’19 A To Z Challenge – R

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AtoZ2019Letter R

 

 

Raven

My grandson asked, When is raven a verb? (With all due apologies to Edgar Allen Poe) When it’s pronounced (rah-ven),
verb (used without object)
to seek plunder or prey.
to eat or feed voraciously or greedily: to raven like an animal.
to seize as spoil or prey.
to devour voraciously.
Noun; rapine; robbery.
plunder or prey.

and it’s a homograph
noun; a word of the same written form as another but of different meaning and usually origin, whether pronounced the same way or not, as bear “to carry; support” and bear “animal” or lead “to conduct” and lead “metal.”

I will read the same book today, that I read last night.

The nurse wound the bandage around his wound.

I had to polish my Polish aunt’s end table.

I demanded that he produce the produce from his farm.

We should refuse to throw refuse out our car windows

He would not desert her, out here in the desert.

We did not present her present last night, so we have to do it today, in the present.

Don’t play your bass while you’re fishing for bass.

She finally had to bow to the inevitable, and buy her son a toy bow and arrow set.

When he dove into the lake, it startled the dove.

I would not object, if that ugly object were removed.

They had a big row over who had to row the boat.

His claim to be an invalid, was proven to be invalid.

Are you close enough to the front door to close it firmly?

After he would mow the lawn, he would mow into a big lunch.

All the deer who came to feed were does. Why does that matter?

The sewer managed to repair the shirt that he had ripped in the sewer.

The old sow had eaten all the seed wheat that he had planned to sow.

If the wind gusts any stronger, it will wind that flag right around the pole.

I just took a real buffet. Some guy almost body-checked me, on my way to the buffet.

If you tear down the sidewalk, you might fall and tear your pants. Then you’ll shed a tear.

I had to scuttle downstairs to add a scuttle of coal to the old furnace, because I didn’t want to scuttle the great party.

I can’t even write a short simple sentence for the word founder. As a noun, it might be a person who starts a town, or a business. Or, it may be a metal-worker who toils in a foundry. As a verb, it means to become wrecked, fail entirely, sink, or fall down.

You cannot subject the Queen’s subject to this kind of questioning.

The author was trying to intimate that the butler had been intimate with Her Ladyship.

I don’t think that most husbands want to converse with their wives during a hockey game. Rather, I believe the converse, that they just want quiet.

Why doesn’t Buick rhyme with quick? For that matter, why isn’t imply pronounced like limply? If a male sheep is called a ram, and a male donkey is called an ass, why is a ram-in-the-ass called a goose?

Somebody goosed me, so I’ll have another post ready in a couple of days. C U   😀

WOW #25

Embarrassment

“Twenty words that will show your age.” – That’s the title of one of Dictionary.com’s articles.  Another is, “Only kids from the 90s know these words.”  I was already feeling old, when I ran into….

BAGATELLE

Definitions for bagatelle

something of little value or importance; a trifle. a game played on a board having holes at one end into which balls are to be struck with a cue. pinball.

Origin of bagatelle Bagatelle came to English from French, from Upper Italian bagat(t)ella, equivalent to bagatt(a) “small possession.” It entered English in the 1630s.

And the bagatelle begat Pong. And Pong begat the video arcade. And the video arcade begat the game console, and people began to ignore each other, even sitting side by side. And the game console passed its mighty power unto the smart phone and the tablet. Mesmerised by the pretty blue screens, people began wandering around, bumping into each other, street signs, and mall fountains.

….I’ve got no finish for this post, just the usual random rant about the speed and scope of social and technological change – seemingly within a fruit-fly’s life-span – from mechanical to electric to electronic to digital, and soon, to quantum, from 6-volt cars to 12-volt, from 120-volt home appliances to 12-volt-transformer units, from incandescent lights, to fluorescent, to LEDs.

I’ve played a variety of pinball machines as a teen. Even younger, my parents gave me a Christmas present of a bagatelle. It was an undersized spring-loaded plastic replica of a 1911A Colt .45 caliber pistol, which fired pea-sized ball-bearings at targets enclosed by plastic dome, 18 inches away. It may have been the cause of my life-long love of the ‘look’ of the venerable, American-designed and made pistol. It was an inexpensive bagatelle game then, but if I’d kept it in good condition, I could have sold it to a collector for enough to finance my retirement now.

