I Was Born To….?

Dictionary

Knowing that I’m always desperate for a blog-theme, the daughter sent me a link to a website which lists ‘Words That Were Born The Same Year You Were.’

I am always amused by the ego demonstrated by the Dictionary.com F.A.Q., “How do I get a word into the dictionary?” First you come up with a useful word, and then you convince two million Millennials to bring it up to common usage.  This is not easy with today’s language users.

Canada’s dollar coin had been christened ‘The Loonie’ because of the bird on it. When the two-dollar coin came into existence, I thought that ‘Doubloon’ would be a great name.  I did not get my way.  As you may have noticed, the Lowest-Common-IQ Brigade gave it the interesting and creative (Insert sarcasm here) name of ‘Toonie’ – YAWN!

My manufacturing plant acquired a short, stocky, jolly, but totally useless supervisor, at the height of the ‘Tickle Me Elmo’ craze. I was all for calling him Elmo, but my 25-year-younger friend Tony, gave him the 25-year-older moniker of Boo-Boo, from the earlier Yogi Bear cartoons, and it stuck.

When I plugged my birth year in, I expected to find words like pterodactyl, or Palaeolithic. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, in 1944, near the end of World War II, the war-time scientific research had given birth to some technical terms that many people think did not come into existence until years or decades later.

I would have thought that, in any given year, a dozen, or perhaps two dozen, new words come into existence. I was amazed at the 1944 list.  There are almost 250, ten times what I’d expect.  Some of the science/technology words intrigue me, words like superglue, permanent press, G suit, dishpan hands, carpet bomb, bungee cord, antigravity, and brain cramp.  The word ‘babysit’ was born that year.  I thought that it had been around far earlier.  Click on the link above, visit the site, plug in your birth-year and see what the words say about you.

Advertisements

’17 A To Z Challenge – P

Challenge2017

letter-p

Only because I let him, my dog eats

Peanut Butter

PEANUT BUTTER

Born a slave, George Washington Carver spent his life improving the peanut plant, and championing its uses and the planting of it as a crop in the Southern U.S. Like the oats which made Scottish warriors the men they were, one of his best reasons was that peanuts were a cheap, plentiful food for Negroes, rich in protein and other nutrients.

The peanut plant is a nitrogen-fixing legume which fertilized and re-enriched soil made poor from constant growing of cotton. While he sometimes took public credit for the discoveries of others, aside from the food value of peanuts, Carver found many uses for the nuts and plant.

Peanuts have a variety of industrial end uses. Paint, varnish, lubricating oil, leather dressings, furniture polish, insecticides, and nitroglycerin are made from peanut oil. Soap is made from saponified oil, and many cosmetics contain peanut oil and its derivatives. The protein portion is used in the manufacture of some textile fibers. Peanut shells are used in the manufacture of plastic, wallboard, abrasives, fuel, cellulose (used in rayon and paper), and mucilage (glue).

The food value was where Carver concentrated. He published a small brochure, listing 105 recipes/uses for peanuts.  One of the greatest things to come from peanuts, is peanut butter.  I dig a small dollop onto the tip of a kitchen knife, and dip the dog’s daily antihistamine pill in it.

Peanut butter is just basically finely ground peanuts, although commercial producers add sugars, salt and stabilizers. In my little neck of the universe, in the late 1940s and ‘50s, we still had to stir jars of peanut butter, because the oils would separate out.

In 1922, a chemist developed a process for homogenizing it. In 1928, he sold the rights to a company which marketed it as ‘Peter Pan.’  Apparently before conflict of interest/competition contracts, in 1932, he began producing his own peanut butter under the name ‘Skippy.’  Later, he churned in recovered peanut bits, creating the first chunky peanut butter.

For reasons unknown to me, the son recently stirred the top half of a new jar. Apparently that negates the homogenizing effect, and now the oils must be stirred back in each time we open it.  It also changed the peanut butter from a semi-solid paste, to a drippy sauce.  You have to move quickly to get it where it’s going, or have it run off the knife, onto the kitchen counter.

Peanut butter….it goes anywhere, any time –white bread, rye, bagels, plain or toasted, crackers. It finds its way into Thai food with peanut sauce.  It goes with anything….spread it along with honey, or jam, (Good Old P. B. & J!)  Elvis Presley used to like it in peanut butter and banana sandwiches – although he wanted the bananas mushed, and the assembly fried, like a grilled cheese.

Me? I slice a banana into 3 slabs, lengthwise, and lay it over the PB, on toast – usually rye.  On white toast, I slather Miracle Whip on top of the PB.  It has a spicier taste than plain mayo, and sets off the peanut butter’s taste.  You Americans don’t know what you’re missing.  Then again, I’ve been known to put catsup ketchup, even my Spicy Ketchup, as a spread on toast, and you’ve been lucky enough to miss that, too.

