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.  😀

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

WOW #59

Here’s a soft, sweet piece of nostalgia for this week’s Word Of the Week

POTSY

Potsy means = hopscotch, and several dictionary websites have no idea why, except to say that it is an Americanism, first noted 1930 – 35.  The ‘scotch’ in hopscotch is a line – cut, or scored – made a mark.  This is why Macbeth said, “We have scotched the snake, not killed it.”  Sweet butterscotch is removed from a large, flat sheet by cutting or scoring it.  I thought that butterscotch was a gateway drug for teenage drinking.  You loved Butter Beer at Harry Potter’s, now try our single malt – Butter Scotch.

Potsy

In the popular TV series, Happy Days, Anson Williams played the character of Potsy (actually, Potsie) Weber, which matched the goofy, likable character of Skippy, in the Family Ties series.  Both nicknames may have been applied because of their nerdy, ADHD type of erratic behavior, bouncing and skipping from subject to subject.

Potsy (or Potsie) is obviously just a nickname, and not very common.  Other than the Happy Days reference, the only other ‘Potsy’ I could find was Thomas Clinton –Tom – ‘Potsy’ Jones (1909 – 1980), who played NFL football for eight years in the early 1930s, for four different teams.

Despite extensive research (alright, I Googled it and got no answer), I can’t find how/why/when he acquired it.  Now that Canada has legalized marijuana, I wonder if we’ll start hearing of more Canucks named Potsy, who are One Toke Over The Line.

It would be sweet if you’d hop back here on Monday, to see what verbal abuse I’ve inflicted on the English language, in the name of the letter F.  There’s no need for social distancing, so you won’t have to form a line.  😀

Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One – II

Love English

I’ve been reading again, everything from the Dictionary, down to the laundry label on my jeans, and tea leaves. You will run into a very strange man – but it will just be the full-length mirror in the bathroom.

For no good reason, this is another list of a few more interesting but non-common words that have wheeled through the skateboard park that is my mind.

Bookworm

asseverate – to declare earnestly or solemnly, to affirm positively

brisance – the shattering power of high explosives

cavil – a trivial and irritating objection, to raise such an objection or to find fault unnecessarily

daubery – unskillful painting or work

eristic – someone who engages in disputation, a controversialist, a troll

farouche – fierce, unsociable, shy, sullen

glabella – the flat area of bone between the eyebrows

hie – to speed, to go in haste

illation – drawing a conclusion

jussive – expressing a mild command

kerf – a cut or incision made by a saw or other instrument

lepidote – covered with scales or scaly spots

marmoreal – of or like marble

nictitate – wink

orison – a prayer

picaresque – roguish

quondam – former

redintegrate – to make whole again

scandent – climbing (like a plant)

telluric – earthly, terrestrial – see also Tellurian

univocal – having only one possible meaning, unambiguous

vulnerary – useful for healing wounds

wedeling – a series of alternating turns made at high speed, especially skiing

xeric – relating to an environment containing or characterized by little moisture
the basis for the Xerox machine, which uses dry ink

yaffle – to speak vaguely, pointlessly and at considerable length

zymosis – an infectious or contagious disease
Placed on this list 6 months ago – long before COVID19

 

Double The Fun

Comedy

Yesterday, I went to my boss and asked, “Can I have next week off for Christmas?”
He said, “It’s MAY.”
“Sorry boss, MAY I have next week off for Christmas?”

***

My roommate claims that I’m schizophrenic….
….The joke’s on him. I don’t have a roommate.

Today is International Cannibal Day….
….Celebrate with a friend

My head says, Gym….
….My heart says, Nachos

My wife tripped and dropped a basket of freshly ironed clothes….
….I just sat back and watched it all unfold

I just bought a new mouse pad….
….That should stop them leaving footprints all over the kitchen

Kids don’t put anything back where they got it….
….unless it’s an empty cereal box

There are two times when a man doesn’t understand a woman….
….before marriage, and after marriage

A little boy asked his father, “How much does it cost to get married?”….
….Dad replied, “I don’t know. I’m still paying.”

The secret to a happy marriage remains a secret.
Henny Youngman

Marriage is the main cause of divorce.

