Flash Fiction #223

Inspiration

PHOTO PROMPT © Jeff Arnold

WHERE’S WALDO?

What’s here? Typewriter? Check. As old as me, but in better shape.
Coffee to rev me up – wine to smooth me out.
Notepad and pencil. Check.
Dictionary? Bah, I know the meaning of every word.
Enough light for old eyes. Cozy work desk!
Something’s missing!

I know! Two things – me…. and Inspiration.
What’s this??! Rochelle wrote two FFs? So, that’s where MY inspiration went. Erato, you traitor! I’m gonna binge watch The Masked Singer till you get back. Sarah Palin says her performance was the craziest thing she’s ever done. She apparently forgets, “I can see Russia from my house.” 😳

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

Friday Fictioneers

WOW #53

Hillbilly Couple

Englishman Umbrella

The smartest British archeologist on the Time Team talks like an American redneck. Lost letters, missing punctuation, and strange pronunciations (even for a Brit) litter his speech patterns, which were already set, in up-country Yorkshire, before he got an amazing education.

If he and his trusty trowel happen upon a particularly interesting/significant find, he is apt to burst out with

STONE THE CROWS!

An exclamation of incredulity or annoyance.

There are some words and phrases which dictionaries just cannot prove the origin of, like “rule of thumb.” That problem interests me, because this one is so new. The British OED claims that it is an American culturalism. Merriam-Webster insists that it is a British phrase. When they can’t fault each other, they blame it on the Australians.

There have been a few attempts to explain the origin of this odd phrase. A croze is the groove at the end of a wooden barrel that holds the end plate in place. It has been suggested that the expression was previously stow (or stove) the croze, that is, break open the barrel. I can find no supporting evidence for that idea though and have to consign it to the realms of folk-etymology. The more prosaic suggestion – that it alludes to the practice of throwing stones at crows – is much more likely.

I’ve found mid-20th century references from England that describe it as an Americanism and American newspaper articles that call it ‘an old English phrase’. The dates of those are more or less right but not the locations – the phrase appears to have originated in Australia. Most of the early citations in print come from down under. It has a sort of Australian twang to it and is in common with several other similar phrases, all with the same meaning: starve the bardies [bardies are grubs], stiffen the crows, spare the crow.

Crows were unwelcome guests at sheep farms as, given the chance, they will kill and eat newborn lambs, so the association with annoyance isn’t hard to see. The link in meaning to surprise isn’t obvious, but then there’s no particular reason to expect to find one. Stoning crows was a commonplace enough activity and calling it up into a phrase could have been done for no reason other than that the person who coined it just liked the sound of it. There are other expressions of surprise or annoyance like I’ll go to the foot of our stairs, strike me pink, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle or if that don’t take the rag off the bush. None Most of these don’t have any sensible literal meaning and stone the crows is another to add to that list.

Take the rag off the bush” actually dates to before households had laundry dryers, or even outdoor lines to hang it on. Large items like bed sheets or blankets were often draped over shrubs or bushes to dry in the sun and breeze. If a strong-enough gust of wind came along, it could blow the ‘rag’ off the bush, and down the street, into the dust or mud, and it would have to be washed (by hand) all over again.

’19 A To Z Challenge – G

AtoZ2019

Letter GWhere did it all start to go wrong??! I blame it on reading Mad Magazine as an impressionable youngster. Mad satirized society, politics, entertainment, and much more. While it was full of silliness, it was still thinking man’s humor. When it achieved commercial success, it was quickly imitated by the likes of Cracked, and Eh magazines. Full of Adam Sandler-like fart jokes, they didn’t last long, and folded. Mad is still publishing after almost 70 years.

One of the ongoing humor bits, was the “translation” of foreign words and phrases.

Gott mit uns – I found my winter gloves
Deutschland uber alles – Alice got run over by a Volkswagen
Mare nostrum – Mary can’t play the guitar
Ad hoc – I had to pawn some of my stuff
Honi soit qui mal y pense – Honey, why did you spank Malcolm?
Sic transit gloria mundi – Gloria threw up on the bus, early this week

This brings us to the translation of this week’s foreign word – actually, a German name, which many local people carry

Gottschalk

Gottschalk – an elementary-school teacher 😉

I ran into this name in a book about people’s delusions. He was a medieval priest who helped raise an army of 100,000 men in Germany, to go on a crusade. Through poor preparation and planning, as well as internal strife, only a handful lived to even get as far as Constantinople, leaving a trail of death and destruction through several countries, including Hungary, with at least that many ‘civilians’ dead behind them.

Always interested in name values, I plugged it into Google Translate. I regret the fact that Dictionary.com can no longer afford to maintain their translation service. It was the best translator I’ve found. When I just enter ‘Google translate’ into the computer toolbar, I always get Bing Translate at the top of the page – terrible site – couldn’t translate a wish into an action.

For those of you who have never used Google Translate – I assume, most of you – when you begin typing text in, it immediately begins translation. I knew that ‘Gott’ equals ‘God,’ so I wasn’t surprised to see that quickly pop up. I thought that the compound word was possessive – Gotts chalk = God’s ?????, but the word ‘schalk’ has a meaning of its own.

