Smitty’s Loose Change #9

Chalice

Morality is doing what is right, regardless of what you are told.

Religion is doing what you are told, regardless of what is right.

In the past we had chalices of wood and priests of gold.

Now we have chalices of gold, and priests of wood.

It is far better to have a religion without a church, than a church without a religion.

When religion is used to pander to political whims, it must forego the high moral ground, and become debased by worldly political demands.  The thrust should not be, but often is, directed at the creation of new political institutions and establishing political arrangements.

***

I decided to reward myself with a cup of coffee after a long, hard week.
Then I realized that it’s Tuesday.  Morning!

***

I’ve found a couple of inventive ways to irritate telemarketers, who call at inopportune times (are there ever any opportune times?)  I’ve placed the phone on my stomach, while reclining in my easy chair, after a platter of nachos.  I’ve laid it, face-up, beside a cat who was loudly demanding to be fed.

The son and grandson, third and fourth generations of this weirdly delightful (and delightfully weird) family, have outpaced even me.  One day, the son was in the computer room after coming home from work.  He was standing beside the scanner/printer/fax machine, when the phone rang.  When it rings, the fax machine wakes up. Is it for me?

He said ‘Hello’ into the phone, and got that second of dead air, then it opened to a boiler-room of 50 Pakis babbling in the background.  He immediately jabbed the ‘Send Fax’ button.  SCREEEE-AWWW, SCREECH-SCREECH.  If the fax noise hadn’t drowned it out, he might have learned what the Urdu word for ‘Fuck’ was.

Even more technological, the grandson’s smart-phone shows who’s calling.  When he pulls it from his pocket and looks at the screen, it shows ‘Duct-Cleaner,’ so he answers, “Rogers’ Duct-Cleaning Services, how may we help you?”  “Uhhh….never mind.”

***

I recently found a small advertising flyer, hand-delivered to my mailbox.  It was from a new real-estate company, offering 1% commission sales.  “And you don’t pay until you sell.”  All I could think was, “Margaret, I’ve got a great idea.  Let’s not sell the house….but we’ll give these nice people several thousand dollars, just because they put a postcard in our mailbox.”

***

Clarity

Forest fire update:  Parry Sound 33 inches closer to Highway 69

I wasn’t sure just how a forest fire could move an entire small city almost a meter (yard), so I succumbed to the click bait.  It seems that, a forest fire, identified as “Parry Sound, number 33,” slowly burns (inches) closer to Highway 69.  One little # number sign, or even a comma, would have made that much clearer.

Punctuation

***

That’s about all the stuff that runs screaming through my head, that the court order allows me to tell you at this time.  Arncha glad?   😆

 

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WOW #41

Bistro

I don’t like English words that aren’t really, wholly, completely accepted and widely used English words.  I know that the English Language appropriates words from other tongues, wholesale, but I don’t like words like tsuris, which is a seldom-used Yiddish/Hebrew word, meaning troubles, or woe.

I’m not pretentious enough to use the Word Of this Week, which is

BISTRO

but if I did, I’d have regarded it as an artsy-fartsy, café-au-lait sipping, croissant-munching, Left-Bank Parisian Frog French word which does not fall trippingly from the mouths of most Americans or Canadians…. until I did a little recent research.

It seems that bistro’s ancestor was a common-man, dock-walloper word that would have been familiar to any MAGA who supports Trump.  The Seine River that Paris sits on is large enough for small ships to navigate upstream, to unload their cargoes.

Once upon a history, France and Russia used to do a lot of trading.  Roustabout Russian sailors used to be common on Paris docks.  When they paused for a quick noon-time meal, they would go to the many nearby restaurants/cafes to eat.  Time and tide wait for no man, especially the tide.  They needed to eat quickly, and get back to finish the job.

The food establishments, used to the French, laggard, laissez-faire lifestyle, were in no hurry to prepare or serve food to them, so it became common for them to shout at the kitchen/waiter, “Bistro, Bistro”, a Russian word that means hurry, rush, get a move on!

I still prefer a Burger King to a Bistro – unless you’re treating, in which case, please contact me at once.  We could have a lovely discussion about international trade, and Russian sailors’ tattoos.  😉  😆

’18 A To Z Challenge – Q

Challenge '18
letter-q

 

I recently found that I’m a

QUIDNUNC

Shabby Man

It’s okay.  I’ve been called worse.  A quidnunc is a nosy old man.  And here I thought that I was just an interested observer of the human condition.  I am fascinated by the most mundane of details about the people who I come into contact with – what their name means, and what ethnic background they come from.  Even if I ask you a question which you refuse to answer because you feel that it is too personal, I still learn something about you.

