We Don’t Speak Much English

Oh, we all speak English.  Compulsive, competitive, conversationalists like me speak/write more than most – but, how many words are there in the English language?

Many people estimate that there are more than a million words in the English language. In fact, during a project looking at words in digitized books, researchers from Harvard University and Google in 2010 estimated a total of 1,022,000 words, and that the number would grow by several thousand each year. The Oxford English dictionary expands every year to keep up with new words that are invented to describe the world around us, or to include new meanings for words that already exist in English. A more useful number from the Oxford English Dictionary would be the 171,476 words that are in current use, and about 45,000 which are archaic, and are not used in modern English..

That’s still a lot of words, though, and doesn’t reflect the number of words that individual English speakers actually use. For that number, let’s look at a recent study by the people at testyourvocab.com who say that adult native-speakers of English have a vocabulary that ranges from the McJob-holder’s 5000-10,000, most people’s 20,000-35,000, and smarty-pants show-off word-jugglers like me, who keep 50,00 to 70,000 words in the air at all times.

Obviously, these are not the same words and everyone’s vocabulary will include different words, according to their career, education and interests.  Every line of work has its own specialized ‘Jargon.’  The language, especially the vocabulary, peculiar to a particular trade, profession, or group:  The word pneumothorax isn’t going to show up, except at a Reno convention of surgeons.

There are three key numbers to remember: more than a million total words, about 170,000 words in current use, and 20,000-30,000 words used by each individual person.  No matter how many each of us use – we don’t speak MUCH English.

Truth be told, there is no “English language.”  Other languages are cohesive and logical.  English is like the Lost and Found at an international airport.  It (kinda) started with Briton Celtic, then the Romans added Latin, and words they dragged in from Greek.  The Jutes, Angles, and Saxons moved in to rule the island, and brought lots of Germanic words, and more Latin from their Roman occupation.

The Vikings brought fire and sword, and Norse words with them.  Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic and Welsh, had their way with the tongue, and then the French invaded, bringing lots more Latin-based terms.  The “English” language, and those who speak it, continue to drag back words everywhere, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – from Aleut to Zulu.

Many times the kidnapped words are not used as they were in the host language.  In English, we sing the little song, Frère Jacques as ‘Brother John,’ but ‘Jacques’ in French, does not mean Jack = John in English.  It means Jacob = James.  We should be singing about Brother Jim.

I started this post because I found the word, ”matutinal” – meaning: pertaining to or occurring in the morning; early in the day, From the French word, Matin = morning.  When the French have a matineé, it occurs in the morning.  When we have a matineé, it happens in the afternoon.

Words become part of the accepted English language, the same way immigrants become citizens of a country – by naturalization.  If it’s used often enough, and for long enough – it’s English.  Some words/phrases just aren’t used enough, or they remain trapped in some jargon, and never become naturalized.

Cri de Coeur and voir dire, are heard, but remain French.  Ad Populum, actus reus and mens rea, remain Latin.  Pizza and Pizzazz have become part of English, but the musical word, pizzicato, remains Italian.

Even though I might only employ 5% of the English vocabulary, I’m happy to have more than enough words to interest, entertain and amuse you.  There’ll be another random offering in a couple of days.  😀

TILWROT II

Take me out of the ball game.

In the early 1960’s, before I arrived in this burgh, interest in, and support for, Junior, City-League Baseball was waning.  One local team felt that they needed $10,000, a considerable sum, to pay for a year’s uniforms, equipment and transportation costs, and no sponsors were coming forward.

One 16-year-old, baseball-crazy boy had an idea.  He would sit on a 6’ X 6’ platform on top of a 50 foot flagpole in the ball park, until the amount was raised.  He lasted three days, until unexplained stomach pains caused the same fire crew and ladder truck that put him up, to lower him down again.  His almost-feat was recently recounted in the ‘Flash From The Past’ history column in a Saturday newspaper.  His name was Ken Fryfogel.

Things I Learned While Researching Other Things – Act 2 – Fryfogel

The name Fryfogel is very uncommon.  Ancestry.com only has 298 listed in North America.  The unnumbered few in Canada are all in Ontario, and I suspect, most right here in Southwestern Ontario.  I decided to research.

Fryfogel appears to be a Germanic name, like Vogel – which is a bird, or Logel – who was a cooper.  Surname-meaning websites just shrugged.  I tried a translation website, but got nothing.  I tried changing the spelling from ‘el’ to ‘le.’  I tried pulling it apart, into Fry, and fogel – nothing.  I tried entering ‘fogel’ into a dictionary site.  I got, No listing for ‘fogel.’  Did you mean fodgel?’

