What’s It Worth?

I was just lounging in a big tub of nostalgia.  (Do I still have any on me?
When I was a kid, a dollar meant something, and there weren’t very many millionaires.

First, the farthing (quarter-penny) disappeared – then the half-pence – now, Canada’s penny is no more.  As inflation lops off the bottom, it piles more on top that we soon get used to.

I recently had the chance to re-watch the old movie, The Girl, The Gold Watch, And Everything.  The hero is accused of absconding with$27,000,000.  At first, I couldn’t understand the fuss that was being made.  Now, twenty-seven million is a nice piece of pocket-change.  As the embezzling Congressman said, “A million here – a million there – pretty soon it starts to add up.”  Pretty soon, mere millionaires are a dime-a-dozen.

The son dug out and lent me the John D. MacDonald book that the movie was based on.  He had the 1980, movie-novelization copy, but the book was originally written in 1962.  An online conversion site showed me that One 1962 Dollar – is worth $9.83 today.  The missing 27 million would be worth over a quarter of a $BILLION in 2021 – now that’s worth getting upset about.

This all reminded me of a television show that aired from 1955 to 1960, titled The Millionaire.  Each week, multi-millionaire John Beresford Tipton, had an agent GIVE a cashier’s cheque for $1,000,000 to someone he had chosen.  Tipton’s socio-psychological curiosity was the reason that the show then followed each recipient, to see what they did with the money.

One man who had lost his wife, was despondent, and convinced that he would never find such a love again.  He took a round-the-world cruise, met a sweet, young, available thing onboard, and it all worked out with soap-opera predictability.  One million, back then, would be the equivalent of $10/12 Million today.  The interest alone would accumulate so fast that they never need get off the ship, except to purchase a Rolls-Royce for each port.

The running gag in this show was that, like Charlie, in Charlie’s Angels, except for a hand passing off the cheque at the beginning of each show…. We never saw Tipton, and yet, when I went to research the show, there was a listing for Peter Frees – as Tipton

I had forgotten that voice actors get credits also.  Peter Frees is the most famous person that you’ve never seen.  He actually did three unseen voices during this series.  He has lent his dulcet tones to dozens of video games and dozens of animated movies.  His list of voice credits is longer than the late, great Mel Blanc – Ehhhhh, what’s up with that, Doc?

’20 A To Z Challenge – X

 

How do you catch a bear??  You dig a hole in the forest, and build a big fire in it until it burns down to ashes.  Then you place frozen peas around the rim of the hole.  When the bear stops for a pea, you kick him in the ash-hole.

All of which is easier than catching a theme for the letter X.  I recently published a post with references to Utopia, Brigadoon, and Shangri-La.  Since I did not include it there, and with inspiration (and words that begin with X) so thin on the ground, I’ve decided to feature the word

XANADU

a place of great beauty, luxury, and contentment.

Xanadu – the movie – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanadu_(film)

Xanadu – the poem (part of it) – By Samuel Taylor Coleridge – actually titled

Kubla Khan

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure-dome decree:

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

   Down to a sunless sea.

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round;

And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;

And here were forests ancient as the hills,

Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

The Xanadu in the poem was inspired by Shang-tu, the summer residence of Mongolian general and statesman Kublai Khan (grandson of Genghis Khan). You might also recognize “Xanadu” as the name of the fantastic estate in Orson Welles’s 1941 film Citizen Kane.  Coleridge’s fantastic description of an exotic utopia fired public imagination and ultimately contributed to the transition of “Xanadu” from a name to a generalized term for an idyllic place.

There’s everything that you never wanted to know about Xanadu.  After (almost) completing this post, I decided on a likely suspect for next year.  After that, you’re on your own.  The alphabet will only contain 25 letters.  Any suggestions or requests will be gratefully accepted, unless you want an exciting and extended treatise on the development and use of the cedilla.   😳

’20 A To Z Challenge – P

Frat-boy college students did not invent – or perfect – the booze-your-face-off, lost-weekend, drinking party.  Adult men, who should have known better, have been doing it for millennia.  Modern-day drinking glasses have flat bottoms, and stand up straighter and steadier than most of the sots at bars.

