A To Z Challenge – U

april-challenge

When NBC convinced Johnny Carson to move his Tonight show from New York City to California, the changeover happened quite quickly.   His Burbank studio was ready far before he had a chance to buy or rent accommodations on the Left Coast.

He was put up for almost two months in a luxury suite at a ritzy local hotel. I don’t know if it was just having to live in unfamiliar, if posh, surroundings; if there was some friction between him and hotel staff and management; or if it was just an easy target for the gag-writers jokes.

Every night for weeks, there was a snide comment, and the Sheraton Universal was changed and referred to in his monologues as the Sheraton Unspeakable, the Sheraton Unreasonable, the Sheraton Uninhabitable, the Sheraton Untenable, the Sheraton Unbearable.

It was almost amazing how many U-shaped insults were crafted.  Finally, one night it became simply the Sheraton Unique, and we come to the word for this post about

letter-u

I recently composed a post about how huge percentages of the population have an overwhelming compulsion for conformity. They must be like everyone else, and everybody else must be exactly like them.

When the grandson was small, he was diagnosed with a variety of food allergies. Several of them caused behavioral problems, something the non-plagued are often not aware of.  Certain chemicals and compounds in food can cause physical and neurological stress, in turn causing moodiness, edginess, irritability, anger and lack of focus.

As a child it was relatively easy for his mother to watch his intake and ensure that he took his medication. As he neared puberty, and his character was developing, he regressed to sullen disinterest, if not disobedience, more so than most tweens.  Careful cross-examination revealed that he was sneaking foods from classmates, and not taking his pills.

When he was asked why he was doing this, even knowing his allergies, his answer was that he didn’t want to have allergies. He didn’t want a restrictive diet.  He didn’t want to take pills.  He just wanted to be like everyone else.

It didn’t take long to prove to him that ‘everyone else’ wasn’t like ‘everyone else.’ His Mom and his Grandma had to avoid certain foods and take medications.  When he looked closer, he found classmates with similar restrictions and needs.

Grandma, the chef, pointed out that the spelt-based cookies, cakes, bread and rolls, even the spelt-crust pizza, with lactose-free cheese and tamarind sauce, instead of tomato, were treats that no-one else got to have. Did he want her to stop making them for him?  The way to a man’s head, as well as his heart, is often through his stomach.

As a knowledgeable adult he can control the allergic affects, although he is still careful. As well as being a friendly, caring young man, he is largely indistinguishable from the rest of the herd, but he takes pride in knowing that he, like all the rest of us, is one-of-a-kind.  He is unique!  I don’t know why more of us can’t embrace that.

WOW #1

Dictionary

WOW is going to stand for – Word Of the Week

I’m always looking for an interesting theme to post about. I recently found one at SightsNBytes.  He vowed to post about a word a day, for 2017.  Of course, like many New Year’s resolutions, he’d only published 3 in the first two weeks.

To publish a post about a word a day would turn this into a dictionary site, but, a word a week seemed doable, perhaps even only when inspiration doesn’t strike with Rochelle’s 100-word Flash Fictions.  My OCD suggested that I go alphabetically, like the April Challenge.  Dictionary.com has an interesting word each day.  I’m sure I can find at least one suitable candidate each week.

Let us at least begin with an A word.

The first Word Of the Week is;
askance
Meaning – adverb 1. with suspicion, mistrust, or disapproval:
He looked askance at my offer.
with a side glance; sidewise; obliquely.

It looks like you’re ‘asking’ something, but, like many other English words, it actually begins with the French prefix ‘a’, meaning, ‘in, at or to’. The rest of the word would be more understandable, written ‘scanse’, incorporating the word ‘scan.’  It is pronounced (ah-skance), with the accent on the second syllable.

Probably like many of the words I’ll choose, this one is a bit archaic. When someone writes of one character ‘cutting his eyes’ towards another, our grandparents (Okay, your Great-grandparents) might have spoken of ‘looking askance.’

Does anyone object to learning about the occasional word? Be gentle with the words you use to describe me and my idea.  😉

 

Old Stuff – Part 4

Nun

As the youngest of nine Catholic children, the wife’s two oldest siblings, through no fault of their own, both became nuns. The eldest rather vainly insisted one day, that she was not 20 years older.  Careful calculation revealed it was only 19 years, 11 months and 17 days.

Not being terribly Catholic, I knew that priests moved from parish to parish as needed, but thought that nuns more or less served where they enrolled, or were sent where needed – and left there. Watching these two women over the years, I was amazed at the frequent-flyer miles they racked up.  Join a convent, and see the world.  If I’d known that there was this much free world travel, I’d have become a nun.

