The League of Sedentary Gentlemen

I have joined a prestigious, if none too exclusive club.  The League of Sedentary Gentlemen graciously offered me an honorary membership, just because I mentioned that my idea of exercise is a good, brisk sit.  I questioned accepting membership in a group that would accept me as a member

They all sit around (what else) texting each other with suggestions for the best way to get a wife, or grandkid, or a guilt-ridden neighbor to bring them another beer or a fresh mint julep.  Well, most of the rest of them do.  I’m an old technological Luddite, still trying to figure out the intricacies of these new-fangled touch-tone phones.

I tried to talk one or more of them into coming over to the house and explaining it to me, but none of them want to leave the safety and comfort of their living room or front porch.  They claim that if they relieve pressure on their butt-cheeks, their prostates will swell.

I’ve spent a good chunk of my life, fetchin’ and totin’ for other folks.  I just thought that it was time to sit back, take it easy, and deeply cogitate about… sittin’ back and taking it easy.  There are no problems that are too deep or complex, that they can’t be addressed with the judicious use of a remote control, and/or an intercom or walkie-talkie.  I’ve got this COVID ‘sheltering at home’ thing down to a fine science.

I have so impressed so many of the group, that I am considering standing for election as President of the League, but standing can get you tossed out of this loosely rational knit organization.  I expect to sit, comfortably, both before and after I achieve total control.  My dynamite campaign trick will be to distribute a NSFW photo of my ass, showing the corduroy marks from the extra pillow that I added to my computer chair.

I have a lot of great ideas for the League, that don’t involve strenuous movement.  I’d like to set up a group of online webinars, with titles like, ‘Leaving the Rocker/Recliner To Go To Bed: Good Idea, or Bad?’‘How Do You Know When You’ve Had Enough Nothing?’ – ‘Door-Dash, Skip The Dishes, and Uber-Eats: Pillars of the Republic! and ‘Screened Front Porches: Salvation Of The Nation!’

I might become so famous and well-known that I could sit on the Supreme Court – as long as I get an aide who will wheel me into the courtroom.  What is your position on abortion?  Recumbent, on the couch.  The sun can rise every day, but I am not that motivated.  I have an irresistible force to remain an immovable object.

I wouldn’t object if you expressed your unwavering support for my plan.  I’ll take your word for it.  It’s not like I’m going to actually get up and check.

Another labor-saving position

 

Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One – III

Why did the chicken cross the lexicon?  To get to the other side of the dictionary.
What’s the good word?  All of them.  Look out vocabulary, here they come.

Adjutant – Adjutant is a military appointment given to an officer who assists the commanding officer with unit administration, mostly the management of human resources in army unit.

Argute – Sharp, perceptive, shrewd. Origin: from Latin argutus, past participle of arguere ‘clarify’….

Bamboozle – to deceive or get the better of (someone) by trickery, flattery, or the like; humbug; hoodwink (often followed by into): to perplex; mystify; confound.

Bamboozle is one of those words that has been confounding etymologists for centuries. No one knows for sure what its origins are. One thing we do know is that it was originally considered “low language,” at least among such defenders of the language as British satirist Jonathan Swift, who hoped (and predicted) that it would quickly fade from the English lexicon.
The earliest meaning of bamboozle was “to deceive by trickery, hoodwink,” which is why some believe that it arose among the criminals of the underworld.

Clusterfist – First found in the 1600s, clusterfist can refer to a few types of disappointing individuals. In one sense, cluster means clumsy, and a clusterfist is a type of oaf or boor.  Clusterfist in Community Dictionary is someone who is “tighter than Kelsey’s peanuts” regarding parting with a buck; a parsimonious peckerhead.

A young Black woman recently wrote about how shocked and embarrassed she was to find that her name, Ebony, was a porn category.  😯  EVERYTHING is a porn category.  The modern definition of clusterfist is a fisting of someone simultaneously by over 6 individuals usually leading to severe pain and hilarity at just what a muppet that individual had been for agreeing.