In my little hometown in the late 1940s and ‘50s, there were a few intellectuals who actually used the word ‘bagatelle.’ The phrase, “It’s a mere bagatelle.” might have been a requote of actor/comic W. C. Fields. Of course, the illiterate pond-scum that I was forced to hang around with said, “A mere bag o’ shells.” The informational value is almost the same – an inconsequential thing of little value.

Your visits and comments are not a mere bagatelle. What have you got to say about this dated old word?

Oh, Rats!

Rat

I smell a rat…. if only I could get my cats to do the same.

In our utility room, which is stuffed to the gills with various types of food – bags of dog, and cat kibble, potato chips, egg noodles, dried peas and beans, and individual packets of hot chocolate powder began developing holes.

Oh-oh, we have a mouse.  There were two things wrong with that assumption.  It wasn’t a, and it wasn’t mouse.  A suddenly-turned-on light eventually revealed a scuttling little fur ball that definitely was a rat.

How do rats get into your house?? I don’t know about yours, but mine has a flexible, 3-inch tube, from the bottom of a window well, down to the furnace, to provide air for combustion.  It’s supposed to have a steel-wire grate in it, but rats have teeth and jaws that can chew a hole in the side of a Buick.

Rat Trap 1

Food was moved, and placed in Tupperware, Rubbermaid, and Zip-Loc containers, and an unused steel canister set. Boxes of cereal went back into plastic store bags and got hung from water pipes on the ceiling, so that they couldn’t be reached.  A large plastic tote box was purchased, to safeguard my nachos.  I went to a hardware store to purchase a rat trap, thinking I’d get one like the  super-sized mouse trap, above.

Rat Trap 2

They’re not sold around here anymore. What I got, for $12, was a plastic, Hungry, Hungry Hippos kind of thing.  I baited it with peanut butter and oatmeal flakes.  Neither rats nor mice particularly like cheese.  After a week of no results, I went to a different chain store, and got one for $6 that was more like I had in mind, and safer/easier to set.

Rat Trap 3

After a week of two traps, the newer one yielded a body. I think it was a female, but I didn’t spread her little legs to find out.  A week later the Tonka Toy trap snagged an adolescent.  (Oh goody!  If they’re breeding, I’ll never get rid of them all.)

Two more weeks passed. We knew there was still at least one more, because we could hear scratching as we sat quietly reading.  At last the new trap caught another supposed female, but the next day, as I entered the storage room, I saw a larger male shinny up a water pipe, and disappear behind the fibreglass insulation.

A whole month passed, with nothing on the trap line, only scratching from the basement. I moved the traps from time to time, especially near the boxes of cornmeal muffin mix that were chewed into.  I changed the bait to moist cat food – and back to peanut butter and oats.  Finally, another dead rat, but this one seemed to be another female.  Still, the rustling and scratching continued.  That male is a canny old rat.

We considered rat poison, but with 4 cats in the house, our vet discouraged us. The son told me about a DIY glue trap.  Apparently Gorilla Glue makes a super-sticky duct tape.  You can stick together a broken car bumper, and drive 75 MPH – in the rain.  Put some, sticky side up, on a piece of cardboard, place near food and hope the rat steps on it.

I don’t have Gorilla duct tape, but I do have a roll of no-sided tape that followed me home from the auto plant.  It’s pure adhesive on a roll of waxed paper.  Stick it to something like cardboard, peel the wax paper, and there’s nothing left but sticky.  I put two layers on a shoe box lid.

Mica

When I went downstairs to place it, Mica, my Fred Astaire cat, followed me down and jumped up on the freezer to demand his usual petting and skritching. While I was doing that, the dog walked in, and suddenly began barking and lunging under the shelving unit.  He crawled in and continued barking.

As I looked, I saw the rat sneak through a hole into a plastic crate, with the dog in loud pursuit. What to do?  What to do?….Throw something, and try to kill the rat….Can’t be a jar, or I’ll be cleaning up glass shards and pickled beet juice for weeks….A can! What can??  A can of soup?  Too small!  Chunky soup – the cans are twice as big and heavy.

I grabbed a large can, and watched as the rat leaked through a hole on the other side of the plastic crate. The fat little f**ker eased under a storage cabinet on casters, popped out the other side, and headed for the shelves on the other side of the room.

I flung the soup can at him, and caught him below the shoulder blades. Apparently the can wasn’t heavy enough, or I didn’t fling it hard enough.  Hurt, but possibly not damaged, he changed direction and scuttled into the corner behind the water softener and refrigerator….

