, Onagraceae, Rhamnaceae, Apocynaceae, Elegnaceae, and Restionaceae families

9/9/15: More vining invasives: More vining invasives
Three invasive vines: two of them American natives, the third with a somewhat invasive American cousin so closely related to it that they can hybridize; and three plant families (one huge, two small): Bignoniaceae, Celastraceae, and the non-vining Alstroemeriaceae

9/12/2015: Chaste trees and jumping spiders: Chaste trees and jumping spiders
Regarding plants from the verbena family and an unusual species of spiders found Gamble Gardens

9/18/2015: Breadsticks: Breadsticks
Some examples of culinary innovation at Olive Garden, including “breadstick sandwiches”

10/11/2015: From the 80s: From the 80s
Music from the 80s, with specific commentary on Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood

10/13/2015: Morning: the call of nature: Morning: the call of nature
Some syntactic analysis of a euphemism for basic bodily functions

10/16/2015: Pasta fazool: Pasta fazool
Thoughts on That’s Amore, Dean Martin, dialectic variation in Neapolitan, and pasta e fagioli

☛ 11/14/2015: cioppino, sopa de mariscos: cioppino, sopa de mariscos
Comparing soup and stew in the context of a classic San Francisco seafood dish with a tomato base

11/26/2015: stuffing, dressing, filling: stuffing, dressing, filling
Exploring the etymology of different terms for the popular Thanksgiving dish

11/30/2015: Morning name: penumbra: Morning name: penumbra
A technical term in astronomy devised by Kepler

1/1/2016: On urinals and the conventions of the men’s room: On urinals and the conventions of the men’s room
About the classification of urinals, the naming of the types, and the sociocultural conventions that surround urinal use

2/29/16: Briefly: what is a category?: Briefly: what is a category?
In the nerdview that created the blogging software WordPress, “Uncategorized” is treated as a category in and of itself.

3/2/2016: Areas and regions: Areas and regions
Region-talk about The greater West Coast, The Deep South, and Northeast Asia

3/5/2016: Ruthie and the tricks to aid memory: Ruthie and the tricks to aid memory
A One Big Happy cartoon where Ruthie connects IHOP and Iran

4/1/2016: Italian wedding soup: Italian wedding soup
About food, names for dishes, and terminology for talking about families of food and recipes

4/19/2016: plate my meal: plate my meal
Thoughts on the verbing of plate

5/4/2016: Maria Sol Escobar: Maria Sol Escobar
“Marisol, an Artist Known for Blithely Shattering Boundaries, Dies at 85”

5/19/2016: Definitions: Definitions
A Bizarro cartoon involving a sledgehammer, a piano, and a query about what counts as music

5/22/2016: Male art: two views: Male art: two views
A comparison of Reed’s Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas (2011) and Clarke’s Porn from Andy Warhol to X-Tube: A Photographic Journey

5/24/2016: Three natives: Three natives
More about spring flowers in Gamble Gardens: Sisyrinchium californicum, Salvia leucophylla, and Mimulus aurantiacus

6/1/2016: From late winter: From late winter
Images and commentary about Kniphofia, strawflowers, honey daisies, asphodels, waxflowers, boronia, and agave at Gamble Gardens

6/10/2016: You really should look at that text: You really should look at that text
The “Christians” running some fundamentalist evangelical dating sites don’t seem to understand that blogging about their product isn’t always done out of support

6/11/2016: Girl Genius: Girl Genius
A comic book, webcomic, and book series centered on the character Agatha Heterodyne

6/18/2016: The avocado slicer: The avocado slicer
A useless and annoying kitchen device.  Use a knife.

7/11/2016: On the digital media front: On the digital media front
Coping with a substantial personal CD and DVD collection in the face of residential downsizing

7/22/2016: queer: queer
About the terms homosexual, gay, queer, LGBTQ, and the Penrose triangle

7/23/2016: Cute pornstars: Cute pornstars
Tommy Defendi, Dean Flynn, Danny Vox, Christopher Ash, and Dario Beck — with images, of course!

7/29/16: Naming names: the cocktail beat: Naming names: the cocktail beat
Drink names can be confusing: The same referent can have different names and the same name can apply to different referents.  In some cases, though, these names can be rather amusing, as with Jill Dobias’ Meshugenah Margarita and Hot Obama.

8/4/2016: Alarming annals of cinematic lexicography: Alarming annals of cinematic lexicography
Mel Gibson and Sean Penn will reportedly star in the origin story of the Oxford English Dictionary, The Professor and the Madman, and lexicographers’ eyes are rolling

9/1/2016: Alphabet soup: Alphabet soup
About a Bizarro cartoon about the combinations of letters used to represent variation in human sexuality and gender

10/29/2016: Domain-relative labeling: Domain-relative labeling
For Halloween, the effect of a bright orange C-IN2 strap jock on a Black man’s body leads to some thoughts on the taxonomy of the color and race

11/12/2016: Something I missed on NCOD: Something I missed on NCOD
A variant of Apple’s Think Different ad campaign featuring Trump and Pride colors

1/22/2017: Poppin’ Fresh in a pink dress: Poppin’ Fresh in a pink dress
A Rhymes with Orange cartoon featuring a crossdressing mascot for baked goods leads to a discussion of the various sexual undertones of “eating” and “cupcakes”

2/7/2017: finger foods: finger foods
When is a food that is eaten with the fingers a “finger food” and when is it not?

