The Gay Village, Swiss Chalet, poutine

August 8, 2018

Further notes on the 31st motss.con in Montréal (which came to an end with a stragglers’ breakfast on Monday); background in my 8/3 posting “The rainbow pillars of Montréal”. And further explorations of things Swiss, or at least things called Swiss, in particular that Canadian institution, the Swiss Chalet restaurant chain. Motssers on holiday in Québec, food: that means poutine, (by report) consumed often and by many during the con.

Brief visual background on the con’s location, the Gay Village of the city:


(#1) Aerial view of Rue Ste-Catherine E. in the Gay Village, with its overhead rainbow-colored balls (from Chris Ambidge)

Read the rest of this entry »

Succulents on a rampage

August 8, 2018

It started back in April, when I acquired a small succulent garden (of mostly silver-blue plants) at Trader Joe’s and re-planted its five crowded inhabitants in a more suitable pot. They quickly grew too big for that space, so in May I bought a considerably larger turquoise pot for them to live in (and added a silvery creeping sedum and some ornamental stones). Now it’s early August, and most of the original plants are huge; one is blooming, another has a flower shoot blasting skyward, and two more look like they’re planning on blossoming. It’s all a bit alarming. When their mania for reproduction has run its course, it will be time for a much larger pot. Or something.

Read the rest of this entry »

The elephant in therapy

August 8, 2018

Today’s Rhymes With Orange combines two cartoon memes, Psychiatrist and Elephant in the Room:

(#1)

Not the first time this combination has been drawn.

Read the rest of this entry »

Two texties, in two tonalities

August 7, 2018

Texties are cartoon-like compositions in which a pictorial component is entirely absent or merely decorative, not essential to the point of the composition — in effect, words-only cartoons; they can be intended as humor, like gag cartoons, or as serious commentary, like political cartoons.

Two have come to me via friends on Facebook recently — both funny, both taking off on specific registers in modern printed English: the lost and found poster (in the texty “FOUND:CAKE”, or F:C), and the amazing-fact texty on the net (in the texty “[plant facts!]”, or pf!). F:C is an elaborate translation, in detail, of an item of popular culture; pf! is an undermining of the amazing-fact texty form itself.

Read the rest of this entry »

Two occasions, four cartoons

August 6, 2018

(There will be talk of men’s bodies, among a number of other things, so you might want to exercise some caution.)

Yesterday was National Underwear Day (utilitarian garments elevated to objects of play, desire, and fashion display), today is Hiroshima Day (remembering the horror of an event of mass destruction, death, and suffering). An uncomfortable, even absurd, juxtaposition, but there is a link in the symbolism of the two occasions. In my comics feed for these occasions: four language-related cartoons on familiar language-related themes, none of them having anything to do with either underwear or nuclear holocaust, probably for good reason.

Cartoons first, then the underwear and atomic bombs.
Read the rest of this entry »

Friends of friends

August 6, 2018

At Palo Alto’s Gamble Garden this morning, two sort of familiar plants — a big upright succulent just coming into bloom, a small tree (or large shrub) with silver-green leaves and still green berries. The first a new (to me) variety of the familiar spectabile species (‘Autumn Fire’ rather than ‘Autumn Joy’ — hey, fall is coming fast), with a unfamiliar (to me) genus name (Hylotelephium instead of Sedum). The second both like the familiar olive (Olea europaea) and like the familiar  Russian-olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia), but not quite either of them: a merely olive-like Elaeagnus rather than an actual Olea, and commutata ‘silverberry’ rather than angustifolia.

Read the rest of this entry »

Toga, togae, togae!

August 5, 2018

Following up on my “Creams” posting yesterday, about names for gay bars, Betsy Herrington wrote to say that when she lived in NYC (in Chesea) in the late 90s, “there was a wonderful gay toga bar down the street called Vidi Vici Veni”. A bookish joke (playing on the slogan Veni Vidi Vici ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’ attributed to Julius Caesar, and using the slang sense ‘ejaculate’ of the English verb come) familiar to me, but not as the name of a gay bar. On a t-shirt:

(#1)

Read the rest of this entry »

Creams

August 4, 2018

A friend in the UK writes on Facebook:

It just occurred to me that Creams would be a great name for a gay pub.

(but he hasn’t found a pub by that name). Then I discovered that this musing was posted on the occasion of his visiting Creams Cafe (a dessert shop specializing in Italian gelato) in Liverpool.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cultural knowledge

August 4, 2018

Three recent cartoons in my feed that depend on their readers supplying crucial bits of background cultural information: a Rhymes With Orange from the 1st (the eating habits of Japanese movie monsters); a Mother Goose and Grimm from the 1st (the His Master’s Voice dog); and today’s Bizarro/Wayno collab (clergy visiting parishioners).

In each case, the cartoon shows some situation from everyday life (which you have to know about) juxtaposed with, or translated into, another more remarkable world (which you also need to know details of).

Read the rest of this entry »

Ruthie and the language of doughnuts

August 3, 2018

The One Big Happy from July 5th, in which Ruthie and Joe get some dubious advice from their father:

(#1)

Their dad’s advice will no doubt warm the hearts of language teachers and multiculturalists, but it’s dubious as practical advice for everyday life.

Meanwhile, Ruthie wrestles with the question of how to get a language name from the noun doughnut / donut. Donuttish (with an all-purpose adjective-forming suffix, –ish) would certainly be possible, but, probably on the model of Dutch, Ruthie goes for Donutch, that is, Donut-ch (this is spoken, rather than written, by Ruthie, so it could have been spelled Donutsh, like Welsh).

(It tickles me to think of the language name as Dutchnut, a portmanteau of Dutch and doughnut. Or maybe that should be the name of the food.)

In any event, Ruthie has stumbled slant-wise onto the idea that doughnuts are of Dutch origin — an idea that confuses words and things, labels and the categories they label, but nevertheless incorporates a genuine bit of history.

Read the rest of this entry »