WOW #10

Drake

The Word Of the Week for this week will be;

CANARD

Definitions for canard
a false or baseless, usually derogatory story, report, or rumor.
Cookery. A duck intended or used for food.

Origin of canard 1840-1850 Canard is from Old French quanart “drake,” literally “cackler,” from the onomatopoeic caner “to cackle” and the suffix -art, a variant of -ard, as in mallard or braggart. Canard is all that is left of the Middle French idiom vendre un canard à moitié “to sell half a duck,” i.e., “to take in, swindle, cheat.” Canard entered English in the 19th century.

I don’t really know why I chose Canard as the Word Of the Week.  It’s not all that old, and it’s not cute and cuddly.  It is interesting that, in both English, and French where it came from, it has the word value of ‘lying, cheating and swindling.’

It wandered over and got used in Jules Verne’s The War of the Worlds, when it was only 50 years old.  Never a common word, it is still used occasionally to reference American politics, where lying, cheating and swindling are competitive sports.

This week, Lewandowski distinguished himself by reviving the birther canard—the thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Margaret Talbot, “The Trouble with Corey Lewandowski on CNN,” The New Yorker, August 6, 2016

I started out researching pollard(ing), which is trimming a tree back severely, to produce a ball-shape, and more, leafier, shorter branches. I was soon at bollard, which is a short, thick iron or steel post used to tie ships to; from the bole, or trunk of a tree, and found that the meaning of the surname Bullard is, “son of a monk or priest.” I was in the –ard neighborhood anyway.

There is a Random House Dictionary. I sometimes feel that I should be using it. That’s what my research often feels like. I hope to see you here again, the next time I fail to be inspired for a Flash Fiction.

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New Shooter Comin’ Out

wooden-spoon

A young man, in the course of his college life,
came to terms with his homosexuality and decided
to ‘come out of the closet’. His plan was to
tell his mother first; so on his next home
visit, he went to the kitchen, where his mother
was busying herself stirring stew with a wooden
spoon. Rather nervously, he explained to her that
he had realized he was gay.

Without looking up from her stew, his mother
said, ‘You mean, homosexual?’

‘Well…yes.’

Still without looking up: ‘Does that mean you
suck men’s penises?’

Caught off guard, the young man eventually
managed to stammer an embarrassed affirmative;
whereupon his mother turned to him and,
brandishing the wooden spoon threateningly under
his nose, snapped:
‘Don’t you EVER complain about my cooking again!’

***

Support mental health, or I’ll kill you.

***

During a Papal audience, a business man
approached the Pope and made this offer: Change
the last line of the Lord’s prayer from “Give us
this day our daily bread” to “Give us this day
our daily chicken.” and KFC will donate 10
million dollars to Catholic charities.

The Pope declined. 2 weeks later the man
approached the Pope again. This time with a 50
million dollar offer. Again the Pope declined.

A month later the man offers 100 million, this
time the Pope accepts. At a meeting of the
Cardinals, the Pope announces his decision in the
good news/bad news format. The good news is…
that we have 100 million dollars for charities.
The bad news is that we lost the Wonder Bread
account!

***

A guy walks into a bar. He sits down and says to
the bartender, “I’ll bet you $100 that if you put
a shot glass at that end of the bar, I could stand
at the other end and fill it up with my urine.”

Well the bartender thinks, “That’s an easy $100.”
So he says “Okay.” So the guy gets on top of the
bar and pees everywhere, even on the bartender.
Well, the bartender doesn’t care, he just won
$100. So very happily the bartender asks for his
money. The guy very happily says, “Here you go!”
The bartender then asks, “Why are you so happy?”
And the guy says, “Well, do you see that guy at
the other end of the bar? I bet him $1000 that I
could pee on you and you would be happy!”

***

Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?

***

Always leave room to add an explanation
if it doesn’t work out.

 

Autoprompt – What’s In Your Fridge?

PROLOGUE

When I saw the above autoprompt, I wondered, “Who would want to know what’s in my fridge?” Then I remembered, if we go to a party at someone else’s house and use the washroom, we always nose through the medicine cabinet. Hmm, Rogaine and hemorrhoid cream – he’s got problems at both ends. So yeah, you know you wanna know.

Refrigerator

It is said that, the poor eat calories, the middle class eat nutrition, and the rich eat presentation.

