You Didn’t Really Mean That

Dictionary

Words and phrases that don’t mean what you think they do

The truth about fireflies

Starting with the insects: Fireflies are not flies but flying beetles with luminous tails, and glow-worms are closely related to them, being the larvae of four different kinds of luminescent beetles (but flightless ones).

Serious sea creatures

Misnomers abound in the ocean too: starfish aren’t fish at all; they’re echinoderms, boneless creatures with a hard outer shell, like sea urchins and sand dollars. And jellyfish aren’t fish either; they’re cnidarians—the perfect otherworldly name for these gelatinous alien forms with drifting tentacles. On the other hand, electric eels apparently really are fish—they’re close relatives of boring old varieties like carp and catfish.

Guinea pigs

I can’t possibly name all the misnamed animals further up the food chain. But here are a few favorites: Neither flying foxes nor flying squirrels fly; they hop and glide instead. Guinea pigs are neither pigs nor from Guinea; they’re rodents that originated in the Andes where they’re considered a delicacy (yep, they’re food in Peru). The cuddly koala bear, symbol of Australia is not only not a bear, it’s a marsupial. Mountain goats are actually antelopes. But sometimes scientists do change their minds about this stuff: until recently the giant panda was considered a relative of the raccoon, but now researchers have placed it back in the bear family.

Faux chocolate

In the man-made category, white chocolate isn’t chocolate at all; it’s mainly flavored cocoa butter and cream. But head cheese has nothing to do with milk products; it’s made of chopped pork or beef scraps in an aspic jelly.

In the international food hall

Then there’s the question of where foods are from. French fries are probably from 17th century Belgium. Recipes for French toast is first recorded in the Middle Ages, well before there was a France, and the French themselves call it ‘pain perdu’ or lost bread—probably because it’s a good way to use up those stale scraps which would otherwise be lost. Jerusalem artichokes are neither artichokes nor from Jerusalem. They proliferate everywhere from Canada to Florida, but nowhere near the Middle East. Some say the name is derived from ‘girasole,’ or sunflower in Italian. German chocolate cake is reportedly from 19th century America, invented by a man with the last name German. And Danish pastries are actually Austrian in origin.

Giving credit where it’s not due

Pythagoras was by no means the first to come up with the theorem that allows us to solve for the sides of a right triangle: the Babylonians, ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Indians all recorded their own versions of it hundreds of years before him. Chinese checkers are neither checkers nor from China; they were invented in Germany in the late 19th century. Authentic Panama hats are made in Ecuador but were first marketed and sold in Panama. And Arabic numerals were first used in India.

Hitting the right note

Musical misnomers form their own small special category: Both the French horn and the English horn are really variants of the German horn. The name Jews harp is a corruption of ‘jaws harp,’ since the instrument is gripped between the teeth while being played. Violin strings are known as catgut but they’re really made from the intestines of sheep.

Islands in the stream

America has no monopoly on misleading names. For example, London’s Isle of Dogs isn’t really an island; it’s a spit of land jutting out into the Thames and surrounded by water on three sides. The Canary Islands do have lots of canaries but they also once had a lot of wild dogs, so the name is actually a corruption of canis, meaning dog in Latin.

A question of numbers

The Thousand Days’ War in Colombia was 1,130 days long. The Hundred Years’ War between England and France went on for 116 years. And there are 1,864 islands in the Thousand Islands archipelago along the U.S.-Canadian border. But the Thirty Years’ War in central Europe really did only last 30 years.

Close but no cigar

Lastly, I just can’t leave out our favorite misnomer: however hard you may howl when you hit it, your funny bone is the ulnar nerve, not a bone.

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A Drive In The Country

pig

The difference between men and women in one
paragraph:

A man is driving up a steep, narrow mountain
road. A woman is driving down the same road.

As they pass each other, the woman leans out
the window and yells, “Pig!”

The man immediately leans out the window and
replies, “Bitch!”

