’18 A To Z Challenge – Z

Letter ZChallenge '18

 

Zat’s it folks. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, but I’m going to close out this year’s A To Z Challenge, with another word that doesn’t exist. I’m gonna call you a

Zwilnick

When a writer, particularly a science-fiction author, wishes to present a different culture, and needs words or phrases, it’s often easiest to choose and disguise one that already exists here on Earth.

In the Battlestar Galactica movie and TV series, the word for a long time period was ‘Jahren.’ In German, the word for year is jahr. Most German words which are plural, end in ‘en,’ but jahr is an exception. It means both ‘year,’ and ‘years.’ Jahren sounds German, but isn’t quite.

When E. E. (Doc) Smith wrote his Lensman series, he identified the bad guys as Zwilnicks. He even has one of the characters ask, “Why are they Zwilnicks? We call them Zwilnicks. They even call themselves Zwilnicks.” It sounds like it might be German, or Polish, but it’s just the imaginative invention of a great Sci-Fi writer.

The Star Wars universe introduced us to the planet Naboo, which may be a takeoff on Nauvoo (Illinois), one of the birthplaces of Mormon, a silly little Christian sect that promises each of its followers, an entire planet – like Naboo?? – when they die. Its original Human settlers arrived on it by accident, and it shows what a planet would look like if it were settled completely by Hindu Indians.

I am dismayed and disappointed at the number of Star Wars fanatics who refer to the ruler of the planet as ‘Padmé Amidala.’ I watched the movie (and paid attention.) She introduced herself clearly, giving both her name, and her title. She is Padmé Nabaré – Queen Amidala, – in the same way that the leader of the Catholic Church is Jorge Mario Bergoglio – Pope Francis.

In the ‘60s, the Walt Disney television show expanded, what was to be a single episode, into a three-show arc, about a 20ish Mexican beggar/grown-up street urchin, named Elfego Baca. Later language study revealed that the initial V in a word like that is pronounced like a B in Spanish, so that “Baca” is actually “Vaca.” Vaca translates to ‘calf,’ and ‘elfego’ means flatulence. I believe that some of the Spanish-speaking writers slipped one over on the English-speaking producers and audience, and aired a “Disney” show about a Chicano, derisively nicknamed ‘Calf Farts.’

That’s all the alphabetic challenge for last/this year, in English, or any other language, real or imagined. Tune in again in a couple of weeks, and see me meander down some strange lanes with the 2019 version.

Ahhh, I managed to survive another year.  Here’s to the next one!  😀

A To Z - Survivor

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Flash Fiction #61

Moths

PHOTO PROMPT – © Madison Woods

DEATH STAR

Tarczyn?? Respond Tarczyn!! Abort mission and evacuate!

Our weapons are too weak to defeat these ‘hoomans’. They hardly bother to notice us.

Poor Veeblefetzer! They hit him with a high-speed, transparent, radiation barrier. I hope he went quickly. They hosed him with some toxic blue fluid, and a giant steel beam flipped him down onto that strange, hard, black surface.

We need to find another world to settle our refugees, perhaps the orb they call Pluto. It may be a dwarf planet, but it should be big enough for us.

I told High Command that this invasion would never succeed.

***

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

#493

I Wish You Hadn’t Said That

Being a rant about the things that people write without thinking, mostly, but not entirely, incorrect homonyms.  Crossword puzzles still irk me when the creators don’t really know what they’re talking about.  The Canadian province Alberta, can be rendered AB, Alt. or Alta, but not Alba.  That’s another name for Scotland.

“Refrain from” does not mean cease.  Refrain means not doing something.  Cease means you’re already doing it and must stop.  A video was titled “crazy way to tow a bus”, and showed it being pushed.  Towed means being pulled.  Pushed means not being towed.

Connotation vs. denotation means, what people think things mean, instead of what they really do mean.  Often secondary meanings become so common that the original gets lost.  If I were hungry, I might be a little testy, but peckish means hungry, not testy.  I get a bit testy when people don’t know that.

