An allusion and a pun

July 1, 2021

🐇🐇🐇 The Mother Goose and Grimm strip from 6/30, with an allusion to an item of culture (the catchphrase “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”, quoting from sketches from the Monty Python tv shows and recordings) and perpetrating a (fairly absurd) pun on the phrase:


(#1) The bull terrier Grimm and the cat Attila confront punishment for their household misdeed

So the ostentatiously playful allusion to the Spanish Inquisition is motivated by the situation in the strip.

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Hopper, Woodstock, & LaBelle

June 30, 2021

… purveyors of riffs on the arts. The principal riffee: panel 1 of the Peanuts cartoon of 8/29/93 (yes, 1993):


(#1) Hat tip to Jeff Bowles on Facebook on 6/28, where readers noted that though panel 1 was on one theme and panels 2-10 on another, they were both about art

Panel 1 is the big riff, cartoonist Charles Schulz’s reworking of that parody magnet, Edward Hopper’s painting Nighthawks, featuring Snoopy’s best buddy, the little yellow bird Woodstock, as the late-night diners, the nighthawks.

And then from the title of the painting, my little riff, an association from Nighthawks to Nightbirds, bringing in the title of a Patti LaBelle song (and the album it comes from).

Finally, the main part of #1 is a story of artistic creation — with Snoopy as the artist, Woodstock as the subject, and Woodstock’s chick as the audience for Snoopy’s portrait.

Nighthawks as a parody magnet. Attracting parodies in the fashion of Wood’s American Gothic, Munch’s The Scream, the Mona Lisa, and of course The Last Supper. The original:

(#2)

Postings on this blog about parodies of it:

from 9/9/12, in “Nighthawks”, a collection of parodies

from 12/26/13, in “Santa art”, an Ed Wheeler parody

from 5/30/15, in “Earworms, snowmen, and parodies”, a Bob Eckstein parody

from 12/29/18, in “Nighthawks in search of an artist”, a Bill Whitehead parody

from 1/2/19, in “Nighthawks on New Year’s”, an Owen Smith parody

from 4/17/19, in “The last Peepshow”, with Peeps parody dioramas of The Scream, Nighthawks

from 7/3/20, in “Nighthawks in a time of coronavirus”, still more parodies

Nightbirds. From Wikipedia:

Nightbirds is an album by the all-female singing group Labelle [headed by Patti LaBelle], released in 1974 on the Epic label. The album features the group’s biggest hit, the number-one song “Lady Marmalade”

You can listen to the track here.

The beginning of the song:

Nightbird fly by the light of the moon,
Makes no difference if it’s only a dream.
Released, relive, just for the day,
It’s the nightbird’s way.

Rainbows and penguins at the gym

June 29, 2021

Yesterday was actual Stonewall Day, honoring the riots at the Stonewall Inn on that date in 1969 and serving as a flashpoint for Gay Pride events and political organizations — and, increasingly over the years, providing a hook for all manner of LGBT-oriented commerce (products for sale, advertising for those products) and feel-good publicity for companies and organizations of all sorts. On darker days, I get the feeling that queerfolk are just being used: rainbow everything, whether or not it has some plausible connection to gender or sexuality. I am myself far from immune to the allure of random rainbow objects.

Some items of apparel, however, are naturals for the rainbow treatment — for gay men, items worn in male athletic activities or associated with male sexual bodyparts (or in the case of jockstraps, both).

As it happens, athletic / running / fitness / exercise / gym shorts are a long-standing item in my clothes drawers: worn for doing exercises at the Y (when I could still manage that), as everyday indoor wear at home, and during the summer as comfortable outdoor wear as well. I’ve been accustomed to using gray cotton shorts (comfortable and cheap, also unremarkable), like these from ROMWE.com:

(#1)

But there are more interesting options.

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The lizard and the flag

June 26, 2021

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, with a pun on monitor; and a popular dad joke — even better, a Swiss dad joke, with a pun on plus — retold by Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show yesterday:

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Il Castello del Formaggio

June 22, 2021

The 6/21 Zippy strip takes us to Kenosha WI, on the highway between Chicago and Milwaukee, along the shore of Lake Michigan — to the location of Mars Cheese Castle, which is why Zippy is there:


(#1) Nothing directly to do with the two principal foci of this blog — language and linguistics, gender and sexuality — but plenty on food, pop culture (along the roadside), and absurdist comedy

As for my interests, Kenosha does have the headquarters of Jockey International — hail to men’s underwear! — and a local woolly mammoth skeleton in its museum — my totem animal! — and, best of all in mid-America’s Land of Cheese, an annual fall Cheese-A-Palooza festival (devoted to the grilled cheese sandwich and to mac and cheese). But best of all is Mars Cheese Castle.

