’21 A To Z Challenge – B

Back in the old days, you young whippersnappers, I occasionally published ‘Remember When’ posts, to pump up my older readers’ nostalgia, and show the younger ones what they may be fortunate to have missed.

This year, for the letter B, I’ve decided to rant and rave about the

BANDERSNATCH

an imaginary wild animal of fierce disposition.

a person of uncouth or unconventional habits, attitudes, etc., especially one considered a menace, nuisance, or the like.

The word was coined, with the first meaning, about 1855 by the Anglican Deacon, the Reverend Charles Dodgson, hiding his identity as the author Lewis Carroll.  Hide he should!  He wrote about fantastical, imaginary creatures, and strange words that didn’t exist.  In his Alice in Wonderland books, he has poor Alice eating magic mushrooms, and drinking absinth-like liquids which distort her perceptions and cause hallucinations, making her to seem to shrink and grow.  The good pastor was a drug fiend.

From the original meaning has come the more recent value, and much of it may be due to recreational drug use.  Nostalgiac and déjà vu terms for these people might include miscreant, or ruffian.  Today’s paper printed three Op-Ed letters, and they were all about people who litter, especially the community trails.

One woman says that she and her husband go out (properly masked) for walks together.  Each of them takes a store-issued plastic bag.  They don’t get a block away, before both are stuffed full of picked-up trash.  There are garbage pails each block, where the trail crosses a street, yet these lazy swine can’t wait even that long.  Some clean up after their dogs…. and then toss the compostable bags into the undergrowth.  Some of them hang up on bushes, making them look like Bizarro Christmas trees.

Forty years ago, one of the city’s mottos was, Kitchener – Klean As A Kitchen.  More recently, one of the local newspaper wags has suggested, Kitchener – Klean As A Kow-shed.  Spanking unruly children is no longer allowed, but I’d like to take a few of these Bandersnatches out behind the woodpile, and introduce their posteriors to a good length of flat maple.  Would you like to watch the YouTube video?  👿

The Wordless Wonder Of Instrumentals

In my Rise And Fall Of Rock And Roll post, I ignored an important chunk of modern music, because it didn’t fit the Singer/Songwriter motif that I had going.  In the early/mid 1960s, there were a surprising number of songs that did well on the Hit Parade, with no words at all.  It was the tiny little era of the instrumental.

There were the guitar-driven rock-type songs like

Wipeout – The Ventures

Pipeline – The Chantays

Telstar – The Tornadoes

Walk Don’t Run – The Ventures
This was the first record that I ever owned.

Apache – The Shadows

While there were guitars in back-up, this was a percussion tour de force.
Let There be Drums – Sandy Nelson

A sort of cross between folk, and surf-rock.
Miserlou – Dick Dale

Let’s Go Tripping – Dick Dale

Something more in a Country flavor
Rebel Rouser – Duane Eddy

Country/Pop with steel guitars
Sleepwalk – Santo & Johnny

Teardrop – Santo & Johnny

A Country/Rock version of an old folk song
Beatnik Fly – Johnny & the Hurricanes

There were more orchestral, and less-Rock songs
Classical Gas – Mason Williams

Rinky-Dink – Dave baby Cortez

Last Date – Floyd Cramer

Soulful Strut – Young-Holt Unlimited

Stranger on the Shore – Aker Bilk

Peter Gunn Theme – Henry Mancini

Grazing in the Grass – Hugh Masekela

The Lonely Bull – Herb Alpert

Soul Twist – King Curtis

A Taste of Honey – Herb Alpert

Tracey’s Theme – Billy Vaughan

Click on any of the titles for individual YouTube concerts.  These are perhaps most of the good ones.  If you’d like to take a stroll back through the ‘Good Old Days’ of music, click below.

