I Was Once Human-Trafficked

In my first two years of high school, I did not form any of the romantic relationships that my Mother had threatened would occur.  There were two reasons for that.  First: the junior girls quickly attached themselves to sophomore and senior boys.  Second: I was a dork!

All that mysteriously changed, early in my third year.  By the end of September, I had acquired a girlfriend – or rather, apparently, a grade ten girl had acquired me.  I quickly went from wandering the halls with a steadily-decreasing crowd of drones, to doing it with a gorgeous female by my side.  Overnight, I stopped sitting at the loner, loser tables in the cafeteria, and moved over to the ‘dating’ section, to learn more about couples’ development.

We hung out at school, and after school, at Pop’s Diner.  We managed to see some movies, despite the fact that the theater was in my home town, she lived in the next town, five miles away, and my principal method of transportation was hitch-hiking.  Many times I walked her home after school.  I met her mother, who approved of me.

I was punching WAAAYYY above my weight here.  Puberty had been generous to this young woman.  I just didn’t get to reap all the benefits that I’d have liked.  We had some necking and petting sessions, but I didn’t have the aggressive self-confidence to demand or expect more.  We just didn’t have the time, or place, or privacy.

Still, it was an idyllic year, but it was fated not to be. At the beginning of the next school year, I walked her home one day…. and she gave me The Talk.  I was a nice guy, (Damn!  That smarted.) she really liked me, and we could be friends, (we were) but she had decided to be mature beyond her years.  There were things that she wanted, that I just couldn’t provide.  She wanted an older guy, with a job, and an income, and a car.  She wanted someone to take her dining and drinking, and dancing, and partying – to drive her around and show her off.  She was willing – perhaps anxious – to pay for the privilege, in the inevitable coin of the female realm.

It was not a total loss.  Before we amicably parted company – like a second-hand, Thrift Shop purse – she passed me off to her year-younger sister, who had expressed an interest in me.  This gal was more my social and emotional speed.  We shared many tastes and likes.  She was nicer, kinder, than her sister, and smarter.  We got along very well.  The biggest problem in our relationship was not US.

We were both blue-collar children.  My Father worked in a factory, as did hers.  I/we still had that transportation problem but, her best friend in high school was the daughter of the town’s successful doctor.  He lived in a big, fancy house, and drove a big, fancy car.  Her boyfriend lived in my town.  His father was a very successful insurance agent, who lived in a big, fancy, brick, century-house, and drove a big, fancy Lincoln Continental, which he got the occasional use of for double dates.

He did not approve of my girlfriend, and the doctor’s daughter did not approve of me.  We were socially inadequate.  It was not long before we too, parted ways.  I began dating a girl from my town, whose next boyfriend, who eventually replaced me, did sixty-days in jail.  The course of true love never runs smoothly.

This BEDA Challenge has run its course.  I’m going to sleep in, and take it easy tomorrow. (As opposed to what??!)  CU Monday, I hope.  🙂

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

If you have never remarked, at least to yourself, about the number of English words that are almost the same size and shape, have almost the same letters and meaning, and yet are different…. You’ve never done a crossword puzzle.  😳

Where to find Guinness – Any decent bar – but in the crossword, you have to work sideways.  What is the second latter?  Is it Eire or Erin?

Claim – is it aver, or avow?

Price rise – bump or jump?

Cell inhabitants – nuns or cons?

Prohibit – bar or ban?

Talk a lot – yak or gab?

Geological period – era or eon?

Sleep – nod or nap?

The top – acme or apex?

Peak – top or tip?

Not real – fake or faux?

Hand warmers – mitts or muffs?

Gourmet delicacy – snail or quail?

Hurled – flung or slung?

Comics dog – Otto or Odie?

Over – atop or upon?

The 411 – info or data?

Stop up – plug or clog?

Exploited – milked or bilked?

Wicked – evil or vile?

Senate yes – aye or yea?

