Smitty’s Loose Change #15

There are many people in this country today who, through no fault of their own, are sane.  Most of them are Atheists.

***

And God created the universe it expanded exponentially. Then god divided this sky from the sea that then created life and he told it to multiply. After this he added man and subtracted his only son.

Standing back he looked on in confusion and wondered why this equation didn’t work… At this point a mathematics teacher came over and said, “You forgot the brackets ( ).”  And that was the last time God worked with BEDMAS.

***

I recently got within touching distance of two original Volkswagen Beetles, within hours of each other.  I found the first at a French fry wagon.   (Don’t tell the wife! She thinks I’m still on my diet.) It was greenish-yellow, in decent shape, with a little rust, mostly in the rain-gutters above the doors.  The owner said that it was a ’75 model, and it had custom license plates that read KAFER VW.  That’s a deficiency of the License Bureau.  Kafer, translated from German, means ‘coffee(maker).’  What it should have read, was KӒFER VW.  The addition of the umlaut over the A, changes the meaning to ‘beetle.’

The next one I saw was Fire-Engine Red, and in pristine shape.  I saw no rust.  Even Beetles had year-to-year (tiny) model changes.  Slightly smaller and different-shaped tail-lights told me that it was pre-’73.  It had Historic license plates, and its owner said that it was a ’68 version.

FUN WITH NAMES

The service tech at my Kia dealership is named Faucher.  It’s a French verb that means to mow (grass) the lawn.  His Father worked for, then purchased and ran, a landscaping company, all his working life.

A farm boy that the school bus picked up on one side of my town, was/is named Coulter.  I recently discovered that a ‘coulter’ is a plowshare, a cutting wheel or bar, in front of an actual plow.

A farm girl that the school bus picked up on the other side of town, was/is named Collard.  Back then, I did not know of the cultivation and, mostly Southern culinary, use of collard greens.

***

To err is human, but to really fuck up, you need a computer – with a bureaucrat running it.  Locally, we have been blackmailed into recycling green waste.  Garbage pickup has dropped to every two weeks, but blue-bin and green-bin waste is collected every week.

The region has issued every dwelling two green bins – a small one to put kitchen scraps in, and a larger ‘garage’ one to repeatedly dump the smaller one into.  Compostable-plastic-lined paper bags to hold wet waste are available at all local stores.

The larger bin is 12” X 13 ½”.  The Region-approved bags are 8 ½” X 12 ½”.  No wonder it must be dragged to the curb each week – the bag isn’t big enough to fill!  The smaller one, which I use for cat-shit – (it’s compostable) – is 6” X 7”.  The bureaucrat-authorized bags for it are 3 ¾” X 7 ½“– so long that they partly collapse when inserted, causing loss of volume, and barely half wide enough, causing more lost space.  I sense two different departments, each too self-important to communicate with the other, (You change!  No, You change!) involved in this, and Dilbert in the middle, shaking his head.

***

We’ve all seen the movies, or TV shows…. The CSI forensic technician enters the crime scene.  He/she plucks one dust mote from the air, and a couple of tension-filled moments later, gives the age, sex, name, address, phone number, and shoe color of the culprit.  What then to think of this newspaper story??!

A body was pulled from a lake.  She (at least they got the sex) was 28 to 50 years of age.  28??!  Why not 25?  Or 30??  How in Hell did anyone come up with 28?  Was someone converting from metric??  She was between 4’ 5”, and 5’ 1”.  😯  😳  Put her on an autopsy slab and measure her!!

They didn’t give her weight, but did publish a nice photo of a bead bracelet she was wearing…. Oh, and she might have been Asian, based on the keen observation of her yellow complexion, and lycanthropic epicanthic fold at the eyes.

Remind me, if I die of suspicious causes, I should do it in the big city, not in West Hickstowne, where an exciting day for police is one that has a moose fall into someone’s pool.

***

N.B.

