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.  😀

’20 A To Z Challenge – G

Ham

I recently took a linguistic tour of names, from South America, to Mexico, and parts of Europe.   It was all virtual – in a book, and online.  In real life, I’m barely allowed out the front door by myself.

The hero of the book fled a refuge in the headwaters of the Amazon, high up in the Andes, where Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela all bump together.  Reaching Mexico, he found that a friend had been killed.  He discovered that a U.S. Navy Seal, who he had thought was an American named Eddie Gamble, had actually been a Mexican named Eduardo Gamboa.

Gamboa’, as a Spanish name is not common, and I thought at first that it was really Portuguese, through Brazil, so I started looking.  Maybe because Portugal is on the other side of the Pyrenees mountains from Spain, the language developed different.  They spell words and names like this, the other way.  Their version is Gambao.

It was at this point that my ever-reliable…. uh….memory – that’s it!  Memory, reminded me that, when I am playing my free online game of Solitaire, I am often cajoled to BUY the game Gambino Slots.  Gambino??!  Dear Lord – the Italian mob owns my computer games.

Too lazy to think, I began running them through a couple of translation programs.  The problem is that, because they are proper names, the computer just gives back the same spelling in either language.  Just as I clicked the button to switch from Spanish to Portuguese, for a fraction of a second, the word ‘stem’ appeared.  😳  Duh, FACEPALM!

facepalm-cat

Now, I knew where I was going.  Not stem, but LEG!  I fearlessly ventured on into French.  There, the equivalent name is Cambe, a spelling variation of the word jambe – a leg.  An uncommon English version is Camby.  The French word for ham – a pig’s leg – is jambon.

This even explained the old gangster word referring to a good-looking woman’s legs.  Back during WWII, Betty Grable, and others, had ‘great gams.’

Betty Grable

 

I would like to claim that I came up with a great idea for the letter G, in this A to Z Challenge, but I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.  It was the daughter who suggested this.  You keep coming around to read, and I’ll keep pumping out this dreck interesting trivia.

Flash Fiction #230

Jiggery

WOW

I couldn’t get too egg-cited about Rochelle’s photo prompt, but I finally decided on a theme for a Word Of The Week post.  It took a little

JIGGERY-POKERY

but I did it.

trickery, hocus-pocus; fraud; humbug.
sly, underhanded action.
manipulation:

C19: from Scottish dialect joukery-pawkery

Like many folk-sayings involving the Scots, its pronunciation has changed over the years.  Joukery means a sudden, elusive movement, or, to duck or dodge.  It comes from the Old English word which gave us both jerk, and jink.  High jinks – high-jinks – or hi-jinks, therefore, is/are boisterous celebration or merrymaking, unrestrained fun.

Pawky, in British English, means cunning, or sly.  In Scottish, it means having a dry wit – from the Scottish word pawk, meaning trick.

***

I couldn’t hatch a 100 word post from Todd Foltz’s photo prompt.  It took a little sly, underhanded, linguistic, broken-field running to produce this.  I hope a few are interested.

Friday Fictioneers

’20 A To Z Challenge – Folly

A To Z ChallengeLetter F

snow folly

HANNIBAL WAS CROSS

‘Tis folly to be wise

Call it Climate Change.  Call it Global Warming.  Call it Shit Happens.  Call it anything you want, but Charlie was beginning to believe some of the stories that Grampa told about growing up in this little mountain hamlet.

Yes sir, I had to walk 5 miles to school –each way – uphill both ways – against the wind…. And in the winter??! – snow was as high as an elephant’s….

Eye, Grampa??

Asshole, boy!  Asshole!

I had to make skis out of staves from a pickle barrel, and use icicles for poles.  Snow was so high I had to climb out the attic window.

There’d been no elephants in mountains, until Hannibal crossed the Alps, and They didn’t run through Montana.  As a site-designer, he was happy to ‘work from home’ after graduating, in the village he’d been born in.  Mom hadn’t even gone to the hospital in Helena – just popped him out in a sterilized bathtub.