Death and taxes are inevitable….
….but at least death doesn’t keep getting worse

What happens when two raindrops fall in love?….
….They become rain beaus!

A seal walks into a club….

I tried to pack myself into a small suitcase….
….I was so excited, I could hardly contain myself

My religious next-door neighbor worships exhaust pipes….
….He’s a Catholic converter.

My Mother-in-law fell down a wishing well….
….I was amazed. I didn’t know they worked

I’m on a vodka diet….
….I’ve lost three days already

I was never a fan of SpongeBob….
….I prefer dry humor

To the person who stole my glasses….
….I will find you. I have contacts

You should always hang out your laundry….
….otherwise it’s launwet

God moves in mysterious ways….
….but Bishops move diagonally

I have a new theory on inertia….
….but it doesn’t seem to be gaining momentum

I invented a new word….
….Plagiarism

People who live in glass houses….
….should think twice before making purchases

How do I feel about the Earth’s rotation?….
….It makes my day

A Thesaurus is great….
….There’s no other word for it.

I’ve decided to sell my vacuum cleaner….
….Well – it was just collecting dust

My Father suggested that I register for a donor card….
….He’s a man after my own heart

I had a great childhood. My Dad used to put me in a tire and roll me downhill….
….Those were the Goodyears

’20 A To Z Challenge – B

A To Z ChallengeLetter B

I’m writing less, and you’re enjoying it more. Even after urging me to start a blog, as a comment on my initial post, my first online friend remarked, “however: among your qualities, you failed to mention your verbosity.”  And this was from one of my friends.

Orator

Another fellow-blogger introduced me to one of the many 100-word Flash Fiction groups. I do like to spin a yarn. I’ve just had to learn to spin the yarn a little tighter. I have successfully completed the 12-step program for the terminally loquacious. When I considered availing myself of it, I researched to discover exactly what it contained, and was disappointed to find that 6 of the 12 steps involve submission to God. Since I don’t believe in the existence of any “God”, where necessary, I have substituted chocolate and French fries.

Since I am now well on the road to recovery, I thought that I might present a couple of archaic descriptors that I hope never to be afflicted with again.

BLOVIATE

I thought that this word might have been about that morbidly obese guy in the Monty Python movie, who consumed one bite too many, and exploded, but it turns out to mean

to speak pompously.
1850–55, Americanism; pseudo-Latin alteration of blow, to boast; popularized by Warren G. Harding

AA

Now that I’ve been linguistically clean and straight for several years, I swear on a Merriam-Webster Dictionary, never again to deserve to be called a

BLATHERSKITE

a talkative silly person
foolish talk; nonsense

To prove it, I’ll keep this post short and sweet, although I will invite you to come back on Wednesday, for a wordier edition of my monthly Philosophy and Religion discussion.

WOW #56

Propriety

My wife was recently hospitalized from an overdose of

PROPRIETY

conformity to established standards of good or proper behavior or manners.

appropriateness to the purpose or circumstances; suitability.

rightness or justness.

Note that the above definition does not contain the word “Community” standards, although that is usually assumed. Her problem was that she felt that she was the one to establish the standards, regardless of reality, or anyone else’s opinion. What she thought was proper – was proper.

Photo0036

The son located a ‘Sarcastic’ image like the above, online, and downloaded it as the wallpaper on his cell phone screen. In an orgy of irony, he rotated it 90 degrees, and installed it sideways. The next morning, she told him that his phone had beeped because of an update, and she noticed that the image was ‘wrong,’ so she ‘corrected’ it for him.

I bought a little 19 ounce can of tomato juice – just enough for three small glasses. Because they settle, sitting on store shelves, I inverted it, shook it, and poured a glass. I was going to put the balance in a jar with a lid, but thought, “It’s only going to be another two days”, and tucked it on the top refrigerator shelf. The next day I noticed dried-on drops on lower shelves, and thought the son might have nudged it. When I asked him, a voice came from the living room, “Well, silly me. I didn’t know that it was open, and it was upside down….”

