Once Upon A Time In The Mid-East

Arab

Once upon a time in the mid-east…. things haven’t really changed much, only gotten more so.

Many moons ago, I worked as a security guard.  One of my co-workers was a man even older than me.  As a young man, just after World War II, he had traveled to England to take advantage of the burgeoning British post-war economy, to get a job.  Instead, he enlisted in the British Army, and was attached to the British Palestine Peacekeeping Force.  Their job was to prevent violence, and protect the newly-minted state of Israel.

Many Jews had lived in what became Arab Territory.  Either voluntarily, or under political pressure, they were convinced to leave farms and lands that they had worked and lived on for generations, and move inside the imaginary boundary-line of Israel, into imaginary safety, and start all over again.

He said that, as they patrolled around in Palestine, it was easy to see who had occupied the properties.  Jewish farms were green and lush with fruit, grain and vegetables.  They had bright homes and barns, and greenhouses to get new crops started.  Arab homesteads were dusty and brown, with perhaps a scrawny goat wandering around.

Did the Muslims who were leaving Israel take possession of these ready-made sources of shelter, food and income??  They did not!!  Usually the homes and outbuildings were burned, the greenhouses torn down, all the glass smashed.  The patrol was supposed to be neutral, but he said that it was difficult not to have sympathy, and side with the people who tried to build things up, rather than the hooligans who just wanted to tear things down.

One day they were called out to a problem.  They were trucked to a nearby Arab village near the new border.  They debarked, and marched into the village square/market.  There they came upon a small clot of idlers, with more drifting in.  As in my StOp! Ed post, the local imam or mullah was working the mob up, to march to the nearest Jewish settlement and attack.  Knives, machetes, clubs, slings, rocks, and bottles were in evidence.

My co-worker recounted that, in English, and in his best brash British bluster, the Sergeant-Major commanding the squad, waved his hands as if shooing flies, and told them that ‘You chappies ought to just break this up now, and get on with your business somewhere else.’

He got back the equivalent of, ‘No speakee English, you Tommy Brit invaders.’, so he went to plan B, and literally read them the Riot Act.  For those of you who think that being read the Riot Act is just a euphemism for your Mom coming down on you, think again.  There is an actual British Riot Act.  The solemnity of having it read to potential rioters is supposed to make them think twice about causing trouble.

Our Sovereign Lord The King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the Act made in the first year of King George the First for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies.

God Save The King

The rules state that it must be read three times, before any official violence is unleashed.  The SarMaj read the ponderous paragraph of it once in English.  Then, because some of the miscreants might be Jewish, he read it in Hebrew.  Then he read it in Arabic.  Then he circled around and read it again in all three languages.

All this time, the crowd is growing in size, and the mood is getting nastier.  Knives are waved at them, and small fake sorties are threatened.  Finally, he got the Act read three times in three languages, and ordered them in Arabic to disperse.

Wasn’t gonna happen, so he started giving the squad, orders.  Present arms!  The Arabs watched.  Insert cartridges!  They slapped magazines into their Lee-Enfield rifles. (They’d been unarmed all this time.)  The Arabs waited.  Charge weapons! Rifle bolts back, and then forward to cock. (Now they’re finally ready for action.) The Arabs wondered.  And, the SarMaj shouted, At the knees, aim!

He said that, by the time he got his rifle up to his shoulder, and his eyes on the sights, a single piece of paper, and dust, was settling to the ground.  The little plaza was empty.  Maybe some of them understood English, or just understood superior firepower.

Sadly, nowadays, little altercations like this happen much faster and more violently.  The Gentlemanly British rules of war have been replaced by Kill Or Be Killed.  Perhaps they were what Mr. Ed, the talking horse’s ass was thinking about.

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’18 A To Z Challenge – M

Alarm Clock

By dark and dreary mundane passings, are clipped.  (Psst!  Wanna read some poetry?)

A travelling salesman approaches an old codger, sitting in a chair outside the flyspeck-town’s general store.
“Excuse me sir, do you know what time it is?”
“Oh, ‘bout Tuesday, ah reckon.”
“No sir, I need to know the correct time.  I have a train to catch.”
“Tuesday’s close enough.  Ain’t no train till Friday.”

Once, people toiled from sunup to sundown, not caring what time it was, and only vaguely knowing, when the church bells rang, to tell them that it was time to tithe.

As towns and cities grew, it became more important that most folks were doing things at the same time, so the Latin horas became English language hours.