Greeks and Romans, and many Medieval European hard-drinkers, went about the task with a round-bottomed pottery, or later, metal, drinking cup in their hand.  Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the

PTOMATIS

If ever you needed an incentive to drink, owning a ptomatis might be it. Derived via Latin from Ancient Greek, a ptomatis is a cup or similar drinking vessel that needs to be emptied before it can be put down, because it is shaped in such a way that it won’t stand upright open-end up.

These handle-less drinking cups were even made from wood, but as technology improved, they were fabricated in china, and glass.  This is why drinking glasses, are referred to as ‘glasses.’  While most are flat-bottomed and steady today, the earlier, fall-over versions were why they are also still called tumblers.

Aside from weapons forging, there wasn’t a lot of technology among the Norsemen.  For their drinking, they made do with hollowed out cattle horns.  After a hard day of looting and pillaging, they would settle down with a bovine ptomatis full of mead.

If you ever watched the movie, The Thirteenth Warrior you will have seen the young Muslim, exiled to the far North as an emissary.  When he is offered a little fortified fermented drink to keep the cold away, his face shows disappointment when he says that he is forbidden to partake of the fruits of the grape or the grain.  It quickly lights up again in delight when the Viking claps him on the shoulder, and explains that the mead is made from honey.

Let the party begin!

 

Hail To The Chief

In Texas there is a town called New Braunfels, where there is a large German-speaking population.

One day, a local rancher driving down a country road noticed a man using his hand to drink water from the rancher’s stock pond.

The rancher rolled down the window and shouted: “Sehr angenehm! Trink das Wasser nicht. Die kuehe haben darein geschissen.”

(This means: “Glad to meet you! Don’t drink the water. The cows have shat in it.”)

The man shouted back: “I’m from New York and just down here campaigning for Trump’s Presidential run. I can’t understand you. Please speak in English.”

The rancher replied: “Use both hands.”

***

tRump suffers from liabetes

***

***

A couple were going to go on a vacation down South, but the wife had an emergency at her office. So they agreed that the husband would go as planned, and his wife would fly down and meet him at the hotel the next day.

When the husband got to the hotel and had checked in, he thought he should send his wife a quick email letting her know he’d got there OK.

As he typed in her email address, he made a typo and his message was sent to an elderly preacher’s wife instead.  It just so happened that her husband had sadly died the day before.

When the grieving old preacher’s wife checked her emails, she read the one from the vacationer, let out a piercing scream, and fainted on the floor.

At the sound of her falling, her family rushed into the room. They tended to her and then looked at her computer and saw this email on her screen:

Dearest,

Just checked in to my room. Everything is prepared for your arrival tomorrow.

P.S. It sure is hot down here.

***

Two cows are standing in a field.

The first cow says to the second, “Have you heard about this mad cow disease?  It makes cows go crazy and then they die”.

The second cow replies, “Good thing I‘m a helicopter.”

 ***

So all the animals all gathered and were having a party,

Everybody is drinking and talking and having a good time, suddenly a chameleon goes to the middle of the room, says, “Check this out” and starts changing color of his skin for a minute straight.

Once he’s done he says, “Let’s see any of you do the same”.

Suddenly an octopus appears from the crowd and says: “Hold my beer, hold my beer, hold my beer, hold my beer, hold my beer, hold my beer, hold my beer, hold my beer.”

***

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Aristotle: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

Isaac Newton: Chickens at rest tend to stay at rest.  Chickens in motion tend to cross the road.

Albert Einstein: Whether the chicken crossed the road, or whether the road moved under the chicken, depends on your frame of reference.

Werner Heisenberg: We are not sure which side of the road the chicken was on, but it was moving very fast.

Wolfgang Pauli: There was already a chicken on this side of the road.

***

A beginner’s guide to physics

Relativity: When the family gets together
Black holes: What you get in black socks
Critical mass: A big group of film reviewers

Hyperspace: Where you park at the superstore

***

“Take a pencil and paper,” the teacher said, “and write an essay with the title If I Were a Millionaire.” Everyone but Philip, who leaned back with arms folded, began to write furiously.

“What’s the matter,” the teacher asked. “Why don’t you begin?”

