I Cant Rely On Kindle

I continue to hold my love of dead-tree versions of books, if only because I can get many of them for free, from the Library – and often in LARGE PRINTTo you, with failing eyes, we throw – something you may more easily read.  I am becoming more habituated and inured to the Kindle book variants, especially since a couple of authors, whose series I follow, publish only electronically.

One of the benefits to Kindle is that, when the writer uses an esoteric or unfamiliar word, I need only poke the screen to get a dictionary meaning.  I had hoped that the meaning of every word used in each book would be available, but the dictionary file is on-board, not accessed on the internet.  That hope was dashed, repeatedly, by a recent book.

I read, I knew by the cant of his head, so I poked CANT in the eye – actually, in the A.  I got back, an expression of enthusiasm for high ideals – a sermon or extended oration.  Neither of those seemed to fill the bill, so I took a taxi over to Dictionary.com, which told me that my ‘cant’ meant, a salient angle – a slanted or tilting position.

On the next page, They had not hung the celebratory bunting.  Kindle only offered me two small, seed-eating birds, one European, one American.  My online dictionary was far more generous.  First it told me that bunting was a baseball play, where a pitched ball is gently returned by a stationary bat, or, it could be a hooded sleeping garment for infants (also, bunting bag).  Finally, it admitted that bunting was patriotic and festive decorations made from coarse cloth, or from paper, usually in the form of draperies, wide streamers, etc., in the colors of the national flag.  That’s the one I needed.  Busy word!

The story said, “Fashion was becoming important.  Lacing emphasized waists, and skirts flared out with gores.”  I poked the word ‘gores,’ and got, Gore, Al, Vice-President of the United States.  It’s a good thing they weren’t playing cards, or I’d have been told that trump was the President.  Their boat-launching site was a couple of klicks past the fort.  I should have known better.  Kindle claimed that klicks meant the same as clicks.  Now see here, Kindle, see also: slang, (mainly) military, diminutive of kilometers.

At last, the literary bad guy, returned to his hant.  When I prodded Kindle, it told me that Han was a Chinese river, or a dynasty from 206 B C to 220 A D.  Interesting, but that’s not even the same word.  Dictionary.com only told me that hant was the Scottish form of the verb – to haunt.  I had to go further afield for this one.

I eventually found that, from that Scottish verb form, came the noun which means, an often light-duty structure, temporarily or intermittently occupied, such as a party tent, duck blind or fishing hut.  This all qualifies as an episode of Things I Learned While Researching Other Things.

I am surprised that I was never asked, Did you mean can’t?  I can’t wait to see what I publish in a couple of days.  Are you as excited as I am?  😉

TILWROT III

In Search Of A Name

I was reading a Science Fiction book that began with a Space Navy shipwreck.  After her husband dies, the group of survivors is led by a broadly knowledgeable and adaptable woman with the Italian-ish name of Buccari.  I mentally pronounced it boo-kar-ee, until the author had one of her compatriots address her as, “Hey, Booch.”  I was reminded that in Italian words/names like bocce and Puccini with double C’s, they are pronounced as CH, so she was boo-char-ee.

Now I was curious.  Beginning with The DaVinci Code, I realized that authors often hide Easter Eggs in the background of their books.  What does the name mean??  Whatever it is, there’s a bunch of them, because the final I indicates a plural.  Translation programs just shrugged and walked away.  Google and Bing and friends, didn’t do any better, although one admitted that it was a surname, but the 286,532nd most/least common one.

Down at the bottom of the page, the note said, People who ask about Buccari also research Buccari fiasco navale Croazien.  Clicking on that delivered an article, all in Italian.  I fed the first section back into the translation program.

Apparently, just at the end of World War II, a division of the Italian navy decided to shell the Croatian city of Bakar, because it had been used by the Italians as a concentration camp.  Based on the plural of “people from the city of Bakar,” the Italian name for it, and anyone from it, is Buccari.

Bakar, in Croatian, means ‘copper,’ and our heroine’s head is adorned with luxurious, Italian, copper-red tresses.  The author brought the uncommon name completely around in a circle.

