Smitty’s Loose Change #5

Smitty's Loose Change

Everybody’s always got something to add.
I recently saw this list of women’s names

Ann
Anne
Annes
Anais
Anna
Anni
Ani
Annie
Annika
Agnieszka

Ann is a good solid English name taken from the Hebrew Hannah, and means ‘kind, helpful.’ The French language insists that all nouns have gender, and makes Ann feminine by adding an ‘e’ to make Anne. Welsh speakers must think that there’s more than one, because, to them, it becomes Annes (annis). At least one Spanish-Cuban/French woman also pronounced her name annis, but spelled it Anais. Languages like German and Spanish have no silent letters, so the ‘e’ is pronounced, and Anne soon becomes Anna. Languages like Italian converted it to Anni, all except for the unfortunately-named, Italian-American singer, Ani DiFranco.  The construction rules of the original Latin say that one is an anusani means ‘many assholes.’ Some people can’t just leave it short and simple.  A landlady of ours had a son she wisely named Paul, but insisted on calling him Paulie.  I thought she had a parrot.  English soon had females named Annie. Languages like Swedish and Dutch can be poly-syllabic to indicate diminutive and feminine, and the name became Annika. Polish is a ‘busy’ language.  It took Annika, and married it to the similar Greek name Agnew, to create Agnieszka, which, aside from meaning ‘kind and helpful,’ also means ‘little lamb.’

***

Every time I open my mouth, some damned idiot starts talking.

***

After only 5 ½ years at this blogging thing, I finally achieved 1000 followers on April 22nd – and again on April 24thand, once more on April 25th.  WordPress has been doing some home redecorating, and the previous two weeks were inexplicably up and down.  I’d go to bed with 998, and get up to 997.  999?  No, still just 998.  😀  Finally, the magic number was reached.

I thanked and congratulated the gent who finally broke the bank….and got up the next day to 999 again. Twice more it happened before I got two followers in one day, and haven’t looked back.  I’d kinda like to know why.  Were my followers dying, – getting kicked off WordPress – or intentionally un-following me?  I know, don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.

***

In my blog-post Words, I included the word ‘lagniappe’.  Recently, a little 10-page, throw-away community newspaper has added a food and cooking column.  The author has titled it; La Yapa –Bolivian phrase for that little extra gift given in gratitude by market vendors.  I noticed the common linguistic ancestor.  Did you?

***

For our ‘Good Christian’ friends, Mark Twain said that; It’s easier to fool someone, than to convince them that they have been fooled.

The English surname ‘Bullard’ means – son of a monk or priest.

***

Recently, at about 2:30 AM, my son’s cell phone vibrated to an incoming message. Sent from a phone with a number one digit higher than his, the screen read, “Hi, I’m your text-door neighbor.”  That’s one random way of meeting new people.  I think I still prefer the drunken butt-dial.

***

[Ouг ϲompany camе to the һealth center (which believeѕ that a resort), obtaineɗ cheϲked in, carried սpstɑirs and into οur room. I entered into HUGELУ large moo moo as well as craԝled into the mattreѕs … it waѕ actually meаns ahead of time to be in that bedrоom.Тime, ϲoming from this aspect on, apρeared to crаwl and also go bananas swiftly all concurrently. It crawled coming from facet from yᥱarning for the dаy to become over and also would like to bbe back with our little bit of guy again, as well aѕ it went bananas fast due to the fact that once points stаrted, there was no stopping!]

After insisting that I never receive any interesting spam comments, I downloaded the above, whose occasional strangely sized and shaped letters do not publish as they originally showed.  I fail to see how anyone would think that an excerpt from an illiterate account of a young family’s trip could induce anyone to open it, or access the site.

I won’t waste the time, but I could have some fun correcting all the spelling, punctuation and construction errors.  I do think that it would be a great prompt for a short-story post.  Anybody want to have a go at a Flash Fiction-type challenge and finish it?    😕

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Get Up….And Go

vauxhall

For a couple of years during our teens, my brother worked pumping gas on the weekends for the snake-oil salesman who owned a local garage. I stopped in one summer Sunday to shoot the shit, and noticed a pile of tires with bright yellow chalk markings of NFG on the sidewalls.  In all my small-town naïve innocence, I asked, “What does NFG mean?” “Haw, haw, haw!!  Oh, you know what NFG means!”

