WOW #24

Old Man

Nemo enim est tam senex qui se annum non putet posse vivere.
No one is so old as to think that he cannot live one more year.

Gerontocracy

Definitions for gerontocracy

  1. a state or government in which old people rule.
  2. Government by a council of elders.
  3. a governing body consisting of old people.

The English noun gerontocracy is composed of two relatively common Greek elements: geront- (“old age”) and the combining form -cracy (from the Greek combining form -kratia “rule, government”). Geront- is the stem of the noun gérōn “old, old man, elder.”

That’s what I need, a government of old people….wait, that’s what we already have. With age, is supposed to come wisdom.  What we really need is a government of people who are old and smart and capable, not old and stupid, or old and greedy, or old and incompetent, or old and egotistical. (Did somebody just whisper “Donald Trump”?) People who have learned from their mistakes, not learned to make more.

With my age and intelligence, I should be able to finagle myself a position as Minister of Medical Association. Thirty years ago, a doctor told me to take my Little Black Book, with the names and numbers of all the hot chicks….and throw it away.  Get another one he said, you’ll need it.

He was right! My new little black book now has the greatest collection of names of people that I pay to touch me, but they all have M.D. after their name, or chiropractor, or massage therapist, or optician.  The optician one is real important.  Without her, I couldn’t read the telephone numbers of any of the rest.

A comedian once said that, the people who really know how to run the country are all cutting hair or driving cabs.  I think that they’re all busy playing Bingo, or getting the Early Bird Special at Shoney’s.

Get Off My Lawn

😳

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Why (Fundamentalist) Christians Hate Atheists

….Agnostics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists….pretty much anybody who’s not them!

Smartest People.jpeg

‘Good Christians’ often paint themselves into a corner with reality and society. The more Fundamentalist they are, the more numerous, and tighter, the corners.

Churches are not bastions of religious discussion. They are merely echo chambers.  Congregations congregate in buildings which are full of people who think exactly like them – no further thought required.  The strangely-dressed bellwether at the front says ‘Baaa’, and they all nod and pass the collection plate, eager to be fleeced.  There’s a reason that they’re called a flock.

Atheists are happy to be on their own, thinking their own thoughts and making their own decisions. For many Christians, it is not enough that they accept the existence of God, and Christ as their Savior; they must Have Faith, and Believe, to be able to go to Heaven.  The mere existence of Atheists, to say nothing of some of their more loudly-held opinions and arguments, undermines that faith and belief, and it scares the Hell into the Fundies.

If someone tells you that they CHOOSE TO BELIEVE – in God, or anything else – they’re full of bullshit, and they’re trying to feed some to you.  People believe because they are convinced.  They can become convinced, but it’s not controlled by an on/off switch.  They can claim that they’re convinced.  They can fool others.  They can even fool themselves, but if the God that they ’believe’ exists, really does, they’re not going to convince Him.  And so, the hatred of, and discrimination against, Atheists begins, to remove all doubts.

I can’t count the number of blog-posts and articles I’ve read, where someone raised in a ‘Good Christian’ home, becomes an Atheist. It seems the more Fundamentalist and Evangelical the household – the more likely it is to happen.  Possibly it’s because the mistakes and hypocrisy and fuzzy logic are more apparent, and easier to see.

It is sadly amusing how so many of these poor souls realize and admit that, based on the claims they’ve heard, they find no proof that the God described really exists. Many of them strongly resist calling themselves Atheists, because they’ve been taught that Atheists are evil, nasty and sinful.  I’m not evil, nasty, or sinful. I’m a nice person.  I can’t be an Atheist!  But the Christian families that kick them out, or entire Bible-belt towns who shun them, harass them, and force them to move away, are evil, nasty and sinful.

I’ve been preaching for years about the ego and insecurity that fuels this type of behavior. Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger.  You don’t have to blindly believe in My truths, because, while I’m not imaginary, I’m only G.O.D., not God.

HUBRIS

Pride

Most people, at least at one time or another, want to feel good about themselves, to feel special, perhaps to feel that they are a bit better at something than another person or group.  So it is with me.  I often want to feel that I am a bit more than merely ordinary.

Since my only strong points are a limited knowledge of language, and a head full of useless trivia, my chances are not frequent, but I’ll take my ‘Attaboys’ whenever I can get them.

It’s not hard to feel superior to someone who composes something like this;

Well then. Here’s the first blog! I ain’t no english culinary quesenart so bare with this innufrensious. How do you spell quesenart? HUH. No idea. I forgot what it’s like to be part of something new and have new people be fascinated with you. Haven’t felt that in a very long time. Starting this blog thang reminded me of this feeling. And, well, it’s an amazing feeling! Something I long for. Or something i’m long for? Hmmm. Well, nonethelessless. I feel I have no outlet anymore to speak my mind. And IT AIN’T FACEBOOK. That’s from a civilian though. 