“I’m waiting for my secretary,” he replied.

***

Silver Medal

I am desolate and devastated!  The Superhero of MY generation,

Lone Ranger

THE LONE RANGER

has been proven to be a fraud, a sham, fake news, with feet of…. well, not silver.

The story always was, that the cave that Tonto found him holed up in, turned out to be a silver mine.  The Lone Ranger used the silver to buy supplies, and make his bullets from.  Just how he found time to dig out and smelt the silver, when he was so busy ridin’, and shootin’, and generally saving the west, was never explained.  Perhaps he had Tonto’s undocumented relatives do it for minimum wage.

Tonto

Recently, I was ambling through an online science article, maintaining a brisk pace so that not too much of that learnin’ rubbed off on me, when suddenly I was stopped in my tracks.

Melting point of silver:  961.78°C (1,763°F)

WAIT!  WHAT??

The melting point of lead, to make bullets with, is only 327.50°C (621.50°F).  Hell, that stuff is so soft and ductile that you can almost mold it with your hands on a warm, sunny day.  Silver though, requires nearly three times the heat.  It’s not something that you just warm up like a skillet of beans over a campfire.  It requires somewhat sophisticated equipment, often more than merely a rustic, frontier forge.

How could I have missed that??!  Even the writer for the Canadian group, The Five Man Electrical Band understood it.  In their song, Werewolf, a father must melt a tiny, silver dinner bell into a musket ball, to kill a son who has gone Loup.  The lines of lyric read:

We went down to the blacksmith,
Got him out of bed, said, “Get your fire hot!”
We gotta close all the doors, shut up the shutters
We’re gonna need all the heat we got.

Even after you get it melted, this stuff don’t take to being cast in molds none too well.  The surfaces all have cavitations and spalling, making any bullets so non-aerodynamic, that he’d be more likely to shoot a passing buffalo, than the gun out of the hand of some cattle rustler.

I never saw him and Tonto, sitting around the fire at night, singing away, like Roy Rogers or Gene Autry.  Maybe because they were busy polishing those bullets smooth with their socks – if Tonto even wore socks.  😯  Aagghhh, he was probably just some rich dilettante from back East, who had his ammunition shipped to him, c/o Sitting Bull, by pony express.

A major portion of my childhood is/was not to be trusted.  😳  What’s next??!  Somebody will tell me that Aquaman can’t actually talk to sharks and whales?  😕  😀

’20 A To Z Challenge – H

A To Z ChallengeLetter H

I never forget a face, but for you, I‘ll make an exception.
You look familiar.  Have you visited my site before?

I’ve got a word all picked out for the letter H.  It’s……. Uh…. around here somewhere.  Now where did I put it??!

Memory Loss

Ah yes, I wanted to tell you about

HYPOMNESIA

noun: Impaired memory.
Abnormally poor memory of the past. As compared to hypermnesia and amnesia. From hypo- + the Greek mneme, memory.
Excessive deposits of copper in the brain may cause neurological disorders such as Parkinson-like symptomsincluding bradykinesiatremor and dystonia, or neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as hypomnesia, dysgnosia, and personality abnormalities.

This is the ‘Learning Disorder’ that I’ve been fighting all my life, complete with essential tremor and lack of social connection.  I can forget someone’s name, while I’m still shaking hands with him.  It’s why I did not go far in school.  I’m not stupid, far from it.  I can understand complex concepts, but I just couldn’t remember them for exams.

I envy people like my son.  I have an extra 25 years of experience, but our heads are both stuffed with about the same amount of trivia.  Where he can recall an esoteric fact at the drop of a pun, I’m like Rain Man, from the movie.  Three days too late it’s, “Qantas!  Definitely Qantas!”

While good, he does not have my opposite, hypermnesia.  Some people mistakenly call that ‘Photographic Memory.’  That term only applies to things which are seen, like text, or pictures.  Eidetic Memory is a better name.  That includes sounds, physical and emotional feelings, aromas, and tastes.

It’s too late in my life to be successful, even with their help, but I adore the advent of computers.  I often use mine to be my memory for me – if I can just recall where I cached my list of passwords.  Even with their assistance, I will never have Total Recall, like the movie title.  I prefer We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, the title of Philip K. Dick’s book, that the 2 movies were named from.