Even these years later, the arrogant stupidity of that non-answer still irritates me. If I ‘knew’ what NFG meant, I wouldn’t have asked what NFG meant.  A couple of years later, when I got out in the cruel, cruel (and often foul-mouthed) world, I found that it meant No Fucking Good.  Why didn’t he just say so?

One day he accosted me. “Whaddya doin’ next Saturday?” “Why?” “Wanna make 25 bucks?” That was the equivalent of a half a day’s wages.  Rather suspiciously, “Doing what?”

A couple of times a year, he would go to a used-car auction outside Toronto, bring home some lemons vehicles, fix them (almost) up, and sell them at a profit.  Oh, he wants another driver.  It’s reasonably safe, and almost legal.  I could use a little extra spending money.  Sure, why not!?

Five of us met at the garage at O-dark-600. He piled us all into a big old Mercury sedan.  He drove, with two guys in the front with him.  Remember those big old boats, where three could ride in comfort on the front bench seat?  Not ‘safely’ though, ‘cause they didn’t have seatbelts.

Two other gullible suckers and I rode in the back. Off we set for a 100 mile, 2-hour drive.  The car auction began at 9:00 AM and we arrived with time to spare.  Mr. Snake-Oil went inside, but, since we weren’t registered buyers, we had to remain outside.

We wandered around, bored, talking to each other and other teens who’d come with other dealers, searching for washrooms and maybe something to eat or drink. At noon, he came out, all smiles.  He’d bought five cars – one for each of us.

We made sure that they all started and ran, and had enough gas for the trip home, and formed up our little convoy. Since I’d previously owned a Morris, and currently owned an Austin, I was assigned a four-cylinder Vauxhall sedan, similar to the station-wagon my Father had recently owned, while the rest got 6- and 8-cylinder Fords and Chevies.

With the chief turkey buzzard leading the parade, we headed for home. I was in third position.  When we reached the 60MPH speed limit of the highway, we quickly sped up to 65/70….all except me.  It seemed that, no matter what I did (not much), the best I could do was 50/55.  Number 4 soon passed me.

A mile down the road, “the best I could do” suddenly dropped to 30/35.  Number five pulled out and passed, and Tail-End Charlie was breathing down my tailpipe.  Then, the wee beast speeded up again, if you can call 50 MPH, speed.

Another mile, and it faltered again. Soon I was number 6.  In a day before cell-phones for emergencies, I wondered what would happen if this thing died all together, as the last of them disappeared over a hill, a half a mile ahead.  I thought about just pulling it off to the side, and hitch-hiking back.

After a hundred miles of this, I finally nursed it home. As I pulled in, he yelled, “Where the Hell have you been?  Did you get lost?  The rest of us have been back for hours.”  25 – 30 minutes, maybe, but, gee thanks for keeping an eye out and worrying about me Boss.  “What the Hell kept you?”

I explained that I just couldn’t get any top-end speed, and that it would die off every once in a while. I said, “It feels like I was driving on three cylinders half the time, and the other half, only on two.” “Oh, you just don’t know how to drive!”  I took my $25 undeclared cash earnings and left. ‘See if I ever do that for you again.’

About a week later, I pulled in to gas up my Austin, and he swaggered over and stuck his head in my window. “Remember that Vauxhall you drove for me?”  I’d been trying to put it out of my mind, but, “Yeah?” “Know what I found?” A llama in the trunk?  Bubble-gum in the ashtray?  A complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica?  “What?”

“When I was working on it, I found that one of the spark plugs was welded closed, and one of the ignition wires from the distributor was loose. If it got bumped, there was no power going to that plug.  It was like it was running on three cylinders half the time, and only on two, the other half.”

Do I get a free tank of gas for diagnosing the problem for you? Of course not!  Not even a thank you or an admission that I was right, much less an apology.  What an arrogant, self-centered asshole.  When I went back to school after moving here to Kitchener, I met his then-divorced wife.  She couldn’t stand him either.  Later, his brother was elected President of the United States.

The Olde Philosophy Shoppe

philosopher

I have strived for years to absorb the wisdom of the ages, and all I wound up with was the ages – very little wisdom. Even my LinkedIn profile (under The Archon) lists my job description as ‘Sage’….more like oregano – or thyme.  Just as taxis are being pushed out by the likes of Lyft, or Uber, so too do I find my respected Adored Elder position of ‘disseminator of arcane knowledge’ being replaced by part-time amateurs.

