’21 A To Z Challenge – G

One day, when my Dad was in the retirement home, the nurses took him down to the common room, and put him in a big chair, so that he could watch television.  Just as they were walking out, he started to lean over to his left side.  One of them rushed back in, propped him up, and put a large pillow on his left side.

Just as she was leaving again, he started listing over to his right side.  She rushed back, straightened him up, and jammed a cushion on his right side.  When I arrived to visit him, I asked how he liked the place.  “Not very!” he said.  “They won’t even let me fart.”

I just had baked beans for supper, so I decided for the G Challenge, I would do a piece about The Rolling Stones song Jumpin’ Jack Flash.  I see some of you are looking more confused than usual.  Don’t you remember??!  It’s a

GAS, GAS, GAS!

I hope you had a chance to watch the 1987 movie of the same name, starring Whoopi Goldberg.  It makes about as much sense as any of the Pink Panther films, but is just as zany and funny.

I just watched a YouTube video of an old Dave Allen comedy sketch.  He said that he didn’t really like having to fly anywhere.  Medical studies indicate that the average person farts about 14 times in 8 hours.  Put 500 people in an enclosed jumbo jet, for an eight hour flight, and you get a total of 7000 farts by the time you arrive.

And people wonder why I drove all the way to Key West.  At least I can crack a window open a bit…. when the wife starts leaning to one side or another.

Posts that are a little more intellectual will be published later this month.  😉

’21 A To Z Challenge – D

 

It was the dark of the moon on the 6th of June, in a Kenworth, haulin’ logs.
Actually, it wasn’t.  I only put that in because I just watched a YouTube video of C.W.McCall doing that old CB truckers’ song, Convoy.

It was dark and early Monday morning, two weeks ago.  The sun had not begun to complain about having to rise, to start another work-week for those lucky enough to still have jobs.  I had just published a ‘21 A To Z Challenge post for the letter C.

Remember, you need another post for D in two weeks, and you don’t have anything started.  You have a

DEADLINE

Deadline, schmedline….  That’s 14 days away.  I’ll come up with something.
Tuesday passed in a glorious flash of a Netflix movie and a bowl of popcorn, with a couple of books for a chaser.
Wednesday, I published a post with some words about words.
Deadline threw me a withering glance, like a woman scorned.
You do remember I’m here, don’t you??  You never do anything with me anymore!

I just had a look at Rochelle’s 100-word picture prompt.  I can’t do a thing with it.  I’ll have to figure something to post on Friday.  We’ll go dancing tomorrow, okay?

Thursday slipped into Friday, as I readied and published a back-patting, self-congratulatory post about reviewing another blogger’s book. I basked in the glow of admiration from thousands hundreds maybe 10 or 12 viewers, while Deadline paced back and forth, muttering about suing for alienation of affection.

THERE’S ALWAYS THE WEEKEND….  With 11 years of practice at being retired, the only way I even knew it was late-Sunday/early-Monday again, was that neighbors put out garbage.  I put ours out, and then published a comedy post.
Deadline built a voodoo doll, and was reading a book of incantations.

You know that there’s only one week left, right?  Get off your ass, and get on the keyboard.
That was the last pre-fabricated comedy post I had in reserve.  I’ll assemble 4 more from my Blog Notes stash of jokes tomorrow; then I’ll get right at that D post.

Tuesday – I had an inspiration, and started writing a post about polarization in American politics and religion.
Deadline – tick, tick, tick!!

Wednesday – I published a post with more words, about more words, and started another one to replace it.
DeadlineCan Archon come out and play?
I’m sorry.  He’s had one COVID shot, but apparently he’s suffering a bad case of procrastination.  I smacked him with a calendar, but he just sits there, looking even more stunned than usual.  Maybe tomorrow.

BANG, BANG BANG!!
Open up right now!  This is Deadline, and I have a warrant to search for any sign of a theme, or creative writing.
Thursday already??!  Why the Hell didn’t somebody tell me that I need a post ready by Sunday night?  None of the D words in my file seem appetizing.  I guess I’ll have to do another of those, “If you can’t fix it – Feature it” posts.  I could do one about meeting a deadline.

