Speaking English Like A Frenchman

In 1066, William of Normandy rowed across The Channel, became William the Conqueror, and took England.  In a spirit of fairness, his descendants gave scores of words to the ‘English’ language.

Here is a list of French words and phrases that are commonly used, but have not officially been adopted.

Je ne sais quoi – a special, indefinable quality
Her fancy clothing had a certain je ne sais quoi.

Habitué – a person frequently visiting a place
As an habitué of the bistro, he headed to his usual table.

Billet-doux – a love letter
Stewart’s first novel was a billet-doux to his home town.

Bric-a-brac – a collection of ornaments
Among my aunt’s bric-a-brac was a glass angel that she treasured.

Flāneur – one who idly strolls around and observes
Paul spent the day as a flāneur on the streets of Montreal.

De rigueur – required by fashion or convention
A jean jacket is simply de rigueur this season.

Esprit de l’escalier – a perfect retort, formulated too late
A comedian went home after being heckled, and finally delivered his esprit de l’escalier to the cat.

Sang-froid – self-possession under stress (literally – cold blood)
The butler retained his sang-froid during his employer’s crisis.

Ā la carte – ordered separately from a menu
Not hungry enough for a set meal, Terri ordered baked potato and creamed spinach ā la carte.

Renaissance – cultural revival or rebirth
Toronto’s restaurant scene was undergoing a renaissance.

Contre-jour – with a camera facing the light
Matt positioned his grand-nephew contre-jour to produce a halo effect.

Armour-propre – self-worth
Getting dissed by a nerd wounded Rory’s armour-propre.

Éminence grise – a person with no official title, but great influence
Years of insightful posts had made Archon an ėminence grise in the blogosphere.

Laissez faire – a non-interference approach
Small businesses benefit from laissez faire economics.

Roman ā clef – thinly-veiled novelistic accounts of real people or events
George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a roman ā clef about the Russian Revolution.

I prefer to speak my French in plain English.  Aside from a couple of these which have finally been naturalized into the language, I don’t use any of them.

Apologists Haven’t A Brain In Their Heads

THAT is MY BRAIN!

At least that’s what the office told me when they gave me the disk of pictures. I have no other pictures of my brain with which to compare, and I’ve never seen my brain in person so as to recognize it from these hazy black and white pictures which I’m told came from a big magnet. It remains entirely possible that the pictures on that disk are pictures of somebody else’s brain.

Or that this is a Xerox image of something made entirely of playdough.(sic) I can’t prove that it’s not.

It may not be my brain on the disk, and in fact may not be pictures of anybody’s head at all but may be computer-generated. It’s not impossible.  Maybe the people with problems that require a brain-scan are the only ones who have brains.

In modern America VERY few people have even seen the inside of ANY mammal skull so as to see that there is a brain inside, let alone any human heads.  The number of medical and scientific personnel who claim to have seen inside a human head is a VAST minority of the total.  They except(sic) that we have sent what three or four rovers all the way to Mars and yet they don’t believe in God.

Atheists say that they have never seen God and that I have never seen God and they demand evidence.  They believe electrons exist, having never seen one. They believe the wind exists having never seen it. They believe gravity exists having never seen it. They believe in all kinds of things they have never seen. You know why? Because they’re not really skeptics. There are just some things they don’t want to believe, so they pretend that they are skeptics, when in fact, they are just rebellious sinners.

Except…. that the correct word is accept.  I would think that you would be familiar with one of the most important words of your faith system, considering the number of things that you are expected to blindly accept.  Perhaps you have never seen it in print, and are just taking someone else’s word for it.

Every med student in every medical college in the USA, Canada, and probably around the world, must assist in the dissection of a human cadaver.  The skull is sawed open.  The brain is removed and examined.  The same is true for most veterinary students, with a dog or cat.  This alone consists of tens of thousands of people each year.  And then there are abattoirs and meat-packing plants….

