WOW #61

Syzygy

The planets have aligned, so it’s a propitious time for me to tell you that we Virgos are very skeptical, and don’t believe in all that Astrology BS.  Rochelle’s weekly FF picture didn’t provide me with any inspiration or creativity, but she did donate a lovely word for a WOW post.

SYZYGY

an alignment of three celestial objects, as the sun, the earth, and either the moon or a planet:

A, I, and O (like O Canada, or O beautiful for spacious skies, in America The Beautiful – not Oh!), are the only words in the English language with no consonants in them – although U, in text-speak seems to be coming on strong.

SYZYGY is the longest word with no true vowels.  It is followed by slyly, and the kids, shy, sly, spy, sty, sky, try, fly, fry, why, cry, by, archaic thy, nymph, and lymph, as well as the crafty lynx. (Have I forgotten any?)  For many years, I thought – and I still wish – that it was pronounced sigh-zih-gee, so that it would demonstrate all three possible sound options for the almost-vowel, Y.  Sadly, it utters the more prosaic, sih-zih-gee.

It has a couple of other, even less common meanings:
Classical Prosody. a group or combination of two feet, sometimes restricted to a combination of two feet of different kinds.
any two related things, either alike or opposite.

Does this mean that an ash tray, and a frying pan, somehow have a SYZYGY, because they are both objects in my house that people put something into??!  😯

Ahh, English; that beautiful, yet bizarre language.  You don’t have to be crazy to want to try to learn how to speak/write it.  We will train you.  😳  I am also trying to train you to stop back again next week.  Whoever finds and drags back Erato, my muse, before I need her for next week’s Flash Fiction, receives a complementary serving of French toast.  😀

’20 A To Z Challenge – G

Ham

I recently took a linguistic tour of names, from South America, to Mexico, and parts of Europe.   It was all virtual – in a book, and online.  In real life, I’m barely allowed out the front door by myself.

The hero of the book fled a refuge in the headwaters of the Amazon, high up in the Andes, where Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela all bump together.  Reaching Mexico, he found that a friend had been killed.  He discovered that a U.S. Navy Seal, who he had thought was an American named Eddie Gamble, had actually been a Mexican named Eduardo Gamboa.

Gamboa’, as a Spanish name is not common, and I thought at first that it was really Portuguese, through Brazil, so I started looking.  Maybe because Portugal is on the other side of the Pyrenees mountains from Spain, the language developed different.  They spell words and names like this, the other way.  Their version is Gambao.

It was at this point that my ever-reliable…. uh….memory – that’s it!  Memory, reminded me that, when I am playing my free online game of Solitaire, I am often cajoled to BUY the game Gambino Slots.  Gambino??!  Dear Lord – the Italian mob owns my computer games.

Too lazy to think, I began running them through a couple of translation programs.  The problem is that, because they are proper names, the computer just gives back the same spelling in either language.  Just as I clicked the button to switch from Spanish to Portuguese, for a fraction of a second, the word ‘stem’ appeared.  😳  Duh, FACEPALM!

facepalm-cat

Now, I knew where I was going.  Not stem, but LEG!  I fearlessly ventured on into French.  There, the equivalent name is Cambe, a spelling variation of the word jambe – a leg.  An uncommon English version is Camby.  The French word for ham – a pig’s leg – is jambon.

This even explained the old gangster word referring to a good-looking woman’s legs.  Back during WWII, Betty Grable, and others, had ‘great gams.’

Betty Grable

 

I would like to claim that I came up with a great idea for the letter G, in this A to Z Challenge, but I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.  It was the daughter who suggested this.  You keep coming around to read, and I’ll keep pumping out this dreck interesting trivia.

**It Has Hit The Fan

Pride Flag

The Waterloo District Catholic School Board refused to fly the rainbow Pride flag at their schools during June, LGBTQ+ MonthHo-Hum, same-old – same-old.  There are 37 area Catholic boards in Ontario, and only one of them, the Sudbury one, did so.

Last year’s chairman of the board – a very capable administrator – resigned from the board when his term ended, because he could not stand to work with these narrow-minded bigots.  The most outspoken – a man – thundered that he would not allow the Pride flag to be flown, because Pride is the greatest sin in the Bible!

