Six Years A Blogger

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Six years ago today, November 21, 2011, I burst upon the scene, and published my first blog-post. For H E Ellis, that’s 2192 days, exactly twice the count of my three-year celebration post, because I got to include another leap year.  Even without BrainRants’ interference assistance, they begin to add up.

Scottish Flag

Unlike the movie, 19 Years A Slave, I was not kidnapped and forced into servitude, but one way or another, I’ve become a willing slave to this lifestyle.

This is post number 843. I have lots more jokes for the bi-weekly comedy posts, and, between the 100-word Flash Fictions, and the WOW language essays, I get another post per week.  The A To Z Challenge helps flesh out the schedule.

I’ve just about run out of interesting anecdotes about my childhood, or work history, and, while they piss me off regularly, I can’t risk boring you with oft-repeated rants about religion, whether Christian or Muslim. I may have to soften my self-imposed publishing schedule, and cut back to only two posts a week.

I have a few blog-themes in a Word file, and I hope to get to at least 1000 posts before I have to give it up. Any suggestions or some ‘We’ll Miss You’ encouragement would be appreciated.

Today is the day that the wife goes in for knee-replacement surgery on the second leg. This time, she will be the first surgery of the day, and I have to have her to the registration desk at the hospital by 6:00 AM.

For two old fogies with a strange wake/sleep schedule, this means that, after I publish this post, we may get an hour or so nap, and then leave for the hospital at 5 AM, when we usually head for bed. It won’t matter for her.  They’ll medicate her, and she’ll sleep all day.  Me on the other hand….  😕

She goes in today, and gets out on Thursday. On Friday I have to take her to a physiotherapy clinic.  The physiotherapist(?) for the first knee never touched her.  He just came to the house and handed out Xeroxed exercise sheets.  She recovered so quickly and pain-free the first time, that this time she gets gym workouts immediately.  I’ll probably bore you with tales of She Who Must Be Obeyed-versus-hospital bureaucracy in a week or so.

I’ll be busy/distracted for the next few days. Don’t worry if I’m a bit slower than usual with comment replies, or miss a post.  Things should be back to their normal level of strange by early next week.  I’ll see you then.  Let’s see….What do I owe you??  Comedy??  Okay, laughs it is!   😆

 

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’17 A To Z Challenge – R

Challenge2017

The word ‘Roundhouse’ has two, very different but connected meanings, so, for the letter

letter-r

I’m going to tell you about them.

Roundhouse Slang. A punch in which the arm is typically brought straight out to the side or rear of the body and in which the fist describes an exaggerated circular motion.

This is a type of punch that is usually not thrown until a jab or a hook has stunned an opponent, and his defenses are (slightly) open, because it opens the defense of the fighter who is throwing it. The large circular motion is necessary to accumulate speed and striking power.

At the height of his career, I saw Bruce Lee demonstrate, what he called ‘A One Inch Punch.’ He stood before a sparring partner, tightly clenched his fist and held it 1 inch from his opponent’s chest.  He then wound up his ‘punching muscles’ while holding back, like a dragster revving the engine, but standing on the brakes.

When he had achieved maximum dynamic tension, he suddenly extended his arm, and the victim went stumbling backward. But that was not a punch! That was a push, a powerful push, but a push.  Even a dragster cannot achieve its top speed in its own length.  A punch requires time and distance to amass its total potential

Roundhouse II

a building for the servicing and repair of locomotives, built around a turntable in the form of some part of a circle.

My home town was the end of a railroad line. Another spur on the other side of the peninsula extended all the way to the northern tip.  Train engines can push backward, as well as pull forward, but pulling is more efficient.  Normally, at rails’ ends, and any other place where locomotives have to turn around, roundhouses are used to give them a 180° spin.

My town though, grew up because it was a Great Lakes Port. Besides the river docks, a long stone pier was built out to the offshore island, offering storm protection.  The railroad was used to carry freight from Lake Huron, to Toronto and Lake Ontario, before the building of the Welland Canal, to get past Niagara Falls – grain to flour mills, lumber to the factories, iron ore to the steel mills.

As the railroad came north into town, a spur line branched off, and ran west, out to the end of the dock. The spur line branched back, and joined the main line ending at the station, forming a giant Y, with an empty triangle inside it.  The engines and cars which needed to be reversed, were merely backed up, and run forward around the Y.

