Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One

Love English

Words! Words! Words!

Round and round and round they goes. Where they comes from, nobody knows.

Then they impinge on my consciousness, sometimes from what I read, sometimes just from the depths of my own mind.

Looking for a word or two to spice up a novel, an essay, a report, or just a blog-post?? Here are a few that have run across in front of my attention span, like startled squirrels.

Battledore – noun

Also called battledore and shuttlecock. a game from which badminton was developed, played since ancient times in India and other Asian countries.
a light racket for striking the shuttlecock in this game.
a 17th- and 18th-century hornbook of wood or cardboard, used as a child’s primer.
verb (used with or without object), bat·tle·dored, bat·tle·dor·ing.
to toss or fly back and forth:

Bivouac – a military encampment made with tents or improvised shelters, usually without shelter or protection from enemy fire.
The place used for such an encampment.
To rest or assemble in such an area; encamp.

Broch (brock)- a circular stone tower built around the beginning of the Christian era, having an inner and an outer wall, found on the Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, the Hebrides, and the mainland of Scotland.
A variant spelling of burgh, or borough – German-influenced Scottish for “independent town”

Calumet – a long-stemmed, ornamented tobacco pipe used by North American Indians on ceremonial occasions, especially in token of peace. – A peace pipe

There used to be a Calumet baking powder, but another of my childhood memories has disappeared under an avalanche of corporate mergers and acquisitions.

Chary – cautious or careful; wary, shy, timid, fastidious, choosy, sparing (often followed by of):
cognate with Old Saxon karag, Old High German karag (German karg scanty, paltry)

Coxcomb – a conceited, foolish dandy; pretentious fop. – the cap, resembling a cockscomb, formerly worn by professional fools.

Dragoon – Noun – (especially formerly) a European cavalryman of a heavily armed troop.
Verb – to force by oppressive measures; coerce

Dumbledore – (for the Harry Potter fans) a bumblebee

Grok – to understand thoroughly and intuitively, to communicate sympathetically. Coined by Robert A. Heinlein in the science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

Plagal – (of a cadence) progressing from the subdominant to the tonic chord, as in the Amen of a hymn
(of a mode) commencing upon the dominant of an authentic mode, but sharing the same final as the authentic mode. Plagal modes are designated by the prefix Hypo- before the name of their authentic counterparts the Hypodorian mode

Pseud (sood) – A person of fatuously earnest intellectual, artistic, or social pretensions

Scalawag, (scallawag,scallywag )– a scamp, a rascal, a minor rogue

Stolid – not easily stirred or moved mentally; unemotional; impassive.

Thewless – weak, meek, timid (first recorded 1300-50)– from thews, muscle, sinew, physical strength
He was a quiet, thewless, conforming man, who caused no-one any trouble.

Tommyrot – nonsense, utter foolishness

Truculent – fierce; cruel; savagely brutal.
brutally harsh; vitriolic; scathing:
aggressively hostile; belligerent.

 

Book Review #19

Paradox Bound

Paradox Bound

It is no paradox that I like to read stories about paradoxes. Oh, wait – I already published that, here.

Are you folks ready for some social and political commentary and satire?? Well, seat belt in. Here we go.

The book – Paradox Bound

The author – Peter Clines

The review – IN THE BEGINNING, was the United States of America. The founding fathers had a dream, a dream of what they had created, a dream of what it could be, a dream of what they wanted it to be. They wanted their dream to be real, solid, physical. Being (mostly) good Christians, they prayed to the Egyptian god Ptah.

Ptah’s father was an older, greater god. Ptah was a carpenter. He died, and came back to life after three days. Maybe they never noticed the difference – or the similarities. Ptah created a real, physical dream for them. It was stored in a safe place…. then one day, the dream was gone – Lost? Stolen? Went to North Korea with some crazy basketball player and forgot to come back?

Most Americans didn’t notice, or didn’t care, but there were many who did care, and they became the Searchers. 48 men had been created with no faces, only plastic Halloween masks. The faceless men’s mission had been to protect the Dream, but when it disappeared, they only protected their own existence. Their greatest strength was “Certainty.” They knew everything around them. They mined the almost 250 years of records of the entire United States. They hunted down and killed any Searcher who might re-establish the old status quo. These faceless bookkeepers were The Bureaucrats.

Is any of this roman a clé beginning to feel familiar? As a Canadian, it took me a few chapters.