I don’t know.  Do I??!  I’ve never run into the word.  What does it mean?   Yorkshire/Scottish dialect – a short, fat person-by extension, a fat hen.  So, a Fryfogel is someone who cooks up a big fat chicken.  Twenty miles from here, at the intersection of a concession road and the highway, halfway to Justin Bieber’s ex-home, stands the historic, 200-year-old Fryfogel Inn.  😎  What better name for an innkeeper than one that says that he’ll serve you up some fried chicken along with your ale?

I’ll be serving up some more interesting drivel in a couple of days.  Hope to see you then.  😀

’21 A To Z Challenge – M

 

THANKS FOR THE MAMMARIES

Truth, freedom of expression, and lack of censorship seem to be good ideas, but…. there’s something to be said for the more subtle, understated ways of yesteryear.

Let me re-introduce you to Marilyn Monroe.  When guys got a look at her, they often went

MMMMMMM

Back in the 1950s, and early ‘60s, there were a coterie of female movie starlets labelled as sweater girls.  They primly, modestly, covered up what they had, but emphasized it by stuffing it into tight sweaters.

Mamie van Doren

This was a time when female celebrities’ costumes were measured in yards of fabric, not yards of bare skin poking out.  Someone asked, “What’s the big deal about sweater girls??  Take away their sweaters, and what do they have?”

Anita Eckberg

As one of many such, the English language took the word milch from German.  In German, it is the noun, milk.  In English, it became the adjective, milk.  When a dairy-cow has been bred, delivered her calf, and is ready, again, to provide milk, she has been ‘freshened.’  She is referred to as a milch-cow.

Gina Lollobrigida Known to Mad Magazine as Gina Lottabazooma

The Germans also gave us a delightful, sweet, white wine, called Liebfraumilchdear/beloved-woman/wife/lady-milk.  It’s good that there is no actual milk involved, so that der frau would need to be a milkmaid, and the cream come from her cows.  A woman, working in a big office, had to put a note on her Tupperware container of liquid in the communal lunchroom refrigerator – To whoever is using this to cream their coffee;  This is my breast milk, that I pump for my baby.

Jayne Mansfield Mother of Mariska Hargitay of Law And Order: SVU

Well, that was an outstanding post, if I do say MMMMMM myself.

Spam Scam

When I first started blogging, I thought that I could inflate my number of posts by making fun of my spam.  I did one, then later, another, but quickly realized that everybody gets spam, and some of it is a lot more interesting than mine.

Most of the fun ones have disappeared, although I recently received these $2.39 translation program beauties.

March 9, 2019 at 7:18 am  (Edit)

very well claimed!If I recognized effectively… I can’t consider I remaining this eye-catching temperament trait out- unconditional loving compassion!!!I as soon as go through upon a bumper sticker:“Pricey God, Make sure you assist me in the direction of be the particular person my canine believes I am.”I need to don’t forget this each and every working day! Owing for the reminder.

Dear God, help me be the kind of person that my dog thinks I am.  I need to remember.  Thanks for reminding me.

And this one, about my work history:

Hello everyone, it’s my first vsit at this website, and piiece
of writing is genuinely fruitful desibned ffor me, keep up
posting such articles orr reviews.

Just look at those red underlines…. Oh wait, you can’t see them.  All those spelling and grammar mistakes – I hope it’s your last vsit…. Uh, visit.

My spam seems to have settled down to the same six remarks, attached to the same six comments, (one of them only two Emojis) on the same six (old) posts. I get dozens each day, in Spanish, which say, Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?  (Thank you very much. How can I log in?)  I regularly get a few, mostly from Hairdressing sites, which say, My goodness.  You seem to have the magic touch.  Any chance you could help me pick a lottery ticket?

A batch of identical ones has recently started pouring in, advertising an herbal treatment for deafness.  That’s about as useful as putting crystals in your car when it runs out of gas.  Only one so far, but I got a glowing, first-person-user review for Dr.(?) X’s absolutely, positively guaranteed two-week miracle cure for genital herpes.  Strangely, it did not mention the inevitable Nobel Prize in Medicine which must have followed its discovery.

I recently received a span which stood out from the rest, if only because it ran on, and on…. and on – for 7142 words.  It must have been sent out in bulk, otherwise why would the Akismet program have sieved it out?