***

The great-grandson is approaching his first birthday.  While a little slow starting, he is developing a nice head of Italian-red hair.  He and his parents will be joining us for a belated Easter/birthday celebration this Sunday.  I’ll bet that a photo or two of him will sneak its way into a blog-post before the end of the month.  😀

SPLIT DECISION – PERFECT JOB OR LOTTERY WIN

Which would you choose, my valued readers??  😕

Money can’t buy happiness – but it makes looking for it a whole lot easier and keeps you a lot more comfortable till it arrives.  As a rock star once said, “You can moor your yacht much closer to it.”

I have been poor and happy – at the very least, contented – all my life.  I’m willing to take a chance on being uncomfortable, sitting on a big pile of hard cash.  I don’t think that I would be like some lottery winners, who blow through a $million or two in a year, and wind up homeless.  With the financial training that I received from my parents, I think that I would be far more rational with a big win.  Someone once told me that I needed professional help.  I replied, “Yeah, a cook, a maid, and a gardener should do it.”

WHILE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT IMPOSSIBILITIES

Faint as it is, the chance of winning a big lottery is more likely than finding the perfect job.  I don’t believe that the perfect job exists.  Motivational speakers urge you to, “Follow your heart.  Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.  Start your own business.”  Doing What!  I doubt that I can find someone who will pay me to solve crossword puzzles and research German verbs.

And you’re still working for someone.  Even self-employed, you work for yourself –and I make a terrible boss.  The only motivation many of these speakers have, is their income, not yours.  One confided to the wife that he was not making enough money so, counter-intuitively, he raised his rates.  Psychology says that someone who asks for more, must be worth more.  He was getting more gigs, at the higher fee.

This blogging thing is the closest I’ve come to the perfect job, and I still have deadlines, production problems, and surly staff.  Much as I would miss my treasured readers, I would sooner be able to afford to read more, and travel much more, seeing the world in fact, and in print.  I might even have to join Facebook, just so that I could publish pictures of me on the Lido Deck, sipping a Mimosa, eating yoghurt, and holding a copy of Portnoy’s Complaint, in Cozumel.

I would love to shed my Protestant work ethic, and be supported in the way that I want to become accustomed to.  What about you??  Could you be happy, being a lounge act, or do you feel the need to be productive?  And what would your perfect job produce?  😕  😀

Contrary To Popular Belief

Contrary to popular belief, the Internet doesn’t know everything.

My Mind recently went for a little walk, unaccompanied, but properly masked.  When it returned, it brought back a tiny piece of my childhood – a strange little piece called

UNEEDA LABORATORY

I know that it existed, because Mad Magazine did a send-up on it, and I once read an article saying that jokesters spoofed it with names like Igotta Laboratory, Wewanna Lab. and Theyhadda Lab.  Whether they ever heard of the Laboratory, smart marketers are still using the cutesy name to identify companies like, Uneeda Taxi, Uneeda Tire Center, and Uneeda Burger.

In my youth, I never investigated what Uneeda Laboratory researched, so I plugged it into both Bing and Google.  I got back a black hole.  😯  Nabisco made biscuits that they called Uneeda, back in the early 1900s.  There’s a coated abrasives firm which makes Uneeda wire wheels, sanding belts, and grinding wheels, but they market them as Tanis Brush.  They brag that they’ve been in business for 50 years, but my memories of Uneeda are 65 years or more old.

In the 1960s, there was a Brooklyn company that made a product called Uneeda Dolls.  The dolls are long gone, and the company was bought up by a Hong Kong firm called Tony Toys.  There’s a tiny village named Uneeda in West Virginia, about as big as a mole on a chipmunk’s nose.  It’s not large enough for another outhouse, much less a laboratory.  I’ve heard the joke that, “My home-town was so small; the McDonalds only had one arch.”  This village of 391 at a bend in a mountain road claims to have a McD’s, but there is no arch.

Dictionary sites don’t recognize the name.  It’s probably because I’m a grumpy old technological Luddite: I just don’t know what search terms to enter into search engines like Bing or Google.  When I enter meaning Uneeda, I am referred to the Nabisco biscuits, or the coated-abrasives, sites.  That’s what Uneeda is, not what the word means.

