Flash Fiction #115

lanterns

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Light was the first thing to be lost when “The Wave” rolled through. Electricity stopped flowing, technology disappeared and we reverted to the lives our ancestors had endured, hundreds of years ago.

No-one knew what had caused it, but it was the end of civilization as we knew it. The superstitious called it ‘Magic.’  The religious claimed that it was the wrath of God.  Who knew what scientists called it?  All media, including the internet, had winked out of existence!

The Third World countries scarcely noticed it, and Survivalists suddenly had more friends and followers than any Kardashian ever had.

***

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

Criminal Assholed

Grammar Nazi

Alas, poor English language, so assaulted and insulted. You are misspoken, misheard, mispronounced, misunderstood, misspelled, miswritten, misprinted, misrepresented, misused, abused, confused.

The following are only a few of the ways that the more (or less) erudite have mangled the mother tongue recently, some of them professionally. We start with a couple of bloggers who felt the need to include their own definitions.

may the peace of the garden bewith you – Bewith, a word meaning – enchant, enlighten curiously

I think she was trying to define bewitch. Be with is two words, which mean ‘to enter your heart, soul or mind, and remain there.”  The next blogger defined….

gomble – a large risk with no guarantee of success  I’ll gamble that his Spellchecker doesn’t work.  Then on to….

My brain shut down oredi this week – and I’m already pissed that you mumble when you listen.

a still toddering child – toddling? tottering? They’re just making these up as they go.

we are directed, neigh commanded – A horse’s mouth neighs.  A horse’s ass doesn’t know that it’s nay.

My friend became a little two comfortable – because it takes more than one to make that mistake.

an interesting little trieste – in a treatise by a pretentious writer

Jack DeBrul, writing as Clive Cussler – was an instant from firing, before adjusting his site picture.  Stop web-surfing Jack, and see the sights.  He had an old fishing boat – held together with duct tape and bailing wire.  When bailing boats, use a bucket.  Only use wire when baling hay . Later in the story, he had a character ride a motorcycle and – swiftly turn the wheel to avoid a collision.  A steering wheel – on a motorcycle??  Maybe he needs to do that computer research!

choose to lye with the same sex – Ow!  That would smart – If only the writer was.

I remember when Cypress was ‘The War of the Week’ – I remember when Cypress was a large tree, and Cyprus was where Canadian peacekeeping troops went.

The Toronto Sun says ‘Toronto Mayor is not board at council meetings.’ – He looks more like a brick, but I’m bored.

They alluded authorities for weeks – and the correct word eluded the writer.

Dictionary

It never seizes to amaze me – that people don’t know that it’s “ceases to amaze me.”

A Toronto bus driver was punched in the face – over a fair dispute.  I wonder how hard he’d have been punched if it were a serious dispute – over a fare?

I corrected a blogger who published ‘low and behold.’  Damn you Autocorrect, which doesn’t know about ‘lo and behold.’

swallowed chick eyed as slight-of-hand trick – You made a slight mistake!  The phrase is, sleight-of-hand.

Serena ‘pushes the envelope’ with bare midriff, naval ring, – Hello sailor, new in town? – and then wore it in her navel.

Russian fishermen rescued from broken ice float – I’ll float the idea that it was a floe (not a flow).

the likely hood of a revolution – There’s a likelihood SpellCheck didn’t catch this.

Christmas is passed – No, no, laws are passed.  Christmas is past.

an undo emphasis on building walls – Undo your dictionary, and look up undue.

a homeless guy was stabbed in the juggler – by who, a Clown?

murder in disabaled daughter’s death – Another newspaper headline typo that proves that the last proof-reader, like the last dinosaur, is long extinct.

I think I’m ovary acting about this – Then you can’t be Chris/Caitlyn Jenner.

We find are selves back at square one – We should find ourselves back at that dictionary.

A Cambodian student has invented a robot to diffuse landmines.  With 10 million of them in his country, I think they’re diffused enough.  It stabilises the detonator and cuts it out….oh, it defuses landmines.

Crossword clue, cul-de-sac = alley.  No, no!  Alley narrow, open at both ends.  Cul-de-sac wide, closed at one end.  Crossword editor lazy – stupid – pissing me off!

