HOT-DAMN HOT ROD

Mustang

Once upon a long time ago, shortly after the invention of the wheel….

One day I had to take my car in to a garage to have some work done. Back when ‘Customer Service’ was still a proven fact, and not a forgotten myth, the apprentice mechanic drove me to work and took my car back to the shop.  He, or someone else, was supposed to pick me up at 5:00 PM, when both our firms were finished for the day.

About 3 o’clock, my phone rang. They had dismantled the car, but a couple of necessary parts wouldn’t arrive till early the next morning.  I would have to leave it overnight, and find a way home and back in the next morning.

Home was almost 10 miles across town on a hot August afternoon. Walking was unthinkable.  Transit would mean over an hour, three buses, and still a good walk to the house.  I approached DORIS, a ditzy clerk, old enough to be my mother.  She lived on the same side of town, but normally took a road parallel to mine.

Sure! She could drive me home.  She was also taking Ethel, who lives near me.  At 5:00, we all left the office, and headed for the parking lot.  Doris handed me a key chain, and said, “When I’m in the car with a man, he drives.”  A little strange, but, Okay.

I know she drives a crappy Dodge Dart. The keychain she handed me was quite masculine – a blue rabbit’s foot, one die (dice), and a Ford key.  She saw me looking at it questioningly, and said, “I had to take my car in too.  I’m driving the son’s car.”

When we got to her spot, there was a new(ish) Mustang. I climbed in and fired it up, and saw a couple of reasons why she wanted me to drive.  Gearhead son bought the ‘Tang with the stock 283 cubic inch motor, but had got ahold of, and shoehorned in, a gigantic seven liter (427 C.I.) engine with 4-on-the-floor transmission.  I was raised on standards, so I was good to go.

As I backed up and pulled out, I found yet another reason. While son had installed the big motor and tranny, he hadn’t (yet) put in power steering or heavy-duty front suspension.  Here was an engine as big as Mount Rushmore, sitting over extra-wide front tires. It was like trying to steer the Titanic with a canoe paddle.

Once I got it going more or less straight, on the road home, the conversation turned to language. How could it not? I was in the car.  I mentioned that the first thing I had learned about German when I arrived, was that there are no silent letters.

I had asked a German-speaker about an Amish dish called ‘schnitz und knepp.’ I confused her by pronouncing it ‘nepp.’  This is when she told me it should be ‘kenepp.’  We had recently hired a new, young engineer, named George Kniseley.  When he came around to introduce himself, he pronounced it ‘nizely.’  I told them that, properly, it should be pronounced ‘kenizely.’

Doris said, “Who??”
“George Kniseley!”
“Who??!”
“The young engineer we just hired.  He sits upstairs, across from Bill, our chief engineer.”
“Oh, him!?  I’ve been calling him Kinsley (kins-lee) for six months, and nobody’s said a thing.”

That’s okay, Boris….uh, Doris, I’m sure he doesn’t mind.   😕

Advertisements

A to Z Challenge – F

April Challenge

Chuck you, Farley!

Letter F  FIRE!

I was in fine fettle and feeling frisky last Friday. I felt it would be a fun and frivolous frolic to use my finesse and mental file full of facile facts, to fearlessly fabricate a folio featuring the letter F, to favor my many fine fans and faithful followers.

My first foray was merely a foolish façade. I found that I was a failure, a feeble fake, and felt like a fog-brained, fatuous, old fart, really full of foolish ego.

I had to flee from the feeling of frustration for failing to finish my finite little Flash Fiction feature. I felt that I had really fouled up, a facet I’d never fully faced before.  At least no-one gave me the foul fickle finger of fate, and told me to F off.

This futile alliteration function has me feeling freaky. Fear not, friends.  I’m now finally free to flog a fresh foundation for the following letter, G.

I’m fully finished, and find I’m famished. I feel I should flit off and fix some filling and flavorful foreign food, for example, fajitas or frijoles.   😉

Champions Award

No good deed ever goes unpunished.

Oops, I did it again. I opened my mouth, and somebody stuffed an award in it.  (And I said, ‘No, no!  I’m unworthy.’)

champion-photo

So, there I was, blithely cruisin’ WordPress Boulevard – a little, ‘Hi, welcome to the Blogosphere.’ here – an occasional, ‘Nicely written.’ there. The next thing I knew, It’s Good To Be Crazy Sometimes had laid an award egg in this Cuckoo’s nest.  I’m gonna have to do some research.  With a blog-name like that, we may well be related.  Thanx, IGTBCS!

The Champions Award is a way of saying thank you to those readers and writers who go the extra mile in support of others. I know with this award we needn’t say anything special.