1960’s Instrumental Hits – https://www.google.ca/search?sxsrf=ACYBGNR2ivX8mPkk94pXbkt6B8GG-PAfNg%3A1581038839884&source=hp&ei=97w8Xr_YM8Gk_QbPtIOgCw&q=1960s+instrumental+hits&oq=1960s+instrumen&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.0l7j0i22i30l3.13150.26396..32723…5.0..0.1241.3882.11j3j5-1j1j1……0….1..gws-wiz…..10..35i362i39j0i131j0i13j0i13i30.BOxbDJax408

WOW #59

Here’s a soft, sweet piece of nostalgia for this week’s Word Of the Week

POTSY

Potsy means = hopscotch, and several dictionary websites have no idea why, except to say that it is an Americanism, first noted 1930 – 35.  The ‘scotch’ in hopscotch is a line – cut, or scored – made a mark.  This is why Macbeth said, “We have scotched the snake, not killed it.”  Sweet butterscotch is removed from a large, flat sheet by cutting or scoring it.  I thought that butterscotch was a gateway drug for teenage drinking.  You loved Butter Beer at Harry Potter’s, now try our single malt – Butter Scotch.

Potsy

In the popular TV series, Happy Days, Anson Williams played the character of Potsy (actually, Potsie) Weber, which matched the goofy, likable character of Skippy, in the Family Ties series.  Both nicknames may have been applied because of their nerdy, ADHD type of erratic behavior, bouncing and skipping from subject to subject.

Potsy (or Potsie) is obviously just a nickname, and not very common.  Other than the Happy Days reference, the only other ‘Potsy’ I could find was Thomas Clinton –Tom – ‘Potsy’ Jones (1909 – 1980), who played NFL football for eight years in the early 1930s, for four different teams.

Despite extensive research (alright, I Googled it and got no answer), I can’t find how/why/when he acquired it.  Now that Canada has legalized marijuana, I wonder if we’ll start hearing of more Canucks named Potsy, who are One Toke Over The Line.

It would be sweet if you’d hop back here on Monday, to see what verbal abuse I’ve inflicted on the English language, in the name of the letter F.  There’s no need for social distancing, so you won’t have to form a line.  😀

Small Town Reality

Small Town

A recent humor post about small towns elicited some comments, questions, and not-necessarily-good memories. For those with curiosity, or defective nostalgia, here’s the real low, down.

Baskin-Robbins only has three ice cream flavors.

Corporate America has still not reached my little Canadian town. There used to be a couple of independent, Mom-and-Pop convenience stores that hand-dipped ice cream, before pre-packaged treats became available. Now they subsist by selling lottery tickets to folks dreaming about having enough money to get out.

You had to step out of the village limits in order to change your mind.

That’s a trick question. Nobody in my town changes their mind.

The nickname for the city jail is amoeba because it only has one cell.

Hah! Our town jail has two cells. One for drunken white men, and another for drunken Indians from the adjoining reservation.

McDonalds only has one Golden Arch and the nearest one is 15 miles away.

The nearest one is in the next town, 5 miles closer to the nuclear reactor, and the only source of employment left in the area.

Instead of a 7-11 they have a 3.5 – 5.5.

See ‘no corporate America’ above. 3.5 X 5.5 refers to metres – 20 by 30 feet sized convenience stores.

The New Year’s baby was born in April.

With all the screwing that’s going on, some of it even by people who are married – to each other – you’d think this would happen earlier in the year. All praise free birth-control information on the internet.

The “Welcome To” and “Thanks for Visiting “signs are front and back of the same sign.

The town has a lot of long-term summer residents – rich city folks who own expensive cottages. Neither they, nor the residents, really want transient, stay-at-a-tourist-camp visitors. There is no ‘Welcome’, or ‘Thanks’ sign. It was left to the Department of Highways to identify where drivers were with a generic sign.

You have to go to the next town to find 2nd Street….

At least there’s nothing as bland as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Street in my home-town. We have a British-type, High Street, which I was born on, as well as street names like Morpeth, Anglesia, Grosvenor, Grenville, Landsdowne, Breadlebane, and Augusta.

