WOW #59

Here’s a soft, sweet piece of nostalgia for this week’s Word Of the Week

POTSY

Potsy means = hopscotch, and several dictionary websites have no idea why, except to say that it is an Americanism, first noted 1930 – 35.  The ‘scotch’ in hopscotch is a line – cut, or scored – made a mark.  This is why Macbeth said, “We have scotched the snake, not killed it.”  Sweet butterscotch is removed from a large, flat sheet by cutting or scoring it.  I thought that butterscotch was a gateway drug for teenage drinking.  You loved Butter Beer at Harry Potter’s, now try our single malt – Butter Scotch.

Potsy

In the popular TV series, Happy Days, Anson Williams played the character of Potsy (actually, Potsie) Weber, which matched the goofy, likable character of Skippy, in the Family Ties series.  Both nicknames may have been applied because of their nerdy, ADHD type of erratic behavior, bouncing and skipping from subject to subject.

Potsy (or Potsie) is obviously just a nickname, and not very common.  Other than the Happy Days reference, the only other ‘Potsy’ I could find was Thomas Clinton –Tom – ‘Potsy’ Jones (1909 – 1980), who played NFL football for eight years in the early 1930s, for four different teams.

Despite extensive research (alright, I Googled it and got no answer), I can’t find how/why/when he acquired it.  Now that Canada has legalized marijuana, I wonder if we’ll start hearing of more Canucks named Potsy, who are One Toke Over The Line.

It would be sweet if you’d hop back here on Monday, to see what verbal abuse I’ve inflicted on the English language, in the name of the letter F.  There’s no need for social distancing, so you won’t have to form a line.  😀

’20 A To Z Challenge – E

A To Z ChallengeLetter E

 

EEK and EGAD!! 24 hours before my self-imposed scheduled time to publish this E-post for the A To Z Challenge – I’m simultaneously composing three posts – and not one of them is this one. 😛 Unless I talked the son into mowing the lawn Sunday afternoon, you discovered a non-specific post on Monday morning, and this one moved to Wednesday.

I guess that I’ll make it about a mnemonic.
‘What’s a mnemonic, Johnny?’
A 1995, Keanu Reeves movie.

Actually, a mnemonic is something intended to assist the memory, as a verse or formula. One of the dumbest and most useless mnemonics that I’ve ever found, is

EUOUAE

Euouae definition

A type of cadence in medieval music. Origin: Taken from the vowels in the hymn Gloria Patri doxology: “seculorum Amen“. Euouae is a mnemonic which was used in medieval music to denote the sequence of tones in the “seculorum Amen” passage of the lesser doxology, Gloria Patri, which ends with the phrase In saecula saeculorum, Amen.

If you could/can write the Latin phrase, seculorum Amen, why would you need a reminder of the sequence of the vowels? Both the phrase, and the mnemonic, have been in use for over 500years. Only in the last 50/60 years has anyone felt the need to make it a word, and learn to pronounce it. It is the longest word in the English language with no consonants, an honor similar to being the greatest dogcatcher in Enid, Oklahoma.

Sadly, it is not an only child. Its bigger brother is

QUOMODOCUNQUIZE

A psalm or hymn cadence.

Is there something about Catholic Christianity, or religious music, which requires such ridiculous reminders??

The word is almost never used today, and definitely not outside the sphere of Church music. Somehow over the years, it acquired a secondary meaning of, to make money any way you can. The OED has no entry for quomodocunquize – to make money any way you can – but it does have one for quomodocunquizing, with a citation from Sir Thomas Urquhart in 1652: “Those quomodocunquizing clusterfists and rapacious varlets.” — The Orthoepist. September 16, 2010 – which is a book about the pronunciation of words.

I can’t prove it, but I suspect that the original hymns and psalms were mendicant – concerning begging, alms, financial support and donations – ergo; making money any way they could. Folks in ‘The Good Old Days’ sure had a lot more time, to say a whole lot less. I can not imagine expending the time and energy to even remember this word, much less enunciate it.

All hail technology!  My favorite mnemonics are manufactured by Acer, Dell, or even Apple.  😀

***

Yes!! I did it. I added the last words to this post, just as the sun was rising. That means that I’ll have to leap out of bed at the crack of noon, and mow that lawn myself. I’ll see you here tomorrow…. or is that today already?? 😕

’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. 😀

’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.  😉  😆

 

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.

’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??

’19 A To Z Challenge – U

AtoZ2019Letter U

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A USELESS TALE ABOUT ABSOLUTELY NOTHING

O Nostalgia, where is thy sting?

What do I do when a blog-post theme occurs to me while I am having lunch?
Keep munching! A good platter of nachos is like a contract with God Himself. You guys can read my blatherings any time.

Nachos

My Father was a minor performer. Before the advent of radios in automobiles, he used to regale us with ditties and folk-songs on Sunday drives and road trips. I have found most of them on Google, as folk or minstrel songs, but no indication that any of them were ever recorded. He must have received them as oral history.

