Flash Fiction #148

Lance Armstrong

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

SHOW ME THE BENJAMINS

You’re going to do WHAT??!  Ride in the Tour de France?  Are you crazy?  You get winded reading an exciting novel.  Who do you think you are, Lance Armstrong?  You don’t have the legs for it.

No, what I do have is a new kind of bicycle invented by my nephew.  He says that it passes all current regulations, but will make urban cycling so easy that Grandma could do it.  They’ll change the regs for next year, but even if I just finish the race, both the bike and I will be famous, and his sales will take off.

***

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

I Was Born To….?

Dictionary

Knowing that I’m always desperate for a blog-theme, the daughter sent me a link to a website which lists ‘Words That Were Born The Same Year You Were.’

I am always amused by the ego demonstrated by the Dictionary.com F.A.Q., “How do I get a word into the dictionary?” First you come up with a useful word, and then you convince two million Millennials to bring it up to common usage.  This is not easy with today’s language users.

Canada’s dollar coin had been christened ‘The Loonie’ because of the bird on it. When the two-dollar coin came into existence, I thought that ‘Doubloon’ would be a great name.  I did not get my way.  As you may have noticed, the Lowest-Common-IQ Brigade gave it the interesting and creative (Insert sarcasm here) name of ‘Toonie’ – YAWN!

My manufacturing plant acquired a short, stocky, jolly, but totally useless supervisor, at the height of the ‘Tickle Me Elmo’ craze. I was all for calling him Elmo, but my 25-year-younger friend Tony, gave him the 25-year-older moniker of Boo-Boo, from the earlier Yogi Bear cartoons, and it stuck.

When I plugged my birth year in, I expected to find words like pterodactyl, or Palaeolithic. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, in 1944, near the end of World War II, the war-time scientific research had given birth to some technical terms that many people think did not come into existence until years or decades later.

I would have thought that, in any given year, a dozen, or perhaps two dozen, new words come into existence. I was amazed at the 1944 list.  There are almost 250, ten times what I’d expect.  Some of the science/technology words intrigue me, words like superglue, permanent press, G suit, dishpan hands, carpet bomb, bungee cord, antigravity, and brain cramp.  The word ‘babysit’ was born that year.  I thought that it had been around far earlier.  Click on the link above, visit the site, plug in your birth-year and see what the words say about you.

Flash Fiction #145

AirBnB

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Watch My Tongue

Well, their trip to London had been worth the saving, and every dollar they’d spent. They’d enjoyed the Harry Potter Experience, ridden on the London Eye Skywheel, watched the changing of the Guard, scarfed down real fish and chips, drunk full-bodied (if room-temperature) British ale, played darts, and met some really nice people.

Perhaps not worth every dollar….  Somebody at AirBnB was going to get an earful.  Their broom-closet lodgings didn’t look anything like the grand, airy rooms that she’d viewed online. Caveat emptor – ‘buyer beware’ indeed – somebody else would beware after they got the side of her tongue.

***

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

***

The late Archon was a little busy last week with the wife in hospital for three days, and then in recovery from her second knee-replacement surgery. Too late to attach this attempt to last week’s group output, I still thought it was worthwhile to publish.  There may be another one in a couple of days.  Please stop back then to see.  😀

Fathers’ Day

Fathers’ Day is just past, and I would be remiss if I didn’t describe mine, not for me, but to spotlight some young-uns.  I’ve been a father for a long time.  Hell, I’ve been everything I am or was, for a long time.  I don’t get too worked up about birthdays or Christmas or Fathers’ Day.  The wife will shove a hot poker up my ass if I forget her birthday, or our anniversary, but otherwise, meh!

Since the son is almost as sentimental as me, (Remember that first part!  It’s SENTImental, not just mental) his Fathers’ Day present was a guided tour of Kings’ Buffet Chinese Restaurant.  It was also his Mothers’ Day present to the wife – kill two birds with one obesity stone.  He also picked out and purchased about $30 worth of gorgeous cholesterol beef tenderloin, from which we cut three thick, beautiful filets, and two small roasts for later.  The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and I have an 8-lane super-highway, complete with on-ramps.

