Foul Language

Dictionary

Let’s face it — English is a crazy
language. There is no egg in eggplant
nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor
pine in pineapple. English muffins
weren’t invented in England or French
fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies
while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet,
are meat.

We take English for granted. But if we
explore its paradoxes, we find that
quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings
are square and a guinea pig is neither
from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but
fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce
and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of
tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of
booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one
moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make
amends, but not one amend, that you comb
through annals of history but not a
single annal? If you have a bunch of
odds and ends and get rid of all but one
of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers
praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables,
what does a humanitarian eat? If you
wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your
tongue?

Sometimes I think all the English
speakers should be committed to an
asylum for the verbally insane. In what
language do people recite at a play and
play at a recital? Ship by truck and
send cargo by ship? Have noses that run
and feet that smell? Park on driveways
and drive on parkways?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance
be the same, while a wise man and a wise
guy are opposites? How can overlook and
oversee be opposites, while quite a lot
and quite a few are alike? How can the
weather be hot as hell one day and cold
as hell another?

Have you noticed that we talk about
certain things only when they are absent?
Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or
a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or
experienced requited love? Have you ever
run into someone who was combobulated,
gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where
are all those people who ARE spring
chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy
of a language in which your house can
burn up as it burns down, in which you
fill in a form by filling it out and in
which an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not
computers, and it reflects the
creativity of the human race (which, of
course, isn’t a race at all). That is
why, when the stars are out, they are
visible, but when the lights are out,
they are invisible. And why, when I wind
up my watch, I start it, but when I wind
up this essay, I end it.

#499

Advertisements

Flash Fiction #62

Storage

PHOTO PROMPT – © Claire Fuller

COMPUTER STORE

Welcome to the Computer Museum. Nothing in Man’s development has changed as much, as fast, as computing.

This is ENIAC’s grandson. In 1955, a crew of 9 men took almost a month to solder together 37,000 tubes. A large Montreal company used it mostly for payroll. My pocket calculator will do more than what they paid $2.5 million for.

Moore’s law says that speed doubles every 2 years, while size halves. You see that here in data storage also, rows of cabinets of tape reels, rolled by triskele arms for reduced space. School kids’ flash drives now hold this much.

***

In 1976, an erstwhile co-worker told me of being the design engineer in charge of the installation of Ferranti-Packard’s ENIAC successor, in a hall as big as 8 bowling lanes. Fortunately, Carrier had invented the air-conditioner, or all those tubes throwing off heat could have baked bread in the room. Dot-matrix tractor-printers had to be properly grounded, or the static electricity they generated could wipe the core.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple  site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

#498

Cognitive Dissonance II

Bible

A California lawyer has submitted a referendum proposal to outlaw homosexuality in the famously liberal western US state, on pain of execution.

“The abominable crime against nature known as buggery, called also sodomy, is a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us to suppress on pain of our utter destruction even as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrha,” reads the proposal, registered for comment on the attorney general’s website.

“Seeing that it is better that offenders should die rather than that all of us should be killed by God’s just wrath against us… the people of California wisely command, in the fear of God, that any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method,” he wrote.

When I read this, I couldn’t understand why this man’s head didn’t explode, I know mine almost did. In seven words in the second line, this lawyer goes immediately from “freedom and liberty” to “commands us to suppress.” The arrogance of this religious Fundamentalist, is matched only by his ignorance.

Only the night before I read this, had I reluctantly watched with the wife, a National Geographic TV documentary about ‘homosexuality’ among animals. In a one-hour show they listed seven examples, including coyotes, dolphins and Canada geese, and mentioned that there were several more. So much for his imagined “crime against nature!”

I don’t know where you’d store an Ego large enough to make you think that you have the right to speak for God. Perhaps in the same twisted, dark corner of the brain where you believe, without proof, that homosexuality is ‘evil’, or that God deigns to command you to do His work, and suppress it.

The Bible does speak against homosexuality, but I have never heard or read of anyone who claimed that ‘God ordered’ them to do something, who could point to anywhere other than their fevered religious imagination, for validating ‘proof’ of their Crusade. These delusions can be suppressed with proper medication and therapy.