Not an error, but in a recent post I wrote Superbowl as one word, instead of Super Bowl. SpellCheck offered me ‘Superb owl’ as an alternative.  I wish I owned a superb owl.  It could have watched me laugh till I almost peed myself in the dark.

 

Religious Addiction

Bible

A letter came to a pastor recently, from a middle-aged woman determined to take her own life. She has already made an attempt.  She suffers from extremely low self-esteem, depression and other afflictions.

She feels desperate, “cut off from God” and beyond divine forgiveness. Certain readers will already be saying to themselves that she needs to be “saved,” to be “born again,” and to join a church where they “preach the Gospel.”

However, this woman has already been through all that. A Theologian read her letter and felt it was quite obvious that she suffered from far too much literalistic fundamentalism already.  Like hundreds of similar others over the years, she is being tormented by the very religion she once turned to for comfort and “salvation.”

Briefly stated, she is suffering from a form of religion that is ‘bad religion.’ It’s growing and becoming very powerful in some quarters today.  It can look successful on the outside, even imparting a glazed but glowing countenance, but it can tear apart people’s souls.

This form of ‘addictive’ religiosity is not confined to circles dominated by TV evangelists or excessively zealous priests. It cuts across all Christian denominations and, in varying degrees, all other faiths.

Here are some of its major characteristics. It touts black and white answers to every problem – from hormone issues (sex), to when and how the universe was formed.  It encourages passive dependence on a host of authorities, from sacred texts, to faith leaders at every level.  It fosters simplistic, ‘magical’ thinking.  It diminishes one’s autonomy, self-reliance, confidence in one’s own inner voice and ability to grow either emotionally or intellectually.

It views all other faith stances as wrong – or even Satanic, leading to “Hell.”  Such a system whines a lot about what “miserable sinners” we all are and yet never asks itself why it leaves such incredible guilt, anxiety and loss of self-esteem in its wake.

Priest

Yes, it can produce an overinflated ‘high’ at being on the “winning side,” as “God’s elect,” but at a terrible price. This is referred to as loss of authenticity and of one’s inner convictions.  The God being served is too often a narrow, small, vengeful, tribal deity, who is nonetheless supposedly loving.

The Churchman reflected on this phenomenon as he worked on answering the suicide note. Suddenly, with a genuine synchronicity, his mail arrived with a copy of an article from Pastoral Psychology, a magazine dedicated to learned articles on various aspects of soul-care – mainly for clergy, psychotherapists and other counsellors.

It was titled “Religious Addiction, The Subtle Destruction Of The Soul.” It was written by Patricia Anne Venderheyden, a psychotherapist in private practice in London, Ontario.  Her Master’s thesis is from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, and was focused on this same issue: religious addiction.

As she told him in an interview, this isn’t a subject that has received much attention in the past. It certainly deserves it today!  She had pondered for many years, beginning with her own experiences of certain faith groups, why it is that so many in every religion gravitate to authoritarian cliques with such alacrity and yet, in the end, with such disastrous results.

She wrote: “I observed how people’s inner authority was compromised in order to fit in with a system of belief whose standards were impeccable – and unattainable. I saw people accepted into groups only if they ‘jumped through the right hoops’, dotted their i’s and watched their p’s and q’s.” The ‘addicts’ had a show of freedom, yet their proclamations seemed ‘hollow and empty.’

She saw many such persons blindly accepting the words and advice of religious elders. All critical awareness and thinking for themselves had long since been suppressed.  “The addicts wanted to be told that he or she was absolutely right, and that any form of questioning is evil.” she said.

Certainly, authorities can help someone at first, but if they are compulsively used ‘as a way of avoiding one’s own reality,’ they ruin one’s hopes of ever becoming mature in either mind or spirit. The addicts she describes are ‘religious junkies,’ obsessed with mood alteration and a quick fix to face life.

There’s no need to assign blame. Religious leaders can nurture an addictive faith unwittingly by never stopping to ask questions of the style and content of their ministry, such as: To whom does it cater, and why?  With what results?

Believers who are really avoiding the shame and pain within by refusing to tackle it, and by ‘leaving it all to God,’ need to stop and realize that the rigidity and exclusivity of addictive religion can one day leave you empty, out of touch with your real self and, hence, engulfed by fear and despair.   😦

 

Hell’s Gate

hells gate

AKA – Book Review #13

Always distrustful of the Lowest-Common-Denominator effect, I have avoided reading many of literature’s Great Books.  While I reference ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’, or ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, I have not actually read them.  Another book I have declined to read is ‘War and Peace.’

