Walkin’ In Memphis

Pregnant

A co-worker once tried to set me up with her pregnant nanny. It wasn’t her fault. She didn’t know about the baby bump till afterward.

In later years, I was awed and amazed at how much I walked when I was younger. As a child, I walked miles and miles of my hometown, including three paper routes. I had a bicycle, but there were times and places where bikes did not go – or were left unattended – so I walked.

When I got my first job, a hundred miles from home, I owned a little English car, but there was no place to park it, and I couldn’t afford to bring it along – so I walked and walked, to get to know my new city. One evening, I walked a young lady a couple of miles home from a restaurant, on a coldly bitter February night. I left at -18 F, and returned an hour later to -23 F. By the time I walked back, I had frozen both my ears solid.

Even 20 years ago, when we visited Charleston, SC, the wife and I walked all over the Old Town, one day, ending by walking from the aquarium, all the way down to Battery Park – about 2 miles – and back, to the car.

After I had worked at the bank for several months, the head teller asked me what I did in the evenings. With no communal rec. room or TV, I stayed in my room. I listened to radio, read, hand-wrote 2 or 3 several-page letters each week, and assembled car models.

That would not do. I should get out and socialize. She had two children under five, and had hired a nanny/housekeeper, so that she could work at the bank. The girl was about my age, and had come from Newfoundland to Ontario for a job. I was given an address, and a time next evening, to present myself.

newfoundland-map

The walk to or from work, was about a mile and a half. After walking home for supper, I cleaned up and set off. From my domicile, to her house, was a bit over a mile, but as I got near, I realized that there was a slight problem. The street I was on stopped, and continued, further on. The cross-street stretched a long block in both directions, turned in the right direction, for the width of two house-lots, and ran back together, forming a large horizontal O. I could see her house, but it was an extra two blocks…. if I walked all the way around.

The back yard of the home in front of me abutted her back yard. There was no fence at the top of the driveway, which meant no dogs. I quietly walked past the house, and across a couple of inches of snow in the yard, vaulted a four-foot chain-link fence…. and I was there. Going home later, I just reversed the process.

Later visits proved that I wasn’t alone. My double set of tracks in the snow were soon joined by several others. Either this was already a well-known shortcut, or I had started something. I never got stopped or yelled at.

On my first visit, I was met at the side door. I was not taken up to the main floor. I don’t know what her living room, her husband, or her kids looked like. She led me downstairs, introduced me to the au-pair…. and disappeared. On later visits, I just let myself in.

The basement was completely finished. There was a comfortable den, with stereo and cable television, the nanny’s bedroom, a breakfast nook, and probably a laundry room where she spent considerable time and labor.

Used to high school girls who weren’t giving away much, if at all, I wasn’t too insistent with my expectations – a little slap and tickle, a little grope and grab. Mostly, we just cuddled, watched TV, talked, and got to know each other. With each visit though, the petting sessions were growing a bit more intense. She was a lusty lass.

Finally one evening, she reached over, grabbed a big handful of my crotch, and said, “Oh, you’re horny.” Until that moment, I hadn’t realized how OCD I was about English usage. I knew from the vernacular, that ‘horny’ meant sexually aroused. I later found that it actually means ‘horn-like, hard.’ It’s mostly a male thing, although engorged nipples and labia must surely count.

I was usually horny when I was with her, but she said it almost like an accusation, so I replied, “Well, you’re horny too!” “What’s that?? What did you say?” I wasn’t about to debate definitions with a Grade 8 Newfy girl. I shut up, and wouldn’t answer her.

In an attempt to recapture the mood, she said, “It’s okay. You can do whatever you want. I’m already pregnant.” Screech! Wait! What??! Apparently she wasn’t as busy and lonely as her employer thought she was. I quickly let myself out, vaulted the fence, and never came back.

About three weeks later, the teller asked me if I knew that the girl was pregnant. I admitted that she had told me, the last time I was there, but that I wasn’t responsible. I walked away from that trap.

***

Click here if you’d like to hear Marc Cohn sing that 1990 title song.

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.

They Don’t Speak English

Canadian Flag

One winter day at the JFK airport in New York, a couple waiting for their flight home to Texas noticed a strange pair of folks all bundled up in parkas, fur hats, heavy gloves and boots.

The Texan Lady, musing over where these strangely dressed people could be from, troubled her husband to the point he responded, ”I have no idea…why don’t you go ask them.”

We all know how curiosity can get the better of someone.