It came from something/someone named Defense Of Israel.  I had neither the time nor patience to read it all, especially when 5% of it was in Hebrew,
ולירושלים עירך ברחמים תשוב ותשכן בתוכה כאשר דברת, ובנה אותה בקרוב בימינו בנין עולם, וכסא דוד מהרה לתוכה תכין:  ברוך אתה ה’, בונה ירושלים. את צמח דוד עבדך מהרה תצמיח, וקרנו תרום בישועתך, כי לישועתך קוינו כל היום:  ברוך אתה ה’, מצמיח קרן ישועה.

but it maundered on about the times that Israel has been invaded, the Six-Day War, Golda Meir saving the country, and how OPEC and the Arab League are working to drive the Jews back into the sea.

The author seems to feel, like the Christian Evangelicals in the USA, that the modern country is going to Hell – perhaps literally – and the only way to rescue it is to impose the strict 7 Noahide Religious laws.
Carry out justice – prohibition of any miscarriage of justice.
No blasphemy – Prohibits a curse directed at the Supreme Being.
No idolatry – Prohibits the worship of any human or any created thing. Also prohibited is the making …of idols and involvement with the occult. This necessitates an understanding of the One G‑d of Israel and His nature.
No illicit intercourse – Prohibits adultery, incest, homosexual intercourse and bestiality, according to …Torah definitions.
No homicide – Prohibits murder and suicide. Causing injury is also forbidden.
No theft – Prohibits the wrongful taking of another’s goods.
Don’t eat a limb of a living creature – Promotes the kind treatment of animal life. It also encourages an appreciation for all kinds of life and respect for nature as G‑d’s creation.

I received another – only 3300 words, complaining about Jewish dietary laws.  Apparently the writer wants to enjoy Tuna.  I can’t begin to imagine the time and energy that it took to compose and disseminate these massive missives.  I am at a loss to understand what the author felt that he would accomplish by doing so.

Apparently I now receive one of these once each month when I publish a post tagged ‘Religion.’  The most recent was a mere 1000 words about obeying the Torah, and being Jewish.  Either he’s running out of rants, finger strength, or Internet space.  Hey, leave some for the rest of us.  😯

Let’s talk about interesting spam – these ones, and any that you get.  😀

’21 A To Z Challenge – F


 

There is no “English Language!”

I tried to explain this to a reader, recently.  I don’t think that he understood – or believed me.  Every word in the English language came from somewhere else.  Some are just more obvious than others.  Take, for example, the word

FRANGIPANI

A flower of the tropical American tree or shrub, Plumeria rubra, of the dogbane family
The tree or shrub itself
A perfume prepared from or imitating the odor of the flower

The word is in every English dictionary – yet it is obviously Italian.   It entered the language circa 1860 – 65 from French, who spelled it frangipane – after Marquis Muzio Frangipani, a 16th-century Italian nobleman, the supposed inventor of the perfume.

The true, original meaning of the Signor Frangipani’s name is bread-breaker, as in, to break bread with others, a banquet-giver, a host, or merely, a good travelling companion – another Latin-based word which indicates togetherness, and bread.

Google’s translation department would have you believe that the word means bread-crusher – a totally different concept.

Stop back again in a couple of days, after you’ve had a sandwich that you tried to make by putting cold butter on fresh bread.  I’m going to try for a scratch-and-sniff post using Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop “This Candle Smells Like My Vagina.”   😯

goop x Heretic This Smells Like My Vagina Candle | Goop

Food For More Thought

I was recently assaulted by a plate of French fries and gravy.
Well, you asked for it!!
Yes I did!  😀  😀  😎  🌯

On a recent Flash Fiction post about fast food, a reader commented, Canadians take French fries to the next level with gravy on top of them.’

Baby, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!

….And then the French-Canadians taught us to put cheese curds or grated mozzarella on it and call it ‘poutine‘– English translation – heart attack in a bowl.  😳  It is now common across Canada.  Most Canadian outlets of American fast-food restaurants serve a version of it.  It’s a cheap, easy way to add protein for people too poor to afford much meat, or where dairy cows are common, but beef isn’t.

Then, there are Chili-fries.  The soupy, spicy meat mixture that is poured on wieners to make chili-dogs, is instead, poured on crisp French-fries.  Also pouring on the cheese sauce used to dip pretzels or nacho chips, makes them chili-cheese fries.  The further addition of sour cream and chopped green onions, peppers, and/or salsa, makes them Nacho fries, or All-Dressed.