Forgetful

I recently ran into a man I worked with for 15 years, up till 15 years ago.  Use It Or Lose It!  We chatted for ten minutes about the bad old days.  I knew that he was from Uganda, 30 miles north of the equator, but it wasn‘t till after he’d walked away, that I finally remembered his name – so good they named him twice – Karim Karim.

Thoughts, memories, ideas, blog themes – as fleeting and ephemeral as mayflies, or moths around a porch light, I have learned to jot them down, or enter them into an electronic file WHEN they happen – or I lose them.

I’m sure that there were a couple, or several, other points that I wished to add to this post.  They are gone like dew on the grass on a sunny morning.  I forgot them.  Please, don’t you forget to stop by again in a couple of days.  When I do finally remember to compose something, it is often interesting and informative enough to be worth reading.

’20 A To Z Challenge – E

A To Z ChallengeLetter E

 

EEK and EGAD!! 24 hours before my self-imposed scheduled time to publish this E-post for the A To Z Challenge – I’m simultaneously composing three posts – and not one of them is this one. 😛 Unless I talked the son into mowing the lawn Sunday afternoon, you discovered a non-specific post on Monday morning, and this one moved to Wednesday.

I guess that I’ll make it about a mnemonic.
‘What’s a mnemonic, Johnny?’
A 1995, Keanu Reeves movie.

Actually, a mnemonic is something intended to assist the memory, as a verse or formula. One of the dumbest and most useless mnemonics that I’ve ever found, is

EUOUAE

Euouae definition

A type of cadence in medieval music. Origin: Taken from the vowels in the hymn Gloria Patri doxology: “seculorum Amen“. Euouae is a mnemonic which was used in medieval music to denote the sequence of tones in the “seculorum Amen” passage of the lesser doxology, Gloria Patri, which ends with the phrase In saecula saeculorum, Amen.

If you could/can write the Latin phrase, seculorum Amen, why would you need a reminder of the sequence of the vowels? Both the phrase, and the mnemonic, have been in use for over 500years. Only in the last 50/60 years has anyone felt the need to make it a word, and learn to pronounce it. It is the longest word in the English language with no consonants, an honor similar to being the greatest dogcatcher in Enid, Oklahoma.

Sadly, it is not an only child. Its bigger brother is

QUOMODOCUNQUIZE

A psalm or hymn cadence.

Is there something about Catholic Christianity, or religious music, which requires such ridiculous reminders??

The word is almost never used today, and definitely not outside the sphere of Church music. Somehow over the years, it acquired a secondary meaning of, to make money any way you can. The OED has no entry for quomodocunquize – to make money any way you can – but it does have one for quomodocunquizing, with a citation from Sir Thomas Urquhart in 1652: “Those quomodocunquizing clusterfists and rapacious varlets.” — The Orthoepist. September 16, 2010 – which is a book about the pronunciation of words.

I can’t prove it, but I suspect that the original hymns and psalms were mendicant – concerning begging, alms, financial support and donations – ergo; making money any way they could. Folks in ‘The Good Old Days’ sure had a lot more time, to say a whole lot less. I can not imagine expending the time and energy to even remember this word, much less enunciate it.

All hail technology!  My favorite mnemonics are manufactured by Acer, Dell, or even Apple.  😀

***

Yes!! I did it. I added the last words to this post, just as the sun was rising. That means that I’ll have to leap out of bed at the crack of noon, and mow that lawn myself. I’ll see you here tomorrow…. or is that today already?? 😕

I Have Never Felt So Alive

Doctor

Special note to self: Never joke in a doctor’s office! 😳

Even the ones who have had a sense of humor artificially implanted, by law are required to take everything and anything that is said, more seriously than a TSA agent.

If I don’t post for a while, it may be because I’ve been involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric ward. Case in point….

I recently went to a doctor’s appointment. I tried to be pleasant, humorous, happy. It went down in flames, and crashed and burned around me. It descended into total chaos faster than an Inspector Clouseau movie.

