Book Review #26

I don’t read anything, just to tick off boxes on someone else’s Challenge list.  I have however, recently read two candidates for ‘A Book Published Before You Were Born.’  I reread the micro-short story, The Cask of Amontillado, by Edgar Allen Poe.  When I downloaded it from the Internet, a note appeared below, saying, People who researched this, were also interested in…. and showing several other old titles, including Herman Melville’s, Bartleby the Scrivener.  I’ve never read it, and free is my favorite flavor.

Published 1853

Back in the ’60s, Ajax Cleanser had a series of TV ads where they claimed that their product was Stronger than dirt.  Since I am Older Than Dirt, it’s a struggle to find interesting books that old.

The book: Bartleby the Scrivener

The author: Herman Melville

The review:
The entire book is an un-named narrator, relating the tale of the strange actions and attitudes of a clerk that he employed.  The titled Bartleby was hired by a lawyer as a scrivener, a man who produced handwritten copies of deeds, and wills, and other legal documents, in the age before typewriters, Xerox machines, or computers.

Bartleby drove his employer to distraction.  He produced mountains of perfect copies, but quietly refused to perform any other menial task, such as proof-reading other clerks’ work, or going to the Post Office, with statements like, ”At present I might opt for not to be a bit reasonable.”

Despite it being locked up at close of work hours, the lawyer discovered that Bartleby somehow was living in the offices.  Eventually, he refused to do any work, yet continued to firmly but politely, decline to leave the premises.

While the book is 170 years old, I can’t believe that people of the time spoke, or wrote, like this.  It must have just been the author’s idiosyncratic technique.  The entire book reads like one of those machine-translated spam comments you receive.  Scores of words with two or more definitions were used with the wrong meaning in the context of the passage.

After a few phrases touching on his qualifications, I engaged him, satisfied to have among my corps of copyists a person of so singularly sedate an issue, which I notion might perform beneficially upon the flighty temper of Turkey, and the fiery certainly one of Nippers.

Turkey and Nippers were the nicknames of two of the narrator’s other law clerks.  A third was Ginger Nut, because his desk drawer was often full of shells of various nuts, which he irritated the office by cracking and eating while at work.

The fiery Nippers, among other strange actions, had been known to grasp up a ruler, point it at the cease of the room, (taken to mean ‘the far end’) and shout, “Fee the foe!”,  an expression that neither Bing, nor Google, nor Dictionary.com are aware of.  After some thought, I came to assume that the first word should be fie??  An expression of mild disgust or annoyance.

His fourth copyist, is rendered as ¼.  The third key to his private apartment, is described as .33.  It’s a one-trick-pony, or a one-joke-book.  It never sold widely.  It was mildly amusing for what it was, but not terribly deep, or socially significant, and always slightly confusing.  Ah well, it was an adventure.  Despite being as old as it is, it ticked off a box in another blogger’s Challenge.  When was the last time you tried something new?  😕

You Thought You Had A Shitty Job

According to Mental Floss, in the Victorian Era, ratteners would capture and sell rats to pubs where they were eaten by dogs and played with for entertainment.
Rats, I can’t believe I missed that “premium” entertainment!

The job disappeared when the internet made porn more universally available.  The word shrank down to ratter, and that task was taken by farm-cats, and digger-dogs like my two Scottish Terriers.

People in Medieval times were often given surnames based on their occupation.  The job, and the name, goes back far beyond the Victorian Era.  In both English and German, the spelling first became Rattner, then diminished to Ratner, like Brett Ratner, a Hollywood director, recently mired in a #MeToo and Time’s Up scandal.

Eventually some versions reduced to Radner, and to Radnor.  There is a Radnorshire in Wales.  This time the egg came before the chicken.  It was founded by a couple of English families who moved there to escape their cruel town and despicable occupation, to become farmers.

At the steel warehouse where I worked – long ago – the floor in the fabrication section was poured concrete, but in the actual metal storage area, it was flattened dirt, covered by pea gravel.  On one side, bundles of steel sheets formed stacks eight and nine feet high.

Rats got in, and would burrow under these stacks, occasionally causing one to collapse and tip over into its neighbor.  Righting one of these piles was a slow, somewhat dangerous task, often with product loss.

Nearby was a worker, a recent immigrant from Germany.  His job was to take bundles of 20 foot steel angles or flat bars, and use a large, gravity-fed, horizontal band-saw to cut them to smaller lengths, for fabrication.  Since the bundles might be fifty to a hundred pieces, each actual cut time could be ten to fifteen minutes.