The smart ones had been those who moved down with friends and relatives in the foothills, when the snow really started piling up.  When the Pastor/Mayor/Police Department had been notified that the plows weren’t getting through, and officials had no idea when that might happen, he suggested that everyone bring all their food to the church.

They’d rigged a flexible plastic tube from the air-conditioner vent, over the cliff.  That, and a small fan pointed up the spire gave them and the small generator enough air to breath.  The village weirdo geek had rigged a repeater/router to the lightning rod.  The cell tower further up the mountain, was only up to its knees in snow, so they had phones and internet.  The snow had drifted up and over the church, until only the steeple protruded, like a FOLLY.  It helped to insulate it, even as it locked them in.

It was a cozy little group of 14, although, if someone didn’t pry young Billy McCabe and the Winchell girl apart, there’d be 15 by the time they were released.  There were worse ways to spend a winter.  Guess the best thing to do is what Grampa suggested.  Just close the log cabin door to the snow, and don’t come out till spring.

WAIT!  WHAT??  Log Cabin??  I thought you said that you climbed out an attic window.

Don’t be a smart-ass, boy!  Nobody likes a smart-ass.  😳

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.

friday-fictioneers-badge-web

’20 A To Z Challenge – E

A To Z ChallengeLetter E

 

EEK and EGAD!! 24 hours before my self-imposed scheduled time to publish this E-post for the A To Z Challenge – I’m simultaneously composing three posts – and not one of them is this one. 😛 Unless I talked the son into mowing the lawn Sunday afternoon, you discovered a non-specific post on Monday morning, and this one moved to Wednesday.

I guess that I’ll make it about a mnemonic.
‘What’s a mnemonic, Johnny?’
A 1995, Keanu Reeves movie.

Actually, a mnemonic is something intended to assist the memory, as a verse or formula. One of the dumbest and most useless mnemonics that I’ve ever found, is

EUOUAE

Euouae definition

A type of cadence in medieval music. Origin: Taken from the vowels in the hymn Gloria Patri doxology: “seculorum Amen“. Euouae is a mnemonic which was used in medieval music to denote the sequence of tones in the “seculorum Amen” passage of the lesser doxology, Gloria Patri, which ends with the phrase In saecula saeculorum, Amen.

If you could/can write the Latin phrase, seculorum Amen, why would you need a reminder of the sequence of the vowels? Both the phrase, and the mnemonic, have been in use for over 500years. Only in the last 50/60 years has anyone felt the need to make it a word, and learn to pronounce it. It is the longest word in the English language with no consonants, an honor similar to being the greatest dogcatcher in Enid, Oklahoma.

Sadly, it is not an only child. Its bigger brother is

QUOMODOCUNQUIZE

A psalm or hymn cadence.

Is there something about Catholic Christianity, or religious music, which requires such ridiculous reminders??

The word is almost never used today, and definitely not outside the sphere of Church music. Somehow over the years, it acquired a secondary meaning of, to make money any way you can. The OED has no entry for quomodocunquize – to make money any way you can – but it does have one for quomodocunquizing, with a citation from Sir Thomas Urquhart in 1652: “Those quomodocunquizing clusterfists and rapacious varlets.” — The Orthoepist. September 16, 2010 – which is a book about the pronunciation of words.

I can’t prove it, but I suspect that the original hymns and psalms were mendicant – concerning begging, alms, financial support and donations – ergo; making money any way they could. Folks in ‘The Good Old Days’ sure had a lot more time, to say a whole lot less. I can not imagine expending the time and energy to even remember this word, much less enunciate it.

All hail technology!  My favorite mnemonics are manufactured by Acer, Dell, or even Apple.  😀

***

Yes!! I did it. I added the last words to this post, just as the sun was rising. That means that I’ll have to leap out of bed at the crack of noon, and mow that lawn myself. I’ll see you here tomorrow…. or is that today already?? 😕

’20 A To Z Challenge – D

A To Z ChallengeLetter D

Death

I am the God of Hellfire and in this episode of the A to Z Challenge, I bring you

D’EATH

(deeth)
This little-known English word is almost as uncommon as the imported surname. The D’eath family originally lived in the town of Ath in Belgium. There it would have been rendered D’Ath, or De Ath, meaning from Ath. It was also occasionally an occupational name for a gatherer or seller of kindling. In this case, the name is derived from the Middle English word dethe, which in turn is derived from the Old English word dyth, which means fuel or tinder.

