WOW #55

CCI_000010

Here’s a word only my Grandmother would have used. Actually, she was too much of a stern, proper old lady to ever allow herself to be in a position to use the word

AMBUSCADE

an ambush.
to lie in ambush.
to attack from a concealed position; ambush.

Middle French emboscade < Old Italian imboscata,

When English riffled the pockets of other languages for words, sometimes the ears and mouth worked, but the eyes were busy elsewhere. Often, foreign words were inducted into English like a Manhattan – with a twist.

Manhattan

English is Larry The Cable Guy’s “Git ‘er done” language. It don’t have no time for all them extra little syllables. The Spanish ‘La Riata’ (something to retie with) becomes simply lariat, in English.

The word petty came from Old French petit, small, minor. So a Naval Petty Officer is not mean or ungenerous in small or trifling things, but rather of secondary rank, especially in relation to others of the same class or kind.

What was subtile (soob-teel) in French, somehow became subtle (suttle) in English. Check (a means of verification) went from English to Middle French, to become cheque, and then back. The German word pflug, became an English plough. Wisely, American English has made each of them (back) into check, and plow. In French, fait simply means, ‘made, completed, or done.’ When it got to England, it became quite a feat.

Elvis Presley’s birthplace, Tupelo Mississippi, is named for a local tree. I thought that it was Spanish. You don’t even want to know how it got into English, from the Creek Indian word, ito opilwa.

Why They Don’t Speak English

Stunned Emoji

Why do you study English??! We all speak it.   😳

The lights are on, but there’s nobody home.
The wheel isn’t turning. The hamster is dead.

Once upon a time, on a sunny September afternoon in 1958, I sat in a high school English class. We were studying Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice.’ The teacher had just read a passage, which included the phrase, “By dark and divers ways.”

The SCUBA diving system was a relatively recent invention, having only been patented by Jacques Cousteau 15 years earlier, in 1943. Suddenly, Biff, the class jock who sat in the row next to me, put up his hand. “Uh, Mr. Johnson, are they talking about guys who jump off cliffs, or that new SCUBA thingy?”

Mr. Johnson is bewildered. As far as he knew, we hadn’t been talking about people throwing themselves off cliffs – and he had no idea what a “SCUBA thingy” was. As he was stammering for a reply, I hissed at Biff, “Put an E on the end of it!”
“Whuh??
No talking in class!
Well, I was in it now. Might as well be hung for a sheep, as a lamb. “Put an E on the end of it!”
“Uh…. Edivers??”
That’s right Biff; there are two ends to a word. Only you would pick the wrong one. Now there were at least two confused people in the room.

“What’s going on back there?”

I stood up. I’m sorry Mr. Johnson. Biff saw the word ‘divers,’ and wondered if Shakespeare was talking about people who dive off things like cliffs, or if he was referring to the new mechanical system which allows people to be SCUBA divers, and breathe underwater, even though it didn’t exist 400 years ago.

We just came here from French class, where the French word ‘divers’ (dee-vare) means of many types, different, various. I was trying to tell Biff to add an E at the end, to produce the English word, ‘diverse.’

This led Mr. Johnson on a spirited lecture about the origin and changes to many English words, and got me off the hook. Biff probably went on to fame and fortune, and a football scholarship, while I can only define the word ‘obscure.’ He was regularly outwitted by the tackling dummy, and needed a handler to tie his shoes, ‘cause Velcro hadn’t been invented yet.

’19 A To Z Challenge – &*%$#

AtoZ2019

I was right! Somebody slipped something to me. I’m lucky it wasn’t a roofie at a bar. It took two of them, ganging up, to do it. Julius Caesar, aided and abetted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, reformed and refined the calendar commonly used today.

My publishing schedule is simple. There are 52 weeks in a year. There are 26 letters in the alphabet. Publish every two weeks – 26 x 2 = 52. It all comes out even, except….

52 weeks times 7 days, is only 364 days, and the year has 365. Each year starts a day later than the previous one – except that Leap Years add 2 days. In the 6 years that I’ve been doing the Challenge, I’ve gained 8 days – more than a week. It was either start doing a March Challenge, or add an excuse, an extra 2 week cushion, and an ad lib post.

Ampersand
Once the 27th letter of the alphabet
Click here for more info https://www.dictionary.com/e/ampersand/

Caesar and Il Papa lawyered up with a smart Jewish attorney. He told me to shift the blame to my old friend, the Ampersand. It was his fault that there was Plus a day or two each year. Old Amp is a bit archaic, and somewhat out of style these days. I felt some regret at betraying him, but it’s every blogger for himself these days.

