WOW #62

Television

I suffer from tinnitus.  Oh, my wife actually has it, but I must endure the consequences.  She cannot sit quiet in the living room, reading or knitting.  For her, it is never quiet.  To drown out the internal whistles, squeaks and crackling, she has the TV on constantly, as background noise.

Her constant quest to play something inconsequential, leads to this Word Of The Week.

HINTERLAND

Often hinterlands. the remote or less developed parts of a country; back country: The hinterlands are usually much more picturesque than the urban areas.
the land lying behind a coastal region.
an area or sphere of influence in the unoccupied interior claimed by the state possessing the coast.
an inland area supplying goods, especially trade goods, to a port.

Several years ago, before we cut the cable, Canadian TV stations sometimes added a little PSA between one show and the next, called Hinterland Who’s Who.  We would get a little 30-second introduction to loons, ruffed grouse, or brown bears.

I have been involuntarily exposed to subtitled shows from Iceland, which was settled by Norway, and from Sweden.  While trying to do crossword puzzles, or read, myself, I’ve been exposed to 4 seasons of a show titled Bordertown, which I thought might be Detroit, Bellingham, WA, or Laredo, TX..  Turns out that it’s Saint Petersburg, Russia, with half the dialog in Russian, and the other half in Finnish.  It’s hard to figure a 4-letter kitchen appliance in the middle of a United Nations debate – with gunfire.

My reading was distracted by 5 seasons of Shetland, a British police procedural set on an island off the west coast of Scotland, where the sheep outnumber the humans, 500 to 1.  I thought that the most likely illegal offense might be bestiality, but the already meager population was reduced by at least one, in each episode.  The wife drooled over the many gorgeous knit sweaters worn by the plodding hero.

I thought that my life wasn’t particularly interesting or adventurous, but Shetland attracted enough viewers to lead BBC-TV to follow it with Hinterland, an attention-grabber Yawn set on the rocky Scottish peninsula that projects toward the island of Shetland.  Here, the ratio of sheep to people is only 400:1, and folks speak English almost as well as those on Iceland.

The son has acquired a set of Dr. Dre Beats headphones.  I often try to speak to him, only to realize that he is listening to audio for something that he is watching on his tablet.  The muffs disappear into his shaggy hair.  Maybe I could wear them, disconnected, as sound-deadeners.  I’d use the ones that I wear when I mow the lawn, but she would be somehow disturbed and insulted.  Silence is golden – but I get the brassy alternative.

Please quietly return soon, for my next whine and cheesy party.

Go Directly To Jail – Do Not Pass GO

Monopoly

Doctor Felix Feelgood here.  It’s time to shore up our psyches, and inflate our egos by passing judgement on some more

DUMB
CRIMINALS

She Went Thatta Way, Then Thatta Way, Then Thatta Way, Then …

A woman in Somerset, Massachusetts, was arrested for breaking and entering. But she was quickly caught thanks to her ankle bracelet … the one fitted with a GPS system … that she had gotten from the police … for being on probation from an earlier breaking-and-entering case.

Parlez-vous idiot?

The victim’s jewelry was missing, the electronics were gone, and a window was smashed. No wonder she was hysterical when officer Charanjit Meharu of the Calgary police arrived. Then her French-speaking father called. Speaking in French, she explained that it was all a scam in order to get the insurance money. What she didn’t suspect was that Officer Meharu speaks six languages, including French.

Drug dealer’s office in the police station

Christopher Oxley of Everett, Washington, was arrested for conducting a drug deal over the phone—in the bathroom of the Everett Police Department.

Incarceration? There’s an app for that!

A 12-year-old boy adamantly denied having stolen an iPhone when questioned by police at his home. And then the iPhone rang in his closet. Okay, yes, he stole that. But as for the Blackberry he was also accused of stealing, he double-adamantly denied… *RING!!*

A crime that’s too heavy

Clive Halford thinks big! The British career criminal stole a truck and loaded it with 18 pallets of stolen nickel and copper worth around £150,000 (about $250,000). Yes, the haul was huge—too huge. Cops arrested Halford after the truck’s suspension collapsed under the weight. Earlier, Halford had stolen a car, overloaded it, and broken its suspension too.

‘…just kidding?’