All my readers are Champions.

Rules: If you choose to accept this CHAMPIONS AWARDS, it’s simple. Post this Award Sticker on your blog. Use the hashtag #CHAMPIONSAWARDS, if, unlike me, you actually know how.

Acknowledge the sponsor of your Award. Choose at least five of your own nominees and advise them accordingly.(As usual – ain’t gonna happen – aren’t you lucky?)

Keep it simple… no need for explanations for the Awards… we know how great these folks are.

Payback’s a bitch. When I first started out blogging, there were about a half a dozen nice folks who went out of their way to help me shine up my self-esteem.  They all seem to be in protective custody now, or under Professional Care.  You guys know who you are.  It’s up to me alone to Deepthroat the story of the radiation leak at Three Miles Of Awards Island.

The pleasure I get from receiving this award, is that it shows that I’m far from the only one getting it. While there are some assholes and trolls, out and about, the Interwebz is basically full of nice folks.

If you’d like a copy of the shiny, gorgeous award above, they are available in the gift shop for 25 cents apiece, or 3/dollar.
(All applicable taxes, shipping and handling extra.  No deposit, no return.  Payment accepted in prepaid iTunes cards only. Return any defective merchandise directly to manufacturer.  All payments to be made to Billy Goat Gruff.)   😆

 

Hell’s Gate

hells gate

AKA – Book Review #13

Always distrustful of the Lowest-Common-Denominator effect, I have avoided reading many of literature’s Great Books.  While I reference ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’, or ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, I have not actually read them.  Another book I have declined to read is ‘War and Peace.’

The first three hundred pages are a boring family lineage tree that makes the Utah Mormons look like amateurs. While epic in scale, the book then plods to a conclusion after almost 1200 pages.  I did read the 5000 page John Jakes’ Bicentennial Saga series, but that was eight 600/700 page books, over five years.

Especially since I have retired, I read to pass time as much as for the enjoyment of a good story. I recently filched a book from the library in the son’s room.  It’s a Science Fiction book that runs to 1208 pages, before a thirty page glossary of all the terms.  It’s a ‘War and Peace’ equivalent that took me almost a month to get through.

The Book – Hell’s Gate

The Authors – David Weber/Linda Evans

The Review –

Like War and Peace, this is an epic saga of two mighty empires, entire planets. They’re both ‘Earth’, although neither of them call themselves that.  This is a tale of parallel dimensional worlds.

About two hundred years ago, portals began appearing, which allowed them to travel to a string of other ‘Earths’ where everything except mankind exists. They have been mining the metals, cutting the lumber, and fishing the seas.

In one group, a minority have Psi powers. They can broadcast and receive thoughts, feel when someone is lying and ‘See’ territory miles away.  They have firearms.

The other side has learned to harness Galactic quantum energy, effectively creating magic. They can throw ball lightning, heal wounds, use crystals loaded with power like computers, and have bred Dragons.  They arm with crossbows, swords and axes for close combat.

The story begins when they arrive at the same alternate Earth, from opposite directions. Each group has 200 years of never seeing any other people.  Two startled scouts meet in a dark forest, and manage to shoot each other.  One crawls back to camp before dying.

Each is convinced the other started it, and the story follows the inevitability of war. Each planet has several nations, benevolent kingdoms and democratic empires.  The story traces the good guys trying to prevent destruction and death, and shows the countries, industries and individuals who cheat, betray and lie to cause war, for personal, group, and national advantages, on both sides.

While the action moves along steadily, there never seems to be any urgency or suspense in the story. It just plods along for the 1200 pages – and doesn’t come to an end.  The author and/or publisher seem intent on capturing readers with a serial.  I have checked out the next book.  I don’t like spoilers, and read a book from front to back, but I checked to see how long Hell Hath No Fury is.  It’s only 678 pages, and I unintentionally got a look at the last page – and it still doesn’t seem to be resolved.

It’s a great book for someone like me. It ate up a lot of spare time – not that I have a lot of ‘spare time’ sometimes.  You’ll have seen it in my yearly list of Books Read, and you’ll see its sequel, and possibly a review, next year – the good Lord willin’, an’ the creek don’t rise.   🙂

Screw You

SDC10824 SDC10822

This is another in the series of ‘Old Shit I Own.’ Do any of you know what this thing is, or what it was used for?  It’s another piece of long-lost memorabilia I discovered in the protracted Autumn Housecleaning.

The younger ones in my readership may find this hard to believe but, there was a time, not that long ago, when homes were not provided with numerous electrical outlets – or power points, or even wireless recharging of all those indispensible electronic gadgets.