We can also include pathologists, and coroners and their assistants, and police officers and paramedics, who, too often, get to see human brains that didn’t need MRIs.  Until one of them finds a skull with no brain in it, I’m going to assume they all do, with the possible exception of yours.  They are a minority – but hardly a VAST one – totalling several million people.

While actually seeing God would be a good start to accepting His existence, not all evidence need be visual.  Do Christians have Faith that electrons exist?  Atheists accept that they do because they can see the actions they cause; televisions glow, cell phones communicate with each other, and ovens get hot.

Atheists (and everyone else) can feel the wind blow, and see its effects, from tornadoes, to kids’ kites flying, to wind turbines.  We don’t need to see the wind to know that it exists.  I can see gravity working every time I drop something.  It will accelerate toward the center of the Earth (or any other celestial body).

On Earth, its speed of fall will increase by 9.8 meters/second/squared.  It has done so each and every observed and measured time.  Only when a dropped pen starts drifting upward will I doubt the existence of gravity.  You can tell me that God makes my light bulbs shine or that angels hold my feet (and every other object) to the ground.  I will rely on reasonable expectations based on a history of testable and repeatable actions.

I will believe the hypotheses of reputable scientists, who have shown their work, rather than the far less coherent and parsimonious claims that Christians make.  I will believe in space/time curvature rather than angels.  Atheists often say that they have not been presented with sufficiently convincing evidence, but evidence is information which convinces, or tends to convince, regarding any given matter.  If it does not convince to some degree, it is not ‘evidence,’ it is just another unverified claim.

I want to believe the most true things, and the fewest false things as possible.  Despite your desperate attempt at mind-reading and fortune-telling, I am not a rebellious sinner!  After 2000 years of asking Christians for evidence, the best they seem to be able to come up with is, ‘You just have to have faith, and you won’t know until you die.’  That is unacceptable to me – no sin involved.  👿

Institute Of Higher Learning

My home-town of Southampton, Ontario, rises up from the shore of Lake Huron.  Even 50 feet above the lake, at the top of the hill, where my 1850 birth-home still sits, the water table is not far beneath the ground.  It, and many other residences and commercial buildings are landscaped upwards, and still have shallow basements.  Ours would have fit Frodo Baggins.

What is now a wing of the Bruce County Historical Museum, was once my six-room, brick, elementary school.  It perches on the bank of a pond behind it, twenty feet above the water, but its feet are still wet.  To enter the front door required a climb up ten concrete steps to a small landing, then another step up, into a tiny atrium, and yet another step up, onto the main floor.

This upward architecture was not chosen to allow sunlight in through basement windows.  There were none.  Boys played on one side, girls on the other.  There were three steps up to get in either side door, and you still entered on the landing of the basement stairway.

Stairs, stairs, stairs – and more stairs.  😯  The ceilings were 12 feet high.  There were no elevators or escalators.  There was no accommodation for handicapped students.  You had to be physically fit to attend school.  When the student body at this school got high…. It wasn’t at 4:20, because weed was what you pulled out of your mother’s gardens.   😉

There Are No Words To Describe It

When I claimed that there is no English language, John, our jovial trivial videographer asked, “How do they know English has no original words?”

I responded that, “I know, because I’ve historically researched it for years, especially when I was tracing my ‘Scottish’ roots.  The results of that search are at It’s In The Jeans, if you’re interested.

Let’s start 2000 years ago, when what would later become England, was sparsely settled, and the language was the various dialects of Celtic tribes, like the Iceni, whose Queen Boudicca (Boadicea) was so badly treated by the invading Romans.

The Romans added many words to the mix, including much Latin, but only the officers were “Romans.”  The spear-carriers and their polyglot languages came from all around the Mediterranean.  Traders from far and wide visited the shores also.  Christ’s uncle, Joseph 0f Arimathea, supposedly traded along the western coast, bringing Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

Around 900 AD, the Germanic Jutes, Angles, and Saxons arrived, making themselves and their languages at home.  The Jutes somehow just disappeared, but the Angles and Saxons became “Anglo-Saxon.”   The ‘Angle land’ kingdoms became the ‘England’ of today.  Their language mixed with the Romano-Celtic, with additions from Scottish Picts, Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, and Welsh, becoming Old English, a term only applied today.