Kick out – eject or evict?

Made mad – angered or enraged?

Outdo – beat or best?

Pants part – seat or seam?

Agree with – sync or side?

Father-involved – parental or paternal?….or, if mother’s involved – prenatal

Old-time actress, in five letters – starts with GA.  Ooh!  Ooh!  I got this!  Green Acres TV show – Eva Gabor.  Oops. Sorry!  Even old-timier than that – Greta Garbo!  Same five letters – different order.  Rats!

Dog food brand (in four) – Iams or Alpo

Because of the product that they provide, crossword composers are usually exacting and precise in the usage of words in both their clues, and solutions.  Sadly, illiteracy and incorrect usage creep in, even among the best.

The solution to doesn’t want to, is the six-letter word averse, not the seven-letter adverse, which means, unfavorable, contrary, opposing.

The correct response, (in four letters, second letter I), to lay low is kill.  To hide, is to lie low.

The pedant in me says that core group is not a cadre!  A cadre is a frame or border, which contains other things placed inside.  If you’re pretentious enough to use the word cadre, then your core group are the newbies.

Muss one’s hair.  Tussle means wrestle, scuffle or struggle  It’s not accurate, unless we’re talking about Amos, from the 9 Chickweed Lane comic strip – tousle comes from the Scottish touse – to handle roughly – to dishevel.

Finally, we get to related things which occur serially and sequentially, but are not identical.

Festive nights are not eves!  Eve is the short form for evening, the time when light and dark are about the same – dusk, twilight, nightfall, even gloaming – depending on the date, perhaps from Six P.M. till Nine.   ‘Nights’ continue through till sunup the next morning, but very few festive parties do.

To fill a pipe does not mean tamp.  They are two separate actions.  A pipe must first be filled, before the tobacco can be tamped down for a slow, even smoulder.  It’s why Scotty stopped smoking a pipe.  When he was smoking someone else’s tobacco, he crammed so much into the bowl that he could hardly draw.  When he was smoking his own, there was so little that it wasn’t worth it.

Ties vs. laces.  I see teenagers all the time, whose shoes have been laced, the ends of which are dragging on the ground, untied.  I often wonder why they, or someone else, don’t step on a trailing end, and produce an epic face-plant.

Unlatch a gate – open.  I can unlatch a gate, and leave it for the dog, or the cows, or even my buddy the burglar, to open when it is necessary, or convenient.

Assuming that the therapy session goes well, and the meds kick in, I’ll be back, as usual, in a couple of days.  You’ve been warned.  😉

This Ain’t No Dang Instagram

This is not Instagram, but an incredible simulation!

This past Sunday, with COVID’s permission, we had the entire family over to film another episode of Smitty’s Loose Change.  It was a delayed Easter, and an advance celebration of the great-grandson’s birthday, which is today.  (Oops!  Got my publishing dates mixed up.  It was yesterday.)

The culinary centerpiece was our version of a Black Forest cake.  Everybody eats – everybody helps.  Since the grand-daughter-in-law has come to love the base cake, and since it evades the grandson’s food allergies, she has learned to bake the spelt-flour/dark chocolate/mayonnaise cake.

The wife mixed up the whole-cherry sauce for it.  The grandson whipped the cream, fine-shredded a block of dark chocolate to sprinkle on it, and plated and served to everyone in the living room after dinner, while I wowed the crowd with my fantastic fork-work.

The daughter sent along some food for thought.

The grandson brought two 25 cent coins for my collection, from the East Caribbean States.  Canadian vending machines will reject American quarters because they are the wrong size and weight.  They cannot tell the difference between these and Canadian quarters though, which is how he got two of them in change.

The Grandson’s path from the bus stop to his housing complex, is along a community trail.  He spotted a piece of fluttering paper, and also brought a Nigerian 100 Naira note.  I did my usual money laundering, using warm water and liquid hand soap, getting rid of skin oils, dust, and COVID viruses.  Then I ironed it smooth and flat.  I have African bills from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and South Africa.  This was a welcome addition.