We never needed an expensive and maintenance-intensive roundhouse. We did have a big railway building that was large enough to house a couple of locomotives, and cars which needed repair, out of the weather.  We called it ‘the roundhouse,’ but no engines ever got dizzy on a roundabout.

Now, the trains are all long gone, the tracks ripped up, the right-of-way is a hiking trail, and all that’s left are my fond memories. That feels like a roundhouse punch.   😦  😯

Flash Fiction #144

Hot Chili
PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

WATCH YOUR TONGUE

It was a fantastic idea, inspired, as many fantastic ideas were, by the liberal application of beer. He had decided to make chili as the snack for his turn to host the guys’ Friday poker bash.

He liked his food with a little heat to it….and surely his buddies would too. He put in lots of chili powder, and several shakes of Tabasco.  Maybe he’d add some of this stuff his mother’d given him.

Hmm, Scotch Bonnet Pepper?? Bonnets??  Thanks Mom.  Probably some delicate old schoolmarm spice.  He’d add a good tablespoonful.

Dig in guys. It’s got a little kick.

***

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

***

I’ve finally come full circle and am now plagiarizing from myself. This is a re-imagining of my #46, Four Alarm Flash Fiction story of April 16, 2015.  Sorry guys.  I couldn’t help myself.  When I saw all those spewing fire hoses outside the frat house, it was either that, or a “cold shower” story.

Peace Through Stupidity

Shock

Some years ago, shortly after Kitchener built its new (third) City Hall, I had cause to be walking in front of it. On the sidewalk were two earnest-looking young men, with a folding plastic table covered with papers.  Curious to see what was attracting a small group of people, I ambled over.

They were looking for signators for a petition to the Federal Government of Canada, for “Unilateral Nuclear Weapons Disarmament.” The woman beside me grabbed a pen and quickly filled in name, address, phone number and signed it.  Then she stuck the pen in my face, and said, “Here, sign!  It’s a really good idea.”

“I don’t really think so.” “Why not?” she demanded.  “Well, first of all, while Canada has nuclear power plants, we do not have nuclear weapons, or heavy bombers or ICBMs to deliver them.  Also, I don’t think it’s a good idea for ‘us’ to give ours up, if ‘the other guy’ doesn’t give his up.”  She replied, “That’s what this is all about.”

“No, the petition is for UNILATERAL action.  That means that we do, but they don’t.”  Almost crying, she blurted, “That’s not right!”  “No, it isn’t, but that’s what you were in such a hurry to sign up for.” and I watched the crowd dwindle before walking away.

After an 18-month hiatus, caused by a poor choice of restaurant, I recently attended a relocated Free Thinkers’ Sunday brunch. Somehow, they were conned into allowing a World Peace representative to give a ‘little’ talk.  He promised that it would be just a 15-minute AV presentation, but maundered on for over half an hour, killing most of my chances to interact with the other attendees.

First he attacked NATO. Up until 1991, they were a defense against Russia, and the Communist Bloc.  When they lost their raison d’etre, they just became big bullies, and spread out all over the world.  Now they were in Africa, and Asia, invading countries.

Then he segued to the United States, another big bully. The American General who was the liaison to NATO was recalled to the Pentagon.  How our mumbler would know this, I don’t know, but he told the possibly apocryphal story that, on his first morning, NATO guy was approached by another, excited General, who asked if he’d heard “The Plan” yet.

It seems that there was a list of 7 countries that the US would invade over the following 5 years.  He couldn’t seem to keep his facts and/or accusations straight.  First he claimed that they were to be invaded for their oil, then it became just so that America could show its power, and control them.

It turned out that the US only went into 6 of the 7. I don’t know or care who produces oil, but I’m sure of one, and suspicious of another, that they don’t.  Of course, that still leaves him his ‘bully excuse.’

Then he turned on Israel. The US didn’t need to invade, because they already controlled it.  I was going to ask how much oil Israel had, but I remembered that, also about 1991, the Prime Minister of Israel complained, “The Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years, and when Moses finally led them to their promised land, he picked the one spot in the region with no oil under it.”  And then, a couple of years later, a bit of oil was discovered offshore of their north-western tip.

If the Jews would just ignore those guys in the Gaza, who threw 18,000 rockets at them, and hid behind women and children, all would be peaceful. The Arabs pushed the Jews out of the region in a diaspora, centuries ago, but when the United Nations gave them back a little bit of territory, he felt sorry for the displaced Palestinians, and could support them in their frustration when they promised to use violence to push the Jews back into the sea.

