Friday, December 30, 2011

"Maledicta Sciurus" (Talk to the Squirrel)

One small, but very vocal difference in this new neck of the woods has been the Eastern Gray squirrels, which mass about twice as much as the familiar and native American Red squirrels did up in Alaska. And speaking of Alaska, why yes, I am still peeing off the porch in the morning, and that barbarian ritual incurs the wrath of the ruler of this particular patch of turf. Which is nothing compared to the apoplectic fit visited upon poor Bird-Dog - not that it matters much, as she's pretty much deaf as a post by now.

From cursive to curses: tangentially connected to the last post, more mulling over words, particularly swear words, which the verbal device of "maledicta" is used to circumvent the taboo. In cartoons these unique stand-in symbols were tagged as “grawlix” by cartoonist Mort Walker in his "Lexicon of Comicana."
The lazy way out is just using standard keyboard symbols, or swapping a key letter out with asterisks, but a more skillful and creative approach is to harness the unique powers of pictorial semiotics and information graphics theory to draw individual icons. This is reflected somewhat in the contemporary usage in texting with emoticons, which are now not just limited to adapting keyboard symbols but includes little characters. So far as I know I got just about every representative I could think of in this panel: along with the standard miscellany there's the classic bomb, stick of dynamite, skull, dagger, explosion, fist, handgun, grimace, mushroom cloud, planet, star, lightning bolt, splatter, tombstone and a hangman's noose. Let me know if I #!*ing missed one.


  1. Ha! That's pretty #*!'in awesome.

  2. You fraking know it...
    Come to think of it, the BSG usage has unfortunately been eclipsed by hydraulic fracturing...#%!!