WOW #74

Yeehaw, buckaroos, this here’s a rootin’, tootin’ yarn about three funny, over-the-hill characters.

Not that three!!  That there is a picture of me and my brother and sister!  😯  How did that get in here?

No, I’m talking about the even older and less significant, Middle English comedy trio of

ROOTLE

TOOTLE

AND

FOOTLE

Do not confuse Rootle with The Rutles, a fake British band that became a real one, much like the fake American band, The Monkees, did.

Rootle is the sometimes-used British alternative verb form of root – to root about like a hog.
to turn up the soil with the snout, as swine.
to poke, pry, or search, as if to find something

Melodious little Tootle means to toot gently or repeatedly on a flute or the like.
to move or proceed in a leisurely way.

Hong Kong English driving instructions include, If pedestrian do not move advantageous, tootle him gently.

You can get footloose with Footle, if you act or talk in a foolish or silly way, loiter aimlessly; potter, or talk nonsense.

Trust the English language to confuse those who are trying to learn it – three words – one basic spelling – two different pronunciations.  😳

Showing the difference between Canadian English and British English, I was taught to putter, rather than potter.  To ‘potter’ would require a throwing wheel, and a kiln.  For me to ‘putter’ only takes a long, strangely-shaped stick to get the ball rolling.  Golf is a lovely walk in the sun and fresh air – spoiled by having to chase a little white ball.  It’ll be par for me to be rootin’ and tootin’ again in a couple of days.

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

If you have never remarked, at least to yourself, about the number of English words that are almost the same size and shape, have almost the same letters and meaning, and yet are different…. You’ve never done a crossword puzzle.  😳

Where to find Guinness – Any decent bar – but in the crossword, you have to work sideways.  What is the second latter?  Is it Eire or Erin?

Claim – is it aver, or avow?

Price rise – bump or jump?

Cell inhabitants – nuns or cons?

Prohibit – bar or ban?

Talk a lot – yak or gab?

Geological period – era or eon?

Sleep – nod or nap?

The top – acme or apex?

Peak – top or tip?

Not real – fake or faux?

Hand warmers – mitts or muffs?

Gourmet delicacy – snail or quail?

Hurled – flung or slung?

Comics dog – Otto or Odie?

Over – atop or upon?

The 411 – info or data?

Stop up – plug or clog?

Exploited – milked or bilked?

Wicked – evil or vile?

Senate yes – aye or yea?

Kick out – eject or evict?

Made mad – angered or enraged?

Outdo – beat or best?

Pants part – seat or seam?

Agree with – sync or side?

Father-involved – parental or paternal?….or, if mother’s involved – prenatal

Old-time actress, in five letters – starts with GA.  Ooh!  Ooh!  I got this!  Green Acres TV show – Eva Gabor.  Oops. Sorry!  Even old-timier than that – Greta Garbo!  Same five letters – different order.  Rats!

Dog food brand (in four) – Iams or Alpo

Because of the product that they provide, crossword composers are usually exacting and precise in the usage of words in both their clues, and solutions.  Sadly, illiteracy and incorrect usage creep in, even among the best.

The solution to doesn’t want to, is the six-letter word averse, not the seven-letter adverse, which means, unfavorable, contrary, opposing.

The correct response, (in four letters, second letter I), to lay low is kill.  To hide, is to lie low.

The pedant in me says that core group is not a cadre!  A cadre is a frame or border, which contains other things placed inside.  If you’re pretentious enough to use the word cadre, then your core group are the newbies.

Muss one’s hair.  Tussle means wrestle, scuffle or struggle  It’s not accurate, unless we’re talking about Amos, from the 9 Chickweed Lane comic strip – tousle comes from the Scottish touse – to handle roughly – to dishevel.

Finally, we get to related things which occur serially and sequentially, but are not identical.

Festive nights are not eves!  Eve is the short form for evening, the time when light and dark are about the same – dusk, twilight, nightfall, even gloaming – depending on the date, perhaps from Six P.M. till Nine.   ‘Nights’ continue through till sunup the next morning, but very few festive parties do.

