Silver Medal

I am desolate and devastated!  The Superhero of MY generation,

Lone Ranger

THE LONE RANGER

has been proven to be a fraud, a sham, fake news, with feet of…. well, not silver.

The story always was, that the cave that Tonto found him holed up in, turned out to be a silver mine.  The Lone Ranger used the silver to buy supplies, and make his bullets from.  Just how he found time to dig out and smelt the silver, when he was so busy ridin’, and shootin’, and generally saving the west, was never explained.  Perhaps he had Tonto’s undocumented relatives do it for minimum wage.

Tonto

Recently, I was ambling through an online science article, maintaining a brisk pace so that not too much of that learnin’ rubbed off on me, when suddenly I was stopped in my tracks.

Melting point of silver:  961.78°C (1,763°F)

WAIT!  WHAT??

The melting point of lead, to make bullets with, is only 327.50°C (621.50°F).  Hell, that stuff is so soft and ductile that you can almost mold it with your hands on a warm, sunny day.  Silver though, requires nearly three times the heat.  It’s not something that you just warm up like a skillet of beans over a campfire.  It requires somewhat sophisticated equipment, often more than merely a rustic, frontier forge.

How could I have missed that??!  Even the writer for the Canadian group, The Five Man Electrical Band understood it.  In their song, Werewolf, a father must melt a tiny, silver dinner bell into a musket ball, to kill a son who has gone Loup.  The lines of lyric read:

We went down to the blacksmith,
Got him out of bed, said, “Get your fire hot!”
We gotta close all the doors, shut up the shutters
We’re gonna need all the heat we got.

Even after you get it melted, this stuff don’t take to being cast in molds none too well.  The surfaces all have cavitations and spalling, making any bullets so non-aerodynamic, that he’d be more likely to shoot a passing buffalo, than the gun out of the hand of some cattle rustler.

I never saw him and Tonto, sitting around the fire at night, singing away, like Roy Rogers or Gene Autry.  Maybe because they were busy polishing those bullets smooth with their socks – if Tonto even wore socks.  😯  Aagghhh, he was probably just some rich dilettante from back East, who had his ammunition shipped to him, c/o Sitting Bull, by pony express.

A major portion of my childhood is/was not to be trusted.  😳  What’s next??!  Somebody will tell me that Aquaman can’t actually talk to sharks and whales?  😕  😀

A Humor Test—See How You Do

Divorces………………..Not yet….
Children………………….2
Surgeries………………..I didn’t know there was going to be a test. I didn’t study. Let’s see…. Tonsils, hernia, shoulder, same eye twice…. Makes 5 – so far, with one little laser touch-up to come.
Piercings………………..1, an ear stud, that a dog pulled out, and has now grown over
Tattoos………………….0 – chicken-shit procrastinating
Shot a gun………………yes – Hell Yes, rifles, shotguns, pistols – May I have some more please?
Quit a job………………..yes, 18 months after I didn’t get my 3-month probationary raise
Ever been on TV………..no – well, maybe CCTV, but I was never identified. I’ve been mentioned on radio several times.
Been in a fist fight……No! Getting in a fist-fight just proves how stupid, unprepared, drunk, and/or testosterone-fuelled you are.
Hit a deer………………..No. I fed a few deer that almost climbed into the back seat of the car, in a Provincial Park.
Watched someone give birth……..I barely showed up for the conception. That’s someone else’s job.
Watched someone die……not quite – recently visited a sister-in-law in a hospice – she died the next day.
Ridden in an ambulance……….yes, the day I fell off my motorcycle and smashed my shoulder
Visited Las Vegas……no – I’m poor, and Canadian. I’ve visited Niagara Falls, it’s kinda Vegas-Lite
Sang karaoke………….no – I don’t frequent bars, especially karaoke bars.
Rode a Jet Ski…………no – I was young and stupid daring before jet skis were invented. I have walked on water with 2 large Styrofoam ‘boots.’ I’ve run an 8-foot hydroplane boat up and down a river. I’ve helmed a 22-foot catamaran for 5 minutes in calm, lake water, and piloted a 4-seater plane for 15 minutes, managing to keep it in a clear sky. I’ve also piloted several snowmobiles, both in virgin snow, and on hard-packed trails.
Ice skating……………..yes, of course. This is Canada. We’re born with skates on.
Surfing…………………… yes and no – Never with a surfboard, but I’ve body-surfed 8-foot rollers coming in off Lake Huron after a big storm.
Ridden on a motorcycle…………yes, a dozen or more, both as a passenger, and as the rider, including 5 of my own.
Stayed in a hospital…… yes – The visit after I fell off my motorcycle and had my bionic shoulder installed.   It was supposed to be a quick three-day stay. I was trying to man through the pain, but my wife and daughter both urged me to use the pain-pump, because they thought that it held Demerol. It didn’t! It was morphine sulphate, which lowered my normally low blood pressure even farther. After three days on my back, I crawled out of the bed to get dressed, and sank to the floor. I was sentenced to another three days, while they subjected me to every test to find out why.
Ridden in back of police car ……………no – I have voluntarily entered police cars, both in the front, and the back, but was always allowed to walk away. One night, I sat in the back with a cat-and-dog (him/her) team, giving a report about a theft from a car in a hotel parking structure. I was offered a beer from a six-pack on the floor in the front.

