WOW #4

Dictionary

For those of you who had planned not to learn anything today;
“Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”

The Word Of the Week is;

JUXTAPOSITION

noun
an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.
the state of being close together or side by side.

Word Origin and History for juxtaposition

1660s, from French juxtaposition (1660s), from Latin iuxta “beside, near” + French position (see position (n.)). Latin iuxta is a contraction of *iugista (adv.), superlative of adjective *iugos “closely connected,” from stem of iugum “yoke,” from iungere “to join” (see jugular ).

For medical or technical use, definition 2, and/or the first half of number 1 are assumed.  Things are placed side by side, usually only for comparison.

Not that the word is commonly used in public, but when it is, the common usage has drifted to almost always emphasize contrast.  It indicates surprise or amazement at seeing two things, side by side, that just aren’t ever expected to be together, like a tiara on a pig, or a Picasso on a Port-A-Potty wall.

Starting in the early 90s, I began hearing about ‘The Palace of Auburn Hills’, a new Detroit-area arena/venue. The Detroit Pistons moved there, and some big-name concerts, including 2 consecutive sold-out Michael Jackson shows, have been held there.  I just thought, ‘Detroit’, and left it at that.

About ten years ago, following a trip to Detroit, instead of crossing back to Canada into Windsor, we drove north to cross at Port Huron. We got off the Interstate, onto a highway, and got off the State Highway onto a narrow, two-lane county road.  Finally, about 35 miles north of Detroit, where urban becomes country, we entered Auburn Hills.

The Palace

I remembered about ‘The Palace’, and wondered where it might be. There on the north end of town, just past the John Deere dealer on one side, and the roadhouse bar on the other, both with muddy, unpaved parking lots, it sits in the middle of acres of blacktop paving, a sea of lights, looking like a Las Vegas casino in a Mexico City slum.

It’s like driving a load of trash out to the landfill site, and finding the Taj Mahal perched on top of the mound of garbage, or London’s Tower Bridge stretched over a sedimentation pond in Canada’s oil-sands project. Now, that’s juxtaposition!

Depending on the show, this thing can seat up to 23,000 people, in a little city of 22,000. The Interstate is not too far away, but, like filling a tank-car with a straw, it must take days to empty that parking lot onto a road not as wide as some driveways.   😯

Advertisements

Flash Fiction #96

Flying Saucer

PHOTO PROMPT © CEAYR

YOU, F. O.!

What a great adventure, to get away from our small town and enjoy the sights of the big ci…. Dear Lord, look at that!  Gimme the phone!

911, What is your emergency?

There’s a giant Flying Saucer hovering over the north end of the harbor.

We appreciate your call, but that is not an emergency. That is our new arena.  The designer is hiding out in Honduras.  There is talk of impeaching, or lynching, the city councillors who authorized it.  We have received letters of condolence from both Reno and Las Vegas.  Don’t be alarmed, and have a nice day.

***

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 # 78

Coffee

Copyright Jean L. Hays

CARNIVAL

It might have been a mistake to book an entire week in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

The volume of water, the height it plunged, the roar it made, the mist it produced, were awe-inspiring – for about an hour. Two hours, if you went back at night to see the colored lights.

The second day we discovered Clifton Hill, three blocks of pavement rapidly ascending from the edge of the gorge. Its sides were lined with dozens of shops whose sole purpose was to relieve tourists of their money.

Not Starbucks, Henry’s Coffee Emporium – lovely stained glass, wish we lived at 708 Fulton.

***

To begin: In reverse, on the banner outside the window, are the words ‘Clifton Hill.’ I’m not crazy(er than usual).  There may be a Clifton Hill somewhere else, but I thought of Niagara Falls, since we’ve been there several times.  There is no ‘Fulton’, St., Ave., etc. in Niagara.  Don’t let my slightly dystopian tale affect any plans.  The place is well worth visiting.

The Falls are magnificent, from either side of the border. The city is clean and well-run, and has much to offer.  Clifton Hill is like a little microcosm of Las Vegas, or a permanent carnival set-up.  It has wax museums; the Ripley’s Believe It or Not, museums of the strange, shops offering kitschy mementos.  It has a small Ferris Wheel, perched halfway up the hill.  It has candy shops and purveyors of all types of food, some of it fried, which is good, but not necessarily good for you.

***

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

 

I Don’t Give A Shit

Bedpan

Mr. Smith was in the hospital for the first time in his life and in traction.  He hit the call bell and yelled out loud enough for everybody on the hall to hear.  “Hey, Nurse!  I gotta shit”

Flustered, she came flying in the room.  Mr. Smith!  Don’t talk like that!  You’re gonna get everybody on this floor upset.  They can hear you all up and down the hall.  When you need the bedpan, just hit the call bell and say ‘#2.″  I’ll know what you need and come take care of you.”