The other day, as I was dashing through melted cheese and jalapeno rings, I recalled my mother crooning a little ballad to me in the late 1940s. At first, I thought it might have been just something that she had heard Dad sing. My friend, Dr. Google assured me that this had been a real, live song.

I typed in, Down In The Garden Where The Praties Grow.” If you tap, you will see that the title is merely, The Garden Where The Praties Grow. I remember asking my Mother what ‘praties’ were. She explained that this was an Irish term for ‘potatoes.’

I already knew what indignities the skirt-wearing Scots had inflicted on the language. It was no surprise to find that the drunken Irish couldn’t keep their words straight. Mom must have heard it on the primitive radio when she worked in the big city of Detroit. It was recorded in 1930, but the original version must have been written about 1870, with fashion references to Grecian Bend – women’s hunched stature, caused by a huge bustle – and ‘chignon’, a large, then-trendy, braid or bun at the nape of the neck.

I hope that some of you enjoy a bit of entertainment/fashion history. While I claimed that this story is useless, and about nothing, to me it is a fond remembrance of the soft, kind, loving support that my Mother gave to me as a growing child. This post, and the history/musical link, are particularly dedicated to 1Jaded1, who likes when I connect my story to a song.

Canadian Slang That Confuses Americans

Caesar

Caesar

Be careful if you order a Caesar from an American bartender; you might wind up with a salad. A Bloody Mary is the closest equivalent for our friends south of the border, but it’s just not the same.

Canadian tuxedo

A blue denim jacket when worn with a pair of blue jeans? That’s a Canadian tuxedo and we’re proud of it! Even our American friends love it: remember Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears at the 2001 American Music Awards?

Freezies

Freeze pops? We call ’em freezies! Which one is your favourite? Blue, red, orange, purple…

KD

Canadians love Kraft Dinner — so much so that we’ve shortened the only-in-Canada mac-and-cheese to two letters that will mystify Americans who don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.

Parkade

Only in Canada is a parking garage called a parkade. Now to remember where we parked…

Hydro bill

Americans pay their utility bills or electric bills, Canadians pay hydro bills. And that hydro bill can be expensive, because Canadian cities have some of the worst winters.

Toboggan

Americans like to go sledding in the winter, but Canadians will always prefer tobogganing.

Timbit

The Tim Hortons’ Timbit has become utterly ingrained in Canadian culture. In the U.S.? Not so much. For our American friends: it’s a doughnut hole!

Tap

Americans turn on the faucet, but a Canadian gets water out of the tap.

Serviette

Why use a napkin when you can use something as fancy-sounding as a serviette?

Pencil Crayons

Pencil crayons

Pencil crayons are a distinctly Canadian term for coloured pencils.

Dart

Canadian slang for a cigarette, as in, “I’m heading out behind the dumpster to go have a dart.”

Dinged

In the U.S., cars get dinged. In Canada, it’s our wallets, as in, “I got dinged 90 bucks for that speeding ticket.”

Elastics

Rubber bands? In Canada we call them elastics.

Gong show

To Americans, “Gong Show” is an intentionally awful talent show hosted by a heavily disguised (and proudly Canadian!) Mike Myers. For us, the term “gong show” (sometimes shortened to “gonger”) is slang for anything that goes off the rails, a wild, crazy or just plain chaotic event.

Hang a Larry or Roger

Where an American in a car’s passenger seat would tell the driver to take a left, a Canadian would say to hang a Larry (or a Roger for a right turn).

Homo milk

Every Canadian knows that this is short for homogenized milk.  Evangelical American Christians need not worry.

Housecoat

The item of clothing Americans refer to as a bathrobe or (if they’re classy) a dressing gown is known to Canadians by its true name: the housecoat.

Chinook

An American might recognize the word as referring to a species of salmon or a type of Canadian military helicopter, but only a true Canadian knows a Chinook is an unseasonably warm wind that rises over the Rockies and heats up as it descends.

Champagne birthday

Americans are often surprised to learn that a champagne birthday refers to the date when you celebrate the birthday that equates to the date of your birth, such as celebrating your 28th birthday on the 28th of May.

Toque

A knit hat. Worn by everyone in winter and by hipsters over the summer.

Stag

A bachelor party. The female equivalent: stagette.

Keener

A brown-noser.

The letter Z

Americans pronounce it zee. Canadians pronounce it zed, much to the detriment of the “Alphabet Song.”

Knapsack

A backpack.

Washroom

Americans call it the ‘men’s room’ or ‘ladies’ room.’

Eavestroughs

Rain gutters. Our term sounds way cooler, eh?

Garburator

A garbage disposal unit found beneath a kitchen sink.

Runners

Any kind of athletic footwear.

Mickey

A 13-ounce (give or take) bottle of hard alcohol.

Gitch or gotch

A very classy term for men’s underwear.

Chocolate bar

Americans call it a candy bar, which seems weird. To us, gummy worms are candy, ya know?

Processed cheese

American Cheese. Make your own joke here.

Humidex

Measurement used to gauge the combined effect of heat and humidity.

Two-four

A case of 24 beers. Cans or bottles: your choice!

Klick

Slang term for ‘kilometer.’