They each continue on their way, and as the
man rounds the next corner, he crashes into
a pig in the middle of the road.

(The sad, real joke about that, is that it took FOUR more paragraphs.)

***

The past, present, and future all walk into a bar. It was tense.

***

A 75-year old man went to his doctor’s office
to get a sperm count. The doctor gave the man
a jar and said, “Take this jar home and bring me
back a sample tomorrow.” The next day, the
75-year old man reappears at the doctor’s office
and gives him the jar, which is as clean and
empty as on the previous day. The doctor asks
what happened, and the man explains, “Well, doc,
it’s like this. First I tried with my right hand,
but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, but
nothing. Then I asked my wife for help. She tried
with her right hand, but nothing. Then her left,
but nothing. She even tried with her mouth, first
with the teeth in, then with the teeth out, and
still nothing. Hell, we even called up the lady
next door, and she tried with both hands and her
mouth too, but nothing.” The doctor was shocked.
“You asked your NEIGHBOR?” The old man replied,
“Yep, but no matter what we tried, we couldn’t
get the damn jar open!”

***

Great Signs

In a Dry Cleaner’s Emporium:
“Drop your pants here.”

On an Electrician’s truck:
“Let us remove your shorts.”

On a Butcher’s window:
“Let me meat your needs.”

In a Beauty Shop:
“Dye now!”

On Maternity Room door:
“Push, Push, Push.”

In a Veterinarian’s waiting room:
“Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!”

On the side of a firewood delivery truck:
“Fulfilling all your burning desires!”

At an Optometrist’s Office:
“If you don’t see what you’re looking
for, you’ve come to the right place.”

On a fence:
“Salesmen welcome. Dog food is expensive.”

Outside a Muffler Shop:
“No appointment necessary. We’ll hear you coming.”

Outside a Hotel:
“Help Wanted. We need inn-experienced people.”

In the front yard of a Funeral Home:
“Drive carefully, we’ll wait.”

On a Music Teacher’s door:
“Out Chopin, Bach in a minuet.”

On the door of a Computer Store:
“Out for a quick byte.”

***

Don’t Piss me Off. I’m running out of places to
hide the bodies.

***

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

 

 

Flash Fiction #119

a-door

PHOTO PROMPT © CEayr

LET ME IN

It really was an unpretentious door. He remembered its far side, and thought of P.T.Barnum’s sign, “This way to the great Egress.”  Phineas said that no-one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public, trusting the unschooled to exit a portal they couldn’t return through.

This door did not conceal any cheap, threadbare sideshow though. Rather, inside were Peace, Joy and Escape, everything a man could ask for, only, not the Reality which men are forced to return to.

He smiled as he continued driving to his appointment at the rehab center. He and Reality had a date.

***

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

***

Click on the title to hear the doo-wop group, The Sensations sing about Let Me In, in 1962.

K-9

k-9

Returning home from work, a Blonde was shocked to find her house burglarized and ransacked. She telephoned the Police at once, and reported the crime.  The police dispatcher broadcast the call on the radio, and a K-9 unit, patrolling nearby, was the first to respond.

As the K-9 unit approached the house with his dog on a leash, the Blonde ran out on the porch and shuddered at the sight of the cop and his dog, and then sat down on the steps.

Putting her face in her hands, she moaned, “I come home to find all my possessions stolen. I call the police for help, and what do they do?  They send me a blind policeman.”

***

This guy walks into a bar and two steps in, he
realizes it’s a gay bar but says ‘What the heck,
I really want a drink.’

When the gay waiter approaches he says to the
customer ‘What’s the name of your penis?’.

The customer says ‘Look, I’m just not into that.
All I want is a drink.’

The gay waiter says ‘I’m sorry but I can’t serve
you until you tell me the name of your penis.’

So the customer says ‘Alright, what’s the name of
your penis?’

The gay waiter says ‘NIKE … you know, JUST DO
IT.’

The customer thinks for a moment and says ‘The
name of my penis is SECRET.’