It didn’t even surprise me when he became an apologist for North Korea, going through Libya and Iran to get there. Peter Paranoid Peacenik claimed that both Muammar Khadafy and Saddam Hussein had been threatened by the US, to give up their weapons of mass destruction.  They had given them up, and America had still invaded, and ruined both countries.  Kim Young Psychopath looks at this and sees what happens to countries that disarm, and decides to keep his nuclear weapons – strictly for peaceful protection.

Neither Khadafy nor Hussein, quietly, peacefully or obediently, gave up their weapons of mass destruction.  Libya didn’t even have them.  What they had, were training camps for terrorists, to spread death and mayhem among the Western, Christian countries.  Libya provided money, food, weapons, training and false documents, until a coalition of countries used bombers to convince Khadafy that it was not a good idea.

While Hussein didn’t have the WMDs that George W. was led to believe he had, he very un-peacefully used regular weapons to invade Kuwait, and set fire to hundreds of oil wells, before the United Nations-led coalition forced the Iranians out.

It’s difficult to understand how someone like this could acquire and justify these points of view. Is it ‘White Man’s Burden’, or is it just wishful thinking and terminal stupidity?  The pacifist, Neville Chamberlain returned to England from Berlin in 1938, claiming to have achieved “Peace for our time”, but instead, embroiled most of the Western World in 6 years of nasty war.

‘We,’ – our countries, our militaries, our politicians – are far from perfect (and Donald Trump is pushing the envelope), but I’d far sooner live with/under them, because I can live with them, and not be exterminated simply for having the wrong race, religion or skin color.  I’m not stupid.  🙄

I Confess

confession-box

I went to confession after a long break I was feeling depressed, and life wasn’t going so well, when walking down the street I passed the church. It had been many years since I went to church, and just as long since I last went to the confessional. Perhaps, I thought, getting right with God would help fix my life.

I went into the church, and the dim light and smell of incense brought it all back. I headed for the confession booth and went straight in. Wow, things had changed in all those years.

There was a comfy chair, a small screen TV, the Wi-Fi password. Then I opened the cupboard and inside was a bottle of fine malt scotch, and some cigars! Suddenly the door opened and the priest appeared, and he said sharply “Get out, you’re on my side!”

Or maybe that guy is confessing because….

A thief in Paris planned to steal some paintings from the Louvre. After careful planning, he got past security, stole the paintings, and made it safely to his van. However, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of gas.

When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied: “Monsieur, that is the reason I stole the paintings. I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh.”

***

THE LAST SUPPER

And it came to pass that they were having a glass or two of vino. Jesus looked but only saw 11 disciples. Yet in the place of Judas was a six pack of Guinness.
“What is that?”
“That´s Judas´ carry out” replied James.
“Will he be along later?”
“I doubt it,” said Thomas.
“What about some music? Peter you are the Rock star. Play some heavy metal.”
And Lo, Peter did play some Nine Inch Nails.
“Why are you dressed in all of those dark clothes?” asked Jesus.
“I thought it was a Black Sabbath,” said Mathew, Mark, Luke and John.
It was a great night, though later on Peter let himself down a bit; you should never wait up for the cock.
And in the morning, Jesus Swept.

***

Texas
The Sheriff pulled up next to the guy unloading garbage out of his pick-up into the ditch. The Sheriff asked, “Why are you dumping garbage in the ditch? Don’t you see that sign right over your head.”

“Yep,” he replied. …. “That’s why I’m dumpin’ it here
’cause it says: …. ‘Fine For Dumping Garbage.’ “

***

Ole was talking with his brother Sven, who lived next door, when Sven said, “Ya know Ole, you and Lena should really get some new curtains.” “Vy’s dat?” Ole asked. “Vel last night I saw you and Lena, vel you know…” Ole thought for awhile, then said, “Ha-ha Sven, da yokes on you! I vasn’t even home last night!”

***

On a recent lunch hour, I decided to take a walk down by the harbor. A big wave washed a lawyer off the dock, and he was drowning. Now I was stuck with a moral dilemma. Do I just ignore it, and continue with my lunch – or stay here and watch?

***

 

11/11 Remember!