A hundred years later, William the Conqueror, invaded the island.  He was the king of the French province of Breton, bringing the term ‘Britain’ to the language.  Many new words and terms were added.  Although consumption was in French, production was still in ‘English.’  Veau, boeuf, porc, and poulet were eaten by French nobles as veal, beef, pork, and poultry, while peasants still raised ‘English’ calves, cows, pigs, and chickens.

Norse Vikings, whose language also carried much Germanic influence, began raiding, and settling, adding some of their words to the olio.  The rise of the British Empire brought back words from all over the globe, Asia (Hong Kong), and hundreds from India.

The Kings and Queens of Europe were all inter-related, bringing in words from Spain, France, Italy, Poland and Russia.  The British Royal Family were German Battenbergs until WW I forced them to become English Mountbattens.

As new words were added, old terms fell out of use.  Some old English words are still in dictionaries as archaic.  Shewed and shewn became showed and shown, and thee, thou, thy and thine became you, your and yours.

It’s like trying to nail fog to a tree. There never was (and still isn’t) a time when there was a true English language.  It all came from somewhere else.  It is the tongue of immigrants, traders and conquerors – and a most excellent tool for communication.

Word is, that there will be another, fascinating post here in two days.  I will use these immigrant words to describe how elated I am that you visit.  😀

Fighting For One-Liners

I just won my first cage fight….
….The parrot didn’t know what hit him.

I was reading this book today, The History of Glue….
….I couldn’t put it down.

I hired a handyman to do some odd jobs around the house….
….He did every other thing on the list.

I made strawberry jam today….
….It was a jarring experience.

Snaccident….
….Eating an entire bag of chips by mistake.

Women only have two problems….
….Nothing to wear, and no room for all their clothes.

Life is like a helicopter….
….I don’t know how to operate a helicopter.

It’s probably just my age….
…That tricks people into thinking I’m an adult.

The Devil whispered to me, “I’m coming for you.”….
….I said, “Bring pizza.”

If you’re lost in the woods, start talking about politics….
….Someone will show up to argue with you.

When a clock is hungry….
….It goes back four seconds.

I often break into song….
….Because I can’t find the key.

I just sold my homing pigeon on eBay….
….For the 22nd time.

I’m not lazy….
….I’m just in Energy-Saving Mode.

What do you call a person who studies soft drinks?….
….A Fizzicist.

If I eat 3 bags of chips, and drink 4 cans of soda, what do I have?….
….No self-control.

My wife said, “I’m going out for a couple of hours.  Do you want anything?”….
….I replied, No, that’s enough.”

I couldn’t sleep last night, so I started reading the dictionary….
….By 3:00 AM I was past caring.

To the two criminals who stole my calendar….
….I hope you both get six months.

Did you hear about the criminal who pick-pocketed a dwarf?….
….How could he stoop so low?

I’ve heard of a lot of dumb criminals….
….But bakery robbers take the cake.

I think I need professional help….
….A chef, a butler, and a maid should do it.

Did you know that 2 or 3 glasses of wine a day….
….Can reduce your chances of giving a shit.

Let’s talk again, after they find….
….A cure for your personality.

Tradition is….
….Peer pressure from the dead.

My New Year’s resolution is to procrastinate….
….I’ll start tomorrow.

TILWROT II

Take me out of the ball game.

In the early 1960’s, before I arrived in this burgh, interest in, and support for, Junior, City-League Baseball was waning.  One local team felt that they needed $10,000, a considerable sum, to pay for a year’s uniforms, equipment and transportation costs, and no sponsors were coming forward.

One 16-year-old, baseball-crazy boy had an idea.  He would sit on a 6’ X 6’ platform on top of a 50 foot flagpole in the ball park, until the amount was raised.  He lasted three days, until unexplained stomach pains caused the same fire crew and ladder truck that put him up, to lower him down again.  His almost-feat was recently recounted in the ‘Flash From The Past’ history column in a Saturday newspaper.  His name was Ken Fryfogel.

