WOW #42

abyss

I gazed into the abyss Rochelle’s weekly photo prompt, and the abyss stared back. I couldn’t get Frederick Nietzsche to help me with a Flash Fiction, so this week’s back-patting, ego-driven Word Of the Week is the all-about-me

Linguaphile

a language and word lover.
Origin of Linguaphile
Linguist has existed in English since the 16th century. It means “one who is adept at learning and using foreign languages; one who is a student of language or linguistics; a translator or interpreter.” Linguaphile has a somewhat different meaning: “one who loves words or languages.” The originally Greek suffix -phile (“lover of”) is completely naturalized in English.

I thought a Linguaphile might be something that smoothed my speech out.  My son doesn’t understand my fascination with foreign names.  They can tell me where someone, or their ancestors, came from.  I’ve studied the origin and meaning of many English names.  While some of them are – interesting, some foreign names just have me shaking my head.

A candidate in a recent, local election was named Estoesta.  I quickly determined that this was a Portuguese name.  From my limited knowledge of Romance languages, I thought that it might mean East/West, perhaps originating when Portuguese sailors reached Malaysia.  Google Translate told me that it actually just means ‘this is.’  😕

 A young Spanish-Canadian co-worker was named Soto.  I asked him the meaning of it one day, but he said he didn’t know, and would have to ask his father.  He might forget or ignore, so I looked it up that evening.  The next day, I told him that it translated to a copse, a thicket, or a brake.  “No, No!” he replied, “My Dad says that it’s a bunch of trees.”  The worker from Newfoundland, who many thought could barely write his own name, piped up.  “What does he think a copse, a brake or a thicket is?”

A recent obituary was for another Portuguese, Eric Armand Cyril Cecil D’Silva.   I suspect that his mother was of English heritage.  While Eric and Armand may be Portuguese given names, Cyril and Cecil are very British.  My English-heritage Father was Cyril, and his half-brother was Cecil.  The word Silva is not the same as Sylva, and has nothing to do with trees.  Instead, it means hiss, whistle, swish, fizz.  How would you like to be named after a leaky steam-pipe?  😳

The four German names, Hefner, Heffner, Hafner and Haffner all come from Hőffner Originally, hoff meant wish or hope.  Medieval travelers often wished or hoped for a country inn, where they could rest and get warmth and food, so hoff came to mean an inn.  A Hőffner was an innkeeper.  Hugh Hefner sold Playboy magazines.  A local car dealership is Heffner Lexus/Toyota.  A small town, 15 miles out, has Haffner Motors, a Chrysler dealership.   This explains the annual Labor Day MoparFest, where dozens of 1970s Hemi-powered muscle cars from all over Southern Ontario show up.

Lastly, I want to talk about big fish in little ponds.  In Germany, if your ancestors came from the small town of Vetter, they might have adopted, or had that name assigned to them.  However, if your forebears owned the village of Vetter, an honorific von, meaning of or from, was prefixed, to indicate minor nobility, and your family name became von Vetter.  The same thing occurred in Dutch or Belgian, with the prefix van.

The equivalent word in French, is guy, although the last name of the French short-story writer, Guy de Maupassant, means something like hard luck, or tough times.  While not a hereditary name, English has the same concept in the honorary title, Squire.  This is the highest that a non-Nobility family may rise.  While the Earl may possess all the surrounding fields and pastures and woods, as his administrator, the Squire owns the land that the village or town sits on, and collects rent and respect from every business and home.

Come back again later when I discuss Lingua Franca, which is how to order a hot-dog from a street vendor food cart.  😉

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March In A Straight One-Line

Comedy

How many Germans does it take to screw in a lightbulb?….
….One, they’re efficient, but not funny

You’re not completely useless….
….You can always serve as a bad example

I broke my finger last week….
….On the other hand, I’m okay

A Roman Legionnaire walks into a bar, and holds up two fingers….
….and says, “Five beers please”

Someone stole my Microsoft Office, and they’re going to pay….
….You have my Word

I tried to catch fog yesterday….
….Mist

Working in a mirror factory…
….is something I can see myself doing

I registered with an online dating service….
….They matched me up with a recliner and a TV

No-one asks me for my recipes….
….just the antidotes

Prophecy class cancelled….
….due to unforeseen circumstances

Well, to be Frank….
….I’d have to change my name

Our mountains aren’t just funny….
….they’re hill areas

These tee-shirts were tested on animals….
….they didn’t fit

None of my relatives suffer from mental illness….
….they all seem to enjoy it

Stupidity knows no boundaries….
….but it knows a lot of people

If I make you breakfast in bed, a simple “thank you” will do….
….None of this “How did you get in my house?” business.

