Flash Fiction #174

Flat Earth

Copyright –Douglas M. MacIlroy

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I know that I shouldn’t bother, but I’ve been debating some Flat Earthers online.  The Flat Earth Society has members all around the world.  They’re as bad as the rabid Bible-thumpers – which many of them are.  Their minds are made up.  Don’t confuse them with the facts.

If the argument for a globe were a house, they can refute windows, or roofs, or walls, but not the entire building.   And their ‘proof’ against floors contradicts their ‘proof’ against chimneys.

Sometimes these discussions can be irritating.  Sometimes they can be amusing and entertaining, but often, they just go ‘round and ‘round.

***

Don’t be afraid to click on ‘Flat Earthers,’ above.  It’s not a deep Wiki article, just a few thoughts I published on the subject a couple of years ago.  Even the less astute of you may notice that I am willing to plagiarise even from myself.  Rochelle’s photo, coupled with Wednesday’s religious rant, joined forces to give the inspiration for this post.  I slipped in an old, previously published Flat Earth joke, and used the same “Round And Round” hook line from my Nov. 30th Flash Fiction.  That’s just flat-out lazy.  😉

***

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

Murphy’s Law

Murphy's Law

The following are some of the rules of the Universe that we have to abide by.  Feel free to add any that you’ve learned through sad experience.

MURPHY WAS AN OPTIMIST!

No good deed goes unpunished
leakproof seals – will
self-starters – will not
interchangeable parts – won’t
there is always one more bug
Nature is a mother
don’t mess with Mrs. Murphy
90% of everything is crap
The moment you light up a cigarette, your bus will arrive
If you’re feeling good, don’t worry, you’ll get over it
all warrantees expire on payment of invoice
where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit
never eat prunes when you are famished
friends come and go, but enemies accumulate
if you try to please everybody, nobody will like it
a short cut is the longest distance between two points

ANYTHING THAT CAN GO WRONG, WILL GO WRONG!

You will always find something in the last place you look.

The chance of a piece of bread falling with the butter/jam side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.

No matter how long or hard you shop for an item, after you’ve bought it, it will be on sale somewhere, cheaper.

No-one’s life, liberty or property is safe while the Legislature is in session.

The other line always moves faster.

In order to get a loan, first you must prove that you don’t need it.

Anything you try to fix will take longer and cost more than you thought.

If you fool around with a thing very long, you will screw it up.

A $2000 HDTV will protect a 10 cent fuse by blowing first.

If it jams – force it.  If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.

Force to fit – file to hide – paint to cover

Any tool dropped while repairing a car will roll underneath to the exact center.

The repairman will never have seen a model like yours before.

When a broken appliance is demonstrated to the repairmen it will work perfectly.

A pipe gives a wise man time to think, and a fool something to stick in his mouth.

Everybody should believe in something – I believe I’ll have another beer.

Build a system that even a fool can use – and only a fool will use it.

Everybody has a scheme for getting rich that will not work.

In any hierarchy, each individual rises to his own level of incompetence, and then remains there.

You will remember that you forgot to take out the trash when the garbage truck is two doors away.

The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong – but that’s the way to bet.

There’s never enough time to do it properly, but there’s always time to do it over.

When in doubt, mumble.  When in trouble, delegate.

Everything good in life is either illegal, immoral, or fattening.

It is morally wrong to let suckers keep their money.

A bird in the hand is safer than one overhead.

Murphy’s Golden Rule: Whoever has the gold, makes the rules.

Everything East of the San Andreas Fault will eventually plunge into the Atlantic Ocean.

Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.

The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlamp of an oncoming train.

Celibacy is not hereditary.

Never sleep with anyone crazier than yourself.

Beauty is only skin deep.  Ugly goes right to the bone.

To know yourself is the ultimate form of aggression. (Freudian psychology)

Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.

A Smith & Wesson beats four aces.

If everything seems to be going well, you obviously have no idea what the Hell is going on.

If more than one person is responsible for a miscalculation, no-one will be at fault.

In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.

Never argue with a fool.  People might not know the difference.

***

I apologise for the above.  I’m not always like this.  Lots of days I’m nowhere near this optimistic.  See you soon – if all goes well.  😯

WOW #37

Newspaper

All opinions expressed in this blog-post are not of the management, but solely those of the author…and, in MY opinion, the Word Of the Week

TEMERARIOUS

is arty, and pretentious.

I was thrilled to find it, although less thrilled to find that I was not already aware of it.  I was correct to deduce that it was the adjective version of the noun ‘Temerity’, which means audacity, effrontery, foolhardiness, reckless boldness, or rashness.

Without really thinking about it, (Oh, Damn!) I always assumed (making an ASS out of U and ME) that the adjective form would be ‘temeritous,’ but never had the need or occasion to use it.   I was not disturbed to see it used by a newspaper advice columnist.  Lord knows, I only have a Grade 12 education.  This lady may have a string of letters behind her name.

Eleven letters and five syllables in it, I was disturbed to see it used by a newspaper advice columnist, for people whose largest piece of vocabulary might be ‘Wal-Mart.’