1986 Dollar

My darling daughter, LadyRyl chose to enhance my coin collection.  When she and the grandson came over on Fathers’ Day, she presented me with a Presentation Grade, 1986, Canadian Dollar coin.  This is different from the simple, bronze-colored, Loonie coin in general circulation.  These used to be ‘Silver Dollars’ but are now Nickel, and silver in color only.  This one commemorates 100 years of coast-to-coast railroad in Canada.

SDC10858

The coin came safely snuggled in a plastic holder, inside a black holding case with a gold panda embossed on the top.  It has never been touched by human hands – cotton inspectors’ gloves, but never oily skin.  The finish is immaculate.  Certain areas have a mirror polish.  Truly an impressive coin, and a tribute to a vanishing technology.  I just can’t imagine one with a semi big-rig on it.

***

Now we come to the grandson – the 6’ 2” little scamp.  (Fortunately) abandoned by his father before he was born, the son and I have tried to support and guide him through life as best we can.  We may have helped his mother do something right, because he has grown up to be a super young man.

He handed his uncle a $100 gift card to the Chapters Bookstore chain.  Knowing the son’s reading habits, that might last till the middle of July.  For something to munch on while he’s reading, he also gave him about two quarts of party mix snack, from the bulk food store.

He brought with him, a cardboard box, about 4” square, and almost 4 feet long.  Being a little slow on the uptake, I wondered what it was. He brought it over to me, slit open the seal on one end and handed it to me.  ‘Hmmm, doesn’t weigh much.’  And the dénouement began.

Rapier

The Well-Dressed Renaissance Gentleman

Of all the weapons I’m interested in, I’ve wanted a rapier for display for years – and that’s what slid out of the box.  This thing is fully functional.  I could engage in SCA (Society for Creative Anachronisms) fencing tournaments, but like the Dollar coin above, I don’t want to ruin some polished surfaces.

SDC10855

It has a 39” long, diamond profile blade, with no sharp edges.  This is a stabbing weapon.  It weighs 2-½ pounds.  Movies aside, real sword fights didn’t last all that long.  Your arm would tire quickly.  Interest in rapiers must be cycling/dying down.  A few years ago, it would have been possible to also purchase a matching ‘main gauche’, a left hand parrying knife – but no longer.

I am fascinated by the shiny, beautiful, swirling, interlaced-rod guard, developed over years of experience to protect the hand.  It has a heavy pommel to counterbalance the heft of the sword, and for punching or head-bashing, in close.  The handle is bone, perhaps giraffe, from Africa, spiral grooved and inlaid with twisted gold(-plated brass) wires, for solid grip.  At each end of the bone handle is an assembly ring which is engraved with flowers.

I have cast my bread upon the waters, and it has been returned to me seven-fold.  I have the love of my daughter – and an impressive coin, and I have an upstanding, generous grandson – and a mesmerising rapier.  I have displayed (pictures of) the sword on my blog site.  Now I have to find a place to display the real thing, proudly in my home – and stop waving it around, knocking over the lamp, and (gently) poking the dog.  Baseball bat?  Shit!  Now I’m waiting for the first stupid burglar.   😳

#477

Triviana T’ree

Please keep hands and feet inside the blog.  Do not attempt to exit until the post has come to a complete stop.  The following are a few thoughts which whirl through my head, there not being much between my ears to slow them down.

I was at a supermarket with the wife today.  At the end of one row, there was a plastic box with a sign saying “Seasonal Recipes, Try One.”  I took one of the sheets, and, sure enough, there was a great recipe for Barbecued Snow, another for Sweet and Sour Snowballs, and instructions for Baked Icicles, promising that they’ll come out soft and juicy.  For anyone needing basic ingredients, we’ll be happy to ship them to you.  I have a distribution system stretching from KayJai, in the east, to NotesToPonder in the west.

We had a couple of severe wind storms come through the Region recently.  Several trees in LadyRyl’s compound, and others in the neighborhood, lost large branches, or were toppled.  City and private crews have been cleaning up.  Smaller limbs go through a chipper, and larger stuff is cut and piled.  Free mulch and firewood!  All you can haul away.  One tree, about a block from Ryl’s, left a stump beside the road, almost three feet across, and six feet high.  Slowly but surely, someone has been turning it into the bottom of a Totem pole, a most handsome-looking Eagle.  I’ll grab a photo, and add to a post later.