Boldly, she strolled up to the Odd Couple, and with all the charm of Texas, introduced herself:

“Hi, Where ya-all from?”

The heavily clad woman responded: “Saskatoon Saskatchewan.”

Smiling, the Texan replied: “That’s nice.”

As she returned to her husband, he asked: “Well, where they from?”

“Don’t know” she replied, “They don’t speak English.”

Saskatoon Saskatchewan is a city in Canada, and yes, the majority of Canadians speak English.

***

This Man’s Wife Wouldn’t Let Him Go With His Friends, So He Does This.

Four guys have been going on the same fishing trip for many years.

A few days before the group’s annual departure date, John’s wife puts her foot down and tells him he isn’t going. John’s fishing buddies are very upset that he can’t go, but what can they do?

Two days later the three get to the camping site to find John sitting there with his tent set up, firewood gathered, and dinner cooking on the fire, drinking a cold beer.

“Heck John, how long you been here, and how did you talk your missus into letting you go?”

“Well, I’ve been here since last night. Yesterday evening, I was sitting in my recliner when my wife came up behind me, put her hands over my eyes, and asked, ‘Guess who?” I pulled her hands off, and there she was, wearing a nightie.

She took my hand and pulled me into the bedroom, where she’d lit candles and put rose petals all over the place. Well, she’s been reading 50 Shades of Grey.

On the bed she had handcuffs, and ropes! She told me to tie her up and cuff her to the bed, so I did.

And then she said, ‘Do whatever you want.

So, boys, here I am!

***

Orange Juice

A man comes home early from his job at the Orange Juice Factory.  “What’s wrong?” his wife asks.  “Why are you home so early?”  The man shakes his head and looks sad.  “I got canned this morning,” he admits.  His wife asks “Why?”  The husband shrugs and says.  “I just couldn’t concentrate.”

Pickle Jar

A man comes home early from his job at the pickle factory. “What’s wrong?” his wife asks. “Why are you home so early?” The man shakes his head and looks sad. “I did something stupid at work and got fired. I did something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. I stuck my penis in the pickle slicer.” “Oh my God, let me see it.” She examines it closely, but can find no injury or damage. “What happened to the pickle slicer?” “Oh, she got fired too.”

***

Once upon a time, a guy asked a girl to marry him. She said no. The guy lived happily ever after.

’19 A To Z Challenge – W

AtoZ2019letter-w

 

 

All right everyone, put down your Magic Potions texts, grab your Butter Beer, and we’re off to visit Harry Potter’s friends

Butter Beer

Witch

a person, now especially a woman, who professes or is supposed to practice magic or sorcery; a sorceress. Compare warlock
a woman who is supposed to have evil or wicked magical powers:

Wizard

a person who practices magic; magician or sorcerer.
a conjurer or juggler.

Also whiz, wiz. a person of amazing skill or accomplishment:

Warlock

a man who professes or is supposed to practice magic or sorcery; a male witch; sorcerer.

a fortuneteller or conjurer.

Wyvern

a two-legged winged dragon having the hinder part of a serpent with a barbed tail.

It is one of the vagaries of the English language, that many of the things in Harry Potter’s world begin with the letter W. Aside from the examples above, there are also his magic Wand, his friends and support, the Weasley family – whose forebears came from the village of Westleigh – one of whom, Ginny, (Virginia) became his wife.

Want to know what I’ve dreamed up for the letter X?? You’ll have to wing back over in a couple of weeks. Don’t make me get out my Attraction Spells scroll. 😉 😀

***

Last year, for my Q for quilts challenge post, I showed a picture of the winner in the local Mennonite Relief Auction.  While complex and impressive, I much prefer the recently announced winner of this year’s contest. I like bold blues and geometric shapes, and this one has both.  It’s called Fire Island Hosta Queen.  Here’s a picture of it – do you like it too?

May I Have Another Word?

Stunned Emoji

PROS

Slithers of tectonic plates were driven down – They slithered to the dictionary page with slivers on it.

The wide birth of the cave is peculiar – A woman with large hips would give it a wide berth.

Brian slipped out of the in – English classes were being held at the inn.

A grizzly murder had been committed – apparently by a bear. That misspelling is just grisly.

‘Fast And Furious’s a suped– up series – No soup for you till you learn to spell it.

Roberts County Spelllimg Bee – We’re paying some teachers wayyy too much.

Looking for a Labary Assistant to work in the College Labaries – An applicant will never find it, spelled like that.

Why are the edges of coins rigid? – The entire coins are rigid. Only the edges are ridged.

