A To Z Challenge – W

april-challenge

Whoo-whoo, you’re almost eligible for parole from this letter-perfect piffle.  But first, a word from – my dictionary, starting with

letter-w

Too many Fundamentalist (with the accent on mental) Christians play the definition game, whereby they decide what a word or name means, and use it as justification for hatred and harassment of those who don’t precisely agree with them.

One of the words that sets many of them off, is ‘Witch.’  Their infallible Bible tells them, “Suffer not a witch to live.”  They all know what a witch is, what they look like, how they act, and what they do. (Evil, evil evil!)  Ignoring Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz, they focus on the ugly hag, the crone, who is stirring up a batch of bats’ brain, newts’ eyes and frog warts, to cast evil, harmful spells.

My daughter is a witch, and I’m proud of it.  Actually, she’s only kinda, sorta, Wiccan – but there’s many a Good Christian who’s only prevented from having her burned at the stake by strong, secular laws.  She believes in a unifying force of the universe, only she doesn’t believe that ‘It’ is male, and she doesn’t call it ‘God.’

If you’ve read my Rylah Reblog, you know that she’s as loving and caring a person as any judgmental Christian. She gets her morals and ethics from her heart and her mind, not from some list drawn up by a bunch of frightened old men, also listing what you can wear, what you can eat, and who you have to hate, because they’re different.

The witches that ‘they’ believe in, didn’t really exist in the past, and they don’t exist now.  Any witch that I know now, is usually a better, kinder, nicer person, and productive, loving, accepting member of society, than most of these superstitious buffoons.

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WOW #2

katzenjammer

The Word Of the Week is;

Katzenjammer

Dictionary.Com’s word-of-the-day is often archaic, unusual or foreign – typical click-bait. I was, but yet I wasn’t, surprised to find this one.  It was in the middle of; crambo, laterigrade, rectitude, and igneous, not easy, or interesting, words to write about.

Definitions for katzenjammer

  1. uneasiness; anguish; distress.
  2. the discomfort and illness experienced as the after-effects of excessive drinking; hangover.
  3. uproar; clamor: His speech produced a public katzenjammer.

Origin of katzenjammer 1845 – 1855
Katzenjammer is a borrowing from German, in which the obvious, literal sense of the word (“wailing of cats”) does not apply and instead has the meaning “hangover.” The word entered English in the mid-19th century. The additional senses of katzenjammer date from the late 19th century.

When I was quite young, there was a newspaper comic strip entitled ‘The Katzenjammer Kids.’ Click to see the Wiki article about it.  After the Second World War, with still some resentment against Germans, it became ‘The Captain and the Kids.’

Perhaps it wasn’t clichéd for its time, but its formula of an inept adult male, often made fool of by two rowdy boys, was followed by ‘Our Boarding House’ as a comic strip, and on into radio, and later, TV shows.

This has reminded me of something else I used to read as a child, in the Saturday Evening Post. Occasionally, they would print short poems called Rhymes Mein Grosfader Made (Rhymes My Grandfather Made), composed in heavy Germanic accent, and making fun of Fairy Tales.

Be sure to stop by for the next WOW, to see if I select an English word.  😀

Smitty’s Loose Change #4

Smitty's Loose Change

In my (ARCH)ON The Road Again post, I wrote of buying our first brand-new car, a Kia Sorento. After the first three months, we got a call to take it in for its first (free) oil change.  When the son arrived at the dealer, he was told that there had been a recall, which we wouldn’t have received notice of yet.  While one mechanic changed the oil, another installed a new hatch lock/latch.

SDC10992

After another three months, we got another phone call. That’s right!  A real, live person!  This time when the son arrived, he was again told that there had been another recall we weren’t aware of.  This time it was the ball-joints.  A hatch popping open, I can live with.  Steering malfunctions are a little more serious.

The ‘04 Chevy Impala we got rid of had just been recalled for ignition switches that could fail at speed. This factory-fresh Sorento has had two recalls before it is 6 months old.  I don’t know whether to worry about what else can go wrong, or appreciate how quickly Kia caught the problems and corrected them.

Any of you guys had vehicles that were recalled??

***

I was loath(cct) to vote for….  I found this snippet in a newspaper.  Despite typing (cct) in, in small letters, every search engine I used insisted on capitalizing it, and giving me lists of acronyms (that weren’t actually acronyms).  Acronyms form ‘words’ – radar, loran, snafu.  These were all initialismsCCTColombia Cocaine Trade.

After an hour of fruitless searching, I was forced to believe that the (cct), apparently meaning ‘correct’, was put after the word ‘loath’, the way that ‘misteaks’ (sic) are noted. It is another sad commentary on the level of public comprehension, that a correct word has to have a special sign on it, to tell the trolls that it is, in fact, correct.