During the summer, I took the wife and daughter (more than once) to a couple of plant nurseries. Valuable tribal lore used to be passed by word of mouth, from older, experienced, veteran warriors, to green, wet-behind-the-ears youngsters, around the campfires at night.

I found that wisdom (and what passes for it) is now passed from smart-mouthed hipster Millennials, to plant lovers and random passers-by, via garden plaques. Here are a few of the ones I saw.  Perhaps you’d like to copy and save one or two, and pass them on, when the time is right.

philo2

philo1

philo3

philo4

philo5

smartphone-ignore

truth

no-humor

Ah well, you guys come here mostly for the humor….or is it just to humor me?  I’ve armed you well.  Go forth and be philosophical – and come back in a couple of days for some jokes.

Havin’ A Ball

Broken Window

A young boy was playing with a ball in the street. He kicked it too hard, and it broke the window of a house and fell inside. A lady came to the window with the ball and shouted at the young boy, so he ran away, but he still wanted his ball back.

A few minutes later he returned and knocked at the door of the house, and when the lady answered it, he said, “My father’s going to come and fix your window very soon.”

After a few more minutes a man came to the door with tools in his hand, so the lady let the boy take his ball away.

When the man finished fixing the window, he said to the lady “That will cost you exactly ten dollars.”

“But aren’t you the father of that young boy?” the woman asked, looking surprised.

“No,” he answered, equally surprised. “Aren’t you his mother?”

***

It is a dark night.
A man is riding a bicycle with no lamp.
He comes to a crossroad.
He stops because he doesn’t know which way to turn.
A tall pole stands near the road with a piece of paper on it.
It is very dark and the paper is too high – he cannot read it.
He takes out his box of matches and climbs up the pole.
There, he lights a match and then reads the following words on the paper:
“Wet paint.”

***

A female asked God that she wanted her all husband’s attention, she wanted that he should only look at her, keep her with him all the time and give her utmost importance in life….God turned that female into a mobile phone.

***

The Impact of a Job Change

One day, a passenger in a cab tapped the cab driver on his shoulder to get his attention.

The cab driver screamed, lost control of the cab, went up on the sidewalk and stopped inches from a shop.

The passenger apologized and said: “I didn’t realize that a little touch would scare you so much.”

The cab driver replied “Sorry it’s not your fault, it’s my first day as a cab driver, I’ve been driving a hearse for the last 20 years.”

***

On their way to get married, a young Catholic couple is involved in a fatal car accident. The couple find themselves sitting outside the Pearly Gates waiting for St. Peter to process them into Heaven. While waiting, they start to wonder: Could they get married in Heaven? When St. Peter shows up, they immediately ask him.

St. Peter replies, “I don’t know. This is the first time anyone has asked. Let me go find out.” He leaves. The couple sat and waited for St. Peter to return, but he never did. 9 weeks later, and the couple were still waiting. They started to wonder, if things didn’t work out, could they get a divorce in heaven?

Another month later, St. Peter finally returns, looking somewhat bedraggled. “Yes,” he informs the couple. “You can get married in Heaven.” “Awesome!” the couple responds enthusiastically. “But we were just wondering, what if things don’t work out? Could we also get a divorce in Heaven?”

St. Peter’s face suddenly turned red with anger. He slammed his clipboard to the ground. Frightened, the couple asked “What’s wrong?” “OH, COME ON!” St. Peter shouted. “It took me three months to find a priest up here! Do you have any idea how long it’ll take me to find a lawyer?”

 

Flash Fiction #42

Barbecue

 

 

 

 

© Copyright – Rachel Bjerke

Thinking Outside The Box

Fountain, where are all the people?

I don’t know, Barbecue.  We used to be the center of entertainment.  They cooked meat and roasted corn on you, and splashed fingers and sailed little boats on me.  They had picnics.  They enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air.  They laughed, and talked, and joked, and played out here.

Now, the few times I see a person, they carry something in their hand that glows.  I hear them complain, “There’s no bars out here!”

I fear we’ve been abandoned.  Now they’re trapped inside, not merely the house but their heads also.  It’s not healthy!

