Book Review #27

Through no fault of my own, I managed to read another book which is older than me.  It is over four decades older, though to categorize it as a book, is perhaps generous.  It was only 68 pages, a couple of them being photos from a trip.  It is said to be the first English-language book produced in this German-speaking town.  I did not acquire it just to tick off a reading challenge sector.

The book:  A Canadian’s Travels In Egypt

The author:  Ward H. Bowlby K.C.

The review:  If you Googled ‘Vanity Press,’ there would be a picture of this ego trip about an Egyptian trip.  A local historian publishes a weekly newspaper column.  He mentioned that he had a pdf file of a carefully-scanned 1902 original.  He would forward a copy to anyone who asked – so I asked.

Ward Bowlby was a big noise here in then-Berlin, Ontario, at the end of the 19th century.  He had attended Ontario Law College in Toronto, being first in his class each year.  He came from a well-to-do family.  Besides generous fees, paid by other local captains of industry, he owned a large timber/lumber company during a significant period of city growth.

In the winter of 1898/99, he felt that he had earned a little vacation.  This was not your average on-the-cheap tourist-class jaunt.  Ward, and 8 of his family and friends, took a four month getaway from a cold, Canadian winter, including two months on a Nile houseboat.

They went by train from Berlin to New York City, and boarded a steamer.  Over 11 days, they visited Gibraltar, Pompeii, and Naples.  Then they transferred to an Italian steamer for a trip to Alexandria.  After eight days in Cairo, which included a visit by the two men in the party to an ‘Arab music hall,’ where they were suitably scandalized by half-naked belly-dancers, they chartered a Nile tour-boat.

They got as far upstream as Aswan (Assouan), and then returned, visiting village markets, Luxor tombs, the Sphinx, and the Great Pyramids.  Bowlby kept a daily diary of the Egyptian portion, later turning it into a published travelogue.  After Egypt, the party spent 10 days in ‘The Holy Land’ – Palestine, long before the (re)creation of Israel.  Sadly, Bowlby kept no notes about that segment of the trip.

He had 56 copies printed, and bound with leather with gilt lettering.  He autographed each copy, and gave them to people he wanted to impress.  I don’t know how common these travelogues were at that time.  This one has the feel of the quiet bombast of, This is something that I could afford to do, and you can’t.  The K. C. behind his name, above, indicates, not merely a lawyer, but King’s Counsel.  He suffixed each autograph with ‘Esq.’

The manuscript itself was as tedious as the year-end newsletter you might receive from any bragging almost-friend.  The basic story though, was like watching the Hercule Poirot movie, Death On The Nile, an interesting historical glimpse into the period actions of some monied Canadians.

’22 A To Z Challenge – D

 

A number of word-nerds often wish that some older, arcane and archaic words were still in common use, if only to provide insults for the office prankster, the Karen supervisor, and the sneak-thief who steals lunches from the break-room refrigerator.

Then there are terms that even word historians wonder how and why they came into existence, and no-one misses when they’re gone.  Such a one is

DELIVERLY

When I first ran into it, I thought it was just a misspelling.  Even when I checked it on a dictionary site, there was the red underlining, but it admitted that it was real, and meant
adverb Archaic. quickly, deftly.
A Middle English word dating back to 1300–50

If we had quickly and deftly, why did we need deliverly??  It is related to the old command to, “Stand and deliver!”  This was not about a parcel, or a speech.  It referred to a quick, deft, armed response to the challenge.

Everything old is being used for something new.  People are not shopping at bricks and mortar stores anymore.  Instead, they buy online, and have things delivered to them.  I occasionally see FedEx, or Purolator, or DHL, or even Canpar (Canadian Parcel Service) trucks in the neighborhood, but there’s not a day when I don’t see a local, Intense Delivery Service, Mercedes Sprinter van, delivering up and down the street.

Sad to admit, it has stopped at our place more than a few times.  The wife will say, “I wonder if that knitting pattern book that I ordered, will be delivered today.” – and her tablet will chime, with a photo of the package on the porch.  So, if you want your delivery deliverly delivered, use an Intense courier company.  😉

How was my delivery of this post?  Please be quick and deft with your responses.  😀

Fibbing Friday XI

I went to Pensitivity101’s country club, and asked if I could join.  They said, Congratulations, you’re her new caddy.  Apparently she worked the last one to death.  I did come away with a lovely matched set of golf-based prompts to erect lies around.