Since this entire story is about the United States, there is no “Time” Travel, only about 250 years of History Travel. Like the Back To The Future movies, a vehicle is required. No speed is needed, only the ability to navigate the slick spaces on the roads and trails of America, to slide from one period or era, to another. Travel up-time beyond 2036 is impossible. If The Dream is not recovered and re-installed by then, American history will unravel, and the world will exist without all the wonderful things it has created.

Older vehicles were preferred, because they were stronger, and simpler, able to be repaired with a hammer, pliers and some string, if they broke down. Horse and wagons were mentioned, but usually early 20th century technology was chosen. The author mentions an Indian motorcycle, and apparently John Henry was a real person, riding the rails in a train he assembled himself.

The writer seems to love classic automobiles. He has different characters riding around in a 1929 Ford Model A Business Coupe, a 1940 Cadillac Sixty Special in factory Oxblood Maroon, a 1953 Hudson Hornet, a 1958 Edsel Corsair, a 1961 Ford Fairlane, a 1967 Chevrolet Impala, a 1969 Ford Mustang, a 1970 Dodge Lancer, a 1975 Dodge Dart Sport, and a 1978 Chrysler Newport. Without specific dates, he also mentions ‘tail-finned‘ Cadillacs, which would be from about 1953 to 1960.

Tailfin Cadillac

Since Ptah’s spell only covers the USA, all vehicles must be “American steel.” As an ex-autoworker, I know of American workers, assembling cars in the U.S. with parts produced in Canada, made from German or Pakistani steel. I guess when they cross the border, and get paid for with greenbacks; they become “American.”

Our hero and heroine are the ones driving the ’29 Model A. The author doesn’t know as much about old cars as he lets on. At one point, they make a run for the car. She whips open the passenger door, and “slides across the rumble seat.” I had a mental image of Starsky (or was it Hutch?) sliding across a smooth hood. You don’t do that with a rumble seat! There’s a large, protruding, steel T-handle that could ruin your whole weekend.

SDC10136

There’s the T-Handle that you wouldn’t”t want to slide across.

SDC10135

This car had the ‘rumble seat’ removed, so that the space could be used as a small trunk.

After a few more pages, he began to use the terms ‘bench seat’ and ‘rumble seat’ interchangeably. (Click above) A rumble seat is exterior to the small, enclosed passenger compartment of a coupe. It’s like a small trunk, set on the sloping rear deck, that opens to an exposed, upholstered, double seat.

It must be confusing for the History Travelers, to have the paradox of speaking to a person that they have never met, yet who has known them for years of their time-line – to speak to someone they’ve watched die – to observe the same occurrence from two – or three – different perspectives – and get it.

The ultimate paradox was that, since the Searchers had been trying to find the American Dream through 250 years of history, chronologically, the Dream hid itself, in 1963, so that they could all achieve their dream of locating it. It was never really ‘lost.’

the-fold

I liked Cline’s The Fold novel last year, about parallel time-lines. Despite its ‘Made In America’ plot line, I really liked this one too. I rate it two cheeseburgers. I’d give it three, but I’m trying to lose some weight again (still). 🌯 Tell me what you’re reading.

Time Travel

I read about time travel. I am intrigued by the paradoxes of time travel. I just LOoove time travel…. except when Daylight Saving Time rolls around. Remember, tonight’s the night. At 2:00 AM, we need to turn all our clocks back one hour, to 1:00 AM. Then we get an extra hour of sleep. (Sure we do. We just party an hour longer.) We’ll probably spend that extra hour trying, and failing, and cursing, to turn all the clocks and watches in the house, back. Thank the mystical gods of silicon, that computers, tablets and the like, are smarter than we are, and do this automatically.

For those who are as chronologically challenged as I am, I have obtained a graphic to aid you with this task.

Daylight time

I hope this helps. I’ll see you tomorrow…. or was that yesterday??! 😳

Flash Fiction #205

Memory

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

I’VE GOT A GREAT MEMORY: IT’S JUST REALLY SHORT

Now what was I going downstairs for?? I’d better go back up to the kitchen to find out.

Why am I in the kitchen? I was supposed to be going downstairs for…. something….

Senior citizens’ memories are not necessarily faulty, often just overfull – recollection upon recollection – experience after experience.

Science fiction offers us a future when we might upload our consciousness to a computer. Might be a good idea. Occasionally run a de-frag – do a sort and delete. I don’t need to remember that Bobby peed himself in First Grade. Where is that cake mix we bought the other day?

