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.

WOW #50

Dictionary

I recently ran into the word

ADVERTENCY

I bruised a couple of ribs, but I’ll be okay.

Advertency = advertence: The state of being advertent – aware, attentive, heedful, knowledgeable, perceptive

The modern (somewhat restricted) equivalent is “Woke.”

I have been somewhat covert (covered, concealed) in my production of another WOW. Some of you have been a bit overt (open to view, observable) in your expectations that I do, so I thought I’d introduce most of the bunch. The family name – VERT – comes from Latin, through the French, ouvrir-to open, into English. They all have something to do with showing, or seeing – or not.

With its negative prefix, avert means to prevent something from happening, so that the results are not seen. Similarly, invert means to display something, but upside-down. Evert means to turn something inside-out, and show the inner surface. With an opening syllable that means – in, at or to – advertising points your attention to the presentation of goods that retailers want you to be aware of, and purchase.

We move to psychology to meet the introverts, who keep most of their personalities hidden within themselves, and the extroverts, who fill any room they’re in with their outward glow and conversations. Then there are the members of the family that we usually don’t mention, pervert and subvert. They’re the guys who get to see stuff that they shouldn’t.

My advertency about the term advertency came from a science-fiction book. In it, one planet prided themselves about their citizens’ knowledge and understanding of what went on around them, so that they could make the most optimal, informed decisions. The giant University even taught a course on advertency – how to notice details, be informed, know what was going on.

It all comes down to making reasonable, informed decisions. This is what many Atheists wish that the religious hoi polloi would do. If you want to worship one particular God, or follow the tenets of a specific denomination or church, do it. Just be able to give a better justification, when asked, than, “I have faith.”

Canada and the U.S. – Hell, most of the world – could use a University that teaches advertency. I notice far more things than the average Joe, but I could still use some training in how to do more.

I come over a rise, driving in the curb lane. A block ahead is a bus. I know that it will stop and block my lane, so I move out. The guy behind me now rushes up beside me, almost rear-ends the bus when it stops, and almost sideswipes me, trying to go around at the last minute. Too many drivers ‘drive’ no further ahead than their hood ornament.

If we could just raise the average awareness of citizens, then the uninformed, unaware, extrovert leaders like Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau, and Boris Johnson wouldn’t get re-elected. Probably won’t happen though. Jay Leno used to air a segment titled Americans Are Dumb, And Proud Of It! I continue to hope, though. Were you aware of that?   😕

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.

 

Where’s Willy

No! That title isn’t for a porno-lite blog post.  There are people and websites that allow you to track the movements of certain currency bills.  I mentioned this a couple of years ago, and it happened again recently.  The son received a 5-dollar bill with whereswilly.com on it.  He graciously donated it to my blog-theme account for the mere fee of….a different 5-dollar bill.

Willy 3

Willy 4

“Willy” is/was Sir Wilfrid (not Wilfred) Laurier, whose stern face graces the Canadian fiver.  The smaller local university began as Waterloo Lutheran University.  As they expanded, and outgrew the religious connection, they took ‘Willy’ as their mascot, and became Wilfrid Laurier University, so that W.L.U. remained W.L.U.  (Saves on paperwork.)

Willy 1

I accessed the website, and entered the bill’s serial number. When I submitted the short report of where I (the son) got it, and its physical condition, I got a webpage which showed where it had originated, and how long/how many miles/kilometers it had been on the road.  If you can read the fine print, Americans are invited to play this game by visiting “Where’s George?”

Willy 2

I was the first one to report this bill since its originator set it loose 174 days, almost six months before. As you can see, (but probably not that map) it began its tattooed journey in a town in Quebec called Listuguj, 1185 KM (750 Mi.) east of here, almost to the end of the Gaspé Peninsula, across the river/bay from New Brunswick.  How and why did it get from there to here?

When I found that it started in a Quebec town, I wondered why it didn’t say, “Ou est Willi?” That was explained when I investigated Listuguj.  I thought that it might have Polish or Czech founders, but it’s actually a treaty M’iq M’aq Indian enclave.

Have any of you got bills like this and/or played this game?

WOW #17

Dictionary

My son just handed me a great little word. I’ve been doing it for years without getting caught at it.  The word is;

Bricolage

a construction made of whatever materials are at hand; something created from a variety of available things.

(in literature) a piece created from diverse resources.

(in art) a piece of makeshift handiwork.

the use of multiple, diverse research methods.