2/10/2017: Annals of adorable: Annals of adorable
All about Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, an adorable couple who are fools for kissing, as well as the trials and tribulations of trying to amplify positive images of same-sex couples in the media

2/20/2017: ON in the comics: ON in the comics
Exploring normalizing and resistance to it, inspired by a Zippy cartoon featuring Norm the Muffler Man


2/22/17: Playing for laughs: Playing for laughs
genres of comedy: fantasy comedy, light comedy (including sitcoms and romantic comedy), black comedy

3/22/17: Fun with categories: Fun with categories
ad hoc categories of gay porn

3/29/17: Another phenomenally bad idea: Another phenomenally bad idea
dipspread, crepetilla; sweet vs. savory food

4/7/17: Annals of normalization: on the Santa Claus watch: The gay black Santa

4/12/17: The Jargon Matrix: The Jargon Matrix
cultural criticism treating both sociocultural categories and linguistic expressions

4/21/17: Seahorse on a stick, GBF, and the Describe-A-Muffin Task: Seahorse on a stick
importance of cultural function to definitions of words; the example of muffin

5/5/17: Four Days in May: Four Days in May
Latino, black, Chicano, Mexican, etc.; Afro-Latinos, Afro-Mexicans, Irish Mexicans

5/25/17: Light, and sometimes mixed: Light beer
drink categories: beer cocktails; drop bombs / depth charges

6/1/17: No te vayas de Zamboanga: No te vayas de Zamboanga
large categories of songs: folk song, pop song, art song

6/9/17: Speaking the language: Speaking the language
#1 Calvin and Hobbes on what counts as a snack

7/7/17: trug: trug
the type of basket

8/13/17: Reduced coordination, joke forms, and sociocultural categories
sociocultural categories in Walk Into Bar jokes

9/16/17: Steak bombs: Steak bombs
food categories: SUB (sandwich), subcategory  STEAK SANDWICH, then named subtypes, among them steak bomb

10/27/17: The X-Bulbs, plus Greek Sword: The X-Bulbs
BULB-B (botanical), BULB-V (vernacular), CORM, RHIZOME, TUBER

11/5/17: In a bun, in a bun!: In a bun
BAKED GOODS of various types

11/8/17: From the great Anatomic War: Great Anatomic War
limbs (arms and legs), extremities (hands and feet), digits (fingers and toes) as natural categories

12/1/17: Maple Donuts, coffee shops, and unapologetic identities: Maple Donuts

12/1/17: Waving the flag: Waving the flag
folk theory of racial classification

12/19/17: From the archives of avoidance: Archives of avoidance
terms for ‘Americans descended from enslaved people of sub-Saharan Africa’

3/11/18: Annals of sport/art: Annals of sport/art
categories SPORT and ART; aesthetic sports, competitive artistry, and sport/art

4/12/18: chicken fried chicken: chicken fried chicken
names of dishes; Labels Are Not Definitions

4/29/18: All the dessert world is not either cake or pie: not either cake or pie
food categories in the cake, pie, flan, clafoutis, bread, etc. domains

categories CAKE-PIE, SWEET-PIE, SAVORY-PIE, and many named instances

5/8/18: Four things are two binary oppositions: Four things
card suits; decomposition of four things into pairs; structuralist thinking; characters in a fictional narrative and their “meanings”

5/10/18: What have you done with your life?: What have you done
topics of research vs. terminology

5/11/18: Differentiae: Differentiae
things that fly: birds, planes, Superman

5/23/18: The art class: The art class
phonemic categories, basic color categories

6/13/18: The  Calvin Klein pentachromatic neon rainbow: CK pentachromatic rainbow
the colors of the rainbow and their names

6/24/18: The musician, the mayor, his instrument, and their vermin: The musician, the mayor
categories of musical instruments and labels for the categories

7/4/18: Sticks and cubes: Sticks and cubes
membership in the STICK category

8/26/18: The penis art of Dave the Robot: Penis art of Dave the Robot
occupational categories and their labels; Australian tradesman/tradie

10/5/18: Another ubertwink: Another ubertwink
twink Liam Riley and near-twink Levi Karter

10/9/18: Nomenclature as destiny: Nomenclature as destiny
passenger pigeons and carrier pigeons

10/9/18: Fruit bars: Fruit bars
taxonomic status of fruit bars: COOKIES, (small) CAKES, CANDY?

