WOW #70

I was recently reading an historical novel.  In it, a commoner performed an uncommon act of intelligence and bravery.  As a reward for this selfless act, the Grand Panjandrum – or Grand Poobah – they both indicate a pretentious or self-important official, like a High Muckedy-Muck, bestowed upon him the reward of a

Carucate
[keyr-oo-kate, (yoo)]

Because I was reading a dead-tree book, I couldn’t just tap the Kindle screen to find out what a carucate was.  I had to play Twenty Questions until I got upstairs to the computer.  Was it a gem – a jewel, like the Blue Carbuncle in the Sherlock Holmes novel?  Was it a lavish dinner in his honor?  Was it a warm, if not willing, bed-companion?  Was it a mani-pedi down at Omar’s Tent and Sail Shop, and Spa?  Don’t ask – don’t tell.   😉 

It turns out that it’s another archaic measurement quantity, equal to 40 acres of land, or a quarter-section – one quarter of a square mile.  It was the amount of land that a team of oxen could plow, and the amount of tilled land that it took to produce enough food for a farm family.

While the measurement is described as square, especially those with water frontage, were a mile long, and a quarter-mile wide, farming spaghetti, or rhubarb.  It was hard to turn an ox-team and unwieldy plow around. It was easier to let the team catch their breath, and just start another furrow in a straight line, for eight furlongs, and this gave more tenants shipping/travel access . Quebec’s Eastern Townships, in Canada are like this, only larger, all fronting on the St. Lawrence River, and looking like a bowling alley on a map. 

Was it possible that this Grand Vizier – Why do all these $3 potentates describe their titles as Grand??! – wanted this potter…. or leather-worker…. to leave the city, and become just another subsistence farmer??  He could sell it, or lease it to a share-cropper.  At least he took his dictionary along, and I learned a new old word.  😀

I Have One-liners All Sewed Up

The guy who fell into the upholstery machine last week….
….Is now fully recovered

I need to practice some social distancing….
….From the fridge

My friend Jay had twin girls recently, and wanted to name them after himself….
….I suggested Kaye and Elle.

There’s not too many old guys like me left….
….The last mammoth stampede killed a lot of them.

Let me describe myself in three words….
….Lazy

Sex jokes aren’t funny….
….Because I don’t get it.

Wanna hear a joke about ghosts?….
….That’s the spirit

To keep up with the times, shouldn’t TV dinners….
….be called satellite dishes?

You’ve reached my age….
….if one of your favorite memories, is a comb.

How many Grumpy Old Dudes like me does it take to change a light bulb?….
….None.  We just light a candle and wait for a woman to do it.

How many managers does it take to change a light bulb?….
….We’ve formed a task force to study the problem of why light bulbs burn out and to figure out what, exactly, we as supervisors can do to make the bulbs work smarter, not harder.

How many shipping department personnel does it take to change a light bulb?….
….We can change the light bulb in seven to ten working days, but if you call before 2 p.m. and pay an extra $15, we can get the bulb changed overnight.

How many Management Information Services people does it take to change a light bulb?….
….MIS (IT) has received your request concerning your hardware problem and has assigned you request number 359712.  Please use this number for any future references to the light-bulb issue.

Yo Momma is so fat….
….That no-one can social-distance her.

Yo Momma’s so fast….
….She ate the S

Yo Momma’s so fat….
….It took three days to find you when you were born

I just learned sign language….
….I find it quite handy

I’ve been trying to come up with a joke about erections….
….But it’s too hard

I always wanted to be rich….
….But everybody still calls me dick.

What do men with Erectile Dysfunction need?….
….Some help from a speCIALISt

Flash Fiction #253

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast  

FREE BIRD

It is so comforting to Know – to know no doubts – to have all the answers, even when they are not the right ones.

People feel safe when they can identify – apply labels to others – politics, religion, gender, language, nationality.  It gives the illusion of control of their lives.

Other folks, and their related social problems, are complex, and fully-formed.  They are not easy, one-dimensional, cookie-cutter simple.