In the above VW story, I downloaded a capital A with an umlaut over it, and put it in my post.  For some reason, WordPress separated the A and the two dots, into two adjacent spaces, and I don’t know how to get them back together.  Just try to visualize it correctly.   😳

I Say Old Bean

Old Bean!  New Bean!  Young Bean!  Eventually String-bean.  We have welcomed our precious, hopefully precocious Wee Bean great-grand-son into our lives.  He popped into our reality at 6:48 PM, on April 27th, weighing 5 Lb. – 6 Oz, 19 inches long.  Grand-daughter-in-law says that popped was hardly the word for it.  She worked hard for almost 24 hours to deliver this perfect bundle of joy.

He may always be Wee Bean to Grandma Ladybug, but his Dad and Mom seem to be leaning towards naming him Garion Archon-Scottish IV (Although Rowan hasn’t been ruled out yet) – forever to be known as Gary – second name to follow.  They have 30 days to complete necessary paperwork.

With a new baby on the horizon, the wife, the daughter, her BFF, and his mother all went into nesting mode, and transitioned from merely dedicated knitters, to OCD knitters.  There are piles of knit booties and blankets and moccasins and sweaters and socks and hats and play sets.  The wife knit the hospital hat in the above photo.   He may not realize that clothing comes in fabric until he leaves home.

Even before COVID, it was decided that, like his Father, he would be born at home, in a sterilized bathtub, under the watchful eye and careful care of two registered Midwives and a birth Doula.

HOLD ON A SECOND!

STOP THE PRESSES!

The best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglee.

Being their first child, he was in a hurry to be cuter than any kitten video you’ve ever seen.  Instead of waiting till his scheduled due-date of May 18th to be born, he insisted on arriving almost three weeks ahead of schedule, necessitating a quick taxi trip to the hospital, with the midwives in hot pursuit.  Just in time too.  At that the wee bairn was almost a third the body weight of his tiny mother.  Soon enough, he’ll be tossing telephone poles…. uh, cabers, around.

I’m sure that you join us in happily embracing the arrival of the next link in the chain of my immortality.  You’d better, if you know what’s good for me.

I hope that he grows up to be tall and strong.  He may need to be…. to push me around in my wheelchair.  I’m sure that he’ll get the occasional mention in my posts.  He’s already capturing women’s hearts and wearing plaid diapers.  I’ll publish a notice and provide a link, when he starts a blog of his own.  😎

I Have One-liners All Sewed Up

The guy who fell into the upholstery machine last week….
….Is now fully recovered

I need to practice some social distancing….
….From the fridge

My friend Jay had twin girls recently, and wanted to name them after himself….
….I suggested Kaye and Elle.

There’s not too many old guys like me left….
….The last mammoth stampede killed a lot of them.

Let me describe myself in three words….
….Lazy

Sex jokes aren’t funny….
….Because I don’t get it.

Wanna hear a joke about ghosts?….
….That’s the spirit

To keep up with the times, shouldn’t TV dinners….
….be called satellite dishes?

You’ve reached my age….
….if one of your favorite memories, is a comb.

How many Grumpy Old Dudes like me does it take to change a light bulb?….
….None.  We just light a candle and wait for a woman to do it.

How many managers does it take to change a light bulb?….
….We’ve formed a task force to study the problem of why light bulbs burn out and to figure out what, exactly, we as supervisors can do to make the bulbs work smarter, not harder.

How many shipping department personnel does it take to change a light bulb?….
….We can change the light bulb in seven to ten working days, but if you call before 2 p.m. and pay an extra $15, we can get the bulb changed overnight.

How many Management Information Services people does it take to change a light bulb?….
….MIS (IT) has received your request concerning your hardware problem and has assigned you request number 359712.  Please use this number for any future references to the light-bulb issue.

Yo Momma is so fat….
….That no-one can social-distance her.

Yo Momma’s so fast….
….She ate the S

Yo Momma’s so fat….
….It took three days to find you when you were born

I just learned sign language….
….I find it quite handy

I’ve been trying to come up with a joke about erections….
….But it’s too hard

I always wanted to be rich….
….But everybody still calls me dick.

What do men with Erectile Dysfunction need?….
….Some help from a speCIALISt

People Who Weren’t Really There

Questions not asked – answers not learned.

Are nicknames still ‘a thing’?  They were in small-town Ontario, in the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s.  I knew a bunch of people by names other than the ones they were given.  Many of them, I never knew their real name.

