Now Just Back Up A Second!

Backspace

Why is there a backspace key on the keyboard? Actually, my PC doesn’t have one, clearly marked ‘Backspage’bBackspace’, handily located in the lower right corner of the keyboarkeyboard. Mine is an inconvenierinconverinconveniently located button in the upper right, vaguely labelled(?) with a left-pointing arrow.

The backspace key is obviously therthere so that we can go back and correct our typing errors. Mine usually gets quite a waorkoutworkout. I’d have never passed a high school typing test. With words or strokes being subtracted for errors, I’d have ended up owing words.

Mistype

As I get older, it gets worse. Sometimes it’s as if my hands have a mind of their own. This shows up especially when I’m doing crossword puzzles. Clue – wondrous….solution – epic. The mind says, “That’s spelled E>>>PE…P…I…C” – and I look down, and my fingers have already written the C where the E should be. When I’m typing, the lesftleft little finger really likes to add randonrandom a’s.

I recently read a post like this, where the author had been challenged to publish a document, with strikethroughs to show where mistakes had been made. Like him/her, in several cases, the hands automatically backspaced and corrected, but I then retyped thmistakesthe mistakes to show where they’d been.

How about you, my faithfifaithful readers? Are you all perfect typists, with no strikethroughs? Would any of you like to accept this secodsecond-hand challenge, and publish a little missive to show how much you go through to bring us your perfect prose?

Fat typist

 

Blade Runners

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On Saturday, Aug. 23, the son, grandson and I attended another Art Knife Show at a fancy hotel in downtown Toronto. We took along with us, the Katana sword shown above, which the son won in a door-prize raffle in 2011. Tickets were $5/ea, or 5 for $20. The son risked the twenty bucks, and the lady at the door gave him six tickets. Being honest, he returned the extra ticket, and insists that it was the karma from this act which won him the sword.

We carefully wrapped it in a large towel, so that it could ride the subway with us, incognito. It was a collaboration effort. One skilled bladesmith created the blade, and then handed it over to another maker, more skilled in adding the fittings – handle, guard, wrap, and sheath – and assembling the final product.

While finished, at the show, it took another 10 months for it to be shipped to us. We emailed photos to the blade maker, but he was very interested in actually seeing and handling the finished product. He had to miss the 2012 show. In 2013, the son forgot to bring it, but promised, “Next year in Jerusalem Toronto.” In 2014, we were 60 miles from home when the son finally thought of it. We weren’t going back! This year, finally, the blade guy was overjoyed and impressed, and took several shots of it for his catalogue.

Below are several photos of blades I felt were interesting and well made, along with a few comments. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and I’ll try to answer.

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See final picture at bottom.

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The knife on the right is one version of a sub-hilt fighter.  I paid a maker $700 to produce a cheaper model with a white handle that I could have scrimshawed.  He played around for over two years before deciding that he wanted to make American Civil War replicas.  It took another year, and urging from influential members of the Guild, to get him to return my money.  I’d have been much happier to have the knife instead.

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This Damascus double ulu started off as a joke by a maker with a young son who didn’t want to eat the crusts on his toast.

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Double-ended jackknives used to be common.  Some cutlery companies still make a few from $20 to $100.  I believe this beauty was going for $850.

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Not quite an ‘art knife’, this hay-bale cutter contained $200 worth of material and labor.  The maker built it for experience and practice.  It was going to a Mennonite in my area in exchange for some Damascus steel that he had made, and a small blower forge.

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My little digital camera really does not do some of these knives justice.  Click on the photos for more detail.

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The photos above and below are of knives produced by the maker of the blade of the katana at the top.  Again, my lack of detail does not show the high quality of his blades, but amateurish finish on his handles.

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Knife Collector's Prayer

The photo at the top shows a small portion of a collection that the owner of this sign had on display.  The ‘Art Knife Makers’ were all dressed in suits and upscale clothing.  They usually built one knife at a time.  While they charged $500 to $5000 a knife, they often had it sold, and money in hand before it was finished.

This unassuming guy dressed like me – black jeans and a polo shirt, but his display contained dozens of these expensive toys.  I need to ask him next year what he does for a living.  The cost of his collection could buy a small country.

Flash Fiction #66

Widdershins

PHOTO PROMPT © The Reclining Gentleman

WIDDERSHINS

He must be late! Everybody was coming back. Bloody British, they don’t know if they’re coming or going, but do it on the wrong side of the road. Everyone else had passed to the right on medieval trails, to keep the sword-arm free.

Not the English! No Sirree! At least they hadn’t passed this aberration on to Canada or the USA, although they’d led 50 other countries astray – if you didn’t look too hard at the definition of the term ‘country.’ Turks and Caicos Islands, and Vendu. Vendu?? There were sunglass kiosks in the malls that were larger than Vendu.

***

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

 

Uber

Taxi

A boy and his date were parked on a back
road some distance from town, doing what
boys and girls do on back roads some
distance from town, when the girl stopped
the boy.

I really should have mentioned this
earlier, but I’m actually a hooker and I
charge $50 for sex.”

The boy reluctantly paid her, and they
did their thing.

After the cigarette, the boy just sat in
the driver’s seat looking out the window.

Why aren’t we going anywhere?” asked the
girl.

Well, I should have mentioned this
before, but I’m actually a taxi driver,
and the fare back to town is $75.”

***

What should you do when you see
an endangered animal that is eating
an endangered plant?

***

There was a magic mirror. If you told it the
truth, it would grant you a wish. If you lied to
it, it would vaporize you on the spot. One day a
brunette walked up to the mirror, looked in it
and said, “I think I’m the most beautiful woman
in the world.” Poof! She disappeared.

