’23 A To Z Challenge – E

The Sound of silence…. Music…. Language

Each language has its own sound – its own tempo – its own delivery.  Even if you don’t know what the foreign speaker is saying, you can often tell what language it is, simply by the sound of it.  Italian and Spanish sound like the machinegun chatter of chickadees on meth.  French sounds like the speaker is trying to evade being charged with child luring.  German sounds like someone is training a dog, and Russian seems spoken by a crew of cesspool cleaners.  I often know the area where an English native is from, just by the local accent.

Most languages don’t change much, or very quickly.  Spanish-speakers can read El Cid in the original, while Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, written at the same time, requires a translator.  English evolves, and its sound has changed over time.

It’s not just the new words, and the new meanings and usages of old words.  It’s that the world, and therefore the language, has grown larger, and more complex.  We have less time, to say more.  The construction is getting shorter, quicker, tighter, and wider, but not as deep.

A century ago, or two, we had the time – at least the privileged, educated,  upper crust – to converse and orate, using grandiloquent, polysyllabic words, often from Latin or Greek bases.  Those idyllic days are gone.  The grand old days of the unhurried Romance-era are long past.

I recently read a piece from another archaist like me – someone who likes to throw the occasional impressive antique usage in.  He used the word

EFTSOON

Soon after, before 950; Middle English eftsone,Old English eftsōna.See eft2, soon

While it was a sweet, caramel-sundae kind of word, we just don’t have the time for it anymore, in our fast-paced, frenetic lives.  The leisurely, imposing sound of it has been replaced by curt, businesslike words like ASAP, or stat.

The Good Old Days were only good for the cream of the social crop, but their relaxed, melodious language usage was pleasing to the ear.  Hurry back ASAP stat soon for another helping of blather.

RAPE!

Rape has disappeared.  It is no more.  Sadly, not the act, that’s still all too common, but the word – the term.  Woke insists that no-one’s delicate sensibilities shall be offended, and I am offended by that.

As a ten-year-old, after I had read for the third time that some young female had been raped, I just asked my Mother what “Rape” was.  It never occurred to me that any male would force a female to have intercourse.

Caught completely off-guard, she went into some embarrassed, her-sensibility non-offending story about, “Well, you know when a man doesn’t want to have a baby….” which just left me totally bewildered.  Not wanting to have a baby didn’t seem to have anything to do with it.  I knew what sex was.  I understood the mechanics.  Flap A went into slot B, even if I didn’t yet have a rigid Flap A.  One of my more street-wise friends soon set me straight.

In every medium, “Rape” has been replaced with ‘Assault.’  If the newspaper or television station is really daring, it might be “Sexual Assault.”  C’mon!  Call a spade, a spade!  I think that this just trivializes the concept of rape.  (Sexual) Assault is one thing.  Rape is something completely different and far worse.

Sexual assault is an over-ardent teen boyfriend, managing to unhook a bra-strap in the backseat of a car.  It is a handsy restaurant manager patting waitress’s butts.  It’s even Donald Trump “grabbin’ them right by the crotch, ‘cause you know they want it.”  It’s not “Rape” until it gets to FHRITP, or, until the check bounces.

Rape is degrading, and the result of expressed power and anger.  While not wanted or consented to, sexual assault is usually the result of overactive hormones.  Show some restraint and control, guys, or you could end up in prison, where you might find out what rape is really like.  😛

Fibbing Friday Royale

Last week’s Fibbing Friday from Pensitivity101 was based on a fictitious major event to which you, the reader, were invited. Below are 10 questions to lie about: Give them your best shot!

  1. What would you do if you found yourself seated next to a disgraced member of the family?

So, they caught up with you too??!  I’ve got a friend who knows how to disable CCTV cameras, but she wants a few bucks.  Wanna go halfsies?

2.  How would you react if you were subjected to ‘Hatgate’? That is someone with a monstrous hat being seated in front of you.

I would begin by quietly informing her that the Red Hat Society meeting was in the adjacent hall.  If that wasn’t successful I would stand up to take photos – six or eight times – ‘accidently’   knocking her millinery masterpiece on the floor.  I might even try to assist her putting it back on, and skewer Meh-Damn’s Madame’s ear with a hatpin.  It’s too bad that smoking in public has been banned.  I Someone might burn her hat and her hair-sprayed coiffure to the ground.

3.  Photographs are not allowed, but you have a plan to take pictures………. what is it?

An Etch-A-Sketch – with a pinhole camera in the back.

