WOW #73

Oops! This is the wrong catchpole.

I’d like to introduce you to a fine, upstanding pair of brother-words.  They don’t get out much anymore.  They’ve gone into semi-retirement because of the constant suffusion into everyday English usage, of valley-girl-speak, obvs.

Our protective pair for this week are

CATCHPOLE

and

TIPSTAFF

Catchpole: (formerly) a petty officer of justice, especially one arresting persons for debt.
Tipstaff: a staff tipped with metal, formerly carried as a badge of office, as by a constable.
any official who carried such a staff.

Gone are the days when these boys, and their Italian cousin, Fasces, could implement some social wellbeing by applying a few stripes across a few backs and butts, and some knots on some heads.  (Therefore, knotheads.)

I was gratified by the recent decisions to use riot-geared police, complete with two-foot truncheons, to finally bring an end to both the Ottawa Freedom Convoy, and the Windsor/Detroit bridge blockade.  Police showed remarkable restraint.  They barely had to use their billy-clubs.  I thought that a few more heads could have been cracked, to engender some good manners and social responsibility.

Society is a constant pendulum – from too restrictive, to too lenient.  This current Woke/cancel culture/snowflake – nobody even gets their feelings hurt, much less their ass, or their head – has swung too far into permissive.   I don’t want police beatings in the street, any more than I don’t want guys being shot for driving while black.  But there’s gotta be some workable middle ground.

If I set up a Patreon account, Tipstaff is what you could do.  Until then, I’ll just be happy if you have Uber-Eats deliver another helping of my rants in a couple of days.  😀

Great Comedy – No Lie

The school called today to tell me that my son has been telling lies.
I told them to congratulate him on how well he tells them.  I don’t have a son.

***

Dear Lord, all I want is a chance to prove that winning the lottery won’t make me a bad person.

***

“While walking along the edge of a pond just outside my house in Florida, discussing a property settlement with my soon-to-be ex-wife, and other divorce issues, we were surprised by a huge 12-ft alligator which suddenly emerged from the murky water.    It began charging us with its large jaws wide open.   She must have been protecting her nest because she was extremely aggressive.

“If I had not had my little Ruger .22 caliber pistol with me, I would not be here today.  Just one shot to my estranged wife’s knee cap was all it took.  The alligator got her easily, and I was able to escape by just walking away at a brisk pace.  The amount I saved in lawyer’s fees was truly incredible and her life insurance was also a big bonus.”

***

The new vicar at a city centre church was delighted when he received a large anonymous cash gift. When he told the church council about it, he proposed it should be used to buy a new chandelier for the body of the church.

However, it was put to a vote and the vicar was disappointed when his proposal was narrowly defeated. The vicar noted that the church council secretary had voted against the proposal and when the meeting was over, he asked the secretary why he had not supported it.

The secretary said he had three reasons: “First, I have to write the minutes of the meeting and I can’t spell the word; second, there is sure to be an argument over who should play it; and finally, if we are going to spend money in the Church what we really need is some good lighting.”

***

The cashier at Wal-Mart said, “Strip down in front of me.” so I did as she told me.
When the hysteria died down, I found that she was instructing me on how to use the credit card reader.

***

My High School was so poor, that they taught sex education and driver’s-ed in the same car.

***

I tried to donate blood today.  Never again!  Too damned many questions!
Whose blood is it?  Where did you get it?  Why is it in a bucket??

***

A police officer pulled over a driver and informed him that, because he was wearing a seatbelt, he had won $1000 in a safety contest.  “What are you going to do with the prize money?” the officer asked.  The man responded, “Well, I guess I’ll go to driving school and get my driver’s licence.”  At that point, the man’s wife chimed in, “Officer, don’t listen to him.  He’s a smart-ass when he’s drunk.”

This woke up the guy in the back seat who, when he saw the cop, blurted, “I told you we wouldn’t get very far in this stolen car.”  Just then there was a knocking from the trunk, and a voice asked, “Are we across the border yet?”

Comedy Conversion Therapy

Muldoon lived alone in the Irish countryside with only a pet dog for company.  One day the dog died, and Muldoon went to the parish priest and asked, ‘Father, my dog is dead.  Could ya’ be sayin’ a mass for the poor creature?’

Father Patrick replied, ‘I’m afraid not; we cannot have services for an animal in the church.  But there are some Baptists down the lane, and there’s no tellin’ what they believe.  Maybe they’ll do something for the creature.’

Muldoon said, ‘I’ll go right away Father.  Do ya’ think £5,000 is enough to donate to them for the service?’

Father Patrick exclaimed, ‘Sweet Mary, Mother of Jesus!  Why didn’t ya tell me the dog was Catholic?