To fill a pipe does not mean tamp.  They are two separate actions.  A pipe must first be filled, before the tobacco can be tamped down for a slow, even smoulder.  It’s why Scotty stopped smoking a pipe.  When he was smoking someone else’s tobacco, he crammed so much into the bowl that he could hardly draw.  When he was smoking his own, there was so little that it wasn’t worth it.

Ties vs. laces.  I see teenagers all the time, whose shoes have been laced, the ends of which are dragging on the ground, untied.  I often wonder why they, or someone else, don’t step on a trailing end, and produce an epic face-plant.

Unlatch a gate – open.  I can unlatch a gate, and leave it for the dog, or the cows, or even my buddy the burglar, to open when it is necessary, or convenient.

Assuming that the therapy session goes well, and the meds kick in, I’ll be back, as usual, in a couple of days.  You’ve been warned.  😉

To Sleep – Perchance To Dream

I can almost understand why Good Christians think that God, or Jesus, speaks to them, or why schizophrenics listen to the voices in their head – not that there’s much observable difference.

I know that the voices aren’t real, but they come up with some great ideas.

Actually, the voices are quite real.  They’re just completely internal, not external in any way.  They’re me!  It’s a good thing  that I’m eccentric enough to accept the weird thoughts that pop into my head, or I could be startled, or even frightened, by things my mind comes up with on its own, when I’m not holding the reins tightly.  I can see why those who wish to organize and control their thoughts, would want to blame someone/thing else for ideas and views that they might feel are somehow ‘deviant.’

I often awaken from naps with things bubbling around in my head, including solutions to stubborn Word Jumbles.  After being retired for 11 years, I still have dreams about work.  Since so much of my life revolves around writing and the English language, it is no great surprise that I often wake to words.

I recently became conscious, to the word/name ‘Kaiella’ in my head.   At first I thought that my subconscious had coined a new word, but research soon showed that, in Hawaiian, it means ‘happy girl,’ and in Arabic it means ‘sea goddess.’  I am amused that camel chasers, sitting on sand dunes, have a word for sea goddess.

My most complex day was when I woke up wondering why the name of Italian film director Sergio Leone, and that of African country Sierra Leone were so similar, and what they meant.  Leone was easy.  It’s an Italian word meaning lion, or lion-like.  It’s why the name Napoleon means Lion of Naples, even though he was born French, on the island of Corsica.  We’ll follow that lion to Africa later.

Sergio means guard/protector in Italian, as do Serge in French, Sergei in Russian, and the army title sergeant in English.

Sierra is a Spanish word from the Latin serra, meaning, a saw.  It describes a chain of mountains which is spiky and saw-toothed.  Sierra Leone has one, a segment of which resembles a crouching lion.  But if Sierra Leone looks like a lion, what is the Sierra Nevada, for which the American state is named??  😕

That’s easy!  The Spanish word nevada simply means snow, and Sierra Nevada refers to Rocky Mountains so tall that their peaks are perpetually snow-covered.

On the same day, I found that, besides being a gadget for manipulating objects by remote control, particularly in atomic reactors, Waldo is a diminutive of the name Oswald, from the German meaning God’s ruleBurkholder is a German name, but refers to citizens of the Low Countries – The Netherlands/Belgium.  I think I sprained a brain muscle.  Come back soon to watch me heal.  😀

Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One – VI

Something old, something new,
something borrowed, something blue

BINGE-WATCH (verb)
To watch (multiple videos, episodes of a TV show, etc.) in one sitting, or over a short period of time
Due to COVID19, there’s been a shit-ton of this going on over the last two years.  Netflix may end up ruling the planet.

CHIASMUS (noun) Rhetoric
a reversal in the order of words in two otherwise parallel phrases, as in
“He went to the country, to the town went she.”