Passing Time was chopped up into 1/60th pieces of the hours.  Compared to the ‘hours’, these little chunks were MINUTE (my-nyoot), and that’s what they were called.  The original meaning of, tiny, small, is still pronounced that way.  Centuries of mush-mouth slide have changed these chunks of time into MINUTES (minnits).

With the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, especially steam trains and their schedules, even smaller bits of time became necessary, and the MINUTES got carved into 60 smaller bits.  Since these were the SECOND smaller sections of the hour to be established, that was what they were called.

As modern technology relies more on computerized electronics, and even quantum services, time must be chopped up into finer and finer little portions.  The state-of-the-art technologists of even only a half century ago, would probably be astounded by the use of millisecond – thousandth, microsecond – millionth, nanosecond – billionth, and picosecond – trillionth.

It’s no wonder that Ethel GPS put me in Oregon, instead of Ohio.  She probably just needs new batteries in her watch.  I’ll watch to see if you stop by again soon.  😀

Offerings To Propitiate The Gods

Gods Our genial host, just back from an anger management class

Not that the lovely couple who we went to visit were actual Gods, but they had long since achieved that status with me.  Hell, anyone who doesn’t complain about my presence is nice.  Those who have the occasional kind word for or about me are saints.  And those who invite me into their home for an extended visit, are surely Gods.  Since we had to drive 500 miles of paved highways to meet them, they truly are The Gods Of Asphalt.

SDC10018A FEW of the son’s collection of skulls

3-D printers have become affordable for the average geek.  A son-in-law of the daughter’s friend acquired one, and started fooling around learning its secrets.  First, my son was given the larger, softball-sized skull.  It’s thermo-optic.  If sufficiently warmed, it changes from grey to white.  Later, the golf ball-sized, darker grey one was added.  They are all low-density plastic, and float like corks.

SDC10015

SDC10014

The son’s two skulls at the back – the two Voodoo, “Impeach Trump” skulls, going to DC, in front

My limited etiquette knowledge only told me that a Hostess gift was good manners – and one for the host might also be a good idea.  Our handsome host instructed me not to spend much money, and assured me that it was our presence that they valued, not presents.  Still…. a few gewgaws to demonstrate Canadian my twisted culture.

One of the pair collects skulls, like my son does.  I obtained another couple of the smaller ones.  I leave it to you to guess which one is the blood-thirsty spouse.

SDC10010

SDC10011Amethyst is supposed to foster peace and tranquility.  After adding skulls to the home of a skull-collector, and an ex-tank-driver, I felt that we needed all the tranquility we could get.  Since our host is Plus-sized, and his diminutive bride has trouble seeing over a garden hose, I brought a large chunk, and a smaller piece.

The best, darkest, amethyst now comes from Brazil, because most of the good stuff has been removed from mines just north of Lake Superior, in Ontario.  The daughter visited an online friend up there, a couple of winters ago.  She had just returned from a saved-for summer trip before we set out.  It is possible to walk the shores and occasionally find a good piece that a retreating glacier dug up, so these pieces were from both us, and from her.

SDC10007In return for throwing me a fabulous online birthday party, I once promised our hostess a 55-gallon drum of fresh, pure, Canadian maple syrup.  Of course, like most promises that men make to women, I wasn’t able to delivery anything that big.  Still, since our hosts had been so sweet to us, I felt compelled to bring along 2 liters (half a gallon for the non-metric Americans) of freshly-squeezed, Mennonite Maple Juice for them.  If you hear of an IHOP or Denny’s in the DC area going bankrupt, it’s because they aren’t going out for Sunday brunch till this is gone.

Actually, years of residence in New Hampshire has made her a bit of a syrup snob.  Like Florida has laws that translate, “Don’t f**k with the citrus, especially oranges.” Vermont also has strict rules against messing with the maples.  She would have requested some Maple syrup; but felt that it might be illegal to export.  Nobody asked me about maple syrup at the border, and she was thrilled to get the real stuff, cooking everyone blueberry pancakes the first morning.

SDC10650I told this little old guy that it was really important to me, and go out and squeeze his Maplest tree for my kind hosts.  He said that he would be happy to….  or maybe it was, ‘crazy English’…. something like that.  Coming up soon, a post about all the great stuff we brought back – aside from treasured memories, and happy hearts.

spacehounds-of-ipc

Since I have re-read them all over the last two years, and because our host is a great classic Sci-Fi fan, I offered him copies of every E.E. (Doc) Smith book that I possess, 24 out of the 25 that he wrote. Always a fan of Robert A. Heinlein’s works, I felt that he might appreciate obtaining copies of the seminal Space-Opera novels written by Heinlein’s mentor.