Things I Learned While Researching Other Things – Act 2 – Fryfogel

The name Fryfogel is very uncommon.  Ancestry.com only has 298 listed in North America.  The unnumbered few in Canada are all in Ontario, and I suspect, most right here in Southwestern Ontario.  I decided to research.

Fryfogel appears to be a Germanic name, like Vogel – which is a bird, or Logel – who was a cooper.  Surname-meaning websites just shrugged.  I tried a translation website, but got nothing.  I tried changing the spelling from ‘el’ to ‘le.’  I tried pulling it apart, into Fry, and fogel – nothing.  I tried entering ‘fogel’ into a dictionary site.  I got, No listing for ‘fogel.’  Did you mean fodgel?’

I don’t know.  Do I??!  I’ve never run into the word.  What does it mean?   Yorkshire/Scottish dialect – a short, fat person-by extension, a fat hen.  So, a Fryfogel is someone who cooks up a big fat chicken.  Twenty miles from here, at the intersection of a concession road and the highway, halfway to Justin Bieber’s ex-home, stands the historic, 200-year-old Fryfogel Inn.  😎  What better name for an innkeeper than one that says that he’ll serve you up some fried chicken along with your ale?

I’ll be serving up some more interesting drivel in a couple of days.  Hope to see you then.  😀

Flash Fiction #266

PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox

THE WILD WEST

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes today’s Tourist Tram Trip to the Potsdam Paintball Palace.  Please follow the umpire to your left.  He is not a forensic technician, investigating a murder.  Please turn in the protective eye wear that you were issued.  You may keep your paper safeguard suits.  Any bruises incurred, should fade in about a week.  Tomorrow, they will be colors that match your suits.

For those of you not already sufficiently spun, you may take a complementary ride on our Pinwheel Carousel.

(Crazy Americans!  We have restaurants, history and art museums.  They come here to shoot guns??!)  🙄

***

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

Having A Panic Sale

IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES
IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES

As March blew in like a lion, it blew a bit of Christian desperation, depression, fear, and entitlement, into the daughter’s house.

In the days previous, both the wife and son had been phoned, to do a survey about how various political parties and levels of Government had – or had not – been handling COVID.  The daughter got a phone call, and an unctuous female voice asked her if she had some time to talk about COVID.

She assumed that this was just another polling company.  The first few questions seemed – normalHow was COVID affecting her?  Did she go out often?  Since she had been locked indoors for most of the winter, she had the time and inclination to converse with someone.

Suddenly, the question was, Do you believe that COVID, and all the other terrible things that are happening, are the beginning of the end?  The sign of the Apocalypse??  The coming of the Rapture??!  Ah, a frightened Christian Fundamentalist – She just said NO.

How can you not believe that it’s The End Of The World?  “Because it’s all natural progression.  We’ve seen it all, dozens, hundreds of times before; we’re seeing it again, and we will see it in the future.”

I’d just like to leave you with some words from the Good Book, to make you feel better.  The daughter told her that she wasn’t feeling bad, and she already had “a book.”  She just didn’t tell her that it was one from Dr. Seuss, for adults.  It as easily could have been the Wiccan Bible, or the Pagan Prayer-book.

Ms Bible-thumper persisted.  You should just read Psalms 29, v 16-17.  The daughter replied, “That would be pretty hard for me to do, since I don’t have a Bible in the house.”  She told me, she could almost hear the fit of apoplexy coming on.  You don’t have a Bible??!  “No!  But thanks for calling.  Bye.”

Christian callers to podcast shows like The Atheist Experience, and Talk Heathen, accuse them of ‘trying to take away their religion, and their faith in Christ.’  One host rebuts this by saying that they only accept calls.  They do not make outgoing calls.  They do not go door to door asking, “Have you stopped believing in Christ yet?”  Apparently some Christian Missionaries won’t return the favor.

