’18 A To Z Challenge – M

Alarm Clock

By dark and dreary mundane passings, are clipped.  (Psst!  Wanna read some poetry?)

A travelling salesman approaches an old codger, sitting in a chair outside the flyspeck-town’s general store.
“Excuse me sir, do you know what time it is?”
“Oh, ‘bout Tuesday, ah reckon.”
“No sir, I need to know the correct time.  I have a train to catch.”
“Tuesday’s close enough.  Ain’t no train till Friday.”

Once, people toiled from sunup to sundown, not caring what time it was, and only vaguely knowing, when the church bells rang, to tell them that it was time to tithe.

As towns and cities grew, it became more important that most folks were doing things at the same time, so the Latin horas became English language hours.

Passing Time was chopped up into 1/60th pieces of the hours.  Compared to the ‘hours’, these little chunks were MINUTE (my-nyoot), and that’s what they were called.  The original meaning of, tiny, small, is still pronounced that way.  Centuries of mush-mouth slide have changed these chunks of time into MINUTES (minnits).

With the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, especially steam trains and their schedules, even smaller bits of time became necessary, and the MINUTES got carved into 60 smaller bits.  Since these were the SECOND smaller sections of the hour to be established, that was what they were called.

As modern technology relies more on computerized electronics, and even quantum services, time must be chopped up into finer and finer little portions.  The state-of-the-art technologists of even only a half century ago, would probably be astounded by the use of millisecond – thousandth, microsecond – millionth, nanosecond – billionth, and picosecond – trillionth.

It’s no wonder that Ethel GPS put me in Oregon, instead of Ohio.  She probably just needs new batteries in her watch.  I’ll watch to see if you stop by again soon.  😀

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’18 A To Z Challenge – K – PART #2

 

Challenge '18
Letter K

KNOCKER-UPPERS

Now that we’ve all had our tween-aged boy snicker, we’re going to speak British.

The daughter, my primary research assistant, sent me a link to a YouTube video about a now-extinct job.  In the heyday of the Industrial Revolution, many men in the cities of the UK, worked in the factories and mills.  They were expected to be at work ungodly early, by 5:00, 5:30 or 6:00 AM.  Alarm clocks had not been invented, and the sun was not up.  How were they to get to work on time?

Alarm Clock

Who wakes up the bugler who plays Reveille, to wake everyone else at a military base?  The answer to that question is the reason that it’s now recorded, and played automatically.  This task fell to certain people, who would come around to your house, and tap on a window to rouse the worker.  These were usually the neighborhood night watchmen, who were paid to stay up all night, and keep an eye open for fires.

Since bedrooms were usually on the second or third floors, they carried a long wooden rod, often bamboo, with a metal hook or knob on the end.  Why not just stand outside and shout??  Because not every house had a mill-worker, and even the ones that did, had wives and children who could benefit from another couple of hours sleep.

It was an interesting human answer to one of the first technological problems.  I have in the past, and I do now, stay up (almost) all night.  I’ve roused my children, to go to school, and day jobs.  I don’t tap on other bloggers’ windows, but I do publish in the middle of my night.  It’s sometimes interesting to see who I wake.

Feel free to stop back in a couple of days when we’re all awake, to see if I’m successful this week with a 100-word Flash Fiction, or if I have to tap into my cache, and publish a WOW.  I’m setting my alarm.   😆

Hysterical History – Part 2

A continuation of Part 1 – bringing us a little more up-to-date on the English Language, and History, through the eyes of teen students.

The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare.  Shakespeare was born in the year 1564, supposedly on his birthday.  He never made much money, and is only famous because of his plays.  He lived at Windsor, with his Merry Wives, writing tragedies, comedies and errors.

In one of Shakespeare’s famous plays, Hamlet rations out his situation by relieving himself in a long soliloquy.  His mind is filled with the filth of incestuous sheets which he pours over every time he sees his mother.  In another play, Lady Macbeth tries to convince Macbeth to kill the King by attacking his manhood.  The proof that the witches in Macbeth are supernatural, is that no-one could eat what they cooked.

The clown in As You Like It is named Touchdown, and Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couplet. Writing at the same time as William Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes.  He wrote Donkey Hotey.  The next great author was John Milton.  Milton wrote Paradise Lost.  Then his wife died, and he wrote Paradise Regained.

During the Renaissance, America began.  Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America, while cursing about the Atlantic.  His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe.

Later, the Pilgrims crossed the ocean, and this was called Pilgrims’ Progress.  The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers.  Many people died, and many babies were born.  Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.

One of the causes of the Revolutionary War was that the English put tacks in their tea.  Also, the colonists would send their parcels through the Post without stamps.  During the War, the Red Coats and Paul Revere were throwing balls over stone walls.  The dogs were barking and the peacocks crowing.  Finally, the colonists won the war, and no longer had to pay for taxis.

Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress.  Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence.  Franklin had gone to Boston, carrying all his clothes in his pocket and a loaf of bread under each arm.  He invented electricity by rubbing two cats backwards, and declared, “A horse divided against itself cannot stand.”  Franklin died in 1790, and is still dead.

George Washington married Martha Curtis, and in due time became the Father of Our Country.  His farewell address was Mount Vernon.

Soon, the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility.  Under the Constitution, the people enjoyed the right to keep bare arms.

Abraham Lincoln became America’s greatest Precedent.  Lincoln’s mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin he built with his own hands.  When Lincoln was precedent he wore only a tall silk hat.  He said in onion there is strength.

Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope.  He also freed the slaves by signing the Emasculation Proclamation.

On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in the moving picture show.  The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposedly insane actor.  This ruined Booth’s career.

Meanwhile in Europe, the Enlightenment was a reasonable time.  Voltaire invented electricity and also wrote a book called Candy.  Gravity was invented by Isaac Walton.  It is chiefly noticeable in the autumn, when apples are falling off the trees.

Johann Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children.  In between, he practiced on an old spinster which he kept up in his attic.  Bach died from 1750 to the present.  Bach was the most famous composer in the world, and so was Handel.  Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English.  He was very big.

Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf.  He was so deaf that he wrote very loud music.  He took long walks in the forest, even though everyone was calling for him.  Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.

France was in a very serious state.  The French Revolution was accomplished before it happened and catapulted into Napoleon.  During the Napoleonic Wars, the crowned heads of Europe were trembling in their shoes.  Then Spanish gorillas came down from the mountains and nipped at Napoleon’s flanks.  Napoleon became ill with bladder problems and became very tense and unrestrained.  He wanted an heir to inherit his power, but since Josephine was a baroness, she couldn’t have any children.

The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East, and the sun sets in the West.  Queen Victoria was the longest queen.  She sat on a thorn for 63 years.  She was a moral woman who practiced virtue.  Her reclining years and finally the end of her life were exemplatory of a great personality.  Her death was the final event that ended her reign.

The nineteenth century was a time of a great many thoughts and inventions.  People stopped reproducing by hand and started reproducing by machine.  The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up.

Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick raper, which did the work of a hundred men.  Samuel Morse invented a code of telepathy.  Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbis.  Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the Organ of the Species.  Madman Curie discovered radio.  And Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers.

The First World War, caused by the assignation of the Arch-Duck by an anahist, ushered in a new error in the anals of human history.