’20 A To Z Challenge – K

Peasant Woman

If only the English, would speak English!  😯

As the developed World continues to advance, we have more information which needs to be communicated in the same amount of time.  The English language continues to adapts to that, and contract.  Already, we have more time to discuss Kardashian perfume or underwear or MENSA-grade husbands, because English is reducing, with @hashtags, 140 character Tweets, and initialisms, like LOL, OMG, YOLO, BTW, IDK, and IMHO.  Soon, we’ll be back to caveman grunts and arm-waving – Ungh, meat good!  Beer cold!

Contrast this with busy, unchanging, polysyllabic languages like Italian or Spanish, which need to add suffixes for gender and number.  Italian ‘spago’ is a string – no matter what that NYC restaurateur says.  Many small strings (of pasta), is spaghetti.  And even finer strings, is spaghettini.

A Spanish girl is a chica.  A small girl, or a loving, linguistic diminutive for one, is a chiquita that you’d go bananas for.  Chiquitita does not usually refer to an even younger child, but is often an affectionate nickname for a full-sized female.  All those syllables!!  😯  To see (or hear) an old Nona at market with her string bag, sounds like a language machine-gun, firing at about 12 syllables a second, wearing out her tongue, and everyone else’s ears.  Of course, her tongue will regenerate overnight – just ask any Italian husband.

Back in a time when English had a lot less to say, and all day to say it, was born the compound-word term

KICKIE-WICKIE

A witty, jocular, or ludicrous term for a wife, especially a critical or disrespectful one
supposedly another Shakespeare nonce-word, invented and first used in ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’.

Apparently he didn’t have time to also invent
Dumpy-frumpy
Slappy-happy
Punchy-wunchy, or
Bitchy-witchy

I had heard that it was a term invented by Scotsmen, while shepherds watched their flocks by night…. or whatever they were doing with/to sheep in the dark.  They just took the term, and made it theirs.

Bagpipes

Blowing his brains out

Why do Scotsmen wear kilts?
So that sheep don’t hear the zippers.  😳

I’d like ewe to stop back again soon, for another group therapy session.  😉

’19 A To Z Challenge – Y

AtoZ2019Letter Y

Yahoo, cowboy! Saddle up that magnificent steed, and…. plod off into a cloud of dust and tumbleweeds. Today’s yewsless…. uh, useless word is

Yaud

noun Scot. and North England.
a mare, especially an old, worn-out one.

1350–1400; Middle English yald < Old Norse jalda mare

Don Quixote

It is matched with another, taken from Spanish, rocinante.
Rocinante is Don Quixote’s male horse in the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. In many ways, Rocinante is not only Don Quixote’s horse, but also his double: like Don Quixote, he is awkward, past his prime, and engaged in a task beyond his capacities.

Perhaps, between failing mental abilities and failing eyesight, Quixote winds up tilting at windmills, thinking that they are dragons, and that he is protecting the populace. Since he is a minor noble, like the problem of the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes,’ no-one tells him, or tries to stop him.

Bay

The original Spanish term was rosinante, (rosy) a red-colored horse, what in English, would be called a bay.

Abaddon's Gate

It is because of the above description, that the authors of both the books, and the TV series, The Expanse had the captain rename the “inherited” space cruiser, Rocinante. While formidably armed, it was a bit past its prime, and the small crew desperately used it for tasks that should be beyond its capabilities, tilting at interplanetary, and eventually, interstellar windmills.

Distracted

If I have been successful, most of you will have been so distracted by horses, TV space series, and classic literature, that you will not have noticed that 95% of this post is not about its stated subject. Instead, I have veered off at a strange angle – just like my favorite Y-shaped bridge in Zanesville, Ohio.

Y-bridge

’19 A To Z Challenge – U

AtoZ2019Letter U

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A USELESS TALE ABOUT ABSOLUTELY NOTHING

O Nostalgia, where is thy sting?

What do I do when a blog-post theme occurs to me while I am having lunch?
Keep munching! A good platter of nachos is like a contract with God Himself. You guys can read my blatherings any time.

Nachos

My Father was a minor performer. Before the advent of radios in automobiles, he used to regale us with ditties and folk-songs on Sunday drives and road trips. I have found most of them on Google, as folk or minstrel songs, but no indication that any of them were ever recorded. He must have received them as oral history.

The other day, as I was dashing through melted cheese and jalapeno rings, I recalled my mother crooning a little ballad to me in the late 1940s. At first, I thought it might have been just something that she had heard Dad sing. My friend, Dr. Google assured me that this had been a real, live song.

I typed in, Down In The Garden Where The Praties Grow.” If you tap, you will see that the title is merely, The Garden Where The Praties Grow. I remember asking my Mother what ‘praties’ were. She explained that this was an Irish term for ‘potatoes.’