While I regard them as inexpensive paperbacks, many printed before he was born, he recognised their rarity, difficulty of obtaining, and the fact that they were collector’s items.  I usually don’t mind being kissed, just not by him.  Their value to me is that someone who really appreciates them, now possesses them. He said that he didn’t even know what order to read them in….and then found that I had obsessively boxed them up in chronological order.

Our deepest, sincere thanks to BrainRants and H E Ellis, two of the Titans of the blogosphere.

SPEAK TO ME ONLY WITH THINE EYES….

FOR THY FINGERS HAVE F**KED THINGS UP

Grammar Nazi

PROS

He got married at the boarder, then they realized he was a smuggler. – The Washington Post knows no borders.

Niagara Falls freezes in teeth-shattering temps – My teeth are chattering at this usage.  Same headline lists an ‘artic’ blast

BC gas stations insist on swimming against the tied – British Columbians should know what tide is.  Toronto captioners think it’s just for laundry.

He just gorged them out. – Gorged means filled up.  Gouged means emptied out.

Get a sculpsured bod. – or get the always-popular dictionary, and learn to spell sculptured.

Wither goes democracy? – Upscale usage will wither if you don’t look up whither.

Two viles of drugs were found – Well, it is pretty vile stuff, in a vial (phial), or not.

Kim Kardashian wore a bust-bearing dress – I know those puppies look like they need a hand-truck to haul them around, and the sight of the photo could confuse a male captioner, but the dress was bust-baring.

***

Amateurs

Violin boes rehaired – This guy gets a special category.  He’s not a professional writer, but he advertises as a ‘Professional violin builder, seller and repairer’, who should know about bows.

Lovely, fully-detached home, near Kawanas Park – this less-than-literate real estate agent apparently is not a member of the Kiwanis service club.

Michelangelo’s Sixteenth Chapel – from Canada’s ‘Good Christian’ wunderkind, Justin Beaver Bieber

***

Please use tongue when choosing donuts – because the tongs are already in use.

April Ham Lincoln – I guess the name Abraham isn’t popular in elementary schools anymore.  But he was joined by John Afghan Eddy, and Martin Lou, the King

Two ballards were struck by a forklift – Relax, the ex-owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs is fine.  It was two bollards which were struck.

That door is closed.  Se la vi. – He lives in Utah, where they don’t speak any French.  C’est la vie.

This were “Dances With Wolves” was filmed – This is where paying attention in English class would have helped.

find a place to hold up in tonight – The police frown on holdups.  Find a safe, warm hole, and hole up.

Hubby once through an entire angle food cake – although she did come back to correct to threw, but not the angel.

What do you get when you cross a blonde with a postal worker?
A fluesy with an Uzi.
The jokester is obviously not a floozy.

Like in a freakin’ fairy tell – I have to tell you that the word should be tale.

The judge gave him a slap on the risk – At the risk of sounding pedantic, it’s wrist.

Whats the deferents between soft point and hardball ammo?  Are exploding bullets called dumb dumbs? – The difference is that only redneck gun-nuts who ask questions like this, are called dumb dumbs.

 

Challenge – Be Bored For A Week

office-worker

I tried to be bored, but the voices inside my head wouldn’t let me.

Bored

Actually, I really didn’t try, because there was only one voice inside my head – and it was mine.  I gave it a shot, but quickly found that any time I stopped thinking about everything/anything, I wound up back at my Gravatar description, researching something else that would do me no good at all, except as blog-fodder.

I tried some of that mindless Yoga contemplation – didn’t work!  As soon as I stopped thinking about blog-posts, and useless trivia, into my head popped Spring Byington.  She was a C-grade actress who only had one television series, called December Bride.  It ran from 1954 to 1959.

She played a middle-aged, divorced woman, living with her grown daughter, and everybody was trying to fix her up with another husband.  A (relatively) young Harry Morgan played the intrusive neighbor.  The gimmick was that, like Howard Wolowitz’s mother on The Big Bang Theory, his acerbic wife was often heard, but never seen.