Even when I worked in offices after we were first married, we were still only one short half-step up from being living-under-a-bridge poor, so calories were important. I always wanted to eat – well. Later, when I took off the shirt and tie, and donned the blue-collar to work in manufacturing plants, calories were important. The wife watched a lot of TV cooking shows, and bought and read a lot of cookbooks.

The wife of a couple down the street often complained about her husband’s food wants – meat and potatoes, meat and potatoes, seven nights a week. At our house, it was homemade pizza, perogies and potato pancakes, soups, stews and spaghetti, Chinese food, tacos, stroganoff, goulash, tourtière, schnitzel. One time we had menus for seven weeks in advance, with no duplicates.

To make this dizzying array of global dishes requires quite a varied supply of raw materials. This need explains the wife’s 36 place spice rack, and the 24 spot herb rack, with more in the cupboard, and a few growing fresh, on the back deck. Almost everything we have, because of personal preference, allergies and cooking options, we have multiple versions of.

Starting above the stove is a cupboard full of cooking alcohol – red wine for pasta sauce, white for chicken and turkey dishes, Chinese cooking wine, sake for a couple of Japanese recipes, and brandy to soak Christmas cake in. The only stuff that I drink is the occasional bit of Crème de Menthe on crushed ice, when I’ve overindulged in rich food.

Come the apocalypse, the basement storeroom will feed us for three months. Aside from cookies, crackers and canned goods, we have 12 sizes and shapes of pasta and noodles, 2 brands of tomato sauce, plus marinara and Alfredo sauce.

There are usually about 36 two-liter(2-quart) bottles of Pepsi, and ten or twelve 710ml(20 oz.) six-packs. We keep a 30-pack of bottled water ahead, to replace the one in use under the cats’ feeding stand upstairs, and one or two gallons of distilled, as well as a dozen cans of ginger ale.

There are 4 types of rice – long grain for plain white rice, Basmati rice for body, Jasmine rice for sticky rice dishes, and instant Minute Rice. We have all-purpose flour, cake & pastry flour, bread flour, specially-fine-ground blending flour for thickening soups, sauces and gravy, rye flour for making pumpernickel rolls, and spelt flour, which like rye, is not wheat-based, and suitable for the allergic grandson.

Currently there are 20 pounds of Superior, white potatoes for boiled and mashed, 20 pounds of Russets, which make great French fries and potato salad, and 5 pounds of new baby whites in the ‘beer fridge’ for suet roasting and skin-on salad.

Onions include, cooking, Spanish, sweet white, occasionally a red onion, a bag of perishable Vidalias in the fridge, shallots, which like leeks aren’t quite onions, and green onions, in the upstairs fridge, which I’ll get to next post, after we’ve had dinner.

Poor overworked, under-appreciated beer fridge! No actual beer in it, so BrainRants better give me at least 24 hours warning of any surprise visit. Instead, it has 4 varieties of soft drinks, several flavors of coffee creamers and salad dressings there’s no room for upstairs, three dozen eggs, two more dozen pickled, extra bags and blocks of cheeses, and sour cream and margarine, so we don’t run out upstairs.

Besides the onions and baby potatoes, there’s a cabbage and a half, a large broccoli, an extra lettuce and a multi-pack of romaine. It contains the son’s individual yogurts and rice puddings for work meals – and leftovers….Yum! Yum!

A Yankee society doyenne imperiously informed her Georgia plantation-owning host that, “Up north, we think breeding is everything.” He replied, “We like it down here too, but we got other hobbies.” I’ve never run into another home which revolves quite as much around food as ours does. It has to. It can’t escape the gravity well. We read – a lot. We watch some television, and we allow computers to suck our time and insult our intelligence.

If we’re not shopping for food, or storing food away, or cooking food, or eating food, we’re concealing evidence tucking leftover food away, often in the fridge upstairs. Come back next time, when I finally get around to describing its interior, and explain why we had to reinforce the kitchen floor.   🙄

#488

Flash Fiction #52

Chain

PHOTO PROMPT – © C. Hase

SHIFTING SANDS

I finished reading my book, and I’m bored.  I’ll have some crackers.

LINK!

I’ll make a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.  The bread is small.  I’ll make two.

LINK!

It’s TV commercial time.  I’ll eat a few chips.

LINK!

Doctor says my cholesterol level is normal, but the weight is creeping up.