DECATHECT (verb) 1930-35
To withdraw one’s feelings of attachment from (a person, idea, or object), as in anticipation of a future loss
from de-cathexis, the investment of emotional significance in an activity, object, or idea.
He thought it best to decathect from his cherished toy, since he would soon have to sell it.

EPISTEMIC (adjective)
of or relating to knowledge or the conditions for acquiring it
An example of something epistemic is a journey to discover new sources of truth.

FOREMOTHER (noun)
A female ancestor
Virginia Woolf was the foremother of writers like Joan Didion.

HORSEFEATHERS (noun)
Something not worth considering
This usage refers to something which does not, and perhaps cannot, exist – like feathers on a horse.  In the MASH TV show, Colonel Potter’s usage of the term horse-pucky, is a euphemism for the round, puck-like material often found on the ground behind a horse.

INFIRMARY (noun)
A place (as in a school or prison) where sick or injured individuals receive care and treatment
A large medical facility
Like the forgotten roots of dis-ease, this word shows that it is used by those who are infirm.

FLOTSAM (noun)
the part of the wreckage of a ship and its cargo found floating on the water
material or refuse floating on water.
useless or unimportant items; odds and ends.

JETSAM (noun)
Goods cast overboard deliberately, as to lighten a vessel or improve its stability in an emergency, which sink where jettisoned or are washed ashore

LAGAN (noun) Law
anything sunk in the sea, but attached to a buoy or the like so that it may be recovered.

MAJORDOMO (noun)
A man in charge of a great household, as that of a sovereign, a chief steward
a steward or butler
a person who makes arrangements for another
Alfred was Bruce Wayne/Batman’s majordomo.
In the TV show, Magnum PI, Higgins was ostensibly the majordomo for the author, Robin Masters.  His name comes from the Irish Gaelic uiginn, meaning Viking.

MARMOT (noun)
Any bushy-tailed, stocky rodent of the genus Marmota, such as the groundhog
In 2021, Wiarton Willy, Ontario’s albino groundhog equivalent to Punxatawney Phil, died before Groundhog Day.  Somehow his handlers failed to mention that fact until late November.  They may still be looking for a replacement – for all the difference it makes.

MUFTI (noun)
Civilian clothes, in contrast with military or other uniforms, or as worn by a person who usually wears a uniform
A Muslim jurist, expert in the religious law
The Army agent behind enemy lines, tried to blend in, disguised in mufti.

SAGGITATE (adjective)
shaped like an arrowhead
Sagittarius, the name of the astrological sign of The Archer, the bowman, doesn’t actually refer to the bow, or the man, but to the arrow which is launched – for all the difference it makes.

STARDUST (noun) alternate definition
A naively romantic quality
There was stardust in her eyes every time her beloved entered the room.
Astrophysicist, Carl Sagan said, “We are all stardust.”  He meant, literally, that we are composed of heavier atoms which were produced when stars die and go (super)nova.

So, our vocabularies are expanding to match our waistlines.  I’ll be dropping some more great words in a couple of days, in a vain attempt to lose weight.   😉

The Origin Of Woke

How do you get a guy to stand in a closet, while you seal him in by bricking up the door??

Strictly a hypothetical question!  That odd-shaped portion on my basement wall is where the electrical panel used to be…. and I have no idea where that irritating neighbor got to.

And Google is no damned help.  I hate that auto-complete!  I type in How do you…. and I get back
….do the Hokey-Pokey?
….get picked up at a gay bar?
….serve curried Iguana?

I believe I found the birth of Woke, and it’s further back than you might think.  I woke from a refreshing afternoon nap, wondering how the narrator in Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, kept his victim from just breaking out.  It turns out that he chained the loathed sot to the back wall, tightly enough so that he could not get loose.

I studied the tale in Grade 12 English – old enough to deal with some of the darker themes.  Living out in the boondocks, the teacher only explained a bit of the story motivation, and being an Anglophone-Canadian, managed to mispronounce the Spanish name.  He spoke ah-mon-tee-yad-oh like ah-mon-till-lay-doh.