A few minutes later Mr. Jones was admitted.  As soon as he was settled in bed, he realized he had a problem.  “Hey, Buddy.  I’m about to mess myself up here.  How do I get some help?”

Mr. Smith knew the ropes and was glad to help out.  “No problem.  I know exactly what to do.”  He got on the call bell and yelled out loud and clear, “Hey, Nurse!  Mr. Jones has gotta shit and he ain’t got a number yet!”

***
Why did the lawyer cross the road?
To get to the car accident on the other side.

***

It’s not the hop, skip and jump between twin beds that’s tiring.
It’s the long drag back.

***

A group from Chicago spent a weekend gambling in
Las Vegas. One of the men on that trip won $100,000.

He didn’t want anyone to know about it, so he
decided not to return with the others, but took
a later plane home — arriving back 3 a.m.

He immediately went out to the backyard of his
house, dug a hole and planted the money in it.
The following morning he walked outside and found
only an empty hole. He noticed footsteps leading
from the hole to the house next door, which was
owned by a deaf-mute. On the same street lived a
professor who understood sign language and was a
friend of the deaf man. Grabbing his pistol, the
enraged man went to awaken the professor and
dragged him to the deaf man’s house.

‘You tell this guy that if he doesn’t give me
back my $100,000 I’m going to kill him!’ he
screamed at the professor.

The professor conveyed the message to his friend,
and his friend replied in sign language, ‘I hid
it in my backyard, underneath the cherry tree.’

The professor turned to the man with the gun and
said, ‘He’s not going to tell you. He said he’d rather die first.’

***

Two Newfies are walking down the street.  One of them is carrying a cloth bag.  The other one says, “Have you got fish in that bag?”  “Yup.”  “If I can guess how many fish are in that bag, can I have one?”  “If you can guess how many fish I got in this here bag, you can have ‘em both.”

***

A woman goes to her doctor and says, “Doctor, my husband has developed a penchant for anal sex, so I came to you for advice.”  Ok, let’s see…does it hurt you?  Hmm… a little.  Do you like it?  Hmm… well, yes.  Then, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t do it.  If you take care about not getting pregnant.  Getting pregnant?  I didn’t know you could get pregnant in that way.  Of course you can.  Where do you think lawyers come from?

Round And Round

I got a 1940 nickel in change today.  Actually, the wife got it, and immediately turned it over to me.  Damn!  The thing’s older than I am, and in much better condition.  Did grandpa die, or did someone have their coin collection raided?  It obviously hasn’t been in constant circulation.

The word nickel, meaning a five-cent coin, came from the fact that they were originally stamped from the metal, nickel, when it was not popular for industrial and electronic uses.  Canadian ones have been made of brass, during WWII, and now only nickel-coated steel.  There’s a giant, twelve-sided, 30 foot diameter, 2 foot thick replica, built of nickel-containing stainless steel, sitting at a Sudbury, Ontario mine.  It was erected in 1951, to commemorate two-hundred years of digging nickel out of the ground there.  Google “Big Nickel.”

While shopping at one store, I thought about buying my Toronto Sun at another.  I pulled all the change out of my pocket, and almost fainted.  I had, not one, but two, American quarters, one a “State” quarter, although not one I needed for my collection.  I must be getting old, not to have noticed American money.  I always used to check my change.  I immediately placed them in our “going to the States” can, when I got home.

With the wife’s worsening mobility and allergy problems, I do a bit more of the day-to-day shopping, and therefore end up with more change, which I get rid of, buying my newspapers.  There was a time when I could tell you exactly how much change I had in my pocket, and what coins made up the total.  Apparently, no longer!

Canada recently stopped stamping and issuing pennies.  The Federal Government was good enough to use my tax dollars, to print and supply signs to stores, explaining what would happen.  Silly me, I thought it would be straight-forward.  If a bill being paid in cash, ends in one or two, or six or seven cents, it would be rounded down.  If it ended in three or four, or eight or nine cents, it would be rounded up to the next nickel.  It’s not like every store has a different system, but there’s lots to go around.

Canada leads the world in the use of debit cards; so, many of these charges involving cents are irrelevant.  Debit or credit card payments are always exact amounts.  The term cents is mathematical.  Pennies are the physical things the government doesn’t make anymore.

Stores will still accept pennies if you offer them, although one woman fellow-shopper told me of a clerk who insisted, “We don’t take pennies anymore.”  “You’d better call your manager then, because they remain legal tender for the next 6 years.”  Some clerks will still give pennies in change, if they have them in the till.  Most stores do the round-up/round-down thing.

The Real Canadian Superstore rounds down, anything below the next 5-cent level.   My $1.50 newspaper, with 8 cents tax, costs me $1.60 almost anywhere but there, where it’s only $1.55.  If I use one of the self-checkouts, I have to insert the $1.60, to get the machine to finalize the sale, and then it refunds me a nickel.