This is a screw plug. It was used in rooms of homes where there might not be even one wall-socket electrical outlet.  You unscrewed the light bulb from an overhead fixture, screwed this in instead, and had a place to plug in things like my Mother’s washing machine, which rolled out to the middle of the room on little wheels.

Double socket

The problem then was, all work had to be done during the day, or the room would be dark. That problem was quickly solved by the development of the above little gadget.  You could screw the bulb back in to see what you were doing, and insert the socket on the other side of the Y.  I used one of them for a while, until I managed to install a light fixture over my basement workbench.

I know I am truly older than dirt, and born and raised out on the frontiers of the universe. I was too young to do so, but I have seen people using telephones which were a big box on the wall, with a speaking funnel on the front, and an earpiece dangling from the hang-up hook on one side.  You picked up the earpiece and turned a little crank on the other side, which attracted the attention of a real, live, operator.

CFL Bulb

Edison’s incandescent light bulbs, with an output of 60 watts or more, have been outlawed in Ontario, and replaced with CFL Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs, or now the LED style which produces more light and less heat, and save power. The only thing more ancient than incandescent, may be wall sconces with flaming torches – and you can’t plug a radio into one of those.

Flash Fiction #100 – Milestone

Milestone

MILESTONE

This is my 100th Flash Fiction, so it‘s a milestone – or is it??!

The first Flash Fiction I wrote, I did so as a challenge by my blog-friend, BrainRants, who had tried it. The blog-post of Rochelle’s that I accessed was not a F.F., and the photo I downloaded was that of her Grandmother, which I used to write a [pioneering story.]

That first one was 101 words, just to prove that I could do it. Every one since has been exactly 100 words.  It, and a few of its followers, I did just for personal satisfaction, and to extend my stat numbers.  I soon learned how to LinkIn, and joined the group.  Christmas/ New Years -2014/15, Rochelle didn’t post a prompt photo, but I felt a surge of creativity, and used one of my own photos, of a double rainbow, to write a [Sci-Fi short story] that didn’t get linked.

(Technology apparently still eludes me.  It’s FF #32  😯 )

Inspiration does not strike every week, but number 100 is just over two years from my first. Along the way, I’ve read some interesting stories, and met some creative writers and nice folks.  Thanx, to Rochelle and the rest of you for having me along.  This week’s submission follows.

Clown

Copyright -John Nixon

PIANO, MAN

There was something strange about this piano. He’d got it for a song.  A classical pianist had used it for practice, but had mysteriously disappeared.

He had tried to play upbeat lilts, but they always seemed to come out sedate and serious.

Today, while playing for the kids, in his Happy the Clown show, he had reached up to turn the page, and somehow caught his hand. When he reached up to free it, his other hand got tangled….  and he’d ended up – where??

How could he be inside a piano??  And who was this old guy with the tuxedo??!

***

Here’s what he was playing, on YouTube ‘circus march piano’

***

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

A to Z Challenge – E

April Challenge

Letter E

EGGS – are organic vessels in which embryos first begin to develop.

Egg

Isn’t this egg-citing?

Dr. Seuss’s ‘Green eggs and ham’ is better than eggs and green ham.

Emus lay green eggs, about the size of softballs.

He’s a good egg, even if he’s slightly cracked.

Why did the chicken cross the road?  ‘Cause her friends were egging her on.

Ham and eggs is just a day’s production for a hen, but a life’s commitment for a pig.

Justin Bieber’s a rotten egg because he egged a neighbor’s house.

egg on one’s face, Informal. humiliation or embarrassment resulting from having said or done something foolish or unwise:
They were afraid to back the losing candidate and wind up with egg on their faces.

lay an egg, Informal. to fail wretchedly, especially to be unsuccessful in front of an audience:
He laid an egg as the romantic hero.

put all one’s eggs in one basket, to venture all of something that one possesses in a single enterprise.

walk on eggs, to walk or act very cautiously.

Eggs and oaths are soon broken.

You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.

Don’t rush things.  Eggs can’t be unscrambled.

The same boiling water that softens potatoes, hardens eggs.  It’s all about what you’re made of, not your circumstances.

Don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

Evil chickens lay deviled eggs.

Why did the egg hide?  Because it was fry-day.

In my youth I was called an egghead.  Today I’d be a geek or a nerd.

The recipe said to separate the eggs – but it didn’t say how far.

I can’t lay an egg, but I’m a good judge of omelets.

Mark Twain said it’s okay to put all your eggs in one basket – if you watch the basket.

Eggs shouldn’t dance with stones.

People judge you by your actions, not your intentions.  You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hard-boiled egg.

That’s enough yolks for now. I’m going to make my eggs-it.