It is usually better to make decisions and form opinions based on reality, rather than preconceived notions.  More people should try it.  They might find those feared – and hated – Others…. are quite sweet.

***

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

WOW #69

I never want new words to be created for the English language by burger-flippers and stoners – but that always seems to be the case.  If they can’t handle the real stuff, they just make it up as they go along.  Bart Simpson has always been an underachiever, and proud of it.  Even he and his motley crew (not Mötley Crüe) of cartoon compadres have spit out a couple of neologisms new words.
Today’s case in point

CROMULENT

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF CROMULENT?

Cromulent, “acceptable, legitimate,” was first used in an episode of The Simpsons in 1996. When Edna Krabappel, the fourth-grade teacher, remarks, “’Embiggens’? Hm, I never heard that word before I moved to Springfield,” Elizabeth Hoover, the second-grade teacher, answers, “I don’t know why. It’s a perfectly cromulent word.” Cromulent began as a facetious formation of an arbitrary “root” crom– and the English adjective suffix –ulent (from Latin –ulentus “full of”). Cromulent began as a facetious formation but is now at the brink of “cromulence,” as happened earlier with Lewis Carroll’s chortle, frabjous, and galumph.

While we’re blaming strange words on The Simpsons, there’s that word

EMBIGGEN

Verb (used with or without object) InformalOften Facetious.

to make or become bigger:
You can spot my sister if you
embiggen the photo.

ORIGIN OF EMBIGGEN

First recorded in 1880–85 as an example of a barbarism; made popular in 1996 in an episode of the TV show The Simpsons.

Even when they’re wrong – they’re right.  Who knew??!  Word is, there’ll be some good stuff here on Monday.  It would be perfectly cromulent if you showed up.  I want to embiggen my readership, to keep up with Brat Simpleton.  😀

’20 A to Z Challenge – W

 

 

 

I recently told a reader that I spoke/wrote all my Scottish Gaelic in English.  I told another that I did the same thing with the Spanish that he contributed.  It seems so simple, yet it’s harder than it seems, because there is no English language.  Every word in the language came from somewhere – everywhere – else.

The English language imports words from other languages wholesale, and then claims them as its own.  Some words are ‘naturalized’ – accepted and commonly used – more, and more quickly than others.  Then there are words that only pretentious wordnuts (with the accent on Nuts) like me, are even aware of, much less occasionally use.  This brings us to today’s (and yesteryear’s) social-commentary word

WEISSNICHTWO

wise-nicked-woe

Its meaning in the original German was, not clear where.  It came into English with the more substantial, definitive meaning of know not where.  In almost two-hundred years, I’m sure it must have been used a few times.  It was dragged, kicking and screaming, into English in 1833 by the British writer, Thomas Carlyle.  It was made famous – or infamous – by its use in his Latin-titled book, Sartor Resartus.

Even back then, he used it to describe a First-World problem.  World cities, especially those in Europe, were losing their visual culture, and were becoming homogeneous, indistinguishable, one from another.  There were Jews in Belgrade, Arabs in Marseilles, and Irish in London.  If you roused from a drunken stupor and wandered into the streets, you wouldn’t know where you were, until you fell into the Thames, or the Seine, or the Moscow River – and with the state, or lack of, municipal sanitation, even not then.

He used the word Weissnichtwo as the name of an indefinite, unknown, or imaginary place, like Utopia, Brigadoon, or Shangri-La.  The problem situation has only got worse over the years.  With the ubiquitous McDonalds, Domino’s, and Starbucks, and rampant, often war-driven immigration, a traveler might be anywhere.

I imagine that you’re just over there, shaking your head at this word.  You could be much closer to my next post soon, if you pop back in a couple of days.  I promise not to use any of those big, foreign words.  Might even offer up a few chuckles.   😀

Dead Words

Alas, we barely knew ye.