I already knew what indignities the skirt-wearing Scots had inflicted on the language. It was no surprise to find that the drunken Irish couldn’t keep their words straight. Mom must have heard it on the primitive radio when she worked in the big city of Detroit. It was recorded in 1930, but the original version must have been written about 1870, with fashion references to Grecian Bend – women’s hunched stature, caused by a huge bustle – and ‘chignon’, a large, then-trendy, braid or bun at the nape of the neck.

I hope that some of you enjoy a bit of entertainment/fashion history. While I claimed that this story is useless, and about nothing, to me it is a fond remembrance of the soft, kind, loving support that my Mother gave to me as a growing child. This post, and the history/musical link, are particularly dedicated to 1Jaded1, who likes when I connect my story to a song.

Flash Fiction #214

Swag

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

SWAG

Brucie had a very rewarding Christmas. He was old enough to know that there was no Santa, but smart enough not to say so.

“Santa” had finally brought him a basic cell phone. He’d got socks and underwear (Thanx, Mom) books, video games, dark chocolate and Scottish sweets. He’d watched A Christmas Story and asked for a BB gun, but Mom said that Ralphie’s mother was right – maybe later. “Later…. right.” Adults speak a different language.

Mom had warned him not to just throw his wrapping paper everywhere, so he’d carefully placed it all in a neat pile beside him.

***

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

FBI Find That Funny

Badge

I enjoy buying complete sets of toddler clothes at garage sales. I don’t do anything with them; I just put them in plastic vacuum seal bags and throw them in the closet, because I enjoy the thought of the time and money the FBI will waste when they are found after I die.

***

Two thieves break into a house. They go into the master bedroom, and tie up a naked woman that they find there. A startled naked man comes out of the bathroom and sees what has happened. He says, “Please! Please! Take whatever you want and go. I will even give you the combination to the safe. Just untie her and let her go.”

The thieves were surprised by how heartfelt his pleas were. One of them says, “You must love your wife a lot in order to beg like that.”

The man replies, “I do – and she’ll be home any minute!”

***

An elderly couple go to their doctor, and complain about failing memories. He explains that it is normal for people their age, and suggests that they write things down, to help remember.

A while later, they are sitting in their living room, when she says, “I’d really like a bowl of ice cream.” He says, “I’ll get it for you.” and heads for the kitchen. She says, “Now write that down.” He replies, “I’m only going to the kitchen. I’ll remember.”

He is gone for some time, and when he returns, he hands her a plate of bacon and eggs. She says, “I told you to write it down. You forgot the toast.”

***

An Irish man, and his ever-nagging wife, were on a holiday to Jerusalem, when the wife died suddenly.

The undertaker told him that it would cost 50€ to bury her there, or 5000€ to ship her home.

The husband tells him to ship her home.

The undertaker said, “But sir, why don’t you have her buried in the Holy Land and save the money?”

The husband says, “Listen here pal, a long time ago, a fellow named Jesus was buried here, and three days later He rose from the dead. She’s fuckin’ going home!”

***

A Scottish workman arrived home a bit late, and out of breath. His loving wife demanded to know why. “I saved six-pence by running home behind the bus.”
“Ach, ya fool! Ye coulda run home behind a taxi, and saved a pound.”

***

A doctor accidentally prescribed a laxative, instead of a heavy-duty cough syrup.
Three days later, the patient came back for a check-up.
The doctor asked, “Are you still coughing?”
The patient replied, “No! I’m afraid to.”

***

I didn’t sleep well last night, so this morning I put Monster energy drink in my coffee.
I was halfway to work before I realized that I’d forgot my car.

***

Some sad, sad people on our street are still letting off fireworks, and it’s the end of October.
Our poor dog gets so frightened that he hides under the Christmas tree.

Getting From There To Her

Shakespeare

A man became a woman – and it wasn’t even Caitlyn Jenner.

Even though English is not technically a Romance language, many of the rules apply to the usage and formation of words – including names. In French, Italian and Spanish, names ending in O are male, and names ending in A are female. In English, numerous male names are made female, by adding an A. Don becomes Donna. Robert becomes Roberta. Shawn becomes Shawna. Paul becomes Paula.

(Paul & Paula who were actually, neither Paul, nor Paula was a 1960’s pop music duo with one, million-seller hit, Hey Paula. Click, if you’d like to reminisce.)

We all probably know several of these, but I’ve run into a few less common ones that you may not have seen. Most Dons are actually Donalds. For those who think of themselves, formally, in that way, a few have daughters named Donalda. I’ve met two.

