WOW #21

Dictionary

Once upon a time, people knew what they were talking about. As the English language grew and grew, and became more and more complex and nuanced, it became necessary for its many users to have a way to know what others were saying.  I thought that I should take this Word Of the Week series back to where it started, in the

DICTIONARY

noun, plural dictionaries.

a book, optical disc, mobile device, or online lexical resource (such as Dictionary.com) containing a selection of the words of a language, giving information about their meanings, pronunciations, etymologies, inflected forms, derived forms, etc., expressed in either the same or another language; lexicon; glossary. Print dictionaries of various sizes, ranging from small pocket dictionaries to multivolume books, usually sort entries alphabetically, as do typical CD or DVD dictionary applications, allowing one to browse through the terms in sequence. All electronic dictionaries, whether online or installed on a device, can provide immediate, direct access to a search term, its meanings, and ancillary information:

an unabridged dictionary of English; a Japanese-English dictionary.

a book giving information on particular subjects or on a particular class of words, names, or facts, usually arranged alphabetically:

a biographical dictionary; a dictionary of mathematics.

As technology constantly leaps and bounds forward, even the definition of dictionary continues to expand, with the addition of terms like electronic, and CD and DVD. It finally became evident that there was a need for some sort of book which made this information available.

One of the first was Samuel Johnson. In 1755 he published a book giving the information value of many English words.  However, he didn’t resist the temptation to include some social comment along with his definitions.  He referred, disparagingly, in his dictionary definition for oats: “A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.” His biographer, James Boswell, noted that Lord Elibank was said by Sir Walter Scott to have retorted, “Yes, and where else will you see such horses and such men?”

Most people are only interested in what a word means right now. I often am fascinated by etymology, what a word first meant, and how it has matured and changed, sometimes over centuries.  For example, the word ‘girl’ used to mean ‘boy.’  Actually, when the word was first used, it indicated a young child of either sex.  As Germanic languages provided the base for ‘boy’, the word ‘girl’ was left to indicate only females.

Which came first, the color orange, or the fruit? Old English didn’t have a word for ‘orange.’  It was simply known as ‘aielloredd’, yellow-red.  When Europeans first discovered the plants in Northern Africa, the Spanish pronounced the natives’ name for them as ‘Naranja.’  In English ‘a naranja’ became ‘an orange,’ and the word was also used to identify the color.

When British colonists first asked Australian Aborigines for the name of those funny, hopping animals, the natives didn’t care, and had not bothered to name them, so they answered kanga roo, which, in their tongue, means, “I don’t know.”  And so, another mistaken word was added to the language.  There was room for it, because the Abo word for a four-legged canid pet, was ‘dog.’

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Six Years A Blogger

calendar

Six years ago today, November 21, 2011, I burst upon the scene, and published my first blog-post. For H E Ellis, that’s 2192 days, exactly twice the count of my three-year celebration post, because I got to include another leap year.  Even without BrainRants’ interference assistance, they begin to add up.

Scottish Flag

Unlike the movie, 19 Years A Slave, I was not kidnapped and forced into servitude, but one way or another, I’ve become a willing slave to this lifestyle.

This is post number 843. I have lots more jokes for the bi-weekly comedy posts, and, between the 100-word Flash Fictions, and the WOW language essays, I get another post per week.  The A To Z Challenge helps flesh out the schedule.

I’ve just about run out of interesting anecdotes about my childhood, or work history, and, while they piss me off regularly, I can’t risk boring you with oft-repeated rants about religion, whether Christian or Muslim. I may have to soften my self-imposed publishing schedule, and cut back to only two posts a week.

I have a few blog-themes in a Word file, and I hope to get to at least 1000 posts before I have to give it up. Any suggestions or some ‘We’ll Miss You’ encouragement would be appreciated.

Today is the day that the wife goes in for knee-replacement surgery on the second leg. This time, she will be the first surgery of the day, and I have to have her to the registration desk at the hospital by 6:00 AM.

For two old fogies with a strange wake/sleep schedule, this means that, after I publish this post, we may get an hour or so nap, and then leave for the hospital at 5 AM, when we usually head for bed. It won’t matter for her.  They’ll medicate her, and she’ll sleep all day.  Me on the other hand….  😕

She goes in today, and gets out on Thursday. On Friday I have to take her to a physiotherapy clinic.  The physiotherapist(?) for the first knee never touched her.  He just came to the house and handed out Xeroxed exercise sheets.  She recovered so quickly and pain-free the first time, that this time she gets gym workouts immediately.  I’ll probably bore you with tales of She Who Must Be Obeyed-versus-hospital bureaucracy in a week or so.