I always advise to write to the level of the anticipated readership.  If I had to go and look this up, I’m sure that there was a passel of confused John Deere drivers.

Now that I’ve entrusted this ostentatious, mostly useless, $8.47 word to you, try to be careful with it.  Please keep out of the reach vocabulary of children.  Perhaps reserve it only for TED discussions.

As my Father used to say, before they changed the name of the country to Ethiopia, ‘Abyssinia’ later.  😉

Cross Words

Crossword

CROSSWORD PUZZLES LEAVE SOME PEOPLE BLANK

Some people just don’t understand what people like me get out of doing crossword puzzles. We sit for hours, poring over ambiguous clues, to fill in little boxes, and when we’re done, all we have is a page full of letters.  I mean, we don’t even get a prize for all that work.

As you’ve probably guessed, lots of folks, my darling wife included, do not find crossword puzzles _ _ _ (three letters across, first letter F)  Even though I’ve almost made a C_R_ _R (life’s work, six letters) out of writing and playing with words, trying to do a crossword puzzle is an agonizing chore for many.  Their minds just don’t work that way.

My wife will sit for hours without saying a word, while I do my puzzles.  If I happen to muse aloud, “What’s a four-letter word for a garden tool?” she will quickly reply, “Spatula.”  I say, “No!  I think it’s rake.” and write that down.

If I had simply asked her to name some garden tools, she could have rattled off a whole list, from rake and shovel, to trowel, spade, and ‘Garden Weazel.’  Because I specifically mentioned a four-letter garden tool for a crossword puzzle, she can’t think of a single one.  Her mind just goes BL-N- (empty, five letters)

In fact, the moment I posed that question, she couldn’t think of a garden tool to save her life, even if she were being tortured by the Spanish Inquisition.  The Inquisitor could say, “All right, heretic.  Give me a three-letter word for ‘poem’, starting with O, or I will lock you in the Iron Maiden.”  She’d probably just stand there and say, “I think it’s ‘Owl’, before they ran the sharp spikes into her body.

CROSSWORD PUZZLING

The reason that some folks can’t think of answers to crossword puzzle questions is that, whenever they’re presented with a clue, their mind becomes a big, dark room where they rummage around, trying to find something, anything, to fill in the blank spaces.  They grab onto it, and shout ‘Spatula’ for no apparent reason.

The best they can do with crosswords, is come close.  If the clue is – a beverage: P_ _, they write down PUB, which is actually fairly good, since at least a pub is a place where you can get a beverage.  If the puzzle wants ‘Lennon’s widow’ in three letters, they put down ‘Mrs.’

Crossword clues are just plain confusing to some.  They read the clue: ‘state that borders Mexico’, starting with A, and try to put in ‘Atlantic Ocean.’  Or they look at the clue: ‘High ranking marine,’ with five spaces, and try to fit in ‘humpback whale.’

Obviously, they have to write really small when they do crosswords like that.  The boxes get so crowded that they have to stack letters on top of each other.  On the other hand, sometimes the word they want doesn’t work, because they don’t have enough letters to fill in all the boxes.  The clue will be: ‘balloon filler,’ needing four spaces, and they put in AIRR.

For some, the problem started back in school, with tests that had them fill in the blanks.  They’d get the history question, ‘The Gettysburg Address was delivered by……..’  They would go into that dark room and come out with, the Post Office.  Or, on a Geography quiz, the question would be, ‘The United States capital is in……’, and they put down, ‘total confusion.’

A fellow-student in one class would look at the first question on the test and panic.  Your name……….  He would wave his hand frantically, until the teacher said, “What is it, Myron?” and quickly write Myron down.

I had an uncle who liked to enjoy the company of a crossword puzzle book and a glass of wine after dinner.  After he passed on, I happened to pick up his puzzle book and look in it.  The clue would read: Lone Ranger’s horse, and he would have written GZODKE.  He had fooled us.  He didn’t like crossword puzzles at all!  He just liked the quiet, and a chance to drink.

Wine

Don’t Get All Emotional

Emoticon

23 Emotions people feel, but can’t explain

http://fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com/post/122182141428/23-emotions-people-feel-but-cant-explain

Sonder: The realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own.

Opia: The ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable.

Monachopsis: The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.

Énouement: The bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self.

Vellichor: The strange wistfulness of used bookshops.

Rubatosis: The unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.

Kenopsia: The eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that is usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.

Mauerbauertraurigkeit: The inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who you really like.

Jouska: A hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.

Chrysalism: The amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm.

Vemödalen: The frustration of photographing something amazing when thousands of identical photos already exist.

Anecdoche: A conversation in which everyone is talking, but nobody is listening

Ellipsism: A sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history will turn out.

Kuebiko: A state of exhaustion inspired by acts of senseless violence.

Lachesism: The desire to be struck by disaster – to survive a plane crash, or to lose everything in a fire.

Exulansis: The tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it.

Adronitis: Frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone.

Rückkehrunruhe: The feeling of returning home after an immersive trip only to find it fading rapidly from your awareness.