To really feel good about myself, I need to outpoint a professional – a newspaper or magazine writer, or a television or movie professional, someone who is paid to be smart.  This does not include the closed-captioner who recently wrote, “Fists of steal.”

I was upstairs, working on the computer, while the wife was watching a documentary about, “The Secrets Of Ancient Rome.” The hosts are a ‘professor’ (Yeah, right!  As if!), and his well-endowed female air-head eye-candy assistant.

Out of the corner of my ear, I heard him talking about a Roman senator who was famous for his banquets, and he described these Lucullian feasts.  A couple of keystrokes assured me that they were Lucullan, as I remembered.

I went downstairs just in time to hear him talking about the baniality of something, rather than banality.  Then he claimed that the word ‘tribulations’ came from a defensive battleground weapon called a “tribulum,”  and showed a six-inch cube of timber, with six-inch nails protruding from each face.  These were strewn on a battlefield to prevent a charge by horses or infantry.

These things existed, but the Latin prefix ‘tri’ means ‘three,’ not six-sided. A ‘tribulum’ was a threshing sledge.  Then he spoke of a Roman Senator who had his throat slit, and lay on the ground, ‘chortling’ his life out.  ‘Chortling’ means to chuckle or laugh gleefully.  I can’t remember the last time someone chortled about getting his throat cut.  Maybe it was….NEVER!

The show was almost over.  There was only enough time to talk about the Coliseum.  Apparently the name had nothing to do with the “Colossal” Greek statue out front.  It fell into disrepair and was taken over by a band of witches who locked it up (all 23 doors, and nobody objected?), and wouldn’t let anyone in unless they said “colle seum,” which meant “Do you know Him?”, ‘Him’ referring to the Devil.

This is a European, Christian concept that even didn’t come into existence until almost a thousand years after “Ancient” Rome. Colle means hill, and the suffix seum means ‘referring to.’  Perhaps Google was having a company picnic the day the writers did their research.

Recently, I read an MSN quiz. If you can answer this question, you may be a psychopath.  I was hoping.

A woman who has moved away from her home town, returns for her mother’s funeral. She meets and talks to a nice man.  He is intelligent, charming and kind.  In the crush and confusion she doesn’t get his name or phone number.  She doesn’t know who he came with, or how he knows her mother.

She feels that he is the man for her, the one that she wants to spend the rest of her life with.  Three days later, she murders her sister. WHY? Apparently, only a psychopath would casually sacrifice a sister, in the hope that this man would attend another funeral.

My mind grinds fine, but exceeding slow. The next day, I said, “Wait a minute?!” Psychopaths don’t care about ‘charming,’ or ‘kind.’  They are the center and the sum total of their own existence.  They don’t need or want anyone else to ‘complete them.’  No wonder I didn’t figure this one out right away.

In previous searches of song-lyric sites, one site showed Jefferson Starship’s line, “Who rides the wrecking ball into our guitar?” as ‘in two hard guitars,’ and another gave it as ‘in two fast guitars.’  I recently searched for the lyrics to Gene Autrey’s ‘I’m Back In The Saddle Again,’ and found a reference to ‘the lowly gypsum weed.’

Apparently, out West, they’ve got plants made out of wall-board. City-slicker Wiki-providers have never heard of Jimson Weed.  I feel so superior.  I’ll feel even better if you pat my widdle head, and tell me how astute I am.  No references to OCD or nit-picking, please.

WOW #23

Dictionary

I have a

DILEMMA

The other day, I merely had a lemma. I’m pleased, because almost no-one else knows when they’ve got one.  A lemma is a spikelet of grass or other plant.

Linguaphiles speak of words which are positive, which have no negatives, or negative, but have no positives. Poor ‘dilemma’ is a bit of an orphan – one parent, and no-one knows what it is.

The phrase ‘caught in a cleft stick’ means that someone is jammed between two options, unable to make a choice for either one. The prefix ‘di’ also means two.  The word ‘dilemma’ is a situation where you are already impaled on two sharp, contradictory choices, and getting off is going to be intellectually or emotionally painful, and adopting and sticking yourself with either single option will hurt even more.  See lose/lose, or zero-sum-gain situation.

Reprogramming the Star Fleet computer so that you can win the Kobyashi Maru mission test is not a dilemma. If only we were able to reprogram more of life’s double-edged predicaments.  Things would go so much more smoothly.

Finding your way back here for more exciting, informative blog-posts should not be a dilemma.  If you haven’t already, lose your mind and just click on ‘Follow’ above, and leave some nice, but not pointed, comments.

Lost In The Urban Jungle

Department Store

In my little hometown, in the late 1940s, the selections in the two small, local, independent grocery stores were not great, and low-volume buying and shipping made prices a bit higher than in ‘the big city.’ My Dad suggested that we start driving 25 miles to the ‘giant metropolis’ of 10,000 people, and shop at the Loblaw’s store.