We had the Spanish Flu a hundred years ago.  Millions died but the world didn’t end.  We had the Black Death – The Plague – 500 years ago.  A third of the population of Europe died, but the world did not end.

The fear-mongering prediction of The End Times is almost a Christian cottage-industry, sold to, and bought by, fear-stricken followers with great gullibility, panicked imaginations – and absolutely no memory, or understanding of History.

One of the earliest recorded predictions of the end of the world came from Simon bar Giora, a member of the Jewish Essenes sect, about 66/70 CE. These years were a period in which the Jews of Judea rose up against the Romans who were in control of the area. The prediction ran that this fight would be the actual end times battle that presaged the coming of the Messiah.

Some people claim that Nostradamus (1555) predicted the end of the world, but careful study of his entertaining poetry will reveal that he made no such declaration.   Jeff Nilsson wrote about the Mother Shipton predictions in 2011. A new collection of the 16th century oracle’s visions was published in 1873.  Despite the fact that the publisher later admitted that he made the whole thing up, people still bought into prediction that the world would end in 1881 as it said in the book. Contemporary evidence seems to indicate that it did not.

Between 1996 and 2011, Televangelist Harold Camping made not one, but four, successive Apocalypse predictions.  His Christian broadcaster was finally forced to quietly give him the boot, and wash their hands of him.

The religious side of the Y2K panic made even less of an impact than the electronic one – especially since fearful followers got the dates wrong.  More bad dates (Not on Tinder) let the 2012 Mayan Calendar disaster pass without occurring.

In the long history of doomsday predictions, the apocalypse has been cancelled repeatedly over the centuries. From comets to computers to calendars (mainly Mayan), a surplus of expected end times has been available to every culture. And yet, as far we can tell, we’re still here – no thanks to Christian doomsayers.

Things I Learned While Researching Other Things

I give all credit for the idea of this post to the late journalist Sydney J. Harris, who would occasionally include something he called “Things I Learned While Looking Up Other Things” in his syndicated column.

This is a post about words and phrases. These are my building blocks, so they’re something I’m always interested in.  You understand the sometimes frustrating task of trying to find the correct word or phrase.

Occasionally, I’ll read or type words that I may understand in the context in which I’m seeing or using them, but will suddenly realize that I’m not certain where the words or phrases originated.

In this amazing Computer Age, I can afford a few minutes of distraction to investigate them further.

Right off the bat — As expected, the phrase “right off the bat,” meaning “immediately; at once; without delay” is a sports metaphor that has been traced back to the late 1880s with that usage. I just made the assumption that the sport was baseball—and it probably is—but some suggest that it may have originated with cricket (as baseball did).

Nitpicker — The word nitpicker means someone who finds faults, however small or unimportant, everywhere they look. We all know someone like that. If we don’t, it’s probably us. The word itself is relatively new, from about 1950 or so. It comes from the idea of picking nits (or lice eggs) out of someone’s hair. A nitpicker is as meticulous about finding faults as a literal nitpicker should be at finding each louse egg. Yes, it’s kind of a disgusting word origin, which is why nitpicker has negative connotations.

Top-notch — We know that top-notch means “excellent” or “of the highest quality.” But, what are its origins? It seems that no one really knows. It first appeared suddenly in its current usage in the mid-19th century. It has been suggested that it originated from one of several tossing games imported from Scotland that required a player to throw a weighted object over a horizontal bar. The best score would be when the bar was in the “top notch,” naturally. This sounds reasonable, but it’s really just a guess. Other guesses have it relating to logging, with the best lumberjacks able to cut from the highest notches, or some such thing. Another had something to do with candles and courting, but that’s been mostly debunked. Bottom line: we don’t know.

Since Hector was a pup* — Meaning “for a long time.” I can’t say this is exactly a regional colloquialism, although I heard it the first (and only) time from some guy in South Carolina. He said that it was something his dad always said, and, in the context it was used, the meaning was obvious.  Best guess, according to Internet sources, is that it is referring to the Trojan War hero Hector, since the phrase originated during a time when people were more well-versed in the classics. And that was, indeed, a long time ago.