Nodus Tollens: The realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore.

Onism: The frustration of being stuck in just one body, which inhabits only one place at a time.

Liberosis: The desire to care less about things.

Altschmerz: Weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had – the same boring flaws and anxieties that you’ve been gnawing on for years.

Occhiolism: The awareness of the smallness of your perspective.

There’s no sense asking if you’ve experienced any of these.  We’ve all experienced them all, and will continue to, only now we’ve got a label that we can point to.  I will experience my usual, clearly-labeled pleasure if you visit, read, comment….  You know – the usual, happy déjà vu.  😀

 

 

’18 A To Z Challenge – A

Challenge '18 Letter A

Charlie Brown

Aaugh!  Is it April again??  I just awoke from my winter’s hibernation, and shambled out of the Den, to find other folks well into the alphabet already. As usual, I’m off to a slow start.  Using my Great Awakening as a cheat for the letter A, I’ll make this one a theme-reveal post – “Theme” in only the loosest of senses.

I thought that I might use ‘Trope’. It’s a figure of speech that includes ‘interpolation,’ which is just a fancy word that means the (sometimes)nonsensical non-sequiturs covered by the promised rambles inside some of my rants.

I decided instead, to go with Chaos And Confusion.  I provide the chaos, and you are confused.  This is completely different from last year’s theme, which was Confusion And Chaos, where you were confused, and I provided the Chaos.  Got that all straight??  Good, now explain it to me.

Understand

Alms! Alms for a hungry beggar!  Hungry for inspiration – not food.  (Have you seen my tummy recently??  Happily, NO.  My belt size threatens to become greater than my IQ.  [And there you have the first of my non-sequitur interpolations.])

If any of you have a word or theme, for any letter, that you think would be safe to let me loose with in public, feel free to submit it.  I would welcome all suggestions.  I can do serious research, or just my usual, disorganized babble.

Please stop back again soon for a post that doesn’t use any letters of the alphabet, but definitely in two weeks, when I use the letter B to batter the American Bible Belt, and Donald Trump’s banality.  😯

Dazed And Confused Op-Ed

Extra Extra

PRAY! BUT TO WHOM?

Re: ‘Pray for everyone in Florida-Sept. 11

Who would not want to respond to the heartfelt cry from Florida Gov. Rick Scott? It calls to us again in this harrowing description of Irma’s relentless advances, indeed a terrifying and devastating onslaught.

Pray! But to whom?

The U.S. Supreme Court has banned prayer in schools. In Canada, courts found that the use of The Lord’s Prayer in schools infringed on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Defining the above rulings, as has been done, to mean that teaching religion in school is illegal, teaching about religion in school is legal, has excited argument rather than agreement.

Veteran education journalist Linda K. Wertheimer has written a book, “Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance.” She explores the diversity of cultures and religions as they meet in the classrooms and community, with many stories of teacher-pupil episodes, as well as parents getting involved.  Pray! But To Whom?  That’s a book I plan to read.

Cora Wright

Cambridge

***

Pray Where?

Cora Wright’s Sept. 16 letter confuses and disappoints. “Pray! But To Whom?”  Doesn’t she know?  A clergyman could direct her.

Perhaps she could pray to an English teacher, who would help her differentiate between ‘where’, and ‘to whom.’ She expends much ink and angst, listing public places where the Christian religion may not be monopolistically imposed on the multicultural population.  She fails to mention her chosen place of worship, the privacy of her home, or the sanctity of her own mind.

As for whom she may pray to, in these locations she is free to pray to God, or Yahweh or Allah or Zeus or Odin, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster. It doesn’t really matter.  The observed results are all indistinguishable from random chance.

Yours truly

Grumpy Old (logical, freethinker) Archon

***

Aside from my negating arguments above, here in Ontario, in schools run by the Catholic School Board, teaching religion is still legal, although this unique privilege is being considered for cancellation. Catholic schools accept non-Catholic students (to increase their declining enrollment-generated Government grants), but they, and even Catholic students, are allowed to opt out of religious studies.

In both the American, and Canadian rulings, what has been banned is the exclusive use of Christian prayers, to the omission of all other religions.

While her letter seems to show her as open-minded, she puts a lot of energy into the Christian faith.  She may be surprised and disappointed when she finds that Wertheimer’s book doesn’t treat Christianity as an only child.

***

Someone else had a Word to say.

Pray? What For?

Re: Trump’s National Day of Prayer

If we are to believe our religious friends, everything that happens is the handiwork of their all-powerful God. If this were true, it would be logical to assume that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were the creations of their omnipotent and loving God.

With this in mind, I find it difficult to understand the declaration by Donald Trump of a National Day of Prayer, following Hurricane Harvey. It is a mystery to me what the prayers are meant to accomplish.  The devastation and destruction having already occurred to lives and property, it seems illogical to appeal through prayer to the very entity that created these hurricanes, guided their paths, and allowed said devastation and destruction to happen.

It is noteworthy that Trump did not declare a second National Day of Prayer following Hurricane Irma. Perhaps he was not impressed with God’s response to the first one.  😳