WOW #52

Dictionary

The United States, and Canada – two counties, separated by a single language.
If you think that’s a problem, compare either country’s speech/writing, with Britain’s. If only they’d all speak the Mother Tongue. Instead, most of them speak in some Motherf**king tongue. It’s like the bloody tower of Babel.

I recently had my ears assaulted from the TV, by the word

MANKY

It was used by the narrator on a (Would you believe it?) BBC archeology show. From context, I knew what he meant – scanty, paltry, mere. It’s a very British, English word. Since I live as near to (almost)French-speaking people, as they do there, I thought that it came from the French word, manqué – lacking, or needing. When I checked, I found
slang:  worthless, rotten, or in bad taste

dirty, filthy, or bad

Word Origin for manky

via Polari from Italian mancare to be lacking

So, I got the lacking, or needing right, but not from French. Polari??! What in Hell is Polari??

A distinctive English argot in use since at least the 18th century among groups of theatrical and circus performers and in certain homosexual communities, derived largely from Italian, directly or through Lingua Franca.

The show I was watching was called Time Team. When the wife first found it, I hoped that it was a paradox-laden Sci-Fi program. Only the Brits could make a series about archeology, interesting. Using actual archeologists to explain what was going on, would be as dull as the dirt they were excavating.

To make it interesting, they added a perky little narrator who runs his own little production company, doing little historical satire films. Suddenly, I understood the homosexual reference.

There is a core group of 10 or 12 experts. They are each the best in their respective fields. Some of them are professors at prestigious universities, with doctorates, and letters after their names. They are not all archeologists. Some are historians, or geophysical investigators, or pottery experts, or a landscape analyst, who knows how the presence of humans alters the scene over centuries, or eons. They all have their regular “day-jobs.” The show began when BBC convinced a bunch of them to rush away from those jobs on long weekends, or what the English call Bank Holidays, and spend three days digging at various sites.

There are only 8 or 9 ‘Bank Holidays’ per year in England, but the series increased to 12 or 13 episodes a year. They did this for 20 years, stopping in 2014, but there have been several ‘Making Of….’ specials produced since. 20 Years??! This show lasted as long as Gunsmoke.

They dug mostly in England and Scotland, with a couple of trips over to Ireland. They did a dig in the Channel Islands, the only portion of Britain that the Nazis invaded and occupied. They did one in France, one in southern Spain, and managed to get all the way to the Caribbean island of Nevis, to investigate 400 years of British sugar plantations.

Check it out! Give it a try. It’s a great idea in the spring, when regular network shows all become reruns – of reruns – of reruns. Caution – you may learn something interesting.

’19 A To Z Challenge – M

McMuffin

I want to talk about

McGuffins.

They’re not those breakfast sandwich things that you get at the Golden Arches.

McGuffin = MacGuffin = Maguffin

Noun; an object or event in a book or a film which serves as the impetus for the plot

Word Origin for McGuffin

C20: coined (c. 1935) by Sir Alfred Hatchplot Hitchcock

Most stories, whether books or movies, have a beginning, middle, and end. Some stories though, have lots of action, and a great climax, but need a boost to get underway.

Dashiell Hammet’s novel, The Maltese Falcon was a great novel of the 20th century. There was lots of action – treachery, deceit, lies, double crosses, assaults, murders, and back-stabbing – literal and figurative. When the exciting ride finally came to a stop, the little sculpture that everyone was fighting and scheming about, was just a small, ugly, statue of a bird, just an excuse for all that excitement.

At the last Star Trek movie that I went to – Star Trek Into Darkness – for the first half hour, I fidgeted and twitched in my seat. Is this thing never going to get underway? I even considered walking out – and I NEVER walk out of a movie, especially a Star Trek.

What should have been served, hot off the griddle, as the McGuffin, the impetus, to catch and hold the viewers’ attention, was dropped cold, an hour and a half later, as a by-then, un-suspenseful and un-dramatic ‘Great Reveal,’ a story of brotherly betrayal, abandonment and revenge.

So remember, those of you who want to write – even if it’s just blog-posts. If you think that your story needs a little something to draw readers’ attention, get that McGuffin out early. Craft a catchy title, and compose an interest-grabbing opening line. Once you’ve got ‘em hooked, you can reel ‘em in.

I’d be reel real happy if you stopped back in a couple of days, for another instalment of Do-It-Yourself Philosophy. Phil will be reel happy too. 😉

Reel

Hit And Run

BC Mountie

I was recently accused of hit and run – me, the most careful and courteous driver in North America…. well, in Canada anyway.

On December 27th – the last Thursday of the month, when senior citizens get a 10% discount – I took the son along to carry, and went to a pet-food store in a nearby strip mall, to get bags of cat and dog kibble.  I entered off the side street, and eased along the driveway toward the store, fourth in the line.