Chesterfield

A couch or sofa.

Kerfuffle

A scuffle or commotion, typically resulting from conflicting views.

Deke

To physically outmaneuver an opponent. Typically in hockey.

Pogie

Derived from slang from our Scottish friends, “pogie” means being on welfare or social assistance.

Molson muscle

A beer belly.

Head’r

To leave. Head out. Duck out. Get out of there. “The meatloaf was superb, mom, but we’ve gotta head’r.”

Snowbird

Typically, this means a retired Canadian who travels south for the winter. Usually to tacky parts of Florida or Arizona.

Rotten Ronnie’s / McDicks

Terms of ‘endearment’ for McDonald’s.

Booze can

An after-hours bar. They’re typically illegal, so shhhhh. Don’t tell your American friends.

Thongs

No, we’re not talking g-strings. Thongs are the casual style of footwear that you wear to the beach, the pool or the gym’s communal showers. Might still be known as flip-flops.

Give’r!

To really, truly go for it. All out. Pedal to the metal.

Loonie and toonie

The perfectly reasonable-sounding names of our one and two-dollar coins.

Soaker or booter

When you step in a puddle or snow bank and the water penetrates your poor unsuspecting shoes.

Double-double

A coffee with two milk and two sugar. Often ordered at Tim Horton’s.

If any of these confuse any Americans, don’t feel badly. Some of them are age-specific, or regional, and confuse the rest of us Canucks, too.

WOW #45

Moping Emoji

I was gonna do the post for this word earlier. I really was. It’s not procrastination. I was in a blue funk.  Even though blue is my favorite color, I just couldn’t seem to find a reason to tell you about

MOPERY

All the interesting words that I could come up with, and I managed to find one that means

Noun

The actions or attitude of a person who is sunk in dejection or listless apathy, sulking, brooding, or dejected

I thought that ‘listless’ meant that I wasn’t keeping up with my 2019 A To Z Challenge words, but I found that it just means ‘not interested’ or ‘indifferent.’ I don’t give a damn.

Then I found out that someone had opened a Papa John’s Pizza outlet, right down the hill from me. We really needed one. Within a two-block stretch we only had a Gino’s, Topper’s, Little Caesar’s, Domino’s, and Double-Double. I need a little variety in my life. The Pizza Hut, just up the street, closed some years ago, so I guess it’s karma that the second pizza chain that John started is now here to tingle my taste-buds.

pizza

An all-meat pizza with hot sauce, and I’m out of my funk, and back to Funk and Wagnall’s dictionary for my next WOW. See you there.

’18 A To Z Challenge – Z

Letter ZChallenge '18

 

Zat’s it folks. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, but I’m going to close out this year’s A To Z Challenge, with another word that doesn’t exist. I’m gonna call you a

Zwilnick

When a writer, particularly a science-fiction author, wishes to present a different culture, and needs words or phrases, it’s often easiest to choose and disguise one that already exists here on Earth.

In the Battlestar Galactica movie and TV series, the word for a long time period was ‘Jahren.’ In German, the word for year is jahr. Most German words which are plural, end in ‘en,’ but jahr is an exception. It means both ‘year,’ and ‘years.’ Jahren sounds German, but isn’t quite.

When E. E. (Doc) Smith wrote his Lensman series, he identified the bad guys as Zwilnicks. He even has one of the characters ask, “Why are they Zwilnicks? We call them Zwilnicks. They even call themselves Zwilnicks.” It sounds like it might be German, or Polish, but it’s just the imaginative invention of a great Sci-Fi writer.

The Star Wars universe introduced us to the planet Naboo, which may be a takeoff on Nauvoo (Illinois), one of the birthplaces of Mormon, a silly little Christian sect that promises each of its followers, an entire planet – like Naboo?? – when they die. Its original Human settlers arrived on it by accident, and it shows what a planet would look like if it were settled completely by Hindu Indians.

I am dismayed and disappointed at the number of Star Wars fanatics who refer to the ruler of the planet as ‘Padmé Amidala.’ I watched the movie (and paid attention.) She introduced herself clearly, giving both her name, and her title. She is Padmé Nabaré – Queen Amidala, – in the same way that the leader of the Catholic Church is Jorge Mario Bergoglio – Pope Francis.

In the ‘60s, the Walt Disney television show expanded, what was to be a single episode, into a three-show arc, about a 20ish Mexican beggar/grown-up street urchin, named Elfego Baca. Later language study revealed that the initial V in a word like that is pronounced like a B in Spanish, so that “Baca” is actually “Vaca.” Vaca translates to ‘calf,’ and ‘elfego’ means flatulence. I believe that some of the Spanish-speaking writers slipped one over on the English-speaking producers and audience, and aired a “Disney” show about a Chicano, derisively nicknamed ‘Calf Farts.’

That’s all the alphabetic challenge for last/this year, in English, or any other language, real or imagined. Tune in again in a couple of weeks, and see me meander down some strange lanes with the 2019 version.

Ahhh, I managed to survive another year.  Here’s to the next one!  😀

A To Z - Survivor