I re-read the tale on the Internet recently, and was discussing it with the son.  Poe’s works have always been classified as horror.  That’s how my teacher presented it.  Like Romeo and Juliet, this was a valid story of Renaissance, upper-class hatred and competition between families and commercial groups – possible, even likely to happen, given the opportunity.

The son said that, when he studied it, approximately 1988, his (female) English teacher explained that it was all allegory.  The story-teller was just an alcoholic, who was symbolically imprisoning his weakness, and getting sober.  So I guess, no AA back then??!  The dark horror story had been changed into a bright, kind, redemptive one of rehabilitation and personal triumph.

Personally, I find that interpretation to be ridiculous, but I wonder if any of you were presented with it.  😕   😳

There’s always tomorrow.  CU then.

Through A Theist Glass, Darkly

How fear of Atheism gets some Christian Apologists all turned around, mirror-image.

If Atheism are true, and there is no God

  1. Humans were moist robots
  2. Humans had no mind
  3. Humans had no emotion
  4. Humans had no free will
  5. If universe is at it is, and yet we know that universe will end one day, then the universe will be in doom
  6. There is no good and no evil if atheism is true

If there is no final Judgement, it’s like somebody murdered someone else, deep in the forest and nobody saw it happen, then they wouldn’t get arrested or charged or put in prison.

# !  That’s a very emotion-driven, sensationalistic claim but, SO WHAT.  We are what we appear to be – sentient beings, constantly striving, constantly learning, constantly improving, always trending upward, for the betterment of ourselves as individuals, and as a race – and all of it without an absentee-landlord puppet-master, so, we are hardly robots.

# 2  Oh, these poor Christian Apologists – they are nothing without their God-crutch.  I don’t know how to rebut this assertion, except to say that it is silly and untrue.  I did not ask the writer to explain and justify his claim.  Previous similar attempts have just produced bewildered responses like, Of course it’s true!  That’s obvious! when it is definitely not obvious.

#3  First we had no thought.  Now we have no feelings, without God the orchestra leader.  Such a bleak, morbid, and dismal outlook!  😯  While the belief in the existence of God can’t be proven, for writers like this, perhaps it is better that he continue to do so.  He seems to need some solid emotional and psychological support to keep from slipping into the abyss of clinical depression.

#4  Another unsupported, mirror-image claim.  😕  If God exists, as writers like this claim, and He ‘knows all,’ past, present and future, then His perfect and unchanging plan means that everything we do is predestined, and there is no such thing as free will.  Only the nonexistence of God in any way makes us free – but that’s only another thing that worries such writers.  We should only be free (?) to agree to worship their God.

I don’t know how he equates free will, with a deity which has a Top Ten and 603 following commandments about what you can eat, drink, wear, and who you can do it with.

#5  English is not his first language.  Perhaps this cavil makes more sense in Korean.  He’s right.  Whether God exists or not, the Universe will, one day, die the heat-death of entropy – a very natural occurrence.  It’s just that we won’t be around to experience it, so he’ll have to explain to his mental-health counsellor, why he attaches the word ‘doom’ to it.

#6  “Good” and “Evil” do not exist as tangible entities.  “Evil” tends to be a term used by religious/Christians, indicating intent.  Atheists usually substitute ‘good and bad,’ natural descriptors which can exist without a God.  Good is that which increases my well-being and/or happiness.  ‘The greatest good, for the greatest number.’  Bad is that which decreases my well-being – and those around me, and the entire human race.

Being convinced to drink disinfectant to, ‘cure COVID’ might even make me happy, but it does not increase the well-being of my widow, or my children, who are now without a father and provider.