Coracle – (especially in Wales and Ireland) a small round boat made of wickerwork covered with a watertight material, propelled with a paddle.

Frangible – fragile · breakable · brittle – easily broken · easily damaged · delicate · flimsy · insubstantial

Friable – easily crumbled – powdery – dusty – chalky

Futz – Informal futz (around) with, to handle or deal with, especially idly, reluctantly, or as a time-consuming task

Glassine – Glassine is a smooth and glossy paper that is air, water, and grease resistant.  Another Technological obsolescence term, while still available, almost every use of glassine has been replaced by ubiquitous plastic.

Insouciant – free from concern, worry or anxiety – carefree – nonchalant

Intrepid – resolutely fearless, dauntless, daring, bold
If you haven’t, you can read a book titled A Man Called Intrepid, about which, several historians claim that he fudged the facts about his intrepid WWII British Intelligence career.

Keloid – an area of irregular fibrous tissue formed at the site of a scar or injury.

Lieutenant – a deputy or substitute, acting for a superior – from French, lieu – in place of, tenant – holding

Logorrhea – pathologically incoherent, repetitious speech – incessant or compulsive talkativeness – wearisome volubility  Therefore, a Logo is a symbol which constantly ‘speaks’ for its corporation.

Melmac – For those of you TV snobs and binge-watchers, who thought that Melmac was only the home planet of ALF, it is actually a brand of dinnerware moulded from melamine resin, popular in the mid-twentieth centuryThat’s the stuff that the Chinese tried to poison us with, by putting it baby formula and pet food, before they unleashed COVID19 on us.

Rapacious – practicing pillage or rapine, greedy or grasping, (of animals, esp. birds) subsisting by catching living prey, ravenous, voracious  (Does it remind you of any politicians you know?)

Scree – a mass of small loose stones that form or cover a slope on a mountain.  That is the normal definition, but since the word was found in a poem which included screeching seagulls, it is onomatopoeia for their cries.

Scritch – Speaking of seagulls and onomatopoeia, depending on how and where it is used, it is a dialect form of either screech, or scratch.
It’s also something that my cats and dogs climb into my lap, to demand from me.

Scumble – Verb: To modify (a painting or color) by applying a very thin coat of opaque paint to give a softer or duller effect.  Noun: a thin, opaque coat of paint or layer of shading applied to give a softer or duller effect.

Shambolic – Shambolic, “disorganized; messy or confused,” is a colloquial adjective, used mostly by the British. The word is a combination of shambles and symbolic. Shambolic is a fairly recent coinage, entering English about 1970.

Tartuffery – religious hypocrisy, or pretention to excellence in any field

Truculent – adj: eager or quick to argue or fight, aggressively defiant

Varlet – a knavish person; a rascal, a menial servant, a knight’s page
Origin of varlet: 1425–75; late Middle English < Middle French; variant of valet

’20 A To Z Challenge – Q

My mind grinds fine, but exceeding slow.

The lesson for today is taken from the Second Book of Archon, Chapter II: Verse 6.  Words beginning with the letter Q, while a bit more plentiful than those with X, Y, or Z, are not thick on the ground.  The word of the day is

QUERN

a primitive, hand-operated mill for grinding grain.

The first time the wife and I went to Charleston, SC, we continued on past to visit the Middleton Plantation.  Yankee troops burned the original mansion down.  All that remains are the stone and concrete veranda, and the slaves’ quarters at one end.  These now comprise a small museum, and the living quarters of the current owners.

Still, the building is larger than many homes in upscale, gated communities.  I can only imagine how grand and epic the original structure must have been.  Included in the museum are three Faberge eggs – one complete, and two missing their internal hidden treasures.

The plantation sits beside a long stretch of slow, shallow, river.  The biggest cash crop was rice, but, up on the flats, cotton was grown as well, along with fruits and vegetables for sale, and to feed the residents.