  1. What is an Arnold Palmer?

It’s the new name for an old drink at country club bars.  It contains rye and rum and vodka.  It used to be called Panty Stripper.  You promise her that you’ll give her a long stroke with a big club, but it’s usually just a short putt out.  😯  She said, “I’m tight.”  He said, “I’m stiff.”  And they were both liars.

2.  What is a niblick?

That’s the name of the extra snack(s) I used to have at night, before my doctor said she might have to get out the defibrillator paddles if I didn’t cut back.

3.  What is a mashie?

It’s the white, fluffy carbohydrate stuff that Scotsmen eat with their mushy peas and haggis.

4.  What’s the difference between a hook and a slice?

A hook was also known as a boarding-house reach at mealtimes, back when families were large.  You needed it to get your fair share of sliced ham or roast beef.  While you were doing that, someone else was making off with the butter and rolls.

5.  What name is given to a single hole score of three under par?

If you golf with me and my friends, it would be called a damned lie.  Yell fore – take six – put down five.  The only time I even got a birdie was when a pigeon flew across the fairway as I teed off.

6.  What’s a bogey?

He was a 1930s and ‘40s film noir actor.  If he could put up with Katherine Hepburn’s shrewish tongue in The African Queen, he wasn’t afraid of gold-stealing bandits with guns, in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.  We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

7.  What’s the difference between a regular golf course and an executive golf course?

The $100,000 per year membership fee, and not having to wait for and talk to the riff-raff.

8.  What unique award is given to the winner of the Masters Tournament?

He gets his own, personal slave, complete with controlling No-Bark collar and leash.  The year Tiger Woods won, he got a white, Joe Dirt redneck.  Rumor is that Elin got him in the divorce settlement, and she’s very satisfied.

9.  Why do golf balls have dimples?

So that you’ll pick them up and keep them with you when you find one.  Aren’t they cute little dickens??  Their mother told them to smile, and they’d go far.  250 yards, Mom.  Just not in a straight line.

10.  What is the 19th hole?

That’s the porcelain god that you’ll wind up, lurched over and praying to in the washroom, if you spend more time at the clubhouse bar than you do out on the lynx.  Oops, that’s a Canadian golf term.  That should read ‘links.’

I Have A Head Cold

Please be sure to disinfect your keyboard before commenting.

I have a head cold??!  WTF!!  How in Hell did that happen?

We have spent much of the last two years avoiding COVID.  In doing so, we have evaded most of the normal infections – colds and seasonal flu.  We (well, most of us) have worn masks, and sometimes plastic gloves.  We have remained at least six feet from others in public.  Canada, being the second-largest country in the world not currently invading the Ukraine, has enough room for polite Canadians to stay two whole metres from each other.

We have used antiseptic wipes and sprays on shopping carts and baskets.  We have doused our hands in pump-disinfectants.  My hands have absorbed more alcohol than I have.  I fear that the human race may die out, because the next generation will be sterilised.

The wife reluctantly admitted that she may have caused this.  She had to.  She was already complaining, two days before she gave it to the son, who graciously shared it with me two days later.  She feels that she might have been confused and misled by the relaxation of local mask mandates, into subconsciously thinking that COVID’s over, and not doing her due diligence, and sterilizing a cart that had been ridden in by someone’s snotty-nosed kid.

The son coughed himself awake all night.  The next day he was woozy and tired, not a good condition to be in while driving a forklift.  He called work to report an absence.  The HR Health Manager accepted that it was not COVID, but still didn’t want the rest of the shop infected, and enforced a five-day suspension – Thursday, Friday, fortunately Saturday and Sunday, and Monday.  When he called on Tuesday, his voice was still husky, and HR told him to take another day off.  He worked his Wednesday shift, and will work Thursday, and get Friday off with pay – a tough two-day week.