When I told the grandson that I had somehow lost the pictures of the stone cat for my The Year In Photos post, he riffled through his Smart phone, found them from 9 months ago, and emailed them to me again.  No excuses this time.  I claimed that I almost stepped on it, but the owner actually had it up on a porch railing, in the sun, much like a real cat.

At last, the star of the show, the closing act, the birthday boy himself, great-grandson, Rowan.  We thought that he might be getting Italian or Scottish red hair.  In a certain light, it seems that there is a slight, reddish cast to it, but in strong light, it shines a golden brown.  The women took another in, what apparently is going to become a tradition, a photo of four generations of males – me, the son, the grandson, and Rowan – showing how he develops, and the rest of us deteriorate, over the years.  😉

April, and this BEDA act, are rapidly drawing to a close.  Thanx for joining in the fun.  I’m going to slow down to my usual schedule again next week.  I have to!  One of the wheels on my walker has jammed.  😳

Inventing Christianity

I offer the following, as it was offered to me – for cogitation and contemplation.  I have found no official corroboration, nor refutation.  Christians who deny that their religion is not just a made-up one, can research this historical document, apparently composed and signed by Constantine, Roman Emperor and first, self-appointed Pope.   😯

A new consciousness of personal human dignity has emerged across our empire.  Men feel the infinite value and responsibility of a new life.  But within their realm of imposed happiness, a strange thing is occurring.  As naturally as they have rejected the former political structure, men have begun to seek a religion of a more personal nature.

It is admitted that when in recent times the appearance of our Savior, Jesus Christ had become known to all men, there immediately made its appearance a new religion, not small, and not dwelling in some corner of the Earth, but indestructible and unconquerable, because it has assistance directly from God.  This religion, thus suddenly appearing at the time appointed by the inscrutable counsel of God, is the one that has been honored by all with the name of Christ.

It is true that religion and civilization advance together.  But it is equally true that religious creeds and practices can often lag behind civilization.  We find that situation at present with the lingering of the pagan gods and the emergence of the new Christian faith.  We find a further example of this with the new Christian faith fighting within itself, so many varied views as to what should or should not be believed.  So many different ideas as to who and what is God and who and what is our Savior.

Any religion must reflect the pure ideals of the society in which it exists, its practices and sacrifices can only be as the general sentiment allows.  No new religion can easily claim the soil where other gods have long been worshipped.  To survive, a religion must have structure, rules, order, and, most important, consistency.  The following mandates are offered as a means to protect that which we created:

Always remember that an Angry vengeful God is preferable to a benign, loving entity.  We must Proclaim that Obedience and compliance with God’s directives is the only way to obtain eternal peace in heaven, while disobedience leads to everlasting suffering.  The fear of that perpetual suffering should be used to keep the faithful under our control.  The faithful can never forget that the only salvation from their fear comes from the Christian faith, its Doctrine and practices never open to question, their obedience absolute.

Sin is the mechanism whereby control will be enforced.  For the Hebrew nation the Ten Commandments, which Moses first delivered, have long stood as their basic tenets.  But we need more.  A list of sins should be created, a list that adapts to the times, each sin designed to instill fear.  There must be a clear belief that a failure to obtain forgiveness of sin places the immortal soul in the gravest of danger, with forgiveness obtained only through the Christian faith.  This concept should begin at birth with the belief that all men are born into the world with sin.  Never will they dwell with God unless there is absolution for this original sin through the Christian faith.

Many of the prior religions fostered a belief that when one lifetime ends another begins, the cycle never ending.  This spiritual immortality, this reincarnation is surely comforting, but the Christian faith will offer only one physical life and One opportunity at eternal salvation.  When that life ends the soul moves to either heaven or hell, both of which we must not only create but define.