LINK!

Abdominal fat surrounds and presses on organs, adversely affecting them.  Phooey!  I’ll live forever.

LINK!

And so, like Ebenezer Scrooge, our chains of obesity are acquired.  So easily gained, forged one link at a time.  So difficult to divest ourselves of.

Cast off your chains.  Be healthy.

The above is a somewhat distressing, very personal account of the five years since I retired, still eating as I did when I worked, but no longer working.  I would not insult by pointing fingers and using the ‘Fat’ word, just a gentle reminder, and a wish for the best for all.

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

#465

Words

Dictionary

If I didn’t know that the English language has been around a bit longer than me, I might be convinced that we were born twins.  It has cocooned and cuddled and confused and comforted and confounded me since before I went to school.  We have played together since I began to read, before I was five.

I’m a bit of a dab hand with my commas and colons, and I know the difference between subjective and subjunctive.  Neither punctuation nor construction will help with comprehension though, if you don’t use the right words.  My love has always been with the words.  It is their small, strong bodies that we hook together to form phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs, and entire essays and books.

I am the contradiction to the expectation that ‘girls are good at language, boys are good at math’.  Words have been my constant companions my entire life.  They have bedeviled, bedazzled, befuddled, bewildered, bemused and bewitched me for years.  Especially doing three crossword puzzles a day, there is not a week, and often not a day that goes by, that I don’t learn another word, or a usage to one I thought I knew so well.

Chunter – to continuously complain, especially in a low voice
A good English/Scottish word, which I don’t recall ever hearing in my English/Scottish hometown.

Crossword puzzle builders often get a little loose or ‘creative’ with definitions.  “Prurient” means, having lascivious or lustful thoughts or desires.  Prurient interest is not “Sex”.  Sex is the subject of much prurient interest.  Sex is often the object also.

Ricer

Sometimes they seem to have no real knowledge of the words they use, especially with obsolete technology.  ‘Potato cutter’ does not equal ‘ricer’, which pushes cooked potatoes out through small holes.  The online dictionary gives sample sentences to illustrate context and meaning.

Arrange on remaining fourth of mound yolks chopped or forced through a potato ricer.
But that doesn’t mean that it can’t put out a ricer now and again, when it’s feeling froggy.
Fluffiest mashed potatoes may require that they be put through a potato ricer.

The first sentence’s meaning seems straightforward.  I don’t know what medications you’d have to be on to write the second.  Do you know what that means, from that context??  I don’t!  And sentence three simply shows how similar but different things are misidentified.

If you didn’t use a masher, the potatoes are not ‘mashed.’  If you used a ricer, they are riced potatoes.  I use a mixer, and my potatoes are ‘whipped.’  They all look and taste alike, but they got there down different roads.  A multi-colored arc or ring, seen through snow or rain while facing the sun is a sundog, not a rainbow, which is only seen while facing away from the sun.  I know, I’m the only one who cares.  🙄

I haven’t read any of the Hunger Games books, or seen the movies but, based on trailers and promotional photos, I’m pretty sure that Katniss Everdeen is not a “crossbow-wielding” heroine, as the Wachowski brother who is now a sister, seems to think.  (S)he probably also believes that David killed Goliath with a slingshot, built from an inner-tube off his chariot.

My subconscious often goes on little trips by itself, leaving the rest of my mind behind, a fact most regular readers are probably aware of.  When it returns, like a cat proudly presenting a dead mouse, many times it will drop a word for me to examine.

When I wake up in the morning, (actually, usually after noon) or when I’m in the kitchen, using the mixer to produce those whipped potatoes, I suddenly am aware of a word, usually English, but sometimes French, Spanish or German.  Most, I am familiar with the definition of.  Some need a little catching up, and some just send me straight to the dictionary program.  Now where did I run into that one??!  What’s the meaning of the name Hatcher?  Nothing to do with birds, they were gatekeepers.