In an ongoing contest to prove which one of us is dumber, I asked MapQuest.CA to find me a place near SightNBytes, in Newfoundland, Canada.  I was presented with Newfoundland, Tenn., U.S. bloody A!  It’s about three miles down the road from a maximum-security Federal prison.  “Do not stop!  Do not pick up hitchhikers!”

I’ve written about being (almost) smarter than the old, wooden, two-legged clothes pins.  I met their Mensa relatives recently.  Made from the heavy, recycled plastic that is used to produce some patio/lawn furniture, these things are claimed indestructible, and cheap at 39 cents each.  I guess everything old is new again, as more women (and men?) hang laundry on clotheslines.

Did you drink cherry Coke when you were younger??  Does anybody besides me still drink it?  My favorite fire-water is actually Pepsi, but, it’s like “Kleenex.”  It’s all Kleenex unless someone specifies otherwise.

I was introduced to cherry-cola at about the age of 15, back when restaurants had soda-fountains.  You could pay a little extra for a shot of the cherry soda syrup in your “glass” glass of draft (draught, for Canadians, especially KayJai) cola.  For at least 20 years, as supermarket choices expanded, I’ve been buying bottles of cherry syrup, and adding it to many of my glasses of Pepsi.

Coke sells Cherry-Coke in cans.  I’m not sure that Pepsi does.  Pepsi does sell cans with a touch of lime, that son, Shimoniac, likes occasionally.  Partly to control my weight, I often don’t want 12 ounces, and custom-mix a small glass, from a 2-liter bottle.

A little over a year ago, BrainRants mentioned Sriracha sauce on his blog.  I’d never seen or heard of it.  Less than a month later it showed up at my supermarket.  At first, it was expensive, and rare, $6.99 a bottle – liters – to satisfy Canadian packing requirements.  Soon, most stores carried it, and the price went down.

Suddenly, it was as common as water, and less expensive.  My store had a giant, end-of-aisle display, hundreds (perhaps thousands) of bottles in an 8-foot-high pile, clearing at 99 ¢/ea.  I first saw a small store in Charleston, SC, which sold nothing but a wide range of hot sauces.  We recently got the first in our area, at the Farmers’ Market.  The wife treated me to an order of poutine today.  (All questions about What The Hell Is Poutine??! faithfully answered)  I drizzled some Sriracha on it.

I went to put in the ¢ sign above, and realized that electronic keyboards no longer have them.  They have the dollar sign, but not the cents.  This happened long before Canada decided to eliminate the penny.  The wife threatened offered to teach me how to add it to my text, but I feared it would be cheaper and easier just to hire a performance artist to go to each of your houses and put it in.  Silly me, it’s not hard at all.  Two different ways, press alt 0162, or control, slash, c.  Now I gotta write more about cents.

In my continuing acquisition of interesting names, I met a knife-maker at the Detroit show named Bobby L. Toole, not O’Toole, merely Toole.  I haven’t researched just how rare the name is, but I’ve never heard or read of another.  While the name may be white-bread, Irish, the holder definitely isn’t.  Being politically correct, I will not mention the joke about him being a Masai-man, so black you could melt him down to make hockey pucks from.

Another maker with a name almost as handsome as his knives, was Doun T. Rose II, whose father had as much ego and as little imagination as Efrem Zimbalist Senior.  I gotta kick my standard transmissioned research up into second gear, to find out about him and Bobby.  He claimed that Doun is a Scottish name, and it’s always interesting to see what my skirt-wearing ancestors were up to.  You know why Scotsmen wear kilts??!  So the sheep don’t hear the zipper.

I put this post together Saturday, August 24th.  I don’t mind (much) that they’re playing football.  I’m not surprised to get back
from Canadian Tire, where Halloween costumes are available for sale, but Saturday’s paper had the first picture of someone playing hockey.  Summer, oh Summer, where hast thou gone?  Probably hiding behind my snow shovel, bah, humbug!