Generally, men are less refined, and more basic than women, especially about bodily functions. A comedienne once declared that, ”Women don’t sweat, and we don’t fart. Hell, if we didn’t bitch, we’d explode.”

If you have to suddenly fart where there are other people, you apologize for the unwelcome smell. (I’ve been arguing with a repeated crossword clue that says that ‘odor’ is a foul smell – it’s a smell. A dictionary check shows definition number 2 is ‘foul smell.’ Definition number 3 says ‘pleasant smell’.) 😕 If you get a little warning, you move away from other folks, and do it in private.

One day, while I was still toiling in the salt mines, I joyously leapt out of bed early one morning, and headed for the bathroom. Once there I reduced internal pressure by releasing a toxic cloud that had the cat’s eyes watering. I ripped about four yards of sailcloth – FFFffphaatt.

Suddenly, from the bedroom, 25 feet, a hallway and another room away, I heard, “ARCHON!”

“What dear?”

“You could apologize for that.”

“There’s no-one here to smell it. Who should I apologize to?”

“Well, at least you could go somewhere else to do that.”

“I’m in the bathroom. Just me and the exhaust fan. Where else would you suggest I go?”

Now she’s angry. If/when you fart, there are two things you can do – at least one of those two things that you must do – and I’ve just demonstrated that neither of them apply.

“Oh sure, some of your Archon logic.” – as if I can somehow twist the Universe into any shape I want, like some balloon animal. Two plus two always equals four – but then, so does three plus one, nine minus five, and the square root of sixteen.

It would be logical for you to pop back again in a couple of days. I promise no stench – maybe some bread baking. 😀

Which Of These Would You Ban From The Dictionary?

Bookburning

This post began when I read a post from another blogger, ranting about Kendall Jenner using the word, gnarly.
Whenever I read about Kendall Jenner (as seldom as I can), I always think of a Ken doll. They both have about the same IQ rating, although Jenner probably contains more silicone.

There is a song, currently being offered on YouTube, by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, titled In The Shallow, from the remake of the movie ‘A Star Is Born.’ A tune about being shallow??! At first I thought it was the theme song from the ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ TV program.

There are many words and phrases, (over)used in the vernacular, which I would like to hear and see far less often. They become like profanity, just verbal punctuation marks, used by people too lazy to think of something better. Any word, used too often, will begin to sound strange, and irritate. Try repeating the word ‘pumpkin’ to yourself, out loud, ten times, and see how it begins to sound weird. It doesn’t even look right on the page.

There are no ‘bad’ words – only words which become objectionable, depending on the person using them, the situation where they are used, the frequency of use, and the social reference. I find the above title objectionable. I don’t feel that there are any words which should be denied, or removed from common usage. To even suggest such a thing is a short step from book burning.

Below is the list that he had compiled, with a request to others for their most unfavorite word/expression. It’s a short list, but seems to have included a few limited, regional entries. I, of course, have some info and opinions.

Gnarly
It is what it is
Eshay
Literally
‘Tings,’ instead of “Things”
Insane
Aw bless
Lit

Gnarly: Gnarled is classier, but gnarly is Valley-Girl speak, perfect for Kendall, like, for sure, like, totally, and gag me with a spoon. (Don’t tempt me, bitch!)

It is what it is: Is business-talk, carried over into regular conversation. While it is hackneyed and trite, it is a quick, easy, verbal-shorthand way to tell someone to stop bitching and whining, and accept reality. Karma, dude!

Eshay: This is a regionalism. I don’t know how far it has spread, but Eshay is the Australian equivalent of British chav. ‘Eshays’ are almost always from a poor background, have little or no secondary education and rely on welfare payments or theft to support their habits.

Literally: I would literally like tons of people with no linguistic imagination, to stop using this as a verbal exclamation mark, when they literally mean ‘figuratively.’

‘Tings,’ Instead of ‘Things’: Here, we get into pronunciation, instead of usage, and that’s even harder to ‘correct.’ People who speak like this are frequently like the Eshays, or the chavs, above. It often, but not always, indicates poor education. Hey, it is what it is. We all have examples of enunciation which sound strange to others. To eliminate it all would soon create a silent world.