Language is constantly changing, as new words gain popularity and old ones start to disappear. Often, we don’t really notice when they’re gone, unless they’re specifically describing an object or piece of technology that’s become obsolete. But there are plenty of other words—nouns, adjectives, verbs, and more—that are silly, hilariously specific, or just plain fun to say… and yet we don’t use them anymore! Let’s take a linguistic leap back in time and explore these delightful words that have disappeared from the dictionary.

Snollygoster

Why oh why, would a word with such epic possibilities for widespread mockery fall into oblivion? This term may be related to the German word snallygaster, a reptilian beast that hunts kids and farm animals. A snollygoster is an unscrupulous politician—someone generally corrupt, unethical, and shameless. Such a handy term for contemporary times!

Jargogle

This is one of those terms that kind of performs its own definition. It sounds jarring and gets one a bit agog with curiosity. It means to confuse or bamboozle, and does just that since you’ve probably never heard of this word from the 1690s. Time to pull it back into modern jargon.

Apricity

“April is the cruellest month,” as T.S. Eliot put it in 1922 in The Waste Land. April is still winter weather, but it teases that you’re in spring. The ideal term for this is apricity, or “the warmth of sun in winter.” This term hails from 1623 but hasn’t gotten much modern usage despite its efficient euphony—that is, despite its pleasing sound and awesome reference to April.

Ultracrepidarian

Mark Forsyth searched old dictionaries for his book on obscure, forgotten words, The Horologicon. One of his favourites, and rightly so, is ultracrepidarian. It’s a very extra, or ultra, term for your average know-it-all. It’s the perfect descriptor for the person who has vast opinions on topics about which they know nothing—and comfortably yammers on about them.

Sanguinolency

This bizarre term has no obvious relation to the more upbeat word “sanguine,” which means “optimistic,” but secondarily, “ruddy.” That must be its tie to “sanguinolency” which has the dismal definition, “addiction to bloodshed.” Because this word is so old and obscure, it likely doesn’t refer to bloodshed of the video game variety. Of all the things to be addicted to, bloodshed seems one of the very worst.

Bibesy

This is an adorable, possibly 18th-century word that seems to play in a slang-y way on the word “imbibe.” It describes a seriously enthusiastic interest in drinking. Use it when you want to get bibesy with your bae on friyay! It fits perfectly with contemporary night-life argot.

Slubberdegullion

Here is another beautifully performative term that at its most base refers to one who slobbers. More precisely, however, a slubberdegullion must also be a “dirty fellow,” as well as worthless, careless, negligent, insignificant, and slovenly. Fifteenth-century vocab came at folks hard with the insults! Such a savage burn! Roasted!

Crinkum-crankum

This is basically when you get high key extra with the details. When your outfit or decor makes an over-the-top, elaborate effort to be hyper fancy, it is crinkum-crankum. This mid-17th-century term sounds so lit! Time to get crinkum-crankum back in circulation!

Snowbrowth

Now that the polar vortexes and other wintergeddon weather are in full swing, it’s time to pull this cute, obsolete term out of cold storage. Snowbrowth is simply melted snow. When you think about it, the fresh melt does look somewhat like a broth or a soupy snow stew covering the ground. Winter needs this word!

Snoutfair

It doesn’t even make sense that this word that conjures a pig face actually means “a person with a handsome countenance.” It makes sense that “snoutfair” fell to the wayside, and instead we say “hunk,” “hottie,” “stone cold fox,” “scooby snack,” “sexy beast,” and “cutie patootie.” Those aren’t fantastic, but frankly, “snoutfair,” is worse.

Curglaff

Think of a cold, harsh splash, and the strange merge of laughter and gurgling that comes after. Curglaff, of Scottish origin, is the absolute ideal term to describe “the shock felt when one first plunges into cold water.” In fact, it seems perfect for describing any kind of shock.

Spermologer

This is not a science word and does not refer to biology! It’s the witty term for a “gossip monger.” You can also use it to describe trivia hounds and those filled with random knowledge. A spermologer is a collector of sorts. Society is probably fine if this word continues its descent into obscurity.