In the 20 years I knew him, there was a grocer who my parents always referred to as ‘Pro’ Montgomery.  Did he have a Quaker mother who named him Prophet?  Or a Greek one who called him Prometheus?  As a grocer, did he sell produce?  Or was he just a professional proprietor??!  These, and many other worthless conjectures, are free with the price of admission to this post.

For some years, my Father worked with a man he only called Pru.  Again, thoughts of names like Prudent came to mind.  Years later, I discovered that it is the French(-Canadian) surname Proulx, whose spelling and pronunciation so confound many English-speakers, that I have seen it spelled Prolux.

Hubbie Masterson’s real name was Bill.  He was an aggressive Banty-rooster of a man who showed no signs of being hen-pecked.  His friend, another Bill, was known as Biscuit.  He was a Real Estate Broker whose office was right beside the town bakery, but I’m pretty sure that I heard him called ‘Biscuit,’ before he moved in.

The taxi owner’s son/driver became known as Chink, or Chinky, after the town got a Chinese restaurant, and he was seen there several times a week for meals and snacks.  I once knew his real name, but not 65 years later.  At least twice, my brother being one of them, young men got called Boomer.  Not nuclear-sub commanders, this name is applied to those whose level of conversation is just consistently too loud.  “Okay, boomer” now carries a different connotation.   😯

One of my schoolmates acquired the name Tack, one he still carries today.  It started as ‘Whack-A-Tack,’ because he seemed to have such a fixation on sex, and so little social control that he might be caught masturbating in public.

The town had a Ma Keyes.  This might not seem too unusual….except that there was no Pa Keyes, or any little Keyes kids running around, that she could be a Ma to.  One young fellow became Cobbie simply because one of his friends(?) felt that he needed a nickname, and mangled his last name of McCauley.  The same sort of thing happened when unfortunate Alec, became Ackie.  They tried to attach the nickname Smitty to me, but there wasn’t enough personality to hang it on.

There were two Shular families in town, unrelated to each other.  They each had a boy born in the same year, one, an only child, the other, the fifth of seven children.  They each named their son, Doug.  To keep them straight, we called the only child Boo, though to this day, I don’t know why.

One friend was one of a pair of identical twins, who quickly became un-identical as soon as they were born.  My buddy, Robert, became the bright, outgoing, social, rowdy, daredevil, soon named Butch – by his Mother, and everyone else.  It was so ingrained that I heard a teacher address him as Robert one day, and didn’t know who she was talking to.

Bud Helwig was the flower of his Mother’s eye, who probably had the same first name as his father, David, but if so, I never heard it.  I always knew the adult son next door as Mack.  It might actually have been Mack.  That is an acceptable name, but I’ve often wondered whether it was just Mac, because a Scottish mother gave him a Scottish maiden name – like MacTavish, or MacDougall – for a given name.

Wilfred, the harbor-master, was neither Will, nor Fred, but rather, Wiff.  Although, with his proximity to the fishing boats, perhaps it was Whiff.  My red-headed Scottish uncle became Rusty, even after he’d turned white, rather than the given name, Melvin, which he hated.

Another uncle was named Elmer.  He had 3 daughters, and 6 sons, one of whom he named Elmer also.  Both he and his namesake had the same pronunciation problem.  They could not enunciate the M in the word ‘I’m.’  Rather, they would say, ‘I’n (eye’n) goin’ downtown.’ So they each became known as Iney.  Another cousin with a childhood speech defect pronounced the word snort’, as H-f-nort, and became Nort Brown for the rest of his life.

Three families at the edge of town constantly bred back and forth, cousin to cousin, until the average IQ dropped to about 90.  When my Father came to town, the dim-witted, oldest (boy) of one family was known as Mooney.  By the time I was old enough to encounter them, the Mooney title had passed to the youngest son, and his now 6’-6” oldest brother, with size 14 shoes (Strong like ox – almost as smart) was known as Boots.

Walter Rogers drove me to and from my summer job at a plywood plant every day.  Of course, he wasn’t known as Walter, or Walt, or Wally, but as Watt.  There was a co-worker at that plant who I had known as Seven Hearn for as long as I’d been aware of him – not Sven, mind you, but Seven.  Apparently he came to work on the short bus.