Now u know everything – or as much as I’m willing to fabricate admit.

Copy & paste, then change with your own answers.

This was interesting, nosy, and a better way to get to know a blogger on a personal basis than most of the other lists. This is more like an eye test after my second eye operation. If it was a test to find the humor in it, then I have failed. C’mon, have a go! I’m particularly interested in the responses to ‘Ridden in the back of a police car.’   🙄

 

I’ve Never Herd Of Smith

People Named Smith
H. Allen Smith once wrote a book titled People Named Smith. This was a financial move on his part, as he knew that if only five percent of the Smiths in the United States bought the book, he would be able to retire rich. Unfortunately, he discovered that “almost everyone named Smith is either (1) stingy, or (2) illiterate, or (3) both.”

He did this because Mark Twain had shown him how. Twain claimed that he had met a John Smith in every town he had ever been in, and cynically dedicated his first novel to “John Smith,” claiming that people who have a book dedicated to them, will purchase a copy of it.

Captain John Smith was an explorer of note, and an island he discovered near Cape Charles was named “Smith Island” after him. However, Captain Smith wasn’t happy with the island chosen to honor him, and he complained, “Why, I could spit across it.”

The book is mainly about names, and not all of them were of people named Smith. He once met an imposing man, when invited on a cruise on a yacht in the Caribbean. Not impressed with the commonness of his name, Smith, he declared, “A man’s name is a mere label – nothing else – and has no more meaning than the label on a can.

The gentleman disagreed, and introduced himself. He was Theron Lamar Caudle, the assistant Attorney-General of the United States. His name was all old Anglo-Saxon, and represented a complete sentence. Theron means ‘go seek.’ Lamar means ‘the sea,’ and Caudle is a ‘hot toddy.’ Translated literally, it means, “Go seek a hot toddy by the sea,” and here he was, with a drink in his hand, on a boat, in the Caribbean.

People afflicted with the last name Smith, sometimes go to lengths to have a first name of some significance which sets them apart from all the other multitudes of Smiths. Labels are important to many, although one Appalachian mother cared so little that she insisted to the interviewer, that the official names of her two kids, on the ‘Guv’mint papers, really was Shithead and Fartface Smith.’

One child was named 5/8 Smith. I don’t know if he was the runt of the litter, or maybe, just not all there. One father christened his son Smith, so that he went through life with the double-barreled name of Smith Smith. A photographer, whose work appeared in newspapers and magazines, legally changed his given name to Another, because he was tired of hearing, “Oh, another Smith.”

One day the author was speaking to a writer friend. They discussed some personal things, and then he said, “What are you working on these days?”
“I’m collaborating on a book.”
“With whom?”
“Man named Ira Smith.”
“You serious??”
“Certainly I’m serious.”
He said, “My God, that’s exactly what I’m doing.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that I’m collaborating on a book with a man named Ira Smith.”

It was true. The other writer was working on the memoirs of Ira R. T. Smith, who for 51 years had been in charge of mail at the White House. At the same time, H. Allen Smith had been working on a book of baseball anecdotes with Ira L. Smith, a Washington journalist.

Ira wouldn’t seem to be an especially common first name, yet Ira L. had had his share of confusions. He was forever getting newspaper clippings from friends;
Ira Smith caught drunk driving in Georgia
Ira Smith an upstate New York cabbie, kidnapped, robbed, tied to a tree, and murdered
Ira L. Smith, a retired Virginia lumberman, dying at the age of 91

He even had a newspaper ad which said;

FOOL your friends. Pretend you are in San Francisco
3 postcards sent 25 cents (20-$1) You write
message, address, return. I remail in San Francisco
Letter mailed 15 cents. Your friends will think
you’re travelling. Ira Smith, 153 Liberty St., San
Francisco, Calif.