Elflock

You know how when the elves tangle up your hair? Back in the 1590s, this hairstyle was called the elflock. Feel free to adapt the term for any of the creatures who matt up your hair. Think of the gnomelock, the yetilock, the dragonlock, the kelpielock, or the wolfmanlock. You get the idea! Remember the term is usually plural, so it requires more than one tangler or stylist.

Spell Check has drawn a bright red line beneath each of these words, saying that they don’t exist in reality…. all except Elflock.  That one, apparently, it recognizes.  Very interesting!

WOW #67

After doing some navel-gazing recently – and cleaning out the lint – I came upon a word which rhymes with Pedant.

Fussbudget

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF FUSSBUDGET?

Fussbudget, “one who is fussy or needlessly faultfinding,” is a transparent compound of the nouns fuss “bustle, commotion” and budget “itemized list of funds or expenses.” The word entered English in the early 20th century; it became associated with the character Lucy Van Pelt in the comic strip Peanuts in the 1960s.

HOW IS FUSSBUDGET USED?

He was a fussbudget. His interest in ideas didn’t match his interest in small, and often silly, facts. Much of the time he saw neither the forest nor the trees but only a bit of the undergrowth.

I thought that I was pretty good at being a fussbudget, but the wife insists that I am a rank amateur – and not only because we just had baked beans.  She holds a Third or Fourth Black Belt in Fussbudgetry.

She has ‘color-coded, properly-filed’ lists of ways to be, and not be, a true fussbudget.  She has CDO – which is a lot like OCD, only the letters are in the correct, alphabetical order.

Well, I’m off to obsess about the word-usage or punctuation in a bunch of other people’s posts, but I’ll be back with a new post in a couple of days.  You can count on that!  I already have a timer set, to remind me.  You try to get your life in sufficient order that you show up to read it.

Psychology Of Comedy

A new teacher was trying to make use of her psychology courses.
She started her class by saying, “Everyone who thinks you’re stupid, stand up!” After a few seconds, Little Johnny stood up.
The teacher said, “Do you think you’re stupid, Little Johnny?” “No, ma’am, but I hate to see you standing there all by yourself!”

***

My wife asked me,
“What do you like most about me, babe; my pretty face or my sexy body?”
I looked her over from head to toe and replied,
“I like your sense of humor.”

***

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day.

In English, he said, A double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative.

A voice from the back of the room piped up, Yeah, right.

*******

A: I’m not going to take the COVID vaccine!
B: Why?
A: I don’t want to get chipped by Bill Gates!
B: Do you have a Smartphone?
A: Yeah, why?
B: Hahahahahahaha!

***

A champion jockey is about to enter an important steeplechase race on a new horse. The horse’s trainer meets him before the race and says, ”All you have to remember with this horse is that every time you approach a jump, you have to shout, ‘ALLLLEEE OOOP!’ really loudly in the horse’s ear. Providing you do that, you’ll be fine.”
The jockey thinks the trainer is mad but promises to shout the command. The race begins and they approach the first hurdle. The jockey ignores the trainer’s ridiculous advice and the horse crashes straight through the center of the jump.
They carry on and approach the second hurdle. The jockey, somewhat embarrassed, whispers ‘alleeee ooop’ in the horse’s ear. The same thing happens — the horse crashes straight through the center of the jump.
At the third hurdle, the jockey thinks, ”It’s no good, I’ll have to do it,” and yells, ”ALLLEEE OOOP!” really loudly.
Sure enough, the horse sails over the jump with no problems. This continues for the rest of the race, but due to the earlier problems the horse only finishes third.
The trainer is fuming and asks the jockey what went wrong. The jockey replies, ”Nothing is wrong with me — it’s this bloody horse. What is he — deaf or something?”
The trainer replies, ”Deaf?? DEAF?? He’s not deaf — he’s BLIND!”

