I Got The Word

Small things amuse small minds; therefore, back when I was doing two crossword puzzles a day, I was intrigued by the number of times that a word would show up in both puzzles on the same day.  Different clues, of course, “He’ll give you a lift.” and, “Elevator guy,” would both yield “Otis.”

When I began also doing an online puzzle, it actually tripled the chances that any two would share a word.  I’ve never had a golden day where all three agreed; when the third clue might have been, “He’ll cause you ups and downs.”  I did have one interesting 3 X 2, silver-medal day, where A and B shared a word, B and C shared a word, and C and A shared a word.

So it was fascinating the other day, in my reading, to encounter, within an hour, in two different books, two different place-names both beginning with “Rh,” Rhyolite, Nevada, and Rhododendron, Oregon.  Rhyolite came from a 2007, Clive Cussler book, and refers to a now-ghost mining town.  “Rhyolite” is a volcanic form of granite, from which they mined gold.

The other was from the 2000, fourth book of Lee Child’s, Jack Reacher series.  Either they’re getting better, or they’re growing on me, and I’m learning to ignore the errors.  “Rhododendron”, of course, is a showy pink/purple flower, and the town of the same name in Oregon is in a region known for flower cultivation.  It’s not far from Puyallup, Washington, where growers used to supply daffodils for Johnny Carson’s Tonight show.

A grade three teacher read her charges a story which contained the word frugal.  I like to use the word frugal to describe myself.  It has a softer, more elegant ring than cheap-ass, tight, or stingy.  When asked, she explained that it meant saving (which it doesn’t) and, to get some alone-teacher time, she suggested that the class all write a little story including the word.

Little Johnny wrote an heroic tale of a brave knight, who frugalled the fair maiden, imprisoned in the castle tower.  He may have a future in porn.

I once asked Dictionary.com’s crossword solver about Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki raft’s construction, and got the following back:

Try these answers for ‘Kon-Tiki material’

ConfidenceMatching Answer

95% BALSA

43% INCAS

19% SUEDE

19% NYLON

19% ADOBE

19% DENIM

19% CORAL

19% SERGE

19% SATIN

19% SLATE

I don’t know how many dead Incas it would take to float across the Pacific.  A raft made out of serge, or denim would be utilitarian.  One made of nylon might be waterproof.  One constructed of satin would be gorgeous, just gorgeous – if you were floating your way to a gay wedding.  Suede would be for the sensible shoes, if it were a lesbian wedding.

I’m not too sure I’d like an ocean-going raft constructed of slate, coral or adobe.  A guy in my hometown constructed a 30 foot sailboat out of concrete, but I’d be afraid of getting an unguided tour of Jim Wheeler’s submarine with the screen doors.

I just got the word about the next knife show in Detroit.  Some conversation I overheard last spring made me check the website.  Apparently there is some conflict with another knife show, and a large show needing the entire hall in March.

After recently publishing the tale of our first trip down, in a blizzard, I find that the spring(?) show has been moved back to Feb. 1 – 2.  Get a little work done on the car, and we should be all set.  Since we need to travel to Detroit on the Friday evening, the son wouldn’t have the car to get to work.  He could bus in and back, but decided to request the night off.

The wife is suffering some internal problems which make her not want to be too far from a washroom, and doesn’t get to see the specialist till June, so she has decided to stay home, and the son and I are going together.  I have already booked a room at a Red Roof motel north of the tunnel, instead of the one south of the bridge, that we’ve been using for years.  Two days after I confirmed the reservation, I got the email word from Red Roof, that, if I’d waited till Jan. 15 to book, they’re having a 30% off sale.  Some times it just doesn’t pay to be prepared.   😦

It’s near a different Trade Center/flea market we’ve never been to, and is closer to the show venue.  I’m already researching where the nearest Meijer store, WalMart, and Outback restaurant is.  I’ve got addresses written down, and this time, Miss Smarty-Pants GPS just might earn her keep.

There’ll be another episode of The Continuing Adventures of Archon (With his trusty sidekick, Shimoniac) when we get back.

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Trippin’

Last Friday, as the sun disappeared south of the equator for the winter, I wished that I could follow it.  On that day, I reached my best-before-date of 68 years old.  The decrepitude is decreeping up on me.