AMATEURS

arguments against same-sex mirage – In many Bible-belt areas, that’s all same-sex marriage is.

Catholic Church hired a loyer – Shoulda hired an English teacher

Those cowereds will not debate real Christians – Maybe I’m a coward cuz I cowered when I read that

Self-sufficiency is tooted as a good thing – Literacy is also touted as a good thing.

Such coal-hearted policies give me a bad name – Santa gives you coal, but he’s not cold-hearted

A ballistic midsole attack – apparently, someone’s throwing shoes at us

As though of us were taught – Those of us who listened in school, know otherwise

Ajan 007 always gets the girl – Perhaps his agent could help him spell it

I’m of Caribbean decent – and your English usage has gone down also

Like Bell, from Beauty and the Beast – The belle of this bawl, is a ding-dong.

I want to see the I fold tower in Paris – see it quick, before it collapses

Your maken yourself look bad – but not as bad as you’re makin’ that misusage look

Well, this is akward – it would be a lot less awkward if you put another W in it

I don’t sensor his Twitter account – You should censor your own, or at least proofread it.

I needed to look for I’dI’d suggest that you look for it

For sale – crystal shandaler – It’s crystal-clear, he doesn’t know what a chandelier is.

For sale – full set of Hooked On Phoenix – I prefer Cincinnati, where I got hooked on phonics.

Freud spoke of bewaring of crusaders – These are how new words reach the language

I don’t deserve the commisery – non-standard portmanteau of misery, and commiseration. – see above

The rain runs down the ease-drop – actually, it runs down the downspout, from the eaves-trough

Crosswords

Rug, slangily = toupee – No! No! No! Toupee, slangily, is a rug, but not the other way around.

Nautical time unit = bell – A bell (or bells) is a point in time. It is no more a “time unit, than two o’clock is.

Addenda

“It’s unclear how serious the driver’s injuries were after the driver was passed on to Waterloo Regional paramedics.” The driver received injuries after the paramedics arrived?? Did they drop the gurney as they were putting him into the ambulance? And I don’t think that I like the term ‘passed on’ and ‘paramedics’ in the same sentence.

“Speed, impaired driving, distracted driving, and not wearing seatbelts are the “fatal four” causes of such crashes, police say.” Unfastened seatbelts cause accidents?? Only if you’re not wearing one, spot a roadside checkpoint, and glance down to put it on.

 

I Didn’t Mean That

Contradiction II

Here’s a list of words that don’t mean what they used to.

  1. Nice

The original meaning of nice used to be, well, not so nice. The adjective actually comes from the Latin word “nescius,” meaning “unaware” or “ignorant.” When it was picked up by the English language in the early 1300s, it described a “stupid, ignorant, or foolish” person. Ouch!

2. Awful

Nowadays, if you say something is awfulyou’re not being kind. However, back in the day, it was actually a term that people used to praise things, seeing as it literally meant that someone or something was “worthy of awe.” As awful became more negative, the word awesome largely replaced it in terms of its original meaning.

3. Flirt

Flirting with someone in today’s sense is what most people would consider to be flattering. However, if you were to flirt with someone based on the word’s original meaning, then what you’re doing is less sweet and more savage. Back in the 1500s when this term was coined, it was actually used to describe a quick motion or jerk—something like a flick

4. Cheater

Centuries ago, the term cheater was used to describe the royal officers who looked after the king’s escheats, or the land he acquired when someone died without a legal heir. However, because of the shady ways these officers went about their jobs, the word “cheater” eventually became synonymous with someone who lies, tricks, and defrauds—and this is how we define the word today.

5. Egregious

When someone describes something as egregious, they are trying to say that it stands out—and not in a good way. However, when it was first coined, the word actually meant the exact opposite. According to Merriam-Webster, the adjective was once used as a compliment to describe someone “who had a remarkably good quality that placed him or her eminently above others.”

6. Naughty

In the 1300s, people who were naughty had naught, or “nothing.” In other words, they were poor. Nowadays, however, the word is used to describe someone not as poor, but as evil or improper.

7. Terrible

The original meaning of the word terrible is similar to its definition today, only way more extreme. When you described something as terrible back in the day, it meant that it caused genuine fits of terror; today, people use it to describe anything that’s mildly bad.

8. Bully

No one wants to be called a bully—unless you’re using its original meaning, that is. In the archaic sense, bully means “sweetheart,” as it was derived from the Dutch word for lover, and for a while meant excellent, or splendid. Think Teddy Roosevelt, and his, “Bully, bully, bully!”
(David Bowie’s song, Fame has the line, “Bully for you, chilly for me.”)