Huge amounts of corn flour and corn meal were required to supply annual dietary needs.  The river could not be used to drive a mill, so dried corn was fed into small hand mills – querns – and ground down.  Adult and adolescent slaves were needed for other plantation tasks.  This job usually fell to Negro tweens.  A hardwood dowel handle was inserted into the upper mill half, and children spent ten or twelve hours a day – alternating arms, turning and turning and turning….

Not to downplay the evils of slave ownership, but poor white folks – and free Negroes in the North – used to face mind-numbing, and body breaking, drudgery to keep themselves alive and fed.  The modern motorized technology has replaced most of these types of onerous tasks, but has made many first-world citizens physically soft and weak.  To achieve what honest labor used to provide, it has been replaced by ‘The Gym.’  Run 5K on a treadmill – but don’t actually get anywhere.   😯

’20 A To Z Challenge – P

Frat-boy college students did not invent – or perfect – the booze-your-face-off, lost-weekend, drinking party.  Adult men, who should have known better, have been doing it for millennia.  Modern-day drinking glasses have flat bottoms, and stand up straighter and steadier than most of the sots at bars.

Greeks and Romans, and many Medieval European hard-drinkers, went about the task with a round-bottomed pottery, or later, metal, drinking cup in their hand.  Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the

PTOMATIS

If ever you needed an incentive to drink, owning a ptomatis might be it. Derived via Latin from Ancient Greek, a ptomatis is a cup or similar drinking vessel that needs to be emptied before it can be put down, because it is shaped in such a way that it won’t stand upright open-end up.

These handle-less drinking cups were even made from wood, but as technology improved, they were fabricated in china, and glass.  This is why drinking glasses, are referred to as ‘glasses.’  While most are flat-bottomed and steady today, the earlier, fall-over versions were why they are also still called tumblers.

Aside from weapons forging, there wasn’t a lot of technology among the Norsemen.  For their drinking, they made do with hollowed out cattle horns.  After a hard day of looting and pillaging, they would settle down with a bovine ptomatis full of mead.

If you ever watched the movie, The Thirteenth Warrior you will have seen the young Muslim, exiled to the far North as an emissary.  When he is offered a little fortified fermented drink to keep the cold away, his face shows disappointment when he says that he is forbidden to partake of the fruits of the grape or the grain.  It quickly lights up again in delight when the Viking claps him on the shoulder, and explains that the mead is made from honey.

Let the party begin!

 

’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.  😉

’20 A To Z Challenge – C

A To Z ChallengeLetter C

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technological obsolescence! It’s a term to describe things that we no longer do or own, because our rapidly accelerating science-driven lifestyle has replaced them with something newer, although not always better. (Remember Windows Vista?) 😯 We’re on generation 12 of Smart phones, and the Chinese are providing the 5G cell phone system to run them on, as well as COVID19.

The telephone operator lost her job when dial phones came into existence. The dials turned into push-buttons, and the push-buttons morphed into touch screens. The poor English language is having trouble keeping up with it all.

Let me introduce you, and then say good bye, to

CHIROSPASM

Spasm of the muscles of the hand, as in writers’ cramp.

Now there’s an expression that you don’t hear any more. It was common for hundreds of years, from religious monks inscribing Bibles, up to school children frantically composing essays for English class all desperately, tightly, clutching quills, pens and pencils, till their hands cramped.

Then, along came the electronic age, with its word-processors and keyboards. Archaic old chirospasm and writer’s cramp have been replaced by hunched-over-the-keyboard data-entry shoulders, and your cell-phone-toting grandson’s texters’ thumb.

Fortunately, I have never sprained or strained either of my middle fingers, the ones so necessary to communicate with taxi drivers and politicians. That would be the only physical disability which might affect my capacity to express myself, although I am just an amateur, compared to some of the old masters.

Salmon Arm Salute IISalmon Arm Salute

From his seat inside a private rail car during a vacation in Salmon Arm, BC with his children on August 8, 1982, Pierre Trudeau, then the Prime Minister of Canada, gave the finger to protesters in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, earning the incident the nickname the “Salmon Arm salute”. The gesture itself has also been nicknamed the “Trudeau salute.”