The first three hundred pages are a boring family lineage tree that makes the Utah Mormons look like amateurs. While epic in scale, the book then plods to a conclusion after almost 1200 pages.  I did read the 5000 page John Jakes’ Bicentennial Saga series, but that was eight 600/700 page books, over five years.

Especially since I have retired, I read to pass time as much as for the enjoyment of a good story. I recently filched a book from the library in the son’s room.  It’s a Science Fiction book that runs to 1208 pages, before a thirty page glossary of all the terms.  It’s a ‘War and Peace’ equivalent that took me almost a month to get through.

The Book – Hell’s Gate

The Authors – David Weber/Linda Evans

The Review –

Like War and Peace, this is an epic saga of two mighty empires, entire planets. They’re both ‘Earth’, although neither of them call themselves that.  This is a tale of parallel dimensional worlds.

About two hundred years ago, portals began appearing, which allowed them to travel to a string of other ‘Earths’ where everything except mankind exists. They have been mining the metals, cutting the lumber, and fishing the seas.

In one group, a minority have Psi powers. They can broadcast and receive thoughts, feel when someone is lying and ‘See’ territory miles away.  They have firearms.

The other side has learned to harness Galactic quantum energy, effectively creating magic. They can throw ball lightning, heal wounds, use crystals loaded with power like computers, and have bred Dragons.  They arm with crossbows, swords and axes for close combat.

The story begins when they arrive at the same alternate Earth, from opposite directions. Each group has 200 years of never seeing any other people.  Two startled scouts meet in a dark forest, and manage to shoot each other.  One crawls back to camp before dying.

Each is convinced the other started it, and the story follows the inevitability of war. Each planet has several nations, benevolent kingdoms and democratic empires.  The story traces the good guys trying to prevent destruction and death, and shows the countries, industries and individuals who cheat, betray and lie to cause war, for personal, group, and national advantages, on both sides.

While the action moves along steadily, there never seems to be any urgency or suspense in the story. It just plods along for the 1200 pages – and doesn’t come to an end.  The author and/or publisher seem intent on capturing readers with a serial.  I have checked out the next book.  I don’t like spoilers, and read a book from front to back, but I checked to see how long Hell Hath No Fury is.  It’s only 678 pages, and I unintentionally got a look at the last page – and it still doesn’t seem to be resolved.

It’s a great book for someone like me. It ate up a lot of spare time – not that I have a lot of ‘spare time’ sometimes.  You’ll have seen it in my yearly list of Books Read, and you’ll see its sequel, and possibly a review, next year – the good Lord willin’, an’ the creek don’t rise.   🙂

Uber

Taxi

A boy and his date were parked on a back
road some distance from town, doing what
boys and girls do on back roads some
distance from town, when the girl stopped
the boy.

I really should have mentioned this
earlier, but I’m actually a hooker and I
charge $50 for sex.”

The boy reluctantly paid her, and they
did their thing.

After the cigarette, the boy just sat in
the driver’s seat looking out the window.

Why aren’t we going anywhere?” asked the
girl.

Well, I should have mentioned this
before, but I’m actually a taxi driver,
and the fare back to town is $75.”

***

What should you do when you see
an endangered animal that is eating
an endangered plant?

***

There was a magic mirror. If you told it the
truth, it would grant you a wish. If you lied to
it, it would vaporize you on the spot. One day a
brunette walked up to the mirror, looked in it
and said, “I think I’m the most beautiful woman
in the world.” Poof! She disappeared.

A little while later a redhead walked up to the
mirror, looked in it and said, “I think I’m the
most beautiful woman in the world.” Poof! She
disappeared.

Later, a blond walked up to the mirror, looked in
it and said, “I think…” Poof!!

***

If at first you don’t succeed, blame your computer.

***

We spend the first twelve months of our children’s
lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next
twelve years telling them to sit down and shut up.

Phyllis Diller

***

Did you know that it costs forty thousand dollars
a year to house each prisoner?

Jeez, for forty thousand bucks apiece I’ll take
a few prisoners into my house! I live in New York,
I already have bars on the  windows.