4.  The person on your left has fallen asleep. How would you wake them discreetly?

Wake them??!  Hell, I’d use their shoulder as a pillow.  If anything resembling ‘exciting’ occurs, I’m sure they’ll notify me – might even make a new friend.

5.  The grand entrance occurs and something is not quite right from your point of view. What is it?

The guest of honour, and all support staff, appear to think that I should give a damn.  I had six or seven gin and tonic antidotes to that at the local, before I arrived.

6.  After the service, it’s time for the buffet. Not quite sure where you’re supposed to go, what do you do?

Me??  Not know where the food is??  Shirley surely you jest, and stop calling me Shirley.  Follow my nose – or just follow the rest of the ravening horde.

7.  Making small talk over the canapés is awkward. What do you do to make it less so?

Make LARGE talk!  Wave my arms – one of which has a full drink.  Declaim loudly, and at great length, about what a genius Shakespeare was, and how he must have been a time-traveler, because the psycho-socio-political plot of Hamlet so closely matches the reign of Emperor term of President Trump – until there’s no-one left near the rumaki.  I love those little fellows.

8.  Time for the Speeches and they seem to go on for hours. What do you do to keep awake?

Count the number of times each speaker uses a phrase like, lay in wait, instead of ‘lie,’  or, I could care less.  The loser winner would receive a free, elementary-school English textbook.  There should be lots available.  Obviously they’re not using them in the schools.

9.  You are suddenly asked to say a few words at the podium. How do you react?

The solution is in the challenge.  Being a man of few words – I’ve said them.  Is the bar open?

10.  It has been a tiring experience and you catch 40 winks in a quiet corner. When you wake up, the venue is in darkness. What do you do?

Use my Smart phone to download such songs as Goodnight Irene, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Sleepwalk, Sweet Dreams, Talkin’ In Your Sleep, and the Everly Brothers’, Wake Up Little Suzie, to pass the time till the janitor comes in to open back up again in the morning.  I wouldn’t call the wife, though.  I want her to think that I’m having a good time at a bar, or picking up women.

Alcoholic One-Liners

Scientists studied the effect on alcohol on walking….
….The results were staggering.

Why is ‘abbreviated’….
….such a long word?

I still have a full deck….
….I just shuffle slower.

If the world’s human population held hands around the equator….
….a significant portion of them would drown.

Wal-Mart is giving out free school supplies….
….to anyone who can outrun Security.

Schrödinger’s cat walks into a bar….
….and doesn’t.

Pavlov is having a beer at the pub when his phone rings….
….He jumps up and yells, “Shit!  I forgot to feed the dog.”

Entropy isn’t what it used to be.

To tell the difference between a chemist and a plumber….
….ask them to pronounce ‘unionized.

Gravity is a myth….
….The Earth sucks.

Change is hard….
….Just try to bend a coin, you’ll see.

A man walks into a bar….
….and is disqualified at the limbo contest.

Beer doesn’t have many vitamins….
….so I drink several.

A day without beer is like….
….Just kidding.  I wouldn’t know.

How come 8 glasses of water a day is almost impossible….
….but 8 beers seems so easy?

People in Dubai don’t understand The Flintstones….
….but people in Abu Dhabi do.

I accidentally used the dog’s shampoo….
….Now I feel like such a good boy.

I believed that I could….
….but the cat was asleep on my lap, so I didn’t.

If 2022 was a drink….
….it would be a colonoscopy prep.

I told my suitcases, No vacation this year….
….now I’m dealing with emotional baggage.

Running feels great….
….unless you compare it to not running.

I don’t think it’s fair that only roosters….
….are allowed to start the day screaming.

If you love someone….
….let them nap.

If a black cat crosses your path….
….he probably has some important cat stuff to do.

The Black Eyed Peas can sing us a song….
….but the chick peas can only hummus one.

’23 A To Z Challenge – C


By the year 2050, the entire world’s skin tone will be beige, and religion will be just a memory.

While I think that the first part of this prophecy is inevitable, I feel that the prophet who claimed it was optimistic – or pessimistic – that it will occur so soon – and the second part will come to pass, only when, as Freud said, The last human loses their fear of Death.

This past century has been one of inclusion and amalgamation.  Widespread, free movement of people, things, ideas, and information is finally breaking the grip of tribalism, isolationism, and the extensive US vs. Them mentality.  “Seasonal” fruits and vegetables have become a thing of the past, with daily airplane flights from Chile and Australia.

