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?

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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.

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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!  😉

WOW #30

Bagpipes

My Scottish heritage has dragged out another wee term for us to look at.  Today, we consider the word

KEN

Definitions for ken

knowledge, understanding, or cognizance; mental perception: an idea beyond one’s ken.

range of sight or vision.

Chiefly Scot. a. to know, have knowledge of or about, or be acquainted with (a person or thing). b. to understand or perceive (an idea or situation).

It came into the English language before the year 900 AD, and it didn’t come alone.  Its widely dispersed ancestors also gave us;

English ken comes from the very widespread Proto-Indo-European root gnō- (and its variants gnē-, gen-, and gṇ-) “to know.” The variant gnō- appears in Greek gignṓskein (and dialect gnṓskein), Latin gnōscere, nōscere, and Slavic (Polish) znać “to know.” The variant gnē- forms cnāwan in Old English (and know in English); the variant gṇǝ- (with suffixed schwa) yields cunnan “to know, know how to, be able” in Old English (and can “be able” in English).

These also gave us Gnostic, and Agnostic, as well as the Scottish term, canny, which means skilled, expert, astute, shrewd or cautious, and the English word cunning, a noun which means just about the same thing.

Now that we know all about Ken, let’s have a look at BarbieBarbie is a predecessor to Kardashians, only with less plastic, and more intelligence, personality, and believable figure.  If Barbie is so popular, why do we have to buy her friends??   😕

‘18 A To Z Challenge – C

Challenge '18 Letter C

Druid

My Scottish ancestors were doing just fine, until the Christians came along with fire and sword.

Caim – (n.) Sanctuary. An invisible circle of protection drawn around the body with the hand, to remind one of being safe and loved even in the darkest times.  The index finger of the right hand was to be extended and pointed at the ground to do this.  It was to be drawn clockwise, as God has made the sun and moon rise and set.

The Irish and my Scottish Celtic ancestors lived a naturalistic existence, close to the earth, the plants and the wildlife.  Then along came the Christians.  They would have none of this mystical hand-waving.  They wanted their own brand of mystical hand-waving.

First, the spelling and pronunciation was slurred to ‘Cain.’  In their mythology, Cain was the first murderer, and an evil person, a servant of Satan.  No-one was allowed to be saved or protected by such an evil spirit.  Union rules said that all such work went to Jesus.  The word ‘Caim’ still exists in the Scottish language, but it now describes a Christian prayer for protection.

The Celts were already well aware of the motions of the sun and the moon, but the Christian ‘God’ even creeps into the historical definition, by making them do so.  I noted that the definition is Northern-centric.  In the Northern hemisphere, the apparent movements of the sun and moon are clockwise, from left to right.

When this word was born, the Christians had not yet invaded the Southern Hemisphere, where the counter-clockwise, widdershins, motion of the Heavenly bodies was obvious, and correct.  I wonder what the Christians would think of that??  (Oops, I used the words ‘think’ and ‘Christian’ in the same sentence.)  😯

Click here http://branawen.blogspot.ca/2011/09/celtic-symbolism-casting-ring-of.html caim, if you’d like to have a look at the research for this.

I’ll have a little bit of lighter humor in a week.  Hope to see you there.

 

Irish Humor

St. Patricks

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, you get a dose of Irish humor. It would have been posted on Saturday, the actual St. Paddy’s day, but I’m still a little green around the gills, and just recovering from a Guinness hangover.  😉