I don’t think we should give free room and board
to criminals. I think they should have to run
twelve hours a day on a treadmill and generate
electricity. And if they don’t want to run, they
can rest in the electric chair that’s hooked up
to the generator.

Adoption

Buddha

In our continuing quest to get a front-page spread in Better Huts And Hovels (Pagan Press Intl.), the wife decided to dress the place up a bit, and give it some character. To that end, we decided to adopt a few more characters as lucky amulets.

SDC10848

She felt we should get a small statue of Buddha for the back deck, among her many plants, as a sign of peace, so off to Lowes we trekked. We found a lovely Buddha, and right next to him, Elfen (above). One look at that smirky smile, and we said, peace on Buddha, we’re taking him. That shit-disturbing little grin just says, “Take me home, so that we can start getting into trouble.”

SDC10840

The son keeps acquiring semi-precious stone skulls. His total now is about 20. I’ll show you his rogues’ gallery complete, later in the summer. His interest has rubbed off on the wife, and she has also begun a collection. As homage to our alien overlords, she now displays in a place of honor, a replica of Ming from Mong, their revered leader.

SDC10854

On a lower shelf, to demonstrate our obedience and subjugation, sits a little crystal human skull replica, that the son gave his mother for Mothers’ Day. Isn’t he sweet and thoughtful? That’s so much better than the Swiffer Sweeper and electric fry pan I got her. My head still has a lump from when she accidentally dropped it while putting it away.

SDC10844

If two heads are better than one, then 20 should be better than 2, so the son continues to expand his collection. He says this big obsidian skull has been talking to him from the Rock Shop at the Farmers’ Market, for over six months….He just means that he’s been attracted to it, right?? I mean, it couldn’t really talk to him – could it??!

SDC10842

To help him with his thinking, the son recently got another set of wooden heads. He claims that they stand for See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil. There’s nothing evil about this house, but I think these guys just don’t want to see or hear what’s going on. Poor Moe, on the bottom, saw and heard, and is now trying to keep his stomach down. Nice of him, but with a couple of sensitive cats, one more stain on the rug wouldn’t even be noticed.

SDC10510

These new kids sit not too far away from their older, larger brothers, which the son obtained back in the fall. The old Market building burned down because it was made of dried wood, and had no sprinklers. Perhaps I should dip these in fire retardant, and tell the son that I’m staining them for him. 😉

So, all in all, we’re now better protected from random psionic and thaumaturgic attacks. Maybe I should obtain a couple more and send them to Cordelia’s Mom, to protect her from the imps who infest her neighborhood.

#482

Book Review #6

MAGIC

Years ago, when I began reading science fiction, I was a nuts-and-bolts, spaceships-and-rayguns sci-fi fan.  Then a couple of my favored authors (both female) slipped into sword and sorcery.  I tried to follow, but I guess my structured, logical mind just didn’t wanna go there.  There seemed no “basis” for magic.  It just was, take it or leave it.  I left it.

Fast forward 40 years.  Times, and technology, and therefore writing, have changed.  In the last couple of years, the son has introduced me to four different sci-fi series wherein magic exists.  Quantum mechanics/entanglement and cosmic energy, along with parallel dimensions, justify magic, at least to me.

The last for me to read is from an author listed as Ilona Andrews.  It’s actually a husband and wife team.  She’s Ilona.  He’s Andrew.  She’s Russian.  He’s American.  No seductive superspy or licence to kill, she came to San Francisco to attend university, and they met at an English Composition course, where she outscored him.  (Where’s a licence to kill when you really need one?)   She writes the romance/sex/magic, and he takes care of guns, knives, bombs, vehicles and martial arts.

The son had acquired numbers 1, 3, and 5.  Recently he let Amazon fill in numbers 2 and 4, and number 6 will soon be released.  I’ll add them to my to-be-read pile, and get to them some time next year.

Two other series are both by the same author, Larry Correia.  The Hard Magic group are set in the Roaring Twenties era, a Raymond Chandler-esque alternate-history with Tommy gun-toting hoods, and airships instead of planes.  All people range from zero to adept at telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation etc.  Only a rare few can synthesize control over more than one talent.

His Monster Hunter series is modern-day and assumes the existence of werewolves, vampires, orcs and the like.  Silver-bullet armed groups are paid by the government to keep these away from the general population.  Non-threatening species like elves and gnomes are merely confined to reservations which resemble redneck trailer parks.  Social commentary, anyone?