I asked Watt if he knew why everyone called him Seven.  Some years back, in the lunchroom one day, unprovoked, he suddenly declared that he was number seven to own/run this plant.  His reasoning (?) was – there was the General Manager, and the Assistant Manager, the Office Manager, the Plant Manager, the Department Foreman, and the line Lead Hand.  If all of them died in a van crash on their way to a curling bonspiel, as number seven, he’d be the ‘Big Boss’.   🙄

Our school bus driver in 1958/59 was nicknamed Kaw-Liga, after the 1953 Hank Williams song about a cigar-store wooden Indian.  He didn’t object much, because he was one of several males at that time named Beverly.  I don’t know if girls named Carolyn, Marilyn, and Jennifer, who became Cardi, Marnie, and Jeff, count.

One family in town was somewhat poorer than most.  Because of this, there were many things that they did not possess, things like – Protestant Work Ethic, regular employment and income, as well as respect for laws and others’ property rights.  The son, Carl, became quite famous…. For finding things before they were lost, and getting five-finger discounts at many of the local stores.  The kindly townsfolk felt so badly for Carl, that they finally gave him something – the nickname ‘Hooker,’ which, at that time meant, shoplifter, petty thief.

’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 – T

Amplified and heterodyned gravitonic waves from a giant Black Hole, in a far-off galaxy, https://www.msn.com/en-ca/kids/science/oldest-quasar-and-supermassive-black-hole-discovered-in-the-distant-universe/ar-BB1cLUOj?li=AAggFp5  produced an inversion in space-time which resulted in a reversal of publishing my T and U blogposts.  (Definitely not my confusion and lousy memory.)  Here’s what you missed, two weeks ago.

Little Miss Muffet, sat on her

TUFFET

a low stool; footstool.
Eating her curds and whey.  Along came a spider, who sat down beside her and said, “What’s in the bowl, bitch?”

She tossed her tousled tresses, and said, “It’s getting too damned crowded in here!  I’m going outside for some fresh air.  She trekked her pert little tush outside, and plunked it down on a

TUSSOCK

a tuft or clump of growing grass or the like.

She said, “And it ain’t curds and whey!  Who the Hell eats curds and whey, anymore??  Effete vegans, and twee guys with man-buns??!  (Speaking of which – Has anyone seen that horrible Uber Eats commercial, with the male(?) gymnast??  I don’t have to ask, but I do try to tell him, to turn down the GAY a notch.)  This, and a beer, is the “Breakfast of Champions.”  This, with a beer poured over it, is the breakfast of champions.  This is my namesake cereal, the one that Quaker named after me, ‘cause I’m so cute and well-rounded – Muffets.”

So, when I say that I ate a muffet, it’s not like Little Hot Welding Rod Little Red Riding Hood.  She was on her way to Granny’s, through the deep, dark forest, when a big, bad wolf jumped out and said, “I’m going to eat you.”  Red replied, “Eat, eat, eat!  Doesn’t anybody screw anymore?”

So, don’t screw around.  Stop back in a couple of days.  If I’ve finished my cereal, there’s a good chance that I might have something almost significant to say.   🙄

WOW #68

I once knew a man named Isbister.
Thank you for your concern and condolences.

He pronounced it izz-biss-tur.  His first name was Murray – a good Scottish name.  It’s where the word ‘Mondegreen’ comes from.

They’ve killed the Earl o’ Murray,
And laid ‘im on the green.

His last name might have been Czechoslovakian for all I knew.  There was a Scottish housewife in town, with a brogue as thick as a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, married to a Polack named Mackowski.

I recently heard spoken references to another Isbister, this one clearly a Scottish citizen, referred to by another Scot.  This time, the pronunciation was eyes-biss-tur.  The family name is locational, coming from a village named Isbister.

The speaker also referred to another village named Fladdabister.  The Scots do have a way with language and pronunciation.  I kid (Sure I do) that the Irish are hard drinkers.  With names like that, maybe my lot were giving them lessons.  I mean, Scotch whiskey didn’t just happen.

Two towns with the word

BISTER

in their names – what could it mean??