In our little blue-lawed town, stores closed at 6:00 PM, and there was no such thing as Sunday shopping. On Friday nights, the Loblaw’s stayed open until 9:00.  Dad would come home from work at 5, we’d have a quick supper, and be on the road by 6.

It became a routine. The choices were greater.  The lower grocery prices paid for the gas burned, and it was a family adventure.  There might even be enough left over to have some French fries from a ‘chip wagon.’

One warm July Friday night, we rolled up main street. Dad found a parking spot about a half a block from the store, and put a dime in a parking meter for an hour’s stay. Long before the advent of suburban malls, stores were ‘downtown.’

We walked to the Loblaw’s, did our shopping, and checked out, with some time to spare.  In the days of good manners and social restraint, shopping carts were not allowed out of the store onto main street.  All groceries had to be carried.

We had four large paper bags. I was 6 years old, and my brother was three. We weren’t going to carry any.  My Mother tucked two of the lighter ones in the crooks of her elbows, and my Dad hefted the rest.  When we exited the store, there were no hands free to guide us, so my Mom said to me, “You take your brother, and go on ahead to the car.”  So, leading him by the hand, off we set down an un-busy sidewalk.

We got to the (unlocked) car long before they did. In the days before air conditioned stores, the double doors of the store beside the car stood propped open.  Just as I was about to open the car, I heard ‘clickety-click, clickety-click.’  What was that sound?  Dragging him, we stepped over to the store doors and looked and listened.

This was not quite a department store, more like a 5 and 10, five times as big as the tiny Dime Store in my town.  There were sales-clerks in various spots, but no cash registers or money.  They had a something much like a pneumatic tube system, only made out of steel mesh.

All the price tags, and the customers’ money, were put into a 4” X 4” x 6” steel mesh car, with a little electric motor, and pushed into a drop-tube. Clickety-click, clickety-click, up it went, turned at the top, and clickety-click, clickety-click, ran around the store, and up into a cash office on a mezzanine level.  There, a clerk verified all totals, made change, and returned the little car along with a receipt.  An adjustable semaphore determined which station it would drop out at.

This was the sound that I’d heard. We, or at least techno-geek me, stared in awe.  The nearest clerk noticed us, and asked if we’d like to see it again. “Yes please!” She wrote a note that said, “I have two fascinated kids here.  Just return it.” and stuffed it up the tube. Clickety-click, clickety-click, up it went, around the room and up into the office.  Thirty seconds later, clickety-click, back it came.

She wasn’t busy, so she asked, “Wanna do it once more?” “Yes please!” She added, “One more time” to the note and, clickety-click, off it dashed again, like a 1950 slot-car and clickety-click, soon returned and popped out one more time.

Now…. Let’s step outside, and see what this looked like to our parents.  They’d sent two kids half a block on a main street sidewalk, in broad daylight, but when they got to the car, we weren’t there. Where the Hell did the kids go??! Had someone kidnapped us?  Had we got into the wrong car, and inadvertently been driven off?  Were we lost, and wandering the streets?

They quickly stowed the groceries, and began searching. Up and down the street, asking random pedestrians if they’d seen two little boys – back to the Loblaw’s – Dad went one way, Mom went the other.  They finally returned to the car in a panic….and we calmly walked out of the store.  We hadn’t been more than twenty feet away, all the time, but there had been no reason for them to think we’d gone inside.

Too happy, to give me shit, Mom still impressed on me that I should never do such a thing again. And while we weren’t at the car, the dime’s worth of parking had expired, and an eagle-eyed meter maid had given Dad a parking ticket to pay.  No French fries that night.  I didn’t get lost again for 8 years, when I got swept up in another school group touring a Niagara power station, and had to explain to the Principal, why I wasn’t there for our head-count.  😳

 

‘17 A To Z Challenge – T

Challenge2017

letter-t

You just know that a darkness-loving troglodyte like me would be fascinated with being underneath things, and by;

TUNNELS

With tunnels and the like, I am intrigued not merely with the fact that I am under, but what (specifically) is over.

At a place in England, it is necessary for a narrow-boat canal to cross a river. It does so on a multi-arched aqueduct.  It is fascinating to see photos or video of a west-bound river steamer passing directly beneath a south-bound canal boat.

When we had tired of going from Windsor to Detroit, or back, on the big bridge, and driving above ships in the river, I decided to try the tunnel. While it’s a little more distance, back then, the connection to I-75 was quicker and easier.  I never worried about the tunnel collapsing, but it was interesting to think that I might be driving directly under a 1000-foot-long lake freighter.

When we used to go to Niagara Falls, down at the other end of Lake Erie, I took the opportunity to return home via a tunnel under the Welland Canal. It’s possible that I drove under that same freighter from Detroit.