***

While he does not use the word in his final complaint, he implies the Hell out of the concept of ‘Fair.’  Fair is where you take your pig, to have it judged.  The Universe is supremely disinterested in the human concept of justice.  Things like his example occur all the time.  Again, SO WHAT??!  !sneppah tihS

Even the existence of his hypothetical God does not guarantee justice, or ‘fair.’   Someone like failed-Catholic, Adolf Hitler, might repent at the end, confess his sins, plead for forgiveness, and go to Heaven, while Anne Frank is sent to Hell.  👿

’21 A To Z Challenge – X

 

 

 

 

 

There are no words in the English language that begin with the letter X.  Prove that I’m wrong.

X-ray is not a word.  ‘Ray’ is a word, but the prefixing X is just a letter meaning ‘unknown.’  It is not pronounced like the X in taxes or Texas.  Much the same is true of the X-Acto craft knife.  This is just a commercial label.  Like the corporate identifier, NXIVM, it contains letters, and can be pronounced, but is not a true word with a definition.

As I claimed in my There Are No Words To Describe It post, there is no real English language.  Almost all words beginning with X came here from ancient Greek.  While occasionally used, they often have not been truly “adopted.”  They are more like foster children that science and medicine pay us to support.

Xerography, a compound word from Greek, meaning dry print, for document reproduction, was developed by the Haloid Corporation, which wisely changed its name to Xerox.  For years, they held a stranglehold monopoly.  Finally though, a dozen, mostly Asian, electronics companies began producing newer, better models.

They found that the printing of what had been scanned did not have to be done immediately.  The data could be sent down telephone lines to a remote printer, and a facsimile of the original could be produced.  And so, the fax machine was invented.

As computers developed, these data files could be sent from the scanner/printer to the PC, and from the computer to the printer.  Humans, being the NSFW idiots that we are, soon found amusing, entertaining uses for the scanners that weren’t mentioned in the users’ manual.

There was – there may still be – a website named Boobscan, which entreated female office workers to place their bare chest on the glass plate, press scan, and send the result off to be ranked and archived with thousands of others.

What could be done on the top, could also be done at the bottom.  Not to be left out, (mostly) men sat on the scanners and took pictures of their butts, just to prove what assholes they were.  However voluptuous, the weight of a pair of breasts is nowhere near what a fat-ass is.  I sometimes wonder how many copy machines are broken during X-rated, alcoholic Christmas parties.

So, X marks the spot of another year’s post, from a rapidly reducing list of options.

“21 A To Z Challenge – W

 

 

 

You know what’s weird??!  The word weird’s great-great-great……. Grandmother.  She was a Norse goddess named

WYRD

She came across (No, no, not that way.  She was a chaste goddess – not a chased goddess.) with a bunch of hot and bothered Viking guys in a longboat, when they rowed over to England.

She wasn’t a powerful goddess, like Freya, in charge of fertility, beauty, love, magic, war and death.  She was a lesser goddess, responsible for karma.  She supposedly guaranteed that you would eventually get what you deserved.  Even the Vikings, though, realized that anyone actually getting what they deserved was strange.  When she eventually retired to the Old Norse Gods Home on Yggdrasil, she left behind her name, which became spelled weird (And that’s a weird spelling – getting poor, little I before E, except after C, in a real tizzy.) and carried the meaning of odd or unusual.

I’ll moor my longboat, and wait for you at the dock in a couple of days, and we I can talk about what I read last year.

Nothing In Prompticular

Just a little throwaway post from a day when I couldn’t convince the hamster in my head to get the wheel turning.

What language sounds the best?

Well, it won’t be any of the Asian languages.  The yin-yang, sing-song speakers of those, all sound like geese, or like they’ve all had COVID, or like geese that have had COVID.  African languages sound like they haven’t discovered vowels and consonants yet – just a bunch of boops and glottals, and clicks.  R2-D2 might be Kenyan.