 

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

Fellowship Of The Blog – Epilogue

 

Collecting My Thoughts

SDC10694

 

 

 

 

We had barely stepped from the car in Buffalo, when the wife found a bright, shiny, good-luck penny.  This pattern continued – five days, five pennies. We took it as a continuing omen.  Despite our Exhaustive and GPS adventures, all finally worked out well.  We brought the pennies home as a memorial of a fun trip, and used them to start an optimistic new collection for next year.

I gave the previous year’s coin collection to the wife before we started.  Women seem to be able to get rid of coins quicker and easier than guys.  She doled out a handful, including several pennies, to the young cashier at Cracker Barrel.  We explained that Canada had discontinued minting pennies.  She seemed to have a problem grasping the idea of round up/round down.

We told her that Canada had also changed its dollar, and two-dollar bills, to coins, and showed her one of each.  She cooed that she collected American coins, but had never seen these, so we gave them to her.

I was talking to a room clerk, and said that she must encounter lots of loud-mouthed assholes.  She told me of an afternoon when a man came in, with a cell phone jammed in his ear.  She already had several customers, and this guy was loud and obnoxious.  Apparently talking to someone about a girlfriend, every second word started with F…

When he stepped up to the counter, he was still ranting, and demanded a F…ing room.  She told him that she would deal with him when he was finished on his phone.  “I can F…ing handle booking a room.”  “Well, I can’t sir.  I’ll deal with you whenever you’re finished on the phone.”  Still bitching and F…ing, he stepped outside.  While he was still turning the air blue, another man stepped in, and asked to book a room.  “There you are sir!  Congratulations, you just got our last room.”  I can feel the Karma from here.

We took the wife’s laptop with us, because free Wi-Fi hotspots are now everywhere.  We could access the internet from our rooms, everywhere except in Buffalo, where we had to go to the office to connect, and sent emails back to the son and daughter.  We didn’t use the laptop, or request that Red Roof book us a room in Taylor (Detroit), and we were the ones who got the last room, and only because some guy phoned in and cancelled while I was standing at the desk, whining and crying.

After driving across the meadow in Ohio, when we were seriously lost, (it can be seen in a bird’s eye view on the map program, complete with cow shit) we suddenly came upon a hard right, 90° turn, which led us to Horst’s farmyard, house on the left of the road, barn and sheds on the right, and two teen boys playing in the road.

This track has run for 10 or 12 miles.  It can’t just be a farm lane! They looked at us like we were space aliens.  We had not seen another vehicle.  I don’t know what we would have done if we had.  This was the first spot big enough for two cars to pass, much less turn around to go back.  Peering past the boys, and a small knoll, we realized that the road took yet another hard left 90° turn.

Flying Saucer

 

 

 

 

 

I eased forward, and rolled down the window, and they approached the car.  “Excuse me; we seem to be really lost!  I’m looking for ‘Dog’s Body, Ohio.’  “Vell, vee arrr nut vrum arount ear.”  Of course you’re not!  I should have noticed the crop-circle landing spot in the pasture, for the UFO that I can zee see in the barn.  You’re the space aliens.  😯

SDC10696

 

 

 

 

Every Red Roof uses a decorative border of stones.  At each one, we picked up a small, interesting one as a memento.  Ohio’s geological range of rocks possibly exceeds Southern Ontario’s.  They all went into our decorative terrarium, sitting on the ‘singing sand’ we brought back from Myrtle Beach.

With the current collapse of oil prices, the cost of gasoline in the US ranged from a high of $3.89/gal = $1.13/liter, down to $2.81/gal =     Ȼ 81.7/liter.  When we returned to Canada, prices had dropped – all the way from $1.18, to $1.16/liter.

I forgot to check beginning/end odometer readings for the trip, but gasoline receipts indicate that we traveled about 1200 miles.  This is about the same as BrainRants’ recent ‘Big Move’, but where he did it all in one nail-biting, nerve-jangling 17 hour dash, we took five days, although there were some nail-biting, nerve-jangling moments.  We completely circumnavigated Lake Erie, something we’ve never done before.