Don’t you hate it when you suffer a heart attack and think you’re going to die, so you confess to a 17-year-old murder, only to find out you’re not going to die and then get sentenced to life in prison as a result? Yeah, so does James Washington, of Nashville, because it happened to him.

You should read the book you stole

Callie Rough of Middletown, Ohio, was picked up for shoplifting from a Dollar General store with her two young children in tow. Among the booty was a book, 101 Ways to Be a Great Mom.

A Molotov cock-and-bull story

Following a dispute, Craig Aylesworth, of Bithlo, Florida, allegedly tossed a Molotov Cocktail at his neighbor’s trailer home … just as the winds shifted, sending embers on to his own trailer. Luckily, he was arrested, since he no longer had a home of his own to return to.

The new Apple iDiot

A San Francisco thief pedaled his bike up to a woman on the sidewalk, snatched the iPhone out of her hands, and rode away. Unknown to him, the woman was in the middle of demonstrating the iPhone’s new GPS tracking device, which worked—the thief was captured minutes later.

‘License and registration and an attorney, please.’

Anthony Kenneth Mastrogiovanni was impersonating a police officer when he pulled over another car for speeding. The driver quickly sussed out that Mastrogiovanni was fibbing since he, too, was a cop, but in his case, the kind of cop who doesn’t have to pretend he’s a cop because he really is a cop. Mastrogiovanni was arrested for impersonating a police officer.

‘Who’re you gonna trust, yourself, or yourself?’

How convenient! Only a few months earlier, an Iowa City, Iowa, man had his driver’s license stolen. Then who should show up at the bar where he worked as a bouncer, but the thief brandishing the bouncer’s very own license as his form of ID.

Should’ve activated your karma alarm

Is there no honor among thieves? While two suspects were being questioned by Ogden, Utah, police about shoplifting from a store, someone broke into their car and stole a stereo and several other items.

This looks like a safe place…

An El Paso, Texas, man busted into a church and absconded with the safe. Safes are heavy, so he only got a few yards before dropping it on a neighbor’s lawn, where he tried to crack it open. That’s when he was confronted by the home’s occupant—a police officer.

There’s one born every minute, so I’ll probably have more of these later.   😳

WOW #61

Syzygy

The planets have aligned, so it’s a propitious time for me to tell you that we Virgos are very skeptical, and don’t believe in all that Astrology BS.  Rochelle’s weekly FF picture didn’t provide me with any inspiration or creativity, but she did donate a lovely word for a WOW post.

SYZYGY

an alignment of three celestial objects, as the sun, the earth, and either the moon or a planet:

A, I, and O (like O Canada, or O beautiful for spacious skies, in America The Beautiful – not Oh!), are the only words in the English language with no consonants in them – although U, in text-speak seems to be coming on strong.

SYZYGY is the longest word with no true vowels.  It is followed by slyly, and the kids, shy, sly, spy, sty, sky, try, fly, fry, why, cry, by, archaic thy, nymph, and lymph, as well as the crafty lynx. (Have I forgotten any?)  For many years, I thought – and I still wish – that it was pronounced sigh-zih-gee, so that it would demonstrate all three possible sound options for the almost-vowel, Y.  Sadly, it utters the more prosaic, sih-zih-gee.

It has a couple of other, even less common meanings:
Classical Prosody. a group or combination of two feet, sometimes restricted to a combination of two feet of different kinds.
any two related things, either alike or opposite.

Does this mean that an ash tray, and a frying pan, somehow have a SYZYGY, because they are both objects in my house that people put something into??!  😯

Ahh, English; that beautiful, yet bizarre language.  You don’t have to be crazy to want to try to learn how to speak/write it.  We will train you.  😳  I am also trying to train you to stop back again next week.  Whoever finds and drags back Erato, my muse, before I need her for next week’s Flash Fiction, receives a complementary serving of French toast.  😀

Flash Fiction #229

Hot Air

PHOTO PROMPT © Ronda Del Boccio

THE WIND’S WILL

He and his wife ran Sundance Balloons for years, offering riders magnificent views of Southern Ontario scenery. They’d booked an African vacation…. because Kenya also had great scenery. They arrived just as COVID19 did.