Just say NO to drugs….
….well, if I’m talking to my drugs, I probably already said YES

What would The Jetsons be called if they were black?….
….The Jetsons, you racist bastard

Just because it’s a bad idea….
….doesn’t mean it won’t be a good time

If life gives you melons….
….you may be dyslexic

I hate Russian dolls….
….They’re so full of themselves (That’s an inside joke.)

***

Happy New Year’s to one and all.  It’s a happy coincidence that we can start the new year off with a laugh or two.  Here’s hoping that we’re still smiling at the end of it.  😀  😆  See you there.

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Canadian Thoughts On An American Trip

Canamerican Flag

I’ve said that I treated the invitation to visit our D.C. hosts as a Royal Summons, but it was us who got treated like Royalty when we got there.  Here’s a shot of us arriving.

Harry and Meghan

More through coincidence than any planning,, we had three successive, different ethnic-food lunches.  One day it was Greek food at a strip-mall restaurant.  The next day, our kind hosts took us to an upscale Afghan establishment.  On the third day, while trying to find decent coffee, (we never did) we stopped into a Thai restaurant beside a Drunkin DoNuts.

Canada is getting screwed for gasoline, even though we pump more oil than the United States.

After calculating for US gallon/Canadian liters, and US dollar value vs. Canadian dollar….
Exiting Southern Ontario, gas was selling for about $1.30/L.  I bought gas 3 times in the US – 83.8cents/L, 76.7/L and 72.7/L – 1/2 to 2/3 the cost in Ontario.

Usually, the closer to the highway, the higher the price.  Pleasantly, surprisingly, this was not the case on the Pennsylvania and Ohio turnpikes.  All the rest centers sold regular for $2.749 (73.8/L).  When I got off in Toledo, the city stations wanted $2.849.

Gas Cost

When I crossed the bridge back to Windsor, the in-town stations wanted $1.269/L.  Twenty miles down the superhighway, where they’ve got you by the short and curlies, where it’s ‘pay or walk,’ the price was $1.369/L!  And there’s 4 liters per US gallon, so that’s another 40 cents/gal rip-off.

Something else I found, that pissed me off….  We wanted to keep all purchases on this trip on a credit card, so that we could keep track of them.  When I went to buy gas with the credit card, the screen on the pump said, “Enter 5-digit ZIP code.”  I’m from Canada.  I don’t have a ZIP code.  I tried entering our host’s ZIP.    The screen now said, “Does not match billing address.  Please prepay at office.”

Now I have to walk a pilgrimage to Coventry….and back.  Not too bad in the city, but I felt sorry for the guy waiting behind me at the Ohio rest area.  This is like gassing up at the Costco, only there, the prepayment authorization is for $150.  Some pimple-faced kid asks, “How much do you want?”  Enough to fill it up.  “Well, I have to put something in the machine.”  $50! Put in $50!  It only took $38.50 to fill it, instead of $75Cd.

Like the jaunt to find John Erickson a few years ago, we again circumnavigated Lake Erie.  Only, this time the trip wasn’t so much a circle, as a deeper oval.  The total trip, from door, back to door, amounted to 2243 kilometers, or 1402 American miles.

There are 12 houses in BrainRants’ little cul-de-sac.  Four of them, including him, fly American flags.  Only yesterday, a letter to the editor urged Canadians to show patriotism by flying Canadian flags.  No need – we know who we are.

On our hosts’ kitchen wall hangs a repro of an old station clock, with the hands at 8:45.  I assumed that it was just a rustic piece of art…. until one morning I was having orange juice and my morning pills all alone, and – tick, tick, tick.  So it works, it’s just jammed and not going anywhere.  I was reminded of The Mamas And Papas’ song, 12:30, or The Guess Who’s, No Time.

I estimate that Rants’ subdivision was hacked out of the woods about 40 years ago.  The developers left lots of trees, in some cases, too damned many.  Our stay was almost like camping in the piney woods, although most of the trees were cut-leaf Maple, and Oak.  It allowed me to commune with nature.

There were many birds, some of whom, by their calls, aren’t present in Southern Ontario.  Rants isn’t much of a bird person.  When asked about them, he identified them all as grey-breasted, Northern Virginia Shit-birds, so-called because of their ability to put white polka-dots on parked cars, so aggressive that they eat holes in the paint-job.