They both became School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND). The younger of the two was a better administrator, so she got more trips.  She was sent for two years to Le Pas, Manitoba, to organize a school district for Aboriginals, although that was more cruel and unusual punishment than reward.  She went for six months of missionary work to Ecuador – in our winter.  She flew to Rome, to the Vatican, where she met the then-Pope, and spent six months with a world-wide think-tank group.  She was brevetted to Mississippi for two years to reorganize their Catholic school system.

After several years of break-in period at a local Catholic girls’ school, the elder sister went to work at the Mother House in the Hamilton Diocese, which administers most of Southern Ontario. Not exactly world travel, it’s only an hour’s drive away and, if nuns owned cars, she could have commuted home each evening.

She returned after a couple of years, and worked as an aide at the Catholic School Board offices. Finally she was awarded a real trip.  While her younger sister, the Sister, spent six months in Ecuador, she was parachuted into the jungles of El Salvador.  She returned to Canada, and spent another couple of years at the Hamilton Mother House.

She so impressed upper management with her rigid, assertive attitude, that they offered her a five year post as a house mother to about twenty teenaged Catholic girls at an upscale private school in London, England. These were the privileged daughters of ambassadors and minor foreign royalty.

The boarding house, along with its convent and school, were hundreds of years old. With solid stone outers, there wasn’t much need for interior repair and redecorating.  The dining hall had gorgeous oak wainscoting on the lower halves of the walls.  Oxidization and polish had turned it almost black, but the grain still glowed beneath the shine.

The same oxidation eventually deteriorated the plaster walls and ceiling and it was finally decided to redo them. The Sister watched in dismay, as the glorious wood was pried off the wall and thrown away.  As the tradesmen worked, suddenly something fell from between the wood and the wall, and rolled almost to her feet.

When she examined it, it was a very thin coin. At first, she thought it might be something one of the girls had inserted, a toy, like Monopoly money.  A closer look revealed that, as thin and worn as it was, it was a real coin.  It is still a prevalent practice around the world to add a coin to a new building or addition for good luck.

Knowing that I collected coins, she held it until she returned to Canada and gave it to me. Study reveals that it is an Edward II, short-cross, silver sixpence, minted between 1547 and 1552 – Eddie didn’t rule very long – back then coins often weren’t dated.

From the wear on it, it probably didn’t get hidden till near 1600, but it gives you an idea how long ago the building was erected. Because of the wear, it’s worth ‘only’ about $25 today, but would have had about that level of buying power when it was minted.  Someone was serious about this one.  It was more than mere pocket change.

At over 450 years old, it’s the oldest thing I own. I’ve also included a few photos of my older, 1850 – 1900 Canadian coins, including a couple that were minted before the government got around to producing coinage, and allowed individual banks to issue their own.

For those who can’t see the detail, Tails side first;

Pre-1858 Bank of     Bank of Upper    Two-headed 1965
Montreal token        Canada token      Churchill commemorative
one sou.                      one penny            crown

Edward VI                 Hanover                Victorian penny
short cross               love token              186?
sixpence                   penny equal

cci_000018

cci_000017

A To Z Challenge – T – Redux

april-challenge

When I published my T For Terrific Challenge post,  I made it an interactive one, promising to select one entry from those who gave me a T-word and a prompt, and write a post about it.  Susan Leighton over at Woman On The Ledge was the only one who actually did that, so she wins(?) by default.

Click on the link to her site and ask her why she would do such a thing. I guess I have to go through with this.  Since she’s a Woman On The Ledge, if I reneged, she might jump.

She submitted the word ‘tacky.’ Tacky??! I could write about tacky all day!  I have lots of inspiration.  I could go on at great length about the Kardashians or Donald Trump!  Why not?? They do!

Then she slipped the fine print to me. It had to be about cheesy B-grade movies of the 80s.  Oh, what an embarrassment of riches!  I wanted to do a piece about Clint Eastwood.  From Rowdy Yates on TV’s Rawhide, to talking to an empty chair, Clint has been quite a character over the years, both onscreen, and off.

clint-eastwood

I had hoped to write about his spaghetti westerns, but those were in the 60s and 70s.  I’ll have to go with his Dirt Harry series to get the correct decade.  It doesn’t matter.  They’re indistinguishable.  Like the remaking of the Japanese ‘Seven Samurai’ into the American western The Magnificent Seven, they are all morality plays.

dirty-harry

Everything is black and white. The Good Guys are always good. The Bad Guys are evil, and Right always prevails.  The only difference is that Clint’s character ‘Makes America Great Again’ through the application of justice with a Colt .44 Magnum handgun, instead of a .45 caliber Peacemaker.

The overall theme is to be respected, but the presentation means that each movie contains enough cheese to make me a big plate of nachos. I once watched a network broadcast of, “I know what you’re thinking. Did he fire six shots – or only five?” where the network censors edited out two gunshots to reduce the total violence, rendering the line ridiculous.