Because @BlackLivesMatter to them also, officials quickly shut the country tight. He was pleased to discover that Kenyan telecommunications services were better than at his Canadian office. Trapped in an albeit luxurious tent, with his laptop and cell phone he could book rides, schedule employees to provide services, and do the banking.

By the time lockdown was released, he’d have Sunrise Air Safaris organized and operating.

***

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

***

Another feel-good, ripped from the headlines, more-fact-than-fiction story, showing what Canadian, or anybody’s, tenacity and imagination can accomplish.

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Flash Fiction #228

Foreign Food

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

FOREIGN FOOD

Eat healthy they say. You’ll live longer.
Nah…. It just seems like it.

Back in the Dark Ages – pre-Golden Arches – he’d had to satisfy his fat and carb cravings at Canadian-born Harvey’s, and A & W. Finally, Burger King, Wendy’s and Taco Bell oozed north.

Eventually, do-gooder gastro-snobs ruined fast food. Eat Light, add a salad. Salad is a promise that real food will appear later.

Then he drove to Florida, and discovered Checkers. Ah, burger bliss! No sit-down, long before COVID – just two drive-thru cholesterol lanes. Free heart attack with every meal – but what a tasty way to go!! 😎

***

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

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Adaptation/Evolution

SDC10178

When the cats say that it’s time for a nap – IT’S TIME FOR A NAP!

Puppy Litter

When puppies or kittens are born, they quickly learn to huddle together in a ball, especially if Momma’s not there. This behavior seems to come from adaptive evolution. It makes the pile look like a single, larger animal to any potential passing predator. The puppy-pile, or kitten-clowder often has the strongest, alpha, animal at its center, and the runt exiled to the edge.

The greatest benefit of these mounds, is the conservation of body heat. This is particularly important for feral animals which are born outside. Every once in a while – not every litter – a puppy or kitten leaves the safety of the group, adventuresome, daring, brave, inquisitive – to explore its world. This is not a safe or good thing to do. Research shows that any young animal that does this has a 75% of dying. They achieve the label of ‘maverick’, whose origins are explained here. https://atkinsbookshelf.wordpress.com/2020/01/15/the-person-behind-the-word-maverick/

THAT WHICH DOES NOT KILL YOU, MAKES YOU STRONGER.

Oh, the vistas to be seen! The world to be explored. The things to be learned. The empires to be seized.

Excess Canadian grey wolves were trapped, and transported to Yellowstone Park, to repopulate the area, after an unusual die-off. Included was a young omega male, a runt which all the other wolves harassed or ignored. Early his first winter there, he disappeared. Park Ranger observers thought that he had starved to death, or been killed.

The next spring, it was discovered that he had crossed over the nearby mountain pass. He had defeated an older alpha male, taken over a pack, and proceeded to mate with the females and produce litters of strong pups to follow him.

Whether you believe that we are merely animals like the rest, or divinely created by a God, human beings would do well to take note of this type of situation. In social, political, or religious situations, great insights are obtained, great things are learned, and great advancements are made, by those who step outside their comfort zone – who leave the warm security of the puppy pile. It’s worth the risk. Be brave! Learn or create something new.

Of course, I want you to continue to do the same old thing, and stop back here again in a couple of days, when my mind wanders off over a mental mountain pass, and breeds a completely different post.

They Don’t Speak English

Canadian Flag

One winter day at the JFK airport in New York, a couple waiting for their flight home to Texas noticed a strange pair of folks all bundled up in parkas, fur hats, heavy gloves and boots.

The Texan Lady, musing over where these strangely dressed people could be from, troubled her husband to the point he responded, ”I have no idea…why don’t you go ask them.”

We all know how curiosity can get the better of someone.

Boldly, she strolled up to the Odd Couple, and with all the charm of Texas, introduced herself:

“Hi, Where ya-all from?”

The heavily clad woman responded: “Saskatoon Saskatchewan.”

Smiling, the Texan replied: “That’s nice.”

As she returned to her husband, he asked: “Well, where they from?”

“Don’t know” she replied, “They don’t speak English.”

Saskatoon Saskatchewan is a city in Canada, and yes, the majority of Canadians speak English.

***

This Man’s Wife Wouldn’t Let Him Go With His Friends, So He Does This.

Four guys have been going on the same fishing trip for many years.