I gotta go check with my bathroom scale, to see if I’m allowed some peanut butter and rye crackers as a snack today. The dog is already looking at me suspiciously.  How about you guys??  Eat it?  Leave it?  Like it?  Hate it?  Partner it with what??  😕

Flash Fiction #141

Eat Your Heart Out

PHOTO PROMPT © Kelvin M. Knight

SIBLING RIVALRY

“It’s no fair, Mom! How come Robbie gets to go on the school art museum trip, and I don’t??  He’s just a year older”

“Howie, I told you before. You have to improve your grades, but despite being yelled at several times, you’re too busy playing street-hockey with your ‘posse’ to do your homework.  You’ve slipped from B-, to C.  You’ll have to stay home and study.”

Rob couldn’t resist taunting his younger brother. “Art is for people with maturity.  You haven’t been showing much lately, so you have to stay home while I go, and eat your heart out.”

***

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

On-Line One-Liners

Ditzy Blonde

How can you tell if a blonde is having a bad day?

She has a tampon behind her ear and she forgot
where she put her pencil.

***

How many dead hookers does it take to change a light bulb? Apparently, more than two three, because my basement is still dark.

***

If everything is under control, you’re moving too slowly.

***

Couch potato? Sounds delicious; does anyone have a recipe? I’d look for one, but I’m reclining in front of the TV.

***

Cutting a gateau into slices looks difficult; turns out it’s a piece of cake.

***

Don’t worry about parallel lines and vanishing points. It’s all a matter of perspective.

***

Yesterday, I was washing the car with my son. He said: ‘Dad, can’t you just use a sponge?’

***

Amputations cost an arm and a leg these days.

***

Atoms are made up of small subatomic particles called protons, neutrons, electrons and morons. My atoms have extra morons.

***

Never trust what an atom tells you. They make up everything.

***

You know you’re a bad driver when your GPS says, “In 400 feet, stop and let me out.”

***

I almost borrowed a book from the library called HOW to HUG; until I noticed it was volume twelve of an encyclopedia…

***

I also foolishly invested in a failing graffiti business; I didn’t see the writing on the wall.

***

I have one of those memory foam cushions, but I can’t remember where I put it.

***

Eco-friendly computers can be constructed from the outer layers of tree trunks, but they turn out to be all bark and no byte.

***

Did you hear about the scientist who froze himself down to absolute zero? He’s OK now.

***

I can’t decide if I like this variable temperature hair dryer; I’m blowing hot and cold.

***

I found a great site that sells sausages online; but the link’s broken.

***

I got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning. Now I’m trapped in a tiny gap next to the wall.

***

How do we know that the Earth isn’t flat? If it were, cats would have pushed everything off the edge by now.

***

I just joined the Flat Earth Society. We have members all around the globe.

 

You Want It, We Got It

Junk

The wife and I are Mr. and Mrs. Just-In-Case. Over the years, if there’s been some small, inexpensive thing that could make our lives easier, we’ve purchased it.  As I bitched about in my ‘Autumn Housecleaning’ post, the problem is that we never get rid of things we no longer use.

Living as we have, in the same houses for decades, we have accumulated the greatest collection of ‘stuff’, some of it fairly non-standard.  We lived for a couple of years beside a single mother with two young daughters.  She acquired a long-term boyfriend who was there for more than just the free sex.  Whenever he tried to clean up, fix up or paint up, she never had any/the right tools, so she would tell him to go next door, and ask Archon if he might borrow something.

A tree branch had grown over the driveway where he wanted to park his car. Would I have a saw that he could use to cut it off?  We used to go camping when the kids were young.  How about a small, light bucksaw? Perfect!

Later, he wanted to clear out a lilac bush which had overgrown a fence corner. Did I have a small axe or hatchet that he could cut out the sucker shoots with? See ‘camping’, above.  Weekend after weekend this went on, many requests common, some, not as much.  A circular saw, a hand drill and set of bits, a pipe wrench(?), tape measure, carpenters’ level, (3-foot professional, or foot-long home version?) a pry-bar, (standard crowbar or 8 inch window jimmier?) all quickly, freely provided.

Finally, she wanted to reward him for the things he’d done around her place, by baking him a cake. For this, she wanted a spring-form cake pan.  “Go next door and ask (Mrs.) Archon if they have one.”  If it involves food, ‘Of course we do!’  As I handed it to him, he asked, “Do you guys have everything?”

I guess she didn’t understand the ‘spring-form’ concept. You’re supposed to unlatch the little clip on the side to increase the diameter and have the cake slide out.  Apparently she tried to remove it with a large butcher knife, ruining the non-stick, Teflon coating, and gouging the aluminum pan.  She felt badly, and bought a replacement at a Dollarama store, but it wasn’t the quality that the wife had found.

Loupe

Even now, there are things in our house that I’m sure few other homes contain. The son owns a jewellers’ loupe, that thing that you stick in your eye and hold in place with your eyebrow, which magnifies things 10 times.  He bought it from a local jeweller after he left high school, but can’t remember why.  I’ve used it often over the years to check the detail on some of the coins I’ve acquired.