I worked with a young woman in a shoe plant, who had delusions of ability in newspaper publishing.  When she heard of my affliction, she wanted me to share some of the more abstruse words, so that she could expand her vocabulary.  Each working day for over six months, I handed her a notepad sheet with three recent visitors – words like;
larrup – a Dutch import meaning ‘to thrash’
jocund – cheerful, merry, gay, blithe, glad
hoyden – a tomboy
Eleuthera – a Greek word meaning freedom, and the name of a Caribbean island
indolent – avoiding exertion, slothful, lazy
lagniappe – a small extra gift, like a complimentary restaurant salad
louche – dubious, shady, disreputable
mordant – biting, sharply caustic or sarcastic, as wit or a speaker

Each year, I publish a post in which I give a good larruping to the indolent writers, too lazy to learn one homophone from another.  “Moving to the back of the room, he found a laundry shoot.”  Is that like a skeet shoot?  Or a grouse shoot??  Laundry shoot??! It would explain the holes in my underwear.

I can barely change a light bulb, or a faucet washer.  The most useful thing I ever made from wood was campfire kindling, but words are my constant companions and tools.  They have inspired, infused, inflamed and informed me.  They weigh nothing.  They take up no storage room, and I can give them to others to use, and yet always keep them for myself.

Self Improvement Courses

Once again, the female staff will be offering courses for men of every marital status. Please note: the name of some of the courses have been changed. Attendance in at least 10 of the following is mandatory.

  1. Combating Stupidity
  2. You Can Do Housework Too
  3. PMS – Learning When To Keep your Mouth Shut
  4. How to Fill The Icecube Tray
  5. We do not want sleazy underthings for Xmas. Give Us Money!
  6. Understanding the female response to your coming in drunk at 4 AM
  7. Wonderful Laundry Techniques – Formerly titled “Don’t Wash My Silks”
  8. Parenting – NO, It Doesn’t End With Conception
  9. Get A Life – Learn To Cook
  10. How Not To Act Like An Asshole When You’re Obviously Wrong
  11. Spelling – Even You Can Get It Right
  12. Understanding Your Financial Incompetence
  13. You – The Weaker Sex
  14. Reasons To Give Flowers
  15. How To Stay Awake After Sex
  16. Why It Is Unacceptable To Relieve Yourself Anywhere But The Washroom
  17. Garbage – Getting It To The Curb
  18.  #101 – You Can Fall Asleep Without It – If You Try

    #201 – The Morning Dilemma – I Don’t care If “It’s” Awake, I’m Not – Take A Shower

  19. I’ll Wear It If I Damn Well Please
  20. How To Put The Toilet Lid Down – Formerly Titled, “No, It’s Not A Bidet”
  21. The Weekend and Sports Are Not Synonymous
  22. Give Me A Break – Why We know Your Excuses Are Bullshit
  23. How To Go Shopping With Your Mate Without Getting Lost
  24. The Remote Control – Overcoming Your Dependency
  25. Romanticism – Other Ideas Besides Sex
  26. Helpful Postural Hints For Couch Potatoes
  27. Mothers-In-Law – They Are Human Too
  28. How Not To Act Younger Than Your Children
  29. You Too Can Be A Designated Driver
  30. Male Bonding – Leaving Your Friends At Home
  31. Honest, You Don’t Look Like Mel Gibson, Especially When Naked
  32. Changing Your Underwear – It Really Works
  33. The Attainable Goal – Eliminating %$#@ From Your Vocabulary
  34. Fluffing The Covers After Farting is Not Necessary

Please register immediately, as courses are in great demand – as if there were any doubt.

**

Once upon a time, long, long ago and far, far away in the South Seas, there was a small island, ruled over by a great king. Also on the island lived a native who was very jealous of the great king, and his power and wealth. This man wanted very much to be the king and have all the wealth and power. He wished and wished and wished that he could be king, to no avail.

The king was young and strong and healthy, and even if he were to be killed accidentally, there were other members of the king’s family who would take over as ruler. One day though, this young man had a thought. Even if he couldn’t be the king, he could at least have the king’s throne.

So, one night, when it was very dark, he managed to break into the palace and stole the throne. He carried it home to his little grass shack on the beach, and very carefully concealed the throne high up on the rafters, under the roof.

The next day, the king’s men came around to search for the throne, but failed to find it hidden in the roof, and went away to look elsewhere. The young man stood at the front door of his hut, and watched them disappear down the beach.

As they went out of sight, he shouted exultantly, “I’ve done it! I’ve done it!” He stepped back into the hut and slammed the front door. Unfortunately, the vibration of the slamming door dislodged the throne from its hiding place, and it fell down and landed right on his head, killing him instantly.

The moral of this tale is, “People who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones.”