Ordinary folk using the wrong word is common, but it especially irks me when someone who really should know, doesn’t.  Probably not old enough to remember wringer washing-machines, the female leader of a Provincial political party claimed that, “The Liberals are putting us through the ringer.”  What a ding-a-ling.

The editor of an on-line publishing company got rid of a troublesome client, and wrote, “Good riddens to bad rubbish.” apparently not knowing the existence of the word riddance, and that riddens is not a word in English.

A successful author’s character, “Reloaded his weapons, and checked his partner’s ordinance.”  There’s a law against that, because weaponry is ordnance.  This man has three university degrees, works for NASA, and has six successful books – just not a publisher with a proof-reader.

“Grant shirked back into his leather duster” and the author shirked his duty to discover that the correct word is shucked – to remove from, or in this case, return to, an outer covering.

“I’m not the kind of mother who pawns her children off.”  I didn’t know you could get money for the little ba….bies.  She should use some to catch a magic show.  Closely watching a card trick will show you how the performer palms the card.

For all intensive purposes – or, for all intense and purposes.  My intents (intentions) and purpose is to remind people to think about the correct word.

I despair of ever having the general public correctly use the forms of lie and lay.  Misusage is endemic in newspapers, and on TV.  “Danny DeVito and his wife laid low.”  If you are “laid low” you’re dead.  Lay requires a noun to perform its action on.  Lie doesn’t.  You can lie down, and lay your head on a pillow.  You can lay your mistress, and lie to your wife about it.

I am sadly amused by those who are illiterate enough to not know that the word segue is pronounced seg-way, but have the arrogance to “correct” it by writing segue-way.  I mentioned it to the great Edward Hotspur when he did it, and was promptly run over by his turbo-charged ego.

We go back to the pawnshop for the story of a young man and woman who hocked their virginity online.  In aggressively promoting something for sale, they hawked the product.  A businessman offered Brittany Spears $2 million for her virginity.  This gal got $68,000!  The guy just got a lot of people shaking their heads.

A man who’s reputation preceded him should have thought, damn it, if it has an apostrophe, it’s an abbreviation.  Whose yer English teacher?

A woman wanted to sell an original addition of War and Peace.  Damn, it’s long enough already!  Why would you want to increase it?  Another genius wanted to sell a Star Wars action figure – Job of the Hut.  I thought nerds could read and write.

They failed to chalk the truck in place, after arriving early to get a good birth on the ferry, and its parking breaks failed.  This author/book must take some sort of prize for having the most mistakes in one sentence.  I’m sure you already know, but the correct words are chock, berth, and brakes.

After seen the video, or, I seen the video.  One wrong word taking the places of both seeing, and saw.

He hit one out of the part.  What!!?  Let’s hope that was just a baseball typo.

It meant that, simply foot…  Simply put, I don’t even want to know what the author thought the word foot meant in that context, oh damn, that thought word again.

For sale – radio arm saw.  I wonder if it’s AM/FM.  I have a bionic shoulder.  What’s a radio arm?

Don’t say anymore, the game’s a foot, just proves that two words don’t mean the same as a single compound word.  Allot means to divide, or portion out.  I see that a lotAlot is a lot closer, but still not proper English.

It is not a case and point.  It is a case in point, in case no-one pointed that out.  And it’s neck and neck, side by side, not neck in neck, which is impossible.  Think damn it!

A palace spokesman changed his tact.  If he’d been a sailor, he’d have correctly changed his tack.

There was wed paint on the rod iron railing.  I know you got the wet paint.  Did you know the railing was wrought iron?  Hogs get into chicken coups…and cause double entenders.  Hey, if you can’t handle English, stay away from French or someone could get hurt.

The wing snapped off the plane, and it augured into the ground.  Well, I could have foretold that.  The spirally thing you’re vaguely thinking of, is an auger.  While we’re talking about machine-tools, she wore a fancy broach on her lapel.  Not my Mom, she wore a brooch.

For better or words, (Ow! Ow! Ow!) that’s all my rants for this time.  Come back soon and I’ll tell you a funny story.