Immigration and tourism has opened so many narrow minds to the facts of other races, other religions, other moralities, other social customs, other legal systems, and other languages.  Language is the easiest and most often absorbed.  Here in Canada, because of the Province of Quebec, every citizen, from Inuit to immigrant, must have at least a working knowledge of the poutine that the locals claim is French.  Many French words, phrases, and place-names have crept into the “English” language, because of French explorers in Canada and northern United States.

Spanish exploration and conquest in Central and South America has resulted in the insertion of many Spanish words and terms into the, especially South and Western United States, ‘English’ language.  ‘Lazo’, the Spanish word that also gave the word ‘lace’ to English, and means noose, or bond, became ‘lasso’.  His cousin, la reata – the rope – became the cowboys’ lariat.

All of which deviously brings us to the word of the day

CALABOOSE

An Americanism dating back to 1785–95; through Louisiana French calabouse, from Spanish calabozo “dungeon,” of obscure origin

From the same base comes ‘calabash,’ an organic little dungeon of a gourd, with all the little seeds held prisoner within – the inspiration for Jimmy Durante’s girlfriend, Mrs. Calabash. Good night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.

Good night!!  Isn’t this fool done prating yet??

Dancing Around Fibbing Friday

Last week Pensitivity101 was inviting us to provide alternative artists (real or fictitious) for these song titles:

  1. Stop in the name of Love

Some Biblical guy named Onán
No glove – No love
Spill your seed upon the ground

2. You can call me Al

Al Bundy did it first, but he just didn’t have the voice, so he went on to become the world’s greatest shoe salesman.

  1. Till you come back to me

Yo-Yo Squash and the Rebounds

  1. I just wanna dance with somebody

This song was made famous by Billy Idol just before closing time, at many a karaoke bar.  He said that he asked The World to dance, but, “I’m dancin’ with myself.”  It gives you a thumbnail sketch of his personality.  Sine-Aid Sinéad O’Connor told him that, Nothing compares to you – favourably.”

  1. Won’t somebody dance with me?

Were you doing shots with Billy Idol??!  I just answered this, above.  Could I hear the refrain from asking again?

  1. Two out of three ain’t bad

That’s the new campaign theme song for ex-President (and we hope he stays that way) Donald Trump, ever since an aide told him that there were 34 felony charges against him, but he’d only been convicted of 22.  He also explained to Trump how to figure out how many two out of three were.  The Donald told him that he didn’t need to, because the marks he got back in maths class were “HUGE!”

7. Ghost riders in the sky

As a supplement to Up and Away, Into the Wild Blue Yonder, this has been adopted and sung by the USAF Stealth Plane Squadron.  Can’t see us – can’t hit us.  With their planes’ strange angles and radar non-reflective coating, from the ground they have the perceivability of a robin.  Nothin’ to see here, just us clouds.

  1. Ticket to Ride

This is the new fight song for the Underground Transit Authority Constable Squad.  Determined to combat the plague of Chavs and other louts jumping turnstiles, they go where and when it most often happens, and lie in wait, concealed behind kiosks and pillars.  When it occurs, they leap out and put the arm on the culprit.

Oy.  ‘Alf a mo, chum.  ‘Ere’s a citation for criminal trespass, and theft of services.  It earns you no-charge transportation to the local nick, where you can explain your anti-social activities to a judge in the morning.  Like The Edgar Winter Group says, that’s your Free Ride.

9. Totally devoted to you

Melania Trump, serial monogamist Donald Trump’s third (?) wife.  She wanted to change the title a bit to, Totally devoted to your bank account, and my lifestyle.  The hit on the B-side was, It’s Not Rape Until the Cheque Bounces, and includes the lyrics, We know what you are.  We’re just negotiating the price.  😳

10. Me and You and a Dog named Boo

A duo of the English teacher, and the Maths teacher at my high school.  They wanted to title it, You and I, and a Dog Named Pi.

Words Society Has Distorted

MORE WORDS SOCIETY DISTORTS

Gay does not mean homosexual, yet means merry and joyful.

Lesbian derives from Lesbos which means forested and woody, not homosexual.

Fag derives from Fag-end which derives from the word Remnant and Remnant means what’s left or remaining around and does not mean homosexual.

Fagot derives from Fagotto which means bundle of something or sack of something and does not mean homosexual.

Gigolo derives from Gigolette which derives from Gigue which means Irish dance and ette which means smaller form of something and does not mean a man who has sex with different women for money.

Prostitute derives from pro which means before, for and statuō which means to set up, to erect and does not mean a female who has sex with different men for money.

