’22 A To Z Challenge – B

 

Good afternoon class.  Today we’re going to discuss a phoney and valueless word, which came to epitomise a phoney and valueless city.  If it fell out of the mouths of anyone other than Englishmen, it would be Birmingham, but the rustic tongues of the northern shires turned it into

Brummagem

bruhmuh-juhm ]

showy but inferior and worthless

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF BRUMMAGEM?

Brummagem, an adjective and noun meaning “showy but inferior and worthless; something of that kind,” comes from the local Birmingham (England) pronunciation of Birmingham. The original (and standard) spelling and pronunciation of the city is bir-; the nonstandard or dialect spelling bru– is an example of metathesis, the transposition of sounds, a very common phenomenon.

Compare Modern English bird with Middle English brid (brid was the dominant spelling until about 1475; the spelling bird is first recorded about 1419).

The name Birmingham is first recorded as Bermingeham in William the Conqueror’s Domesday Book (1086); spelling variants with Br- first appear in 1198 as Brumingeham. In the mid-17th century Birmingham was renowned for its metalworking and notorious for counterfeit coins.  At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, there was an abundance of both metal, and men who knew how to work it.  It was easy to substitute cheap steel for valuable silver.

Brummagem entered English in the second half of the 17th century.

My Scottish ancestors, up in Glasgow, might steal an Englishman’s silver coins, or serve him a bowl of dodgy oatmeal, but they’d never stoop to counterfeiting.  Some of them might have been crooks, but they were honorable, honest crooks.   😉  😳

Kindergarten Comedy

My Kindergarten students are learning to read.  Recently one of them pointed to a picture in a book and said, “Look, a frickin’ elephant.”
Taking a deep breath, I asked why he had called it that.
“Cuz it says so in the book.”
And so it does – African elephant.

***

My wife and I went into town and visited a shop. When we came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket. We went up to him and I said, “Come on man, how about giving a senior citizen a break?”

He just ignored us and continued writing the ticket.

I called him an “a**hole.” He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn-out tires.

So my wife called him a “s*ithead.”

He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first.

Then he started writing more tickets. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote. He finally finished, sneered at us and walked away.

Just then our bus arrived, and we got on it and went home.

***

A young boy comes running down the street looking for a cop.

He finds one and then begs “Please, officer, come back to the bar with me, my father’s in a fight.”

Well, they get back to the bar and there’s three guys fighting like you wouldn’t believe.

After a while the cop turns to the kid and says “Okay, which one’s your father?”

The kid looks up at the cop and says, “I don’t know, officer, that’s what they’re fighting about.”

 

***

A Polish man walks into a store and asks to buy 2 pounds of Polish sausage. The guy behind the counter asks him if he is Polish. “I resent that…”. The Polish man says. “If I asked for chorizo, would you assume I was Mexican? If I asked for Bratwurst, would you assume I was German?” The guy behind the counter says “Nope, I’d still think you were Polish… This is a hardware store!!”

***

A new father and a nurse were filling out the paperwork for the birth of his new daughter.  “What’s the baby’s name?” she asked.
He replied, “Kelsey Noelle.”
Confused, the nurse asks, “How do you spell Kelsey, with no L??”

***

When I was young, I was poor.  Now, after long years of hard, honest work…. I am no longer young.

***

As I looked at my naked body in the mirror, I thought to myself, “I’m going to get tossed out of IKEA any minute now.

Edison On Religion


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Alva Edison:

…What I have denied and what my reason compels me to deny, is the existence of a Being throned above us as a god, directing our mundane affairs in detail, regarding us as individuals, punishing us, rewarding us as human judges might.  When the churches learn to take this rational view of things, when they become true schools of ethics and stop teaching fables, they will be more effective than they are to-day… If they would turn all that ability to teaching this one thing – the fact that honesty is best, that selfishness and lies of any sort must surely fail to produce happiness – they would accomplish actual things.

Religious faiths and creeds have greatly hampered our development. They have absorbed and wasted some fine intellects. That creeds are getting to be less and less important to the average mind with every passing year is a good sign, I think, although I do not wish to talk about what is commonly called theology.

The criticisms which have been hurled at me have not worried me. A man cannot control his beliefs. If he is honest in his frank expression of them, that is all that can in justice be required of him. Professor Thomson and a thousand others do not in the least agree with me. His criticism of me, as I read it, charged that because I doubted the soul’s immortality, or ‘personality,’ as he called it, my mind must be abnormal, ‘pathological,’ in other, words, diseased…

I try to say exactly what I honestly believe to be the truth, and more than that no man can do. I honestly believe that creedists have built up a mighty structure of inaccuracy, based, curiously, on those fundamental truths which I, with every honest man, must not alone admit but earnestly acclaim.

