I Got The Word

Small things amuse small minds; therefore, back when I was doing two crossword puzzles a day, I was intrigued by the number of times that a word would show up in both puzzles on the same day.  Different clues, of course, “He’ll give you a lift.” and, “Elevator guy,” would both yield “Otis.”

When I began also doing an online puzzle, it actually tripled the chances that any two would share a word.  I’ve never had a golden day where all three agreed; when the third clue might have been, “He’ll cause you ups and downs.”  I did have one interesting 3 X 2, silver-medal day, where A and B shared a word, B and C shared a word, and C and A shared a word.

So it was fascinating the other day, in my reading, to encounter, within an hour, in two different books, two different place-names both beginning with “Rh,” Rhyolite, Nevada, and Rhododendron, Oregon.  Rhyolite came from a 2007, Clive Cussler book, and refers to a now-ghost mining town.  “Rhyolite” is a volcanic form of granite, from which they mined gold.

The other was from the 2000, fourth book of Lee Child’s, Jack Reacher series.  Either they’re getting better, or they’re growing on me, and I’m learning to ignore the errors.  “Rhododendron”, of course, is a showy pink/purple flower, and the town of the same name in Oregon is in a region known for flower cultivation.  It’s not far from Puyallup, Washington, where growers used to supply daffodils for Johnny Carson’s Tonight show.

A grade three teacher read her charges a story which contained the word frugal.  I like to use the word frugal to describe myself.  It has a softer, more elegant ring than cheap-ass, tight, or stingy.  When asked, she explained that it meant saving (which it doesn’t) and, to get some alone-teacher time, she suggested that the class all write a little story including the word.

Little Johnny wrote an heroic tale of a brave knight, who frugalled the fair maiden, imprisoned in the castle tower.  He may have a future in porn.

I once asked Dictionary.com’s crossword solver about Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki raft’s construction, and got the following back:

Try these answers for ‘Kon-Tiki material’

ConfidenceMatching Answer

95% BALSA

43% INCAS

19% SUEDE

19% NYLON

19% ADOBE

19% DENIM

19% CORAL

19% SERGE

19% SATIN

19% SLATE

I don’t know how many dead Incas it would take to float across the Pacific.  A raft made out of serge, or denim would be utilitarian.  One made of nylon might be waterproof.  One constructed of satin would be gorgeous, just gorgeous – if you were floating your way to a gay wedding.  Suede would be for the sensible shoes, if it were a lesbian wedding.

I’m not too sure I’d like an ocean-going raft constructed of slate, coral or adobe.  A guy in my hometown constructed a 30 foot sailboat out of concrete, but I’d be afraid of getting an unguided tour of Jim Wheeler’s submarine with the screen doors.

I just got the word about the next knife show in Detroit.  Some conversation I overheard last spring made me check the website.  Apparently there is some conflict with another knife show, and a large show needing the entire hall in March.

After recently publishing the tale of our first trip down, in a blizzard, I find that the spring(?) show has been moved back to Feb. 1 – 2.  Get a little work done on the car, and we should be all set.  Since we need to travel to Detroit on the Friday evening, the son wouldn’t have the car to get to work.  He could bus in and back, but decided to request the night off.

The wife is suffering some internal problems which make her not want to be too far from a washroom, and doesn’t get to see the specialist till June, so she has decided to stay home, and the son and I are going together.  I have already booked a room at a Red Roof motel north of the tunnel, instead of the one south of the bridge, that we’ve been using for years.  Two days after I confirmed the reservation, I got the email word from Red Roof, that, if I’d waited till Jan. 15 to book, they’re having a 30% off sale.  Some times it just doesn’t pay to be prepared.   😦

It’s near a different Trade Center/flea market we’ve never been to, and is closer to the show venue.  I’m already researching where the nearest Meijer store, WalMart, and Outback restaurant is.  I’ve got addresses written down, and this time, Miss Smarty-Pants GPS just might earn her keep.

There’ll be another episode of The Continuing Adventures of Archon (With his trusty sidekick, Shimoniac) when we get back.

Lost In Thought

Comment-provocateur John Erickson recently published a post about how Depression could derail him from his normal social circles, and send him off into extended bouts of abstruse research.  While our so-called minds don’t chase quite the same shiny objects, I appreciate his problem, because much the same can happen to me.