The middle name of our Ira L. Smith was Lepouce, his mother’s Belgian maiden name, meaning ‘the thumb’. He was once under consideration for a great job in Washington, but a senior executive named Smith, didn’t want him hired. There were already too many Smiths in the office, and he didn’t want another one messing up phone calls and mail.

Ira went to the man, and offered to apply his middle name to all phone calls and correspondence. The exec replied, “Anyone who would permit himself to be called I. Lepouce Smith in order to get a job must want that job pretty badly. You’re hired.”

The author mentions a situation called Ultra-Smith, where one Smith marries another. My sister did this, confusing all sorts of folks. As you climb down from the family tree, EVERYBODY is named Smith.

(* I have a framed reproduction of a Feb. 13, 1923 Saturday Evening Post cover, with a Norman Rockwell painting and an article about Wodehouse’s recent Psmith book, which refused to upload to WordPress.  It, and a mug with his name, Cyril, were all I got from the nursing home when my Father died.  I didn’t even know he had it.  Perhaps if/when I figure out the problem, I can display it in a later post.)

In England, we have the interesting case of Mr. Psmith, a dashing young character invented by P. G. Wodehouse. In the novel Leave It to Psmith, we find him engaged in a colloquy with a young woman.

“The name is Psmith, P-smith.”
“Peasmith, sir?”
“No, no. P-s-m-i-t-h. I should explain to you that I started life without the initial letter, and my father always clung ruggedly to the plain Smith. But it seemed to me that there were so many Smiths in the world that a little variety might well be introduced. Smythe I look on as a cowardly evasion, nor do I approve of the too prevalent custom of tacking on another name on the front by means of a hyphen. So I decided to adopt the Psmith. The P, I should add for your guidance, is silent, as in phthisis, psychic, and ptarmigan. You follow me?

This Smith book was written in 1952, which explains the ancient, minuscule postage fees, and the somewhat formal construction. Aside from the P-ed off words above, the author used ‘expatiate,’ which means, to enlarge in discourse or writing; be copious in description or discussion: ramble on and on – which I’ve done magnificently with this post. Thanx for rambling along with me, and some of my questionable namesakes.

WOW #49

Dandle

I’ve got another old-fashion-y word, as this week’s Word Of the Week. It’s

DANDLE

verb (used with object), dan·dled, dan·dling.

to move (a baby, child, etc.) lightly up and down, as on one’s knee or in one’s arms.

to pet; pamper.

Isn’t that a lovely old word, as warm and nutritious as Scottish oatmeal; as enfolding and supportive as a flannelette blanket? It’s not officially extinct, but it went on the endangered species list in the 60s or 70s.

Nobody dandles babies anymore! There’s no time! Instead, fit, young, Spanx-clad, Bluetooth-sprouting mothers race past, with bewildered, wind-burned children in $4000 Kevlar and Carbon-Fiber walkers, on their way to enrol the kid in pre-pre-pre-kindergarten, or snaffle the last spot in some preppy Day-Care.

I believe that I may have found a preventive for, at least some of, the multiple-killing gun violence. Perhaps if Mom (Or grandma – she remembers how) dandled her child more, he would be more likely to grow up to return love for love, instead of being estranged from society.

Please note that the word is dandle, not diddle. 😯 The Catholic Church seems to finally be getting the word, and that pedophile, Epstein has taken himself out of the game.

Stop back in a couple of days for some more comedy, and the beginning of my (hopefully) final dash for the 200th Flash Fiction milestone.

Involuntary Loner

Grumpy

I lost my brother recently. Thanx for the condolences, but he’s still alive. I just don’t know where the Hell he is.

I am content to be surrounded only by immediate family, and a tiny group of online friends. This is a cautionary tale about seniors growing older, isolated and alienated from society. (Visit your Grandma in the home!)

My grandson is getting married, and we tried to invite my brother to the wedding. His landline number had been disconnected, and his cell phone number had been assigned to someone else.

My daughter contacted his daughter through Facebook, and a sad, protracted tale of woe came to light. He had turned into a grumpy old man with no friends, although it wasn’t clear whether he was grumpy because he had no friends, or had no friends because he was so grumpy – perhaps a bit of both.

His wife left him and divorced him some years ago. He moved 25 miles, to a small village, to be near his older daughter. Within a year, she disappeared, moving out without telling anyone where she went.

The younger daughter admitted that she had been preoccupied with kids going into teenage-hood, and a small, retail business that she runs. His old buddy, “24 beers in a case/24 hours in a day” Norm, hadn’t stopped in to see him in over 5 years. We didn’t improve things, because, despite the wife’s nagging gentle reminders, I hadn’t phoned him in almost 3 years.