I’ll be busy/distracted for the next few days. Don’t worry if I’m a bit slower than usual with comment replies, or miss a post.  Things should be back to their normal level of strange by early next week.  I’ll see you then.  Let’s see….What do I owe you??  Comedy??  Okay, laughs it is!   😆

 

Flash Fiction #144

Hot Chili
PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

WATCH YOUR TONGUE

It was a fantastic idea, inspired, as many fantastic ideas were, by the liberal application of beer. He had decided to make chili as the snack for his turn to host the guys’ Friday poker bash.

He liked his food with a little heat to it….and surely his buddies would too. He put in lots of chili powder, and several shakes of Tabasco.  Maybe he’d add some of this stuff his mother’d given him.

Hmm, Scotch Bonnet Pepper?? Bonnets??  Thanks Mom.  Probably some delicate old schoolmarm spice.  He’d add a good tablespoonful.

Dig in guys. It’s got a little kick.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

***

I’ve finally come full circle and am now plagiarizing from myself. This is a re-imagining of my #46, Four Alarm Flash Fiction story of April 16, 2015.  Sorry guys.  I couldn’t help myself.  When I saw all those spewing fire hoses outside the frat house, it was either that, or a “cold shower” story.

WOW #17

Dictionary

My son just handed me a great little word. I’ve been doing it for years without getting caught at it.  The word is;

Bricolage

a construction made of whatever materials are at hand; something created from a variety of available things.

(in literature) a piece created from diverse resources.

(in art) a piece of makeshift handiwork.

the use of multiple, diverse research methods.

Origin of bricolage: Middle French/Old French

1960-65; < French, literally “do-it-yourself,” from bricoler “to do odd jobs, small chores” from Middle French bricoler “to zigzag, bounce off,” from Old French bricole “a trifle, bricole ” + -age -age

So, this explains all those ‘Seinfelds, and Shotguns, and Trivianas, and now, Smitty’s Loose Change.’ I thought that I was gathering wide-spread, interesting trivia for my readers.  It turns out that I was just doing unfocused, French odd-jobs.  I am underwhelmed and disappointed.

I was going to make myself a Dagwood sandwich, as a snack.  It seemed to fit definition number one.  Now that I know that I’ve been infected with Froggy Lazy Fair, I’ll probably hop out to the kitchen, and feel compelled to prepare myself some snails, with mouldy cheese.

I’ll be zigzagging and bouncing off the walls for a couple of days, probably fighting the impulse to smoke Galois cigarettes like it’s mandatory. I’ll put on my dress kilt and eat some haggis to get back in grumpy character, and present you soon with something a little grittier. Vous revenez ensuite, n’est-ce pas? Y’all will come back then, won’tcha??   😕

I’ll Drink To That

Beer

Two old Irishmen were sitting at the local pub
drinking a few beers. So Paddy says to George,
“George me buddy, ol’ pal. When I die could you
pour a couple of beers o’er me grave?”

George says, “Why certainly, but could I strain
it through me kidneys first?”

***

A cop is staking out a bar for drunk drivers. At
closing time, he sees a guy stumble out of the
car, trip on the curb, and fumble for his keys
for five minutes.

When he finally gets in, it takes him another
five minutes to get the key in the ignition.
Meanwhile, everybody else leaves the bar and
drives off.

When he finally pulls away, the cop is waiting
for him, pulls him over, and gives him a
Breathalyser test.

The test shows he has a blood alcohol level of 0.0.
The cop says, ‘How is this possible?’

The guy says, ‘Tonight I’m the designated decoy.’

***

A Brit, an Irishman, and a Scot go out to a pub
and order 3 pints. They each find a fly floating
on the top of their mugs.

The Brit pushes the glass aside, and demands another.

The Irishman says, “Get out of there!” and flicks
the fly away with a finger.

The Scot picks up the fly with his fingers, gives it
a wee bit of a squeeze and says,
“Alright, spit it out now, ya little bastard!”

***

Drive carefully: 90% of people in this world are
caused by accidents.

 

Workin’ Like A Dog

sdc10369

A local business was looking for office
help. They put a sign in the window,
stating the following: “Help Wanted.
Must be able to type, must be good with
a computer and must be bilingual. We
are an Equal Opportunity Employer.”

A short time afterwards, a dog trotted
up to the window, saw the sign and went
inside. He looked at the receptionist
and wagged his tail, then walked over
to the sign, looked at it and whined.

Getting the idea, the receptionist got
the office manager. The office manager
looked at the dog and was surprised, to
say the least. However, the dog looked
determined, so he led him into the
office. Inside, the dog jumped up on
the chair and stared at the manager.
The manager said “I can’t hire you.
The sign says you have to be able to
type.” The dog jumped down, went to
the typewriter and proceeded to type
out a perfect letter. He took out
the page and trotted over to the
manager and gave it to him, then jumped
back on the chair. The manager was
stunned, but then told the dog “The sign
says you have to be good with a
computer.”