Black Forest Cake

***

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-badge-web

WOW #50

Dictionary

I recently ran into the word

ADVERTENCY

I bruised a couple of ribs, but I’ll be okay.

Advertency = advertence: The state of being advertent – aware, attentive, heedful, knowledgeable, perceptive

The modern (somewhat restricted) equivalent is “Woke.”

I have been somewhat covert (covered, concealed) in my production of another WOW. Some of you have been a bit overt (open to view, observable) in your expectations that I do, so I thought I’d introduce most of the bunch. The family name – VERT – comes from Latin, through the French, ouvrir-to open, into English. They all have something to do with showing, or seeing – or not.

With its negative prefix, avert means to prevent something from happening, so that the results are not seen. Similarly, invert means to display something, but upside-down. Evert means to turn something inside-out, and show the inner surface. With an opening syllable that means – in, at or to – advertising points your attention to the presentation of goods that retailers want you to be aware of, and purchase.

We move to psychology to meet the introverts, who keep most of their personalities hidden within themselves, and the extroverts, who fill any room they’re in with their outward glow and conversations. Then there are the members of the family that we usually don’t mention, pervert and subvert. They’re the guys who get to see stuff that they shouldn’t.

My advertency about the term advertency came from a science-fiction book. In it, one planet prided themselves about their citizens’ knowledge and understanding of what went on around them, so that they could make the most optimal, informed decisions. The giant University even taught a course on advertency – how to notice details, be informed, know what was going on.

It all comes down to making reasonable, informed decisions. This is what many Atheists wish that the religious hoi polloi would do. If you want to worship one particular God, or follow the tenets of a specific denomination or church, do it. Just be able to give a better justification, when asked, than, “I have faith.”

Canada and the U.S. – Hell, most of the world – could use a University that teaches advertency. I notice far more things than the average Joe, but I could still use some training in how to do more.

I come over a rise, driving in the curb lane. A block ahead is a bus. I know that it will stop and block my lane, so I move out. The guy behind me now rushes up beside me, almost rear-ends the bus when it stops, and almost sideswipes me, trying to go around at the last minute. Too many drivers ‘drive’ no further ahead than their hood ornament.

If we could just raise the average awareness of citizens, then the uninformed, unaware, extrovert leaders like Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau, and Boris Johnson wouldn’t get re-elected. Probably won’t happen though. Jay Leno used to air a segment titled Americans Are Dumb, And Proud Of It! I continue to hope, though. Were you aware of that?   😕

The Whichness Of The Why

Rene DesCartes

Philosophers have nothing to say, but will take all day (or all of their lives) to say it.

In my ongoing attempts to get psychological explanations for why people – often Christians, but also Atheists – believe what they do, I kept running into philosophers. I thought that Philosophers were deep-thinkers, who used the power of their intellect to uncover important social revelations.

The more I read though, the more I realized that this was not so. One of them, like René Descartes (above) might make a significant claim, like; “Cogito ergo sum – I think, therefore I am” then the rest of them would discuss and debate it. If only one Philosopher contended a theory, it was like mental masturbation. If a group of them worried it like a dog with a bone, it was more like a circle-jerk. It made them all feel good, without actually accomplishing anything.

Often, no-one really proved anything. They just kept arguing with one another until observed facts finally showed one of them to be the closest guesser. Then folks would congratulate him as if he’d discovered something.

Even the winner of a debate, or series of debates, did not reveal, or prove, any particular truth. The champion became the victor by looking the best, yelling the loudest, and waving his hands the most. One Philosopher had a mortal enemy, another debater. There was only one subject about which the two agreed. Mr. Ego challenged his opponent to a debate, and took the ‘anti’ side. He won the debate by disproving an opinion that he held.

Despite the fact that colleges and Universities teach Philosophy, we have no Philosophers any more. What we have today are authors, bloggers, podcasters, and Christian Apologetics. All of them are full of strongly-held opinions, but if you laid them all end-to-end, they wouldn’t reach a valid conclusion.

