2017 A To Z Challenge – B

Challenge2017

When I sieved out the following list of B-word prompts, I was struck by how many of them could apply to me.  Rather than choosing only one, here are some random thoughts about a few of them.

Bibliophile
blood
baggage
belief
bold
books
beach
barn
blog

Letter B

My home town is halfway up the East coast of Lake Huron, in Ontario. It has 3 miles of lovely warm, soft, white sand beach.  It has become a vacation haven, and tourism is a large part of its financial wellbeing.

The town to the south gets only 1 mile of shoreline. The tiny tourist village to the north sits in the center of 10 miles of sandy shore.  Access to the water is good, and the swimming is wonderful but, in both cases, the sand barely reaches above the water level, and their beaches are flat, hard and damp.

My mother constantly read to me as a child, and I learned to read quite young. I became a bibliophile, a lover of books.  I am also a logophile, a lover of words, but all the wonderful words are in the wonderful books, so we’ll discuss that later.

Ray Bradbury said, “Libraries raised me.” My tiny little town had a tiny little library, about the size of a medium house.  It was only open two days a week.  The volunteer librarian was a former teacher.  It was here that I learned early, the value of linguistic precision.

The fine for late books was 2 cents, biweekly.  The intent was for 2 cents, per book, for each of the 2 weekly open days.  I stood beside a man who went and got a dictionary to show the librarian that ‘biweekly’ also meant ‘every two weeks.’  He would pay 2 cents, but not the 8 cents that she demanded.

A local man became a mining engineer. He located an ore field in Northern Ontario, staked a claim, and sold the rights to a mining firm which would extract the minerals.  With the initial payout and ongoing royalties, he retired early, as the town’s richest resident.

He and his wife were great readers, but they never had children. When his wife died, and he was facing his own mortality, he donated a large portion of his fortune to the municipality, to be used to build a library in memorial to his wife.  We got a fairly large (for a small town) new library, right beside the Town Hall.  His bequest bought lots more books, and an annuity paid for hired staff.

When I moved 100 miles to Kitchener for employment, it was easy to pack my luggage. I had very little.  I also had to pack my baggage – my propensity for procrastination, my learning disorders, my neurological syndrome which causes poor physical control and lousy short-term memory, as well as my autistic-type inability to read social cues, and make and hold friends.

I am more methodical, determined, and tenacious; I would never be described as bold. Having survived an interesting, if not terribly thrilling life, now in the twilight of my years, I can put these thoughts and remembrances down, and publish them in my blog.   😀

 

The Evolution Of Archon

Paul's Baby Pix

A tourist flags down a New York taxi. He climbs in, and asks, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The cabby responds, “Practice man, practice!”

How did Archon get from the happy, smiling, enchanting little baby above, to be the Grumpy Old Dude he is today?  It all starts with a good genetic background, goes through more than a half a century of formative social interaction, and is molded into place with constant, “Practice, man!  Practice!”

CCI_000010

It may have started here. This is my maternal grandfather and grandmother.  I’ve always thought that his dour look came from being a dark Scottish Pict among the skirt-wearing, fair-skinned Highlanders.  Recent DNA testing revealed that ¼ of my genetic makeup is from Ireland.  I would imagine that thinking yourself a ‘good Scot’, or even a poor Scot, and finding that you’re descended from poteen-swilling, colleen-chasing, superstitious, banshee-herding idlers, would put a scowl on your face.  I know it put one on mine….or was that already there?

This photo was taken in the mid-1930s, in the parkland adjacent to their home. If you can see in the upper, right-hand corner, two tall Poplar trees about a block away; this will be where my Mother returns from Detroit in a couple of years, and purchases her home and property.  She met and married my father.  He got a job and moved in with her, and about ten years after this shot, they produced me, in my Home Sweet Home.

CCI_000012

When Mom returned from Detroit, she brought along with her, not only a divorce settlement, but a daughter from her first marriage. Shown here, she’s about 10, along with my Mom and Dad, about Christmas, 1944, clustered around the real center of attention, the recent arrival, that little Ray of Sunshine and Bundle of Joy, the Archon-in-Training ….pants.

Already sulky about losing a father in a divorce, her mood soon soured further when she found that she’d gained two new half-brothers in a remarriage. Her never-ending whining harshed my tiny mellow, and her shrill, constant complaints about, “Those boys! Those damned boys!” quickly got on my little nerves.  I was well on my way to a world-class Old Grumpitude.  Either that, or the fact that my Mother didn’t tie the laces on my little walking shoes and I tripped over them and fell on my handsome wee face.  There’s always some reason to be grumpy– if you search hard enough.