I was allowed to choose a supper menu for my actual birthday meal, and decided on chicken schnitzel with fries and gravy.  We have schnitzel about once a month, but it’s usually pork schnitzel, purchased over at Eurofoods.  Chicken is a bit more labor to prepare, but nice to have once in a while.  Saturday night, when the son’s taste buds were more awake, we had bacon-wrapped filets with baked potatoes and fried zucchini.

Friday for lunch, I made myself another platter of nacho chips.  The son works a midnight shift and is done Saturday morning at 7 AM.  As sometimes happens, the joy of weekend freedom kept him awake.  Instead of going to bed around 10 AM, he was still awake when I finally rolled out about noon.  Since he doesn’t get Tex-Mex as often as I do, he suggested going to Taco Bell for lunch, while we were doing some shopping.  I should have been eating up leftovers to clean out the fridge, but couldn’t resist some face-time with him.

When we got home and admitted what we’d done, the wife asked if I’d forgotten what I’d had for lunch the day before.  I asked her if she’d forgotten what we’d planned for supper on Sunday, when the daughter, grandson and fiancée came over.  The stuff we picked up while we were out was for beef fajitas.  Tex-Mex three days in a row!  Am I happy?  Si, senor!  Muy bueno!

The loot presents I received on Sunday for my birthday included an Esso gift card that I can use for gas this coming weekend, and a Chapters bookstore gift card that will continue to come in handy anytime.  My grandson and his fiancée presented me with a lovely carved letter opener.  When I slid it out of its holder I thought that it was ivory, because I saw off-white, but when I turned it over, I saw amber/honey color, and realized it was banded agate.  The end of the hilt is a Scottish thistle, to commemorate my heritage.

The wife and I got me a coin for my birthday.  Since the Canadian Mint no longer stamps out pennies, they are offering a twenty-dollar, 99.99 fine, silver coin.  It has three Maple leaves as the penny did.  When I ordered it, I thought it was penny-sized, but when it arrived I found that it’s as big as a quarter.

We’re off to metro Detroit for the weekend.  I have to remember to add the “metro”, lest someone think I’m entering the war-zone.  I made a mis-turn one time, and wound up right down-town.  Ours were the only white faces, and none of the well-tanned ones looked too welcoming.  We stay at a motel 20 miles down I-75.  It’s down the street from a big Meijer store, where we plan to do some shopping, and right across the street from the Gibraltar Trade Center, a gigantic flea-market/food-court/display arena, where you can lose an afternoon, and we plan to.

Not that we need one, but the excuse for the trip is a knife show.  We’ve been down for spring shows several times, but this is the first time we’ve come down in the fall.  We’ve never had a problem getting our choice of room type.  It may have to do with college football, but when I reserved the room a week ago, all the ones with king-size beds were taken.  The wife and I have trouble fitting in a standard double after years of a king-size.  I once missed an exit in Pennsylvania, coming home from Charleston, and drove from Pittsburgh, almost to Buffalo, before we found an officially un-open motel with a vacancy at two in the morning, because of college football.

We’ve offered to take the grandson and his fiancée with us.  She politely declined because her job includes weekend work.  If we’d got a king room, we could have got a cot for him.  He’s spent a year out of high school thinking about a career.  He wondered about horticulture, working one summer at a greenhouse, but jobs in that area are scarce (aren’t they everywhere?), the pay is poor, and the work is seasonal.  He currently has a half-day job at a transport depot.

He has decided to go back to school for a year to train for welding.  His schedule will be; walk to school for two hours of class, bus to co-op placement for four hours of training, bus to part-time job for four hours of work, then bus home after a 12/14 hour day.  It’ll be a killer schedule but the job prospects for a welder are fairly good, and the pay is decent too.  His co-op hasn’t kicked in yet and he’s booked the evening off at work.  By the time you read this, we should be on our merry way to the Motor City.

His Mom had to put a rush on his passport.  We provided a copy of our reservation to justify the hurry.  All goes well, he will have picked it up at the local passport office Thursday afternoon.  As partial justification of an earlier claim, we will be taking some orphans back to the U. S. with us.  In just over two years I have accumulated 36 American quarters, 36 dimes, 25 nickels and eight rolls of pennies, for a total of $17.85.  The daughter is sending the grandson with a roll of quarters, six rolls of pennies and a handful of assorted change about half as large as mine.

We’ll wave at Chatham for KayJai as we pass.  We will enjoy the knife show on Saturday, do some shopping, including some beet sugar at Meijer’s Sunday morning, roam the flea market in the afternoon and just generally enjoy the trip and the change of routine and scenery.  Blog to you early next week.