Like the son, the worst of the cold is not the aching head or scratchy throat – it’s the lack of sleep.  Two coughing people in the same bed means that neither of them gets any rest.  I’ve been dozing in the recliner and on the couch.  I just can’t wake up.  I could get up if there were a fire – in my pants.   😳

How quickly we forget how tough things can be.  We had a half-hour power outage Monday night, and had to talk to each other, because all the electronics were dead.  I complained that I had no shoes – until I met a man who had no feet.  I will have a Fibbing Friday post for tomorrow – hope to see you then.  😀

Journey Into Hell

Retail Therapy – And How To Avoid It

I wrote three years ago, about driving almost two hours – one hour of it in some of Canada’s worst traffic – and the two-hour, mirror, return trip, to obtain a vintage IBM Selectric, golf-ball typewriter.  It did not work.

The wife was going to contact a repair shop in Hamilton, which claimed that they could repair it.  We bought a metal typing table for it, at an office-goods recycling shop.

We did not contact the repair shop.
The typing table takes up a bit of the rapidly dwindling free space in the garage.
I put it on a craft table, between two storage bins, by the window in the computer room.
The cats love it.  They use it as a stepping stone to bask in the sunlight.
I own a vintage paper weight.
Anybody want it??  Free to a good home.  “Good” defined as one that will take it.

You’ll Pay For That

A man appears before a judge, requesting to change his name.
The judge asks, “What is your name now?”
The man replies, “Joe Schitz!”
The judge says, “Well, I can certainly understand you wanting to change it.  What do you want to change it to?”
“Bob!”

There are 7 kinds of English surnames.

Personal Characteristics – Like nicknames – Short, Hardy, Small, Strong
Place Names – Sutton, Bedford, Hamilton
Occupational – Weaver, Tanner, Miller
Estate Name – Windsor, Staunton
Geographical – Bridge, Brooks, Hill
Ancestral – Benson (son of Ben), Marriot (daughter of Mary)
Patronage – Hickman was Hick’s man(servant), Kilpatrick was a follower of Patrick

Back when women were allowed to stay in hospital overnight after giving birth, the wife was put in a semi-private room with a young woman married to  a Dutch-Canadian named vanderPlaats.  Without me asking, he launched into a story about his name.  He said that when the officials came around and told people that they had to have a surname, many thought that it was a joke, and gave themselves silly, stupid names.  He claimed that his name meant ‘A Big Piss.”

Either he was kidding me, or someone had kidded him.  His name comes from a family important enough to live/work next to the city square = from the place – merchants or administrators.  He was wrong, yet in a way, right.

The blame name-game went rather smoothly in Britain.  Names were assigned.  Taxes were levied.  In places like The Germanies and the Netherlands though, opportunistic greed and vindictive bureaucratic pettiness gave the appointed nominators chances to fatten their wallets and punish real or imagined wrongs.

Getting a ‘Good’ family name became dependent on wealth, power, or the good-will of the census taker.  The nobility, like the von Hess, or von Beethoven, got names that showed that they owned and taxed cities and provinces.  The very rich, like the Jewish bankers, got names like Goldman, and Silverman, to display their wealth.

For the rest of the population, names were available for sale to the highest bidder.  If you could fatten the retirement fund, or kiss the ass of, the King’s representative, names like Ehrmentraut = Honored, Reiner = Purer, Erbe = Inheritance (of the Kingdom of God) and Waltraud = Morally Strong, were available.  If you had no money, or had somehow annoyed the bureaucrat, names that meant Bookmaker/Gambler, Cheese-curd (Face), Disrespectful, and Rat-Catcher were handed out.  Being Joe Schitz might be the least of your problems.

After a couple of embarrassing episodes, I learned not to ask locals the meanings of their names.  I just bring them home, and run them through Google Translate.  Do you have, or have you run into, interesting non-English names?

WOW #73

Oops! This is the wrong catchpole.

I’d like to introduce you to a fine, upstanding pair of brother-words.  They don’t get out much anymore.  They’ve gone into semi-retirement because of the constant suffusion into everyday English usage, of valley-girl-speak, obvs.

Our protective pair for this week are

CATCHPOLE

and

TIPSTAFF

Catchpole: (formerly) a petty officer of justice, especially one arresting persons for debt.
Tipstaff: a staff tipped with metal, formerly carried as a badge of office, as by a constable.
any official who carried such a staff.

Gone are the days when these boys, and their Italian cousin, Fasces, could implement some social wellbeing by applying a few stripes across a few backs and butts, and some knots on some heads.  (Therefore, knotheads.)