If I enter meaning name Uneeda, I am presented with 6 or 8 baby name sites which claim to know the meanings of every name, but don’t.

Meaning – baby boy name – Uneeda
Meaning – baby girl name – Uneeda

Each and every one of them is a Wiki-style site.  They all say, “We do not currently have a meaning for the name Uneeda.  If you have a meaning for the name Uneeda, please enter it.”

And so, the origin and history of the famous Uneeda Laboratory fades into the mists of time.  Have any of you ever heard of the Uneeda Laboratory?  If you know the meaning of Uneeda Laboratory, please enter it.

BEDA Warning

For years I have been lithely and nimbly avoiding the April A To Z Challenge trap, by spreading my weight out over the entire year.  This year I have been ensnared in the BEDABlog Every Day in April Challenge.  I have decided to – not abandon my Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting schedule – but add to it.

To my 13 regularly-scheduled April posts, I will add another 17, to sate the month, and my readers.  Many of the extra posts will be like little mental flickers from a 4th of July sparkler – like my 100-word Flash Fictions – a quick, bright idea, there and then gone.  Others may be a little wordier.  Oh good.  Thanx for the warning.

I had 45 unpublished posts in the can, in a Word file, when I found out about this, and I’ve already composed a couple of short new ones.  If any of my readers have an idea, a topic, a prompt, something they wish discussed, researched or satirized, feel free to submit your subject in the comments.

Why couldn’t I do this in February, when there’s only 28 days??!  😳

Onward and upward!  Excelsior!

’21 A To Z Challenge – Y

As I reach my second childhood, I also reach back more and more to the comforts of my first.  Helping me put back more than a little familiar frivolity, is

YOUTUBE

There was a ‘Zits’ cartoon strip, where a 16-year-old male was asked what he did during summer vacation.  His answer was that he “Watched Netflix” – the whole, entire, complete, 100%, F**king, thing!

I can’t claim to have watched that much, but I’ve watched just about all of it that I want to.  Like social interaction, politics, and religion, I don’t care for the flavor of much of what passes for modern entertainment.  Netflix keeps commissioning tons of movies, but most seem to be made in foreign countries, and sub-titled or dubbed into English with varying degrees of (lack of) success.

I recently discovered that YouTube has a ton of old movies that the copyrights have expired on.  I’m often looking for some light comedy, to get my mind off things like, Trump In ’24, pandemic mandates, gas prices, and spiralling real estate costs.

First I found that they have almost every British ‘Carry On’ farce.  I’ll watch Three Stooges, but only the ones with Shemp Howard.  I’ve viewed some clips of Laurel and Hardy, trying to decide which complete movies I’ll watch.

I remembered The Bowery Boys.  Those films always used to provide some no-brain-needed amusement.  Research showed that they began as The Dead-End Kids, changed to The East-Side Kids, and finally morphed into The Bowery Boys.  YouTube has almost 50 of them on tap.  Most of them star Leo Gorcey, until he drank himself out of a job.  I’m going to look to see if any of the old black-and-white Flash Gordon, or Buck Rogers serials are available.

In between, I can dip into Charlie Chan flicks, and may begin re-watching Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes series.  My complaint about these movies is about the commercials.  I don’t object to commercials.  They’re a cost of doing business.  I used to have to endure commercials when I watched movies on network TV.

My complaint, and the difference between network and YouTube is; on network TV, commercials were inserted by a real, live human, who placed them in natural breaks in the action, or conversation.  YouTube commercials are inserted by a heartless, brainless computer, whenever the Hell its electronic brain feels like, in the middle of a scene, or a line of dialog.  “So tell us Charlie(INSERT ADVERTISMENT FOR ZEHR’S FOOD MARKETS HERE!)Chan, who is the murderer?  I am developing a lightning-fast, gamer’s thumb, clicking on that little button which reads Skip Ads!

Does anyone besides me have any guilty YouTube pleasures they wish to admit to, or any other suggestions for my viewing enjoyment?

Smitty’s Loose Change #17

You can win at life if you simply avoid two things – Comparing, and Expectation.