The dog jumped down again and went to
the computer. The dog proceeded to
enter and execute a perfect program,
that worked flawlessly the first time.
By this time the manager was totally
dumb-founded!

He looked at the dog and said “I realize
that you are a very intelligent dog and
have some interesting abilities.
However, I still can’t give you the
job.” The dog jumped down and went to a
copy of the sign and put his paw on the
sentences that told about being an Equal
Opportunity Employer. The manager said
“Yes, but the sign also says that you
have to be bilingual”.

The dog looked at the manager calmly and
said “Meow”.

***

And now for a ‘real’ funny bilingual joke.

Years ago, Charles DeGaulle of France visited Canada. He is still remembered for his ill-mannered and inflammatory shout from a Quebec City hotel window, of, “Vive le Quebec libre.” (Long live Free Quebec.)

Before he arrived, applications were accepted for a post as his driver, to chauffeur him wherever he went.   Aside from the usual requirements, strength, intelligence, firearms and martial arts abilities, driving and map skills, the successful applicant had to be bilingual.

The job was given to Angus MacKinnon, of Nova Scotia, who fluently spoke both English….and Scottish/Canadian Gaelic.

***

The Evolution Of Archon

Paul's Baby Pix

A tourist flags down a New York taxi. He climbs in, and asks, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The cabby responds, “Practice man, practice!”

How did Archon get from the happy, smiling, enchanting little baby above, to be the Grumpy Old Dude he is today?  It all starts with a good genetic background, goes through more than a half a century of formative social interaction, and is molded into place with constant, “Practice, man!  Practice!”

CCI_000010

It may have started here. This is my maternal grandfather and grandmother.  I’ve always thought that his dour look came from being a dark Scottish Pict among the skirt-wearing, fair-skinned Highlanders.  Recent DNA testing revealed that ¼ of my genetic makeup is from Ireland.  I would imagine that thinking yourself a ‘good Scot’, or even a poor Scot, and finding that you’re descended from poteen-swilling, colleen-chasing, superstitious, banshee-herding idlers, would put a scowl on your face.  I know it put one on mine….or was that already there?

This photo was taken in the mid-1930s, in the parkland adjacent to their home. If you can see in the upper, right-hand corner, two tall Poplar trees about a block away; this will be where my Mother returns from Detroit in a couple of years, and purchases her home and property.  She met and married my father.  He got a job and moved in with her, and about ten years after this shot, they produced me, in my Home Sweet Home.

CCI_000012

When Mom returned from Detroit, she brought along with her, not only a divorce settlement, but a daughter from her first marriage. Shown here, she’s about 10, along with my Mom and Dad, about Christmas, 1944, clustered around the real center of attention, the recent arrival, that little Ray of Sunshine and Bundle of Joy, the Archon-in-Training ….pants.

Already sulky about losing a father in a divorce, her mood soon soured further when she found that she’d gained two new half-brothers in a remarriage. Her never-ending whining harshed my tiny mellow, and her shrill, constant complaints about, “Those boys! Those damned boys!” quickly got on my little nerves.  I was well on my way to a world-class Old Grumpitude.  Either that, or the fact that my Mother didn’t tie the laces on my little walking shoes and I tripped over them and fell on my handsome wee face.  There’s always some reason to be grumpy– if you search hard enough.

CCI_000019

This photo is of my Mom and Dad some 60 years after the one above. The reasons they’re happy and smiling, is that they’re both retired, I’m the one in the room taking the picture and my sisty ugler isn’t there.

I don’t really know why I continue to be such an old grump. I have you, my regular readers, and faithful followers.  A young lady recently set a new personal record.  She followed my blog – for the 20th time.  She used to have her own blog-site, but shut it down.  She follows me – and a day or two later, WordPress disconnects and un-follows her.  She re-follows me – and a day later my stats fall again.  We’ve done this dance now, twenty times.  Now that’s dedication!

It’s probably been because I’ve been out for treks in the blogosphere, leaving grumpy footprints comments hither and yon, but there was a period following my Five Long Years post, where I gained 90 followers in 90 days.  (Not including Rita Repetitive)

You’re probably wondering, ‘What can I do, to make Archon less grumpy?’  You’ve already done it.  Visiting my site, reading, liking, commenting, all constitute Step 1 of my 12-step Grump-Addiction loss program.  Now it’s up to me to take the other 11 small steps.  I’ll get right on those – after I’ve had a snack and a nap.  😉