….and all the while, my cat sat serenely on the freezer, calmly watching the rat disappear. We may have to have a discussion about the fine points of his contract.  It’s been two weeks since I added the glue trap to the two others and found that the son had lost a bag of Oreos.  Who knew??  Next he’ll be down there makin’ S’mores.

Google says that a rat can live for 2 to 5 years. This Chubby Cheese-me-off could outlive me.  Have any of you had mice or rats that you couldn’t get rid of?  Any suggestions – or sympathy?   😛

P.S.

The cats occasionally climb the shelves, and get onto the air ducts above the rec-room suspended ceiling, and play chase.  Two weeks after the above, I was quietly reading, and a chase began in the basement.

Who’s chasing who today?  Contessa’s upstairs.  Zorra’s in my lap.  Tonka’s sleeping on the couch.  Mica’s redeeming himself by chasing the rat!  Go Mica, go!  Two days later I heard faint scratching on one side of the ceiling, but nothing since, and I find no further evidence of any more food broken into.  I cross my fingers (and toes, and even my eyes) and hope.

Faded Fads

Rubik's

Fads seemed to have started in the early 20th century, when improved manufacturing processes finally allowed payment of more than starvation wages, and enough spare time to spend it.

(One of) The first was flagpole sitting. I think it started with one nerd without a girlfriend or a date, who couldn’t sit in his mom’s basement with a Gameboy, because they hadn’t been invented yet.  He nailed a big plank to the top of a municipal flag pole, so that he could sit in a snit.

Actually, the fad was watching flagpole sitters, where entire families would get dressed up, pack a picnic lunch, and stare adoringly for hours at some jerk who raised himself above the rest of the population and did nothing constructive.  I believe the record was 33 days – until Trump came along.

Soon after, the fad among fraternity boys became swallowing live goldfish, usually washed down with copious amounts of bathtub gin. Police suspect that alcohol may have been involved. During the 40s, the only fad was saving the free world from The Axis Powers – and drawing ‘Kilroy was here’.

Kilroy

Fads really came into their own in the 50s, when plastic made things light and cheap. First was the Hula Hoop, a barely disguised anti-obesity and fitness program.  We all know how well that worked.  Then along came the Frisbee.  It was possible to fling garbage can lids a considerable distance, but when Wham-O made them smaller and lighter, the number of broken windows, smashed flower gardens, and homes with brightly-colored, orphaned disks on their roofs, really skyrocketed.

There was the Slinky toy, a coiled spring that was smart enough to walk down a flight of stairs all by itself. It was replaced by contestants on The Bachelor.  We had mood rings.  Mine was always black, and in a bad mood, and I think it rubbed off on me.  Rubik’s Cubes showed us how things were always twisted and turned, and presented a different face.

Etch-A-Sketch came along, and it marked the limits of my technology. I could operate one of them, where I can’t run a Smartphone.  Lava lamps showed up.  I think mine sat on a fault line.  There was an underwater avalanche, and it never rose to the occasion again.

Pet rocks were a thing for a while. Mine got lonely, and ran away from home to join a parking garage.  Here in Canada, we had Ookpiks, an excuse to take the hides off baby seals and ship them to a factory in Calgary, where they were cut up and sewn back together to look like a small owl made by an Eskimo.  Sales peaked at 2 or 3 a week and then slowed down, and the tourist industry had to find new ways to separate gullible American tourists from their money.

Tamagotchis were hot with tween girls for a while. They were supposed to show the amount of time and effort necessary to raise a child, and hopefully reduce teen pregnancies.  After a few of them died of malnutrition, most young females just went back to boyfriends, who were lower maintenance.

Many fads have no staying power, and disappear quickly. I figure that the new electronic game, Pokémon Go won’t last more than a couple of weeks, when players do things like find a dead body, or get kicked out of a Holocaust Museum or a cemetery.

Selfies seems to be a fad which could have been devised by Darwin himself.  Hundreds of self-important fools have removed themselves from the gene pool.  Government agencies have had to put up signs that read effectively, “Not Here, Idiot!” and still many are too spaced-out to notice or heed them.  Tennis elbow and golf elbow have morphed into ‘selfie elbow’, caused by holding up a huge ego cell phone at an awkward angle, to take hundreds of meaningless photos.

Sadly, one fad that doesn’t seem to disappear is, The Kardashians.  We have now come full circle.  Here’s a group that’s lightweight and cheap, made mostly of plastic, and they have raised themselves above the common folk, to be gazed at adoringly for hours, without actually doing anything constructive.  😯

There must be some (lots?) that I’ve missed. What do you remember, that I’ve forgotten?