With the exception of a little explanation here at the top, and some added notes at the bottom, this will be a republication of last year’s November 11th post. I may not have said it the best that it can be said, but I’ve said it as well as I can say it.

remembrance

No matter what you call it, this is a little reminder that tomorrow is Remembrance/Veterans Day. Take two minutes at 11:00 AM to stand quietly and remember, respect and honor those in the Armed Services, past and present, who have given so much, so that we can have peace and security.

Take some time tomorrow – Hell, take all day if you want, and take a bit of time any other day, whenever it’s possible – to shake the hand of a veteran, or current Serviceman. Smile, and say, “Thanks!”

Canadian Flag

veterans

Times, and social situations change. Wars are no longer only fought by going to the other guy’s country and shooting him, or just blowing up his shit till he stops being an asshole.  In addition to the Vets and current Armed Services personnel, mentioned above, we should also remember to thank and think of (because of the job they do, and the way they must do it, they’re invisible, but invaluable) Intelligence and Internal Security Officers, as well as the folks building SkyNet, who feed info to them, so that they can keep us safe from gas attacks, poison and biological assaults.  They also prevent attacks and loss of service to our increasingly technologically-dependent Internet lifestyle, with their Ninja-like handling of all those little 1s and 0s.

poppy-flower-red-remembrence-day-artificial

’17 A To Z Challenge – P

Challenge2017

letter-p

Only because I let him, my dog eats

Peanut Butter

PEANUT BUTTER

Born a slave, George Washington Carver spent his life improving the peanut plant, and championing its uses and the planting of it as a crop in the Southern U.S. Like the oats which made Scottish warriors the men they were, one of his best reasons was that peanuts were a cheap, plentiful food for Negroes, rich in protein and other nutrients.

The peanut plant is a nitrogen-fixing legume which fertilized and re-enriched soil made poor from constant growing of cotton. While he sometimes took public credit for the discoveries of others, aside from the food value of peanuts, Carver found many uses for the nuts and plant.

Peanuts have a variety of industrial end uses. Paint, varnish, lubricating oil, leather dressings, furniture polish, insecticides, and nitroglycerin are made from peanut oil. Soap is made from saponified oil, and many cosmetics contain peanut oil and its derivatives. The protein portion is used in the manufacture of some textile fibers. Peanut shells are used in the manufacture of plastic, wallboard, abrasives, fuel, cellulose (used in rayon and paper), and mucilage (glue).

The food value was where Carver concentrated. He published a small brochure, listing 105 recipes/uses for peanuts.  One of the greatest things to come from peanuts, is peanut butter.  I dig a small dollop onto the tip of a kitchen knife, and dip the dog’s daily antihistamine pill in it.

Peanut butter is just basically finely ground peanuts, although commercial producers add sugars, salt and stabilizers. In my little neck of the universe, in the late 1940s and ‘50s, we still had to stir jars of peanut butter, because the oils would separate out.

In 1922, a chemist developed a process for homogenizing it. In 1928, he sold the rights to a company which marketed it as ‘Peter Pan.’  Apparently before conflict of interest/competition contracts, in 1932, he began producing his own peanut butter under the name ‘Skippy.’  Later, he churned in recovered peanut bits, creating the first chunky peanut butter.

For reasons unknown to me, the son recently stirred the top half of a new jar. Apparently that negates the homogenizing effect, and now the oils must be stirred back in each time we open it.  It also changed the peanut butter from a semi-solid paste, to a drippy sauce.  You have to move quickly to get it where it’s going, or have it run off the knife, onto the kitchen counter.

Peanut butter….it goes anywhere, any time –white bread, rye, bagels, plain or toasted, crackers. It finds its way into Thai food with peanut sauce.  It goes with anything….spread it along with honey, or jam, (Good Old P. B. & J!)  Elvis Presley used to like it in peanut butter and banana sandwiches – although he wanted the bananas mushed, and the assembly fried, like a grilled cheese.

Me? I slice a banana into 3 slabs, lengthwise, and lay it over the PB, on toast – usually rye.  On white toast, I slather Miracle Whip on top of the PB.  It has a spicier taste than plain mayo, and sets off the peanut butter’s taste.  You Americans don’t know what you’re missing.  Then again, I’ve been known to put catsup ketchup, even my Spicy Ketchup, as a spread on toast, and you’ve been lucky enough to miss that, too.

I gotta go check with my bathroom scale, to see if I’m allowed some peanut butter and rye crackers as a snack today. The dog is already looking at me suspiciously.  How about you guys??  Eat it?  Leave it?  Like it?  Hate it?  Partner it with what??  😕