Origin of bricolage: Middle French/Old French

1960-65; < French, literally “do-it-yourself,” from bricoler “to do odd jobs, small chores” from Middle French bricoler “to zigzag, bounce off,” from Old French bricole “a trifle, bricole ” + -age -age

So, this explains all those ‘Seinfelds, and Shotguns, and Trivianas, and now, Smitty’s Loose Change.’ I thought that I was gathering wide-spread, interesting trivia for my readers.  It turns out that I was just doing unfocused, French odd-jobs.  I am underwhelmed and disappointed.

I was going to make myself a Dagwood sandwich, as a snack.  It seemed to fit definition number one.  Now that I know that I’ve been infected with Froggy Lazy Fair, I’ll probably hop out to the kitchen, and feel compelled to prepare myself some snails, with mouldy cheese.

I’ll be zigzagging and bouncing off the walls for a couple of days, probably fighting the impulse to smoke Galois cigarettes like it’s mandatory. I’ll put on my dress kilt and eat some haggis to get back in grumpy character, and present you soon with something a little grittier. Vous revenez ensuite, n’est-ce pas? Y’all will come back then, won’tcha??   😕

WOW #1

Dictionary

WOW is going to stand for – Word Of the Week

I’m always looking for an interesting theme to post about. I recently found one at SightsNBytes.  He vowed to post about a word a day, for 2017.  Of course, like many New Year’s resolutions, he’d only published 3 in the first two weeks.

To publish a post about a word a day would turn this into a dictionary site, but, a word a week seemed doable, perhaps even only when inspiration doesn’t strike with Rochelle’s 100-word Flash Fictions.  My OCD suggested that I go alphabetically, like the April Challenge.  Dictionary.com has an interesting word each day.  I’m sure I can find at least one suitable candidate each week.

Let us at least begin with an A word.

The first Word Of the Week is;
askance
Meaning – adverb 1. with suspicion, mistrust, or disapproval:
He looked askance at my offer.
with a side glance; sidewise; obliquely.

It looks like you’re ‘asking’ something, but, like many other English words, it actually begins with the French prefix ‘a’, meaning, ‘in, at or to’. The rest of the word would be more understandable, written ‘scanse’, incorporating the word ‘scan.’  It is pronounced (ah-skance), with the accent on the second syllable.

Probably like many of the words I’ll choose, this one is a bit archaic. When someone writes of one character ‘cutting his eyes’ towards another, our grandparents (Okay, your Great-grandparents) might have spoken of ‘looking askance.’

Does anyone object to learning about the occasional word? Be gentle with the words you use to describe me and my idea.  😉

 

Auto-prompt: Knowledge Challenge

Dictionary

Continuing on my theme of researching shit that will do me absolutely no good….

I recently accepted a challenge to write a blog about a piece of knowledge that I hadn’t previously known, and had just found out.

BOUDIN

I am reading a book wherein the 30-something, male hero returns to the family mansion in southern Louisiana, situated on the mud of a small bayou island, about six inches above high tide, to do some hunting. His Papa, drinking beer on the porch, tells him that his 60ish Maman, is cooking in the kitchen, and has disassembled, cleaned, oiled, and reassembled his hunting rifle.

Down there, everybody knows guns.  Guns are important.  Guns provide food.  There are no Applebee’s or Tops Friendly Markets out in the swamps.  She has also packed him a cooler with food and drink, including chitlins and boudin.

These people are French(ish). For just a second, I wondered if this was a variant spelling of poutine.  Then I remembered, they’re Cajuns, who are rednecks with hot sauce.  They might make jambalaya, but not poutine, which needs to be eaten immediately, because it doesn’t pack well or last long.  Only the Frogs of Quebec would concoct ‘Heart Attack on a Plate.’

Chitlins are actually chitterlings, a difficult word to pronounce when you have a mouthful of them.  She probably packed him some pork chitlins.  We eat beef chitlins once a year, at New Years, when we have prime rib, and baby potatoes roasted in beef suet.

We render down steak and roast trimmings for the fat, and then sieve the crisp, meaty bits out, sprinkle them with salt and serve them in a bowl, like popcorn. You could put some of them on the top of your head and your tongue would beat you to death, tryin’ to get at them.

Then there’s Boudin, a new word, and a new food.  I gotta look that up.  Boudin, I found, is a French, poultry sausage, chicken or turkey.  There’s boudin noir, and boudin blanc, the equivalent of the German ‘blutwurst’ and ‘weisswurst.’  The dark version is made with blood, while the light version has milk.