During these un-busy periods, the company urged him to go through the storage area, spreading rat poison, and baiting and checking 15 or 20 big wooden rat traps.  He once proudly told me that he was the company ‘Rattenfanger,’ another German word for rat catcher.

After having to do this task twice, as a home project, https://archonsden.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/oh-rats/ .  I wouldn’t want to have to do it again.  I prefer capturing accolades.  Why don’t you stop by again in a couple of days, and bring some with you.  Remember, I prefer the butterscotch flavored ones.  😉

’21 A To Z Challenge – T

The theme for this week’s A To Z Challenge has been graciously supplied by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

TUMULTUOUS

Full of tumult or riotousness; marked by disturbance and uproar
raising a great clatter and commotion; disorderly or noisy
highly agitated, distraught, turbulent

If Harry just wanted a continuous supply of sex with gorgeous young women, he could have taken some tips from his uncle, Randy Prince Andy – parties, mansions, booze and drugs, some grooming and coercion, a bit of physical force, and, failing all that, boatloads of 100 Pound notes.

But Harry seemed to want to get married and settle down.  If that was his plan, he picked the wrong woman.  Actually, this brazen little, attention-seeking, gold-digger purposely picked him – and Meghan is not the ‘settling down’ type.  He is apparently getting some sex, but she is just leading him around by his….  nose.

She runs their life using the Brittany Spears Career Handbook – a minor catastrophe each week, and a more major meltdown every month – anything to keep them her in the public eye.  Watching her stick-handle their social and marital relationships, (That’s a Canuck hockey reference, eh.) is like watching the shining silver sphere in an Elton John pinball machine.

They’re in Britain!
They’re in the US!
They flutter into Canada just long enough to give the residents of British Columbia some false hope!
They’re on the West Coast!
They’ve moved to the East Coast!
They’re in the news!
They’re on TV!
They’re in court!

Lights flash, bells ring out, digit counters scroll upwards, but when it all eventually goes down the drain, nothing has really happened.  Then she pushes the reload plunger to bring up the next week’s controversy.  It’s enough to make the Kardashians look relevant.

It looks like I’m done with this rant.  See you again soon.   😀

There Are No Words To Describe It

When I claimed that there is no English language, John, our jovial trivial videographer asked, “How do they know English has no original words?”

I responded that, “I know, because I’ve historically researched it for years, especially when I was tracing my ‘Scottish’ roots.  The results of that search are at It’s In The Jeans, if you’re interested.

Let’s start 2000 years ago, when what would later become England, was sparsely settled, and the language was the various dialects of Celtic tribes, like the Iceni, whose Queen Boudicca (Boadicea) was so badly treated by the invading Romans.

The Romans added many words to the mix, including much Latin, but only the officers were “Romans.”  The spear-carriers and their polyglot languages came from all around the Mediterranean.  Traders from far and wide visited the shores also.  Christ’s uncle, Joseph 0f Arimathea, supposedly traded along the western coast, bringing Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

Around 900 AD, the Germanic Jutes, Angles, and Saxons arrived, making themselves and their languages at home.  The Jutes somehow just disappeared, but the Angles and Saxons became “Anglo-Saxon.”   The ‘Angle land’ kingdoms became the ‘England’ of today.  Their language mixed with the Romano-Celtic, with additions from Scottish Picts, Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, and Welsh, becoming Old English, a term only applied today.

A hundred years later, William the Conqueror, invaded the island.  He was the king of the French province of Breton, bringing the term ‘Britain’ to the language.  Many new words and terms were added.  Although consumption was in French, production was still in ‘English.’  Veau, boeuf, porc, and poulet were eaten by French nobles as veal, beef, pork, and poultry, while peasants still raised ‘English’ calves, cows, pigs, and chickens.

Norse Vikings, whose language also carried much Germanic influence, began raiding, and settling, adding some of their words to the olio.  The rise of the British Empire brought back words from all over the globe, Asia (Hong Kong), and hundreds from India.

The Kings and Queens of Europe were all inter-related, bringing in words from Spain, France, Italy, Poland and Russia.  The British Royal Family were German Battenbergs until WW I forced them to become English Mountbattens.

As new words were added, old terms fell out of use.  Some old English words are still in dictionaries as archaic.  Shewed and shewn became showed and shown, and thee, thou, thy and thine became you, your and yours.