A DIY version of this can be achieved at Wendy’s, by ordering a plate of fries, a cup of their chili, and asking for a container of the sour cream that they serve with their baked potatoes.

Newfoundland is Canada’s island, easternmost Province, separated from reality the rest of the country.  The population is known to be…. rustic.  😕  Someone(s) down there piled some leftover turkey-stuffing on top of fries and gravy, and created ‘Newfie Fries.’

Jobs are scarce on Newfoundland.  The young have spread themselves all across Canada seeking employment.  There are more Newfies in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada’s oil capital, than are left in the province.  ‘Newfie Fries’, which can also include cooked peas, can be found wherever there are clots of Newfies.

There are several local chip-wagons – often a small Air-Stream trailer with no wheels – which list all these on the menu.  This includes a brick, stand-alone, drive-in that was once a Dairy Queen outlet.

55 years ago, when I arrived here, drive-ins were ‘the thing.’  There was an A&W Drive-in, well out from downtown, at the corner of what would become a ‘Golden Mile,’ and a north/south artery road.  I did not arrive early enough to see short-skirted waitresses on roller-skates delivering food to the cars.

Over the years, the public shunned drive-ins, and wanted sit-down outlets.  This drive-in disappeared, to become a strip mall, with a Money Mart, a Fed-Ex depot and a lube shop.  Back down the street, first, a McDonalds popped up.

A few years later, Burger King bought the land next door, and went head-to-head – or rather – drive-thru-to-drive-thru.  One day, when I was out with the son, he wanted McDonalds, and I wanted Burger King.  We got his order at Mickey D’s, and he surreptitiously entered Burger King through the drive-thru door, while I walked around, and ordered at the counter.

We thought that we had got away with it, but the manager approached us.  I feared that we would be kicked out, but he was very nice about it.  He said that he knew why we did what we had done, and he appreciated at least a portion of our business, only…. the clearly-marked McDonalds containers.  The cola was carefully poured into a Burger King cup, and the fries now rested on a Burger King tray.  The incriminating evidence was whisked into the garbage.

More years later, Burger King had organizational problems.  Six local outlets shrank to three, losing this nearby one, and completely obliterating one at the edge of the BIG mall at city’s edge, to become the depot for the new street railroad.

A&W bought the property, and opened a sit-down restaurant, directly across the street from where they once had a drive-in, a half a century ago.  Around the corner, on the side street, just past the Thai Pho bistro, sits the Canadian, Harvey’s  restaurant, whose parking lot abuts the back of both the McD’s, and the A&W.

It’s a good thing that my paltry Government retirement pension is so measly that it prevents regular patronage to all these all-too-common/handy eating establishments, but I think that it might be the ingestion of all the chemical preservatives over the years that has kept me alive and fit for so long.  If/when COVID disappears, and the border opens up again, I want to test that theory at a Sonic.  There’s one right down the road from Cordelia’s Mom’s.

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 – G

Ham

I recently took a linguistic tour of names, from South America, to Mexico, and parts of Europe.   It was all virtual – in a book, and online.  In real life, I’m barely allowed out the front door by myself.

The hero of the book fled a refuge in the headwaters of the Amazon, high up in the Andes, where Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela all bump together.  Reaching Mexico, he found that a friend had been killed.  He discovered that a U.S. Navy Seal, who he had thought was an American named Eddie Gamble, had actually been a Mexican named Eduardo Gamboa.

Gamboa’, as a Spanish name is not common, and I thought at first that it was really Portuguese, through Brazil, so I started looking.  Maybe because Portugal is on the other side of the Pyrenees mountains from Spain, the language developed different.  They spell words and names like this, the other way.  Their version is Gambao.

It was at this point that my ever-reliable…. uh….memory – that’s it!  Memory, reminded me that, when I am playing my free online game of Solitaire, I am often cajoled to BUY the game Gambino Slots.  Gambino??!  Dear Lord – the Italian mob owns my computer games.

Too lazy to think, I began running them through a couple of translation programs.  The problem is that, because they are proper names, the computer just gives back the same spelling in either language.  Just as I clicked the button to switch from Spanish to Portuguese, for a fraction of a second, the word ‘stem’ appeared.  😳  Duh, FACEPALM!

facepalm-cat

Now, I knew where I was going.  Not stem, but LEG!  I fearlessly ventured on into French.  There, the equivalent name is Cambe, a spelling variation of the word jambe – a leg.  An uncommon English version is Camby.  The French word for ham – a pig’s leg – is jambon.