The last group are the ones I’m going to (finally) review.  A female author has written several books intended for adolescent readers, but in doing so, perhaps unknowingly or unintentionally, she has written above expectations, and produced some adult-grade statements.

The Author – Wen Spencer

The Book(s) – Tinker – Wolf Who Rules – Elfhome

1-Tinker 2-Wolf Who Rules

3-Elfhome

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Review

I’m reviewing three books, because this trilogy of 550-page stories is actually one extended tale across several summer and fall months.  They can be read as stand-alone books.  Each one is carefully ended, but enjoyment and comprehension of #2 and #3 are greatly enhanced by the previous back-story.

Magic, in these stories, like cosmic rays, is ubiquitous, needing only to be gathered and controlled.  Small groups of parallel dimensions hang like bunches of tomatoes on a vine.  Those closest to the stalk receive the most magical power.  Poor Earth hangs out at the very end, receiving just enough to make magic the stuff of myths and legends.

Apparently a native of Pittsburgh, Spencer puts all of the action there.  Magic does what technology does, only faster, better, more powerfully.  Technology can harness magic, if you know how and where.  The magic is directed with crystals, or computer-printed spell sheets.  Of course, it can also be controlled with hand and arm postures, and initiated with voice vibrations, spell words, like the Weirding-module guns in Frank Herbert’s Dune book and movie.

Our teenage heroine’s grandfather produced a satellite which unwittingly causes the city to cycle from Earth to an alternate-Earth known as Elfhome.  On each such tomato-Earth in the bunch, a different, though similar, set of flora and fauna have evolved, with a different race at the top of the food-chain.

The magic-rich Elves, while not exactly immortal, live thousands of years.  There’s a world where sauroids learned to use magic, and essentially became intelligent dragons.  They, and others, can move from world to world.

The author is entranced with Asian culture.  She has the heroine in another book move to Japan to become a writer.  Aside from the action, these stories are much in the vein of Jonathan Swift’s, Gulliver’s Travels.  She uses satire and lampoon as social comment, to show the strengths and weaknesses of various cultures.

The regal and genteel, one-child-per-century Elves are the Japanese.  While they make a great show of manners, they are locked into a royal court and cultural rut, too slow to deal with the rapid social changes that inter-world travel has brought to them.  Everyone has their place, but, like the caste-ridden India, there is often no-one to fill newly-produced places.

The ill-mannered, pig-based Onihida, breeding faster than rabbits, busily consuming and corrupting their own world, as well as others, are the Chinese.  The diverse half-breeds are the Americans, able to use the magic to sprout wings and fly like birds, or trail like bloodhounds.

These are the tales of a wrecking-yard-owning Pittsburgh Cinderella, who rescues, and in turn is rescued by, her Elfin Prince Charming.  She uses quick wit and genius level intelligence to defeat the bad guys and save the day.  Through them all, the author cogently notes where our societies have come from, and where they might be going.

I found them good, solid reading, with lots of action and plot twists, and a reflection of life.

Silence Is Golden

You can say nothing and be thought a fool, or you can open your mouth, and remove all doubt.  This is an idea I try to keep in mind whenever I submit an Op-Ed letter, publish a post, or comment on someone’s site.  My father, who was a constant font of little homilies, often said, “You just missed a great chance to keep your mouth shut.”

I read the Op-Ed letters in two newspapers every day, just to know what’s going through the public’s heads – besides a strong breeze.  Out of the blue, a couple of years ago, the local paper printed a letter from a man.  I’ll assume he’s a relatively young man, from the content and tone.

He had found out that some people still took baths, rather than showers, and he was just disgusted.  You wouldn’t catch him “soaking in a tub full of dirt soup!”  He musta got plumbing installed in the double-wide, and didn’t have to take a bar of soap down to the creek.

As one who regularly enjoys a hot soapy soak, I felt it my duty to set the dear boy straight, so, off went a rebuttal letter.  Had he ever considered the dispersal ratio – how much (little) oils and actual dirt, spread though how many gallons of water?  Was he aware of di-atomic, hydrophilic/hydrophobic soap molecules, holding dirt and oil away from the body?  Did he know about colloidal suspension/colloidal dispersion?  Had this little couch-potato watched enough TV to have seen ads for Cascade dish detergent, with sheeting action, which guaranteed no re-deposit?