Looking ahead to my left, I spotted a parking space right in front.  Hooray!  Even for the son, those bags weigh 40 pounds each.  Just as I started to turn my steering wheel, a young mother exited the store with two little daughters, one about 5, and the other 2, in hand, and a tiny dog on a leash.  With her head down, and concentrating on them, she dragged them off the sidewalk and into the empty parking space.

I came to a stop.  Still without looking up, she marched them out past the ends of the parked cars, and into the driveway.  It was a good thing that there was no oncoming traffic.  The spot I wanted was to my left, and they were now crossing the driveway to my right, so I started rolling forward.

As I got about a third of the way around, still without looking up, she changed directions by 45 degrees, and started dragging the kids toward me.  I came to a stop again.  When she got within 5 or 6 feet of the side of the car – about level with the passenger-side front wheel well – peripheral vision must have alerted her to danger.  She looked up, saw me in front of her, and took a quick step back.

I waited for her to safely walk around the car.  👿  Suddenly, she exploded into profanity.  “What the fuck!  Where the Hell do you think you’re going?  You assholes don’t need to be in such a fucking hurry!”  I’m at a stop!  And nice language for impressionable young daughters.  Now, in the middle of a parking lot, she let go of the 2-year-old, and used her right hand/fist to pound her way down the body panels and windows, still screaming imprecations.

Well, that was interesting.  There was obviously no chance for calm discussion.  I’m crossways in the driveway, holding up cars that want to get in off the street, and now some that want to get past and out.  I (finally) rolled into the empty spot, and headed for the store.  “That’s it.  Just walk away and ignore me.”  She’s only angry because we’re not treating her as special.  As I pulled the door open, “I’m five and a half months pregnant you know.”  So that’s what set this off.  “I’m gonna call the cops on you guys.”

When we came out she was gone, and I thought the fuss was over.  We drove home.  I did a few chores.  A couple of hours later, the son was having a nap, and I was just thinking of having one too, when the doorbell rang.  Keeping the puppies from leaking out, I opened up.  There stood tall, dark and uniformed.  That entitled, emotional little bitch – she did call the cops.

“I imagine that you know why I’m here.”  I did.  “I’m here to investigate a collision in the parking lot at the plaza.”  I stopped him right there.  “There was no ‘collision.’  The only time my car came into contact with her body was when she stepped forward and assaulted my vehicle.”

They must teach new police officers a particular method of interrogation.  No-one could be that obtuse without training.  I explained my version of what happened.  “If you didn’t bump into her, why was she so upset?”  I am not psychologically qualified to give reasons why the sanest of us do the things we do.  “I don’t know – seasonal stress??  Parking lot rage?”

“She says she took a step backward.  If you didn’t bump into her, why would she do that?”  “She was startled!  She was frightened?  She was embarrassed that she’d put herself and her kids into danger?”  “She drove herself to the hospital.  If you didn’t bump into her, why would she do that?”  Really??!  With two little kids and a dog, she drove herself to emergency?  “She may have honestly thought that I’d bumped her, when she remembered striking my car.  Why would she make that claim?  My best guess is that she’s a drama queen.”  When I mentioned that she attacked my car, he asked, “She actually struck your vehicle?”  Yes officer, several times, quite hard!

The son had heard me talking to him, and came downstairs.  While I’d gone out to the car to get proof of insurance, he gave a corroborating statement.  When I stated that she might be a drama queen, he mentioned how she had screamed about being 5-1/2 months pregnant, and was going to call the cops on us.  He thought the incident might have been triggered by hormones.  There was a momentary hesitation in note-taking, as if she had also failed to mention these things in her statement.

He offered me once last chance to admit my guilt.  He said, “I guess if you thought that you’d actually bumped her, you wouldn’t have just driven off and left her?”  But I didn’t ‘just drive off and leave her,’ I went into the store and spent 5 to 10 minutes conducting business.  At no time did she follow me in, and in the presence of witnesses, claim that I had bumped into her, and what was I going to do about it.  When I came back out, she was gone.  “Uh, okay.”

Finally, he stated that he had to do an investigation into this occurrence, because there had been a formal complaint issued.  Since it had happened on private property, and no-one had been injured, (Then, why was there such a fuss raised??) no charges would be laid.

This is the third false accusation that has been made against me in just over ten years.  The son likes to watch dash-cam videos of accidents, often from Russia, ‘cause those drivers are CRAZY.  Perhaps it’s time to think about having one installed in my car.

Fun With Lawyers

Lawyer

THIS IS WHY PEOPLE HATE ATTORNEYS

These are from a book called “Disorder in the Court” and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm and straight-faced while the exchanges were taking place.

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?

WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

______________________________ ______

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?

WITNESS: No, I just lie there.

______________________________ ______

ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?

WITNESS: July 18th.