Never can the failings of man be blamed on any lacking or deficiency in the Christian faith.  Instead an adversary must be created.  A diabolos, a spirit, a devil, who constantly poses challenges along the path to salvation.  All of man’s sins and shortcomings must be blamed on this devil, who is always present, always tempting, never relenting, with the only resistance coming from Christian doctrine.

No spiritual abilities can ever be tolerated.  Those who profess visions or an ability to speak with God are a danger.  As treason is punishable by death, heretical thinking and acts must likewise know the wrath of God.  Heretics can never be tolerated, their deaths a righteous calling, a warning to others that actions and thoughts contrary to the Christian faith come with dire consequences.  Killing in the name of God is not a sin.  Defending the faith with the spilling of blood is a duty we must never abandon.  (Emphasis mine – lovely religion, this Christianity.)

Religion expresses itself in terms of the knowledge of the world in which it exists.  If that be defective then religion likewise is defective.  Never be afraid to change.  It is the only way to survive.  But never be too anxious to do so, either.

Sacred objects are those things that man must not use or touch because they belong only to God.  Creating these, whether they be churches, places, people, words, or things, is essential to rooting our Christian faith.  Keeping them sacred through rules and punishments is equally important.

Priests shall become a special class unto themselves.  I am the natural choice to ultimately lead these priests, as religion is a vital part of politics.  The first duty of the state is to stay right with God and keep God on good terms with the people.  The priests’ duty is to keep the people on good terms with me.

Above all, the Essence of Christianity must be in loving God and following Him in faith, but it must also include upholding the authority of the Priests and believing in Christian doctrine without question.  On this objective we must unite as the conduct of public affairs will be considerably eased if we take this step.  Let us rejoice in unity.

Constantinus
Pontifex maximus
Nicea
ad 325

Musical Philosophy

I’ve heard that music has things to say.  Sometimes though, what it has to say is not all that nice.  I’ve recently paid attention to a couple of songs, and been disturbed.

Vocal group Home Free has redone Kenny Rogers’, The GamblerOn a warm summer’s evening, on a train bound for nowhere.  So, the gambler has no goal, no destination.  It seems like he left the last town one step ahead of ‘Resign or be prosecuted,’ or being tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.  He has no home, no family, and no friends.

He relies on the goodness of strangers.  He is so broke that he has no whiskey for anesthetic against the physical and psychological aches and pains.  He has to cadge cigarettes and doesn’t even have a 1¢ pack of paper matches to light them.  He manages to die alone, un-noticed, unloved, unmourned, yet the song holds him up as the epitome of a compelling source of life-style advice.

Even worse, Home Free does a cover of Boyz II Men’s End Of The Road.  Their arrangement and delivery make it sound great, until you actually listen to the lyrics.

Come to the end of the road
Still I can’t let go
It’s unnatural
You belong to me
I belong to you

Girl, I know you really love me
You just don’t realize
You’ve never been there before
It’s only your first time

Maybe I’ll forgive you
Maybe you’ll try
We should be happy together
Forever, you and I

The ‘she’ of this couple wisely wants the relationship to be over.  The obsessive, abuser boyfriend/husband is creepy and scary.  END OF THE ROAD I CAN’T LET GO – YOU BELONG TO ME – I BELONG TO YOU – MAYBE I’LL FORGIVE YOU – WE SHOULD BE HAPPY TOGETHER – FOREVER!   😯   👿

This isn’t a ‘Happy Ever After’ love song.  This is a murder/suicide plot – a prelude to stalking charges, restraining orders, and an application for a handgun permit.  Paul Anka never wrote shit like this, maybe because it’s hard to rhyme Psychotherapy.  😳

Then there’s their version of Travelling Soldier, where a young soldier, about to be shipped overseas, puts the moves on an adolescent, local girl before he leaves.  It says, So they went down, and they sat on the pier.  He said, “I bet you got a boyfriend, but I don’t care.”