It’s like trying to nail fog to a tree. There never was (and still isn’t) a time when there was a true English language.  It all came from somewhere else.  It is the tongue of immigrants, traders and conquerors – and a most excellent tool for communication.

Word is, that there will be another, fascinating post here in two days.  I will use these immigrant words to describe how elated I am that you visit.  😀

Tu Quoque

A Christian Apologist walked into a bar….
No he didn’t.  Don’t be silly.  They don’t walk into bars.
He walked into a church and had some communion wine because
Jesus turned water into wine, and said alcohol is good for you.
He made some drunken accusations about a well-known Atheist.
I accused him of Tu Quoque.
(Which means Christians do the same things, but claim to be better than everybody else)
He denied it, and claimed that I was ‘projecting.’
He said – She said

The rest is THISTORY

Frustrated and angry about the ongoing actions and attitudes of Christians, Christianity, the Christian Church, and specifically the Catholic Church, P Z Meyers indulged in a little hypothetical hyperbole.  To present it as if you believed it literally, is either incredibly naïve, or an intentional lie.  Likewise, to take the angry rant of one Atheist, and present it as if it were somehow The Official Atheist Position, is also naïve or a lie.

You admit that Meyers supposedly has the same actions and attitudes that some Christians do.  To castigate the Atheist, and then even imply that Christians still hold the moral high ground is the Tu Quoque fallacy that I mentioned.  This is not projection!  This is cold, hard logic, and demonstrable fact.

You complained that Meyers advocated (he didn’t) burning down the churches of the very Indigenous People he tries to support.  These are the same churches which were thrust, unwanted, upon them – which stifled and strangled their native spirituality – and treated them like shit for centuries.  Meyers honestly believes that they would be better off without them.  Mentioning burning them down is a bit over-the-top, for effect.  I agree with Schadenfreude’s suggestion that they could be made much better use of in other, non-church ways.

As for the old Nazi-wannabe….  Meyers does not believe in Heaven or Hell.  He doesn’t think that there will ever be any final punishment for this man’s evil ways.  Even if God and Heaven were to exist, he can still sneak out through the Holy loophole by confessing his sins and asking for forgiveness.

Fair is where you take your pig to have it judged, but Meyers obviously feels that the universe would a little fairer place if this man suffered in retribution in the here and now – the only time and place that we can be sure that he will pay for his many transgressions.

Kevin, below, wants to write him a free pass because he wasn’t quite the asshole that Hitler was.  This was only through lack of ability and lack of opportunity, not through any lack of trying.  His ideology – his evil – his sin – is precisely the same.  Any difference in size is irrelevant.

In your follow-up post, you maunder on about Meyers putting someone through a wood-chipper.  He would not do such a thing!  He did not even advocate that anyone should do this!  What he PRECISELY said was, if all that Regnery did, was put one person into a wood-chipper, as horrible and gruesome as that might be, it would still be less evil and cause less pain and suffering to others, than what Regnery has achieved over many years.

Your rants might have a firmer base if you stopped assigning thoughts and claims to others, and studied and understood satire, sarcasm, and hyperbole.  But then, what’s the fun of dishing out the truth?  😯

’21 A To Z Challenge – S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week, on the Cooking With Archon Show, we will be featuring a comfort food recipe.  This is one that was taught to me by my Father, although, with typical 1940s/50s male entitlement, he made sure that it was my Mother who prepared it.  Ladies and gentlemen, we’re talking about that comfort in a cup – or mug, or bowl, or even on a plate.

SLUMGULLION

Now the term slumgullion actually has a rash of related meanings.
a stew of meat, vegetables, potatoes, etc.
a beverage made weak or thin, as watery tea, coffee, or the like.
the refuse from processing whale carcasses.
a reddish, muddy deposit in mining sluices.

But it’s that delicious, nutritious dish….  Who are we kidding?  Often there was barely enough food value to keep body and soul together.

The word started as an 1840s-50s Americanism, coined by poor Scottish/Irish immigrants.  It took the Celtic term gullion – a quagmire, or cesspool, and added the term slum, which was where it was common.  The first definition says that it was a stew with meat, but there was often little or no meat.

It was one short step up from stone soup, a warm, filling, often vegetable, stew.  There is no “recipe.”  My Dad referred to it as an empty the fridge meal.  Boil a beef bone for stock if you have one, and chop up and add all the leftovers.  Serve with a piece of bread if you have some, to sop up the last drops.