***

In researching a trip to Detroit, MI, I found that there are several other Detroits in the US, including Detroit TX….which is near Oklahoma City….which reminded me of the Jim Croce song, Rapid Roy, where he sings about transporting illegal moonshine, “Runnin’ from the man in Oklahoma City, with a 500 gallon tank.”

How much would 500 gallons of white lightning weigh?  Hmmm – almost 4400 pounds!  Certainly not something to be carried in a stripped-down, hopped-up sedan, or even a pickup truck, and definitely not while trying to out-speed or out-maneuver State Police vehicles.

***

Almost as soon as electric rice cookers became available, the wife had to have one.  Six months later, they “New and Improved” them, by adding a tray in which you could steam things like the frozen dumplings that she likes to add to her homemade chicken soup.  Recently, on Facebitch, someone offered a new Black and Decker unit with the steamer tray, for $15.

When we went to pick it up, the irony was that it was offered for sale by a young Chinese-Canadian woman, still living with her barely-speak-English immigrant parents.  On the drive home I relaxed – and the voice in my head said ‘taffeta.’

There may be more than one of me inside, what I thought was, my empty head.  Almost immediately, the same/different voice said, ‘I’ll see you the taffeta, and raise you organdy and sateen.’  They’re all thin, bright, shiny fabrics, often used as decoration on women’s clothing.  Why would I even know that they exist, much less bring them up to myself during a car ride??!

It’s a wonder that I ever get any particular project completed, with all these odd thoughts and factoids caroming around at strange angles inside my brain, like a bumper car ride.  I’ve proved that I can’t bore myself.  I just hope that I haven’t bored you.  Stop back soon for a ham on rye post – something with a little more meat to it. 🙂

30-Day Challenge To Like

Another Challenge

The challenge list composer has committed double jeopardy, so I’m going to join #3, and #6 together.

#3  What kind of person attracts you?
#6  The person you like, and why you like them.

It seems to me that, the kind of person who attracts me, would also be the kind of person that I like.  The wording of #6 also confuses me.  Does the list compiler feel that I can only “like” one person at a time, or is this question supposed to be cumulative, like #3, and better worded as, The kind of person you like?

A lecturer at a company seminar explained about ‘the range’ of people that we can reach and get along with.  He had us imagine a peg-board with one peg in it.  Over the peg was a loop of string.  You could put your finger inside the loop, and swirl it around the peg.  You would only reach a limited number of other peg-holes.

You could move the peg, but you would only reach the same number of other holes, and they would be a completely different set from the first lot.  The most successful salesman types were the ones who could make their personality like a large elastic, and stretch to reach the entire board.

Like Mary’s little lamb, the kind of person that I like, is one who likes me.  I am not much interested in turning my personality into a rubber band.  Too soon, my scope would include Kardashians, Bible-thumpers, and penis-envy jerks who drive Hummers while wearing civilian clothes.

I like folks who like me for me, psychoses, warts and all.  I am what I am.  In a conversation with my son recently, he said, “I wonder what normal people are like?”  Those who I like, and would want to like me, would have to be intelligent, independent, free-thinking, educated, open-minded, and capable of handling the English language like a fidget-spinner.

I have been so fortunate with this blog site to, at least virtually, attract a considerable number of people like that.  I’ve had the good fortune, to travel and meet a couple of fellow-bloggers in person, and I’m whirling like that fidget spinner myself, at the thought of meeting another Dynamic Duo of them.  I only hope that, having attracted them, they will not find me a challenge to like in person, the way they did through the filter of the internet.  I’ll keep you posted.  😀

 

WOW #33

Dictionary

This week’s word is for the Millennials.   It is

BLAMESTORMING

Once upon a time, not really that long ago, most folks possessed honesty, and strength of character.  They took responsibility for their own actions and mistakes.  Now, with entitlement piling up like Trump’s tweets against the non-existent Mexican wall, nobody admits to nuthin’.  No matter who you ask or accuse – they were facing north, when things went south.

Definition of blamestorming

The process of assigning blame for an outcome or situation.

Origin of blamestorming

Blamestorming was originally a colloquialism in American English, modeled on the much earlier (1907) brainstorming. It entered English in the 1990s.

“I cannot tell a lie.  I chopped down the cherry tree.” was a loooonngg time ago.  ‘No guts – No glory’ is taking on a sadly different meaning.  Far too few people have the guts to take responsibility for their own decisions and actions.  President Harry Truman would be disappointed to find an America populated with consequence-avoiding wimps who have changed his famous slogan to ‘The Buck Passes Here.’  😛