It costs a lot of money to dig a road tunnel, especially through rock. Most of the American Interstate system, at least in the eastern mountains, goes around them.  One exception is I-40, from Knoxville, Tenn. into North Carolina.  There are two tunnels within a few miles – but only if you’re travelling East.  If you’re heading West, at one of the tunnels, the divided highway hangs along the side of the mountain.  Being in the tunnel there, only means that you’re under pine roots and raccoon shit.

Skyline panorama

We came through Pittsburgh one time, following the Interstate down the edge of the river, 30/40 feet higher than the water. I-376 suddenly crosses the river, and plunges into the side of a 150 foot stone cliff on the other side, and doesn’t seem to come up for air until you’re almost into Indiana.

It’s one thing, especially at spaghetti-junction highway interchanges, to be driving underneath other cars or even big transport trucks. On the west side of town, the Conestoga Expressway passes under not only several surface streets, but the main railroad line, so I’ve driven under trains.

To accommodate our new street-railroad system, two of the major, downtown streets have been excavated under the rail line, so I’ve had even more opportunities to drive under trains. A couple of blocks from the daughter’s place, there is an old, shallow underpass, where I’ve often driven under trains.  I try to be sure that, when I drive under something, I can get all the way out the other side.  Despite signs warning of “Low Underpass,” a couple of times a year, THIS happens.

Tunnels

There’s an underpass like this, somewhere in the States, that’s so famous that it has its own website. With a name like ‘elevenfootsix.com’, you can access it and watch live video from a traffic-cam, or access archived footage and photos.

At least twice a week, some big-rig, or local delivery truck like the one above, rips the top off and gets stuck. There must be a Ryder truck-rental agency upstream, because every second truck is a (now-damaged) Ryder.  It’s (almost) amusing to watch RVs swoop under it, but peel off roof-mounted canoes or air-conditioning units.

I have finally driven under an airplane. One day, coming around the Expressway, on a sunny, cloudless day, suddenly I was in a shadow, and then out again.  What was that??  Ah….a 20-passenger commuter plane, heading for the local airport.  But it’s mid-afternoon, and the sun is off to the west, so I wasn’t directly under it, merely in its shadow.

All that changed on my most recent drive to Ottawa, to visit the Grandson. The highway goes past a Canadian Forces Airbase, and there were two big military transport planes angling in for a landing, 45° ahead and to my left.  Can I?  Can I?  I hope!

The first one crossed the highway and went to final approach.  A minute later and a mile further east for me, and lower and nearer for the second….VOOOM!  I went right under him!  When a C-16 cargo plane passes 200 feet above you, there’s no mistake.  The sonic vibrations pounded me and the car.  I could see his nose out the passenger side, while his tail was still on my driver’s side.

Small things do indeed amuse small minds. It’s better than being under suspicion, under investigation, under the influence, under arrest, or under a misapprehension.  What things would you admit to being under?   😕

***

By the way:  Happy New Years guys.  The best of good wishes for the coming year, and thanx for your ongoing company and support.  😀

I Was Born To….?

Dictionary

Knowing that I’m always desperate for a blog-theme, the daughter sent me a link to a website which lists ‘Words That Were Born The Same Year You Were.’

I am always amused by the ego demonstrated by the Dictionary.com F.A.Q., “How do I get a word into the dictionary?” First you come up with a useful word, and then you convince two million Millennials to bring it up to common usage.  This is not easy with today’s language users.

Canada’s dollar coin had been christened ‘The Loonie’ because of the bird on it. When the two-dollar coin came into existence, I thought that ‘Doubloon’ would be a great name.  I did not get my way.  As you may have noticed, the Lowest-Common-IQ Brigade gave it the interesting and creative (Insert sarcasm here) name of ‘Toonie’ – YAWN!

My manufacturing plant acquired a short, stocky, jolly, but totally useless supervisor, at the height of the ‘Tickle Me Elmo’ craze. I was all for calling him Elmo, but my 25-year-younger friend Tony, gave him the 25-year-older moniker of Boo-Boo, from the earlier Yogi Bear cartoons, and it stuck.

When I plugged my birth year in, I expected to find words like pterodactyl, or Palaeolithic. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, in 1944, near the end of World War II, the war-time scientific research had given birth to some technical terms that many people think did not come into existence until years or decades later.

I would have thought that, in any given year, a dozen, or perhaps two dozen, new words come into existence. I was amazed at the 1944 list.  There are almost 250, ten times what I’d expect.  Some of the science/technology words intrigue me, words like superglue, permanent press, G suit, dishpan hands, carpet bomb, bungee cord, antigravity, and brain cramp.  The word ‘babysit’ was born that year.  I thought that it had been around far earlier.  Click on the link above, visit the site, plug in your birth-year and see what the words say about you.