The waiter says ‘SECRET?’

The customer says ‘Yeah…STRONG ENOUGH FOR A MAN
BUT MADE FOR A WOMAN!’

***

Hard work has a future payoff.
Laziness pays off now.

***

After 15 years of marriage they finally achieved
sexual compatibility – They both had a headache.

***

Q” How many men does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A:  Just one.  Men will screw anything.

***

How many law professors does it take to
change a light bulb? Hell, you need 250
just to lobby for the research grant.

***

Fight crime. Shoot back!

***

If someone with multiple personalities threatens
to kill himself, is it considered a hostage
situation?

***

My cat was playing Mozart’s Sonata in E-flat when his
head got tangled in the strings — virtuosity killed the cat.

😆

 

COOL!

cool

You are no longer “cool” when …

 

  1. You find yourself listening to talk radio.
  2. You daughter says she got pierced and you
    look at her ears.
  3. The pattern on your shorts and couch match.
  4. You fondly remember your powder blue leisure
    suit.
  5. Your wife buys a flannel nightie and you find
    that sexy.
  6. You think Tragically Hip is when a middle-aged
    man gets a new sports car, hair piece and a 20
    year old girlfriend.
  7. You criticize the kids of today for their
    satanic suicide-inducing music, forgetting that
    you rocked to Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath.
  8. You call the police on a noisy party next
    door instead of grabbing beer and joining it.
  9. You turn down free tickets to a rock concert
    because you have to work the next day.
  10. When grass is something that you cut, not
    cultivate.
  11. When jogging is something you do to your
    memory.
  12. Sex becomes “All that foolishness”.
  13. Getting a little action means your prune
    juice is working.
  14. All the cars behind you turn on their
    headlights.
  15. You remember the “Rolling Stones” as a rock
    group not a corporation.
  16. You bought your first car for the same price
    you paid for your son’s new running shoes.
  17. You actually ASK for your father’s advice.
  18. When someone mentions surfing, you picture
    waves and a board.

***

The hipster was out, driving his new car around, with his arm hanging down the side of the car. A truck coming the other way, crossed the line and sideswiped him, crashing him into a ditch.  When a police officer arrived, he was out of the car, walking around it, moaning, “My new Porsche – my beautiful new Porsche!”

The cop said, “You shouldn’t be worrying about your car. You should be worried about your arm.”  The hipster looked down at a bleeding stump that ended at the elbow, and started moaning, “My new Rolex – my beautiful new Rolex!”

 

 

A to Z Challenge – M

april-challenge

IN THE MOOD

I’m in the mood to write about things that relate to

letter-m

I may be in the mood, but I’m mired in uncertainty.  I’m like a method actor. What is my motivation?  I should play some inspirational music.  What shall I play?

one-half

Jethro Tull can be quite minstrel.  AC/DC is mayhem and chaos.  I know; I’ll put on some Moody Blues.  They bring back some nice memories.  Their tunes are just a creative metaphor.

one-half

I think I’m often influenced by the moon.  I know I’ve been called a lunatic more than once.  I’m in a miasma of misgivings here.  This will be the least meaty of my A to Z compositions.  (I desperately hope.)

one-half-decimal

If you’ve been muddling along, trying to figure the meaning of the images I’ve inserted, it’s easy. M is the 13th of the 26 letters.  The end of this post is the middle.  Ain’t that marvelous?  See you next month.  😀

I Am A Challenge

challenge

Always searching for inspiration, and any lame excuse theme for a post, I downloaded the above ’31 Day Blog Challenge.’  I quickly saw that I could never do them all, in a month.  Having blogged for 5 years, and pumped dribbled out over 660 posts, it was evident that I’d already (over)done several items, and others simply don’t apply.  Here’s the 31-day series in a fast-forward, 1-post version.

Self-portrait, and 5 random facts about yourself
Check my gravatar, my ‘About’ page, or any/all posts in my ‘Awards Earned’ category.  I’ve revealed more than the girls at the nudie bar.