A “Night on the Town” only takes about ten minutes.

There are bars in two hotels on High Street, a block apart. White folks drink at one. Indians drink at the other. If you drink too long at either, your ten-minute ‘Night on the Town’ could stretch to 72 hours in the appropriate comfortably-appointed jail cell.

The Subway restaurant that serves foot-long sandwiches cannot fit within the village limits.

See ‘no corporate America’ again. There is a French-fries/hamburger/ hot-dog take-out building on the highway, behind the bank. It limps through the winter months, and produces retirement income during the summer.

You do not bother using turn signals because everyone already knows where you are going.

Laid out by British surveyors, the town has good sight-lines, and broad streets. It is one of two towns in Canada with a 100 foot-wide main street – most have 66. If you do manage to cut off a local resident, they feel free to tell you where to go.

Big social events are scheduled around when the high school gym floor is being varnished.

The local Legion is big enough to handle most ‘big’ social events. The local high school was closed in 1955, because of lack of students. The couple of dozen per year are bused five miles to the 350 student ‘District’ high school.

You call a wrong number and the person who answers can give you the correct number for the person you are trying to call..

While this was once true, the internet has become a boon, since the big Don’t-Give-A-Damn epidemic hit town.

There is no point in high-school reunions because everyone knows what everyone else is doing anyway.

This is true of those too dumb to get out. The ones who leave, just tend to disappear.
“Do you remember Bob?”
“Bob who?”
“We went to school with him.”
“You mean Rob?”
“Maybe….”
“I got no idea where he went.”

School gets canceled for Provincial sporting events.

No-one in my town was good enough at any sport to qualify for Provincial meets. Senior elementary classes are sometimes bused to District events.

It was cool to date someone from a different high-school.

It had to be from the same ‘District’ high school, but at least you could date someone from a different town – or a farm girl, who could show you alternate social uses for the hay-mow in the barn.

The golf course had only three holes.

There’s a quite-nice golf course, 2 miles out of town, where the old highway wisely bypassed this social morass, a century ago. More recently, a developer included a tournament-worthy course as a perk with his new housing subdivision, on the other side of town, right next to the Indian reservation, whose residents are wisely not allowed to be members. They are both 18-hole courses. Amusingly, just 2 miles away from my current, big-city house, is a course that the city has grown out and surrounded. It is a par-3 course.

Anyone you are looking for can be found at either the Dairy Queen or Wal-Mart, over in ‘The Big City’.

I remember when I thought that it was the cultural center of the Universe, with all of 10,000 residents.

Directions are given using the one and only stop light as a reference – after they finally installed one.

Even after they redirected the highway through the town, instead of past it, the intersection with the main street was a 4-way stop until the Department of Highways insisted on a traffic light in 1955. It’s still the only one.

Weekend excitement involves a trip to the grocery store.

1955 was a year of excitement. A Canadian-based supermarket came to town to challenge 3 little independent grocery stores. While considerable excitement can be had with bananas and cucumbers, the entire town was agog when they imported coconuts.

Your teachers remember when they taught your parents.

My Dad was a Johnny-come-lately, carpet-bagger, non-native. My Mom left in her early teens during the dirty-Thirties, and returned as an adult. None of the teachers had been inoculated, or developed a resistance to me.

The best burgers in town are at the four-lane bowling alley.

Our bowling alley had the best burgers and 8 lanes, but was an unheated summer-only, beach bowling alley, only open from the end of May, till Labor Day. The next town down had a year-round, 4-lane alley, but no lunch bar. The best burgers were next door at the owner’s A-frame, chalet diner.

Tell us about your tiny home-town…. or the unfortunate section of big city that you grew up in.

Young Love Gone Wrong

Jailbird

For 20 years, they were deliriously happy…. Then they met.
Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.     😳

Once upon a time, I lost a girlfriend. It wasn’t a century ago, but it was well back in the last century.