There are 7 Deadly Sins listed in the Bible, none of them marked as more serious than any other.  The resigned resigner publicly pointed out that the “Biblical” sin of pride is the rejection of the power and wisdom of God, and believing that one is as smart and strong as Him.  It has nothing to do with LGBTQ+ gay Pride.  Either the intolerant bigot is intentionally lying, or, he does not know/understand the basic positions of his religion.

manure

If this was all that (didn’t) happened, it wouldn’t even be news.  It would just be Catholic ‘Business As Usual,’ but the board really put their foot in it.  While they wouldn’t fly the rainbow Gay Pride flag – against the recommendations of the Catholic School Teachers Federation and several student organizations, they designed their own “Pride Flag,” and summarily announced that it would fly during June.

Catholic pride-flag

The local media reported on this, and suddenly it went viral and global.  The local newspaper went from days when there were no Op-Ed letters, to 6 and 7 a day about this for a week, on both sides.  Letters with captions like
Alternative Pride flag a creative attempt to embrace inclusivity
No, it’s not, and I’ll explain why, below.
Catholic trustee should be able to speak his mind
Yes he should.  No-one suggested that he couldn’t, but the rest of us should be free to point and call him a bigot.
Don’t criticize Catholics for not flying Pride flag
Why not??!  Are they being loving and inclusive?
The rainbow Pride flag should not fly at schools
Perhaps not, but that’s the smaller side of this controversy.
Dissenters are bullied in discussion of Pride flag
Told that they are arrogant assholes, suddenly ‘Good Christians’ are being bullied.  😥
Rainbow flag celebrates freedom from persecution
And yet, the Board still wants to play “My Way Or The Highway.”
Clearing up controversy by properly defining “Pride”
His definition, almost word-for-word, echoes that of the ex-chairman, explaining the mistake, and yet he still wants to fly the board’s alternative flag.  The only positive to his letter is that, at least he’s not a hypocrite.  He is intolerant, prejudiced, dogmatic, and proud of it.

A number of the Catholic commenters wanted to support intolerant Church tenets, yet not appear too judgmental and small-minded themselves.  There were many references to ‘loving, acceptant, and inclusive, about the use of the Catholic flag version, but these words only relate when they apply to others, as they are, and under the symbol that they have chosen for themselves.  It is not ‘loving, acceptant, and inclusive,’ if it is only done under your rules and restrictions.

This sad fiasco has not really been about LGBTQ+, or gay rights, or the rainbow flag, or its distressing replacement.  It has been a power struggle, about militant Catholicism and control, in which EVERYBODY lost, but the Church lost most of all.  Because of the public scrutiny and controversy, the Catholic Board decided that no flag would fly, including their own design.  I wait to see next year, if it gets unfurled again.  😛  🙄

***

The mayor of the township which abuts our cities’ western edge, also refused to allow the rainbow Pride flag to be flown from any Township building.  His ‘justification’ was that, no two lesbians can produce children, and no two homosexuals can produce children, therefore, ‘If we encourage this sort of thing, this will be the last generation of humans on Earth.’

What disturbs me, as often and as much as the bigoted intolerance and misrepresentation, is the (often intentional) ignorance [lack of easily gained knowledge] and stupidity [misinterpretation of easily understood facts.]

Thumbs Down

Lying Around Again

Pinnochio

Here’s another chance to exercise your imagination muscles.  Take down the following questions.  Get some help from your friend Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, or Donald Trump, and compose some really inventive responses.  Mine are beneath the list – and beneath belief.

  1. What are Porkies, Chorkies and Morkies?
    2. Why did the Wicked Witch of the West melt?
    3. Will Smith said ‘I have got to get me one of these’. What was he referring to?
    4. Why aren’t dumb blondes quiet?
    5. Why do they call it ‘High Tea?’
    6. What makes a banana split?
    7. What happened when the Princess kissed the frog for a second time?
    8. What goes best on rhubarb?
    9. How is the best way to serve coffee?
    10. Why are rock buns so called?

Have fun (and fib away to your heart’s content!!)

1: They’re just words that the author of this list made up to confuse us…. Attention!  Breaking news!  Scientists have just discovered that they are pretentious breeds of dogs.  They are Yorkshire Terriers, crossed with Pekinese, Chihuahuas, and Maltese Terriers – all except the Porkies.

Porky Pig

They might alternatively be – a juvenile 1981 frat-boy movie, meat pies, hats which look like the pork pies, porcupines in the American South, chubby kids – or cartoon characters, and British rhyming slang for lies – pork pies = lies – which has oozed like toxic waste from Cockney London, 500 miles north to the border of Scotland, where they already have their own ridiculous slang.

2: Because she got a look at the waiter at the grandson’s recent wedding reception.  Two of the old-enough-to-be-ashamed women at the table were drooling – and not from the food.  The son said, “He doesn’t do anything for me.”  I replied, “He might, if you asked nicely.”