This man seems to fear death from a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah destruction. The self-believed expert on the subject even managed to misspell Gomorrah, in his application. If God didn’t take out various 17th century Italian cities, 18th century Paris, or 19th century London, He’s not going to stir himself about a bunch of fags in San Francisco.

Even were such a destruction to occur, does he not believe that the God of Love would forgive him, and the other innocent Lots, and condemn only the sinners? Does he feel that God is too stupid or venal to judge each of us individually?

Like many of his religiously judgemental confreres, his very zealotry proves that he is not actually familiar with the Bible, instead, relying on what he thinks it says, or what someone else told him that they thought it says. I can recommend several good short passages.

Love one another.
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
As ye have done unto these, the least of my brethren, ye have done unto me.
Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
Judge not, lest ye be judged.
Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.
Render unto Caesar, that which is Caesar’s.

I feel sorry for depressing, narrow-minded, opinionated, supposedly-religious assholes like this….no I don’t! If they all died tomorrow, I’d stand in line to volunteer to load them into trucks with a pitchfork.

Amen means a soft, accepting ‘let it be’, not ‘use fire and sword to force your superstition on the infidels.’ We leave that to the likes of ISIS, who recently bulldozed down historic, artistic Iraqi Assyrian statuary. I feel sorry that the rest of us kind, loving people, like Job, are afflicted with them.

#497

Ginter Gardens

Hello there. Do you have lung cancer? Does anyone you know have lung cancer? Then you probably hate Lewis Ginter without ever having met him or knowing who he was.

On the other hand, if you love flowers and plants and gardens and landscaping, you might possibly forgive him.

Ginter 6

Hi there! This is Archon, your unpaid  😦  travel advisor again.  I know it’s already a bit late in the summer, but I have another place I recommend to go. Perhaps keep it in mind for next year. My wife, the gardening guru, and I, enjoyed a lovely day there a few years ago. I’m talking about the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, in north Richmond, Virginia.

Ginter 2

Born in 1824, of Dutch ancestry, originally from New York, Lewis Ginter moved to Richmond when he was 18. He made a considerable fortune, first through retail merchandising, then manufacturing, real estate development, and investments during the Civil War

After the war he got into tobacco and cigarettes. At one time he had a plant with 1000 young women rolling cigarettes. Other manufacturers started using mechanical rolling machines. Ginter designed and had built, even more efficient machines, making him more money, and producing more smokers.

Ginter 7

He was a philanthropist, donating money, often anonymously, to many charities. He created quite a development, outside of the north end of Richmond, for the privileged rich. He had a stream dammed to create a lake for paddling, and had trees and flowers planted. When bicycling became popular in the Gay 90s, he built a cycling club.

Ginter 3

The area around his property, Lakeside Estate was constantly beautified with the addition of flowers, trees and landscaping. When he died in 1897, he left it to a niece to continue his work. She renamed it Bloemendaal, Dutch for ‘Blooming Valley’, in honor of their heritage. She established a progressive farm, and built an orphanage for homeless Richmond children.

Ginter 1

Later she expanded the garden aspect and named it the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. It has six different garden types and areas, including a water garden, and a Japanese garden. It’s a beautiful place, and the sights and smells are enthralling.

Ginter 4

His (later, her) mansion is still standing. There is a magnificent Ginkgo tree, and an olive tree almost as big as an oak. Its huge branches are held together with steel cables to prevent it splitting. We were allowed a partial tour of the inside. I had a small, silent chuckle when the tour guide described the niece’s old age. In the year 2000, the word ‘slaves’ could still not be used, and even ‘servants’ apparently caused some consternation. She finally spluttered out, ‘the people who helped her’, all of whom I imagine were Negro.

Ginter 5

It’s quick and easy to get to, right off I-85. The entry fee is reasonable. Food and drink are available, or, you are allowed to bring your own and have a picnic. It’s a gorgeous, peaceful place to spend a day if you can get there. Click the link above to the Gardens’ website for hours of operation and maps, or access Wikipedia for Ginter Gardens – and post pictures after you get back.

Ginter 8  Stony Man’s younger brother

#496

The Games People Play

Heston

Our fellow-blogger, AFrankAngle is a teacher. His posts are well researched and clearly presented. His interests cover a wide territory, and include social and political happenings. He is located in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is keeping an eye on, and commenting about, the upcoming Presidential election.