Families with the name D’eath might know where it came from and what it meant. The word’s other reference is to the rather sketchy occupation, whose bundles of firewood sticks known as faggots, have deteriorated into a modern insult for homosexuals. To the superstitious, this, and its similarity to the word ‘death,’ make them uneasy when they encounter it.

Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey DSO is the fictional protagonist in a series of detective novels and short stories by Dorothy L. Sayers (and their continuation by Jill Paton Walsh ). A dilettante who solves mysteries for his own amusement, Wimsey is an archetype for the British gentleman detective.

In one book, the hero investigates a suspicious fatality at a company doing sensitive government work. He poses as the man’s replacement, under the name Peter D’eath, telling the manager that he hopes it will startle the guilty party into somehow revealing himself. It was an amusing but needless literary device, because the author goes on to show that it was a prank of a mail-room teen with a slingshot – an English ‘catapult’ – which caused the man to fall down a flight of stairs.

Flash Fiction #225

Retirement

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E.Ayr

ONE-WAY STREET

He gave his life to the company, or would have, if they’d let him. He joined when he was 45, and planned to retire with a full 20-year pension, just as he turned 65. Things didn’t work out.

Once upon a time, manufacturing companies made things. Nowadays, corporations made PROFITS, at all costs. 2-1/2 years before his official retirement, his plant was declared –not unprofitable – merely superfluous.

He and 450 of his co-workers were unceremoniously dumped, like so much trash, desperately searching for employment, while the Vice-President in Charge of Expense-Cutting took a two million-dollar bonus. So much for loyalty. 😦 😯

***

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

Friday Fictioneers

Flash Fiction #224

Unicorn

PHOTO PROMPT © Jeff Arnold

I’LL PUT THE BITE ON YOU

No-one had ever actually died because of eating the “I’m Game”® sausages, from Rudi’s little plant, made with meat that he bought from hunters, and the nearby petting zoo.

He was very careful about the production hygiene, but perhaps less so about what went into his products; reindeer, moose, venison, goats, turkeys, rabbits…. perhaps a touch of horse-meat…. 50/50…. one rabbit, one horse.

Someone really shot a unicorn??! He thought those were mythical. He wondered what it tasted like, probably too sweet. He’d have to check, and spice accordingly. Well, whatever. Into the grinder it goes. Oh, look! Free publicity.

***

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

Friday Fictioneers

’19 A To Z Challenge – &*%$#

AtoZ2019

I was right! Somebody slipped something to me. I’m lucky it wasn’t a roofie at a bar. It took two of them, ganging up, to do it. Julius Caesar, aided and abetted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, reformed and refined the calendar commonly used today.

My publishing schedule is simple. There are 52 weeks in a year. There are 26 letters in the alphabet. Publish every two weeks – 26 x 2 = 52. It all comes out even, except….

52 weeks times 7 days, is only 364 days, and the year has 365. Each year starts a day later than the previous one – except that Leap Years add 2 days. In the 6 years that I’ve been doing the Challenge, I’ve gained 8 days – more than a week. It was either start doing a March Challenge, or add an excuse, an extra 2 week cushion, and an ad lib post.

Ampersand
Once the 27th letter of the alphabet
Click here for more info https://www.dictionary.com/e/ampersand/

Caesar and Il Papa lawyered up with a smart Jewish attorney. He told me to shift the blame to my old friend, the Ampersand. It was his fault that there was Plus a day or two each year. Old Amp is a bit archaic, and somewhat out of style these days. I felt some regret at betraying him, but it’s every blogger for himself these days.

Survivor

I guess I’m actually lucky to have survived this past year. I’ll have to try harder in the coming months.  😀

For those of you who thought that I might publish an extra comedy post…. the joke’s on you.  😉  😆