Show Me The Money

American money

A student’s request for extra money

A student called up his Mom one evening from his college and asked her for some money, because he was broke.

His Mother said, “Sure, sweetie. I will send you some money. You also left your economics book here when you visited two weeks ago. Do you want me to send that up too?”

“Uhh, oh yeah, O.K.” responded the kid.

So his Mom wrapped the book along with the checks up in a package, kissed Dad goodbye, and went to the post office to mail the money and the book.

When she gets back, Dad asked, “Well how much did you give the boy this time?”

“Oh, I wrote two checks, one for $20, and the other for $1,000.”

“That’s $1020!!!” yelled Dad, “Are you going crazy???”

“Don’t worry hon,” Mom said, kissed Dad on the on top of his bald head, “I taped the $20 check to the cover of his book, but I put the $1,000 one somewhere among the pages in chapter 15!”

***

Who is the Winner?

The father of five children had won a toy at a raffle. He called his kids together to ask which one should have the present. “Who is the most obedient?” he asked. “Who never talks back to mother? and “Who does everything mother says?”
Five small voices replied in unison. “Okay daddy! You get the toy.”

***

The Joy Ride

Bob was 16 and finally got hold of his driver’s license. In order to celebrate the special day, the whole family went out to the driveway and climbed into the car to enjoy his first official drive. However, dad went to the back seat, where he sat right behind his boy.

When Bob saw his dad he said “Dad, you must be fed up of the front seat after teaching me how to drive all these days Right?”

“Nope!” came the quick reply from the dad. “I’m going to sit back here and kick the back of your seat while you drive, just like you’ve been doing to me for the last sixteen years!”

***

Magic Penny

After putting their three-year-old child Brian in bed, his parents heard muffled sobs coming from his room one night. Rushing back in, they found that the child was crying hysterically when he saw them. He told his parents that he had accidentally swallowed a penny and was sure that he would die now. The father, in an attempt to sober him down, took out a penny from his pocket and pretended to pull it out from Brian’s ear. The child was really thrilled and stopped crying at once.

In a flash, he snatched the penny from his dad’s hand, swallowed it, and then cheerfully demanded, “Do it again, Dad!”

***

CLINIC’S NAME

Two elderly couples, (I’m not saying that one of them wasn’t The Archon and Mrs G.O.D.) were enjoying friendly conversation, when one of the men asked the other, “Fred, how was that memory clinic you went to last month?”

“Outstanding!” Fred replied. “They taught us all the latest psychological techniques – visualization, association – it made a big difference for me.”

“That’s great. What was the name of the clinic?”

Fred went blank. He thought and thought, but couldn’t remember.  Then a smile broke across his face, and he asked, “What do you call that red flower with the long stem and thorns?”

“You mean a rose?”

“Yeah, that’s it!” He turned to his wife and said….”Rose, what was the name of that clinic???”

***

BTW!
This is the second time I’ve used this picture of American money, but the first time I’ve noticed that the photo includes a $2 bill in the lower left.  The featured President is Thomas Jefferson.

 

Check My Bitchy Office

 

You show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.  Please remember to wipe your feet – on the way out.

HEEllis recently treated us to some photos of her pristine, well-organized office.  If she weren’t a great little writer, (double accent on little) and the second nicest person in the world, right behind me, I might think that a neat, clean office is a sign of a diseased mind.  (Could still be right.) 😯

I recently stepped into my office to begin a post, this one as it turns out, and looked at my private pigsty.  The wife has given up on it.  I am only visited by wild animals.  It started life as a small, third bedroom, and has devolved into the recent cover photo of Mess & Clutter Magazine.  Work in there??  I don’t know how I even think in there!

This is a craft table, which can’t be accessed, because it is topped with two thrones of the Alien Overlords who rule me.  Oh look, one of them has beamed in.

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Many of my ideas do not work out, and much note paper is thrown out.  I really need the cute garbage pail the son produced at his plastic parts plant.

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A paperless society, indeed.

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This is where neurons flux, and ideas flow – when I get back with a sandwich.  You may have noticed, I file by the sedimentation system.  Oldest papers on the bottom.

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When I can’t convince a cat to vacate my Captain’s Chair, I sit in the Navigator’s Chair.  It affords an alternate viewpoint, which I have to share with dirty laundry.

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Just a little business humor – which sadly has carried over to blog themes.

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There’s a floor down there somewhere, shared by a sewing machine and hassock, and a crosscut shredder to guarantee destruction of any documents with names and addresses.  Hoodoo, voodoo, identity thieves.