Occasionally, when something like this post reminds me of that letter, I wonder just what set off his little diatribe.  All he had to do to avoid looking like an opinionated fool, was shut up – says the guy with the blog-site.

Christmas has reminded me of another strange newspaper find.  The Toronto Sun used to have a “human interest” columnist.  Like some blogs, it was a thousand words a day, Monday to Friday.  I’m sure it must have been a challenge to come up with something interesting every day, to fill the spot.  One year, on October the 19th, (I remember the date because it was so out-of-season.) in the middle of a column, suddenly he inserted, “And the name of Santa’s reindeer is Donner, not Donder!”

There’s a term in English.  It means that something has been incorrect so long and so often, that now it’s accepted as correct.  I seem to have mislaid it.  If any of you come across it, please toss it back in the Den.  A Library book, printed in 1907, gave “Donder.”  One printed in 1921 showed the slide to “Donner.”

Like a discussion I had with SightsNBytes recently, about diarrhoea vs. diarrhea, there are two acceptable ways of spelling it; the original is just a bit more correct.  An amateur student of psychology, I still wonder what twisted his tail hard enough that he would deny the other option.

Living here in German town, it’s easy to pick up a bit of German usage, and it seems obvious what the correct original was.  In the German language, the thunder and lightning team are “donder und blitzen.”  If Santa’s got a Blitzen, it follows that he’s got a Donder too, not a Donner.  All this columnist had to do was keep quiet.

Back when the entire world was on tenterhooks, waiting for J. K. Rowling to pound out the fifth in the series of Harry Potter books, the local paper printed an odd Op-Ed letter from a young graduate of one of the local universities.  Essentially, he denied that the fifth, or any more, Hogwarts books would ever be written.

When he graduated and was awarded his degree, it was on the basis of his thesis paper, the theme of which he tried to explain in his letter.  He may have done great research, and assembled a good paper, but at least he, and perhaps the examination board, may have snorting copier toner.

His paper proved conclusively that there were only four basic states to any construction.  He listed the four archaic elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water, and then, ignoring the final 21 New Testament books, he cited the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  He mixed it all together with some New-Age psycho-babble, and absolutely guaranteed that no fifth book would ever be printed.

Of course, we all know what happened.  There were waits, but books numbers 5, 6 and 7 all appeared.  I delayed about six months after the release of number five, when Rowling had made another Billion dollars, and sent in a letter of ridicule.

Ivory-Tower Ivan had ignored several large chunks of reality.  The series was not complete at four books.  Rowling and her publishers had clearly stated that the series would go to seven.  Enough money to purchase a medium-sized country was at stake.

Even if, at the end of book four, a large asteroid crashed into the school, destroying it, and killing all the characters, the stories are about Magic.  Someone would have seen destruction approaching, and waved a wand and shouted Petronum, and everything would have been restored.  Everything except this dolt’s “reasoned conclusions.”  Just shut up and avoid the embarrassment!

As we were having coffee and donuts at the Farmers’ Market recently, we were joined at the food court by the man who sells us honey, and beeswax for the wife to make candles.  Not Amish or Mennonite, he is still a very religious person.  The conversation got around to allergies, as conversations with the wife and daughter often do.  The wife stated that she is allergic to several types of flowers, and has trouble breathing when they are near.

As a farmer, he must be familiar with stinging nettles, poison ivy and sumac, poisonous foxglove, and dumb-cane, Dieffenbachia, which can paralyze the voice box and cause breathing problems in small children and pets.  He and his bees like the flowers.  He relies on them for much of his income.

As soon as the wife mentioned allergies to flowers, he “corrected” her and told her that her problems were caused by the sprays which are causing hive collapse, “Because God wouldn’t make blooms that are bad for us!”  Yeah, well, God called.  He says you’re a narrow-minded idiot who can’t keep his mouth shut.

I Wish You Hadn’t Said That

Being a rant about the things that people write without thinking, mostly, but not entirely, incorrect homonyms.  Crossword puzzles still irk me when the creators don’t really know what they’re talking about.  The Canadian province Alberta, can be rendered AB, Alt. or Alta, but not Alba.  That’s another name for Scotland.