He had a lady friend-with-benefits for several years, but he was retired, with time to drive to Florida, and spend some time there in the winter. She had just started a home-cleaning business, with a growing list of clients, who she couldn’t leave hanging, so she also left him.

He had a guy that he’d gone to school and worked with, who would split on gas and motel rooms to attend curling bonspiels in Ottawa, and North Bay. But he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, and brother finally called him a God-damn asshole, and dumped him.

There was a pair of male twins his age who used to give him some time, but neither one was interested in curling, and no longer wanted to car-pool and drive 500 miles to watch a NASCAR race. He never read, and he didn’t own a computer.

There was mention of “some trouble with a neighbor” (or neighbors), and apparently what passed for a village council, couldn’t, or wouldn’t, solve his problem. Suddenly, one day, he put his house on the market, sold it and just moved away.

His younger daughter says that she knows physically where he is, and has a telephone number. When she found out about his decision, she tried to contact him. He felt betrayed and abandoned. He said, “Screw all of you! If you weren’t there for me when I needed you, I’m not going to be there for you. The Government knows where I am. The rest of you can go to Hell. I don’t want to be bothered. Don’t give my contact information to anyone.”

My Mother used to say, about his sulking moods, “He just wants to go out in the garden and eat worms.” I am sorry that he feels betrayed and abandoned, and the situation that he’s in. He and I have led very different lives. For obvious reasons, we were never close, but I’ll still miss him.

The Day I Almost Went Over Niagara Falls

Niagara

Dear (un-named deity), how did I ever survive childhood, to become the Grumpy Old Dude that I am today??

Early in the 1960s, my Father took our family to Niagara Falls. We rented a little cabin in the village of Chippewa, 5 miles above the Falls. I don’t know what it’s like there now, but back then you could stroll along the Canadian-side bank of the river, like a continuous park. Having been told of a picturesque picnic area, one day we set off downstream to take advantage of it.

If I was 6 or 7 years old, my brother was 3 or 4, and my Mother was busy holding or carrying him. Dad was laden with a box, full of food and drink, and I wandered along behind them. About halfway to our destination, there was a gnarly tree, growing out of the bank at a 45 degree angle, out over the river.

Someone had tied a rope to a branch, and a group of 13/14 year old boys were using it to swing out, and splash into the river. One lad would climb/walk up into the tree, and flick the end of the rope up to his compatriots. One by one they’d launch themselves, swim back, and one of them would take the spot in the tree.

I had a tree at home. It had a rope in it. I liked trees. I liked ropes. I liked swinging. 😯 When all had plunged into the river, I asked the kid in the tree if I could swing from the rope. Sure! And he flicked the end up to me.

I launched myself off the 8-foot high bank, and enjoyed a magnificent swing. I didn’t learn to swim until I was 14. When I reached the extent of the outward swing, I realized that I couldn’t let go – a little late! Holding on for dear life I swung back in, but the arc of the inward swing is never as long as the outward one, and it was nowhere near long enough to put me back up on that bank.

Actually, the point nearest the bank would have been the best time to let go. I’d have smacked into the clay and rock, and would have been able to scramble up the bank, dry and safe, but my Grade 1 brain was busy trying to figure out the physics of this whole thing.

Back out I swung. These guys wanted their rope back, and were shouting, “Let go! Let go!” Once more I swung back inward, this time again the arc becoming much shorter. As I reached the inner apogee – right or wrong – I let go…. and splashed down three feet from dry land.

I was used to a well-mannered Lake Huron, where you could walk out 100 feet before it got chest deep. In this river, three feet out put me in chin-deep water. Still, I scrambled out, and rejoined my family. If either parent noticed that my shoes, shorts and tee-shirt were drenched, neither of them mentioned it. Only later did I realize that I could have climbed up the rope, and down the tree, safely. At the time, I was a bit too busy to think of that. What do you think?? A young fool became an old one??  😕

Flash Fiction #187

Stopped Cold

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

STOPPED COLD

Lenny and Squiggy weren’t their real names, but everyone called them that. Something about a 1970s TV program.

After their respective parents had finally booted them out, they couch-surfed together for a while. Someone suggested that they get a job…. Job??! Yeah, we could pull a job.

Lenny knew where the local gang had a betting parlor. It was simple. Wear ski-masks. Run in the front. Wave some toy guns. Grab all the cash they could carry, and run out the back. Everything went flawlessly – but why won’t the back door open?

***

Click above to see their Brain Trust namesakes.

***

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

Friday Fictioneers

One Jackass – Or Two?

Jackass

An Old Man and His Mule

An old man walked up and tied his old mule to the hitching post. As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, “Hey old man, have you ever danced?”