9. Silly

The word silly has seen quite a few definitions throughout history. Derived from Old English, the adjective has been used over the years to mean everything from “happy” and “fortunate” to “innocent.” Eventually, though, the word somehow became synonymous with ignorance, thus bringing us to its current meaning of “foolish.”

10. Dapper

If you’re a stylish, neatly groomed man, someone today might call you a Dapper Dan. However, if you were to use the word according to its original meaning, then this wouldn’t make sense. Seeing as it’s derived from the German word tapfer for “brave,” dapper was originally used to describe someone as bold and daring—not in their fashion choices, but in their endeavors and undertakings.

11. Fantastic

Fantastic is an adjective used to describe something that is extraordinarily good. However, seeing as it was derived from the Latin word phantasticus—meaning “imaginary”—this word was originally used to describe something that only exists in the imagination. So, technically, a unicorn would be fantastic in either sense of the word!

12. Artificial

When something today is described as artificial, it’s usually a far cry from what’s considered a masterful creation. However, that’s exactly what the adjective used to refer to. If something was artificial back in the day, it was artfully or skillfully constructed.

13. Brave

Being called brave is quite the praise by today’s standards. But the word’s original definition—which is “showy” or “gaudy”—is much less complimentary.

14. Girl

A young female is typically referred to as a girl today. However, when the word was first used in the Middle Ages, it referred to any young person, regardless of their gender.

15. Guy

Guy, man, dude, fellow—they’re all monikers used to refer to the male species. However, you wouldn’t want to just throw the word guy around back in the day; in the 1800s, it was used to describe a person of grotesque appearance.

16. Clue

If someone were to give you a clue today, they would be giving you a hint about something. However, when the word was first coined, someone who was giving out clues was actually giving out something more tangible: balls of yarn, now spelled ‘clews’.

17. Manufacture

Manufactured, when used in its original sense, describes something that has been produced by hand. However, today, people generally describe something as manufactured when it has been mass-produced in a factory by machinery.

18. Nervous

There are a lot of things that can make someone nervous nowadays: job interviews, talking to someone they’re attracted to, public speaking… the list goes on and on. In the 1600s, however, nervous in this context wouldn’t make sense, seeing as it was originally used to described someone who possessed great strength.

19. Passenger

If you’re a passenger, you’re just someone who’s along for the ride. However, the original meaning of the word passenger is someone who is traveling, fleeting, or just passing by, typically by foot.

20. Pretty

The term pretty is derived from various words in other languages that meant “cunning,” “tricky,” and “skillful”—and therefore, it makes sense that the adjective was originally used to describe a sly person. Nowadays, however, it’s used to positively describe someone’s appearance rather than their deceitfulness.

21. Radical

Radical is an adjective used to describe anything extreme that shakes up the fundamental nature of something, and it’s typically employed in regards to social or political activism. However, radical actually comes from the Latin word for “rooted,” and it was once used to describe the opposite of extreme: something rooted, basic, and fundamental.

22. Sad

It’s no fun being sad or unhappy. However, it wouldn’t have been such a bad thing to be sad back in the day. In Old English, to be sad meant to be satisfied or content, usually in regards to feeling full from a meal.

23. Success

It’s a good thing to have success nowadays. However, back in the day, it could go either way, seeing as success originally described both positive and negative outcomes alike.

24. Villain

You know a villain as any evil person, typically in a movie, novel, or play. However, in Old English, this word simply referred to anybody who worked on a country estate or villa, such as a farm laborer.

25. Fathom

Today, fathom is just another word for “understand.” But way back when, it was used for measurement purposes and described the length of someone’s outstretched arms (about six feet!). Can you fathom that?

 

WOW #52

Dictionary

The United States, and Canada – two counties, separated by a single language.
If you think that’s a problem, compare either country’s speech/writing, with Britain’s. If only they’d all speak the Mother Tongue. Instead, most of them speak in some Motherf**king tongue. It’s like the bloody tower of Babel.

I recently had my ears assaulted from the TV, by the word

MANKY

It was used by the narrator on a (Would you believe it?) BBC archeology show. From context, I knew what he meant – scanty, paltry, mere. It’s a very British, English word. Since I live as near to (almost)French-speaking people, as they do there, I thought that it came from the French word, manqué – lacking, or needing. When I checked, I found
slang:  worthless, rotten, or in bad taste

dirty, filthy, or bad

Word Origin for manky

via Polari from Italian mancare to be lacking

So, I got the lacking, or needing right, but not from French. Polari??! What in Hell is Polari??