***

I am so proud of Waterloo Catholic District School Board trustee Kevin Dupuis, and happy with the decision he made regarding the school board’s Pride flag flap.  He is a man of integrity!

He was unable to be accepting, and rise to the level of “hate the sin – love the sinner.”  He has told the board that, if he does not get his way, he would resign.  Instead of staying to help continue to guide the board in the direction that he felt was correct, he decided to just give up and leave.

He must have seen the writing on the wall.  It was his own handwriting, reading, “You are not welcome here.”

Archon

***

The arrival of volunteers from Newfoundland, in the war against the pandemic that is currently raging across Ontario, recalls a similar moment, when young women from Newfoundland left their friends and families, to risk a dangerous trip during the Second World War, in order to aid in another war effort.

Leaving their homes in Newfoundland, they braved the submarine-infested waters of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, to assist Dominion Woolens and Worsteds in Hespeler.  There they would spin and twist the many thousands of pounds of yarn required, to keep khaki uniform cloth flowing out of the Hespeler Mill.

In April 1949, after the war’s end, when Newfoundland became a Province of Canada, the company’s newsletter expressed its thanks to the 243 young women from Newfoundland who had worked at Dominion Woolens and Worsteds, offering a most joyous welcome to the people of Newfoundland, saying, “Welcome girls” and “Welcome Newfoundland.

***

Conspiracy Theorists, and Christian Apologists – they are often the same people – can be quite entertaining and amusing, if somewhat confused and confusing.  I recently read a Denialist explaining that, when the Titanic sank, there was a huge solar flare, which would have blinded the radar, and made radioing for help impossible….

Except that – The Titanic sank in 1912 – and radar wasn’t invented until 30 years later, during WW II, and their radio calls for help are a matter of historical record.

***

Click-Bait, My Pretty Little Click-Bait

A Man Spent Years Studying The Last Original AGM Zero Fighter Jet, And He Uncovered A Chilling Fact

It only took him 20 years, and he discovered that it’s NOT a jet.

To be fair, the story reveals that it was an axial-engine, prop-driven plane, but that doesn’t get you back among all the ads.

***

It had to happen.  In a town where streets ramble and meander aimlessly, never running North/South – East/West…. A traffic warning reported that a water main had burst at the intersection of Browning Road West and Lancaster Street West.

***

How to screw up a joke – Part II
How did the hipster burn his mouth?
He sipped coffee before it was cool
.
He only got the concept, the English, and the punch line wrong.  😯

There Are No Words To Describe It

When I claimed that there is no English language, John, our jovial trivial videographer asked, “How do they know English has no original words?”

I responded that, “I know, because I’ve historically researched it for years, especially when I was tracing my ‘Scottish’ roots.  The results of that search are at It’s In The Jeans, if you’re interested.

Let’s start 2000 years ago, when what would later become England, was sparsely settled, and the language was the various dialects of Celtic tribes, like the Iceni, whose Queen Boudicca (Boadicea) was so badly treated by the invading Romans.

The Romans added many words to the mix, including much Latin, but only the officers were “Romans.”  The spear-carriers and their polyglot languages came from all around the Mediterranean.  Traders from far and wide visited the shores also.  Christ’s uncle, Joseph 0f Arimathea, supposedly traded along the western coast, bringing Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

Around 900 AD, the Germanic Jutes, Angles, and Saxons arrived, making themselves and their languages at home.  The Jutes somehow just disappeared, but the Angles and Saxons became “Anglo-Saxon.”   The ‘Angle land’ kingdoms became the ‘England’ of today.  Their language mixed with the Romano-Celtic, with additions from Scottish Picts, Scottish Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, and Welsh, becoming Old English, a term only applied today.

A hundred years later, William the Conqueror, invaded the island.  He was the king of the French province of Breton, bringing the term ‘Britain’ to the language.  Many new words and terms were added.  Although consumption was in French, production was still in ‘English.’  Veau, boeuf, porc, and poulet were eaten by French nobles as veal, beef, pork, and poultry, while peasants still raised ‘English’ calves, cows, pigs, and chickens.

Norse Vikings, whose language also carried much Germanic influence, began raiding, and settling, adding some of their words to the olio.  The rise of the British Empire brought back words from all over the globe, Asia (Hong Kong), and hundreds from India.