“Refrain from” does not mean cease.  Refrain means not doing something.  Cease means you’re already doing it and must stop.  A video was titled “crazy way to tow a bus”, and showed it being pushed.  Towed means being pulled.  Pushed means not being towed.

Connotation vs. denotation means, what people think things mean, instead of what they really do mean.  Often secondary meanings become so common that the original gets lost.  If I were hungry, I might be a little testy, but peckish means hungry, not testy.  I get a bit testy when people don’t know that.

Ordinary folk using the wrong word is common, but it especially irks me when someone who really should know, doesn’t.  Probably not old enough to remember wringer washing-machines, the female leader of a Provincial political party claimed that, “The Liberals are putting us through the ringer.”  What a ding-a-ling.

The editor of an on-line publishing company got rid of a troublesome client, and wrote, “Good riddens to bad rubbish.” apparently not knowing the existence of the word riddance, and that riddens is not a word in English.

A successful author’s character, “Reloaded his weapons, and checked his partner’s ordinance.”  There’s a law against that, because weaponry is ordnance.  This man has three university degrees, works for NASA, and has six successful books – just not a publisher with a proof-reader.

“Grant shirked back into his leather duster” and the author shirked his duty to discover that the correct word is shucked – to remove from, or in this case, return to, an outer covering.

“I’m not the kind of mother who pawns her children off.”  I didn’t know you could get money for the little ba….bies.  She should use some to catch a magic show.  Closely watching a card trick will show you how the performer palms the card.

For all intensive purposes – or, for all intense and purposes.  My intents (intentions) and purpose is to remind people to think about the correct word.

I despair of ever having the general public correctly use the forms of lie and lay.  Misusage is endemic in newspapers, and on TV.  “Danny DeVito and his wife laid low.”  If you are “laid low” you’re dead.  Lay requires a noun to perform its action on.  Lie doesn’t.  You can lie down, and lay your head on a pillow.  You can lay your mistress, and lie to your wife about it.

I am sadly amused by those who are illiterate enough to not know that the word segue is pronounced seg-way, but have the arrogance to “correct” it by writing segue-way.  I mentioned it to the great Edward Hotspur when he did it, and was promptly run over by his turbo-charged ego.

We go back to the pawnshop for the story of a young man and woman who hocked their virginity online.  In aggressively promoting something for sale, they hawked the product.  A businessman offered Brittany Spears $2 million for her virginity.  This gal got $68,000!  The guy just got a lot of people shaking their heads.

A man who’s reputation preceded him should have thought, damn it, if it has an apostrophe, it’s an abbreviation.  Whose yer English teacher?

A woman wanted to sell an original addition of War and Peace.  Damn, it’s long enough already!  Why would you want to increase it?  Another genius wanted to sell a Star Wars action figure – Job of the Hut.  I thought nerds could read and write.

They failed to chalk the truck in place, after arriving early to get a good birth on the ferry, and its parking breaks failed.  This author/book must take some sort of prize for having the most mistakes in one sentence.  I’m sure you already know, but the correct words are chock, berth, and brakes.

After seen the video, or, I seen the video.  One wrong word taking the places of both seeing, and saw.

He hit one out of the part.  What!!?  Let’s hope that was just a baseball typo.

It meant that, simply foot…  Simply put, I don’t even want to know what the author thought the word foot meant in that context, oh damn, that thought word again.

For sale – radio arm saw.  I wonder if it’s AM/FM.  I have a bionic shoulder.  What’s a radio arm?

Don’t say anymore, the game’s a foot, just proves that two words don’t mean the same as a single compound word.  Allot means to divide, or portion out.  I see that a lotAlot is a lot closer, but still not proper English.

It is not a case and point.  It is a case in point, in case no-one pointed that out.  And it’s neck and neck, side by side, not neck in neck, which is impossible.  Think damn it!

A palace spokesman changed his tact.  If he’d been a sailor, he’d have correctly changed his tack.

There was wed paint on the rod iron railing.  I know you got the wet paint.  Did you know the railing was wrought iron?  Hogs get into chicken coups…and cause double entenders.  Hey, if you can’t handle English, stay away from French or someone could get hurt.