The name Donald is reasonably common, at least among my Scottish relatives. The name Samuel is currently less common. I recently met a Samuela. Like Samuel, Simon tends to be a Jewish name, and fairly rare in English. I recently ran into a Simona. The less common man’s name, Roland, has the even rarer Rolanda, female equivalent.

Shakespeare is accused of creating more than 50 new words for the English language, a few out of whole cloth, but many by merging other words, or adding suffixes. He also added at least four new female names. He created the name Perdita for the daughter of Hermione in his play ‘The Winter’s Tale’ (1610). It is a Latin word, which means lost. While first produced in England, this rare name is most often found among Spanish-speaking people. Kenneth Bulmer used it as the name of an evil villainess in The Key to Irunium, and several other books in this series.

Derived from Latin mirandus meaning “admirable, marvelous, wonderful”, the name Miranda was created by Shakespeare for the heroine in his play ‘The Tempest’ (1611), about a father and daughter stranded on an island. Modern baby-name books now say that it means ‘cute.’

He constructed the female name Jessica from the Jewish male name Jesse, the father of David, meaning God Exists. The female version is now taken to mean, God beholds, or God’s grace. He gave it to the daughter of Shylock, in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ (1596/1599). The original Hebrew name Yiskāh, means “foresight”, or being able to see the potential in the future.

Olivia is a feminine given name in the English language. It is derived from Latin oliva “olive”. William Shakespeare is sometimes credited with creating it. The name was first popularized by his character in ‘The Twelfth Night’ (1601/1602), but in fact, the name occurs in England as early as the thirteenth century. In the manner of extending the olive branch, the name indicates peace, or serenity.

All of these names end in the feminine-indicating final letter A. Not a Chloe, or an Amber, or a Summer, or a Robyn in the bunch. What did your parents name you…. Or, what did you name your daughter?? Are there any regrets?

Skeptic

Skeptic

A skeptic is a thinker, not a blind believer, but you already know that.

I laugh when ‘they’ use the word -or the term- to characterize someone who happens to have a different opinion, or point of view from them.  It’s obvious, that is the whole purpose of this, isn’t it?  Seize the definition, and then prove it wrong.

It’s wonderful to be a Skeptic, but who isn’t?  Unfortunately, far too many, who farm out and subcontract others to do their thinking for them.  But fortunately, we still have the right to think whatever we want, whatever we like, whatever we wish, the most wonderful nonsense, the most brilliant ideas.

We need to continue to fight for the right to be skeptics. So, dear journalists and assorted religious nuts, you’d better use some other words.  Like “controversialist,” “dissenter,” “arguer,” “questioner,” etc.

Freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion – including freedom FROM religion, freedom of action – as long as it harms no-one else. As Braveheart, William Wallace, said, FREEDOM. I am not skeptical about that.

Just be careful not to topple over the edge to Cynic. I’ve seen some militant Atheists – actually anti-Theists – interviewed, and asked, “If you were presented with proof of the Christian God, would you believe?” And they answer, “NO!” That is just foolish, rebellious cynicism. Believe what you want, but have a good reason for it.

WOW #49

Dandle

I’ve got another old-fashion-y word, as this week’s Word Of the Week. It’s

DANDLE

verb (used with object), dan·dled, dan·dling.

to move (a baby, child, etc.) lightly up and down, as on one’s knee or in one’s arms.

to pet; pamper.

Isn’t that a lovely old word, as warm and nutritious as Scottish oatmeal; as enfolding and supportive as a flannelette blanket? It’s not officially extinct, but it went on the endangered species list in the 60s or 70s.

Nobody dandles babies anymore! There’s no time! Instead, fit, young, Spanx-clad, Bluetooth-sprouting mothers race past, with bewildered, wind-burned children in $4000 Kevlar and Carbon-Fiber walkers, on their way to enrol the kid in pre-pre-pre-kindergarten, or snaffle the last spot in some preppy Day-Care.

I believe that I may have found a preventive for, at least some of, the multiple-killing gun violence. Perhaps if Mom (Or grandma – she remembers how) dandled her child more, he would be more likely to grow up to return love for love, instead of being estranged from society.

Please note that the word is dandle, not diddle. 😯 The Catholic Church seems to finally be getting the word, and that pedophile, Epstein has taken himself out of the game.

Stop back in a couple of days for some more comedy, and the beginning of my (hopefully) final dash for the 200th Flash Fiction milestone.

Auto Prompt – Knowledge Challenge – Combermere

It all started so innocently, as most of them usually do, though this one was unusual, because it involved my often less-than-innocent Scottish ancestors.

Scottish Flag

I needed a four-letter crossword solution for ‘sea’, starting with M. Five minutes later, working sideways, I had ‘mere’? 😕 Quick Archon, to the dictionary. I soon found that the Scots, through a mouthful of oatmeal porridge, had turned the French word ‘mer’ into ‘mere.’