10/27/18: The holiday of our lives: The holidays of our lives
categories COOKIE, CAKE, (sweet) BREAD, CANDY; bars and squares

11/7/18: Arousing the beast: Arousing the beast
practice/gesture of mooning long antedating the verbing of the N moon to refer to it

11/23/18: Annals of error: name retrieval in the news: Name retrieval in the news 
sociocultural categories as a factor in name retrieval errors

12/15/18: Regionally ambivalent Switzerland: Regionally ambivalent Switzerland
Switzerland as central Europe or western Europe

12/24/18: Peppernut Day: Peppernut Day
the line between the COOKIE and CAKE categories

2/12/19: Annals of sweevory food: my Japanese Valentine: Annals of sweevory food
opposed categories of SWEET and SAVORY food

2/14/19: Revisiting 26: LGBT etc. etc.: LGBT etc. etc.
sexuality etc. categories and their labels

3/2/19: fried chicken waffle Benedict: FCWB
BENEDICT as a food category; componential analysis of the category

3/6/19: Collagen days: Collagen days
normal vs. minority, normal vs. morbid

3/22/19: Reubens, kale, and Cales: Reubens, kale, and Cales
REUBEN as a food category; componential analysis of the category

3/31/19: Moon shorts 1: the Moons: The Moons
unlabeled taxon: buddy pairing for sex with two women

5/5/19: Wooden arches: Wooden arches
shape categories TABLESHAPE, ARCSHAPE, ARCHSHAPE, lacking everyday labels in English

5/6/19: A coincidence of days: A coincidence of days
squeezebox as label for category embracing accordions, concertinas, and bandoneons

5/12/19: Parade of Fangs, Eye of the Pumpkin: Parade of Fangs
lily as an autohyponym in English; possibly, lirio in (Mexican) Spanish; lily-lilies vs. daylilies

5/28/19: Semantics of compounds: Semantics of compounds
categories: natural kinds vs. artifacts

7/4/19: Am I a bird?: Am I a bird
the category of volants, things that fly

7/9/19: My industry: My industry
technical categorizations of industries and of occupations

7/20/19: The artist Tove Jansson: The artist Tove Jansson
cultural categorizations of (graphic) artistic producers: fine artists and their kin

7/30/19 (posted 8/1): The opossum joke: The opossum joke
DAD JOKE as unlabeled taxon (until recently)

8/28/19: Annals of category labels: food from a hole in the ground: Food from a hole in the ground
the category ROOT-VEG and labels for it (conventionally, root vegetables)

8/28/19: with all the fixin’s: with all the fixin’s
category distinction between main ingredients and accompaniments

8/29/19: 79: 79
vigesimal age categories, esp. 80 as gateway into old age

9/12/19: BOY Party!: BOY Party!
age/maturity categories GAY-BOY and GAY-PAPI; conventional boy vs. boy in gay male use

10/14/19: Space Candy: Space Candy
everyday and military usages of category labels in the domain of artillery

10/26/19: The caritive: The caritive
semantic categorizations of absence constructions, with technical labels in linguistics and with different lexical expression (English not have vs. be lacking vs. be missing)

11/15/19: Revisiting 37: pie charts: Revisiting 37: pie charts
various desserts probably in the SWEET-PIE category but not referred to in some sources with the label pie

11/20/19: A regular festival of ambiguity: A regular festival of ambiguity
types of homomasculinity and their labels

11/25/19: Revisiting 38: more male beauty: Revisiting 38
subcategories of good-looking men, with some labels: handsome, cute, beautiful, hot; macho hunks (roughly) as an unlabeled taxon

1/1/20: Usage notes from the kitchen: Usage notes from the kitchen
categories and labels of kitchenware

2/15/20: Revisiting 43: The Socka Hittsch nominal on the rural Swiss roadside:

Revisiting 43: the Socka Hitsch nominal on the rural Swiss roadside

words and things in pseudo-adjectves

3/1/20: Guy gear: Guy gear
gear and the various categories associated with it

3/14/20: A diverse holiday: A diverse holiday
Asian referring to persons, esp. in the context of gay porn; associated categories

5/27/20: Happy Memorial Day: Happy Memorial Day
holidays as sociocultural categories, and the labels associated with them

6/6/20: murals:
WALL, WALL+CEILING, MURAL1, MURAL2, MURAL3 (with metonymic extensions)

6/13/20: Milk Duds with duck sauce chez Zippy:
food categories SWEET vs. SAVORY

8/4/20: Towards the high end of the hardness scale:
“Sociocultural categories [like hard core vs. soft core] are virtually never sharply discriminated, though for legal or administrative purposes their names might be rigidly defined.”

8/5/20: Caterpillars spinning platters:
“The NOAD entry privileges the use of worm as a semi-technical term by biologists, as if the other senses are metaphorical offshoots of that. But an everyday category of creepy-crawly things referred to by the label worm is of course the older usage, which biologists then adapted to their purposes, as they did with fly and bug, among other labels.”

9/26/20: Avocado chronicles: 8: avocado salad:
DIP/SPREAD, dispread, dips, spreads, salads (bound salads, composed salads)

9/28/20: straight men’s jeans:
categories of types of jeans

2/14/21: Macho toys: the ads:
categories of sex toys for gay men

5/30/21: The Raw and the Cooked:
binary oppositions of categories

7/7/21: Lounge shorts:
categories of types of apparel; Xwear

2/7/22: Anagramming coreligionists:
category sharing

2/8/22: A sensitive young man:
musical genres