As I continued to type in the S, C, H, A, L, suddenly the translation was God scarf, showing how the Anglo-Saxon word ‘schal’ became the English word ‘shawl.’ I typed in the final K, and got knave, rogue, instigator, troublemaker. For a busybody Christian, whose religious fervor was instrumental in causing the deaths of almost a quarter million people for no benefit, I find the name’s word value of ‘God’s little shit-disturber,’ painfully appropriate.

Don’t wait to stop back, Hoss, but if you do, I’ll have something for the letter H in two weeks. 😀

WOW #45

Moping Emoji

I was gonna do the post for this word earlier. I really was. It’s not procrastination. I was in a blue funk.  Even though blue is my favorite color, I just couldn’t seem to find a reason to tell you about

MOPERY

All the interesting words that I could come up with, and I managed to find one that means

Noun

The actions or attitude of a person who is sunk in dejection or listless apathy, sulking, brooding, or dejected

I thought that ‘listless’ meant that I wasn’t keeping up with my 2019 A To Z Challenge words, but I found that it just means ‘not interested’ or ‘indifferent.’ I don’t give a damn.

Then I found out that someone had opened a Papa John’s Pizza outlet, right down the hill from me. We really needed one. Within a two-block stretch we only had a Gino’s, Topper’s, Little Caesar’s, Domino’s, and Double-Double. I need a little variety in my life. The Pizza Hut, just up the street, closed some years ago, so I guess it’s karma that the second pizza chain that John started is now here to tingle my taste-buds.

pizza

An all-meat pizza with hot sauce, and I’m out of my funk, and back to Funk and Wagnall’s dictionary for my next WOW. See you there.

The Need For Myths

Fairy Tale

Myths are stories of our search through the ages for truth, for meaning, for significance. We all need to tell our story and to understand our story. We all need to understand death and to cope with death, and we all need help in our passages from birth to life and then to death.

It may really not be possible to do away with myths. The myth is as much a part of the human need as the allure of it. Even when one does not want to, there will come a time when a person feels the need for a story. This inner need expresses itself as a search, or as a desire. It may come early in life or it may come late. Nevertheless, a person who thinks, is bound to realize a sense of emptiness. Nothing but a story could fill it. All a person would want or hope for is to find a good story, and then, live it.

Finding one’s myth

This is where one person differs from another. It’s easy to understand. What isn’t easy to understand is always, why one person chooses one story to understand his reality, while someone else chooses another. It is to be understood that: Till the time a person finds the story – the myth – that satisfyingly explains his existence and gives purpose to his mind, his soul, the power within is still not released. It is looking for its expression. The myth provides the expression. Only then, when one goes deep into his personal myth, is it no longer just a story, but life itself. Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.

Every culture ought to provide a satisfying myth to the people it holds – one might say – captive. Yes, cultures hold at least some persons captive, while the vast majority are simply organized by it. This is what we understand to be a society. Is that not true? The exceptional individuals of society – the artists, the searchers, the thinkers, and the visionaries – if they succeed in finding their creativity-unlocking-myth, will then become the heroes and the leaders. They may even one day become legends that others recall with some fondness and some fear.

’18 A To Z Challenge – W

Get Off My Lawn

Old Man

I write ‘old,’ because I am old, but also because I read even older writings when I was young.  I love the new technology (what I can understand of it), but I miss the grace, style and solemnity of bygone days, and bygone manners, and bygone speech.  When/because I was younger, I never had the opportunity to call someone a

Whippersnapper

Now that I am old enough to do so, life and language have moved on, and I have missed my chance.  I might as well speak of button-hooks, or buggy-whips, or Marcel hair treatments.  People would regard me even more strangely than they already do.

‘Whippersnapper’ is a word which has been used since the 17th century. The word can be used in two different contexts. One, it refers to a person who is very lazy and has no ambitions. The other context is used to denote young people who live on the streets and are indulged in wrong practices. However, the usage and meaning of the word changed over time. Now, it is used for a person who is very confident, or for a child who keeps questioning.

Nowadays, society moves so fast that many of us don’t have, or take, the time to actually say or write things.  OMG!  For those who deserve this epithet, (and they are numerous, and greatly deserving) I will have to settle for a firmly applied “Asshole,” or a solid smack with an appropriate acronym (PITA = Pain In The Ass), or Emoji. Thumbs Down

Flash Fiction #169

Piedmont

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

IT’S RAINING, IT’S POURING

Before I moved here from California, Piedmont was just the name of a city.  Here in North Carolina it’s a little different.  The word still means the same thing – foot of a mountain.

In California, the only thing that Piedmont had to worry about was if the San Andreas Fault opened up, and most of the state took a dip in the Pacific.  Here, you guys have to evacuate to the piedmont to get away from big storms.  When do you figure Hurricane Florence will die off?

Usually, if my drinks are watered down, it was done by the bartender.