I was gratified by the recent decisions to use riot-geared police, complete with two-foot truncheons, to finally bring an end to both the Ottawa Freedom Convoy, and the Windsor/Detroit bridge blockade.  Police showed remarkable restraint.  They barely had to use their billy-clubs.  I thought that a few more heads could have been cracked, to engender some good manners and social responsibility.

Society is a constant pendulum – from too restrictive, to too lenient.  This current Woke/cancel culture/snowflake – nobody even gets their feelings hurt, much less their ass, or their head – has swung too far into permissive.   I don’t want police beatings in the street, any more than I don’t want guys being shot for driving while black.  But there’s gotta be some workable middle ground.

If I set up a Patreon account, Tipstaff is what you could do.  Until then, I’ll just be happy if you have Uber-Eats deliver another helping of my rants in a couple of days.  😀

Smitty’s Loose Change #17

You can win at life if you simply avoid two things – Comparing, and Expectation.

***

I am so proud of Waterloo Catholic District School Board trustee Kevin Dupuis, and happy with the decision he made regarding the school board’s Pride flag flap.  He is a man of integrity!

He was unable to be accepting, and rise to the level of “hate the sin – love the sinner.”  He has told the board that, if he does not get his way, he would resign.  Instead of staying to help continue to guide the board in the direction that he felt was correct, he decided to just give up and leave.

He must have seen the writing on the wall.  It was his own handwriting, reading, “You are not welcome here.”

Archon

***

The arrival of volunteers from Newfoundland, in the war against the pandemic that is currently raging across Ontario, recalls a similar moment, when young women from Newfoundland left their friends and families, to risk a dangerous trip during the Second World War, in order to aid in another war effort.

Leaving their homes in Newfoundland, they braved the submarine-infested waters of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, to assist Dominion Woolens and Worsteds in Hespeler.  There they would spin and twist the many thousands of pounds of yarn required, to keep khaki uniform cloth flowing out of the Hespeler Mill.

In April 1949, after the war’s end, when Newfoundland became a Province of Canada, the company’s newsletter expressed its thanks to the 243 young women from Newfoundland who had worked at Dominion Woolens and Worsteds, offering a most joyous welcome to the people of Newfoundland, saying, “Welcome girls” and “Welcome Newfoundland.

***

Conspiracy Theorists, and Christian Apologists – they are often the same people – can be quite entertaining and amusing, if somewhat confused and confusing.  I recently read a Denialist explaining that, when the Titanic sank, there was a huge solar flare, which would have blinded the radar, and made radioing for help impossible….

Except that – The Titanic sank in 1912 – and radar wasn’t invented until 30 years later, during WW II, and their radio calls for help are a matter of historical record.

***

Click-Bait, My Pretty Little Click-Bait

A Man Spent Years Studying The Last Original AGM Zero Fighter Jet, And He Uncovered A Chilling Fact

It only took him 20 years, and he discovered that it’s NOT a jet.

To be fair, the story reveals that it was an axial-engine, prop-driven plane, but that doesn’t get you back among all the ads.

***

It had to happen.  In a town where streets ramble and meander aimlessly, never running North/South – East/West…. A traffic warning reported that a water main had burst at the intersection of Browning Road West and Lancaster Street West.

***

How to screw up a joke – Part II
How did the hipster burn his mouth?
He sipped coffee before it was cool
.
He only got the concept, the English, and the punch line wrong.  😯

Fibbing Friday Ate

Pensitivity101 has found that restraining orders do not work on me.  I was released on bail after my last assault on truth, into the custody of WordPress, and immediately stole another list of prompts to satisfy my perverted desires with.  The Language Police have been alerted, and they’ve dispatched a tactical team.  Until they get here, here’s a little something to amuse and entertain you.