A distinctive English argot in use since at least the 18th century among groups of theatrical and circus performers and in certain homosexual communities, derived largely from Italian, directly or through Lingua Franca.

The show I was watching was called Time Team. When the wife first found it, I hoped that it was a paradox-laden Sci-Fi program. Only the Brits could make a series about archeology, interesting. Using actual archeologists to explain what was going on, would be as dull as the dirt they were excavating.

To make it interesting, they added a perky little narrator who runs his own little production company, doing little historical satire films. Suddenly, I understood the homosexual reference.

There is a core group of 10 or 12 experts. They are each the best in their respective fields. Some of them are professors at prestigious universities, with doctorates, and letters after their names. They are not all archeologists. Some are historians, or geophysical investigators, or pottery experts, or a landscape analyst, who knows how the presence of humans alters the scene over centuries, or eons. They all have their regular “day-jobs.” The show began when BBC convinced a bunch of them to rush away from those jobs on long weekends, or what the English call Bank Holidays, and spend three days digging at various sites.

There are only 8 or 9 ‘Bank Holidays’ per year in England, but the series increased to 12 or 13 episodes a year. They did this for 20 years, stopping in 2014, but there have been several ‘Making Of….’ specials produced since. 20 Years??! This show lasted as long as Gunsmoke.

They dug mostly in England and Scotland, with a couple of trips over to Ireland. They did a dig in the Channel Islands, the only portion of Britain that the Nazis invaded and occupied. They did one in France, one in southern Spain, and managed to get all the way to the Caribbean island of Nevis, to investigate 400 years of British sugar plantations.

Check it out! Give it a try. It’s a great idea in the spring, when regular network shows all become reruns – of reruns – of reruns. Caution – you may learn something interesting.

Getting From There To Her

Shakespeare

A man became a woman – and it wasn’t even Caitlyn Jenner.

Even though English is not technically a Romance language, many of the rules apply to the usage and formation of words – including names. In French, Italian and Spanish, names ending in O are male, and names ending in A are female. In English, numerous male names are made female, by adding an A. Don becomes Donna. Robert becomes Roberta. Shawn becomes Shawna. Paul becomes Paula.

(Paul & Paula who were actually, neither Paul, nor Paula was a 1960’s pop music duo with one, million-seller hit, Hey Paula. Click, if you’d like to reminisce.)

We all probably know several of these, but I’ve run into a few less common ones that you may not have seen. Most Dons are actually Donalds. For those who think of themselves, formally, in that way, a few have daughters named Donalda. I’ve met two.

The name Donald is reasonably common, at least among my Scottish relatives. The name Samuel is currently less common. I recently met a Samuela. Like Samuel, Simon tends to be a Jewish name, and fairly rare in English. I recently ran into a Simona. The less common man’s name, Roland, has the even rarer Rolanda, female equivalent.

Shakespeare is accused of creating more than 50 new words for the English language, a few out of whole cloth, but many by merging other words, or adding suffixes. He also added at least four new female names. He created the name Perdita for the daughter of Hermione in his play ‘The Winter’s Tale’ (1610). It is a Latin word, which means lost. While first produced in England, this rare name is most often found among Spanish-speaking people. Kenneth Bulmer used it as the name of an evil villainess in The Key to Irunium, and several other books in this series.

Derived from Latin mirandus meaning “admirable, marvelous, wonderful”, the name Miranda was created by Shakespeare for the heroine in his play ‘The Tempest’ (1611), about a father and daughter stranded on an island. Modern baby-name books now say that it means ‘cute.’

He constructed the female name Jessica from the Jewish male name Jesse, the father of David, meaning God Exists. The female version is now taken to mean, God beholds, or God’s grace. He gave it to the daughter of Shylock, in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ (1596/1599). The original Hebrew name Yiskāh, means “foresight”, or being able to see the potential in the future.

Olivia is a feminine given name in the English language. It is derived from Latin oliva “olive”. William Shakespeare is sometimes credited with creating it. The name was first popularized by his character in ‘The Twelfth Night’ (1601/1602), but in fact, the name occurs in England as early as the thirteenth century. In the manner of extending the olive branch, the name indicates peace, or serenity.

All of these names end in the feminine-indicating final letter A. Not a Chloe, or an Amber, or a Summer, or a Robyn in the bunch. What did your parents name you…. Or, what did you name your daughter?? Are there any regrets?