I empathise with this author’s intent, and I congratulate him for his attempt to reduce Fundamentalist hate-mongering.  It’s just that correct English usage, better research, and valid assertions would have been so much better.  Out of six claims, he only got all of them wrong – and all for the lack of the word ‘just,’ or ‘only.’

The Woke term ‘Presentism’ means, to apply the morals and social values of today, to actions which occurred in the past.  This writer is doing the exact opposite – ‘Pastism’??  He wishes to still apply the definitions of yesteryear, to today’s situations.

The English language is an amorphous, ever-changing entity.  I’ve said that it’s like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree.  Dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive.  They reflect the definitions that the majority of people currently use.  What a word meant a week ago – a month ago – a year ago – a decade ago, it doesn’t JUST/ONLY mean now.

These derogatory terms have been in use, longer than he’s been alive.  While they’re not nice, they are part of modern speech.  ‘Gay’ is still used occasionally to mean merry and joyful, but despite any dispute, it now definitely means homosexual.  (It also means lesbian, as we’ll see next)

Homosexual is not the same as lesbian, in the same way that actor is not the same as actress.  If two men have sex, they are homosexual.  If two women have sex, they are lesbian.  They are all ‘gay,’ which indicates same-sex attraction.

Like the myth of the Amazons, the island of Lesbos was once thought to be populated entirely by women, who satisfied their urges with each other.  The island was, and still is, forested and woody – but that’s not what the Greek name Lesbos means.  It comes from the Hittite word Lazpa, which means, land, realm, or city.

A faggot (British – fagot) was a bundle of something, particularly wood for burning.  One piece from the bundle, represented by a cigarette, was called a fag.  A fag-end was a cigarette butt, or some other valueless scrap.  While the expression means something that is left, it did not come from the word ‘remnant.’  It also did not come from Fagotto, which is an Italian bassoon, but from the Greek, ‘phakelos’ = bundle, and it still currently means gay.

Gigolo is the masculine derivative of gigolette – woman of the streets or public dance halls.  The modern spelling is Boy-Toy, or Cougar-bait, but they still exist.

The continuation of the word prostitute’s meaning, ‘to erect,’ – (and there’s a Freudian allusion) is to then present to the public for sale.  It seems a very apt definition.  While these can be judgmental and insulting terms, they are definitely part of modern speech, like it or not lump it.

What Does That Say About You?

The following people were arrested for assault on the English language, and possession of more than 2 grams of Redneck speech.

Pros

I could smell the odor of petroleum esthers – a Jewish queen tells me they’re esters.

Pretend to swipe and glide through the air – Pretend you read the script, and it’s swoop.

Leaving Christian tracks on the vending machines – lines of holy fingerprints, leading to printed tracts

Waited for the nurse to hove into view – Sorry, Mr. Pretentious, hove is the past tense of heave.

Japanese gun deaths at 0.001 percent per 100,000 population vs. American gun deaths at 13.7 percent per 100,000 population – just one superfluous word killed a lot of extra people.

GMO foods cause a sleuth of medical problems – Sherlock Holmes tracked down the word slew.

A lack of nurses has only exasperated the problem – I am exasperated that you don’t know exacerbated.

The searcher found a cash of coins – Coins are cash, but he found a cache.

If you have flu symptoms please corn teen yourself – with a dictionary.

Amateurs

I am a bonified, card-carrying lesbian – but not a bona fide dictionary-carrying linguist.  I didn’t think that lesbians got bonified.  😳

Fake meat, made in a peach tree dish – Julius Petri will have some of that meat in his dish.

My sir name is Hendrix – and my madam name is surname.

Who blead the weak into poverty – They’re probably weak because they bleed.

I marched all over the play to find the culprit – and found him with Shakespeare, in the place that had the English textbook.

My family should know that buy now – I don’t buy that spelling of by.

A blue band on the ship’s haulHaul out the dictionary, and look up ‘Hull.’

Synonym rolls, just like grammar used to make – I can’t swallow that phrase.

Someone stole my car’s catholic converter – Have the priest pray that you’re not fined.

He was under the rest for stealing – and for arrested English development.

The government is letting in Muslims and referees – Yeehaw!  Hockey Night in Canada!

1.5 Cu/ft. Michael Wave for sale – Hi, Mike.  Could you nuke my leftovers, please?

Flying saucers are just an optical conclusionDoctor, My Eyes Is that more wrong with one, or two?  One, or two?