Like a recent rant I had about a single newspaper, DICTIONARY DOT COM IS DRIVING ME CRAZY!

Whenever I look up a word, below the definition are a few example sentences, showing its meaning/usage in context. Below BOUDIN were two each, from two different English-language books, about two Frenchmen, who each called their wife/girlfriend, Boudin.  “Don’t worry about the animals Boudin. Come back to bed.”  Not much demonstration of the proper use of a French sausage there.

When I looked up ‘prerequisite’, there was a link to ‘fair territory.’ HUH?! A batter must hit a baseball between the foul lines – into ‘fair territory’ – for it to be a prerequisite for a ‘safe hit.’  Quite a diagonal relationship.  The two examples were from the same British book, trying to preserve the English countryside – ‘this fair territory.’ The Brits don’t even have Baseball.  The riff-raff play ‘rounders.’

A man in my hometown had the nickname of ‘Potlicker.’ When I looked that term up, Dictionary dot Com told me that it was ‘a poor person, often uncouth and uneducated.’  That describes my guy.  And….the sample sentence read, “She used a spoon to dip vegetables from the mug of potlicker.”  Apparently a cheap stew, not mentioned in the definition.   👿

So, I’ve learned that Boudin is a French-style chicken or turkey sausage, and that Dictionary dot Com is the vanguard for Skynet, and/or The Matrix. There are no human beings within it, only robots and sentient programs who, despite the non-relevant examples, speak better English than most people.

Flash Fiction #54

French cuisine

PHOTO PROMPT – © Kent Bonham

FRENCH CUISINE

He felt weak and empty.  He was hungry again.  He needed some nice warm, rich fluids to sustain him.

Customers at seafood restaurants got to choose their lobster, but his dining venue was somewhat different.  He had already picked a plump young bird for his next meal.  This Left Bank establishment was a bit New Age, but he’d enjoyed several selections from here.  He’d just wander in….

What??!  Garlic above the door?  He already had to avoid Italian restaurants.  He’d need to get a drink somewhere else tonight.  Damned humans!  How was a hungry vampire to get a decent meal?

***

I hate vampire stories for the tween clichés they have become, but just couldn’t resist telling this one.  😉

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

#473

Click Clique

E-F Dictionary

That title is mostly for my American readers, and any of the rest of you who have not been afflicted with the French language.  I studied Parisian French in high school for five years; therefore I pronounce that second word as Cleek, not Click.  I also pronounce the word ‘niche’ as Neesh, rather than Nish, or Nitch, the way most Americans do.

Jim Wheeler’s most recent comment about ‘Tribalism’ made me think back to life in my small home town.  I have previously written about how just about everybody got along with just about everybody.  Some people have complained about moving/retiring to a small town, and not being accepted, ‘Yea, verily unto the third generation.’

The reason for all the comity was the (lack of) size of the population.  There just weren’t enough people to form ‘us’ and ’them’ groups.  The old couple who owned and ran the local movie theater finally retired and sold it to a businessman from Toronto.  He and his wife moved during the summer school vacation.  They brought their son, another “Bob”, a year younger than me, who started Grade 11 that September.  It was a Hell of a culture shock.

Football

Bob had played High School football in Toronto.  Bob was good!  Bob thought he would just come north and play football on our high school’s football team, and be a star.  Bob was absolutely astounded that our school didn’t have a football team, or a hockey team, or a track team….or a track!

There were more students in his Toronto high school (3500), than there were people in our entire (2000) town.  Our Regional high school, located in another nearby (2000) small town, didn’t have jocks, or dweebs, or keeners, or Goths.  If we had, there’d only have been enough for one of each.  At a tenth the size of Bob’s school, our little 350-body school just had students, most of them poor, dumb and untalented.  Somebody gotta pump gas fer them tourists.

Canada and the United States are the two largest diversely acceptant countries on earth, although, some subtle, unexpected, unanticipated tipping point seems to be looming.  I have ranted about exclusion vs. inclusion, and questioned why ‘we all’ can’t just get along together.

Psychologists and sociologists have done studies on that thought, and the answer seems to be on a sliding scale.  Individually, and as part of the hive-mind of a group, there seems to be a cumulative limit as to just how far we can stretch our acceptance.