The Kings and Queens of Europe were all inter-related, bringing in words from Spain, France, Italy, Poland and Russia.  The British Royal Family were German Battenbergs until WW I forced them to become English Mountbattens.

As new words were added, old terms fell out of use.  Some old English words are still in dictionaries as archaic.  Shewed and shewn became showed and shown, and thee, thou, thy and thine became you, your and yours.

It’s like trying to nail fog to a tree. There never was (and still isn’t) a time when there was a true English language.  It all came from somewhere else.  It is the tongue of immigrants, traders and conquerors – and a most excellent tool for communication.

Word is, that there will be another, fascinating post here in two days.  I will use these immigrant words to describe how elated I am that you visit.  😀

TILWROT II

Take me out of the ball game.

In the early 1960’s, before I arrived in this burgh, interest in, and support for, Junior, City-League Baseball was waning.  One local team felt that they needed $10,000, a considerable sum, to pay for a year’s uniforms, equipment and transportation costs, and no sponsors were coming forward.

One 16-year-old, baseball-crazy boy had an idea.  He would sit on a 6’ X 6’ platform on top of a 50 foot flagpole in the ball park, until the amount was raised.  He lasted three days, until unexplained stomach pains caused the same fire crew and ladder truck that put him up, to lower him down again.  His almost-feat was recently recounted in the ‘Flash From The Past’ history column in a Saturday newspaper.  His name was Ken Fryfogel.

Things I Learned While Researching Other Things – Act 2 – Fryfogel

The name Fryfogel is very uncommon.  Ancestry.com only has 298 listed in North America.  The unnumbered few in Canada are all in Ontario, and I suspect, most right here in Southwestern Ontario.  I decided to research.

Fryfogel appears to be a Germanic name, like Vogel – which is a bird, or Logel – who was a cooper.  Surname-meaning websites just shrugged.  I tried a translation website, but got nothing.  I tried changing the spelling from ‘el’ to ‘le.’  I tried pulling it apart, into Fry, and fogel – nothing.  I tried entering ‘fogel’ into a dictionary site.  I got, No listing for ‘fogel.’  Did you mean fodgel?’

I don’t know.  Do I??!  I’ve never run into the word.  What does it mean?   Yorkshire/Scottish dialect – a short, fat person-by extension, a fat hen.  So, a Fryfogel is someone who cooks up a big fat chicken.  Twenty miles from here, at the intersection of a concession road and the highway, halfway to Justin Bieber’s ex-home, stands the historic, 200-year-old Fryfogel Inn.  😎  What better name for an innkeeper than one that says that he’ll serve you up some fried chicken along with your ale?

I’ll be serving up some more interesting drivel in a couple of days.  Hope to see you then.  😀

’21 A To Z Challenge – K

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everybody has to be from somewhere – and that includes words.

I once heard a co-worker complain about a fellow-employee, that, “He’s a cheap bastard. Always wants everything buckshee.”  I got the meaning from context – free, at no cost – but buckshee??  Where did that come from?

At first I thought that it was from India, something from one of its 40+ languages and dialects.  However, research revealed that it was originally Arabic, from Persia – Iran, as we call it today.  It came to English as baksheesh – meaning a tip, a bribe, or a charitable donation – nouns which my rustic speaker had mispronounced into an adjective.

Recently, I thought I’d found its camel-chasing cousin.  Out of a sandstorm of definition confusion, and, from context, meaning the same as baksheesh and the term lagniappe, rode the word

KICKSHAW

Kickshaw – rickshaw – buckshee….  Surely it came from the East, but NO!
Kickshaw – a tidbit or delicacy, especially one served as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre.
something showy but without value; trinket; a trifle, something a little extra.

It rowed across The Channel from France, and wormed its way into the English language about 1590/1600 as a badly pronounced back-formation of the French term quelque chose.  In French, it just means “something,” but in English, it has come to mean ‘something extra/something special.”

Next week we’ll be visiting its modern-day Yiddish relative, tchotchke.  Bring an appetite and your credit card.  There’ll be as many latkes – potato pancakes – as you can eat.  😀