Survivor

I guess I’m actually lucky to have survived this past year. I’ll have to try harder in the coming months.  😀

For those of you who thought that I might publish an extra comedy post…. the joke’s on you.  😉  😆

 

Wrong For The Right Reasons

dinosaur

A very atypical Christian Apologist published a post where he admitted that he accepted that the Universe came into existence 13.8 Billion years ago, and the Earth and the Solar system coalesced about 4.5 Billion years ago. He believed in Evolution but, desperate to keep his God’s fingers in, he posited a Creator which nudged and guided Earth’s development, until Mankind reached the exalted pinnacle.

***

I could believe in a Creator like this. The 2 problems are; such a being would not need or want, to be worshiped, obeyed, or called “God.” Second, it would not be the omnipotent, create everything in a snap of a non-existent finger, prayer-answering, miracle producing, sin-punishing “God” that most Christians (especially Apologists) believe in.

***

Why would such a being not want to be recognized as what he is: God? And if he made everything to work a certain way, why would he not want us to avoid screwing that order up and breaking things, i.e., obey him?

Also, if he has the power to create all things, which would imply that he has the power to make things be different than they are, wouldn’t this constitute at least some loose sense of “omnipotent”?

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I am amused, but confused, with your use of the phrase, “loose sense of ‘omnipotent.” This joins ‘a little bit pregnant,’ and ‘partly dead!’ It’s either/or, yes or no, it either is, or it isn’t.

What you have described is a version of the ‘Watchmaker God,’ wind the Universe up, and let it run, or the ‘Power-Steering God,’ which lets existence pilot itself. You have invented a Gardener God. Actually, perhaps ‘He’ is not God. Perhaps ‘It’ is not omnipotent, and is unable to create the Earth and mankind instantly, through ‘magic’, but only through careful tending. Maybe this creature (not ‘The Creator’) is fertilizing and planting Someone else’s garden.

It is not the all-powerful Being, who wants – needs – demands – to be blindly obeyed, and worshipped as “God.” Do ants in an ant farm worship the little boy whose bedroom they are in? Does a tulip pray to the gardener, to become a rose? Would the gardener hear? Or care? Or be willing or capable to do it?? What you have described is not ‘God,’ but merely a being with more knowledge and power than we have – yet.

Why would you specify a predetermined order, and fear altering it? The purpose of doing, is learning. Change, and variety, is good. The wife raised some pepper plants on our deck. In one large planter, along with six jalapenos, we had a big tomato plant, apparently from a seed in the compost. It wasn’t wrong. It didn’t need to be controlled, or corrected. It was an interesting and educational occurrence. Vive le BLT!   😀

WOW #54

Boustrophedon

Here’s another in a long line of words that you’ll never use in polite company – or in any company, I would imagine.

BOUSTROPHÉDON

Languages that are written in the Greek, Cyrillic, or Latin alphabets, are written from left to right. It only makes sense. 90% of people are right-handed, and the right arm moves away from what is being written. Asian languages like Chinese and Japanese are written from the top down, vertically. At least they’re getting out of their own way.

Forgive me for being un-PC, but languages like Hebrew and Arabic are just stupid. Both cultures – Arabs worse than Jews – make a big deal about being left-handed. Somehow it’s evil, allied to Shaitan, The Devil. Yet these languages are written from right to left. It’s only in the last 75 years that technology has partly rescued them, with instant-drying ballpoint ink, and word processors. Before that, writers’ arms covered what had just been written, smudging or smearing the pen or quill ink.

Cuneiform

Boustrophedon is a Greek name for some of the much earlier Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform type of ‘writing.’   This was just wedge-shaped marks, pushed into soft clay tablets. Back and forth – to and fro. Since there was no ink to smudge, a line would be entered from left to right. Then the writer would just drop down a line, and enter the next one from right to left.

The word originally just referred to that form of writing, but the meaning, in Greek, is “oxen turning.” Nowadays, the very few times that it is used, (always by a licensed professional) it can refer to things like the back-and-forth pattern of tweed, or the appearance of an agricultural field which has been plowed – fortunately, with tractors, not oxen – back and forth, up and down, leaving a visual difference between alternating rows or strips.

Smitty’s Loose Change #12

Smitty's Loose Change

We (the wife) have acquired a new medical specialist, a Physiatrist (fizz-eye-aah-tryst). This is a term invented by another doctor in 1957. It originally was an alternative to physician, or GP, to distinguish from the growing horde of specialists. Over the ensuing 60 years though, it has come to refer to a doctor who specializes in pain management and control.

He recommends and co-ordinates with chiropractors, osteopaths, massage therapists, and physiotherapists. He can prescribe specific medications, but usually leaves it to the patient and their GP. He can recommend exercises for specific muscle groups, for home, gym or physio sessions. As a last resort, he is trained and authorized to administer injections of analgesics or cortisones.

