Understanding the comics

February 22, 2017

Once again, I return to the question of what you have to know to understand a comic strip or a cartoon, with two recent cartoons in my comics feed, a Rhymes With Orange and a Bizarro; in both, understanding requires that you supply a word that isn’t in the text of the cartoon:

(#1)

(#2)

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Objects in compounds

February 22, 2017

A recent One Big Happy:

Ruthie has heard her father use the N + N compound student loan but doesn’t know the conventional meaning of the compound (in which the first N functions as Indirect Object: ‘a loan (of money) to a student’), so she (erroneously) gets another possible reading for student loan (in which the first N functions as Direct Object: ‘a loan of a student (to someone)’.

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Briefly: today’s metrical pleasure

February 21, 2017

In today’s Stanford Report (a daily report to the university community, three stories a day), the lead story has the teaser head:

Minuscule nanostraws

Ah: a double dactylic line: SWW SWW! Now to work it in as the first line of a full 8-line double dactyl.

Suggestions welcome.

(Oh yes, the nanostraw story is here.)

IN in the news

February 21, 2017

The lesson for the day begins with a news story. From yesterday in the Guardian:

British Muslim teacher denied entry to US on school trip: Juhel Miah from south Wales was removed from plane in Reykjavik despite suspension of president’s travel ban … A council spokesman said Miah was left feeling belittled at what it described as “an unjustified act of discrimination”. The council said the teacher is a British citizen and does not have dual nationality.

Then from Nadim Zaidi on Facebook, commenting on this:

These stories are becoming so commonplace that I don’t even bat an eye at them anymore. And that is how it starts, through normalization. More specifically, banality, the banality of evil, as Hannah Arendt wrote.

That’s normalization, the nominalization of innovative normalize (IN) — ‘render normal [‘acceptable’] that which was previously deemed beyond acceptable bounds’  used in a political context. From Emily Dreyfus in Wired 11/23/16:

Long before [[REDACTED]] became the president-elect, his detractors warned against “normalizing” his myriad violations of campaign decorum: the bigotry and misogyny, the Putin-philia and cavalier talk about nuclear weapons. Since [his] election …, “don’t normalize this” has become a liberal mantra, a reminder to stay vigilant in the face of aberrant presidential behavior that Americans may feel tempted — or emotionally bludgeoned — into excusing as just the way the country works now.

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ON in the comics

February 20, 2017

A Zippy I’ve been saving since it came out on 11/25:

Another piece of what’s turning into a very large project on the English words normal (Adj), normality (N), and normalize (V) — plus related vocabulary — and the conceptual (and sociocultural) categories associated with them. The Zippy involves only long-standing senses of normal and normality — what I’ll call O (for old (senses of)) N (for the three normal-related words) — plus the Adjs abnormal and deviant. (The contrast is between ON and what I’ve called IN, for innovative senses of the words.)

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Double your pleasure

February 20, 2017

(This posting has no redeeming social value whatsoever, and hardly any linguistic interest, but it can afford some laughs. It is, however, about gay porn ads, describing hard-core mansex, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

The hard-core evidence is on AZBlogX, in a posting titled “Sleazy Presidents Day with Michael Lucas” (Michael Lucas the gay porn honcho), with a holiday ad (#1) plus a still from a video the company has on sale (#2).

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New on my blog

February 20, 2017

Three new Pages on my blog this morning:

Penis art, under the parent Page “Xblog essays”, building on the inventory of postings in my recent “Art of the penis” posting: about artworks in which penises figure prominently.

Categorization & labeling, under the parent Page “Linguistics notes”: conceptual categorizations vs. linguistic expressions, an inventory assembled by Kim Darnell on my behalf

Clothing: general, under the parent Page “Clothing postings” (which it shares with pages on shirtlessness and underwear — reflecting some of the preoccupations of this blog): another inventory assembled by Kim Darnell on my behalf

Blossoms from the south

February 20, 2017

Two visits to the Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, one a few weeks ago, one last week, netting wonderful plants from the Southern Hemisphere (South Africa to Australia and New Zealand): Westringia fruticosa ‘Smokey’ and Tulbaghia simmleri ‘Cheryl Renshaw’ on the first visit, a species of Bulbinella (possibly Bulbinella nutans) on the second. All winter-blooming here in Palo Alto (though their blooming times are variable, in both hemispheres).

Meanwhile, we’re having a continuation of winter, with all its plants (including various magnolias, camellias, citrus fruits, cymbidium orchids, leafy greens and brassicas of all kinds, cyclamens, hellebores, pansies and violets, and so on). Meanwhile, the onset of spring comes in January, with narcissus / daffodils (now in great spreads of bloom), the first leafing out of deciduous trees, and then the flowering fruit trees in the genus Prunus (now blooming gorgeously and dropping their petals everywhere). There are seasons, but they overlap. Very soon: the first roses.

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horsetails

February 19, 2017

… the plant, viewable locally in planters outside two office buildings, one a block north and one a block west of where I live. They thrive there; they are tough plants, aggressive even — they are invasive pest plants in South Africa and Australia — though they suffer some from vandals who manage to break their stems off. The local species, Equisetum hyemale, in a big stand:

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Playlinguist

February 19, 2017

Playlinguist, “The Magazine of Full-Frontal Grammar”, has now been revamped as Parts of Speech, a lifestyle magazine for trendy metrolinguals, as you can see in today’s Bizarro:

(#1)

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