or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I'll Be Quirky

A while back--a month and a half ago--I wrote about my little revelation regarding the word "apricot". Yesterday, a reader wondered

if it is part of the root for albuquerque.

Well, you don't have to believe me--I'm not sure I would myself--but I had already had the same thought, last Saturday at the gym, the site of my previous wonderings about "apricot". I looked at the shower-gel bottle, thought, "albaricoque--that's 'al-burquq'", and then suddenly realized, "al-burquq is Albuquerque!" (And then was going to write about it but forgot.) I felt remarkably stupid that that hadn't occurred to me earlier, but a delayed insight is better than none at all, I suppose.

However, not everyone thinks Albuquerque and al-burquq are related, believe it or not. One theory proposes that Albuquerque comes from "Abu al-Qurq", which is either a reference to the cork tree or a term meaning "town of Christians and Jews". Another theory is that it's from Latin "alba quercus", "white oak". (The word "cork" does in fact come from Arabic "al-qurq": but that, in turn, comes from Latin "quercus", so they're both plausible enough. The whole Jews-and-Christians thing, though: where does that come from?)

I find the "al-burquq" link the most compelling. It sounds much more like "Albuquerque" than does "Abu al-Qurq", and "alba quercus" is wrong in that the botanical, Latin name for "white oak" is actually "quercus alba", which makes "alba quercus" sound like someone's trying to fit the facts to the theory rather than the other way around. (I could be wrong about this, and Latin is impressively flexible in terms of word order.) "Albuquerque" was once "Alburquerque", with that extra "-r-", which strengthens the case even further. And plums and apricots were grown in Albuquerque early on, so the name is plausible enough: it's not as if they fancifully named the settlement after, say, the plantain or the coconut.


This is from The Onion, which, if not quite as consistently brilliant as it was a few years ago, is still always worth a read.

Comic-Book Superrman Impervious To Copyediting
NEWARK—Executives at DCC Comics have announced the debut of comic-book character Superrman, whose invulnerability to copyediting protects him from nefarious outside forces and intellectual-property lawsuits. "Thrill to the exploits of Superrman, the only child of a doomed plant! Gasp in awe at his Superr-Strength, X-Roy Vision, and his ability to leap mall buildings in a single bounce!" read a press release issued by DCC. "Superrman's only weakness? His vulnerability to Cryptonight… and his star-crossed love for sassy, sexy, trouble-prone reporter Louis Lane!"  The editors of Superrman say the comic book will be released alongside those of other popular DCC characters such as Wander Woman, the Flush, and Batdan.

I think a comic in which a superhero had a mad pash for a reporter named Louis Lane might do well in some markets.


Blogger Bright Beak said...

I'm thinking it would be about time there was a version of Superman w/ Louis instead of Lois :)

Have other comics branched beyond the strictly hetero market? I know that in fanfiction it is, ummm, WELL explored, but in pro-fic?


Thursday, May 04, 2006 2:18:00 PM  
Blogger pyramus said...

There have been all sorts of gay comic-book characters; I just Googled "gay superhero Marvel DC" and got over two hundred thousand hits. There haven't been too many with their own titles, as far as I know, certainly not in the really big leagues: Marvel did an updated, fairly campy version of the Rawhide Kid a few years back, but that's the only one I know of. Try going to this site here for a detailed, possibly exhaustive list.

Thursday, May 04, 2006 3:23:00 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

You know, comics are really popular with us gays.

Thursday, May 04, 2006 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger pyramus said...

Oh, don't I know it.

To possibly state the obvious, superheroes, and Marvel's X-Men in particular, are practically one long extended metaphor for being a young gay person: teenager realizes he/she's "different", has to hide it for fear of violence and reprisal, eventually meets others who are also different, falls in with them and forms alternative, understanding family.... That's been the subtext for a long, long time: they even introduced the idea in the second X-Men movie. No wonder gay kids have latched onto comics so whole-heartedly.

Friday, May 05, 2006 5:49:00 AM  

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