***

If I really had an open mind, surely someone would have put something into it by now.

***

Religious happiness might be a bit like the state of euphoria some people get from taking drugs. It’s not real, but it’s good while it lasts. And also like using drugs or alcohol, some people become happy and good natured and others are mean drunks.

***

On Valentine’s Day I looked out at the mulberry tree in my back yard. I thought I saw a robin.  A robin?  On Feb 14th?  Just then, from a higher branch, I saw the flutter of scarlet wings.  Ah, a cardinal, not often seen this close….  But is the ‘robin’ merely a slightly duller red, female cardinal??

I asked the wife to bring her eyes glasses, and come check.  She dislodged a cat, and folded up her laptop.  By the time we both looked out the window again, there were eight (8! count ‘em, 8!) robins bunched in the tree, four bright males and four females.

I’ve never seen eight robins in one place anywhere. I can only assume that they were discussing Donald Trump, and the wall they thought he’d erected between Canada and the US, which prevented them from flying south.

Spring is coming, my lovelies. 😀  Arncha glad?

 

Ars Est Celare Artes

olympic-rings

The above title is a Latin motto which means ‘The Art Is To Conceal The Arts’. To properly awe an audience with the performance of a difficult task, it is often necessary to make it appear easy.

A comedian, commenting about the Olympics, said that all he understands about gymnastics is this; he hopped into the air, and landed on his feet, perfectly erect, and said, “That’s good!”  He hopped into the air again, and landed leaning slightly backward, so that he had to put a foot back to keep from falling over, and said, “That’s bad!”  To win gold, you have to make it look easy.

I recently had the chance to read the beginning of an online novel by a writer who, like many of us, hopes to be a published author. He’s a member of a highly respected profession.  He’s intelligent and well educated.  He has a (reasonably) good vocabulary and grasp of grammar and composition.  What he is not, is an author – or writer.

I only managed to read the first three paragraphs, before I had to stop, or suffer nausea and vertigo. Here are the three paragraphs.  Remember to take Gravol. (Americans may take Dramamine.)

You are on the beach, watching the swaying of the waves. The waves sweep across the steeps like a flock of stampeding sheep speeding over the steppes, the snaking waves hissing over the driftwood steeped in the sandy wrack.

A squadron of gulls lifts uneasily into the air and then dissipates against the grey sky. You look meaningly at the gulls. They hover, the flurry of gulls. The gulls lull heavily in the air, squealing their dull squeals.

You incline your head downward and stare at the inrushing waves, each one a hungry-mouthed sheep, coming toward you ravenously. The water is deliquescent twenty feet from the shore. Beyond the shoal the surface seems lacquered, solid, unbreachable, enameled, brackish, thick, as if it were a spreading mass of viscous aquatic jelly. From the shore you cannot fathom, through the spume lid, the pelagic fathoms. The lake’s lid is swarming with wavelets, each one undulant and alive—afroth, the lake’s lip, frosting wisps.

That opening is almost as bad as, “It was a dark and stormy night.” This thing has more verbiage slathered on than icing on a Wal-Mart birthday cake.  This is like the parlor of a Nevada brothel – cheap, gaudy and ostentatious.  Typos, overdone alliteration, excess words, redundant words, repetitive words, overly ornate words, eight-dollar words, employed to seem interesting and impressive, but used incorrectly.   Steppes, and steeps, and stampeding sheeps – oh my.

To ‘look meaningly’ is to use a facial expression to convey information to another person. You cannot look meaningly at seagulls, because their tiny bird-brains don’t get it. And speaking of seagulls, I can think of five verbs to describe the noise they make.  ‘Dull squeals’ is not on the list.

Deliquescent means; The process of a solid dissolving or becoming liquid through the absorption of moisture from the atmosphere. That obviously is not happening here. It’s a good, solid, proud word.  It’s just hanging out in the wrong neighborhood.

Instead of smooth, clear, economical communication, this writer seems to have gone out of his way to confuse and impress, and say, ‘Look how much work I went to, to attract and hold your attention.’ It is not concealed. (But it should be!)

spacehounds-of-ipc

I recently re-read E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith’s Subspace Encounter. Doc was the mentor who taught Robert Heinlein much about writing.  An engineer by trade, Doc always used the exactly correct word, and the exactly correct number of words.

In this book, he has Mankind meet another galactic civilization. Physically, they are Human, but their society is vastly different.  Not cruel, but they are pragmatic to the point of making the Spartans look like soft amateurs.

To identify their empire, he coins the word ‘Justiciate.’ This is literary irony.  It is like referring to The People’s Democratic Republic of North Korea.  It is not ‘for or by the people.’  It is not a democracy, and it is not a Republic.  There is little ‘justice’ in a society, where the ruler of 180 planets is identified as the Supreme Tyrant.  And the supreme ruler of the red-skinned sect, who wants to kill 90% of those of other skin colors and keep the rest as slaves – identifies himself as The Grand Justice.