CCI_000019

This photo is of my Mom and Dad some 60 years after the one above. The reasons they’re happy and smiling, is that they’re both retired, I’m the one in the room taking the picture and my sisty ugler isn’t there.

I don’t really know why I continue to be such an old grump. I have you, my regular readers, and faithful followers.  A young lady recently set a new personal record.  She followed my blog – for the 20th time.  She used to have her own blog-site, but shut it down.  She follows me – and a day or two later, WordPress disconnects and un-follows her.  She re-follows me – and a day later my stats fall again.  We’ve done this dance now, twenty times.  Now that’s dedication!

It’s probably been because I’ve been out for treks in the blogosphere, leaving grumpy footprints comments hither and yon, but there was a period following my Five Long Years post, where I gained 90 followers in 90 days.  (Not including Rita Repetitive)

You’re probably wondering, ‘What can I do, to make Archon less grumpy?’  You’ve already done it.  Visiting my site, reading, liking, commenting, all constitute Step 1 of my 12-step Grump-Addiction loss program.  Now it’s up to me to take the other 11 small steps.  I’ll get right on those – after I’ve had a snack and a nap.  😉

Creative Illiteracy – Pros vs. Amateurs

Grammar Nazi

I didn’t do it for this post, because I didn’t keep track, but you may correctly guess that, in the future, I am going to set up separate sections, to show how professional writers are becoming as bad as the great unwashed public, in their ill treatment of the English language.

Dictionary

Apartment for rent – Brightup Park – Rental agent must be new to this German town.  It’s just down the street from my old job on Breithaupt St., (incorrectly) pronounced ‘bright up.’

Jane Fonda, with a full quaff of feathered ‘80s hair – that’s a style (coif) that I could drink to.

Standard undies and a bike seat result in chaffing. – I was chafing when I read this.

a red bag with the body of a Lion Rampen on itBoard of Heraldry insists the Lion is Rampant

The crowbar was not fashioned to the sill – I fastened onto this one quickly.

ones I crossed the street – I learned to write correct English once I got there.

President Obama pairs down his wardrobe to grey and blue suits – Well….there are just the two colors.

women with no close on – Just what you’d expect from some yob who’d write this.

I was a little dump founded – This one’s easy.  Just tell ‘em you founded your dumb.

Toronto Trekkies set their faces to stun – My face is stunned that even this non-nerd didn’t know about phasers.

The LCBO is trying bottle locks it hopes may prevent less booze from going into the pockets of thieves. – Surely they’re trying to prevent more loss.

Deer listener, welcome to another – Dear me, I’ve listened to deer.  They don’t say anything.

Its pretty oviese – that you meant, it’s pretty obvious.

A comfort and convince issue – You can’t convince me that it shouldn’t be convenience.

His smile infactuated my mind.  His eyes were infultrated with dark specks. – The writer must have had red lines under these words….I need to sit down.

One of my jobs was creating visitors as they entered – I would just be greeting them myself, but if they let you get into that creating…

So I here there is a rumor. – Yes, I hear that they say you don’t know proper English.

Napa Valley is famous for whine – Is he being serious?  I don’t know if a joke is required.

The whole kerfuffle wreaks of the entitled attitude – And this columnist’s writing reeks of pretention and lack of language knowledge.

I was quote on quote, “fake”. – And you were “quote – unquote, not thinking about that phrase’s meaning.

He was a tattle tail – Even SpellCheck knows that it’s tattletale

Swimmers go toe-to-toe with undertoe – At least they didn’t tow the line….somewhere else.

Dancers are quite a common site – Any dancer large enough to qualify, must be a sight.

You are hurdled through the air, 35,000 feet up – I’d just like to see someone hurdle me when I’ve been hurtled that high.

Be wear of men who – know you should beware.

His near-do-well life, and tales of his daring-do – in a post bitching about someone else using ‘imperserate’ for impersonate.  His should be ‘ne’er-do-well, and derring-do, since you asked.

and I but in – when he should butt in

I got have way across the street – I’ve got no halfway smartass comment except – Think! Damn it, think!

The have-knots protested lack of money. – That’s a problem I could untie for them.

In an article about typos – after listing exotic trips as erotic ones, Yellow Pages offered to wave their fee.