The wing snapped off the plane, and it augured into the ground.  Well, I could have foretold that.  The spirally thing you’re vaguely thinking of, is an auger.  While we’re talking about machine-tools, she wore a fancy broach on her lapel.  Not my Mom, she wore a brooch.

For better or words, (Ow! Ow! Ow!) that’s all my rants for this time.  Come back soon and I’ll tell you a funny story.

Benny

Once upon a time, long ago, in a faraway land, there lived a poor beggar named Abu Ben Sharif.  He was known to all who met him as Benny the Beggar.  One day, a fantastically fortunate thing happened to Benny.  As he was trudging his dusty way down a long, hot road, he met a fancy coach coming the other way.  As the coach thundered past him in a cloud of dust, Benny noticed something fall from the coach, and bounce into a roadside ditch.

Curious to see what it was, he went over to pick it up and look at it.  It was a shiny brass lamp.  Now, of course, Benny had heard the story of Aladdin’s magical lamp, but he didn’t believe in things like that.  Still, if all the dust were brushed off it, it would look a lot better, and probably bring a higher price, if he decided to sell it.  Besides, it wouldn’t hurt to shine it up a little, just in case.

Of course, we all know what happened!!  As soon as Benny rubbed the lamp, a giant genie appeared and called him “Master”, and promised him anything he wanted, any time he wanted, for as long as he had the lamp….But….with one small condition.  He was never to cut his hair or shave his beard, for as long as he kept the lamp.  If he did, a terrible thing would happen to him, although the genie would not say what that was.

All went well for almost three long years.  Benny lived in the lap of luxury, eating and drinking the best, and wearing the finest clothes, surrounded by beautiful willing girls.  There was one small point of discontent, though.  He looked and felt scruffy.  All that hair got in his way, so he got to thinking, “Why shouldn’t I take all this hair off?  Why would a genie expect me to keep it??  This is silly!!  He probably wouldn’t care if I got a shave and haircut!”  So he did….and nothing happened.

“Ah!” thought Benny, “It was all just a bluff; just a big joke.” And he went on his merry way looking and feeling much better.  The next day though, the promised catastrophe occurred.  He picked up the lamp and rubbed it to summon the genie, so that he could ask for more gold.

As soon as the genie appeared, he looked at Benny and shouted, “You have broken your agreement!!  Now you will suffer the consequences!!!”  And, in a flash of light, and a cloud of smoke, faster than the eye could follow, Benny was transformed into a large, ugly-looking clay pot, full of dust and ashes.

“That’ll teach him.” said the genie, “A Benny shaved, is a Benny urned!!”

 

LOST DOG

Somebody put up a notice on the lamp-post in front of my house, about a missing dog.  He has three legs.  He’s blind in the right eye, missing the left ear.  His tail is broken.  He was recently castrated….and answers to the name LUCKY!

 

If I could live my life over again, I’d make the SAME MISTAKES, I’d just start SOONER!

 

Back when I worked in an office, a friend handed me, what I thought was a business card.  “Keep it handy.” he said.  When I had a chance to read it, it said,

“Your story has touched my heart.  Never before have I met anyone with more or deeper troubles than you.  Please accept this expression of my sincere sympathy.  NOW FUCK OFF and quit bothering me!”

Someone else slipped me a note which read:

 

Be Careful

Scientists have succeeded in

Producing an Atomic-Powered

Electronically-controlled,

Self-actuating, Totally automatic,

Mobile, Fuck-up Machine.

Now, you too can be replaced.

 

The New Priest

A new priest, at his first mass, was so scared he couldn’t speak.  He asked the Monsignor how he had done.  The Monsignor said, “Fine, but next week, it might help if you put a little Vodka or Gin in your water, to help relax you.

The next week, the priest spiked his water with lots of Vodka, and really kicked up a storm with his sermon.  After mass, again, he asked the Monsignor how he had done.  “Well, fine enough, but there are a few things you should get straight!”

1         There are 10 Commandments, not 12.

2         There are 12 disciples, not 10.

3         David slew Goliath; he didn’t kick the shit out of him.

4         We do not refer to Jesus Christ, as “The Late J.C.”

5         Next Sunday, there is a taffy-pulling party at St. Peter’s, not a peter-pulling party at St. Taffy’s.

6         The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost are not referred to as Big Daddy, Junior and The Spook.

Have a laugh, have a laugh, have a laugh on me!  Next post….who knows??!