I recently viewed a video where, for the first time ever, I heard someone actually use the word ‘kludge.’ This is a kludge dish!  It ain’t pretty.  It ain’t fancy.  It ain’t gourmet.  It’s just jammed together from whatever is on hand – but it works.  I’ll probably still be licking my spoon when you return in a few days for the next course.

To Put It Another Way – I

I continue to be amazed and disappointed, yet entertained, by the many ways people find to misuse the English Language.  😳

Pros

It seamingly permeates all of society – You seemingly don’t know one word from the other.

Leaving them so depended on others – That is dependent on knowing the correct word

The powerful engine enabled verticle takeoff – That’s just straight-up wrong.

They’d sell corpses to medical schools for extra mullah. – If they’d had a little extra moolah, they could have hired someone to teach them that a mullah is a Muslim teacher/priest.

Amateurs

Calm in sense seems a tad uncommon – but such misusages are all too common.

God will reign down blessings – the correct spelling of rain being one of them.

Feb 21th – I don’t know what to say??!  😯

HE’S NOT JOKING

How many liberls does it take to CHANG a Log by bolb????
NONE!!!! THEIR too BUsy changing?????? their chender

From week to wicked, building a hot rod – That spelling is weak – and wicked

I was waiving my hand – to renounce the incorrect spelling of waving

Proof is easy to fine – and misusage is easy to find

Working in retail is a right of passage – But you didn’t use the right rite.

It wheats my appetite for more – My wheats are shredded, so I use whets.

It could have been their deminer – But it was more likely their demeanor.

 

Swimming In The OCD Ocean

I can’t dress myself!  Oh, I can put clothing on my body – but pick what to wear??  Shortly after I got married, my wife proved to me that, like many other newly-wed men, I was incapable of choosing acceptable attire.  I haven’t bought myself a piece of clothing in over 54 years.

We have agreed on black jeans for normal, casual wear.  For the mix-and-match polo shirts that go with them, her system for choosing to purchase seems to be based on – Ooh, I love that color – Ooh, I like the collar on that, and – Ooh, they’re on sale.  We’ll get one in all four colors.

She was doing laundry one day, and asked me to check my closet for any empty hangers that would be needed to hang them up after drying.  I opened the closet, and it was FULL of polo shirts – How many??! – 32!!  How can I possibly have 32 shirts left, on the day she’s doing laundry??  Not having done laundry in two weeks, she had another 10 in the wash.

When she buys me new shirts, she says, “I’ll throw out all the old, threadbare ones to make room.”  With 42 shirts in the rotation, how would any of them become threadbare?

I was wearing a particular shirt one day.  She commented, “I haven’t seen that shirt in a while.”  I responded, “You should see it every couple of months.  I put shirts into the closet on the left, and take them out to wear, from the right.”  “Wellll… You’ve got some shirts that I don’t like, so I go into your closet and move them around, so that you won’t wear them.”

Wait!!  You do what??!  You purchase all my shirts, and there are some that you don’t like??!  No wonder I can’t choose any that she likes.  She doesn’t even like the ones that she picks.  Must be the ones with the OOH collars.  And she goes into my closet and curates my clothing??!    😯

She does throw out threadbare shirts – right when she shouldn’t.  At the old auto parts plant, the windows were one short step up from kitchen sieves.  During a winter cold snap, temps on the floor could drop into the 60s, or even 50s F.  I had 10 thick, warm work tee-shirts – 5 each for two weeks till she did laundry.  In the summer, with no A/C and lots of hot vinyl, many days I worked in the 90s F.  I had 10 thin, threadbare shirts.

As cold weather approached one winter, I put away the thin, summer shirts.  At our first heat-wave in April, I went to pull them back out – but couldn’t find them.  “Honey, do you know where my summer tee-shirts are?”  “Oh, they were all so thin, and they had little holes and picks in them, so I just threw them all out.  Just wear the good, thick, heavy ones.  They cover you better, anyway.”  I can’t even go out and buy thin, cool shirts.

The poor dear probably doesn’t even notice what she’s doing, and does it with the best of intentions and my welfare and best interests at heart.  A guy could die from all that love.  I’ll be wearing a clean shirt when you return in a couple of days – solid colors only – no stripes, spots, or Canadian plaid.  Tell me if you like the collar.   😉

’21 A To Z Challenge – R

I childproofed the house, but the kids still get in.

My GREAT-grandson is the world’s GREATest  great-grandson, in my own humble opinion.  The wife and daughter both assure me that he is well within the normal bell-curve of infant development.  It may be that, because of COVID visitation restrictions, I get to see him so seldom, and normal incremental changes seem to me to be great leaps of progress.