I love birds.  In my de-forested area, both the bright Blue-Jays and Cardinals are skittish creatures, hiding high in trees, sometimes heard, but seldom seen.  As I watched Rants at his forge in the garage, a Blue-Jay landed on a branch in the Maple in front of the house, barely above the garage door, and sat in plain view for several minutes, while we were disgusted by discussed Trump.

As I went to get a beer, through the back door of the garage, I saw what I first took to be a dried Oak leaf, fluttering in the breeze.  It turned into a bright-red hummingbird, which eventually brightly flitted into the neighbor’s yard, and molested some flowers.  The daughter gets the occasional green hummingbird at a feeder behind her house, but red ones are uncommon here.

Baby Cardinal

Later, as I went for another beer, I thought I saw the hummingbird again, but it magically transformed into a bright red Cardinal, apparently unafraid of humans.  It lingered for a few moments, then it too casually flitted to the neighbor’s yard.  Wow!, three usually unseen birds in the course of an hour – Mother Nature must really like me.

I took a walk, early one morning, while waiting for the wife to arise.  Ambling through the nearby woods, I met a lady walking her dog.  She told me that his name was Giggs, a Welsh name, after a well-known (to her) Welsh football (soccer) player.  Strangely enough, she had met another woman with a dog, also named Giggs, after the same soccer player.  There’s an Ontario transport company named Gigg Express.  Now I don’t have to research that name.

White Lady In The Hood, if you’re still out there and reading this, I still haven’t met a stranger.

The ancient Bob’s Big Boy restaurant that has been in front of our Taylor, MI, Red Roof motel for years, since April of this year, has been turned into a Wahlburgers.  Marky Mark and his two brothers should stick to acting.  I was not impressed – with the concept – or the service.  On a four-item order, one was missing (which I didn’t pay for, but should have noticed its absence), and one was wrong.

To the rest of you who are out there reading this – Thank You!  Let’s do it again, soon.  😀

Tattoos Get Under Your Skin

Griffin 1

I just had some inspiration installed!  Pat, can I buy an idea??

In my Tattoos And Piercings post, I claimed that I’d often thought of getting a tattoo, but didn’t have enough imagination to decide what to get inked on.  When the wife heard me say that, she reminded me that I had two griffons scrimshawed onto the first handmade knife I ever bought, one with eagle’s wings, and one with dragonfly wings.  Why not a griffon tattoo?

EUREKA!

Kyle's Scrimshaw

Gryphon 2

SDC10410

I was egged on aided and abetted by two people whose names shall forever remain H E Ellis and BrainRants.  They’re a couple of the nicest bloggers on the interwebz to ever have a head-on collision with an inkjet printer.  “C’mon sissy, get a tat.  We’ve all been inked.  Even the cat has a tattoo.

T's Tat

The daughter designed, and had applied, a tattoo which reflects some of her non-Christian spiritual beliefs.  The ink artist who did hers has moved from the city, (a lot of that goes on among the tattoo crowd) but she assures me that she knows of a couple more who are reliable (they don’t smoke crack while they’re applying your ink).

Griffin 3

Having had my great epiphany, I quickly went to Bing images for griffon choices.  I really like the blond example at the top.  I feel it best exemplifies my inner persona and spirit, intelligent, pensive, strong, introspective, and peaceful – until someone pisses me off.  There are two possible problems with it.

First, colored tattoos can fade over time, although, at my age, I’ll probably fade before it does.  Second, it is complex, and would require several sessions to complete, making it more expensive.  I’ll have to have the daughter introduce me to her dealer ink artist for an estimate, to see if it would be too expensive.  In that case, I also picked out two simple black outlines – above and below.

Griffin 2

Now I’m torn!  Do I just pull up my big-boy YSL bikini briefs, go have it put on, and surprise my future hosts when both the new tat….and I, arrive swollen and weeping?  Or do I wait, and give them the opportunity to influence my final decision?

How about my readers??!  Do you want to indulge in an online opinion poll?

Colored, or black?
Which black one?
Do it now, or let the voices of experience guide me later?

Come on!  This is easier than voting for/against Donald Trump (Kathleen Wynne, in Ontario.)    😯   I’d like to hear from you.

Smitty’s Loose Change #7

Smitty's Loose Change

I bought some Salvador Dali bagels today. I got them from the Chernobyl Unicorn bakery.

Bagel 1

Bagel 2

They’re created from multi-colored dough with food dye in it. The son tells me that he heard that rainbow bagels will be an upcoming fad among Millennials, but I’ve not seen them, or any mention of them, since.  These were made of a bread dough, rather than a bagel dough, and didn’t toast worth a shit.