Favorite quotes
I have hundreds of interesting, impressive and inspirational quotes rattling around in my empty head, and run into more online often.  Only if I’m very lucky do I remember an appropriate one when I need it.

einstein

What makes you happy?
LIFE makes me happy – playing children, a sunset or rainbow, a well-turned phrase.  I am easily pleased.  However, I am also easily displeased.  That’s when I am happy to have this blog-site to bitch about, and hold certain facts and actions up, for ridicule and opprobrium.

Best childhood memory
ALL of them!  I was fortunate to live a long-ago, safe, innocent, happy childhood.  One of my blog-award posts mentions not being much impressed when jobs, taxes and family responsibilities came along.

Favorite movies you never get tired of watching
I knew people who watched ‘Titanic’ 8 and 9 times.  The boat sinks.  Everybody dies.  A movie is a visual story. Once you’ve been told the story, it doesn’t change.  Even epic movies like James Bond, or Star Trek, I can only watch twice, or perhaps three times, before my OCD yells, “Tell me a different story.”

Your last act of random kindness
What?  Today?  They are constant and ongoing.  Small things.  Everything from smiling and saying Please and Thank You (Which, sadly, is becoming viewed as an act of kindness, rather than mere good manners) to taking shopping carts out of parking spaces and arranging them neatly in the cart corral.  It assuages my OCD and sense of order, and prevents others from getting dinged cars.

What’s your dream job?
I’m retarded retired, and living the dream.  I’d like to dream with a little more money, but….

Biggest pet peeve
We all rant about dopey drivers and dealing with bureaucracy but, since such a large part of my life centers around reading and writing, my peeve is about poor English usage – especially by paid writers and authors. Teachers used to go to Teachers College to learn how to teach children.  Now they go to Universities to obtain two useless degrees, and neither they nor their students can read or write.

What’s on your bucket list?
I don’t have a pot to piss in, so there’s no money in my bucket to do anything.

Rate the last movie you watched
I recently saw Star Trek Beyond.  It was forced, fun and fast.  Written by Simon Pegg, the actor who plays Scotty, it contained a number of ‘McGuffins’, unnecessary/invalid plot devices to get the viewer to go along with the tale.  After (finally) suspending disbelief, it was a rollicking action movie.

The last book you read
See ‘kindness’ above.  What, today??  I’m currently reading E.E. (Doc) Smith’s ‘Spacehounds of IPC’, Tom Clancy (actually written by Mark Greany), ‘Command Authority’, and Robert Asprin/Linda Evans, ‘Tales of the Time Scouts.’

What is your favorite recipe?
We eat so many kinds of real good food….anything Tex-Mex.  I never got any when I was young.  They had barely invented pizza.  Nothing fancy, just filling.  Perhaps Potato pancakes.  Yum!

Create a photo gallery of your best pics
Old shaky-finger Phil??  I don’t take artistic shots.  Almost everything I’ve photographed, has already been included in my posts.

What’s on your favorite playlist?
I’m too damned old for ‘playlists’!  I occasionally go to YouTube when I recall a 60s or 70s song I can’t listen to on my cassette player any more.  For an upcoming drive to Detroit, the wife asked about a playlist for the trip.  Among others, I suggested Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, and The Chain, Valdy, doing Play Me A Rock And Roll Song, as well as The Moody Blues’, I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band).

Tips on travelling to a destination
Our journeys are restricted to car trips, so I have few tips.  Plan ahead, service and gas the car, make reservations!

What are your 10 must-haves for a vacation?
If you have 10 things, or more, that you must have, that’s not a vacation.  That’s a temporary move!  Take along twice as much money, half as many clothes, an open mind, a spirit of inquiry and adventure, and the determination to see things, learn things, and have fun, no matter what happens. ….and that reservation!

As usual, I’m too wordy. Please return soon for Act 2 of this one-act play.  😳