***

“Mommy, my turtle is dead,” little Freddie sorrowfully told his mother, holding the turtle out to her.

The mother kissed him on the head, then said, “That’s all right.  We’ll wrap him in tissue paper, put him in a little box, and then have a nice burial ceremony in the back yard.  After that, we’ll go out for an ice cream soda, and then get you a new pet.  I don’t want you….” Her voice trailed off as she noticed the turtle move.
“Freddie, your turtle is not dead after all.”
“Oh,” the disappointed boy said. “Can I kill it?”

***

A man kills a deer and takes it home to cook for dinner.
Both he and his wife decide that they won’t tell the kids what kind of meat it is, but will give them a clue and let them guess.
The dad said, “Well it’s what Mommy calls me sometimes.”
The little girl screamed to her brother, “Don’t eat it.  It’s an asshole!”

***

Teacher: “Kids, what does the chicken give you?”
Student: “Wings!”
Teacher: “Very good! Now what does the pig give you?”
Student: “Bacon!”
Teacher: “Great! And what does the fat cow give you?”
Student: “Homework!”

***

A little boy was swearing at birds that were eating the seeds he had just planted.  The minister hears this and goes over to the little boy.  “My son, there is no need to use the F word to chase the birds away.  Just say ‘shoo away birds’ and they will fuck off by themselves”

***

An explorer walked into a clearing and was surprised to see a pigmy standing beside a huge dead elephant.  “Did you kill that?” he asked.
The pigmy answered: “Yes”.
“How could a little bloke like you kill something as huge as that?”
“I killed it with my club” replied the pigmy.
“That’s amazing,” said the explorer.  “How big’s your club?”
The pigmy replied: “There’s about 150 of us”

’21 A To Z Challenge – K

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everybody has to be from somewhere – and that includes words.

I once heard a co-worker complain about a fellow-employee, that, “He’s a cheap bastard. Always wants everything buckshee.”  I got the meaning from context – free, at no cost – but buckshee??  Where did that come from?

At first I thought that it was from India, something from one of its 40+ languages and dialects.  However, research revealed that it was originally Arabic, from Persia – Iran, as we call it today.  It came to English as baksheesh – meaning a tip, a bribe, or a charitable donation – nouns which my rustic speaker had mispronounced into an adjective.

Recently, I thought I’d found its camel-chasing cousin.  Out of a sandstorm of definition confusion, and, from context, meaning the same as baksheesh and the term lagniappe, rode the word

KICKSHAW

Kickshaw – rickshaw – buckshee….  Surely it came from the East, but NO!
Kickshaw – a tidbit or delicacy, especially one served as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre.
something showy but without value; trinket; a trifle, something a little extra.

It rowed across The Channel from France, and wormed its way into the English language about 1590/1600 as a badly pronounced back-formation of the French term quelque chose.  In French, it just means “something,” but in English, it has come to mean ‘something extra/something special.”

Next week we’ll be visiting its modern-day Yiddish relative, tchotchke.  Bring an appetite and your credit card.  There’ll be as many latkes – potato pancakes – as you can eat.  😀

The Man With The Golden…. Silence

It’s still ‘A Penny For My Thoughts,’ but it’ll cost you a buck to get me to shut up.

My chiropractor recently got stuck with a coin that wasn’t a Canadian $1 Loonie, so he stuck me with the job of finding out just what it was.

I didn’t have my eyes glasses with me when I went in.  It’s difficult to lie face-down on the torture table with them on.  I could make out what appeared to be an indigenous person on it, and the wife said that she could read the word ‘Dollar’ on it, but places like Ecuador, El Salvador, Zimbabwe, Timor, Micronesia, Australia, and New Zealand all have dollars.  I had to wait till I got home and used a magnifying glass, and the son’s jeweler’s loupe.  Then I dove into a maelstrom of unfettered hype and promotion.

This was an American Sacajawea, or Native American dollar.  Since 2000, for 20 years the American Mint has produced them.  They first came out for collectors only, but in 2002 they went into general circulation.  Each obverse (heads) side, with Sacajawea and papoose, is identical, but the reverse (tails) sides are all different.  In 2009 they removed the date, and the mint mark, but the arrows identify this as a 2010 version.

This coin has no edge milling – little grooves.  I understood that, from 2009, there was supposed to be words engraved on the edge, yet this one is plain and bare.  Close examination of the edge shows that it is an Oreo coin.  Both flat sides are a manganese-brass golden color – which quickly dulls.  The ‘filling’ is a cheap ugly copper.  As an American coin, it is medal-struck, that is, its front and back are upside-down compared to each other.  Canadian coins are coin-struck, with the top of both front and back being adjacent, along the edge

These coins were produced at the same time as a series of Presidential Dollars, both intended to bring in Mint revenue from gullible collectors.  The results of the 2008 financial slump may still be being felt.  Initial productions of millions per year, have dropped to mere thousands.

