That’s Gratitude For You

Once upon a time, long, long ago, and far, far away, there was a great king, who ruled over a large kingdom.  He was a good king, who ruled fairly, and well, but there are always malcontents, and so there were in his kingdom.

There arose a plot to have him assassinated, and replaced by one of the Noblemen from the court.  This man wanted desperately to be King, and convinced three of the other Counts to abet him in his nefarious scheme, telling them he would make a better King.

He hatched a plan whereby the other three Counts would kill the King, while he was out of the country, so that no suspicion would fall on him, and the people would accept him as the new King.

The plan failed, however, and the three Counts were captured, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.  The King decided to give them one last chance though, and went to see them in prison.  “I know that you three are not the ones responsible for this plot.” he said, “So if you will tell me who the ringleader is, I will set you free if you swear never to try such a thing again.”

The nobles steadfastly refused to say a thing, so they were marched out to the headsman’s block.  One by one, they were placed on it, and each time they were asked for the ringleader’s name, they stonily remained silent.  Two of them met the blade without a word.  The third man was placed on the block.  Just as the axe descended, he shouted, “I’ll tell!  I’ll tell!” but it was too late, and the King never learned who was plotting against him.

The moral of this story is; Never hatchet your Counts before they chicken.

 

MY  MOM

St. Mary’s Home for the Aged

Kitchener, Ontario

February 30, 1967

 

Dear Gentlemen:

I want to thank you very much for the lovely gift of the table radio.  It’s just wonderful that absolute strangers such as yourselves remember people like us.

I am a lady, 86 years old, and have been here at the home for 25 years.  They treat us well, but the loneliness is sometimes difficult to bear.

My room-mate, Mrs. Finney, is a very nice person, but the lady is very stingy.  She has a table radio, but she won’t let me use it.  She even turns it off whenever I come into the room.  Now, thanks to you, I have my own radio.

My son and daughter-in-law are very nice, and they come to visit me once a month.  I do appreciate that, but I understand their sense of obligation.  This makes your gift all the more wonderful, since it was not given from a sense of pity, but from a feeling of compassion for a fellow human being.

Today, Mrs. Finney’s radio went out of order, and she asked me if she could share your wonderful gift, and listen to my radio.  I told her to go fuck herself.

Again, please accept my heartfelt thanks.

Sincerely yours,

Mrs. Smith

 

 

THE RULES

 

  1.  The Female always makes The Rules.
  2. The Rules are subject to change without notice.
  3. No Male can possibly know all The Rules.
  4. If a Female suspects that a Male knows all The Rules, she must immediately change some or all of The Rules.
  5. The Female is never wrong.
  6. If the Female is wrong, it is because of a flagrant misunderstanding, which was a direct result of something the Male said or did.
  7. If Rule 6 applies, the Male must apologise immediately for causing the misunderstanding.
  8. The Female can change her mind at any given point in time.
  9. The Male must never change his mind without specific written consent from the Female.
  10. The Female has every right to be angry or upset at any time.
  11. The Male must remain calm at all times, unless the Female wants him to be angry or upset.
  12. The Female must, under no circumstances, let the Male know whether or not she wants him to be angry or upset.
  13. Any attempt to document these rules could result in bodily harm.
  14. If the Female has PMS, all rules are null and void

Smiles everyone!  Smiles!

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Oh Yeah? Name One!

I’ve done a post about meanings of family names, and son-/daughter-of names.  This is just a collection of odd/interesting names that can be encountered in North America.  I was talking about this sort of thing with “Long”, my ethnic-Chinese, Thai-born co-worker.  Asian names have strong bonds to family.  Clan name is given first, and member name follows.  This is often reversed here on this side of the planet, but family name is always family name, entirely separate from personal names.

Long had a problem coping with a supervisor being named Todd Craig, when I explained that either Todd, or Craig, could be a surname, or a given name.  He as easily could have been Craig Todd.  I recently met Carson Arthur, whose name rests in the same pile.  Arthur Carson is actually more likely.

Names like these often happen when mothers wish to memorialize their surnames, by handing them to their sons (usually), as given names.  An old James Garner movie had him as a financial wheeler-dealer/gambler named Cash McCall.  Everyone assumed that the money-man had been given a money nickname, until he revealed that his mother’s maiden name was Cash.  The famous Western-writer, Zane Grey was born to a woman of the Zane clan who founded Zanesville, Ohio.