A typical recent day

I opened my stats page.  Someone had mined my archives and accessed my Trips With Mom And Dad post, from Feb. 18/12. I clicked on it to remind myself of the contents and comments.  This was the 14th post I had published, and was the one where I was given my very first blog-award.  Candice Coghill, for whom I recently published a requiem post, had given me a Versatile Blogger award.

I reread all the comments.  Hers included two links, one to her acceptance-speech post, and the other to the Versatile website. I nostalgically reread her post.  Mine had been the first comment, though, that far back, I didn’t have a good grasp of blog protocol, and hadn’t “liked” it.  Even though it means nothing to anyone but me, I corrected my oversight.

The Versatile logo apparently has worn off my old post, and I went to the site with the vague idea of lifting and re-applying it.  There are almost a hundred comments, over about three years, from people who have received the award.  Some wanted tech help.  Some seemed to think they must declare the receipt of their award.  Others did so with the intent to create some interest and drive readers to their site.

I picked one, not quite at random, a young female who mentioned the “seven facts about me.”  Snoopy is not just Charlie Brown’s dog.  She’s half Filipina, and half Irish-American.  She started out looking like her Dad, but has vitiligo, Michael Jackson’s “drinking bleach” disease, and now is whiter than her Mom.

I “liked” her post, and thought about leaving a long explanatory comment, but didn’t like the idea of an international restraining order.  Finally, the concept of a blog-theme broke through the mental clouds, and I was off to Dictionary.Com to check the meaning of abstruse.  Might as well look up abjure while I’m there – and a couple of others.

Crossword puzzle clue/solution, singer Alma Gluck, turns up fairly regularly, and the name Gluckstein came up recently.  Let’s use the German translation program to get an idea what those names mean.  Gluck could be printed in English as G’luck because, aside from fortune and favor, it means good luck.  Stein means stone, so Gluckstein means good luck stone, a magic amulet, or charm.

I could almost see Google beckoning to me.  Exactly who, what, and when was Alma Gluck??  She was a Romanian-Jew named Rebecca Feinsohn, who came to America around the beginning of the 20th Century.  She had a beautiful soprano voice and wanted to get into the entertainment business.  Since, at that time, Jews weren’t openly tolerated, she became the German, Alma Gluck.

Feinsohn translates as “fine son”, but “fine” used to mean small or delicate, like fine thread, or fine-grit sandpaper.  Was the progenitor of this surname small and delicate, or was he the A-one son we might think him today?

In the meantime, this Jewess, from a third of the planet away, became well-known for singing American folksongs like Carry Me Back to Old Virginny, and Swanee River with her husband, entertainer Efrem Zimbalist, not Junior, the original.  Now I know, who had no imagination.

I was down and up the stairs a half-dozen times.  I had to, to wear off all the food I stuff in my face.  It’s a good thing you didn’t see the platter of nachos I made myself for lunch.  I made and served lunch in bed to the wife, who’s still getting over her nasal surgery.  I fed and watered and medicated the cats, and let the dog out and in, each time returning to find out more about the German language, and a woman I’ve only met in newspaper crossword puzzles.

Yesterday’s crossword wanted “Kon-Tiki material” in 5.  Since I thought it was constructed of bundles of bulrush-like plants, I put in “reeds.”  I had to back out and work around to “balsa.”  Dictionary.Com has a crossword solver program, so I entered the clue.  Sure enough, there’s balsa, at the top, with a 90% likelihood.  The 6/7 other possibilities, in rapidly descending order are….interesting.  I copy them and put them in a Word file for a later post.

While I’m over at Google, looking up Alma’s skirt, I plug in Kon-Tiki, and, sure enough, there’s a picture of Heyerdahl’s balsa raft.  Or maybe that’s a photo of a couple of political refugees, on their way to Miami, from Cuba.

I finally heaved my bulk out of the computer chair, and headed downstairs to think about preparing supper.  (I fried up some onions and made up some boxed perogies, in case you care.)  Hot Damn!  It’s almost five PM!  I haven’t read anybody’s blog!  I haven’t read or responded to comments on my site!  I haven’t even read today’s paper, and I’m obsessing about composing this post.

I know I told you that I’d respect you, and call you in the morning but, ….if I haven’t shown up at your site for a couple of days, or a couple of weeks, I still love you.  It’s just that I’m lost in thought, since I have no mental GPS.  I’m probably wandering around in a forest of thoughts, that I can’t see for the trees, trying to entice my intellect back to reality with a virtual ice cream cone.  That explains why I also have a fat head.

Seinfeld Rerun II

The solution to the crossword clue, “Many blogs”, the other day was, “Rants”.  I’m glad to know I’m holding up my end of the bargain.