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Travails of blogging 6/21/21

June 21, 2021

Life has been difficult — I’m not coming back to anything like life in the Before Time — but added to the mix have been some WordPress blogging travails. One old issue, and two fairly fresh annoyances.

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Where is your bathroom?

June 20, 2021

A comic gem from the very first episode (“Give Me a Ring Sometime”) of the American tv show Cheers (S1 E1 9/30/82).  An exchange (call it the D&C exchange) between the character Diane — at this point, merely a patron sitting in the bar Cheers — and Coach, the bartender on duty:

Diane to Coach: Excuse me. Where is your bathroom?

Coach in response : Uh, next to my bedroom.

The character Coach  turns out to be empathetic and warm-hearted, but regrettably slow and defective at calculating people’s intentions in speaking as they do. In this brief exchange with Diane, Coach is faced with several linked tasks in understanding deictic elements: the locative deixis in where, the person deixis in your.

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Annals of commercial naming: Bear Naked Granola

June 18, 2021

Brought to me by Facebook in recent days, advertisements for two playful trade names: one — for the Boy Smells company, offering scented candles, unisex fragrances, and (unscented) underwear, all for LGBT+-folk — covered in my 6/16 posting “Annals of commercial naming: Boy Smells”; and now, for the Bear Naked® Granola company. The two cases turn out to be very different.

Boy Smells belongs with a series of postings on this blog on dubious and unfortunate commercial names — some clearly unintentionally racy, some playfully suggestive, some openly, even brazenly, suggestive, given the nature of the establishments (Hooters). The Boy Smells company is almost painfully earnest about its LGBT+ mission, which makes its name — so evocative of teenage pong — especially unfortunate.

Bear Naked Granola, in contrast, is knee-deep in playfulness, starting with the pun on bare naked, so that on the one side, you get a reference to bears, with their fondness for nuts and fruits and honey (all relevant to granola); while on the other side, you get bare naked, suggesting purity and simplicity. And you also get the pop-culture view of bears, as cute and entertaining.

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Prey of the day

June 17, 2021

From Nancy Friedman / Fritinancy on Twitter on 6/15:

This Sam Gross cartoon from many years ago [in the New Yorker issue of 8/11/02] suddenly popped into my head for no special reason other than that it’s completely perfect.


(#1) A cat tale of two worlds

On the one hand, there’s the world of cats, in which they hunt small animals, like mice and voles, and proudly bring their dead prey home for their human. And then there’s the world of human family relationships, in which for a special occasion you bring your aging mother a present, in a wrapped gift box, with a card expressing your love for her on this occasion.

The speaker in Gross’s cartoon is in both worlds, which are aligned with one another: it’s both a cat bringing its mousey prey home to its owner and also a loving child with a gift-wrapped present for Mom — with a card for her. Read the card! Read the card!

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Annals of commercial naming: Boy Smells

June 16, 2021

Smells like queer teen spirit.

Ads for the Boy Smells company have been popping up with some regularity in my Facebook feed — no doubt because I posted a while back on some fragrances for men, one of the two scented product lines the company offers, the other being candles. A third line is underwear, all of it explicitly labeled by the company, “This comes unscented”, but in an ad for Boy Smells products, it’s hard not to think of pungent teenager skivvies. Some ads combine the boy image of actor Tommy Dorfman with an Extra Vert Candle. Ad copy:

Discover the intimate world of Boy Smells with unique candles, fragrances & underwear. 10% of Proceeds From The Pride Collection Will Be Donated to Support the Trevor Project [providing suicide prevention efforts among LGBT+ youth].


(#1) The boyish Tommy Dorfman, something of a queer, and genderqueer, icon — attired in jade


(#2) French vert ‘green’ (suggesting the green herb tones in the scent) + extravert / extrovert ‘an outgoing, expressive person’

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