Trudeau

Our young drama teacher ski instructor Prime Minister learned at the knee of one of the (self-described) greatest.

WOW #56

Propriety

My wife was recently hospitalized from an overdose of

PROPRIETY

conformity to established standards of good or proper behavior or manners.

appropriateness to the purpose or circumstances; suitability.

rightness or justness.

Note that the above definition does not contain the word “Community” standards, although that is usually assumed. Her problem was that she felt that she was the one to establish the standards, regardless of reality, or anyone else’s opinion. What she thought was proper – was proper.

Photo0036

The son located a ‘Sarcastic’ image like the above, online, and downloaded it as the wallpaper on his cell phone screen. In an orgy of irony, he rotated it 90 degrees, and installed it sideways. The next morning, she told him that his phone had beeped because of an update, and she noticed that the image was ‘wrong,’ so she ‘corrected’ it for him.

I bought a little 19 ounce can of tomato juice – just enough for three small glasses. Because they settle, sitting on store shelves, I inverted it, shook it, and poured a glass. I was going to put the balance in a jar with a lid, but thought, “It’s only going to be another two days”, and tucked it on the top refrigerator shelf. The next day I noticed dried-on drops on lower shelves, and thought the son might have nudged it. When I asked him, a voice came from the living room, “Well, silly me. I didn’t know that it was open, and it was upside down….”

Generally, men are less refined, and more basic than women, especially about bodily functions. A comedienne once declared that, ”Women don’t sweat, and we don’t fart. Hell, if we didn’t bitch, we’d explode.”

If you have to suddenly fart where there are other people, you apologize for the unwelcome smell. (I’ve been arguing with a repeated crossword clue that says that ‘odor’ is a foul smell – it’s a smell. A dictionary check shows definition number 2 is ‘foul smell.’ Definition number 3 says ‘pleasant smell’.) 😕 If you get a little warning, you move away from other folks, and do it in private.

One day, while I was still toiling in the salt mines, I joyously leapt out of bed early one morning, and headed for the bathroom. Once there I reduced internal pressure by releasing a toxic cloud that had the cat’s eyes watering. I ripped about four yards of sailcloth – FFFffphaatt.

Suddenly, from the bedroom, 25 feet, a hallway and another room away, I heard, “ARCHON!”

“What dear?”

“You could apologize for that.”

“There’s no-one here to smell it. Who should I apologize to?”

“Well, at least you could go somewhere else to do that.”

“I’m in the bathroom. Just me and the exhaust fan. Where else would you suggest I go?”

Now she’s angry. If/when you fart, there are two things you can do – at least one of those two things that you must do – and I’ve just demonstrated that neither of them apply.

“Oh sure, some of your Archon logic.” – as if I can somehow twist the Universe into any shape I want, like some balloon animal. Two plus two always equals four – but then, so does three plus one, nine minus five, and the square root of sixteen.

It would be logical for you to pop back again in a couple of days. I promise no stench – maybe some bread baking. 😀

WOW #54

Boustrophedon

Here’s another in a long line of words that you’ll never use in polite company – or in any company, I would imagine.

BOUSTROPHÉDON

Languages that are written in the Greek, Cyrillic, or Latin alphabets, are written from left to right. It only makes sense. 90% of people are right-handed, and the right arm moves away from what is being written. Asian languages like Chinese and Japanese are written from the top down, vertically. At least they’re getting out of their own way.

Forgive me for being un-PC, but languages like Hebrew and Arabic are just stupid. Both cultures – Arabs worse than Jews – make a big deal about being left-handed. Somehow it’s evil, allied to Shaitan, The Devil. Yet these languages are written from right to left. It’s only in the last 75 years that technology has partly rescued them, with instant-drying ballpoint ink, and word processors. Before that, writers’ arms covered what had just been written, smudging or smearing the pen or quill ink.

Cuneiform

Boustrophedon is a Greek name for some of the much earlier Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform type of ‘writing.’   This was just wedge-shaped marks, pushed into soft clay tablets. Back and forth – to and fro. Since there was no ink to smudge, a line would be entered from left to right. Then the writer would just drop down a line, and enter the next one from right to left.