A few days before the group’s annual departure date, John’s wife puts her foot down and tells him he isn’t going. John’s fishing buddies are very upset that he can’t go, but what can they do?

Two days later the three get to the camping site to find John sitting there with his tent set up, firewood gathered, and dinner cooking on the fire, drinking a cold beer.

“Heck John, how long you been here, and how did you talk your missus into letting you go?”

“Well, I’ve been here since last night. Yesterday evening, I was sitting in my recliner when my wife came up behind me, put her hands over my eyes, and asked, ‘Guess who?” I pulled her hands off, and there she was, wearing a nightie.

She took my hand and pulled me into the bedroom, where she’d lit candles and put rose petals all over the place. Well, she’s been reading 50 Shades of Grey.

On the bed she had handcuffs, and ropes! She told me to tie her up and cuff her to the bed, so I did.

And then she said, ‘Do whatever you want.

So, boys, here I am!

***

Orange Juice

A man comes home early from his job at the Orange Juice Factory.  “What’s wrong?” his wife asks.  “Why are you home so early?”  The man shakes his head and looks sad.  “I got canned this morning,” he admits.  His wife asks “Why?”  The husband shrugs and says.  “I just couldn’t concentrate.”

Pickle Jar

A man comes home early from his job at the pickle factory. “What’s wrong?” his wife asks. “Why are you home so early?” The man shakes his head and looks sad. “I did something stupid at work and got fired. I did something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. I stuck my penis in the pickle slicer.” “Oh my God, let me see it.” She examines it closely, but can find no injury or damage. “What happened to the pickle slicer?” “Oh, she got fired too.”

***

Once upon a time, a guy asked a girl to marry him. She said no. The guy lived happily ever after.

Flash Fiction #219

High

PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn Miller

IT’S HIGH TIME

So, Canada had legalized marijuana, and he had wound up getting a job with one of the legal grow-ops after graduating from Agricultural College. Given the ‘entertainment’ habits of some of his dorm-mates, it was a surprise that it was him, rather than one of the 4:20 cadre.

He was pleased with the safety equipment his employer provided – gloves, coveralls, respirator masks. His hometown had once been the center of a tobacco-growing area. Each year there had been at least one case of death from nicotine poisoning. Here, about the worst thing that happened, was a nice contact high buzz.

***

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

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It’s a good thing that I went back to proof-read one more time. Spell-Check didn’t catch that I had titled this Flesh” Fiction. That’s a whole different genre!   😳 🙄

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.

11/11 Remember! Redux

With the exception of a little explanation here at the top, and some added notes at the bottom, this will be a republication of 2016’s, and 2017’s November 11th post. I may not have said it the best that it can be said, but I’ve said it as well as I can say it.

remembrance

No matter what you call it, this is a little reminder that Monday is Remembrance/Veterans Day. Take two minutes at 11:00 AM to stand quietly and remember, respect and honor those in the Armed Services, past and present, who have given so much, so that we can have peace and security.

Take some time Monday – Hell, take all day if you want, and take a bit of time any other day, whenever it’s possible – to shake the hand of a veteran, or current Serviceman. Smile, and say, “Thanks!”

Canadian Flag

veterans

Times, and social situations change. Wars are no longer fought by going to the other guy’s country and shooting him, or just blowing up his shit till he stops being an asshole. In addition to the Vets and current Armed Services personnel, mentioned above, we should also remember to thank and think of (because of the job they do, and the way they must do it, they’re invisible, but invaluable) Intelligence and Internal Security Officers, as well as the folks building SkyNet, who feed info to them, so that they can keep us safe from gas attacks, poison and biological assaults. They also prevent attacks and loss of service to our increasingly technologically-dependent Internet lifestyle, with their Ninja-like handling of all those little 1s and 0s.

I think that it would be nice to see more people wearing poppies, to pay respect for the veterans who fought for us, and fewer people with their heads down, and a cell phone  in their hands.

I want to express my frustration and moral sadness at our skewed priorities regarding the calendar.  Dec. 25 receives far more attention than Nov. 11!  Could we please postpone the Christmas activities and surrounding pageantry, until at least Nov. 12, out of common decency, respect, and gratitude for those who fought and died for the freedoms that we enjoy today??