’22 A To Z Challenge – K

 

I went looking for sauerkraut, –I don’t know why.  I should be able to smell it – and found a Cabbage-Head instead.

I am sometimes sooo… happy that I am saddled with the simple name of Smith, when I research the meanings of other people’s.

A reader made me aware of surname.com, but it only concentrates on English, Scottish and Irish names.  Bing has become more reliable, offering results from several sites.  One of them often does the job.  I also rely on Google Translate, though it does have its drawbacks.

I recently ran into a new, female blogger, who had married a man by the name of Kohlhepp.  This is a rare German name that I had never run into, here in ex-Berlin, Ontario.  I had to look it up.  The biggest problem with Google Translate, is that it does so literally, word by word, rather than idiomatically, with the meaning of the entire phrase or clause.

When I entered Kohlhepp, I got back cabbagejerk.  Now, does jerk mean a sharp tug, or is he the guy with the big desk in the corner office?  Another rare, local German name is Dreisinger.  I know that it means Three Singers – but which three?  The Magi??  Larry, Shemp and Moe??  A Christian-based name from a church choir??

I may snicker a bit to find that Kohlhepp is a cabbage harvester, but in Germany, that’s an important job.  Somebody gotta make all that sauerkraut.

Here in Canada, we have an up-and-coming Federal politician named Poilievre.  In French, pois are peas, and lievre is a form of ”lever,” which means to lift or raise.  If Tennessee Ernie Ford were still alive, he would Bless his little pea-pickin’ heart.

What If??  What If?? What If??

Oh goody!  We’re going to play a game of What If.  I have not been amused or entertained by one of those for years.

Let’s say you were in a naval battle in the middle of the ocean and your ship was destroyed so you are in very cold water. You know that you need to act now to get on a ship or you will die. Now there are 4 ships that you can swim to. But it looks like all the ships are very badly damaged and unlikely to be seaworthy enough to save you. It’s hard to tell from your position but as best you can tell one ship has a 5% chance but the others have less than a 2% chance of being seaworthy enough to save you. 

What do you do? Do you think well no one has “proven” or “verified” that any of these ships will save me so I might as well die in the water? Or do you start swimming to the ship that gives you a five percent chance (the best shot)? I think that is the obvious choice. You are not in a position to demand “proofs” or “verification.” You just have to make do with the information you have. 

I think this is analogous to the situation we are in when it comes to how we should live. We can’t pause our life until someone can prove how we are supposed to live. We choose to act or not act all the time. And we can’t insist on verification or proof beyond what we have. We just have to take our best shot. 

For me I think following Christ’s teachings is the “best shot.” I may wish I had better evidence or proofs but reality does not bend to my wishes. The rational person bends his beliefs and actions to reality.

People often believe that they are thinking, when all they’re really doing is rearranging their prejudices.  So, you’re going to dream up a scenario that is so outlandish and restrictive, that it makes your already-decided-on choice look good barely acceptable.

I am disturbed that you would advocate a selection with a 95% chance of failure, but, as you inferred, It’s (barely) better than nothing.  Desperation is not considered a good method of choice.  It usually results in wrong decisions.  Even choice is a bad method.  You can attend a Christian church, and repeat all the magic words, but it won’t produce the honest, true-hearted Belief that the unwritten rules call for.

I’d like to ask what mechanism you used to determine what percentage of success your choice, both in real life and in your specious analogy, had.  I see none, other than desperation and gullibility – only an unproven claim.

Unlike your fantasy-novel format, in real life it is both possible and advisable to do some research, so that you don’t end up in these religious shipwreck scenarios.

What if that water isn’t as cold and deep as you believe?  What if you were just told that, by the guy who runs the life-preserver franchise?  What if, no matter which ship you swam to, it sank and drowned you?  What if the ship you chose was an enemy vessel, and the agents of Allah tortured you to death?  What if you stopped panicking, and used your strength and determination to swim toward the big orange rubber raft that the rescue helicopter just dropped, labelled Reason/Reality?  What if you’re not Captain James T. Kirk, and there just is no right answer?

What if you summarily dismiss all of my What Ifs, because you think that they sound almost as silly as your What Ifs??!

Anti-Anti-Gun Post

It felt like a very bad time to be firing a gun.

Not long after the horrific mass shooting in Buffalo, and an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, a local gun store invited the media to drop by on Saturday, June 4th, to shoot at some targets, as a part of National Range Day.

A newspaper reporter accepted the offer.  After getting a safety talk, he entered the range and fired nine rounds from a 9mm handgun.  His hands were shaky, and his aim was poor.  The manager made it perfectly clear that the gun culture and laws in the United States are completely different in Canada.  He told a personal story to illustrate the point.

Years ago, when he wasn’t in the gun business, he and some of his clients went to a Florida restaurant with a no-gun rule.  “So, just like your coat-checks up here, they had a gun-check at the restaurant.  My clients opened up their jackets, got their guns out, got their little chit for the gun-check, and the lady said to me, “Sir, you need to check your gun in.”

I said, “I’m not carrying” and she looked at me and said, “Come on sir, you need to check your gun.”  I said, “Honestly, I’m not carrying.”  She looked around and said, “You’re not carrying?”  I opened my jacket and said, “I’m from Canada.  We don’t do this up there”  And she couldn’t believe it!

Friends in Michigan have told him they can’t understand why he doesn’t carry a gun.  I said, ‘Here’s the difference.  Where I come from, we had six homicides last year.  They were all targeted, either gang-related, or domestic.”  They said, “That happened in Detroit yesterday.”  That’s the big difference.

In some states, almost everyone can buy a gun immediately.  This is not the case in Canada.  You’ll have to wait six to eight months.  You must take a 16 hour safety course, provide references, and be vetted by the RCMP.  It involves answering some intrusive and serious questions.  Have you been on medication in the last five years for depression?  Have you had a job loss, or a divorce?

Any red flag means No Gun!  If you do get one, it can only be used for hunting or target shooting.  Automated background checks are run on gun owners once a day.  We have to recognize that we are a different country than the United States.  We have a different gun culture and different processes.

He said, “Mass shootings in the US have nothing to do with Canada.  I refuse to be blamed for the actions of a madman.  It’s that simple.  There is no connection.

The Saturday event celebrated the lawful ownership of guns in Canada.  About 2.3 million Canadians are licensed to own a gun.  At the start of the COVID pandemic, the store was stampeded by people looking for guns.  “They felt like things were going to go bad – lockdowns were going to cause people to go crazy.”

Many were surprised they needed a licence and had to take a safety course, and pass a background check.  They said that they needed a gun immediately.  He told them, “If you are panicking, and the only thing that is driving you to buy a gun is panic – we need to have a longer conversation.  You don’t buy a gun out of panic, and you don’t buy a gun for self-defense.”

Many Canadian gun-control laws miss the mark.  Most guns used in crimes are smuggled across the border.  There is a serious problem at the border that needs to be solved.  Targeting businesses like his and their livelihood, and law-abiding customers, is not going to solve the problem of violent crime.

It was pleasant to see such a well-researched and thought-out article for a change, instead of the typical Chicken Little, The Sky Is Falling, Big Brother Save Us rants.

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.  😯