Bister is a pigment obtained by burning (waste) wool.  It is/was used in paint and ink.  Apparently the simultaneous oxidation of lanolin and keratin, produced a deep, permanent black, similar to India ink.  It is no surprise that it is linked to the sheep/wool industry.  Other than growing oats, raising James Bond, and stealing magic rocks back from the British Parliament, there’s not much else to do in Scotland.

Scotland the Brae!  It’s a great place to be from.  Now, don’t get your kilts in a knot.  😉

Flash Fiction #239

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS

He tried to raise his head from the floor, but someone had turned the gravity up.  He’d just lie here and ask Whatzizname, the jock, for assistance.  Whatzizname??!  What was his name?  This was silly.  He just got a bank statement….  Happy birthday to you.  Happy birthday to you.  Happy birthday dear…. Jerry.  Yeah, that was it – Jerry.

He vaguely recalled a frat-party that included beer-pong and tequila shooters.  He also remembered some nice man…. Dad – telling him to concentrate on his university studies, and not attend such bashes.  Right, Dad – when the bleeding in his eyes cleared up.

***

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

***

I credit 1950s/60s comedian, Shelly Berman with the inspiration for this cautionary tale.  Click here if you’d like to hear some classic comedy about The Morning After The Night Before.

WOW #65

Alright all you COVID couch potatoes, what is the absolute minimum amount that you may move?
Honey??!  Make me a tuna sandwich wouldya, and change the channel to bowling when you bring it in.

According to a slimmed-down, rear-facing Scotsman, it’s a

THERBLIG

(in time and motion study) any of the basic elements involved in completing a given manual operation or task that can be subjected to analysis.
ORIGIN OF THERBLIG

1930–35, Americanism; anagram of F. B. Gilbreth (1868–1924), American engineer

Along with much of the English language, Mr. Gilbreth’s name has been on a diet, and getting leaner and cleaner over hundreds of years.  Other engineers could honor him by (almost) tuning his name around backwards, to get the term ”therblig,” but the more common spelling is Galbraith. https://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Galbraith   It’s a good thing that most Scots were illiterate when they dreamed this name up.  It would take most of an afternoon, writing it all out.

What is the minimum of motion that I’ve achieved this week??  Well, I failed to move enough brain cells to produce a 100-word Flash Fiction.  I only moved a few computer keys enough to create this little stub of a WOW.  I’ll get a move on and do better next week.   😉  😯

’20 A To Z Challenge – J

Jezebel

I once had a great-aunt named Jessie – until I got old enough that my Father told me I didn’t.

Just before I turned 12, my Father informed the family that his favorite aunt had rented a tiny cottage in our tourist town, and would be vacationing for a week.  Never married – she may have been lesbian – she still gathered four small children, cared for and mostly raised them, when Dad’s mother died, giving birth to his younger sister, and his father abandoned them to go off and become a hermit.

She always treated him particularly well.  The few times I met her, she treated me particularly well.  I had (almost) reached the Age Of Reason.  With no obvious prompt, my Dad said, “Her real name isn’t Jessie, you know.”  (No, I didn’t know that.)  “What is it then?”

JEZEBEL

Dad’s paternal grandparents weren’t exceedingly Christian.  Their two boys received common, normal names.  Dad’s dad was Howard.  His aunt may have been assigned her questionable moniker, because her mother was reminded.  She was an unfortunate, female, every-third-child, who was born with a head of brilliant red hair.

She soon tired of the name Jezebel.  She was picked on, mocked, and bullied, at school and in church.  She was still young – elementary school – when she decided to do something about the despicable actions and attitudes of ‘Good Christians.’  Jezebel disappeared, never to be heard of again, and Jessie (or was it Jesse?) came into being, to take her place.

I am so glad that my mother gave me two Plain-Jane (Well…. You know what I mean) names.  I can disappear in a crowd of two.  Archon, and the Grumpy Old Dude, haven’t disappeared though.  Stop back again soon, and I’ll tell you about the fellow who appeared before a judge, requesting to legally change his name.  The judge asked, “What is your name?”  He replied, “Joe Schitts.”  “Well, I can understand why you would want to change your name.  What do you want to change it to?”  “Bob!”  😯