*******

Loud, mad, or sad

The psychology instructor had just finished a lecture on mental health and was giving an oral test.
Speaking specifically about manic depression, she asked, “How would you diagnose a patient who walks back and forth screaming at the top of his lungs one minute, then sits in a chair weeping uncontrollably the next?”
A young man in the rear raised his hand and answered, “A basketball coach?”

********

Bob left work one Friday evening.

But it was payday, so instead of going home, he stayed out the entire weekend partying with his friends and spending his entire wages.

When he finally appeared at home on Sunday night, he was confronted by his angry wife and was barraged for nearly two hours with a tirade befitting his actions. Finally his wife stopped the nagging and said to him, “How would you like it if you didn’t see me for two or three days?”

He replied, “That would be fine with me.”

Monday went by and he didn’t see his wife.

Tuesday and Wednesday came and went with the same results.

But on Thursday, the swelling went down just enough where he could see her a little out of the corner of his left eye.

***

WOW #68

I once knew a man named Isbister.
Thank you for your concern and condolences.

He pronounced it izz-biss-tur.  His first name was Murray – a good Scottish name.  It’s where the word ‘Mondegreen’ comes from.

They’ve killed the Earl o’ Murray,
And laid ‘im on the green.

His last name might have been Czechoslovakian for all I knew.  There was a Scottish housewife in town, with a brogue as thick as a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, married to a Polack named Mackowski.

I recently heard spoken references to another Isbister, this one clearly a Scottish citizen, referred to by another Scot.  This time, the pronunciation was eyes-biss-tur.  The family name is locational, coming from a village named Isbister.

The speaker also referred to another village named Fladdabister.  The Scots do have a way with language and pronunciation.  I kid (Sure I do) that the Irish are hard drinkers.  With names like that, maybe my lot were giving them lessons.  I mean, Scotch whiskey didn’t just happen.

Two towns with the word

BISTER

in their names – what could it mean??

Bister is a pigment obtained by burning (waste) wool.  It is/was used in paint and ink.  Apparently the simultaneous oxidation of lanolin and keratin, produced a deep, permanent black, similar to India ink.  It is no surprise that it is linked to the sheep/wool industry.  Other than growing oats, raising James Bond, and stealing magic rocks back from the British Parliament, there’s not much else to do in Scotland.

Scotland the Brae!  It’s a great place to be from.  Now, don’t get your kilts in a knot.  😉

Flash Fiction #243

PHOTO PROMPT © Trish Nankivell

IT’S OVER!!

You probably wouldn’t remember
I probably couldn’t forget

The year that shouldn’t have been – but was!

Good-Goodbye 2020!  Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.  We are looking forward to the arrival of your rich, handsome replacement – 2021.

You’ve had many of us looking for brain-bleach, to erase an annum which took Mister Jeopardy! – Alex Trebek from us, but gave us COVID19, and a petulant ex-president who won’t admit defeat.  We’ll see who Secret Service believes is the real President.  tRump may get some 9MM help moving out.

I forecast a warm, rosy future.

***

Click above to hear The Steve Miller Band sing about Jungle Love.
Steve wrote the song about a girl, but the sentiments could easily apply to the present social and political situation.

But lately you live in the jungle
I never see you alone
But we need some definite answers
So I thought I would write you a poem
The question to everyone’s answer
Is usually asked from within
But the patterns of the rain and the truth they contain
Have written my life on your skin
You treat me like I was your ocean
You swim in my blood when it’s warm
My cycles of circular motion
Protect you and keep you from harm
You live in a world of illusion
Where everything’s peaches and cream
We all face a scarlet conclusion
But we spend our time in a dream

***

BTW:  The whistles that you hear, like the ones in Jackson Brown’s Loadout/Stay are a language all their own, based on whistles used by shepherds to control their herd-dogs at long distances.  The roadies (and their boss) need to communicate across large arenas and amphitheaters, where voices will not carry.  One short – one long – two short, one long – one long, shrill, sustained screech – these, and a little pointing,  all convey information.

***

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