I have been working on the same lines for many years. I have tried to go as far as possible toward the bottom of each subject I have studied. I have not reached my conclusions through study of traditions; I have reached them through the study of hard fact. I cannot see that unproved theories or sentiment should be permitted to have influence in the building of conviction upon matters so important. Science proves its theories or it rejects them. I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God.

I earnestly believe that I am right; I cannot help believing as I do… I cannot accept as final any theory which is not provable. The theories of the theologians cannot be proved. Proof, proof! That is what I always have been after; that is what my mind requires before it can accept a theory as fact. Some things are provable, some things disprovable, some things are doubtful. All the problems which perplex us, now, will, soon or late, be solved, and solved beyond a question through scientific investigation.

The thing which most impresses me about theology is that it does not seem to be investigating. It seems to be asserting, merely, without actual study….Moral teaching is the thing we need most in this world, and many of these men could be great moral teachers if they would but give their whole time to it, and to scientific search for the rock-bottom truth, instead of wasting it upon expounding theories of theology which are not in the first place firmly based. What we need is search for fundamentals, not reiteration of traditions born in days when men knew even less than we do now.

Not For A Billion Dollars

Charles Ray Fuller, a Texas dumb-dumb, tried to cash a bogus check for $360 BILLION. To top it off, the check wasn’t even made out to him. He was arrested on forgery charges and sentenced to a million billion years in prison.

***

A West Palm Beach, FL man was arrested on a slew of charges, and was perhaps a bit too honest on his arrest report. He listed his occupation as “drug dealer” and was charged with being the most obvious criminal in the history of crime.

***

Things were looking up for Frank Singleton when he was released from jail. However, when he realized that he didn’t have a ride home, he walked straight into the prison parking lot and attempted to carjack a woman. He was foiled when he realized that he couldn’t drive a car with a stick shift. As he was re-arrested – this time, for felony carjacking – Singleton told police that he simply “didn’t feel like walking.” We’ve all been there.

***

Polish author Krystian Bala, might’ve gotten away with murder… if he hadn’t written about it in his book. His 2003 novel Amok became a bestseller in Poland, but he paid the price when police noticed that the details of a murder in the book eerily matched those of an unsolved case.

The similarities led the police to investigate further, discovering connections between Bala and the victim, including the fact that the victim was romantically involved with Bala’s ex-wife. Whether or not he was inspired by the OJ Simpson “novel” based on a similar subject is unknown. What is known that he received 25 years in prison.

***

The dumbest policeman in the world, who was making some extra cash with drugs and prostitution, was brought to justice after driving a $170,000 Ferrari to work. Osman Iqbal, an officer based in Birmingham England, was jailed for seven years for running a brothel.

***

John Pearce came to realize the hazards of daylight burglary when in the course of climbing through a window, his foot became caught, leaving him dangling upside-down in plain sight of pedestrians walking down the busy sidewalk. Onlookers proceeded to mock him mercilessly until police arrived.

***

A 22-year-old man in Mineral Wells, TX landed himself behind bars after allegedly posting on his Facebook page that he had more than a dozen warrants out for his arrest. The warrants ranged from traffic citations to petty theft and totaled more than $1,200 in fines.

***

Let it be known that you can now be arrested for ballin’ on a budget. William Anderson, 51, was arrested after attracting attention by applying for welfare while driving an H2 Hummer. Thinking it an odd sight, the local sheriff ran the plates, and the vehicle came up as stolen.

***

An Ohio man reportedly called 911 numerous times, threatening to harm himself, after he had downed an entire bottle of Everclear because his pet pig, Millie, had eaten all of his marijuana. He was charged with disorderly conduct and later said that he would keep his weed out of reach of his pot bellied pig.

***

A 56-year-old woman’s boldly idiotic defense in her trial for drunk driving was that the alcohol did not affect her because she kept one eye closed to avoid seeing double. She was sentenced to two months in prison. If she keeps her eye closed it could cut it down to one.

***

A Florida man and woman spent two days trapped in what they said they believed to be a locked closet – until police let them out and discovered that the door was actually never locked.

John Arwood and Amber Campbell claimed they were chased into a janitor’s closet at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, FL, by unidentified assailants. They were charged with trespassing and Campbell was also charged with violating her probation.

Adoption III

We just accepted three refugees into our home.