The 80s was also the decade when Clint did a couple of Any Which Way But…. movies, where he played second banana to an ill-mannered, incoherent, bright orange orangutan.  This should have been good training for dealing with the recently-crowned inaugurated, Emperor President Donald Trump.

Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, another composition proving that I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, and couldn’t generate interest with Doctor Frankenstein’s lightning-rod apparatus. Don’t blame me!  It’s not my fault!  susan Susan made me do it!  😳

Flash Fiction #123

spaceship

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

THE END – AND A BEGINNING

It finally happened! Earth had been visited.  The worst upset were the religious, who now had proof that Mankind was not alone, and possibly not God’s favorite.

The scientists were ecstatic. These beings had learned our languages from years of spreading radio and TV broadcasts.  Along with the secret of spaceflight, they said they would freely give us other technological marvels.

Until we could sync Wi-Fi with them, or drag cables in, the only way was to enter their ship and take notes. If only they were taller….

***

 

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

The Most Important Meal

coffee

WOMAN’S PERFECT BREAKFAST
She’s sitting at the table with her gourmet coffee.
Her son is on the cover of the Wheaties box.
Her daughter is on the cover of Business Week.
Her boyfriend is on the cover of Playgirl.
And her husband is on the back of the milk carton. .

WOMEN’S REVENGE
‘Cash, check or charge?’ I asked, after folding items the woman wished to purchase. As she fumbled for her wallet, I noticed a remote control for a television set in her purse. ‘So, do you always carry your TV remote?’ I asked. ‘No,’ she replied, ‘but my husband refused to come shopping with me, And I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally.’

And finally,
God may have created man before woman, But there is always a rough draft before the masterpiece

***

The object of war is not to die for your country
but to make the other jerk die for his.
General George Patton

***

At one point during a game, the coach said to one of his young players, “Do you understand what cooperation is? What a team is?” The little boy nodded yes.

“Do you understand that what matters is whether we win together as a team?” The little boy nodded yes.

“So,” the coach continued, “when a strike is called, or you are out at first, you don’t argue or curse or attack the umpire. Do you understand all that?” Again, the boy nodded yes.

“Good,” said the coach. “Now go over there and explain it to your mother.”

***

I need to get in shape; if I was murdered right now my chalk outline would be a circle.
I am always going the extra mile: because I never stop for directions.
Am I fat? My favorite food is seconds.

***

What are the Five Reasons for not wanting to be an Egg?

  1. You only get laid once.
  2. You only get eaten once.
  3. Seven minutes to get hard (in boiling water).
  4. You have to come in a box with 11 other guys.
  5. The only one that sits on your face is your mother.

***

I have a great diet. You are allowed to eat
anything you want. But you must eat it with naked
fat people.

***

I hope you don’t fuck like you park…you’ll never get it in…

***

😆

 

A To Z Challenge – T

april-challenge

This will be a DIY, or interactive post, for the letter

letter-t

Back last April, when I decided to try this challenge, I also decided to cheat (a bit). Each day, I would scan a variety of other posts, to see what words their writers had chosen, to pick one that sparked some inspiration.  Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn’t.  This is a ‘didn’t work’ letter.  I wrote down;

Tough
Tarts
Too much
Think
Treasure
Tease
Trash
Train – (noun or verb)
Torrid – or is that….
Torpid – I can’t read my own writing

I would like to make this an audience-participation, contest-y sort of post. I invite all of my readers to choose one of the above words, or provide any other T-word.  Leave a comment, giving your word, and hopefully some kind of prompt.

We can’t rely on ‘First Through The Door” kind of thing, so I will choose one at random, and use your word and prompt to attempt to compose a short post about it.

So, what do we have for our embarrassed loser lucky winner, Johnny?

Well Bob, first they will receive my undying thanks for pulling me out of a compositional blue funk. They’ll also experience the incomparable joy of seeing their name up in lights on my blog.  I’ll even try to link to their site, so that others can know what they’ve done.

C’mon folks, everyone is welcome to submit an idea. The more, the merrier – I am.  You can’t win unless you enter.  If you don’t, you’ll just get some more;

I’ve claimed that I’m tough. I’m probably not.  It’s more like overcooked, dry, and stringy.  I just finished two of my once-a-year mincemeat tarts.  I should have only eaten one, because I’ve already had too much tryptophan from too much turkey, since I’m writing this at Christmas.

I like to think that I can compose the occasional little linguistic treasure, but it’s just a tease. Too often, it’s only another example of taking out the mental trash, which I use to help me train to write better. ‘Torrid’ must have been a typo, because I’ve never had ‘that much’ passion about anything in my life.  With my rotund tummy stuffed full of Christmas goodies, I’ll just become torpid, and hibernate until New Years comes along.

Your suggestions are welcome, because my inspiration is….also hibernating.   😛