Crossword – shotguns have them = calibers – No, rifles & pistols have calibers.  Shotguns have gauges!
drills = jackhammers – NO! No!  Drills go round and round, jackhammers go up and down.
kinda drift =
continentalKinda and (a) kind of do not mean the same thing.
– carpenter’s plane = sander – plane has steel blade, sander has
sand, on paper

***

 

Five Long Years

calendar

That’s what Colin James says my blog has been.

FIVE LONG YEARS
(click above, to hear him say so)

Five years ago, to the day, on November 21, 2011, I first dived into the blog-pool. I had no idea what I was going to say, or how often I would say it.  I finally calmed down enough to casually mention when I reached post number 600.  This one is number 687, reaching toward number 700.  I’ve accumulated 878 followers, (Now I’ve got 879.  Do I hear 880?)(Okay!  I’ve got 880!  Anybody want to go for 900?)  and had 9400 visits, for 32,000 views.

For me, everything is still the same, and yet, everything is different. Society is different.  Politics is different.  The Internet is different.  My writing and posting are different.  Some of that is good.  Some of that, at best, is questionable.

While some of my favored blog-sites from five years ago have shut down, or atrophied, many newer ones continue to entertain, amuse and educate me. I continue to do my best to do the same in return.

The traditional gift for a five-year anniversary is wood. I already have a solid block-head, and I possess several wooden nickels, and even a wooden quarter, so I guess all that’s left for you lovely readers to do, is to commend me for not dying, and not shutting up.  Many thanx to all who visit, like and comment.   😀

A to Z Challenge – M

april-challenge

IN THE MOOD

I’m in the mood to write about things that relate to

letter-m

I may be in the mood, but I’m mired in uncertainty.  I’m like a method actor. What is my motivation?  I should play some inspirational music.  What shall I play?

one-half

Jethro Tull can be quite minstrel.  AC/DC is mayhem and chaos.  I know; I’ll put on some Moody Blues.  They bring back some nice memories.  Their tunes are just a creative metaphor.

one-half

I think I’m often influenced by the moon.  I know I’ve been called a lunatic more than once.  I’m in a miasma of misgivings here.  This will be the least meaty of my A to Z compositions.  (I desperately hope.)

one-half-decimal

If you’ve been muddling along, trying to figure the meaning of the images I’ve inserted, it’s easy. M is the 13th of the 26 letters.  The end of this post is the middle.  Ain’t that marvelous?  See you next month.  😀

AutoPrompt – A Day In The Life

clock

Oh, you are in for such a treat!  First, let me finish where many of you begin.

My half(assed)-sister and I were always the night-owls of the family. Often forced during my working life to accept shift-times imposed by employers, since I retired, I find that my ‘normal’ schedule keeps me up until about 5:00 AM.  I’ve had comments from BrainRants on new posts, before I turn in.  He’s getting up today, when I’m going to bed yesterday.

I skip the morning TV shows and get up around noon/1:00 PM. Being retired doesn’t mean having nothing to do.  Normal aging of the wife, myself, and daughter LadyRyl has amassed an impressive list of doctors – GPs, specialists, Chiropractors, Osteopaths, and Podiatrists that I get to drive to.

The first half-hour of each day is spent feeding and watering – the dog, four cats, plus juice and pills for the wife and me – then on to cleaning out the litter box. The excitement hangs heavy in the air.

It’s probably a good thing that I spent the second half of my work-life in a physical-labor job. Since I retired I have gained some weight, but I’m still in shape – pear-shaped.  At least my legs get a good workout each day.  I don’t need one of those stair-masters.  I probably do 30 to 40 flights of stairs a day – up, and down.

I sit in the living room, reading the day’s paper. I faintly hear the wife call me from upstairs, where a head-cold has wrestled her to the bed.  I climb the stairs, because she can’t speak loud enough to be heard.  She wants a Keurig coffee.  I return to the kitchen.  There are no K-Cups of the requested flavor.  I go downstairs to the utility room, and bring some back up to the kitchen.  I take the brewed coffee upstairs up to the bedroom, and return to the living room.  1 cup of coffee = 3 flights of stairs.

After temporarily completing my catering and hand-servant duties, I usually get to sit by the front window and read today’s Waterloo Region Record and yesterday’s Toronto Sun.  I know, another weird-osity.

It started years ago when a co-worker friend used to give me his copy of the Sun at the end of a shift. When the shifts ended at 11 PM, or 7 AM, I read it ‘the next day.’  I only read the Sun for entertainment news, and the strange filler articles, like ‘Man Bites Meteorite.’  Along the way I take time out to do the two crosswords and word jumble.