It seems to be related to the strength of belief and faith; the stronger it is, the smaller the groups get.  The Republican Party begot The Tea Party.  Christians split into Catholics and Protestants.  The Muslims split into Shiite and Sunni.  Christians started to get funny with Mormon and Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The Muslims responded with al Qaeda and Boko Haram.  With the Christians, the strong belief/small groups have come down to Westboro Baptists and Duck Dynasty.  I’m probably fortunate not to know what the Muslim equivalents are.

As with everything else, there is a fine line between not believing in anything, and believing too strongly in the wrong things.  The apathetic would vote for a guy who might be Superman – if he were smart enough to find his way out of the phone booth after changing.  The faithful believe in bringing on ‘End Of Days’, so that they, and only they, may ascend to Heaven.  Me??  I believe I’ll have another beer.   🙄

#468

What’s Weird About English?

 

 

Grammar Nazi

 

 

 

 

 

You say Grammar Nazi like it’s a bad thing.  Weird Al Yancovic has just released his most recent album.  To promote it, he has also released 8 music videos of the new songs in 8 days, including one sung to the tune of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.  Not a parody of that song, it’s named Word Crimes, and contains lots of examples of what OCD word-nerds like me, rail about.

Weird Al

 

 

 

 

And so, I almost swooned when I read a recent post about it.  Written by a female English teacher, from south-east England, she had all kinds of strange questions and objections.  With regards to the English language: Why are there rules?  Why is one way correct, and all the other ways wrong?  Why is the pronunciation and usage of the south-east area of England the accepted norm?  That’s Classist!  We all manage to communicate.  English is an evolving language.

Where to start?  Where to start??!  If there are no rules, then in that direction lies anarchy and Babel.  Nowhere, in English, is there the equivalent of L’Office de la Langue Francaise, which insists on what is and is not allowed within the language.  However, like a newspaper style guide, there is an informal association of rather learned scholars, who have decided on the clearest and most accurate constructions and usages.

The speech of south-east England is the norm, because that’s where the Queen lives.  If we’re going to speak the Queen’s English, then we should speak it as she does.  We don’t need to use precisioneer grade language in all situations.  It is often best to speak or write for the level of the audience, but in general, we should aspire to better usage, not be content to roll around in the gutter of the likes of exclusionary Cockney rhyming slang.

We don’t “all communicate.”  We often barely manage to communicate.  Many attempts are laughable, tear-inducing or just eye-rolling.  English is indeed, an evolving language, but I would like the changes driven and guided more by intelligent scholars who have studied it, than by some pot-smoking dude with his name on his shirt – by those who know where it’s been, and where it should go.  We’ve seen some examples from Bob the burger-flipper, and they are not for the better.

She complained that Weird Al’s humorous little rant was too “Prescriptive,” that is, insisting that one way was correct and all others were different levels of wrong.  She felt that we should concentrate on “Descriptive” language, which allows people to be creative.  We had Hippies.  They didn’t work out.

Creative people are really not all that common.  They are the occasional goat among a fieldful of sheep, some of who think they’re creative, when really, they are all baa-ing, just in different accents.  You can be creative within the rules.  Often, the rules show where creativity starts, but a bottle full of urine, with the Pope’s picture in it, isn’t creative “Art,” that’s adolescent scatology.

Would you like some “Descriptive” descriptions of most of these “creative” people??!  Try Lazy, Iconoclastic, Inattentive, Incompetent, Uncaring, Rebellious, Entitled, Incomprehensible, and far too often, (Reverse) Classist.

They look down on education and proper usage, and insist that “they are as good as anybody else.”  Maybe in providing lube jobs, or French nails, but Bubba, there are people who can use words as effectively as you can use a torque-wrench or a nail-buffer.  These are the Bart Simpsons – underachievers, and proud of it.

Jeff Foxworthy admits the Southern U.S. accent is not the most sophisticated in the world, and you may be surprised when you get to Heaven, and St. Peter says, “Y’all git in the truck.  We’s goin’ up the big house.”  Maybe, but I’m betting against it.  If you don’t get out much, and are satisfied with sounding like the rest of the redneck yokels in “yer holler”, or the “known to Police” denizens of your urban slum – that’s okay.  I want to be able to efficiently and accurately communicate with English-speakers all over the country and around the world.

If this is the best that Our Miss Brooks offers to the formative and impressionable minds of her young students, then I truly worry for the future of our language, and our society.  Drop your socks and grab your….dictionaries.  Sound off – comprehensibly.