This song was previously done by the all-female group, The Dixie Chicks, until Dixie got an injunction, preventing them from using that name.  Now they’re just The Chicks, like the Peeps.  I’ve seen a YouTube video of their concert presentation.   If you’re gonna play in Texas, Ya gotta have a fiddle in the band.  They got a fiddle, alright.  The catgut for the strings sounds like it’s still being pulled out of the cat.

Home Free do a cover of God Bless Texas, with the line – God blessed Texas with His own hand – and all proceeds from the performance of this song will go to aid the Billions of dollars of damage caused by hurricanes and floods, which they show in the video.  Couldn’t take much more of that blessing.

Stop back for some better music soon.  😀

’22 A To Z Challenge – B

 

Good afternoon class.  Today we’re going to discuss a phoney and valueless word, which came to epitomise a phoney and valueless city.  If it fell out of the mouths of anyone other than Englishmen, it would be Birmingham, but the rustic tongues of the northern shires turned it into

Brummagem

bruhmuh-juhm ]

showy but inferior and worthless

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF BRUMMAGEM?

Brummagem, an adjective and noun meaning “showy but inferior and worthless; something of that kind,” comes from the local Birmingham (England) pronunciation of Birmingham. The original (and standard) spelling and pronunciation of the city is bir-; the nonstandard or dialect spelling bru– is an example of metathesis, the transposition of sounds, a very common phenomenon.

Compare Modern English bird with Middle English brid (brid was the dominant spelling until about 1475; the spelling bird is first recorded about 1419).

The name Birmingham is first recorded as Bermingeham in William the Conqueror’s Domesday Book (1086); spelling variants with Br- first appear in 1198 as Brumingeham. In the mid-17th century Birmingham was renowned for its metalworking and notorious for counterfeit coins.  At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, there was an abundance of both metal, and men who knew how to work it.  It was easy to substitute cheap steel for valuable silver.

Brummagem entered English in the second half of the 17th century.

My Scottish ancestors, up in Glasgow, might steal an Englishman’s silver coins, or serve him a bowl of dodgy oatmeal, but they’d never stoop to counterfeiting.  Some of them might have been crooks, but they were honorable, honest crooks.   😉  😳

Dim And Dimmer

Two uncommon words walk into a bar, arguing about whether they are homonyms, or homophones.  No-one greets them by name, like Norm, on “Cheers,” because no-one recognises them.

In most cases of homonyms, people know one or both of the odd couple.  Everyone knows both wait, and weight.  Most are familiar with meet and meat, but mete might be a stranger.  I recently ran into a pair of homophones that only word-nerds like me don’t need to be introduced to.  Ladies and gentlemen – let’s have a big hand for the comedy duo of

FAIN AND FEIGN

FAIN: adverb – gladly, willingly – adjective – willing, glad, pleased, eager
FEIGN: imitate deceptively, make believe, pretend, put on an appearance of

Rather than argue about whether to call themselves homonyms, or homophones, they might better try to find another term to describe themselves.  Far too many ‘Good Christians’ in the Bible Belt of the southern United States, particularly in Arkansas and Texas, get far too upset, ‘and don’t cotton to none of that there HOMO-anything!’

A not-out gay comedian was doing a tour of small cities in West Texas.  Perhaps looking for a bit of one-night companionship, he engaged the waitress in a greasy-spoon diner, about the presence of local gay culture – clubs, favored restaurants, etc.  She quickly and firmly informed him, “They ain’t no homosexuals in Texas.  Not live ones, anyways.”

I would fain believe her, and I do not have to feign my distress.

The largest group of homonyms heteronyms includes AIR, ERR, E’ER, ERE, HEIR, AYR, AYRE, AYER and perhaps a Canadian EHer.  I’ll be back in a couple of days.  Be sure to join me, eh.  😉   😆

Roadside Salvation

If Karma actually exists, I’m pretty sure that I’ve used up my lifetime supply of good fortune.