3: A wife who can do a media interview without revealing all their sexual secrets.  Open marriage, three-ways, sex toys, polyamory, which their just-18 daughter thought meant having a series of boyfriends, and went on social media to extol.  Surely Will has something that he can shove in her mouth to keep her quiet.

4: Dumb blondes are like black holes, if they didn’t make noise, you’d never see them.  A lot of it is just all that hot air leaking out of their heads.  When one of them walks into a room, it’s like two normal people walk out.

5: It’s a custom that began with the British Raj in India.  The tea was brewed with marijuana leaves added.  By the time they were finished, waiters were serving through second-story windows.  It’s why Swamis think that they can levitate.

6: The arrival of a hungry orangutan.

7: She acquired a socially acceptable excuse for those genital warts.

8: I put a bag of sheep manure on ours.  ….And boy, does it grow??!  Well, that’s what that orangutan swung down out of, looking for bananas.

9: Bow, say Yes Sir a lot, and grovel, hoping that, when Coffee gains dominion over the entire world, that you’ll be awarded a position where you’ll get money for nothing, and the chicks for free.

10: Suzanne Somers called them that when she and the little waiter used to exercise together, using the ThighMaster©, and the ButtMaster©.  He used to give her makeup tips.  For those of you like me, so old that you only vaguely remember sex, but remember lunch – twice – here’s a recipe for Rock Buns, a Scottish delicacy even more mouth-watering than deep-fried oatmeal.

It’s no lie that I’ll have something a little more serious to publish in a couple of days.  Don’t be late!  The meeting is called for 1:00 AM, EST.  I’ll do a reading, and then take up a collection.   😆

Book Review #22

Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven

Mark Twain, making fun of Christians’ beliefs about heaven. 

The book: Captain Stormfield’s Visit To Heaven

The author: Mark Twain = Samuel Langhorne Clemens

The review: This is a short story written by Mark Twain, about 1868. It was not published until 1909 – 41 years later – because it was thought to insult all the Good Christians.

The story follows Captain Elias Stormfield on his decades-long cosmic journey to Heaven; his accidental misplacement after racing a comet; his short-lived interest in singing and playing the harp (generated by his preconceptions of heaven); and the general obsession of souls with the celebrities of Heaven such as Adam, Moses, and Elijah, who according to Twain become as distant to most people in Heaven as living celebrities are on Earth (an early parody of celebrity culture). Twain uses this story to show his view that the common conception of Heaven is ludicrous, and points out the incongruities of such beliefs with his characteristic adroit usage of hyperbole.

Much of the story’s description is given by the character Sandy McWilliams, a cranberry farmer who is very experienced in the ways of Heaven. Sandy gives Stormfield, a newcomer, the description in the form of a conversational question-and-answer session. The Heaven described by him is similar to the conventional Christian Heaven, but includes a larger version of all the locations on Earth, as well as of everywhere in the universe (which mention of, albeit as a backdrop, is the last science fiction element).

All sentient life-forms travel to Heaven, often through interplanetary or interstellar space, and land at a particular gate (which are without number), which is reserved for people from that originating planet. Each newcomer must then give his name and planet of origin to a gatekeeper, who sends him in to Heaven.

Once inside, the person spends eternity living as it thinks fit, usually according to its true (sometimes undiscovered) talent. According to one of the characters, a cobbler who “has the soul of a poet in him won’t have to make shoes here,” implying that he would instead turn to poetry and achieve perfection in it.

On special occasions a procession of the greatest people in history is formed; on the occasion of Stormfield’s arrival, this includes Buddha, William Shakespeare, Homer, Mohammed, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah plus several otherwise unknown people whose talents far exceeded those of the world’s pivotal figures, but who were never famous on Earth.

As Stormfield proceeds through Heaven he learns that the conventional image of angels as winged, white-robed figures bearing haloes, harps, and palm leaves is a mere illusion generated for the benefit of humans, who mistake “figurative language” for accurate description (the wings are part of their uniforms, and not functionally wings); that all of Heaven’s denizens choose their ages, thus aligning themselves with the time of life at which they were most content; that anything desired is awarded to its seeker, if it does not violate any prohibition; that the prohibitions themselves are different from those envisioned on Earth; that each of the Earth-like regions of Heaven includes every human being who has ever lived on it; that families are not always together forever, because of decisions made by those who have died first; that white-skinned people are a minority in Heaven; that kings are not kings in Heaven (Charles II is a comedian while Henry VI has a religious book-stand), etc.

Making fun of slavery was one thing, but making fun of people’s cherished Christian beliefs was something else entirely. This book never did well, and even many Twain aficionados are not aware of it.