The word originally just referred to that form of writing, but the meaning, in Greek, is “oxen turning.” Nowadays, the very few times that it is used, (always by a licensed professional) it can refer to things like the back-and-forth pattern of tweed, or the appearance of an agricultural field which has been plowed – fortunately, with tractors, not oxen – back and forth, up and down, leaving a visual difference between alternating rows or strips.

Flash Fiction #220

Nostalgia

THOSE WERE THE DAYS

The old man sat at his computer, longing for ‘The Good Old Days,’ knowing they weren’t really, what with polio, segregation and World Wars.

He tried to keep up, especially with the avalanche of technology – every month, new Smart Phones, tablets, readers, apps, games, Twitter, Facebook…. Sometimes progress could only be measured by how less quickly he was losing ground, running hard, just to stay in place.

He didn’t know how the young ones kept up. Some used methamphetamines. For the life of him, he couldn’t guess why. Surely their brains were already churning at the speed of light.

***

Click on Those Were The Days, if you’d like to hear Archie and Edith longing for the same nostalgia, then 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

’19 A To Z Challenge – J

330px-Queen_Victoria_by_Bassano

My little home town was dying, as I was born.

The word that I want to discuss, is

Jubilee

the celebration of any of certain anniversaries, as the twenty-fifth (silver jubilee), fiftieth (golden jubilee), or sixtieth or seventy-fifth (diamond jubilee).

the completion of 50 years of existence, activity, or the like, or its celebration:

Lighthouse

IN THE BEGINNING,
among other things, my home-town was a Great Lake port. A dock was built, almost a mile out into Lake Huron, to an island, to provide calm moorage. Small, sail-powered lake freighters brought wheat from the prairies, iron ore and timber from Northern Ontario. Before the existence of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, these goods were shipped by train to the Toronto area, below Niagara Falls.

The availability of cheap lumber encouraged the establishment of three furniture factories, and later, a plywood plant. There was money to be made – money to be had, and local tax revenues allowed the town to pay for many civic projects. Even today, it is the smallest town in Ontario, with a hospital.

In 1897, Queen Victoria celebrated her 60th anniversary as ruler of the Empire – her Diamond Jubilee. The town had recently foreclosed and seized the property of a sulkie racetrack, half a block wide, and two blocks long, just above the downtown area. Some namby-pamby toph who had not done market research, found that he couldn’t get enough paying customers from dock-wallopers, train crews, and factory workers. They might have watched horses that actually ran, but not swishy ones that only trotted, and dragged a cute little cart behind them.

The town filled in the track and manicured a baseball diamond and outfield. They put up a safety screen behind home plate and built a set of wooden stands. The 8-foot whitewashed wooden fence and ticket gates from the racetrack remained. To honor Victoria, and her achievement, they named it

Jubilee Park.

Then, times and technology changed. Lake freighters became larger, built of steel, and motor-powered. They could steam all the way to the mouth of the Niagara River, and the now-common trucks could move freight faster and cheaper. It is well for the town that, as its freight industry died, the tourist industry burgeoned. There are more summer cottages, paying year-round taxes, than there are residents’ homes. Still, the bloom was off the rose.

By the time I was born in 1944, the plank seats of the bleachers had become wowed, dried and splitting. As a child, for years, I wondered about the purpose of a decrepit, cabin-like construction beneath one end of the bleachers. When I finally thought to ask, I was told that it was a long-extinct concession booth.

Later, smaller, steel-framed stands were built down the first- and third-base lines. Perhaps being too lazy to walk any distance, many men parked right behind these stands. Many a pop foul sailed over the bleachers, to dent fenders and break mirrors and windshields. The attraction of small-town softball is long gone. The town has built a children’s playground in what used to be the parking area. I have not been back in years, but it would not surprise me to find that USB ports have been added, to recharge kids’ electronic devices.

Time relentlessly marches on, but us old-timers can only shuffle along, muttering, Remember when?”