I make ‘lunch’ between 2:00 and 3:00, sometimes for both of us, usually not the same thing, and often from leftovers in the fridge. Then it’s time to do the marketing.  Since the wife doesn’t often go out, we don’t go ‘grocery shopping.’

A local supermarket offers me a 50 cent or $1 discount on copies of the Sun, depending on the day of the week. I get home delivery of the local paper, but have to go out for the Sun anyway, so I add a few items each day as needed, to keep the cupboards stocked.

Late afternoon is devoted to the few chores I do – snow shoveling, lawn mowing, dish washing, preparing for evening meal. The computer room window faces west, and the sun-glare on the screen proscribes keyboard usage for a couple of hours.  This is when I might get some reading in….until one particular cat begins head-butting, and pawing – sometimes even pulling a flannel throw off the back of the couch – until I agree to cover us both and have a nap.

s6301035

Cultured people eat dinner. We have supper – any time between 8 PM and 10:00.  The son gets up at 9:00, we exchange some lies and brags, and he leaves for work just after ten.  Now the computer goes into overdrive.

I do my last, on-line crossword, read emails, compose posts, do research, visit websites/and comment, interrupted irregularly but frequently by both two-legged, and four-legged room-mates – coffee, cookies, cat treats, catnip, water, kibble, outside several times for the dog. I read some more while he’s out.  The cats are kept safe indoors, unless you read my Almost Catastrophe post.

I often play a bit of Solitaire and Mah-Jong for pattern recognition and decision making, to keep the brain sharper than a marble. With four cats, we have two litter pans.  The wife cleans one, and I clean the other, twice a day.  I get the one in the basement.

Suddenly it’s 5:00 AM again. I haven’t accomplished anything, and it’s time for another exciting day to draw to a close.  I’ll see you again tomorrow.  Don’t call too early.  😉

Poetry In Motion

Poetry

I am a Philistine. I don’t know what great art is, but I know what I like.  The same applies to poetry.  I have been exposed to some of the ‘Great Poetry’, The Rime of The Ancient Mariner, The Twa Sisters O’ Binorrie, La Belle Dame sans Merci, William Blake’s, The Tyger, and many of Shakespeare’s sonnets.  I still like the poems that begin, “There was a young man from Kent.”

I express myself on this site though prose. When I check to ‘see what others are writing about,’ I find an interesting number of bloggers who express themselves in – poetry(?).  Some of the poems are actually quite good.  Others….are more a pretentious stream of unconsciousness.

Song lyrics, written out, should make sense. I feel the same should apply to poetry, even if it’s only published on WordPress.  Here’s an example.  See if you agree with me.  The first is how it would look/sound, if it were simply written as prose.

writing

The morning adrenaline in class essay exam detailing the ways to restore lost dynamic to man. Caffeine fumes, school bus, Drive, write your heart out!  With speed, with force, believe, you were born for this thrill of academics.

Speaking scholars and students inspired. This is my arena, my work, brain on display.  Bare, stuttering, but speaking again.  Grasping at straws, texts, engaging in every aspect.

The parkway was packed by 4:30 and given recent attacks, at night, plus rush hour fears from the kid who sped into my lane last year as evident by 3 bulging cervical discs. Thought it best, surely, safer to wait out traffic elsewhere.

***

The following is how it was actually published. Does it make any more sense?  Is it significant?  Artistic?

***

writing

The morning adrenaline
in class essay exam
detailing the ways
to restore lost dynamic to man.

Caffeine fumes, school bus,
Drive, write your heart out!
With speed, with force,
believe, you were born for this
thrill of academics.

Speaking scholars
and students inspired.
This is my arena, my work,
brain on display.
Bare, stuttering, but
speaking again.
Grasping at straws,
texts, engaging
in every aspect.

The parkway was packed by 4:30
and given recent attacks, at night,
plus rush hour fears
from the kid who sped into my lane
last year
as evident by 3 bulging cervical discs.

Thought it best, surely, safer
to wait
out
traffic elsewhere..

When ‘an artist’ throws paint-soaked sponges at a sheet of plywood, the resulting mess on the wood is not the Art.  The action, the process, is the art – performance art – like 12 clowns getting out of a tiny car at the circus.

I’m sure that many of these blog-poets are serious, and are struggling, as I do, to get their feelings out. When I come across something like the above, I just get the feeling that I’ve missed the real performance, and my only reaction is, “Huh!”  How about you?  😕