Having invented the Justiciate, Doc went on to invent an interplanetary monetary unit for them – the Junex, meaning the Justiciate Unit of Exchange.  For an imaginary empire, he created imaginary money to give believability.  No sheeps or steeps or gulls were needed.

As a young adult, I missed much of his precision. Re-reading it now, with life experience, I have a greater appreciation.  He made it look easy, when it really wasn’t.  I’m glad Jim Wheeler made me do it.  😀

I Have A Confession

confession-box

A sixteen year old girl goes to confession.
Father, I called a man a son-of-a-bitch
yesterday.

Why did you call him a son-of-a-bitch?? the
priest asked.

Because, Father, he touched me on my arm
without permission.

Do you mean like this?? He touches her arm.

Yes Father.

That’s no reason for calling him a son of a
bitch.

But Father, he also touched my breasts.

You mean like this?? He touches her breasts.

Yes Father.

That’s no reason to call him a son-of-a-bitch.

But Father, he took off my clothes.

Like this?? He takes off her clothes.

Yes Father.

That’s no reason to call him a son-of-a-bitch.

But Father he then put his you-know-what in
my you-know-where.

Like this?? He put his you-know-what in her
you-know-where.

Yes Father, she says sometime later, after
catching her breath.

But that’s no reason to call him a
son-of-a-bitch.

But Father, he has AIDS.

That son of a bitch!

***

A newly ordained Catholic priest was nervous about hearing confessions, so he asked an older, more experienced priest to observe one of his sessions and give him some advice. After a few minutes of watching and listening, the older priest pulled the younger one aside to give him a few suggestions.

“Try folding your arms over your chest, and rubbing your chin with one hand. This gives the impression that you are listening thoughtfully. Then try saying things like: “I see.”, “I understand.” and “Yes, go on.”

The younger priest practiced these things for a minute. Then the older one asked, “Don’t you think that’s better than slapping your knee and saying, “No way! What happened next?”

***

If you’ve seen the above post before, it’s because unforeseen technical difficulties accidently deleted it from my list of posts.  I’ve been able to re-publish it, but I’m missing all those lovely likes and comments.   😯

Flash Fiction #126

 

lost-head

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

Gone – And Forgotten

Johan was the most disorganized, forgetful person I’d ever met.  Instead of putting things where they belonged, and knowing where they were, he just dropped them….wherever, and spent his days saying things like;
“I wonder where I set my beer down.”
“Has anybody seen my smokes?”
“I have to leave soon.
  Somebody help me find my keys.”

After locating his glasses for him – 8 times, today – I suggested that he arrange his life a little more carefully.  He agreed that it was a good idea.  “Honestly, sometimes I think I’d forget my own head if it wasn’t screwed on tight.”

***

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 – V

April Challenge

As we slide toward the bottom, and near the end of all this alphabetical silliness, we finally reach the letter

letter-v

Back in April for some reason (laziness, stupidity, forgetfulness, distraction….what was I writing about?, the fact that all Challengees who were going to write about V were killed when a transport truck full of bowling balls rolled over) I only wrote down two prompts, verbose, and vicarious.

Verbose can match with voluble.  Both mean ‘wordy or longwinded’ and tend to refer to the spoken word, but can also refer to (my) writing.  Learning to compose 100 word Flash Fictions has tightened it up a bit, but my compulsion to deal with every conceivable detail still has me occasionally running overtime.

I’ve written about how age and finances have me regarding the world vicariously.  There was a time when its partner could have been voyeur, but there’s almost no need of window-peeking these days.  There are now a vast number of voluptuous vixens, only too willing – anxious – to voluntarily allow men to view their ass….ets.

Where the Hell was sexting, when I was young and needed it? When the only choices were hard-to-obtain, airbrushed Playboy, or Sunbathers Monthly?  Even the words nudist or nudism were hidden behind the veil of ‘Community Moral Standards.’

A Voluble Trivia Addendum

In the late 1960s, after the grudging establishment of Playboy and Penthouse magazines, another entrepreneur decided that he also wanted to print and distribute a skin mag. After his first issue, he was taken to court on morals charges.  He cited Playboy and Penthouse as precedents, and argued that his magazine was an artistic publication, for the appreciation of the glorious female form.

The judge looked at the fact that he had intentionally chosen Intercourse, Pennsylvania as his mailing address, for titillation purposes, (Ooh!  I wrote ‘tit.’) and convicted him of pornography. 😯

***

Okay, mission accomplished. I’m going to take a Vicodin – and a nap!