 

Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One – II

Love English

I’ve been reading again, everything from the Dictionary, down to the laundry label on my jeans, and tea leaves. You will run into a very strange man – but it will just be the full-length mirror in the bathroom.

For no good reason, this is another list of a few more interesting but non-common words that have wheeled through the skateboard park that is my mind.

Bookworm

asseverate – to declare earnestly or solemnly, to affirm positively

brisance – the shattering power of high explosives

cavil – a trivial and irritating objection, to raise such an objection or to find fault unnecessarily

daubery – unskillful painting or work

eristic – someone who engages in disputation, a controversialist, a troll

farouche – fierce, unsociable, shy, sullen

glabella – the flat area of bone between the eyebrows

hie – to speed, to go in haste

illation – drawing a conclusion

jussive – expressing a mild command

kerf – a cut or incision made by a saw or other instrument

lepidote – covered with scales or scaly spots

marmoreal – of or like marble

nictitate – wink

orison – a prayer

picaresque – roguish

quondam – former

redintegrate – to make whole again

scandent – climbing (like a plant)

telluric – earthly, terrestrial – see also Tellurian

univocal – having only one possible meaning, unambiguous

vulnerary – useful for healing wounds

wedeling – a series of alternating turns made at high speed, especially skiing

xeric – relating to an environment containing or characterized by little moisture
the basis for the Xerox machine, which uses dry ink

yaffle – to speak vaguely, pointlessly and at considerable length

zymosis – an infectious or contagious disease
Placed on this list 6 months ago – long before COVID19

 

WOW #57

Brat

Nobody is totally useless, or wrong all the time. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. While they are often irritating and contradictory, a Christian Apologist recently gave me a new word. He wrote that ‘God is

FROWARD

The eyes do not see. It is the mind which truly sees, and the mind sees what it expects to see. The blogger’s usage of the word kept seeming wrong in his context. I read it three or four times, before I realized that his correctly-spelled word, which meant
willfully contrary; not easily managed
from the concept of ‘to and fro’ – this is not to-ward, it is fro-ward – the negative
was probably being used incorrectly.

I don’t know why a God-believer would describe his Deity with such an adjective. It seems almost as if he were trying to “control God” into doing, or at least meaning, something that supported his views.

Or, perhaps he was just flinging around scholarly, cultured words, in order to appear erudite. I know I do. I’ve just managed to get another whole blog-post out of a word that I don’t expect to ever use (or see) again. This is what happens when Ego runs high, and creativity runs low. I’ll do better next time – I promise!

Crossed Fingers

Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky

In my Poetry In Motion post, I groused that the poetry of some WordPress authors didn’t make a lot of sense. YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET!! There is a small group of posters who don’t write poetry…. but what they do write can’t be classed as prose, either. I think a couple of them have swallowed random word generators – or non-prescription medication. They may be the authors of some of those strangely-worded spam comments that you get. Here are some examples.

I was heard the sea and are like unto the leopard and made the great favour with his neck and said Figold was handsome.

At a little finger is the sky where she had given to divert the latest news who have his dead and cried but Horn stayed at sunrise.

That would not recognising him to seawhere may be preserved from his real name and as he heard a band of brotherhood we will give birth and he heard these saw her! Better thou wilt hear the guardians of some evil would sooner be the offing.

HUH?? That was actually one of the more comprehensible. Here’s another.

We have the hand when I shall rather live, we are unconscious life of April last are enigmas.

To us that I will superintend their Circulating and in a square hole in the mischief-makers in reforming and in the funny books too large results given by Christian name, which they cover.

The responsibility of Socrates.

It exploded in us.

They are the country as the medium of independence, of taking the mature age of that things unto this particular I lifted my mind.

Notwithstanding, we might after the mental, moral wound within him.

Perhaps he has furnished great degree, and cutting off his wide from her own personality, however great.

Even the tanks, you that for we read in the seen within it, the Patriarch Nerses to accomplish some old as sensibly alters their planes and artists, leisured people, whilst it can solve some observations on Allison’s Fort and butchered before we got another example of dealing out a chapter of Nerves preserve their fatherland.

Is this some kind of code?? Are we supposed to read every fourth word?? Who spends the time and effort to type out and post this kind of thing – and why?? There seems to be a group of about 6 authors, who each can publish 2 or 3 posts every day of this kind of nonsense gobbledygook. I am at a loss to find any meaning or justification. Are they Pentecostals, “Speaking In Tongues??” Anybody got any idea…. or a translation?