Adoption

After parents, Mama Garden Gnome, and Papa Garden Gnome, were killed in a freak riding-mower accident, my son generously offered to take in their orphaned sons.

Poor Larry is still horrified at the sight, and is covering his eyes. Shemp hears their screams, and covers his ears, while Moe thinks that he might throw up from the gore, and is covering his mouth.

The Three Stooges

Please note that these boys are genuine, Purebred Garden Gnomes ©, not to be confused with those grape-flavored, animated impersonators, The Smurfs. Smurfs are aptly named. As an adjective ‘smurf’ means illegal/trouble-making/untrustworthy. As a verb, it means con/scam/bamboozle.

As a noun, a smurf is a money-launderer, particularly one who breaks down large amounts of illicit money, into smaller, un-noticed amounts. The next time you see Papa Smurf – that shiny thing on his vest isn’t a gold button, it’s a Bitcoin pin – deceitful little investment broker. 🙄  Our new foster-sons wouldn’t do anything like that. They are honest and upstanding – in the flower garden.

Smurfs are Smurfs in every country except Germany. In Germany, they are called ‘Strumpfs,’ which means ‘stockings.’ I found that out one day, as I was pursuing The Last of The Mohicans. The pioneer explorers of the dense northern New York forests were known as leather-stockings – lederstrumpfs, in German. They used animal hide – usually deer skin – to make tough coverings for their legs, to protect from rattlesnakes, broken branches, brambles, briars, and poison ivy and sumac. There’s none of that in our gardens.

Adoption 2
(There are some Stooge sets that are so garish, even the son won’t buy them.)

Flash Fiction #202

Erudite

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAyr

RISE UP

Bobby’s mother said, ”You want to be what?”

“Sesquipedalian and erudite.”

Well, the long word meant, ‘using long words’, and the short one meant, ‘learned or scholarly.’ “Why?”

“I want to impress people.”

She replied, “Your grandmother used to say, ‘Don’t get above your raisin.’ ” She almost smiled at his puzzlement. She hadn’t understood it when she was 16, either. “The word is actually raising. It means, ‘Don’t put on phony airs’. People will like you if you are honest and real. You have to study to get big words. You can’t just find them with a magnifying glass.

***

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

WOW #33

Dictionary

This week’s word is for the Millennials.   It is

BLAMESTORMING

Once upon a time, not really that long ago, most folks possessed honesty, and strength of character.  They took responsibility for their own actions and mistakes.  Now, with entitlement piling up like Trump’s tweets against the non-existent Mexican wall, nobody admits to nuthin’.  No matter who you ask or accuse – they were facing north, when things went south.

Definition of blamestorming

The process of assigning blame for an outcome or situation.

Origin of blamestorming

Blamestorming was originally a colloquialism in American English, modeled on the much earlier (1907) brainstorming. It entered English in the 1990s.

“I cannot tell a lie.  I chopped down the cherry tree.” was a loooonngg time ago.  ‘No guts – No glory’ is taking on a sadly different meaning.  Far too few people have the guts to take responsibility for their own decisions and actions.  President Harry Truman would be disappointed to find an America populated with consequence-avoiding wimps who have changed his famous slogan to ‘The Buck Passes Here.’  😛

 

Flash Fiction #126

 

lost-head

PHOTO PROMPT © Liz Young

Gone – And Forgotten

Johan was the most disorganized, forgetful person I’d ever met.  Instead of putting things where they belonged, and knowing where they were, he just dropped them….wherever, and spent his days saying things like;
“I wonder where I set my beer down.”
“Has anybody seen my smokes?”
“I have to leave soon.
  Somebody help me find my keys.”

After locating his glasses for him – 8 times, today – I suggested that he arrange his life a little more carefully.  He agreed that it was a good idea.  “Honestly, sometimes I think I’d forget my own head if it wasn’t screwed on tight.”

***

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

 

Flash Fiction #49

Knowledge

PHOTO PROMPT – © Madison Woods

NOW YOU’RE LEARNING

Arggh, teenagers!  Jennine’s son was complaining, again, about having to go to school.

“I’ll never use anything they’re teaching.”

She surprised him by agreeing – almost.  With the exception of English and basic math, until you get to post-secondary, none of the subjects are really useful.

School is for learning to learn; to marshal your thoughts, to receive and research knowledge, to order and rate it, to work with others, to be an individual – and part of a group.

School teaches about stress, responsibility, persistence, honesty, and deadlines.  School teaches about reality, work, and life.  School can be an ever-flowing fount.

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

#454