Insane: I can understand someone becoming irked by the constant use of this adjective. It is just hyperbole which means that the user is so narrow-minded and opinionated, that he thinks anybody else’s point of view is crazy. One God??! That’s insane! There are three, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Aw, bless: Another regionalism – this one is the British equivalent of a couple of similar expressions from the American South. If a little old Southern belle says Well, Bless You, or, Bless your heart, it translates to ‘Fuck you very much, asshole!’

Lit: Originally just meant illuminated, but came to refer to people who were under the influence of alcohol, and/or drugs. Like ‘woke’, its colloquial value has come to mean what hip, cool or neat meant, a few years ago.

I hate them too, but I don’t want to see them banned. They are signposts, indicating which way the population, and its language, are heading. 😳

WOW #55

CCI_000010

Here’s a word only my Grandmother would have used. Actually, she was too much of a stern, proper old lady to ever allow herself to be in a position to use the word

AMBUSCADE

an ambush.
to lie in ambush.
to attack from a concealed position; ambush.

Middle French emboscade < Old Italian imboscata,

When English riffled the pockets of other languages for words, sometimes the ears and mouth worked, but the eyes were busy elsewhere. Often, foreign words were inducted into English like a Manhattan – with a twist.

Manhattan

English is Larry The Cable Guy’s “Git ‘er done” language. It don’t have no time for all them extra little syllables. The Spanish ‘La Riata’ (something to retie with) becomes simply lariat, in English.

The word petty came from Old French petit, small, minor. So a Naval Petty Officer is not mean or ungenerous in small or trifling things, but rather of secondary rank, especially in relation to others of the same class or kind.

What was subtile (soob-teel) in French, somehow became subtle (suttle) in English. Check (a means of verification) went from English to Middle French, to become cheque, and then back. The German word pflug, became an English plough. Wisely, American English has made each of them (back) into check, and plow. In French, fait simply means, ‘made, completed, or done.’ When it got to England, it became quite a feat.

Elvis Presley’s birthplace, Tupelo Mississippi, is named for a local tree. I thought that it was Spanish. You don’t even want to know how it got into English, from the Creek Indian word, ito opilwa.

Why They Don’t Speak English

Stunned Emoji

Why do you study English??! We all speak it.   😳

The lights are on, but there’s nobody home.
The wheel isn’t turning. The hamster is dead.

Once upon a time, on a sunny September afternoon in 1958, I sat in a high school English class. We were studying Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice.’ The teacher had just read a passage, which included the phrase, “By dark and divers ways.”

The SCUBA diving system was a relatively recent invention, having only been patented by Jacques Cousteau 15 years earlier, in 1943. Suddenly, Biff, the class jock who sat in the row next to me, put up his hand. “Uh, Mr. Johnson, are they talking about guys who jump off cliffs, or that new SCUBA thingy?”

Mr. Johnson is bewildered. As far as he knew, we hadn’t been talking about people throwing themselves off cliffs – and he had no idea what a “SCUBA thingy” was. As he was stammering for a reply, I hissed at Biff, “Put an E on the end of it!”
“Whuh??
No talking in class!
Well, I was in it now. Might as well be hung for a sheep, as a lamb. “Put an E on the end of it!”
“Uh…. Edivers??”
That’s right Biff; there are two ends to a word. Only you would pick the wrong one. Now there were at least two confused people in the room.

“What’s going on back there?”

I stood up. I’m sorry Mr. Johnson. Biff saw the word ‘divers,’ and wondered if Shakespeare was talking about people who dive off things like cliffs, or if he was referring to the new mechanical system which allows people to be SCUBA divers, and breathe underwater, even though it didn’t exist 400 years ago.

We just came here from French class, where the French word ‘divers’ (dee-vare) means of many types, different, various. I was trying to tell Biff to add an E at the end, to produce the English word, ‘diverse.’

This led Mr. Johnson on a spirited lecture about the origin and changes to many English words, and got me off the hook. Biff probably went on to fame and fortune, and a football scholarship, while I can only define the word ‘obscure.’ He was regularly outwitted by the tackling dummy, and needed a handler to tie his shoes, ‘cause Velcro hadn’t been invented yet.