With all its multiple modifying word-endings, Spanish sounds like you’re being attacked with a verbal sub-machinegun – great, if you’ve got all day to wait for it.  Latin is for medicine.  Italian is for lovers. German is for training dogs.  The Queen’s English is for pomp and circumstance.  Arabic is for phlegm.  Speakers sound as if they’re having an allergic reaction to dairy products…..CKHACKK!  😯

French is the language of diplomacy.  Of course, that just means that French speakers can ramble on for days – weeks – months – years, without ever actually saying anything.  French has some foolish constructions…. but the SOUND of it.  Oooooh!!!  If you doubt me, click to hear the Matrix Merovingian Curse.

What best describes your lifestyle – Sneakers, Dress Shoes, or Sandals?

None of the above.
My sneakers days are far behind me – and I called them ‘running shoes.’  The best I can accomplish now is a fast shuffle.  When I say that I’m approaching 75, I mean years of age, not miles per hour.  I’ve never been rich enough to be pretentious.  Even when I worked in an office, my footwear was clean and functional, but hardly worth calling ‘dress shoes.’

I may not do what I do on my feet at any great speed, but I feel I need something on them to protect and support.  Wearing sandals is just asking for foot injuries – and barely suppressed snickering and pointing.

I’d like a write-in vote – for boots.  As I explained in my Suave – Sophisticated post, I’ve worn good, solid, round-toed boots whenever socially allowable, for over half a century.  I’ll die with my boots on, and be buried in Boot Hill.

If your life were a book, what would the title be?

While I am reasonably intelligent, my social skills are somewhat lacking.  The Pink Panther, or Johnny English could star in my “Sophisticated” post, but I wouldn’t even get a speaking part.  If my life were a book, the title would probably be Dummies, For Dummies – and someone would have to explain it to me.

Oops!  It’s already out.  Can someone explain to me, why it’s already in print??  Did somebody see me coming…. AGAIN??!  😯   🙄

Fortunately for you, that’s all I have to say on these subjects.  There’ll be another Masochists Anonymous meeting here in a couple of days.  Sticks and stones may break my bones, but whips and chains excite me.

You Thought You Had A Shitty Job

According to Mental Floss, in the Victorian Era, ratteners would capture and sell rats to pubs where they were eaten by dogs and played with for entertainment.
Rats, I can’t believe I missed that “premium” entertainment!

The job disappeared when the internet made porn more universally available.  The word shrank down to ratter, and that task was taken by farm-cats, and digger-dogs like my two Scottish Terriers.

People in Medieval times were often given surnames based on their occupation.  The job, and the name, goes back far beyond the Victorian Era.  In both English and German, the spelling first became Rattner, then diminished to Ratner, like Brett Ratner, a Hollywood director, recently mired in a #MeToo and Time’s Up scandal.

Eventually some versions reduced to Radner, and to Radnor.  There is a Radnorshire in Wales.  This time the egg came before the chicken.  It was founded by a couple of English families who moved there to escape their cruel town and despicable occupation, to become farmers.

At the steel warehouse where I worked – long ago – the floor in the fabrication section was poured concrete, but in the actual metal storage area, it was flattened dirt, covered by pea gravel.  On one side, bundles of steel sheets formed stacks eight and nine feet high.

Rats got in, and would burrow under these stacks, occasionally causing one to collapse and tip over into its neighbor.  Righting one of these piles was a slow, somewhat dangerous task, often with product loss.

Nearby was a worker, a recent immigrant from Germany.  His job was to take bundles of 20 foot steel angles or flat bars, and use a large, gravity-fed, horizontal band-saw to cut them to smaller lengths, for fabrication.  Since the bundles might be fifty to a hundred pieces, each actual cut time could be ten to fifteen minutes.

During these un-busy periods, the company urged him to go through the storage area, spreading rat poison, and baiting and checking 15 or 20 big wooden rat traps.  He once proudly told me that he was the company ‘Rattenfanger,’ another German word for rat catcher.

After having to do this task twice, as a home project, https://archonsden.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/oh-rats/ .  I wouldn’t want to have to do it again.  I prefer capturing accolades.  Why don’t you stop by again in a couple of days, and bring some with you.  Remember, I prefer the butterscotch flavored ones.  😉