His clinic is not – and may never be – authorized to administer the long-term, IV-drip, pain-med infusions that I drive the daughter 60 miles every 8/9 weeks to get.

***

I recently got a phone call from a polling firm, working on behalf of my electricity supplier, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro. While seeming simple, the questions were actually rather confusing. They wanted to know why I had chosen K/W Hydro, and what it would take for me to recommend them to another potential user.

They asked about draws, perhaps one or more customers could have their monthly charge written off. The finances are a closed system. It takes X amount of money to purchase and distribute power. If one (or more) people don’t have to pay, then the rest of us all have to pay a bit more. I don’t want to pay any extra, and, if I were to win, I’d feel guilty about the rest paying more.

Then they asked about rebates. If they can afford to give rebates, then they’re overcharging us. The final suggestion was to donate money to charity. It’s a feel-good idea, but, either they’re overcharging, or we’re all going to pay more, to finance that scheme.

I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but the truly bizarre thing about all this is that they hold a monopoly. No other power-supply company can operate in this district. We have Hobson’s choice – take it, or else. The only other options are to freeze in the dark, or buy a Honda generator at Home Despot. And, my bill went up to help pay for this useless survey.

***

I’ve been translating German names again. Some of them give cause for wonder/amusement.
Einwechter = one – of a half. One what?? Of a half of what? I suppose the Germans know.
Kieswetter = cheese weather – which is a sky overcast with small, dark, chunky clouds that resemble cheese curds. How in Hell you get named after rain clouds, I don’t know. No wonder these people tried to conquer Europe – Twice

Kieswetter

***

Arbitrary

How you’ve heard it: “His bookshelves are organized in a totally arbitrary way. “What it means: Random, erratic, unpredictable, not based on coherent logic whatsoever.

It may be unpredictable to you. It may appear erratic, but it is not random! ‘Arbitrary’ means selected, or chosen. The books on the shelf may be arranged by size, by color, by the number of pages, or even in reverse alphabetical order of the authors’ first names. You may not see the order. You may not agree with the logic, but the owner arbitrarily chose it. He may even have chosen random.

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My neurologist, the guy who probably saved my sight – the doctor who was willing to throw me in the trunk of his car and drive me 60 miles to a hospital specializing in eye health – has been charged with 34 counts of sexual harassment, and had his medical license revoked. I did not see that coming.

***

We recently survived another Federal election. One of the son’s co-workers asked him – based on the number of lawn signs – who he felt would be the winner in our neighborhood. The son replied that it looked like Re/Max Realty was out ahead, with Century 21 close behind. The son held out hope for a young upstart named Butter Tart Festival, holding a revival meeting at a local tourist trap. The worker protested, “Aren’t you ever serious?” “Sometimes.” “See, there you go again.” Ya just can’t win.

 

’19 A To Z Challenge – Z

AtoZ2019Letter Z

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun goes down, the tide goes out.
People gather ‘round and they all begin to shout.
Hey, hey, Elmer Fudd
It’s a treat for the elite to know that Archon is no dud.

Avatar

Ray Charles – Mississippi Mud

At least I think those are the lyrics. Click above to hear Ray Charles sing it, and check me out. I don’t know whether All the People gathered ‘round and shouted. I know I did! This post is about the letter Z. I have survived the 2019 A To Z Challenge.

Survivor

For the letter U, I claimed that I had a Useless tale of absolutely nothing. For the final letter of the year, I turn it completely around, and give you a Useful tale about nothing. It is interesting, how many terms for nothing, cluster at the end of the alphabet. For the letter Z, I give you

ZERO
ZIP
ZILCH

These are not terms that you want to slip into the weekly production meeting.
What did you accomplish this week, Hodgens??
Zero, Boss. Real zip. Absolutely zilch! I read all the Dilbert cartoons, to keep up with Wally‘s antics.
Well, you can do all that nothing from home, because that’s what we’re going to pay you.

Wally

Be especially careful with that last one. I had a female co-worker who went into paroxysms at the mere sound of it. It was the first time I found out that there are people who get angry, or ill, just hearing or reading certain words – ‘Moist,’ anyone? 😳

Even in the song above, I thought that, to rhyme with the Mississippi Mud title, the real lyrics mentioned “Uncle Judd.” When I researched it, I found that they sang about ‘Uncle Dud’ (Dudley), which is just another word for nothing, nothing useful, nothing productive.

Speaking of duds…. either I missed a letter, or somebody slipped an extra week into the calendar. Two weeks from today is not the first week of April, to begin the challenge anew. I’ll have to get productive and compose an extra, ad lib post. An extra joke post, anyone??