Intelligence, curiosity, and force of character just seem to exude from him.  We six living ancestors plan to stimulate his mind.  Intelligence is greatly affected by the number of mental occurrences.  His mother is already reading to him, and he responds to the attention.

We will have to soon childproof the house, both for his safety, and the wellbeing of our few more-expensive/delicate belongings – but I actually look forward to the rapidly-approaching time when he will be

RAMBUNCTIOUS

AND

ROWDY

Investigating, experimenting, learning about his world – growing smarter, stronger, and wiser.  For the third of his THREE R’s, his name is

ROWAN

One that he shares with the strong, tall, Rowan, or Mountain Ash tree, revered and respected by my Celtic Scottish forebears.  The name Rowan means “little red one.”  This is not evident yet.  Where the son was born with a reservation with a barber, this is one area where he does not excel.  He is just now growing some peach fuzz on his head.  In a family where about every third child is born a redhead, there seems no indication that he will be one.

It was all I could do to stay intellectually ahead of my son, and grandson.  I am hoping that this wee lad challenges me enough to keep a few mental cylinders firing.  Already there’s been a big increase in sentimental.

***

Some damned fool just informed me that I used the word rambunctious a year ago, in my post for R, and forgot to remove it from the ‘available’ file.  Pay no attention to that man behind the blog-screen.
Get down, you mangy mutt!  Quit pissin’ on my leg.   😯  😳

Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One – V

Agon (noun) [AH-gahn]
Conflict, especially the dramatic conflict between the main characters in a literary work.
The family feud in “Romeo and Juliette” is a famous agon.

Billow (verb) [BIL-oh]
to swell up, to puff out, as by the action of wind
Held by two men, the flag billowed within their grasp as though it could unfurl any moment.

Clishmaclaver (noun) [klish-muh-kley-ver, kleesh]
Scottish: gossip, idle or foolish talk
There was no way that Robbie Burns Day would be cancelled.  It was utter clishmaclaver.

Ekistics (noun) [ih-kis-tiks]
The scientific study of human settlements, drawing on diverse disciplines, including architecture, city planning, and behavioral science.
(Look out!  Big Brother is watching you.)

Gewgaw (noun) [gyoo-gaw, goo]
Something gaudy and useless, trinket, bauble
The tourist market was filled with nothing but counterfeit handbags and gewgaws – objects that no-one really wanted

Gleek (verb) [gleek]
Archaic: To make a joke, to jest
First recorded 1540 – 50, of uncertain origin  (Let’s Blame the Scots.)
In Shakespearean plays, joking was referred to as gleeking

Impecunious (adjective) [im-pi-kyoo-nee-uh s]
Having little or no money, penniless, poor
The dot-com crash left him impecunious, with not a cent to his name.

Moira (noun) [moy-ruh]
A person’s fate or destiny
She believed that it was her moira to win a gold Olympic medal.

Naissance (noun) [ney-suh ns]
A birth, an organization, or a growth, as that of a person, an organization, an idea, or a movement.
The naissance of the Civil Rights Movement occurred on college campuses.

Pilgarlic (noun) [pil-gahr-lik]
A person regarded with mild or pretended contempt or pity
Chris was a bit of a pilgarlic, untrusted and untrustworthy.

Pyknic (adjective) [pik-nik]
Characterised by shortness of stature, broadness of girth, and powerful musculature
Even though he had a pyknic build – short and stocky – he was well-known for his brute strength.

Remonstrate (verb) [ri-mon-streyt]
To say or plead in protest, objection, or disapproval
The decision to trade the popular player caused many fans to remonstrate.

Shimony – also Simony (noun)  [sehy-muh-nee, sim-uh]
the making of profit out of sacred things.
the sin of buying or selling ecclesiastical preferments, benefices, etc.
1175–1225; Middle English simonie <Late Latin simōnia; so called from Simon Magus, who tried to purchase apostolic powers; see Simon (def. 5)-y3
This is the word which my son, Shimoniac, bases his online identity on.

Whatsis (noun) [hwuhts-iss, hwots-,wuhts-, wots-]
A thing or object whose name one does not know, or cannot recall
Having momentarily forgotten the word for “stapler,” he asked his colleague to bring him the whatsis.

Word is, there’ll be another great post in a couple of days.  See you there.  Don’t be late.  You know how grumpy my ego can get, if it hasn’t been fed.  👿