Americans in general may be poorer, but the bureaucrats are no less dumb.  Some coin collector nuts aren’t poor, but they still seem dumb.  A pristine, untouched exemplar of this coin recently sold on Etsy for $23,000 US.  Someone said that, if the Government were put in charge of the Sahara, within five years there would be a shortage of sand.  It is no wonder that things like Black Lives Matter spring up.  This coin has the Indian word ‘Haudenosamee’ on it.  This means ‘Longhouse dwellers,’ ….  in New York and Ontario Iroquois.  Sacajawea was a Lemhi Shoshone who guided Lewis and Clarke after she met them in North Dakota, 1500 miles away.  😳  Details, details.   🙄

I won’t guide you astray if I ask you to come back in a couple of days.  Please remember to bring a dollar or two with you.  We’ll be having a Telethon.  Your donations can help stamp out verbosity.  😉  😆

Digging in – Digging Out

Snowplow

 

 

 

 

The recent ‘lake effect’ snowstorm which buried poor Buffalo, yet again, has served to remind me of a similar piece from my past.  Lake effect snow is caused by (relatively) warm winds blowing across still-unfrozen water, and then over much colder landmass, which causes the moisture to condense and freeze.  Once the Great Lakes freeze over completely, snowfall is greatly reduced.

In November and December of 1957, Lake Huron, warmer than usual from a hot summer had not yet frozen over.  Storm after storm came rolling across the lake from Michigan, so that we could blame the Americans, as they often do Canada, for the terrible weather.  A 150 mile swath of lakeshore and inland towns were buried under feet of snow.

Now being bused to a high school five miles away, I experienced my first ‘snow day’ on a Wednesday, when the bus couldn’t get through.  Before our days of television, I was at home with my mother, when we heard on the radio that the roof of an arena in a town 50 miles southeast had collapsed, killing several children and a skating coach, and injuring several others.

On Friday afternoon, as we dismounted the now-running school bus, the town’s Police Chief informed several of the members of the Boys’ Club, that there was a BYOS party being organized.  At 10 AM Saturday morning we were to bring (Y)our own shovels, and assemble at the town’s (natural ice) arena to shovel snow off the roof to prevent a similar disaster happening in our town.

Before the advent of aluminum scoops and shovels, snow was moved with heavy, awkward, steel garden spades, or square-mouthed coal shovels.  The next morning, about 25 of us showed up with an ill-assorted mix of tools.

I hadn’t thought about our task, or the reason given for it, until I arrived at the arena.  The collapsed one down the road had a low-domed roof, which allowed the accumulation of a significant snow load.  Our arena had a 90° roof, with a 45°slope on each side.  Snow just didn’t accumulate.

After it had been built, a two ice-sheet curling rink had been added to one side.  It was this annex, with its 7° roof, that we were assigned to save.  Not many school-kids at risk here, but many of the privileged members were also the well-off citizens and business owners who donated to, and supported our club.  That was as good a reason as any.

Snowbank

 

 

 

 

The snow on the roof was 3 to 5 feet deep.  It needed to be cleared off.  A ladder was leaned against the side of the building.  If it had been up to me, I’d have sent one guy up to reduce the weight, and clear a space for another shoveler, and so on, and so on.  It wasn’t….so the Police chief went up, kicked his way into the snow and called the rest of us up to join him.  Soon we had 25 teenage boys, and two adult men on the roof.  If it was going to collapse, this is when it would have happened.

My fisher-boy schoolmate attacked the piles of snow like a Tasmanian Devil, his sharp steel shovel and snow flying in all directions – except actually off the roof.  He was a safety hazard, not to be got too close to.  Within five minutes, he rapidly tired, and really accomplished very little, but he was the one who impressed the Game Warden enough that he was the only one mentioned when the tale was told, for years.

The rest of us soon organised a much more efficient system.  Starting at the roof edge we cut 2 foot square blocks, like for an igloo, and slid them off the smooth roof. Then others would move up and cut more blocks, and slide them down, to be pushed over the edge.  Soon we had several crews cutting, pushing and dumping.  The roof was cleared and our civic duty done by noon.

The side of the building that we dumped snow from was a town works-yard, with piles of sand and fine gravel that crews used to cast concrete water culverts, as well as dozens of finished units.  By the time we were finished, these were all covered, and there was a 20-foot high, 50-foot wide pile of snow about the same slope as the now-clear roof.  I don’t know if they did any water work before June.

Do those of you who live in snow country have white horror stories?  Will those of you who don’t, stop snickering!