The son works with a man named Bradley Joe.  He’s on Facebook, but you can’t find him.  “Did you mean Joe Bradley?”  He also works with Marc Terry.  A man named Tom Nobody was roughed up by police in 2010’s Toronto G20 summit.  I suspect his name has been translated from another language.  Perhaps his distant ancestor was Odysseus, who told the Cyclops that “Nobody had blinded him.”

Side note: After more than three years, the officer charged, was given a 45 day jail sentence.  I’ll believe he’ll serve it when I see it.  Ten minutes after the case closed, he was out on bail.

Another man with police problems is John Vroom.  That sounds like a name he picked out for himself when he was eight, but is simply an uncommon variant of an Anglo-Saxon name which now includes Frum, From, Frome, and the owner of a local printing shop, Froome.

I worked, for a while, with Gerry, Bert, and Wally – all women.  Gerry had shortened the archaic Geraldine, Bert had done the same with Roberta, after being named for her dad, Bob, and Wally was a German immigrant named Waltrout.

Hyphenated names came into being in the Middle Ages, when one self-important minor aristocratic family married into another.  Smith married Jones, and became Smith-Jones.  What is overbearingly humorous, is when the compound name becomes Smith-Smith.  It is possible to be born into a hyphenated name but they usually occur nowadays when a certain type of woman gets married.

These gals are usually well educated, and have well-paying careers of their own.  Their families often have money and power.  Sociologically, they are often doers, running this charity or chairing that board.   I had seen a photo in the local paper of nine women, involved with Feed The Aardvarks, or some silly such.  Seven of the nine had hyphenated names.

With my usual humorous social acceptance, I told the young lad I was working with, that they’d got their hyphenated names because they wanted to show that they were powerful, modern women, who could take care of themselves, yet weren’t such ugly, nasty bitches that they couldn’t get a man.  He plaintively protested that his wife had taken a hyphenated name when they married.  Intrigued, I asked him why.

The answer was that, she had written her University paper under her maiden name, and wanted to maintain it, in case anyone wished to contact her later.  Not being one of my favorite co-workers, I told him that there were two problems with that.  Nobody cared in the first place, and nobody cared now.  She took E.C.E., Early Childhood Education.  She was a baby-sitter at a day-care facility.  You don’t need two names to do that.  Nobody’s going to follow up to get your opinion on disposable diapers.

Another male co-worker had been adopted as a baby, taken away from a pair of druggie-drunks, and given his adoptive parents name.  When he turned 21, he managed to locate his birth-father, who had significantly turned his life around.  He loved and respected his foster-parents, but wanted to get to know his bio-dad.  They remembered only the loser from 21 years ago, and raised an outrageous, continuing fuss.  He became so disenchanted, that, when he married, instead of his wife taking his (adoptive) name, he took hers.

We gave our daughter a single, hyphenated first name.  Since we had an extra one lying around, we gave our son three first names, partly to honor my maternal grandfather.  She only uses the first half.  In fact she’s adopted an archaic diminutive.  Son never presents the third name because it’s not needed, and just confuses clerks.  It’s the clan name which, like the above, can be used as a first name.

The most extreme I’ve seen so far is a woman in the paper, with a hyphenated first….and last, name.  She’s Marie-Elizabeth Richards-Collinson.  She has to order checks as big as Publisher’s Clearing House, to have room enough to sign.

Charles Dickens’ works are inhabited by a plethora of strangely-named people.  Fortunately few of these names seem to have crossed the Atlantic, and have mostly died out in England.  The English still have strange, multiple-lettered names which they can spell – but not pronounce.  James Bond once pretended to be a Mr. Saint John-Smith, which he insisted was pronounced sin-jin-smythe.  Featherstonehaugh becomes either festun-haw, or fanshaw.  Pemberton shrinks in the wash to become pembun, and Chumondeley is pronounced Chumly.

Out at the edge of town, near a plant nursery I sometimes take the wife to, is a mailbox with the name Hawthornthwaite on it.  Some day I’m going to work up the nerve to leave the wife spending money on gardening supplies, and walk up and ask just how they pronounce it.

I’ve still got some strange names lying around.  Any of you guys got some weird ones you want to trade?