***

In reading what others had to write about the blog-tag, ‘Truth,’ I was not surprised to find that 2 out of every 3 blog-posts was about God, or Jesus, or Christianity, or Church.  Those ‘Good Christians’ are sure full of something.  They call it faith.  I have a different name for it.

***

When they discover the center of the Universe….A lot of people are going to be surprised that it’s not them.

***

I wrote a post where I mentioned ‘double’ names like Todd Craig, Bradley Joe and Mark Terry, where either could be a given name or a family name, This happened because some male first names became family names.  I’ve thought that it only applied to male names, but recently I’ve been introduced to Stephanie Virginia ELLEN, Edna RHODA, Susan MARGARET, Barbara HILARY and Ann BEVERLY.

In my home-town, in the 1940s and ‘50s, boys were commonly given names like Beverly, Shirley, and Lynn. I knew that ‘Lynne’ was a girls’ name, but didn’t know that ‘Lynn’ was also considered only a girls’ name until the wife commented about it.

***

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Photo0049

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The son went to our Osteopath recently, and got some shots of the ride of another customer who had not made it to the ‘Cruise Night’, downtown. It’s a rebuilt, 1934 Buick, according to the custom licence plate.  Love that vibrant color!

***

I knew that I was really stressed, when I started getting on my own nerves.

***

I recently hit a blog-site where the English Nazi nit-picker must have been a Colonel, not a mere private like me. He ranted about those who use ‘lie’ when it should be ‘lay’, and vice-versa.  Okay so far.  Then he attacked a nursery rhyme, and insisted that, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” was incorrect.  It should be ‘lie’.  Better men (or women) than him wrote that verse.  I ‘lay’ my book down, and ‘lay’ my child down to sleep.  I ‘lay’ my pillow down, and then, correctly using a reflexive verb, I ‘lay’ ME down to sleep.

I was reading a post about ‘Eggcorns’. Like Mondegreens, they’re those things that you don’t hear right, and then don’t repeat right, like “curl up in a feeble position,” “fire excape,” and “hone in on.”  The name Eggcorns itself comes from someone who didn’t even know about ‘acorns.’  The writer was doing fine until he started ranting about ‘conversating.’  “There’s no such word!  You’re not ‘conversating’, you’re conversing.”  It’s been an accepted, idiomatic word since 1965; even WordPress’s SpellCheck accepts it.

I recently used the Latin phrase, Caveat Emptor, and noted that it translates into English as Buyer beware.  GrammarCheck insists that it should be ‘Buyer bewares’.  (There, see?  It just did it again.)

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In my You Don’t Say post, I wrote of timid linguists who won’t say or write things they regard as “swear words.” Like Amsterdam, ‘I don’t give a tinker’s dam’ was a perfect replacement for the word damn, it being a small rivet-like stopper to repair a hole in old, non-stainless steel pots, without the damning N that could keep you out of Heaven.  Twice in a week I ran into, “I don’t give a tinker’s curse.” as a euphemism for a euphemism.  I need to (re)find the word which describes errors like this caused by advancing technology.

***

 

WOW #21

Dictionary

Once upon a time, people knew what they were talking about. As the English language grew and grew, and became more and more complex and nuanced, it became necessary for its many users to have a way to know what others were saying.  I thought that I should take this Word Of the Week series back to where it started, in the

DICTIONARY

noun, plural dictionaries.

a book, optical disc, mobile device, or online lexical resource (such as Dictionary.com) containing a selection of the words of a language, giving information about their meanings, pronunciations, etymologies, inflected forms, derived forms, etc., expressed in either the same or another language; lexicon; glossary. Print dictionaries of various sizes, ranging from small pocket dictionaries to multivolume books, usually sort entries alphabetically, as do typical CD or DVD dictionary applications, allowing one to browse through the terms in sequence. All electronic dictionaries, whether online or installed on a device, can provide immediate, direct access to a search term, its meanings, and ancillary information:

an unabridged dictionary of English; a Japanese-English dictionary.

a book giving information on particular subjects or on a particular class of words, names, or facts, usually arranged alphabetically:

a biographical dictionary; a dictionary of mathematics.

As technology constantly leaps and bounds forward, even the definition of dictionary continues to expand, with the addition of terms like electronic, and CD and DVD. It finally became evident that there was a need for some sort of book which made this information available.

One of the first was Samuel Johnson. In 1755 he published a book giving the information value of many English words.  However, he didn’t resist the temptation to include some social comment along with his definitions.  He referred, disparagingly, in his dictionary definition for oats: “A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.” His biographer, James Boswell, noted that Lord Elibank was said by Sir Walter Scott to have retorted, “Yes, and where else will you see such horses and such men?”