Once upon a time….

When I grew old enough to get my drivers’ licence, my father allowed me the use of the car on Saturday evenings.  I would drop my parents off at his gig as an emcee at a dance party just before 9 PM, and come back and pick them up, just after midnight.

Across the summer, some friends and I covered a wide range of the county.  On into September, the new car models had been released, and we wanted to have a look at them at a car show over in the Big City.  Perhaps Dad had heard of our exploits.  Maybe we weren’t leaving enough gas in the tank.  As I dropped them off, Dad said, “Don’t leave town.”  Right, Dad.

We’d had summer jobs, but now that we were back in school, money was a bit short.  We all kicked in 50¢ for gas, because, back then, $2 would fuel our little Vauxhall for most of a week.  Then it was a half-hour, high-speed run to the arena.  The rest of our pocket change got us into a show at 9:30, which was over at 10.  We had a quick chance to drool over the new models.

When they kicked us out, I still had two hours before I needed to be back, but there might be other things to do, so the trip back was as fast as the one over.  Suddenly, out in the country, a red warning light popped up on the dash, so I immediately pulled over and shut it down.

Ten miles from the city, fifteen miles from home, we were two and a half miles in either direction from two tiny crossroad villages – which were already shut down when we passed through earlier.
What’s the matter with it?  I dunno.
Are we stuck out here?  Probably.
What are we gonna do?  I dunno.

Just before panic began to set in, a pair of headlights appeared from behind.  We weren’t even smart enough to flag the driver down, but he pulled over anyway.  It was a 21-year-old gear-head, driving around to impress his 18-year-old girlfriend with the old car that he was restoring.  It didn’t look like much, but it purred when it pulled over.
What’s the matter? –  A red light came on the dash.
It’s probably the fan belt.  Do you have a flashlight?
No. –  I’ll get mine.

He popped the hood and shone the light in.  Sure enough, there was a decided lack of fan belt.  From driving a little English car 10 miles, at 85 MPH??!  Who knew?  He said that it was a good thing that I’d pulled over right away.  With the water pump and cooling system not working, I could have overheated the engine and damaged it.  It probably wouldn’t have mattered.  With the generator also not working, it was running off the battery.  A couple more miles with the headlights on, and that would have died too.  We were well and truly FUBARed.

He said, “I think I know a guy who can help.  Hop in.”  I snuggled in next to his girl, and we headed back to the city.  On the way, he told me that he worked as a junior mechanic for a guy who ran a small garage and Esso gas station.  In tourist country, and during tourist season, he pumped gas until 11 PM on Saturday nights.

It was ten after eleven when we arrived, and the lights were all off, but we could see the owner still finishing paperwork at his desk.  My hero thumped on the door, and got us let in.
Whaddya want??
Buddy here blew a fan belt, out on the highway, and needs another one.

He went to the reference sheet, selected the correct one and lifted it down.  Boss-man said that it cost about $6 – the equivalent of two hours labor.  He looked at me and said, “You guys got any money?”  We’re busted flatter than piss on a plate.  He must have had a running tab for the parts and pieces that he needed for his chariot.  “Put it on the list of stuff I owe you for, Mel.”

Soon we were heading back to the three friends I’d abandoned in the stygian darkness, and the car which had cooled to work on.  “You got any tools?  Duh!!  “We’ll use mine.”  He opened the trunk, and opened his toolbox.  Changing a fan belt on that car was so dead simple, even I could do it.  All we needed was an adjustable wrench.  Still, I held the flashlight while he did the work.  “Start it up.”  It started and ran well, with no warning light.  “Okay, you’re good to go.”

He was exactly the right person, at exactly the right time, in exactly the right place, with the right friends, the right tool set, and the right mindset.  We were too naïve to even think of offering to mail him some money – which we didn’t have.  Other than offering our sincere thanks, is there anything we can do for you?  “Just pay it forward.  If you see someone in trouble, and you can help, stop and offer it.”  I like to think that’s a philosophy that I’d have engaged in, even without his urging.  I didn’t ask him if he was a Good Christian.  I don’t even remember exchanging names, but I remember his kindness.