I am pleased with those who have accompanied us on our virtual voyage.  I am happy for those who have visited, and read, and liked and commented.  I am most happy with those who have shown polite restraint, and not lobbed over-ripe fruit and vegetables.  I hope that Jim Wheeler has seen some, or all, of these accounts, because he is intrigued with the social aspects of travel, but is a bit restricted.  Thanx to all!  New subject coming up.   😀

 

The Fellowship Of The Blog – Episode Eight

Day 4/Part 2 – Satisfaction, or, The Eyes of Ohio’s Potatoes Are Upon You

After escaping from the Children Of The Corn, otherwise known as Stills R Us, we drove up the side road, and, on only the second attempt, parked in front of John Erickson’s house.  Without ever being there, BrainRants should recognize the improvements John has made.  Flak TowerJohn gave me his street number about a year ago, but I misplaced it, and had to rely on AFrankAngle to provide it again.

I’d actually hoped to reach here two days ago, but the muffler intruded.  I didn’t know whether either of them had any idea that we were coming.  At noon on a Saturday seemed a good possibility to find one or both home.  I had an explanatory letter, which I was going to leave if no-one answered.  I tentatively climbed the front stairs and pushed the doorbell, and heard human movement inside, as well as a worried dog.

Soon, a lady Munchkin appeared, opened the door, and stepped outside.  She looked at me quizzically.  To have someone ring their bell is unusual.  To have someone ring their bell, who is not part of their inbred, easily recognized community, was just astronomical.  I didn’t even have a beard, or bib overalls.

Hillbilly Couple

 

 

 

 

 

I told her that I was The Archon, John Smith, from the Archon’s Den blogsite, and I was here to see John E., if he was well enough to accept visitors.  Like John, she accesses several Sci-Fi sites, and the term ‘Archon’ made her wonder if I was someone that she should know, but, I’d asked for John.  He was at home, in fine fettle, and holding back the big dumb dog, to keep it from rushing out the door.  If I didn’t mind the dog, he would be happy to receive me.

We stepped in, and John looked up, puzzled, from a kneeling position.  The wife had let me in, but now it was his turn to wonder who this space alien from Area 51 was.  I let the dog quickly nuzzle me before I repeated the introduction, Archon!  Archon’s Den, John Smith, here to see him.

It was sublime, to watch the thoughts and emotions chase themselves across his face.  Who?  You?! Here?  Now?  Me?  Really?!  I would like to think that John was as pleased and impressed to meet me, as I was to see him.  He jumped up, and we shook hands like we’d never need them again.   Despite Frank visiting a couple of years ago, they just couldn’t believe that someone else would show up out here, in the wilds of Ohio, or that a coterie of other bloggers would worry enough to want me to.

Even worse than our 4 and 1, they have 7 cats, and the dog.  I did not feel that the allergy-laden wife would fare well inside.  In fact, John suggested that we step across the street to the basement meeting room of the church, which he has a key to.  I invited the wife to come along but, as shaken and sore as she was, she wished to remain in the now-stationary and comfortable car, knitting.

After an hour of solitary gum-flapping, his wife showed up with a piece of paper with all kinds of contact info, PO box, cell phone numbers, his and hers email addresses, for when the electrons started flowing again.  She told me that I had a darling wife.  While John and I huddled in the cave, she had spotted the wife, abandoned in the car, and came out and stood beside her, and the gals got to know each other.

Soon, we returned to the car, and photos were taken of various combinations of happy folks, and the front of the house.  John took me around to the back, which as you saw above, looks a little different.

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SDC10678

The mental image we have of someone we’ve never met, never matches the reality when we do.  From his gravatar, I’ve always pictured John as a short, squat, ugly, little garden gnome.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  He’s actually fairly tall….  😉

In fact, both he and his lovely wife, are intelligent, well-spoken, friendly, welcoming, down-to-earth people who are wasted on the fellow denizens out there.  I don’t know if he shaves any portion of his head, but he is completely bald, which explains the hats.  He is incredibly curious, and knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects, and his wife doesn’t give up any points to him, either.

If John and I hadn’t been ‘guys’, we might have hugged.  We drove away, sadly, all too soon, with a warm happy glow.  Compounded with the reception by Cordelia’s Mom, in Buffalo, we should be smiling all winter.  If you ever have the chance to meet a fellow blogger who is geographically close enough, observe on-line dating precautions, but go for it!

Virtually nothing can top the story of meeting the Windy City Wonderer, but we had another day on this trip, and I have a few occurrences and observations to relate, so there will be one more episode.  Stop back to read the story of the highway cop who didn’t arrest me, during a four-hour trek to Detroit.