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The wife’s hand-tatted lace doily, made from bequeathed crochet cotton that her aunt bought, along with the antique pattern it was made to, in the 1940s.

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One of Granma Ladybug’s ladybugs clinging to the wall, beside a shadowbox full of visual drivel.

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A couple of her stuffed mascots, guarding wheat bags which are heated in the microwave, to ease arthritis pains.

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Maybe not a typical man-cave, but I’ve taken it and made it mine a mess.  Perhaps you can now understand the strange and varied mix that gets spewed onto my blog-site.

Upscale Insults

More high-class ways to put down friends, family, and fellow workers, who really need it.  Are there ever too many??

*****

Have you taken your ugly pills this morning?

Someone must have really hit you hard with an ugly stick.

You must have been a beautiful baby – what happened?

Body by Nautilus – Brain by Fisher-Price

I’m sorry I made you cry – but your face is cleaner now.

I’d love to take you home – but I forgot the leash.

You ought to be on the stage.  There’s one leaving in 15 minutes.

I live near the cliff.  Drop over some time.

Stop smiling; don’t you have work to do?

Get lost!  We have no “found” department.

As an outsider, what do you think of the human race?

Why, I don’t think you’re two-faced at all.  If you had two, you wouldn’t always wear the ugly one.

You’re making a fool of yourself, and I’ve never seen finer craftsmanship.

I love your new hairdo.  I never realized steel wool could look so becoming.

Fly away with me….we’ll use your broomstick.

Your heart’s in the right place.  It’s your head that worries me!

Darling, you’re my whole world – fat and round.

Some are born beautiful; some are born smart, I’m sorry you’re a two-time loser.

You have a truly timeless beauty – your face would stop a clock.

You sure are outstanding in your field, and that’s where you should be, out, standing in your field.

Let’s tie the knot – around your neck.

Have you ever considered acting—like a human being?

You’re one in a million – and the other 999,999 are sure happy.

I don’t know what makes you tick.  I think it’s a time-bomb.

Darling, you came to me out of nowhere…Go back!

Is that really your head, or is your neck blowing bubblegum?

I hate human beings.  You, I like.

Aren’t you Tina Turner’s sister, Stomach Turner?

Or perhaps you’re related to Bob Hope, No Hope?

Lorna Doone’s granddaughter – Nothin’ Doone?

What a cute skirt.  What did you make with the rest of the tablecloth?

I love you.  But then, I have horrible taste.

I’d like to take you home to dear old Dad….who hasn’t had a good laugh in years.

Is it true your brother’s an only child?

You’ve got a photographic mind – Too bad it never developed.

Shut your mouth—You’ll lose your candy.

You have that certain nothing.

As long as you have a minute to spare, tell me all you know.

If there’s nothing to be said, I’m sure you’ll say it.

I’d like to help you out.  Which way did you come in?

It’s good to see you’re back, especially after seeing your face.

Go gargle with peanut butter.

When I want your opinion, I’ll rattle your cage.

Gee, you look good….have you been sick?

Why don’t you stop in for dinner sometime, if you don’t mind imposing?

Why don’t you go sit on a tack, and offer lap-dances?

Why don’t you go over to police headquarters and volunteer as a missing person?

*****

And now for something a little more cerebral

THE SEX LIFE OF AN ELECTRON

One night, when his charge was high, Micro Farad decided to try and find a cute little coil to discharge into.  He picked up Milli Amp, and took her for a ride on his megacycle.  They rode across the Wheatstone Bridge, and parked in a magnetic field, near a flowing current.

Micro Farad soon became attracted to Milli Amp’s characteristics curves, and finally had her resistance at a minimum.  With his field fully charged, he laid her on the ground potential, raised her frequency, lowered her capacitance, and pulled out his high-voltage probe.  He inserted it into her socket, connecting them in parallel, and began to short circuit her shunt.

Fully excited, Milli Amp cried, MHO, MHO, give me MHO!  With his tube operating at a maximum peak, and her coil vibrating from the current flows, she quickly reached her maximum.

The excess current flow had got him hot, and Micro Farad was rapidly discharging, and drained of every electron.

They fluxed all night, trying various connections and sockets, until his bar magnet lost all of its field strength.

Afterwards, Milli Amp tried self-induction, and damaged her solenoid.  With his battery fully discharged, Micro Farad was unable to excite his generator, so they ended up by reversing polarities and started to blow each other’s fuses.