ATTORNEY: What year?

WITNESS: Every year.

______________________________ _______

ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?

WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.

ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?

WITNESS: Forty-five years.

______________________________ _ _________

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his

sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?

WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

______________________________ ______

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?

WITNESS: He’s 20, very close to your IQ.

______________________________ ___________

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?

WITNESS: Are you shitting me?

______________________________ ___________

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?

WITNESS: Yes.

ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?

WITNESS: Getting laid.

______________________________ ___________

ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?

WITNESS: Yes.

ATTORNEY: How many were boys?

WITNESS: None.

ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?

WITNESS: Your Honor, I need a different attorney. Can I get a

new attorney?

______________________________ ___________

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?

WITNESS: By death.

ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?

WITNESS: Take a guess.

______________________________ ___________

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?

WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.

ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?

WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I’m going with male.

______________________________ _______

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant

to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?

WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

______________________________ ________

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you

performed on dead people?

WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.

______________________________ ___________

ATTORNEY: ALL of your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school

did you attend?

WITNESS: Oral.

______________________________ ___________

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?

WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM.

ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?

WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.

______________________________ ___________

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?

______________________________ ________

ATTORNEY: Just what did you do to prevent the accident?

WITNESS: I closed my eyes and screamed as loud as I could.

____________________________ __________

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you

check for a pulse?

WITNESS: No.

ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?

WITNESS: No.

ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?

WITNESS: No.

ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you

began the autopsy?

WITNESS: No.

ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?

WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.

ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive,

nevertheless?

WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and

practicing law.

***

I Have A Confession

confession-box

A sixteen year old girl goes to confession.
Father, I called a man a son-of-a-bitch
yesterday.

Why did you call him a son-of-a-bitch?? the
priest asked.

Because, Father, he touched me on my arm
without permission.

Do you mean like this?? He touches her arm.

Yes Father.

That’s no reason for calling him a son of a
bitch.

But Father, he also touched my breasts.

You mean like this?? He touches her breasts.

Yes Father.

That’s no reason to call him a son-of-a-bitch.

But Father, he took off my clothes.

Like this?? He takes off her clothes.

Yes Father.

That’s no reason to call him a son-of-a-bitch.

But Father he then put his you-know-what in
my you-know-where.

Like this?? He put his you-know-what in her
you-know-where.

Yes Father, she says sometime later, after
catching her breath.

But that’s no reason to call him a
son-of-a-bitch.

But Father, he has AIDS.

That son of a bitch!

***

A newly ordained Catholic priest was nervous about hearing confessions, so he asked an older, more experienced priest to observe one of his sessions and give him some advice. After a few minutes of watching and listening, the older priest pulled the younger one aside to give him a few suggestions.

“Try folding your arms over your chest, and rubbing your chin with one hand. This gives the impression that you are listening thoughtfully. Then try saying things like: “I see.”, “I understand.” and “Yes, go on.”

The younger priest practiced these things for a minute. Then the older one asked, “Don’t you think that’s better than slapping your knee and saying, “No way! What happened next?”

***

If you’ve seen the above post before, it’s because unforeseen technical difficulties accidently deleted it from my list of posts.  I’ve been able to re-publish it, but I’m missing all those lovely likes and comments.   😯

Flash Fiction #109

∇∇Riots

PHOTO PROMPT -© Vijaya Sundaram

STONED

What’s all that noise? What’s going on out there?

I heard on the news that a cop shot another black guy! Black Lives Matter’s got the ‘hood’ worked up.  There’s rioting and protests.

Cool! Let’s go up on the roof to watch.

***

Look at them all down there! They just broke into Louie’s deli.  Oh, they set that cop car on fire

Don’t go too near the edge. Those guys are throwing things.

I don’t see or hear any guns, and with rocks, they couldn’t hit an elephant at this distan….

***

Oooohh, look at all the pretty birdies.  ∅∀∗≅

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Flash Fiction #73

Gutter

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E. Ayr

NEFARIOUS NEGATION

He surreptitiously followed her as she tottered out of the bar into the dark.  The cheap booze and clunky heels made her bodycheck a couple of buildings before stumbling left onto East 48th Street

He mustn’t lose this one.  She’d be SO enjoyable!  As he quickly sidled toward the corner, he could hear/feel a vibration – a deep hum.  A bright, blue-white light bathed the intersection.

When both had died away, he cautiously poked his head around the corner, to see only an empty street – no, there, in the gutter.  Now where had that drunk bitch gone with only one shoe?

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

***

I extend a wish for a happy and joyous Thanksgiving to all my American readers.  Enjoy, but watch out for DUIs and too much turkey.  After the fuss raised about Starbucks’ ‘War On Christmas’, which is really Commercial, not Christian, I was pleased to see last evening, TV ads for three large store chains who are staying closed for Thanksgiving day.