Hemming and hawing — The phrase means to hesitate to give a definite answer. It dates back to the 1400s and is echoic in nature. A more modern interpretation would be “um-ing and er-ing” probably, with “um” and “er” being common filler sounds in hesitant speech. I always assumed it had something to do with either sewing or sailing. I was mistaken.

Gamut — I used the word “gamut,” knowing that its definition meant the complete range or scope of something. My actual sentence began “our entertainment choices run the gamut from …” But, where did the word “gamut” come from? It turns out that gamut originally meant “lowest note in the medieval musical scale” and it was a contraction of Medieval Latin gamma ut, from gamma, the Greek letter indicating a note below A, plus ut (later called do (as in “do re mi”), the low note on the six-note musical scale. So the word gamut was originally all about music, but later morphed into meaning “the whole musical scale,” or, figuratively, “the entire range or scale” of anything. Its first usage in this manner can be traced to the 1620s.

Honeymoon — The word and concept of the honeymoon owes more than a little to alcohol (as do some weddings: but, I digress—). The medieval tradition of drinking honeyed wine for a full moon cycle after a wedding was supposed to ensure a fruitful union between the new bride and groom. I guess Champagne is a modern-day analogue to honey wine.

Throwback — It means a person or thing that is similar to something of an earlier type or time. It was already in use with more or less the current definition in the mid-19th century. It is a combination of the verb “throw” and the adverb “back.” I can’t find a more pithy origin story for the word, even apocryphal stories that have been debunked. I was sure it would have its origin in the sport of fishing.

Venting your spleen — This particular idiom means “to express your anger.” From medieval times until the 19th century, the spleen—an organ in the body near the stomach—was thought to be the source of the “humors” that caused the emotion of anger. This is a colorful and archaic phrase. I contracted hepatitis as a 12-year-old.  (My mother called it jaundice, because I turned a lovely yellow/orange color from all the excess bile in my system.  I couldn’t keep food or drink down for two weeks, and lost 20 pounds – not a good thing on a skinny, stick-thin kid.)  But, I digress— anyway, my spleen was swollen while I had jaundice. I don’t recall being angry, but I did throw up a lot.

One to grow on — I thought an origin for this idiom would be easy to find, but it remains mostly a mystery.  When you had a birthday, it was a tradition to receive your birthday spanking by your friends or family, with the flat of the hand or with a paddle or belt. One person on-line said the birthday person would be “lightly paddled.” They didn’t live anywhere near me. Anyway, you’d get one swat for each year of your age, and then one extra swat, called the “one to grow on.” It’s like the baker’s dozen of birthday-themed beatings. I still don’t know the origins. Here’s one guess: you say something “grows on” you to mean that you become accustomed to it. Is the birthday punishment tradition meant for you to get used to pain because that’s all adulthood has to offer you in the future? That’s a little bleak, but it will serve as a placeholder until someone can offer me a better explanation.

* * * * *

Things I Learned While Researching Other Things = TILWROT
Remember that!  
As a lover of words, I know I’ll keep collecting these. Plus, I’ll keep posting them, I’m sure.

*Actually…. My Mother used to say, “Since ‘Towser’ was a pup.”  Now I’m off to research ‘Towser.’  Lord knows what I’ll find.

 

A Love Of Reading

Even for a grumpy, retired old dude like me, with nothing much to do, COVID-infested infected 2020 provided me with a little extra time to read ‘em and reap.  I thought that I was doing well, but….  The son swore off TV some years ago, and spends all his spare time reading – something.  He still reads the occasional dead-tree book, but gets most of his from Kindle Unlimited.  Kindle keeps track of how many books he has read – and reread.  In 2019, he went through 152.  During Apocalypse 2020, his list numbered 213.  I recently went to bed.  By the time I arose, eight hours later, he’d (re)read 3 books.
I only got these 37.