A little while later a redhead walked up to the
mirror, looked in it and said, “I think I’m the
most beautiful woman in the world.” Poof! She
disappeared.

Later, a blond walked up to the mirror, looked in
it and said, “I think…” Poof!!

***

If at first you don’t succeed, blame your computer.

***

We spend the first twelve months of our children’s
lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next
twelve years telling them to sit down and shut up.

Phyllis Diller

***

Did you know that it costs forty thousand dollars
a year to house each prisoner?

Jeez, for forty thousand bucks apiece I’ll take
a few prisoners into my house! I live in New York,
I already have bars on the  windows.

I don’t think we should give free room and board
to criminals. I think they should have to run
twelve hours a day on a treadmill and generate
electricity. And if they don’t want to run, they
can rest in the electric chair that’s hooked up
to the generator.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Birthday Cake

As threatened promised last week, this is my birthday-blog roast-post. What have you got to say about it?

71 years ago today, I burst upon the scene in a small Ontario town, and I haven’t stopped talking since. Today, I promise to keep it down to just my Elvis impression – Thenk yoo! Thenk yoo vurry much! This is your day to make any and all comments, suggestions, and (humorous) insults.

Do I feel lucky, punk?? Well, do I? Go ahead – make my day!

I hope I enjoy this as much as you.

Lay on MacDuff,
and cursed be he
who first cries,
Enough!

Welcome, and thank you to all my visitors!

 

ARCHON

It All Comes Down To The Music

Rock group

The son commented the other day that he was doing some research about The Drowning Pool.

“Oh, I liked that book. I read several of Ross MacDonald’s books when I was young. They were gritty, like Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. I also liked the 1975 movie with Paul Newman, and his wife/actress, Joanne Woodward….”

No, no, he says! I’m talking about a rock group.

Well, of course you are! It all comes down to names for musical groups. (I’d write ‘rock groups’, but there hasn’t been any real ROCK, since about ’85.) Names for groups are like internet domain names. There’s more looking for them, than are available. To get one, especially the one you want, can be difficult – and expensive.

That may explain groups like Finger Eleven, (Is that the one you use to communicate with other drivers?) and Maroon Five. (I can still hear Bugs Bunny cackling, “What a maroon.”, and here’s five of them)

Once upon a time, there was a band called Bush. They went nowhere fast, then quietly disbanded. Many years later, another group of musical young men who had never heard of the original Bush, named their band that. Soon they got a cease and desist order. For over a year they had to operate as Bush-X, till somebody’s palm got greased, or their ego salved.

I suspect the same type of thing is happening with a band named X-Ambassadors, whose tune ‘Renegade’, is being used by Chrysler Motors to promote their Jeep. The band may have to pay Chrysler for promotional consideration, because the commercial has made them nationally famous, and their song is all over every radio station.

Bands are named just about everything you can imagine – and, I imagine, things you can’t imagine. Whenever I check a tag on my WordPress Reader, to ‘see what others are writing’, every one of my usual tags leads to a band. There’s a band called Knives. There’s a band called Sword. There’s also a small city in Ireland called Sword. There’s a band called Handguns. There’s a band called Archon. There’s a band called Kings.

When I was a teenager, there was a group of five young men from the next town over. They had all been friends since before kindergarten. They were all children of merchants, lawyers and real estate agents who could afford to pay for music lessons and new, decent-quality instruments. They studied music, and they practiced, first alone, then together. They garage band-ed for almost ten years.

They would never have made the big time back then, although, nowadays, Justin Bieber proves that anything’s possible. They were good enough to play Thursday nights during the high school summers, at a dance hall on the waterfront in Sauble Beach. They also played Friday and Saturday nights at a smaller dance hall on the Port Elgin beach. It didn’t hurt that the rhythm guitar player’s dad owned it.

Five of my known associates decided that, if the other guys could do it, they could too. Three of them had never taken a lesson. Two of them had never picked up an instrument. Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, trumpet (?), violin (?) and drums – this was before ELO or Chicago. The only song they performed that sounded barely acceptable, was Surfin’ Bird. Check out the original on YouTube.

They practiced/jammed a couple of hours a week for six months. The town paid them ten bucks a head to perform at a summer teen dance in the arena – and they never got another paying gig.

When visions of sugarplums were still dancing through their heads, it was realized that the group would need a name. None of them was creative enough, or egotistical enough to come up with one, so groupies like me were asked for suggestions.

I asked my father, who was just barely into the entertainment industry. Having come through the Big Band Era, he suggested The Kingsmen, or The Coachmen. These weren’t sufficiently ‘with it’ for the swingin’ early ‘60s. The next-town band called themselves “The Comets”, bright, brilliant, showy, unusual, memorable.

Plagiarizing the scientific theme, I never did ask which one of ‘my’ group of geniuses decided to name the band “The Atoms”, tiny, invisible, insignificant, and more common than grass. We’re all lucky that they put their thick glasses, repaired with tape, back on, oiled up their slide rules, and were never heard again.

What are some of the groups, ‘unusually’ named or not, that you    listen(ed) to?

Flash Fiction #65

Ostrich

PHOTO PROMPT © David Stewart

OSTRICH

Fourteen years ago, old Mr. Miller closed that gate, went in the house, and no-one’s seen him since.

He had a well drilled, and a hand water-pump installed. The power and phone companies cut him off. The County has tried to evict him for taxes, but he ignores the notices they leave on the gate.

The bank transfers his pension money to the grocery store. He leaves lists, and they deliver boxes of food which disappear overnight.

Twin Towers

He’s got no radio, TV, cell phone, internet or social media. Doesn’t he know about all the great things there are out here.

Terrorist

***

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