Elon Musk berst in to (sic) the press conference – I’ve got nothing for that, but Musk is his own smart-ass comment.  Just ask his seventh son, X Æ a-Xii – (When he gets out of therapy)

This is a courtecy note – Scammers should have the courtesy to spell it correctly.

Why can’t I do it?  My best guest – has a guess that it’s just writers’ cramp.

It amounts to chop change – Don’t be a chump, get it right

Black people were bread to be laborers – I think they were more meat than bread.

Free woshing masheen – comes with Spellchecker

His redneck neighbor has a was Maxine – with no Spellchecker

Chair has scuff Mark’s on front – probably from that woshing masheen

Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One – Ate

And the Word came to me from above – and from below, and from all sides – for the Word was ubiquitous.

Concoct – to prepare or make by combining ingredients, especially in cookery
to devise; make up; contrive; make up
The disturbance and interruption in the interrogation gave the suspect time to concoct an alibi.

Cruciverbalist – a designer, or aficionado of crossword puzzles
A word which describes me to a T, or a tee, or a tea
Even the most skilled cruciverbalist has trouble with the New York Times Sunday Crossword.

Ecocatastrophe – A disaster caused by changes in the environment
Polluting the water, and harming its wildlife, the Gulf oil spill was an ecocatastrophe.

Hippogriff – A fabulous creature resembling a griffin, but having the body and hind parts of a horse
A hippogriff named Bucklebeak features prominently in the Harry Potter series.

MishpochaYiddish; An entire family network comprising relatives by blood and by marriage, and sometimes including close friends; clan
She invited the whole mishpocha to the Seder.

Mukluks – Soft boots worn by the Inuit, often lined with fur and usually made of sealskin or reindeer skin.
Her furry mukluks kept her feet warm during the winter.

Odious – deserving or causing hatred; hateful; detestable.
highly offensive; repugnant; disgusting.
The captured prisoners were given a particularly odious task.

Primogenitor – A first parent or earliest ancestor
A forefather or ancestor
Typewriters are the primogenitors of today’s computers.

Pestiferous – Bringing or bearing disease – pestilential – pernicious; evil
Informal; Mischievous, troublesome or annoying
Carrying salmonella and other diseases, houseflies can be pestiferous guests in your home.

Propine(verb) To offer as a present
She was shopping for a housewarming gift; something perfect to propine to her new neighbors.

Pulchritudinous – Physically beautiful; comely
She looked pulchritudinous in her elegant ball gown.

Taradiddle – A small lie; a fib; pretentious nonsense
To avoid spoiling the birthday surprise, the mother told her young son a taradiddle.

Tiglon – The offspring of a male tiger and a female lion
Zoo staff were surprised and delighted when the mixed-race feline couple conceived a rare tiglon.
Personally, I’ve never encountered this word.  I’ve only heard of Liger, which, to me, seems to make more sense.

Watershed – An important point of division or transition between two phases, conditions, etc.
The Montgomery bus boycott was a watershed moment in the Civil Rights Movement.

Word is, it’s time for me to move on again.  Just follow the trail of bread cookie crumbs to my next post.

Fibbing Friday In The Bag

Another mixed bag from Pensitivity101 last week. What would you say these words mean/are?
As always, I’ll be a week late with my untruths!

  1. Census

Those are the pennies that the Canadian mint no longer produces.

2. Probate

That’s when you don’t dig your own dew-worms for fishing, but have to buy them at the fishing tackle shop.

3. Bayou

I think that it’s a compulsive shopper who is addicted to Amazon, but Google claims that it’s one of the women who helped sew up some famous tapestry.

4. Crackerjack

(S)He’s a chiropractor.  If you think that I make strange, creaking and popping  noises when I stand or walk, you should hear the concerto that I produce when Doc Bones tries to Bend me – Shape Me.

5. Chirrup

One of the two things that hang down each side of a horse, to help you keep your fat ass in the saddle.
Also see: Ob-Gyn – Pap smear.

6. Fermium

It’s a French word of command.  Usage – Fermium la bouche!  Translation: Shut the Hell up!  Fermium la porte!  Translation:  I’m not heating the entire neighbourhood!

7. Surcingle

The perpetually ‘Nice Guy’ who is still permanently unmarried.

8. Withe

An astute sage with a bad lisp.  Isn’t it ironic that there’s an S in the word lisp?

9. Gainsay

Those that can – do!  Those that can’t – teach.  Those who can’t even do that – often get paid to lecture about it and give advice.
Reference – Catholic priests and birth control.

10. Titular

Someone like the big noise down at Sammy’s Strip Shoppe.  He’s the titular owner.