When I graduated high school, I moved 100 miles away to take my first job. It wasn’t long before it was apparent – at least to me – that the long-distance romance wasn’t going to work. Jeff Foxworthy speaks of, “If she hasn’t yet saddled up and ridden a new horse, she’s at least pulled one from the barn, and put a bridle on him.” My friends never mentioned that to me. I broke it off – by letter – just before Christmas. She wasn’t lonely for long.

I had just turned 19. Her new beau was almost 21. He had a job as a mechanic. He made more money than I did. He had a car. She traded up – or did she??! The new fella was the kind described as ‘known to police.’ She had a 16-year-old younger brother. By Valentine’s Day, he had sold the kid a switchblade knife – probably a $3/$4 piece of junk, that he charged $5 for.

The home was ruled by a nasty, judgmental mother, only one reason I decided to call it quits. All 6 of the children were a bit sharp – or brittle – especially this youngest, with something to prove. He couldn’t attract a girlfriend, but wanted to go to the high school’s big Easter Dance.

Since he didn’t have a partner, he asked the new boyfriend if he could provide a little liquid courage. Back then, you had to be 21 to purchase alcohol, but he knew a fellow, and provided a Mickey (13 Oz.) of lemon gin. The kid spiked his own punch at the party, and was soon roaring drunk – yelling and swearing, and pawing girls.

The science teacher, the male chaperone, approached him, and told him that he must leave. This was his first drinking experience. He didn’t know how to act. He loudly insisted that he would not leave. The teacher reached to take his arm or shoulder, to escort him out…. and he pulled the switchblade!

If he had just left, everything would have quietly disappeared. Now they had to call the cops! He wasn’t arrested, but they confiscated the knife, and called his parents to pick him up. The policeman asked him where he’d got the knife, and the liquor. Too immature to keep his mouth shut, he quickly named the new boyfriend.

The next day, they pulled him over. With probable cause, they searched the car, found an unopened case of beer in the trunk, and charged him with underage possession.

Our town was a ‘County Town,’ not the county capital. That was 30 miles away. We got a circuit judge, and every Wednesday was court day. Nicknamed the Hangin’ Judge, he had seen the evils of Demon Rum, and had a hatred for alcohol. This was Carrie Nation’s husband.

I don’t know whether he came to hate booze before, or because, he became a judge. The latter was quite possible, with all the drunken tourists, and drunken Indians from the nearby reservation.

The boyfriend pled guilty, and the misdemeanor penalty was a fine, and a criminal record. The judge wanted to get higher up this bootlegging ladder, and demanded to know where he had got the beer. “I found it in a ditch.” “Well, I hope you found a month down there with it, ‘cause you’re going to do 30 days in the county slammer.”

He’d kept quiet about his supplier, but, even sober, he just couldn’t keep his mouth shut. “Hell, I can do 30 days, standin’ on my head.” “That’s contempt of court. Here’s another 30 days, to get you back on your feet.” Suddenly that Archon boy was looking real good – but I was long gone.

Flash Fiction #220

Nostalgia

THOSE WERE THE DAYS

The old man sat at his computer, longing for ‘The Good Old Days,’ knowing they weren’t really, what with polio, segregation and World Wars.

He tried to keep up, especially with the avalanche of technology – every month, new Smart Phones, tablets, readers, apps, games, Twitter, Facebook…. Sometimes progress could only be measured by how less quickly he was losing ground, running hard, just to stay in place.

He didn’t know how the young ones kept up. Some used methamphetamines. For the life of him, he couldn’t guess why. Surely their brains were already churning at the speed of light.

***

Click on Those Were The Days, if you’d like to hear Archie and Edith longing for the same nostalgia, then go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

Friday Fictioneers

Flash Fiction #180

bonfire-anshu

PHOTO PROMPT © Anshu Bhojnagarwala

A CHILLING NOTE

Indian build small fire, sit close, keep warm.

White man build big fire, keep warm chopping firewood.