Hawking dumbed down ‘A Brief History of Time’ enough that I understood a lot of it. Mlodinow further simplified the concepts, in this version.

Book number 6 of The Expanse series. I am currently watching my way through series number five, on Amazon Prime

Interstellar Sci-Fi, with magic. Thanx to the son for introducing me to this series.

A time-filling men’s adventure book

A little bit of spaceships and ray-guns Sci-Fi

Alternate-Earth, with magic. Second book, Red Magic will be in this year’s list.

More Action/Adventure

A Sci-Fi book about time travel. One of several read last year.

A stand-alone book from these author’s ‘Magic” series, explaining some plot focus changes, and allowing for the beginning of a new series.

A murder mystery from fellow blogger K J Ivany. A post about this book will soon follow.

The culmination of the ‘Magic’ series. Swords, vampires, shapeshifter were-animals, and various monsters. It’s been fun.

Book #2, mate to last year’s ‘Saints.’

Book number five of The Expanse Series – the one I’m currently streaming. Thanx BrainRants – great reading, and watching.

Bourne Identity type of men’s action/adventure

Another in The Innkeeper, ‘Sweep’ series. This husband/wife writing team are almost as prolific as Isaac Asimov, with four series and several singletons.

More mindless men’s adventure. I am highly qualified.

Another Jack Reacher book. Another in the series has just been released for this year’s reading. As Clive Cussler passed his series on to his son, so has Lee Child passed his on to his son.

Tom Clancy’s heirs just passed the writing of the Jack Ryan series on to a committee of commercial writers.

Same series – different author

An invading alien machine makes the gods of Greece, Egypt and Rome real for those trapped inside a reality bubble.

If one was fun – and more importantly – sold, let’s trap another group with the Norse gods.

One of several ‘Classic’ Sci-Fi books that I reread. A book review will soon follow.

I realized that I had not read this book in the 1960s, so I bought it from Kindle for $1.99.

For the same two bucks, Star Rangers (above), came attached to this book, which I had read in the mid-’60s, titled ‘The Last Planet.’ As a matched pair, this second novel now makes more sense.

Eight millennia-old immortals among us, and how they have dealt with change. Another upcoming book review will tell you how.

Historical/urban fiction to pass the time

More Sci-Fi rereading. I originally read this, titled as ‘The Junkyard Planet.’ How to pull a failed world up by its financial bootstraps.

More interesting men’s action/adventure to pass the time. The first of another series which I believe I have to thank River Girl for introducing me to. The rest will help keep me busy in 2021.

Another reread from the ’60s. Urban fiction which barely qualifies as Sci-Fi because a man finds a way to get rich through industrial espionage, by inventing a device which allows him to move about, unseen and unstopped, while time stands still for everyone else.

More historical/urban fiction. They contain a pleasant amount of fascinating trivia.

Not much blood and guts, but lots of brains and gunplay. Solid story arc and character development.

Were the ten plagues of Egypt actually real?? Is the entire biome of the Earth a semi-sentient, interlocked, Gaia-type entity? Dunno! But it makes good reading.

Another ghost-writer, for Clive Cussler, presents a period-piece action/adventure whose hero is an early 20th century detective, reminiscent of the real Alan Pinkerton.

Time travel without leaving home. Bits and pieces of geography and time periods are inexplicably swirled together. Can our hero figure out how to put it all back where/when it belongs?

Centuries of life through organ transplants for planetary monarchs, but not for the their subjects. A topic brought up in this ’60s novel. The author also wrote the 1776/1976 American Bicentennial Saga series. If I read this book soon after its release, I don’t remember it. It was a pleasant discovery in a storage box.

At least one book to reinforce my lack of belief in the supernatural/religion. A disappointing little 156-page novelette with several passages repeated in different chapters.  Trying to justify his position through  philosophy and logic – and failing miserably.  As dry and tasteless as Muffets.

COVID19 should have given most of you some extra time this past year to read.  Aside from my magnificent prose, did you encounter anything morally or intellectually uplifting?