***

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

Friday Fictioneers

 

WOW #30

Bagpipes

My Scottish heritage has dragged out another wee term for us to look at.  Today, we consider the word

KEN

Definitions for ken

knowledge, understanding, or cognizance; mental perception: an idea beyond one’s ken.

range of sight or vision.

Chiefly Scot. a. to know, have knowledge of or about, or be acquainted with (a person or thing). b. to understand or perceive (an idea or situation).

It came into the English language before the year 900 AD, and it didn’t come alone.  Its widely dispersed ancestors also gave us;

English ken comes from the very widespread Proto-Indo-European root gnō- (and its variants gnē-, gen-, and gṇ-) “to know.” The variant gnō- appears in Greek gignṓskein (and dialect gnṓskein), Latin gnōscere, nōscere, and Slavic (Polish) znać “to know.” The variant gnē- forms cnāwan in Old English (and know in English); the variant gṇǝ- (with suffixed schwa) yields cunnan “to know, know how to, be able” in Old English (and can “be able” in English).

These also gave us Gnostic, and Agnostic, as well as the Scottish term, canny, which means skilled, expert, astute, shrewd or cautious, and the English word cunning, a noun which means just about the same thing.

Now that we know all about Ken, let’s have a look at BarbieBarbie is a predecessor to Kardashians, only with less plastic, and more intelligence, personality, and believable figure.  If Barbie is so popular, why do we have to buy her friends??   😕

Another Line Of One-Liners

Comedy

Santa Claus now has 10 reindeer. He’s taken on Rudolph’s brother, Henry the brown-nose reindeer.
Henry can run as fast as Rudolph, but his depth perception isn’t as good.
***
If your apartment is hit by a dolphin, DO NOT GO OUT TO SEE IF THE DOLPHIN IS OKAY.
That’s how the hurricane tricks you into coming outside.
***
I told my boyfriend we could watch porn for his birthday and do everything that we saw in the video…
He was super psyched, until I fucked the pizza guy.
***
I learned yesterday that a school of piranhas can strip all the flesh off of a child’s body in less than a minute…
On the downside, I lost my job at the aquarium…
***
My sexual desires have been getting out of control…
But it wasn’t until I spanked a statue that I knew I’d hit rock bottom…
***
I have a condition where I feel the need to steal library books.
I should probably get that checked out.
***
What do you call an IT teacher who has sex with his students?
A PDF File.
***
I speak my mind….
Because it hurts to bite my tongue all the time.
***
Calm down! Take a deep breath –
and hold it for 20 minutes
***
What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy?
Don’t know, don’t care.
***
I just cancelled my gym membership.
I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.
***
I go to the gym so seldom, I still call it James.
***
EXERCISE??! I thought you said ‘Extra fries.’
***
What do you call a book club that’s been stuck on the same book for years….
….The Church
***
As a kid, I used to stick my tongue out to flirt with girls. My parents disapproved.
As an adult, the girl’s parents disapprove.
***
A man dies and goes to heaven. He meets God and asks him “What is the meaning of life?”
“Well, if I told you, it’d ruin the joke”
***
I got pulled over by a policeman… He came to the window and said “Papers…”
I said ‘scissors, I win!’ and drove off!
He must be desperate for a rematch as he’s been chasing me for ages!
***
We hang our petty thieves, and elect the great ones to public office.
Aesop
***

 

WOW #15

Leftovers

MMM, leftovers

I recently encountered a very strange word (don’t ask how) that had me scratching my head. It is as awesome as it is mystifying. The word I’m talking about is, wait for it…

Tittynope.

Yes, you read that correctly. Tittynope. It is defined on the Merriam-Webster website as: a small amount of anything that is left over. From what I’ve gathered, it’s mostly just applicable to food, similar to the word ‘Ort’. So that leftover chicken from last night, that’s sitting in your refrigerator? That’s tittynope. You have tittynope in your fridge. Don’t you just hate when your mom serves tittynope for dinner? As you can tell, it’s really fun to use in context, especially when your 11-year-old male mind runs free.

“Excuse me, waiter, may I have a box for my tittynope?” Next time you’re at a restaurant, try that and watch your waiter or waitress’s facial expression. If they are dedicated enough to their job and too polite to ask what that is, they may just go looking around the restaurant for some kind of nipple container, probably not though. They will likely just call you a pig, but still, it’s worth a try.

My biggest question about this word is, where the Hell did it originate from? M-W doesn’t give word history, and Dictionary.com hasn’t heard of it. What was the situation that created this word?

I can just imagine some guy eating a pizza, and after he finishes, there is a little piece of leftover pepperoni on his plate.
His friend then walks up, out of the blue, and asks:  “Hey, is that a titty?”
And then the guy who ate the pizza goes:  “Nope.”
Then the other friend thinks to himself:  Hmm, Tittynope.

Then, boom, leftover food regularly starts getting called tittynope, and somehow this word makes it all the way into the dictionary. Although, I’ve never met anyone who actually knew the meaning of it, or has even heard of it for that matter. So, I am going to try to change that, one use of the word at a time.

All this writing has made me hungry for a little snack, and I can see that my friend has some tittynope on his plate. Anyway, you should be ashamed of what you’ve been thinking.   😉