Damn global warming!
Damn the EPA!
Damn bureaucracy!

This will be the last night we can do this.  Tomorrow, the City’s open fire ban goes into effect.  The kids will be the ones most affected – no more toasted marshmallows, no more charred wieners, no more waving glowing sticks in the air.

We can still sit around and drink beer and tell lies in the dark.  Somehow, I don’t think that an extension cord and a radiant heater are going to bring back nostalgia.

Radiant Heater

***

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

Friday Fictioneers

Flash Fiction #165

Nostalgia

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Perhaps the loss and blurring of memories from old age isn’t entirely a bad thing.  We can look back on our lives through the filter of contentment for a life well lived.

We can remember the happy birthdays, the important anniversaries, the great grandkids, and forget the nosy, incompetent co-workers, the uncaring, slave-driver bosses, the crazy neighbors, and the arrogant politicians.

They say that ignorance is bliss, and it can be – in a way.  Just remember that living well is the best revenge.  Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative.  Don’t worry.  Be happy!

***

Click above to hear the great Ella Fitzgerald tell you how to do it.

***

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

I Found A Feather Today

Feather

I found a feather today, and along with it, I recovered a piece of the peace of my childhood. I found a sea-gull feather.  I found nostalgia, and I wallowed in it.

I was born and raised in a small town on the eastern shore of Lake Huron. The sand-bar island, half a mile offshore was/is a sea-gull nesting-site protected Provincial Park.  We had sea-gulls!  Lord, we had sea-gulls.

They loved the 4 or 5 fishing boats that went out each day. Swimming at the beach, late in the afternoon, I could watch a fish-boat heading back to the river harbor, towing a 100-yard kite of gulls behind it.  The fishermen gutted the fish on the way home, and dumped the offal in the lake.

Actually, of course, these were ‘lake gulls.’ Few, if any, ever saw salt water.  Their deep squawks were a constant summer background sound-track.  Later in life, I found that the gulls on Lake Erie were the same breed, but for some reason they cried like they had sinus infections – their calls much higher and shriller.

The simple discovery of a feather brought back childhood memories of fun, freedom, warm summer sunshine, tourists, fast-food and nothing to do, but hundreds of things to do.

As innocent children, we found many things to do with a feather. We could wedge it in our hair, or tie it on with a string or an elastic, and be an Indian in the games of Cowboys and Indians….before it became politically incorrect, and an insult to Aboriginal Rights.

I’ve cut the bottom off larger feathers at an angle, and split the longer edge, to create a quill. Sadly, all too often, instead of elegant writing on a sheet of paper, all I produced were ink-blots that would make Rorschach proud…or curious.  There’s a real art to it; one which I never mastered.

As a teen, my friend and I would split several lengthwise, and glue them to a piece of dowel we’d bought at the lumber store, ‘fletching’ it to produce an arrow. For a tip, we’d add a filed-down sliver of split-off railway track.  We could have just bought a target arrow from the hardware store, but what’s the fun in that?

Aside from fish guts, another thing that seagulls clean up is edible human waste. They keep down infections by keeping down the rat population; it’s why they’ve been declared a protected species.  In my warm, fuzzy home-town, they kept the streets cleaned of dropped tourist (and native) hot dogs, French fries, ice cream cones and popcorn.

My current home is, sadly, much closer to Lake Erie than it is to Lake Huron, so the gulls shriek with a nasal twang. There’s a landfill site behind the plaza where I found the feather, and at least 12 eating establishments inside it.  With the help of some sparrows and chickadees, they keep the grounds clean.

When I found the feather, it took me on a lovely flight of retrospective fantasy. I didn’t even pick it up, but left it, hoping that another young Archonoid would jam it in his hair, or take it home to tickle his sister with.  Perhaps even, an adult would see it, and be winged into some pleasant thought or memory.

Remember, sex involving a feather is a fun fantasy. Sex involving an entire bird is perverted.   😉

Feather 2

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!”