Through my Scottish heritage, I knew that there was a small Southern-Ontario town named Combermere, and one back in the UK. The word ‘comber’ has two pronunciations. There is the usual English Coe-mrr, which is a person or device which combs. Also, a large, long wave, which can strip (comb) things off a beach as it crashes ashore, is a comber. Then there is the Scottish Comm-Brrr, which is used for personal and place names. I once heard two women refer to a man, whose name of Comber they’d read but not heard, as Coe-mrr. As a Scot, I knew better. What did those old kilt-wearers mean when they put those two words together?

20180424_161147

I quickly learned that the mere was no vast sea. It was merely a wee mountain lake – a tarn. The ground around it was too rocky for agriculture, so sheep were raised. However pronounced, the word comber had the same meaning. Once the sheep were sheared, and before the wool was spun to thread and woven into bright Tartans, it was combed (carded), whether by hand, like the hand-carders above, from my Gadgets post, or with a hand-cranked, mechanical device.

The shearing of hundreds of sheep produces a lot of fleece. While the men were busy tending to the now-nude creatures, the women combed, and combed, and combed. Combermere became the name for a pastoral little village which grew up at the lower edge of a Scottish lake, renowned for its yarn and woven cloth.

Don’t look for it there now. Time, and society, and politics changed over the centuries. All that’s left is the Combermere Abbey, in England, near the northern border of Wales. It was named for an Earl of Combermere, which title was given to an Englishman, after James VI of Scotland became James I of England.

If you’re interested in some hand-carded fleece, or hand-spun yarn, or hand-knitted or crocheted apparel, join the daughter, Ladyryl, at her blog, or at http://www.facebook.com/frogpondcollective. She’ll show you how it was done in the Goode Olde Dayes.

Bible Man Speak With Forked Tongue

Bible

Once again, I have found Christian Apologetics, the new Defenders of the Faith, doing exactly what they accuse Atheists, Agnostics, and other doubters of doing.  In the past year, I’ve seen at least three Christian blogs critical of a list of Atheist statements.  While each is composed slightly differently, the list of Atheist sins in each, is cut and paste identical.

It is undeniable that they often put forth nearly identical catch-phrases and responses. I mean, just ask yourself how often you heard these Atheist talking points:

  • There is no evidence for God;
  • God is not great;
  • Religion poisons everything;
  • Faith means believing something without evidence;
  • Atheism is just a lack of belief;
  • If you don’t believe in evolution, you’re a fool;
  • If everything has a cause, then what caused God;
  • That’s just a God of the Gaps argument;
  • Well, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence;
  • Religion is just wish-fulfillment;
  • Jesus is a zombie;
  • Metaphysics is bunk, I believe in what works;
  • I want evidence, not arguments;
  • God is just a delusion;
  • Religion is a mind virus;
  • Why doesn’t God heal amputees; and, finally
  • God is evil or a dictator or a maniac.

And these are just some of the catch-phrases that are routinely put forward by Atheists.

It wasn’t until I happened upon this soap opera evil twin triplet, that I realized I had a theme to rant about.  All three of them, and lots of others I’ve read, just complain about not wanting to encounter the routine list of Atheist denials of their unproven claims.

Amusingly, what they all seem to hope for, and invite, are newer, different, more creative and inventive, but easier to dismiss, arguments.  Like what??!  I don’t want to believe in God because he might be Scottish, wearing a kilt, and I don’t want to look up his skirt.  There’s enough big pricks down here on Earth.

I also noticed that, aside from whining about not wanting to be constantly faced with this list of reasons not to believe their claims, none of them actually did anything to refute any of it.  ‘Go ahead, prove the list wrong.  Offer proof of rebuttal for a couple of these claims – not Faith, or Belief – actual, provable facts.’  While a couple of the Atheist points are a bit aggressive, or colloquial, they all appear valid.  Religion poisons everything??  “I’ll gladly book you a trip to ISIS territory.  Take it up with them.”  If they want better rebuttals, they’re going to have to provide better claims, which are based more on evidence, rather than just their faith-based opinions.

Those who are firm in their faith seem willing to nod sagely and ignore all Atheist arguments.  It seems though, that the more unsure and insecure these Apologetics are, the louder and more frantic their wails are.

On that great Cosmic Scorecard in the sky, which they’re sure that Someone is keeping, having even the slightest doubt will get them sent to Hell.  Atheists’ arguments cause doubt, so they just want them to shut up.  What they’re doing is, trying to make it my job to ensure that they go to Heaven.  I’m too busy sinning and having no morals (according to them) to get around to that.  To Hell with them!  😉