I recently saw her for my yearly checkup. She ordered some tests to justify the $50/month that the Province pays her, even if I don’t go to see her. She allowed 3 weeks for the tests to be done, and the results returned to her, and scheduled a follow-up visit to discuss them.

The appointment was for 2:15PM. The wife and I go with each other to these things. What one doesn’t hear, or remember, the other one does. THAT’S GONNA CHANGE! We were escorted to the examination room at 2:45, and the doctor finally walked in at 3:00. Only ¾ of an hour late – she’s actually ahead of her usual schedule.

She sat down and said, “What is wrong? What do you need from me? What has brought you here today?”

A strange opening statement, but I took no notice of it at the time. I said, “You ordered clinic tests, and should have the results. You booked this appointment to discuss them, so tell me, am I alive?”
[DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!]

Of course you are alive! Why would you not be alive?

I said, “Well, I took the tests, but you’re holding the results hostage. I just thought it would be a good idea to know how healthy I am.”

So, now it’s cover-your-ass time. I am not holding the results hostage. I do not have the time to notify each patient individually. If there had been a problem, I would have contacted you.

“That’s what I thought, but I’d like to know the numbers.”

She opened the computer screen to my file, and started going through the results. Blood pressure – good. Blood sugar – good. I have evidence of edema, internal swelling – probably from the progression of arthritis. Good cholesterol levels – acceptable. Bad cholesterol levels – up slightly from last year, but still just below the benchmark. Would I like to start taking a daily dose of Crestor to combat it?

Oh, dear Lord, another pill? I said, “No, I think that I’ll just wait till next year’s checkup. If the numbers are up then, I’ll consider the Crestor, if I’m still here.”

Explosion

Why would you not be here next year? Are you depressed?? Are you considering suicide? Do you have anger management problems?

Gaaaah, what giant can of worms have I opened here?

No, I’m not depressed! I am not considering suicide.

Then why would you not be here next year?

“Perhaps I might move to Newfoundland, or be struck and killed by The Ion (our new street railroad), like that idiot did a couple of weeks ago.”

She glanced over at the wife, who threw her one of those patented Wife Looks©. The wife is on anti-depressants, and believes that everyone else in the known galaxy should also be on them.

Tell me. I am here to listen and help. You can tell me anything.

Well, he just explodes and gets mad over nothing. He screams and yells, and curses and swears.

“If I open the refrigerator to get out milk, and my hand brushes the little plastic container of blueberries, and spills them all over the floor, I might raise my voice a bit, and say “Jesus Christ” or “God damn.” I am startled – embarrassed that I am clumsy and not paying enough attention. I am shocked, and I am irked that I have to stop doing whatever I’m doing, and lower my arthritic ass down to the floor, to pick them all up before they get stepped on.

Well, I sent the puppies out to help you clean them up.

I then have to explain to the doctor that we have two Scottish Terriers who love blueberries, to the point that we just purchased 3 bags of treats, one of which is blueberry-flavored, and disappearing fast. I hope the doctor notices that the wife was so “upset”, that she added pets to the problem. Has my problem gone away?….

“When she was a child, my wife had an abusive older brother. If something like this occurred, he might slap or punch her. She is still worried that this might happen.”

Have I convinced the doctor? I look back at the computer screen, and she has a small sub-program window open. Now I have to answer 8 multiple-choice questions.

In the last 14 days, how many days were you mildly depressed, depressed, or greatly depressed?

“None! I was not depressed.”

How many days did you have bouts of uncontrollable rage, one? Several? All of them?

“None! Partly because of her brother, she has a powerful sense of propriety. Things need to be the way she feels that they need to be. I barely experience anger. If anything, I suffer from low-level frustration, irritation, and resignation, not depression, and I certainly do not suffer from rage. ”

How many days did you think about harming someone else, or yourself, one? Several? All of them?

“None!”

On how many days did you contemplate suicide?

“I have never contemplated suicide!”

Although, if this farce continues, I might consider homicide, or uxoricide. Have you noticed that none of these questions have a zero value? They’re like the old accusation, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” They all begin with the assumption of guilt.

At last, they are all answered. The doctor turns off the bright light, and puts away the rubber hose. Finally, she is convinced of my innocence, and all this silliness is over – right??