Mortar and Pestle

Recently, the wife encountered a recipe that called for powdered ginger. We have fresh ginger root, grated ginger and dried, chunk ginger.  We also have a small, powerful little electric ‘thing’ useful for such tasks as grinding coffee.  It would quickly turn the dry chunks into powder, but the wife decided to go a different way.

(To the son) “Call your sister, and ask her if we can borrow her mortar and pestle.  She just bought one that she uses to crush herbs for cooking, home remedies and aromatherapy.”

The son replied, “Why bother her? When she bought the new one, I bought her old one from her.  It’s in my room.”  It now sits in pride of place, below the overstuffed spice rack in the kitchen, groaning under every spice known to man, and a couple only to Martians.  ‘Eat your heart out bland potatoes, Matt Damon.’

Into each life, a little weird must fall. It’s just that it falls a little harder and faster at our house.  😉

WOW #8

Dictionary

DUDGEON

Definitions for dudgeon
a feeling of offense or resentment;
anger:
We left in high dudgeon.

Origin of dudgeon
1565-1575
Dudgeon entered English in the 1560s and is of uncertain origin.

I’ve always liked this word, and was happy to see it pop up. It harks back to a gentler, classier, more mannerly age, where you could show your utter loss of patience with a person or a social situation without throwing a snit, or a dismissive, valley-girl, “Whatever…” The last person to stalk off in high dudgeon may have been Scarlet O’Hara.

I remembered that, in the next town, there was a family named Dudgeon, so I looked the name up.

Last name: Dudgeon

This interesting surname has two distinct possible origins. First it may be the patronymic form of the male given name Dodge, a pet form of Roger. Hrothgar was an Anglo-Saxon name deriving from the elements “hroth” meaning fame and “gar” a spear, Roger, becoming a favourite form from the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 onward. It may also come from the obsolete word “dudgeon”, a wood used in making the handles of knives and daggers etc. and would have been an occupational surname for a turner or cutler. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 14th Century, (see below). In the modern idiom the name is found as Dodgen, Dodgeon, Dodgin and Dudgeon. Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Dudgeon#ixzz4ZTie2NV6

It’s fascinating, (at least it is for me) to see the development of this name from Hrothgar, to Roger, to Dodge, to Dudgeon. It was also another reminder to me, not to rely on only one source of reference.

Dictionary.com claims the word entered the English language in the 1560s, and the origin is uncertain. SurnameDB on the other hand, makes it a couple of centuries – as much as 500 years, older, and gives the meaning as a type of wood used to make knife handles.

I’d like to believe the ‘knife-making’ origin for this word, because, a thousand years ago things weren’t quite as classy and restrained. People who were in a high dudgeon (nobody’s ever in a low dudgeon) tended to take care of their own problems, often with a dagger, without calling in the Federal Commission On Political Correctness, because their little feelings were hurt.

Just ‘cause I like you, here’s a link to look at some of the Art-type Daggers I’ve seen at knife shows.

Thanx for stopping in. I’ll have more words later.   😀

A To Z Challenge – S

april-challenge

UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS

letter-s

I want to discuss my ancestors, but the above title is a lie. Upstairs/Downstairs was a British TV series dealing with the various goings-on of the upper-crust, upper-floor rich folk in a mansion, and the serving class below them, both physically and socially, who provided their every whim and wish.

My forebears didn’t live in no stinkin’ mansion, making tea, and cucumber sandwiches for effete dilettantes.   My folks have been industrious, productive people for hundreds of years.  They were ‘blue-collar’ long before blue collars existed.  A more accurate title might be Manor-House/Mill-house – and never the twain shall meet.

My father’s name (and mine) was Smith.  His progenitors originally were productive German artisans named Schmied.  Over many years, the name changed to Schmidt, and was carried to the newly-born United States of America by a Hessian mercenary, paid by the British.  After another hundred years, it got Anglicized to Smith.

Smith is a proud name, and a proud profession. It originally meant, one who produces, makes or manufactures something. Then the language changed so that it meant, a worker in metal.  Finally, the meaning narrowed to just the blacksmith, who pounds hot iron and steel.

I like to think of myself as a wordsmith.  I received blacksmith training in my high school shop class.  (Yes, I lived that far out in the sticks, and back in the mists of time.)  Blacksmith is making a comeback, both through the custom knife and sword makers, and artisans who supply millennial hipsters with hand-made gate latches, coat-racks, porch rails and coffee tables.

My mother’s side of the family supplied the name Stewart.  This is a Scottish name from the English word steward, meaning, one who takes take of something.  The spelling of this name also slipped a bit, to Stuart, and a branch of the clan became the Royal Stuarts, ruling, and ‘taking care of’, Scotland.

Before he emigrated from Glasgow to Canada, my maternal grandfather became the ‘Keeper of the Tartans’ at the fabric mill where he worked. He was the steward of the patterns of the plaids which clothed a good portion of the country.

letter-s-super

All in all, I think maybe this is the S that I should have chosen for this post.  I’m impressed with my family history.  How about you?  😎