Of course, after all of this, I didn’t make it to the appointed pickup spot, at the appointed time.  When I finally arrived home, Mom was a little miffed that she’d had to walk half a mile, with her short little legs, in a tight skirt and heels, up a fairly steep hill.

After Dad demanded and got a complete explanation of what had happened, he was a bit more pragmatic.  “This is why I told you not to leave town.  Still, everything worked out nicely.  I guess it’s better that it happened to you tonight, than to me on my way to work on Monday morning.”

And they all lived happily ever after.

The End

Birthday Fibbing Friday

I paddled up the canal to Pensitivity101’s house, skillfully passing narrow-boats in my Kevlar inflatable kayak.  When I drew near, I heard her talking about musical reasons for more lies.  She wanted to know:  Who sang these?

  1. Money, Money, Money

A duet between Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, recorded at the Scrooge McDuck Studio.
2.   Another Brick in the Wall

Donald Trump, but he never even got the wall started.  Apparently, the Mexicans couldn’t get financing, even with him co-signing.
3.   Rocket Man

Elon Musk
4.   Everybody wants to rule the world

Vladimir Putin
5.   Life on Mars

The NASA Philharmonic and Choir
6.   Monster Mash

Gordon Ramsay
7.   Tiptoe through the Tulips

The City By-law Enforcement Officer who had to put up all the signs in the park that read:

All dogs must be on a leash!
Owners must pick up after their dogs!
Fine $75

  1. I wanna hold your hand

Every Black guy, stopped by a white, American cop.  It’s better than him holding your neck for eight minutes, with his knee
9.   Ruby Tuesday

Glinda the Good Witch’s younger cousin, Myrna The Mediocre Witch of the Flea Market.  She was the one who sold the fancy red shoes to Dorothy.
10. Get the Party Started.

In Canada, it was Teresa May, the optimistic head of the Green One-Trick-Pony  One-Seat-Party, but you may have her ilk where you live, idealistic, but ultimately useless.

TILWROT III

In Search Of A Name

I was reading a Science Fiction book that began with a Space Navy shipwreck.  After her husband dies, the group of survivors is led by a broadly knowledgeable and adaptable woman with the Italian-ish name of Buccari.  I mentally pronounced it boo-kar-ee, until the author had one of her compatriots address her as, “Hey, Booch.”  I was reminded that in Italian words/names like bocce and Puccini with double C’s, they are pronounced as CH, so she was boo-char-ee.

Now I was curious.  Beginning with The DaVinci Code, I realized that authors often hide Easter Eggs in the background of their books.  What does the name mean??  Whatever it is, there’s a bunch of them, because the final I indicates a plural.  Translation programs just shrugged and walked away.  Google and Bing and friends, didn’t do any better, although one admitted that it was a surname, but the 286,532nd most/least common one.

Down at the bottom of the page, the note said, People who ask about Buccari also research Buccari fiasco navale Croazien.  Clicking on that delivered an article, all in Italian.  I fed the first section back into the translation program.

Apparently, just at the end of World War II, a division of the Italian navy decided to shell the Croatian city of Bakar, because it had been used by the Italians as a concentration camp.  Based on the plural of “people from the city of Bakar,” the Italian name for it, and anyone from it, is Buccari.

Bakar, in Croatian, means ‘copper,’ and our heroine’s head is adorned with luxurious, Italian, copper-red tresses.  The author brought the uncommon name completely around in a circle.

***

The great-grandson is approaching his first birthday.  While a little slow starting, he is developing a nice head of Italian-red hair.  He and his parents will be joining us for a belated Easter/birthday celebration this Sunday.  I’ll bet that a photo or two of him will sneak its way into a blog-post before the end of the month.  😀