’20 A To Z Challenge – A

A To Z ChallengeLetter A

 

One of my beloved family members told me to stop procrastinating, and get writing on this blog-post, but I don’t procrastinate. With thanx to Jim for making me aware of it, I’ll start this year’s series from a dead stop, with the word

ANOSOGNOSIA

Anosognosia is a neurological deficit in self-awareness, a condition in which a person with a disability is unaware or in denial of its existence. Like most other medical conditions, there is a minimum threshold value which must be reached before a doctor will officially diagnose this problem.

That doesn’t mean that people in your life don’t suffer from it to some degree, while we have to suffer because of it. Whether it’s the wife/husband that you happen to be married to, or the idiot in the next cubicle at work, they’re all a Little Miss Can’t-Be-WrongThey can’t be in error! You must be mistaken.

I was going to suggest meditation for recovery of calmness, but the last time I meditated, by the time I was finished, I had amassed a significant list of, mainly undetectable, methods of murder removing the problem: eye drops in the coffee, rat poison in the doughnut in the break room fridge, which I knew he’d steal, a shoelace garrotte, a computer power-bar that just happened to short out. Perhaps you should just leave the meditation alone.

I’m not always right, but I’m never wrong. I thought that I was wrong once, but I was mistaken. There’s nothing wrong with you showing up again in a couple of days. I’m all right with that. 😀

Which Of These Would You Ban From The Dictionary?

Bookburning

This post began when I read a post from another blogger, ranting about Kendall Jenner using the word, gnarly.
Whenever I read about Kendall Jenner (as seldom as I can), I always think of a Ken doll. They both have about the same IQ rating, although Jenner probably contains more silicone.

There is a song, currently being offered on YouTube, by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, titled In The Shallow, from the remake of the movie ‘A Star Is Born.’ A tune about being shallow??! At first I thought it was the theme song from the ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ TV program.

There are many words and phrases, (over)used in the vernacular, which I would like to hear and see far less often. They become like profanity, just verbal punctuation marks, used by people too lazy to think of something better. Any word, used too often, will begin to sound strange, and irritate. Try repeating the word ‘pumpkin’ to yourself, out loud, ten times, and see how it begins to sound weird. It doesn’t even look right on the page.

There are no ‘bad’ words – only words which become objectionable, depending on the person using them, the situation where they are used, the frequency of use, and the social reference. I find the above title objectionable. I don’t feel that there are any words which should be denied, or removed from common usage. To even suggest such a thing is a short step from book burning.

Below is the list that he had compiled, with a request to others for their most unfavorite word/expression. It’s a short list, but seems to have included a few limited, regional entries. I, of course, have some info and opinions.

Gnarly
It is what it is
Eshay
Literally
‘Tings,’ instead of “Things”
Insane
Aw bless
Lit

Gnarly: Gnarled is classier, but gnarly is Valley-Girl speak, perfect for Kendall, like, for sure, like, totally, and gag me with a spoon. (Don’t tempt me, bitch!)

It is what it is: Is business-talk, carried over into regular conversation. While it is hackneyed and trite, it is a quick, easy, verbal-shorthand way to tell someone to stop bitching and whining, and accept reality. Karma, dude!

Eshay: This is a regionalism. I don’t know how far it has spread, but Eshay is the Australian equivalent of British chav. ‘Eshays’ are almost always from a poor background, have little or no secondary education and rely on welfare payments or theft to support their habits.

Literally: I would literally like tons of people with no linguistic imagination, to stop using this as a verbal exclamation mark, when they literally mean ‘figuratively.’

‘Tings,’ Instead of ‘Things’: Here, we get into pronunciation, instead of usage, and that’s even harder to ‘correct.’ People who speak like this are frequently like the Eshays, or the chavs, above. It often, but not always, indicates poor education. Hey, it is what it is. We all have examples of enunciation which sound strange to others. To eliminate it all would soon create a silent world.

Insane: I can understand someone becoming irked by the constant use of this adjective. It is just hyperbole which means that the user is so narrow-minded and opinionated, that he thinks anybody else’s point of view is crazy. One God??! That’s insane! There are three, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Aw, bless: Another regionalism – this one is the British equivalent of a couple of similar expressions from the American South. If a little old Southern belle says Well, Bless You, or, Bless your heart, it translates to ‘Fuck you very much, asshole!’

Lit: Originally just meant illuminated, but came to refer to people who were under the influence of alcohol, and/or drugs. Like ‘woke’, its colloquial value has come to mean what hip, cool or neat meant, a few years ago.

I hate them too, but I don’t want to see them banned. They are signposts, indicating which way the population, and its language, are heading. 😳