  1. When the Irish say that St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland, what they don’t tell you is that he was the only one who saw any snakes!
  2. His wife had been killed in an accident and the police were questioning Finnegan. “Did she say anything before she died?” asked the sergeant. “She spoke without interruption for about forty years,” said the Finnegan.
  3. Pat and Kieran were getting ready to go on a camping trip. The first one said “I’m taking along a gallon of whiskey just in case of rattlesnake bites. What are you taking?” The other one said “Two rattlesnakes!”
  4. Seamus do you understand French, I do if its spoken in Irish
  5. Two farmers were driving their tractor down the middle of a country road. A car comes around the corner brakes hard to avoid them, skids, tumbles twice and lands in a field. Jimmy says to Eamonn, It’s just as well we got out of that field.
  6. Two drunks coming home, stumbled up the country road in the dark. “Faith, Mike, we’ve stumbled into the graveyard and here’s the stone of a man lived to the age of 103!” “Glory be, Patrick and was it anybody we knew?” “No, ’twas someone named ‘Miles from Dublin’!”
  7. Twas the Irish what invented the pipes, you know, and they gave them to the Scots as a joke. And you Scots haven’t gotten the joke yet!!”
  8. One night I was chatting with my Mum about how she had changed as a mother from the first child to the last. She told me she had mellowed a lot over the years: “When your oldest sister coughed or sneezed, I called the ambulance. When your youngest brother swallowed a penny, I just told him it was coming out of his allowance.”
  9. I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.
  10. 42.7 Percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
  11. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
  12. If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving isn’t for you.
  13. Honk if you love peace and quiet.
  14. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
  15. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
  16. He who laughs last thinks slowest.
  17. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  18. I intend to live forever – so far so good.
  19. Borrow money from a pessimist – they don’t expect it back.
  20. If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
  21. Support bacteria – they’re the only culture some people have.
  22. Love may be blind but marriage is a real eye-opener.
  23. If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
  24. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
  25. For every action there is an equal and opposite criticism.
  26. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques.
  27. No one is listening until you make a mistake.
  28. Success always occurs in private and failure in full view.
  29. The hardness of butter is directly proportional to the softness of the bread.
  30. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with the regularly scheduled A To Z Challenge – X. I X-pect to see you there.

DON’T SAY ANOTHER WORD!

Use the correct one.

They’re practicing English without a licence again. Hang onto your dictionaries and thesauruses, kids.

Grammar Nazi

Pros

something about her physiognomy which helped her beat the illness – here’s a two-bit writer, trying to use an eight-dollar word. Physiognomy is a face, or outer appearance, which some pretentious Brits tried to use, and failed, and shortened to ‘fizz.’  He wanted physiology, or inner construction.

In an article about expensive typos – Officials site a missing hyphen in the code – Even GrammarCheck insists that it is cite.

Same article – Enjoy these spelling mistakes from passed and present – What’s passed is past.

This section totes up a variety – to be totes honest, it tots (tawts) up a variety of errors, even though that word means totals, or adds.

It’s a tough road to hoe – and a row of angry gardeners with hoes, don’t know whether to blame a city works crew, a drugged-out old rocker, or the entertainment columnist who interviewed him.

She gave her heighth in centimetres. – You can give length and width, or even have an eighth, but it’s height,

He was the hooten and holleren champion – No, that was me hootin’ and hollerin’, because you can’t handle apostrophed abbreviations.

the kids’ “hot water challenge” has them dumping scolding water – and I’m scolding them for not using ‘scalding.’

Man wins the open sheath throw contest at the Highland games – Most Highland Game events were originally Army contests.  While still showcasing Scottish brute strength, this one though, began as a county fair display.  Originally using an agricultural implement to throw large bundles of harvested grain up onto a wagon, it is a sheaf throw contest, open to all contestants.  A pitchfork is used, rather than any edged tools/weapons, so there is no sheath, open or otherwise.

all those fellow suffers of the writing bug – How many sufferers of her second 80,000 word novel will there be?

The Norsemen made 4 journeys around 1000 BC – not an incorrect usage, as such, just a newspaper writer who made a 2000-year mistake by not knowing BC from AD.

Link bellow for descriptive video – This one, obviously, should be below.

Smoke had begun to bellow from the bow of the ship – No smart-ass comment – just billow.

The stunted trees are not like the soaring furs of the Cascades – These soaring furs better be worn by RuPaul, ‘cause the Cascades evergreens are firs.

I know that proofreaders are as extinct as dinosaurs, and spell/grammar-checkers won’t catch most of the incorrect homonyms, but, the above two examples are from two successful, well-known authors. I am dazed as to why/how they could use these incorrect terms, without noticing.  Data-entry transcribers are about as aware as earthworms, but didn’t an editor (whose job it is to notice these things) notice these things?

Amateurs

I saw the term being banded about – I know that bandied isn’t common, but ‘banded’ makes no sense.

I am defenetly sure – that you’re definitely wrong.