DeadlineBless you my son.  Say five Robert Heinleins, and have a bottle of sacramental wine while you compose.  You’re still a lazy ass – just not all the time.   😉   😳

Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One – IV

Comstockery – overzealous moral censorship of the fine arts and literature, often mistaking outspokenly honest works for salacious ones – related to
bowdlerism, which entails removing all the ‘naughty  bits’ from every book – except the Bible

Cri de Coeur – an anguished cry of distress or indignation; an outcry
used (occasionally) in English, but imported wholesale from French.  Oy Vey!!

Fractious – refractory or unruly; readily angered, peevish, irritable, quarrelsome
I don’t know how people can get like that.  I’m so mellow and easy to get along with.  I never argue.  I just explain why I’m right.

Hemidemisemiquavermusic; a sixty-fourth note
a half – of a half – of a half.  It happens so quickly, you don’t even notice it – like Speedy Gonzales said to his girlfriend, “This’ll be quick – wasn’t it?”

Hobbledehoy – an awkward, ungainly youth
1530–40; variant of hoberdyhoy, alliterative compound, equivalent to hoberd (variant of Roberd Robert) + -y2 + -hoy for boy
I am so glad that I am not a teen.  Now I am an awkward, ungainly old codger.  Don’t ask how I managed to trip over my own cane, or I’ll whack you with it.

Interrobang – A printed punctuation mark, available only in some typefaces, designed to combine the question mark (?) and the exclamation point (!), indicating a mixture of query and interjection, as after a rhetorical question
She added an Interrobang at the poem’s end to signal both excitement and confusion.

Jannock – also jonnick – honest, fair, straightforward
British/Australian informal – origin uncertain – 1825/1830…. And then there’s its Scottish cousin


Bannock – a flat cake made of oatmeal, barley meal, etc., usually baked on a griddle.
Word origin – before 1000; Middle English bannok,Old English bannuc morsel <British Celtic; compare Scots Gaelic bannach – which brings us to
Bannockburn – which, despite Mel Gibson’s pack of lies inventive movie, Braveheart, is where the Scottish clans finally got together enough to hand the English army its ass, and achieve independence.  They did not scorch the wee cakes by leaving them on the griddle while they fought.  The word ‘burn’ in Scottish means a rivulet, a small stream.  This means that the ancestors of Scotland’s poet, Robbie Burns, came from a place where many small streams flowed.

Martinet – a strict disciplinarian, especially a military one: someone who stubbornly adheres to methods and rules – 1670–80; after General Jean Martinet (died 1672), French inventor of a system of drill

Mondegreen– a word or phrase resulting from a mishearing of another word or phrase, especially in a song or poem
We’ve all heard these.  Some of them are just hilarious.  C’mon, we’ve all created one…. Or more.
Excuse me while I kiss this guy. or  Slow-motion Walter, the fire-engine guy.
Not knowing much Spanish at the time, I thought the song ‘Guantanamera’ was about one ton of metal, and ‘I Fall To Pieces’ said I call you peaches.

Pogonip – An ice fog that forms in the mountain valleys of the western United States.

Suspiration – A long, deep sigh
It is with heavy heart that I have to admit I did not know this word.   aaaaahhhhhh

Silver-Tongued – persuasive, eloquent, well-spoken
which is not the same as being a cunning linguist.  She said, “I didn’t want to go out with him, until I learned that he had a wart on the end of his tongue.”

Tommyrot – nonsense, utter foolishness, balderdash (which is a short race for guys with no hair)
1880–85; tommy simpleton (see tomfool) + rot  See also, tomfoolery
British soldiers were not thought well of, and called Tommies.  Rudyard Kipling came to their support, in his poem, Tommy.

Ziggurat – (among the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians) a temple of Sumerian origin in the form of a pyramidal tower, consisting of a number of stories and having about the outside a broad ascent winding round the structure, presenting the appearance of a series of terraces.

I wasn’t going to include this word, because I thought it was just a pyramid scheme.  I have a scheme (it’s more rhombozoidal), to bring you back in a couple of days.  CU then   😀

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?? 😕