WOW #70

I was recently reading an historical novel.  In it, a commoner performed an uncommon act of intelligence and bravery.  As a reward for this selfless act, the Grand Panjandrum – or Grand Poobah – they both indicate a pretentious or self-important official, like a High Muckedy-Muck, bestowed upon him the reward of a

Carucate
[keyr-oo-kate, (yoo)]

Because I was reading a dead-tree book, I couldn’t just tap the Kindle screen to find out what a carucate was.  I had to play Twenty Questions until I got upstairs to the computer.  Was it a gem – a jewel, like the Blue Carbuncle in the Sherlock Holmes novel?  Was it a lavish dinner in his honor?  Was it a warm, if not willing, bed-companion?  Was it a mani-pedi down at Omar’s Tent and Sail Shop, and Spa?  Don’t ask – don’t tell.   😉 

It turns out that it’s another archaic measurement quantity, equal to 40 acres of land, or a quarter-section – one quarter of a square mile.  It was the amount of land that a team of oxen could plow, and the amount of tilled land that it took to produce enough food for a farm family.

While the measurement is described as square, especially those with water frontage, were a mile long, and a quarter-mile wide, farming spaghetti, or rhubarb.  It was hard to turn an ox-team and unwieldy plow around. It was easier to let the team catch their breath, and just start another furrow in a straight line, for eight furlongs, and this gave more tenants shipping/travel access . Quebec’s Eastern Townships, in Canada are like this, only larger, all fronting on the St. Lawrence River, and looking like a bowling alley on a map. 

Was it possible that this Grand Vizier – Why do all these $3 potentates describe their titles as Grand??! – wanted this potter…. or leather-worker…. to leave the city, and become just another subsistence farmer??  He could sell it, or lease it to a share-cropper.  At least he took his dictionary along, and I learned a new old word.  😀

Elementary

Sherlock

Sherlock Holmes – Elementary Dear Watson

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, set up their tent, and fall asleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes his faithful friend.

– Watson, look up and tell me what you see.

Watson replies, – I see millions of stars.

– What does that tell you?

Watson ponders for a minute. – Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.
Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo.
Timewise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three.
Theologically, it’s evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant.
Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?

Holmes is silent for a moment, then speaks. –
Watson, you’re an idiot, someone has stolen our tent.

***

You’re not going to believe this!

A woman got a problem with her closet door – it was falling every time a bus was passing by. So she called a repair man. The repairman comes and sees that indeed, the door falls out every time when a bus passes by. “OK, I am gonna see what is going on, just close the door behind me” and he steps into the closet.

At that time the husband comes home from work, opens the closet and finds the repairman.
Husband: “What the hell are you doing here?”
Repairman: “Well, you are not going to believe it, but I am waiting for a bus!”

***

Who am I?

Night.
A sleeping couple is lying in a bed.
Door bell rings.
The couple wakes up.
Woman: “Quick! My husband is back!”
Man jumps out of a window.
On the way down, he starts to think: “Shit, I am the husband!”

***

Shoe repair shop

Arnold and his wife were cleaning out the attic one day when he came across a ticket from the local shoe repair shop. The date stamped on the ticket showed that it was over eleven years old. They both laughed and tried to remember which of them might have forgotten to pick up a pair of shoes over a decade ago.

“Do you think the shoes will still be in the shop?” Arnold asked.

“Not very likely,” his wife said.

“It’s worth a try,” Arnold said, pocketing the ticket. He went downstairs, hopped into the car, and drove to the store.

With a straight face, he handed the ticket to the man behind the counter. With a face just as straight, the man said, “Just a minute. I’ll have to look for these.” He disappeared into a dark corner at the back of the shop.

Two minutes later, the man called out, “Here they are!”

“No kidding?” Arnold called back. “That’s terrific! Who would have thought they’d still be here after all this time.”

The man came back to the counter, empty-handed. “They’ll be ready Thursday,” he said calmly.

***

It Beggars the Imagination

“Can you spare some change?” a beggar asks a passerby.
“No, I know you’re going to spend it all on vodka.”
“No, sir, I don’t drink.”
“Then you’ll gamble it away.”
“No, I don’t gamble either, sir.”
“Well then, you’re going to spend it on women.”
“No, sir, I don’t spend money on women.”
“Okay,” the passerby finally agrees, finally. “I’m going to give you $100 if you come with me. I want to show my wife an example of what can happen to a man who has no bad habits.”