I’m also glad I caught a clue from BrainRants’ site last February, and started putting my posts in a Word file.  It has reduced tension and evened out my publication.  I pound out three, thousand-word treatises in 36 hours, then go into suspended animation for 8 or 9 days.

Lady Ryl has been diagnosed with type-II diabetes.  It should be to her to announce this, but she hasn’t felt well enough to post since the end of March.  Added to fibromyalgia and mobility restrictions from two damaged knees, this just increases her burdens.  It was caught early enough, that diet and medication should control it.

Her doctor got the blood-test results on a Friday, and wanted her to come in on Saturday, but she was already committed to the Cherry Park festival, where she had a good time, and made some sales.  The trip to the crazy cat lady was delayed a week, and I took her over on Sunday.  A male, and a female, doctor share the office.  Neither wishes to work a full week.  Her lady doctor is in on Tuesday and Friday.  The man she saw, is in on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, providing clinic-like coverage.

In my post about names, I mentioned Laurie Embro, and her sister-in-law, Lori Embro, who both worked in the same plant with me.  Recently, “Laurie Embro” turned up as a search term.  I hope I didn’t say anything derogatory.  Speaking of names, a local female executive carries the surname of Bodkin, so rare that the surname website doesn’t even list it.  In my May 12/13 post, You Don’t Say, I explained that a bodkin is a pointed tool, somewhat like a naval marlin spike, used to work on leather, canvas and rope.

Almost a year ago, on July 26/12, I posted the story of how I got into collecting foreign coins, titled, “A penny, lira, peso, etc. for your thoughts.” It got the usual 40 or so views, and disappeared.  Suddenly, about a month ago, I started getting, “A lira for your thoughts” as a search term, and usually 4 or 5 views of that post, each and every day.  The views come from countries all over the world.  Pleasantly puzzling!

While many of the larger auto-parts firms have left the area, it is still possible to get a job with some of the smaller ones.  The Workforce Planning Board held a meeting of HR executives recently, and, among other things, the topic of strange applications came up.  These are definitely not the usual ones, but they include an applicant showing up for an interview in a hoodie and baseball cap.  Mark Zuckerberg can get away with wearing that to a board meeting, but not a job applicant.

A candidate who had been granted a $17 dollars/hour, 40 hours/week, 9-week summer job, then wanted three weeks vacation in the middle.  Applicants tell HR reps that they’ll only work days.  They don’t do afternoons or night-shifts.  It is not appropriate for parents to call to set up an appointment for their child, nor is it appropriate for them to call, and follow up after an interview.  A parent showed up at one plant and asked to submit a resume for the son who was sitting out in the car.  Who wants the job, the kid, or the parent??  One mother even came to her son’s performance review, and fielded questions for him.

I recently took the wife to a local rheumatologist for a cortisone shot.  The building is filled with doctors, including one of her nephews.  Every door has two signs, “Leave all wet footwear outside.” and, “No food or drink allowed in office.”  Dr. Tom’s door has a third one added.  It says, “This includes Tim Hortons!”  This just shows how Canadians regard Timmie’s.  This stuff isn’t “food and drink”, this is Canada’s lifeblood.  It goes where we go!  Rrrrolll up the rrrimm on the large double-double, eh!

California became the first state to ban the Pray-The-Gay-Away repair therapies for minors, to change their sexual orientation.  These therapies have driven teens to depression and suicide.  Gay rights groups have labelled them as dangerous and abusive, and claim these practices have no basis in science or medicine and have been relegated to the dustbin of quackery.

I saw a man pursuing the horizon,

Round and round they sped.

I was disturbed at this.

I accosted the man.

It is useless, I said,

You cannot….

You lie! He cried, and ran on.

I checked my stats today, and found that Akismet had protected me from 3,333 spam comments, such an interestingly round number.  They included a new one from Mona@bogusemail.uk, who wished me a happy belated birthday, and said she loved my wrinting??  I treasured it so much I could barely delete it.

My brother phoned to tell me that he had lost his job as a bank guard.

I said, “That’s awful.  What happened?”

He said, “Well, a thief came in to rob the bank.  I pulled out my gun and told him that if he took another step, I’d let him have it.”

Mesmerized, I asked, “What happened then?”

He replied, “Well. He took one more step, and I let him have it.  I didn’t want that stupid gun anyway!”

Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.  Coming soon to a blog near you, posts that make much more sense than this one.