Actually, a quidnunc is:  noun

  1. a person eager to learn news and scandal; gossipmonger
    a person who is eager to know the latest news and gossip; a gossip or busybody.

Origin of quidnunc

First recorded in 1700–10, quidnunc is from the Latin word quid nunc – what now?

Up until about a century ago, the upper social crust liked to study Latin and Attic Greek, the Classical Languages, and show off their education by scattering Greek and Latin terms into their conversations.  That is largely gone now.  Rapidly advancing technology leaves very little spare time to learn dead languages.

Quidnunc is now a seldom-used, archaic term.  It originally applied to someone of any age, but matured to indicate only nosy older men.  Aside from this blog-post, you may never run into it again for the rest of your life.  If you do, it will almost certainly be applied to some old dude with suspenders, and his pants hiked up almost to his armpits, probably at Shoney’s at 4:00 PM, for the Early Bird Special.

Please stop back again soon.  I’d like to play a game of Twenty Questions.  😉

WOW #38

Dictionary

The obscure English Word Of the first Week of November is

 Turbary.

This word means the legal right to cut turf or peat from ground belonging to somebody else. It was important, upon a time, because peat was a specific and limited resource in certain regions; but who’d have ever imagined that the rights to cut it actually had its own specific term?

Only in English, the language of a million plus words and a history of mugging other languages for their vocabulary and then chasing them down a dark alley and riffling their pockets for even more.

I don’t think that anyone would want to come to my place and cut sod, but I wouldn’t mind if some nice person cut my lawn.

Poor antiquated ‘Turbary.’  A few people must still cut peat to use as fuel, but electricity and gas being piped to almost every home in Britain, has relegated it to the back of the top shelf of the Dictionary’s closet.  It is not alone there.  The writer of a recent post that I read was amazed by the existence of the word ‘defenestration,’ which means throwing something, or someone, out of a window.

“Was there really a lot of that going on, back in the Middle Ages, that they needed to create a word to describe it?”  Watch/rewatch the movie Braveheart, where Longshanks, the King, casually tosses the ‘friend’ of the gay prince out of the tower window.  “Clean that mess up!”

Would you like a real challenge? Write a sentence (or two) in the comments using this word.  I had trouble enough just composing this short little post.  I can issue a challenge with the word ‘turbary,’ I try to keep this a G-rated blog site.  I couldn’t challenge you with a word like dongle.  I know you lot.  😆

 

7 Of 9’s 4th Of 30 Challenge

Another Challenge

Star Trek

That title’s a vague, old, Star Trek, Voyager reference, and it’s still not the fourth, it’s merely number four, on a thirty-day list that I’m chaotically crashing through.

  1. What you wear to bed

This list creator is seriously disturbed.  You could be, too.  There is not enough vodka or qualified psychiatrists in the world, to erase the mental picture of me, rolling out of the old fart sack.  For a while, I dated only blind women.

When I first got married, I slept in the nude, because – you know – sex could break out.  My wife informed me that, when it came to sex, I was self-sufficient, so I took the problem in hand.  Sex did occur a couple of times, and soon we had a couple of kids in the house, one of them female.  I couldn’t go looking for my BVDs in the dark when one of them had a bad dream, or go wandering down the hall with my dangly bits….uh, dangling.

I took to going to bed in my undershorts, and continued for decades.  Never know when you’ll have to run outside to escape a fire.  The house is 72/73 F, summer and winter, although we have an electric mattress warmer to keep us cozy in the winter.

When my doctor confirmed the diagnosis of an enlarged prostate, she prescribed a medication that will shrink it, and keep it shrunk.  Without any explanation, she asked me if I wanted Cialis.  That’s like offering a dog a driver’s licence.  Erectile dysfunction didn’t seem to be the problem, so I said no.

After doing some research, I discovered that drugs like Viagra and Cialis were originally developed to increase blood flow.  When test subjects were asked if they experienced any side-effects, many of the men replied, ’Uh, yeah.  I don’t roll out of bed anymore.’ and a lucrative secondary market was discovered.

The maintenance dose of Cialis that I was offered is supposed to increase blood flow, to help the medication work, so I quickly said, yes.  As I neared 70, my normal low blood pressure and slow heart rate were no longer enough to keep my feet warm enough to sleep at night, even with the Cialis.  Perhaps at my next doctor’s appointment, I’ll ask for a higher dosage level.