  1. What is usually shaken and not stirred?
    Me, when I’m trying to have my afternoon nap.
    The dogs are in the back yard, barking at the neighbor.
    Fine! Tell them to stop.
  2. Who was Dr. No?
    My doctor, after she learned my true weight. 😯
    No sugar!
    No carbs!
    No snacks!
    No beer!
    No shit??! And No reason to go on living.
  3. What is a Thunderball?
    It is the eventual, inevitable, gastronomic result of a big meal of beef and bean burritos. A YOLO Yahoo, with loose track pants, a Bic lighter, and no shame, can turn one into a Lightning Strike.
  4. Who sang ‘For Your Eyes Only?’
    It was a duet, by Ray Charles and (Little) Stevie Wonder. 😎
  5. What does ‘M’ stand for?
    It’s the Roman numeral for 1000
    If I’ve told you once, Double-O Seven, I’ve told you a thousand times, the Secret Service Medical Division is going bankrupt, curing these “Tropical Diseases” that you keep picking up. Only take your Walther PPK, not your Little Walter, out of your pants.
  6. What snack did ‘Q’ almost lose when showing off one of his latest gadgets?
    A bowl of kimchee with a haggis smoothie.
  7. What was sent from Russia with Love?
    Trump’s third (Or was it fourth??) Stepford wife, Malignant Melanoma Maleficent Malign Ya Melania.
  8. What scares the living daylights out of you?
    Politicians!! The best candidate for any position is the one who needs to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into office. I’m not exactly full of sunlight – or unicorn rainbows – to have it forced out of me.  In response to most politicians, it’s often a darker substance, exiting a lower orifice.

We used to be able to tell when Politicians lied to us – their lips moved.  Things have changed.  Now, they talk more, and say less.  Recently, Ted Cruz marathoned a 23-hour filibuster.  I didn’t see the text.  I’m told that it was a Seinfeld speech – all about nothing.  It might have been a monolog about how fortunate, happy, and proud he was to have been born in Canada, to a Mexican mariachi-player father.

  1. What does a Moonraker do?
    It smoothed out the biggest (so far) sand trap in the Solar system, 50 years ago, after Alan Shepard hit some golf balls during the Apollo 14 NASA Lunar mission.
  2. What is You Only Live Twice about?
    It’s the book my wife wrote about my aggressive driving habits. “Getting There” is not half the fun, to me. Time spent on the road, is time wasted.  I’ll be out on the highway, in the fast lane, passing big-rigs like they’re pulling in for a piss-break.  Suddenly, in the center turn-around lane, I’ll spot a County-Mountie – Kojak with a Kodak – a State-trooper with a radar gun.

Quickly I slow to almost the legal limit – and hope.  Will he??….  Is he??….  Did he?
NO!!!  He didn’t pull out.

That’s when I live twice.  I experience the reality first, and then I have that segment flash before my eyes a second time.

The truth is, I’m getting pretty good with these lists – if I do say so myself.  In a couple of days I’ll post something that doesn’t need to be strained through a lie-detector.  😀

’21 A To Z Challenge – T

The theme for this week’s A To Z Challenge has been graciously supplied by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

TUMULTUOUS

Full of tumult or riotousness; marked by disturbance and uproar
raising a great clatter and commotion; disorderly or noisy
highly agitated, distraught, turbulent

If Harry just wanted a continuous supply of sex with gorgeous young women, he could have taken some tips from his uncle, Randy Prince Andy – parties, mansions, booze and drugs, some grooming and coercion, a bit of physical force, and, failing all that, boatloads of 100 Pound notes.

But Harry seemed to want to get married and settle down.  If that was his plan, he picked the wrong woman.  Actually, this brazen little, attention-seeking, gold-digger purposely picked him – and Meghan is not the ‘settling down’ type.  He is apparently getting some sex, but she is just leading him around by his….  nose.

She runs their life using the Brittany Spears Career Handbook – a minor catastrophe each week, and a more major meltdown every month – anything to keep them her in the public eye.  Watching her stick-handle their social and marital relationships, (That’s a Canuck hockey reference, eh.) is like watching the shining silver sphere in an Elton John pinball machine.

They’re in Britain!
They’re in the US!
They flutter into Canada just long enough to give the residents of British Columbia some false hope!
They’re on the West Coast!
They’ve moved to the East Coast!
They’re in the news!
They’re on TV!
They’re in court!

Lights flash, bells ring out, digit counters scroll upwards, but when it all eventually goes down the drain, nothing has really happened.  Then she pushes the reload plunger to bring up the next week’s controversy.  It’s enough to make the Kardashians look relevant.

It looks like I’m done with this rant.  See you again soon.   😀