The best story teller is defiantly Jesus Christ. – Jesus Christ!  I’m definitely sure you’re related to defenetly.

Sue me yah shitty resuraunt
you’re food I don’t want –
Shut up, yah shitty language user
you’re just an English abuser.

but I won’t you to get used to it kinda not being there – And I want you to stop writing in hillbilly.

I just did a poppa wheelie with my bicycle – and yo’ momma wants you to pop a wheelie.

I opened the book to an unformiliar question. – Open a dictionary to ‘unfamiliar,’ which comes from the word, ‘family.’

other ways the homo Sidle maniac could think up – That homo, Sidle, became homicidal because of usage like this.

The government should release how stupid this is. – Why??  You don’t realize how stupid release sounds.

I don’t mean this as a depreciation – you should mean it as a deprecation, once you take the ’I’ out of it

the juggle is nature’s most biodiverse area – too diverse to juggle a SpellCheck, it’s a jungle out there.

The gold band was diamond-stubbed – and your attendance record at your English course was studded with absences.

everyone was present an (sic) accounted for – sic, sick, sick

Grainy was my favorite character on Beverly Hillbillies – That one explains itself.

I can understand why to some extinct. – I understand why dictionaries are extinct, to some extent.

Do things like these grate on your nerves??  Tell me about it!   😈

 

WOW #27

Bagpipes

Today, we look at my Scottish heritage from the outside. The Word Of the Week is

Doodlesack

Doodlesack, a respelling of German Dudelsack “bagpipe,” literally “bagpipe sack,” is a rare word in English. The German word is, or seems to be, a derivative of dudeln “to tootle” (unless the verb is a derivative of the noun). Even in German Dudelsack appears not to be a native word but is likely to be a borrowing from a Slavic language, e.g., Polish and Czech dudy “bagpipe.” Doodlesack entered English in the mid-19th century.

I can’t blow my brains out.  I may huff and puff on my blog site, but the last time I could extinguish all the candles on my birthday cake, I was about 9 years old.  I love the soul-stirring skirl of the pipes, but I couldn’t inflate a set of bagpipes.  Even just picking one up is like wrestling a spastic squid.

Bagpipe music is not for everyone. Like kimchi, it’s an acquired taste that not all people acquire.  At a cultural festival in the park, when a piper stopped playing, a little old lady approached him and said, “If you stop squeezing that cat so hard, it will stop screeching.”

Click here if you’d like to see and hear AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ played on a set of flame throwing bagpipes.  A British couple got, what they thought were, really cheap tickets to a Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert.  They flew to Dublin to see a show by “The Red Hot Chilli Pipers“, a cover band that does all the Pepper tunes on bagpipes.

I read a Scottish adventure/mystery story one time, where the hero was a piper. He was practicing, standing on a rocky crag above a deep, fast, mountain river, when a sniper shot at him.  He tumbled into the raging waters and, although the shooter watched for a long, long time, he never surfaced…. until the next chapter.  Scottish pipers have lungs as big as their bagpipes.  He held his breath for almost 4 minutes.

My hometown had a well-established, and forgiving, Scottish Presbyterian Church. Shortly after World War II, a series of Scottish preachers immigrated to Canada.  Each would be placed in our town for a few years, until he’d learned the social ways and lost most of his Scottish burr, and then another would come out to replace him.

The Presbyterian Manse was directly across the street from my house. As a small boy, three ministers in a row brought their bagpipes with them.  On the upper floor, there was a double-wide, 40-foot-long hallway, with 10 foot ceilings.  When they had successfully composed the week’s sermon, each would celebrate by striding the hall while playing the bagpipes.

As soon as I would hear the first skirl, I would rush over, (I was allowed to) let myself in, and sit, out of the way, in absolute awe at the close-up sound of the pipes. Sadly now, the only time I seem to hear bagpipes, is at a funeral, if someone important dies.  ‘Amazing Grace’ is a lovely song, but I pine for ‘Scotland the Bra’e.’

Doodlesack indeed!!?  Making fun of my cultural music and instrument??!  That’s as bad as me making fun of rap music….no, wait, that’s justified.  Rap – so that Negroes with otherwise absolutely no talent, can make outrageous amounts of money.

Stop back again in a couple of days, when my rants aren’t quite so outrageous.