The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, “No,… I never did dance… never really wanted to.”

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, “Well, you old fart, you’re gonna dance now,” and started shooting at the old man’s feet.

The old prospector — not wanting to get his toe blown off — started hopping around. Everybody was laughing. When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon.

The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers. The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air, and the crowd stopped laughing immediately.

The young gunslinger heard the sounds, too, and he turned around very slowly. The silence was almost deafening. The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old man and the large gaping holes of the twin barrels.

The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man’s hands, as he quietly said, “Son, have you ever kissed a mule’s ass?”

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, “No Sir… But I’ve always wanted to.”

There are five lessons here for all of us:

  1. Never be arrogant.
  2. Don’t waste ammunition.
  3. Whiskey makes you think you’re smarter than you are.
  4. Always make sure you know who has the power.
  5. Don’t mess with old people, they didn’t get old by being stupid.

 

How Not To Solve A Problem

Colt 1911

Yet another example of how legal Canadian gun owners – and not the criminals – face all the hassles

If you’re a legal gun owner in Canada, you’ve probably heard the buzz about how the Liberal government would like to ban all handguns. Maybe you’ve even begun to wonder why it is that every time there is a high profile shooting, “progressive” politicians come after you, rather than targeting criminals with illegal guns.

After all, over the last 25 years you’ve enrolled in (and passed) the government’s lengthy courses on the safe handling of firearms. You’ve applied for, and been granted a licence to possess firearms, and to buy ammunition.

For a time, when it was required, you registered every old gun you had, and every new gun you bought. You acquired (at significant expense) all the trigger locks and gun safes needed to comply with safe storage rules. You informed the government of your new address every time you moved. And when you went to renew your firearms licence, you dutifully informed the government of any changes in your marital or employment status.

You even went to the trouble of acquiring a transport permit to carry a gun from your home to an approved shooting range, locked in a case, locked in your trunk. And rather than stopping for a pee at a gas station, you held it on the way home because, technically, that’s what Canadian law requires.

If you are an official gun collector, you’ve even agreed to let police search your home randomly, without notice, once or twice a year. In other words, you’ve jumped through every new hoop that Ottawa could think up to burden law-abiding gun owners, in the name of solving gun crime.

Now you learn that’s still not enough. If they can figure out a way to do it, the Liberals want to take away any handgun that you own altogether. All of that is frustrating enough, but there’s something that you didn’t know, that will blow your lid: No-one who has ever been banned by the courts from owning firearms is subject to the same scrutiny.

Neither Canada’s criminal justice system, nor its police information computers, keeps track of the whereabouts of people subject to weapons prohibition orders. The federal firearms center reports that there are nearly 450,000 convicted criminals prohibited from owning firearms, including thousands who should be “monitored closely because of their high risk to acquire firearms illegally and use firearms in the commission of a subsequent offence.”

The Federal Government doesn’t keep track of people who have been banned from owning guns, as closely as it keeps track of ordinary duck-hunters, and target shooters. Here’s the ultimate irony – or is that hypocrisy? We know that the banned 450,000 already have criminal records, and we also know that crime rates among law-abiding gun owners are lower than for the population as a whole.

Governments who want to ban, restrict, or register legal guns in the name of reducing crime, are truly going after the wrong people. Of course, to justify this unwarranted targeting of legitimate gun owners, governments and police services have recently begun spinning the tall tale that legal owners are the No. 1 source of guns used in crimes, either because they have carelessly stored them and the guns have been stolen, or because they have sold their legal guns on the black market.

This is utter bullshit! Little by little, over the past few months, Public Safety Canada, the Toronto Police Service, and others, have been forced to admit that they have no data to support their contention that most crime guns start out as legal guns in Canada.

This is just another way that legal gun owners in Canada are being blamed for a problem that they have not caused. If governments want to reduce gun crimes, they need to stop wasting so much effort on the good guys who own guns.

Flash Fiction #177

pasta

CHEESE-WHIZ

Young Billy and his best buddy Bob, loved all cheese.  One Saturday, they ate at East Side Mario’s.  They ordered different pastas, so Bobby’s came out first.  The waitress assured Bill that his would arrive soon, but first, would Bob like some parmesan grated on his??

She ground, and ground – and GROUND.  “Say when.”  Bob eventually raised a hand.

Bill said, “I love cheese even more than him.  You’ll need a new block.”

“Don’t challenge me.  I just went to the Gym.”

By the time she grated the new block, you could almost see the fettuccini on his plate.

***

PHOTO PROMPT © Russell Gayer

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

Friday Fictioneers