Every Thursday, as part of my practice, I have a Therapist available here in my office. Her services are covered by my billing. There is no charge to you. The Provincial government pays her. You have to speak to my receptionist to make an appointment. You can have individual therapy, or couples therapy.

Did I mention GAAAHH!!? I’m surprised that neither she nor the wife made an appointment for me, but I managed to escape cleanly. No good deed goes unpunished. I did manage to get a letter which excuses me from jury duty, because I am have a pain in the ass. 😳

Stick With The One-Liners

Velcro

I bought some Velcro today….
….It’s a rip-off

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?….
….Pilgrims

Due to the quarantine….
….I’ll only be telling inside jokes.

Pill Case
This is the only way I know what day it is.

You should only argue with your wife….
….when she’s not around

Did you hear the joke about the rhetorical question?

Being told that I was going deaf….
….was very difficult to hear

If you think about it, it’s unfair….
….that only one company gets to make the game Monopoly

In college, I was so broke I couldn’t even afford to pay the electricity bill….
….Those were the darkest days of my life.

I woke up this morning to find that someone had dumped a load of Lego bricks on my front porch….
….I don’t know what to make of it

If my memory gets any worse….
….I’ll be able to plan my own surprise party.

My boss said that he’s going to fire the one with the worst posture….
….I have a hunch it might be me.

I’ve got this terrible disease where I can’t stop telling jokes about airports and bus stations….
….The doctor thinks it’s terminal.

When someone tells you to hold your horses….
….they’re telling you to be stable

Alcohol increases the size of the “Send” button by 89%

The shovel….
….was a ground-breaking invention

Some guy just tried to make a chemistry joke….
….He got no reaction.

I asked the librarian if she had any books on paranoia….
….She leaned in close and whispered, “They’re right behind you.”

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity….
….I can’t put it down

I lost 20% of my couch….
….ouch!

I thought about going on an all-almond diet….
….but that’s a little nuts.

I used to work behind the food counter at a theatre. If I had a dollar for every time a customer complained about the high prices….
….I could almost buy a small popcorn

When one door closes, and another opens….
….you’re probably in prison

If you’re sitting alone in public, and a stranger sits beside you….
….stare straight ahead and say, “Did you bring the money?”

To me Drink Responsibly….
….means Don’t spill it.

When I ask for directions….
….please don’t use words like “East.”

I keep asking what LGBTQ+ means….
….I never get a straight answer

My neighbor took me to court in a civil suit….
….I responded by going to court in a polyester suit

Flip Flop

What do you call a French guy, wearing sandals?….
….Philippe Philoppe

 

One-Liners Are A Rip-off

Velcro

The guy who invented Velcro died….
….R.I.P.

Iron Man is actually….
….Fe Male

I used to sell security alarms door to door, and I was very good at it….
….If no-one was home, I’d just leave the brochure on the kitchen table

The early bird may get the worm….
….but the second mouse gets the cheese

How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?….
….Hourly, or flat fee?

What did the ocean say to the beach?….
….Nothing, it just waved

When the smog lifts in California….
….UCLA

My wife was angry at me, and said I have no sense of direction….
….so I picked up my stuff and right

I am terrified of elevators….
….and I’m taking steps to avoid them

Every time I try to eat healthy….
….a chocolate bar looks at me and Snickers

Double negatives….
….are a no-no in English

The problem with political jokes is….
….sometimes they get elected

I danced like nobody was watching….
….My court date is pending

What happens if….
….you get scared half to death – twice?

Ants are healthy because….
….they have little antibodies

I checked into the hokey-pokey clinic….
….and I turned myself around

All those who believe in psychokinesis….
….raise my hand

Between two evils….
….I always pick the one I’ve never tried

I went to the Air and Space Museum….
….but there was nothing there

A clear conscience is….
….the sign of a fuzzy memory

If you think that education is expensive….
….try ignorance

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

My reality check bounced.

I want to grow my own food….
….but I can’t find any bacon seeds

They’re not going to make yardsticks any longer

I told my wife she was drawing in her eyebrows too high….
….She looked surprised