Gilileo Goes To Jail

Case in point, a book that I recently read, titled Galileo Goes To Jail, 25 myths about Science and Religion. Seldom have I seen hairs split so finely, with no purpose other than to make the contributors appear learned and impressive. All 25 writers tiptoed through the minefield of truth and logic, but I felt the worst among them was the jackass who set out to prove that

Giordano Bruno Was Not The First Martyr Of Modern Science

Now, the first of anything is going to look different from what has gone before. This genius wanted to play the “Own The Definition” game. He started by claiming that Bruno was not a scientist, or was not teaching science. Of course not! Back then, the words, the definitions, the very concepts of “science” and “scientist” did not exist. Everything was Natural Philosophy.

‘Science’ did not exist, and Bruno wasn’t ‘teaching’ it. He did however publicly express and debate his opinions and conclusions about reality. He openly held Galileo’s position, that the Earth moved, and the sun didn’t, contrary to the Church’s dogma of a fixed and unmoving Earth. His claims were heresy to The Holy Catholic Church, which owned the definition of heresy.

Heresy they might have been, but as the equivalents of modern Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Mathematics, they were a Hell of a lot more like science than say, if the Pope might not be infallible, God did not exist in three parts, or we had to eat fish on Friday.

I try not to be hidebound in my opinions, and not get caught in confirmation bias. I invite, and delight in, discussion and debate about anything I publish. If you prove me wrong about any claim I make, I will accept defeat Philosophically. 😉

***

Oops, I left a link to a 1949 Sci-Fi story at the end of this draft.  Rather than delete it –  anybody want to access and read it??

Edmond Hamilton – Alien Earth

https://archive.org/details/Thrilling_Wonder_Stories_v34n01_1949-04/page/n51

 

Book Review #19

The Psychology Of Time Travel

The Book – The Psychology of Time Travel

The Author– Kate Mascarhenas (?)

The Review – Let’s start with the author’s name. It’s really Kate Flynn, but the name on the cover is Mascarhenas. That comes from the same base as ‘mask’, and ‘mascara.’ It’s a Portuguese-language nom de plume, which means “nom de plume.”

In the book, she includes the words ‘quango’ and ‘lanugo,’ neither common, even in Britain. They are valid English words, but seem as if they should be peeking out of a Romance language, like Spanish, or Italian. I’ll properly introduce you to them later.

This is a book – by a woman – for women – about women. It includes the description of an 8-year-old girl’s birthday party, where, “Her blonde ringlets hung down to the tops of her puffed sleeves, and her lacy skirt stood out straight to the side whenever she twirled around, which she did, a lot.”

The story is inhabited almost entirely by females. The only men who show up, are a male police detective and a journalist, who provide information and clues to the young woman investigating a locked-door murder.

The British authoress works in a commentary on racist attitudes in England. Our hardy, mixed-race investigator came to England as a child, from the Seychelles Islands, where she viewed herself as white. Having recently graduated University as an Engineer, she is working for the time-travel Conclave as a volunteer, but the female police constable who interviews her, regards her as colored, and assumes that she is the cleaning woman.

As usual, I was hoping for some temporal paradoxes to be solved, or some Back To The Future III suspense and manoeuvring, to prevent them. Didn’t happen! I was not surprised to not be given, even a vague hint, at how the time-travel process was accomplished, but it was invented by four women.

As a linguist, I was pleased to read that the process was powered by a newly-discovered, transuranic element called Atroposium, aptly-named after Atropos, the Greek Goddess who cut the thread of fate of mortals’ lives. Apparently the stuff was so safe and stable that it could be carried around in charcoal briquette-sized lumps, wrapped in lead foil.

While not described or explained, the time-travel process is so simple that it is used to produce a child’s toy, a Rubik’s-cube-sized box with a hole in the top. Children put candy in, and it disappears, only to return a minute later. What would happen if they stuck their finger in?

The “psychology” of the title is really just the mental stress felt by (female) time-travellers, caused by experiencing history in a non-linear way. Travelling to the past, they meet people that they know are dead. Travelling to the future, the see death certificates and gravestones for people they know are alive.

The detective/heroine goes back several times, to visit her father, who died when she was young. To her, the visits are weeks, or months, apart. I see, from his perspective, that she shows up twice the same afternoon, or on successive days. This grown woman is not his 8-year-old daughter. ‘Go away lady, you’re bothering me.’

I was expecting nothing when I ordered this book, and that’s what I got. No real time travel. No real psychology. It’s a good thing that I got it for free from the library. It had all the panache of a ‘Nurse Jane’ romance novel, full of ‘feelings.’ I feel disappointed and let down. I feel that I’ll need to read and review something with a little more OOMPH. Stay tuned; I’ll see you later.  🙂