Most people are only interested in what a word means right now. I often am fascinated by etymology, what a word first meant, and how it has matured and changed, sometimes over centuries.  For example, the word ‘girl’ used to mean ‘boy.’  Actually, when the word was first used, it indicated a young child of either sex.  As Germanic languages provided the base for ‘boy’, the word ‘girl’ was left to indicate only females.

Which came first, the color orange, or the fruit? Old English didn’t have a word for ‘orange.’  It was simply known as ‘aielloredd’, yellow-red.  When Europeans first discovered the plants in Northern Africa, the Spanish pronounced the natives’ name for them as ‘Naranja.’  In English ‘a naranja’ became ‘an orange,’ and the word was also used to identify the color.

When British colonists first asked Australian Aborigines for the name of those funny, hopping animals, the natives didn’t care, and had not bothered to name them, so they answered kanga roo, which, in their tongue, means, “I don’t know.”  And so, another mistaken word was added to the language.  There was room for it, because the Abo word for a four-legged canid pet, was ‘dog.’

2017 A To Z Challenge – N

*Challenge2017

Our Canadian Postal Code is N2N 3B4.  When asked for it, to prevent mistakes due to misheard pronunciation, we tell people that it is, “Not too new, three before.”

For the letter

letter-n

I downloaded these prompts;
negotiate, no, new, news(papers), notes, not my problem, Niagara, night, name, nothing

In no particular order;                   

I have already composed and published a post about ‘It’s Not My Problem’ here, for anyone who wants to (re)read it.

I live about an hour and a half drive from Niagara Falls, Ontario.  It’s an unusual year that I don’t take the wife, the son, or both, for a day or a weekend there.  I published a 100-word Flash Fiction about it here,  including a great photo of the night-time colored lights on the American side, buried in the comments.

I’m so old that nothing is new anymore.  I’ve seen it all, done most of it, forgotten a bunch, and been caught at very little.

I’ve written about my lack of memory, a problem that I partially solve with copious notes.  See – prompts, above.

I’m sure like many others, my wife is addicted to the word no, and doesn’t even realize it.  (and I’m not gonna mention it)  The first word of response to any question or request, is likely to be, “No.”  Maybe it comes from raising children or grandkids. “Do you want me to put the rest of this stew in a Tupperware container, and put it in the fridge?  We could have it for lunch one day next week.” “No.  I want to save it for a lunch next week.  Put it in a Tupperware container and put it in the fridge.”

For no reason, other than that I never have, I continue not to reveal my first name on my blog-site.  I kinda discussed this back on M’s misidentification post.  Call me Ishmael Archon.

Several years ago, the Waterloo Region Record newspaper switched to being a ‘morning’ paper, guaranteed to be to your house by 5:30 AM.  When it was an afternoon paper, it was delivered by reliable school-kids after class.  Now, it is delivered to me by a Jamaican Negro in an old truck.  Since the son works midnights, he has the car, and the driveway is empty.

Rasta-Man rolls down the hill in neutral, rolls up our slanted driveway and puts the brakes on, flings the paper out the driver’s window left-handed, and rolls back out of the driveway. He’s only touched the house with the paper twice in that time.  Once, it landed on my porch roof, and the other time he pitched the heavy Saturday edition through the porch railing, snapping one of the support spindles.  I have found it in two different gardens, stuck up in our magnolia bush and so far under it that, like the porch roof delivery, I had to use a broom to get it.  Often it lands at the garage corner – right where the eave drips after a rain, or a snow melt.  Fortunately, they come in a plastic bag, although I’ve had to defrost an ice-coated paper.

Last summer, he must have taken vacation. On the first Monday, I called circulation because I didn’t get my copy.   Someone drove one out to me.  We don’t get mail home delivery, but I have a mailbox for things like newspapers.  Tuesday, as I went out to look, something made me look in the box.  Sure enough, there were Monday, and Tuesday’s papers, and so it continued for two weeks.

One time, at the auto-parts plant, I was invited to join the Labor team who would negotiate a new contract.  I politely declined.  It takes a particular type of person, and my boredom level is quickly reached.  Diplomacy is also defined as tact, or restraint, or good manners.  Like diplomats, people who negotiate Labor contracts have to get used to repeatedly saying ‘nothing’, for days, weeks, even months, until finally someone cracks.

One year, we mistakenly elected a big ‘Buffalo Biker’ as union president, to lead the team. We thought that he would frighten the opposition.  He screamed and yelled and stomped around the room, and pounded on tables….but, that’s not the way you successfully negotiate.  It was the worst contract we ever attained.  😳