Pennies have largely disappeared from commerce.  A couple of Canadian banks have instituted coin recovery schemes, by setting up pinball-sized automatic coin-counters in their lobbies, similar to those found in many grocery stores.  The grocery store no-arm bandits have a lower pay-out than Vegas slot machines, quietly eating nine cents of every dollar, and returning only 91%.

The ones in the banks pay out 100%, which they hope you then deposit with them, but getting sequestered coins back in circulation (or, out of circulation, in the case of pennies) is the name of the game.

The crazy cat lady used to have a glass umbrella stand, filled to the brim with pennies.  The last time we visited, it was empty and forlorn.  She admitted that she had rolled all of her pennies and turned them in at her bank.  Next time I see her at the Farmers’ Market, I must see if she’ll admit how much they totalled.  It must have been about $100.

I still find the occasional penny.  I had accumulated five in my pocket, and got rid of them at the grocery store on a bill that ended in 80 cents….and looked down and picked up another one off the floor.

The grandson meets young people who somehow think that pennies cannot be spent anymore.  Several other young lads where he works use them to play penny-toss, but don’t bother to pick them up when they’re finished.  The other day, he picked up more than a dollar’s worth, abandoned at the edge of the parking lot.

Canadian or otherwise, what do you think of the demise of the Canadian penny?  Are you Americans ready for it to happen in your country?  What do the Brits want to get rid of, aside from the Euro?

Yuletide Celebrations

BAHBLOODY HUMBUG!

I am soooo glad it’s all over for another year!  The worship of the Great God Commerce dials back till it’s just a dull roar.

 

What?  Too much, too soon?

As the most fascinating man on Earth, I don’t always listen to the radio in the living room or the car, but when I do, I want to hear some classic rock and roll.  This all-Christmas-songs, all-the-time, for 7 or 8 weeks, on all four locally available stations, gets old fast.  Like, right after the second time Gramma Got Run Over By A Reindeer is played on the American Thanksgiving.

I turn the radio off, and start plugging CDs into my five-disc player.  You’ll read about our cookie-making marathons.  I need six hours of non-Christmas in my ear.  We’ve got a half-dozen Rankin Family albums, and another half-dozen Jeff Foxworthy discs.  Christmas is the only time of year we play them.  Include some Jethro Tull and The Guess Who, and we’re good till New Years.

We went grocery shopping one day.  Shortly after we entered, the Muzak started playing The Twelve Days of Christmas.  With the ever-expanding twelve choruses, that song just goes On and On.  I piled a hundred dollars worth of stuff into the cart, and they were still whining about rings and calling birds.  We headed for the cashiers just as they finally came to an end.  Apparently on a random mix, the next song up was….The Twelve Days of Christmas – by a different group.  Check me out, quick, before I check-out on my own.

The streets and roads are back to being inhabited by just the usual batch of stupid incompetents.  I can almost get where I’m going, because all the soccer-moms, who don’t know how to drive their soccer-mom-vans, aren’t plugging the streets and parking lots, and obscuring my sight-lines.  Once, when the son was just learning to drive, I bitched (What a surprise!) about hating to be behind vans and pickups.  Now that he drives regularly himself, he admitted the other day that he understands what I was upset about.

Christmas lights, that’s the least we can do to celebrate the season – literally the least we can do.  An ego-stroking waste of electricity.  There are two homes, side by side, somewhere in Connecticut, which both look like Chevy Chase’s, Christmas Vacation house, with the bearings on the power meter smoking from the RPMs.  Each year, both owners added more and more lights, in an attempt to outdo each other.  Finally, this year, sanity prevailed.  One of the owners put up only one string of lights, forming an arrow, and the word, “Ditto!”

The Sikhs across the street look like a Las Vegas casino.  I put up one little light-decorated wreath outside the downstairs powder-room window….and often forget to plug it in till nine or ten PM.  With all the demons and gargoyles we have in the gardens, it’s a surprise we haven’t had carolling groups which included torches and pitchforks.

I really put the *cur* in curmudgeon.  I’m not against giving presents or getting the family together for a visit and a meal.  If it’s someone’s birthday, or anniversary, give a present.  I just don’t want to be standing beside some guy while I’m just trying to buy a newspaper, and have his pants burn down because his credit card exploded.  Want a “family meal?”  Pick a day and invite the family over.  Depending on the size of your family, it might be less stressful for everyone, to have smaller groups.

Too many people fall victim to the idea that they’re “obligated” to participate in this exercise in excess, and then feel overwhelmed, and somehow a failure.  Something worth doing is not necessarily worth overdoing.  This thing is getting out of hand.  The best of intentions is producing the worst of results.  It really is no wonder that other faiths, other countries and other cultures hate us.  We could be so much more, with so much less.

Peace and love to you all, quietly, sincerely, without all the fuss.