The State of Ohio plays a pivotal role in such elections. It hosts the Primaries, and is a make-or-break State. I hope both you and Frank are appalled and outraged by the following little story.

The wife plays several games on a game site, as an anodyne to get her through some pain-filled days. Nothing exciting like Grand Theft Auto – just Canasta, Monopoly, Jungle Gym, Scrabble, and occasionally Crossword Cove, which I help her with. Usually she plays against the computer, because she says the other humans are too stupid and slow, and resentful when they get beat.

Apparently wasting spending time just playing games isn’t enough. The game site has recently added a chat-room-type sidebar, where you can make comments while you’re playing the games. It provides a list of conversation starters.

A couple of days ago, it listed;

What genre of Television do you prefer?
Who is your favorite Television character?
What Television episode disappointed you most with its outcome?

There were no takers for the TV genre question, I suspect because no-one knew what that big word, genre, meant.

Some woman got the TV character segment off to a bad start by listing Robert Uhrich, who was an actor, not a TV character, and who died 12 years ago. She was followed by a player who identified as a 67-year-old man from Ohio.

Perhaps led astray by the woman, he went even farther afield by declaring that his favorite TV character was Charles Heston, and the TV episode that disappointed him most was Ben-Her.

People, get out there and vote! These highly knowledgeable people vote, and if you don’t, Donald Trump will get to be president. 😳

And now back to our regularly scheduled rant about Canadian politics, so that you’ll know that there are idiots on both sides of the 49th parallel. We have a candidate for Prime Minister who first told us that, “The budget will balance itself.” He’s now switched to Care Bear policies, where he claims the budget needs to be, “Balanced from the heart outward.” Donald Trump is startin’ to look good.

#495

The Art Of Programming

Nerd

An architect, an artist and a programmer were
discussing whether it was better to have a wife
or a mistress.

The architect said he enjoyed time with his wife,
building a solid foundation for an enduring
relationship.

The artist said he enjoyed time with his
mistress, because of the passion and mystery he
found there.

The programmer said, “I prefer to have both.”

“Both?”

Programmer: “Yeah. If you have a wife and a
mistress, they will each assume you are spending
time with the other woman, and you can go to the
office and get some work done.”

***

A young couple gets married, and the groom asks
his bride if he can have a dresser drawer of his
own that she will never open. The bride agrees.

After 30 years of marriage, she notices that his
drawer has been left ajar. She peeks in and sees
3 golf balls and $6,000.

She confronts her mate with her findings, and
asks for an explanation. He explains “Every time
I was unfaithful to you, I put a golf ball in the
drawer.”

She figures 3 times in 30 years isn’t bad. But
what about the $6,000? He explains “Whenever I
got a dozen golf balls, I sold ’em!”

***

Any time four New Yorkers climb into the same cab without an argument, there’s been a bank robbery.

Men are like mascara. They run at the first sign of emotion.

Losing a wife is hard. In my case, it was damned near impossible.

***

I had to divorce my husband for religious reasons,
I’m a catholic and living with him is hell.

***

A young woman went to her doctor complaining of
pain. “Where are you hurting?” asked the doctor.

“You have to help me, I hurt all over”, said the
woman. “What do you mean, all over?” asked the
doctor, “Be a little more specific.”

The woman touched her right knee with her index
finger and yelled, “Ow, that hurts.” Then she
touched her left cheek and again yelled, “Ouch!
That hurts, too.” Then she touched her right
nipple, “Ow, even that hurts”, she cried.

The doctor looked at her thoughtfully for a
moment and asked, “Are you a natural blonde?”

“Why, yes,” she said.

“I thought so,” said the
doctor, “You have a broken finger.”

#494

Flash Fiction #61

Moths

PHOTO PROMPT – © Madison Woods

DEATH STAR

Tarczyn?? Respond Tarczyn!! Abort mission and evacuate!

Our weapons are too weak to defeat these ‘hoomans’. They hardly bother to notice us.

Poor Veeblefetzer! They hit him with a high-speed, transparent, radiation barrier. I hope he went quickly. They hosed him with some toxic blue fluid, and a giant steel beam flipped him down onto that strange, hard, black surface.

We need to find another world to settle our refugees, perhaps the orb they call Pluto. It may be a dwarf planet, but it should be big enough for us.

I told High Command that this invasion would never succeed.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

#493