SDC11122

The wife made me a hand-knit, custom-fit pair of socks, which I wear to bed over my regular socks, and sleep comfortably.  They, and my bikini briefs, are enough to allow me out on my back deck, when the new puppies start rowdying in the morning, ‘cause no-one lives behind me, to see what I wear to bed.  😉

’18 A To Z Challenge – O

 

Challenge '18letter-o

 

 

 

 

 

OBSESSION

When is a door not a door??  When it’s ajar.  When is an obsession not an obsession??  Are we obsessed if we always do the same things the same way, or is it that, through observation and practice, we have found the best way??  I’m not stubborn.  My way is just right.

Obsession is a matter of degree.  If you check that the doors are locked before retiring for the night, you’re careful and cautious.  If you check that the doors are locked before retiring for the night – 15 or 20 times – you may be a bit obsessive.

Even if we don’t have to seek professional help, most of us have a thing or few that we’re a bit obsessive about.  My father was obsessive about putting butter on bread: actually, about NOT putting butter on bread.  Somehow it disturbed him to have a bit of unused butter on his knife when his bread was covered.  He hated to have to scrape the excess off against the edge of the butter dish.  It could take him 3 or 4 tiny little diminishing dabs, to complete his task.

Since the wife’s life centers around food and cooking, so do her obsessions.  We own 3 butter knives, another household item not common in our social/financial neighborhood.  She uses one to add dabs of margarine to a casserole of scalloped potatoes, as she assembles it, or to spread pâté on rolls or crackers….  because, apparently, a kitchen knife won’t do it.

As a teen, an older sister impressed upon her that, All dishes have to be washed in a sinkful of hot, soapy water.”  Not a bad idea on its own, but – we own 4 or 5 sets of measuring spoons.  If a recipe calls for a tablespoon of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, and a half-teaspoon of cinnamon, she measures out the tablespoon of sugar.  Sugar doesn’t stick to slick, stainless steel spoons.  If it did, I would wipe off an offending grain or two with a dishcloth.  The other size spoons aren’t used but, she throws the entire set into the sink, to be washed.

Then she gets out another set, measures the salt….and throws that set in the sink.  Then, she gets out yet another set, measures the cinnamon….and throws it in the sink too.  It’s a good thing that there are two dishwashers in our home.  General Electric built one….I am the other.

I remember the first time she caught observed me cleaning out a saucepan of reheated chilli and eating with a spatula.  We don’t do that at our house.

She ‘translated’ cooking instructions for a rice maker, from Imperial, to Metric, and came up with the weight of rice at 389 grams.  I obsess about that ’messy’ looking number, and use a nice, round, 390 grams without ever telling her.  It’s almost as bad as the swishy little women’s section editor in our paper, who published instructions to chill something down to the freezing mark, 0 degrees Celsius….or 33 degrees Fahrenheit.  I obsessively called him and asked how in Hell he’d got 33 degrees.  He just figured it out with his calculator.

My obsessions center around the English language, and word usage.  If you’ve read any of my word posts, like last year’s rant, you know how I like to poke fun at lazy, stupid, unthinking misusages, especially by professionals.  Things like the headline, “Pope considers taking “leave.”  Taking “leave,” is a Lieutenant-Colonel with 30-days of R&R – a temporary absence.  What they meant to punctuate was, “Pope considers “taking leave,” as in, a resignation, a retirement, a permanent giving up of the post of Pope, the way that Benny The Dick wisely did.

The headline writer took leave of his education and training.  I don’t want you to take leave of this site.  See you back here soon??  Please!  🙂

WOW #37

Newspaper

All opinions expressed in this blog-post are not of the management, but solely those of the author…and, in MY opinion, the Word Of the Week

TEMERARIOUS

is arty, and pretentious.

I was thrilled to find it, although less thrilled to find that I was not already aware of it.  I was correct to deduce that it was the adjective version of the noun ‘Temerity’, which means audacity, effrontery, foolhardiness, reckless boldness, or rashness.

Without really thinking about it, (Oh, Damn!) I always assumed (making an ASS out of U and ME) that the adjective form would be ‘temeritous,’ but never had the need or occasion to use it.   I was not disturbed to see it used by a newspaper advice columnist.  Lord knows, I only have a Grade 12 education.  This lady may have a string of letters behind her name.

Eleven letters and five syllables in it, I was disturbed to see it used by a newspaper advice columnist, for people whose largest piece of vocabulary might be ‘Wal-Mart.’

I always advise to write to the level of the anticipated readership.  If I had to go and look this up, I’m sure that there was a passel of confused John Deere drivers.

Now that I’ve entrusted this ostentatious, mostly useless, $8.47 word to you, try to be careful with it.  Please keep out of the reach vocabulary of children.  Perhaps reserve it only for TED discussions.

As my Father used to say, before they changed the name of the country to Ethiopia, ‘Abyssinia’ later.  😉