This even explained the old gangster word referring to a good-looking woman’s legs.  Back during WWII, Betty Grable, and others, had ‘great gams.’

Betty Grable

 

I would like to claim that I came up with a great idea for the letter G, in this A to Z Challenge, but I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.  It was the daughter who suggested this.  You keep coming around to read, and I’ll keep pumping out this dreck interesting trivia.

Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky

In my Poetry In Motion post, I groused that the poetry of some WordPress authors didn’t make a lot of sense. YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET!! There is a small group of posters who don’t write poetry…. but what they do write can’t be classed as prose, either. I think a couple of them have swallowed random word generators – or non-prescription medication. They may be the authors of some of those strangely-worded spam comments that you get. Here are some examples.

I was heard the sea and are like unto the leopard and made the great favour with his neck and said Figold was handsome.

At a little finger is the sky where she had given to divert the latest news who have his dead and cried but Horn stayed at sunrise.

That would not recognising him to seawhere may be preserved from his real name and as he heard a band of brotherhood we will give birth and he heard these saw her! Better thou wilt hear the guardians of some evil would sooner be the offing.

HUH?? That was actually one of the more comprehensible. Here’s another.

We have the hand when I shall rather live, we are unconscious life of April last are enigmas.

To us that I will superintend their Circulating and in a square hole in the mischief-makers in reforming and in the funny books too large results given by Christian name, which they cover.

The responsibility of Socrates.

It exploded in us.

They are the country as the medium of independence, of taking the mature age of that things unto this particular I lifted my mind.

Notwithstanding, we might after the mental, moral wound within him.

Perhaps he has furnished great degree, and cutting off his wide from her own personality, however great.

Even the tanks, you that for we read in the seen within it, the Patriarch Nerses to accomplish some old as sensibly alters their planes and artists, leisured people, whilst it can solve some observations on Allison’s Fort and butchered before we got another example of dealing out a chapter of Nerves preserve their fatherland.

Is this some kind of code?? Are we supposed to read every fourth word?? Who spends the time and effort to type out and post this kind of thing – and why?? There seems to be a group of about 6 authors, who each can publish 2 or 3 posts every day of this kind of nonsense gobbledygook. I am at a loss to find any meaning or justification. Are they Pentecostals, “Speaking In Tongues??” Anybody got any idea…. or a translation?

Smitty’s Loose Change #12

Smitty's Loose Change

We (the wife) have acquired a new medical specialist, a Physiatrist (fizz-eye-aah-tryst). This is a term invented by another doctor in 1957. It originally was an alternative to physician, or GP, to distinguish from the growing horde of specialists. Over the ensuing 60 years though, it has come to refer to a doctor who specializes in pain management and control.

He recommends and co-ordinates with chiropractors, osteopaths, massage therapists, and physiotherapists. He can prescribe specific medications, but usually leaves it to the patient and their GP. He can recommend exercises for specific muscle groups, for home, gym or physio sessions. As a last resort, he is trained and authorized to administer injections of analgesics or cortisones.

His clinic is not – and may never be – authorized to administer the long-term, IV-drip, pain-med infusions that I drive the daughter 60 miles every 8/9 weeks to get.

***

I recently got a phone call from a polling firm, working on behalf of my electricity supplier, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro. While seeming simple, the questions were actually rather confusing. They wanted to know why I had chosen K/W Hydro, and what it would take for me to recommend them to another potential user.

They asked about draws, perhaps one or more customers could have their monthly charge written off. The finances are a closed system. It takes X amount of money to purchase and distribute power. If one (or more) people don’t have to pay, then the rest of us all have to pay a bit more. I don’t want to pay any extra, and, if I were to win, I’d feel guilty about the rest paying more.

Then they asked about rebates. If they can afford to give rebates, then they’re overcharging us. The final suggestion was to donate money to charity. It’s a feel-good idea, but, either they’re overcharging, or we’re all going to pay more, to finance that scheme.

I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but the truly bizarre thing about all this is that they hold a monopoly. No other power-supply company can operate in this district. We have Hobson’s choice – take it, or else. The only other options are to freeze in the dark, or buy a Honda generator at Home Despot. And, my bill went up to help pay for this useless survey.

***

I’ve been translating German names again. Some of them give cause for wonder/amusement.
Einwechter = one – of a half. One what?? Of a half of what? I suppose the Germans know.
Kieswetter = cheese weather – which is a sky overcast with small, dark, chunky clouds that resemble cheese curds. How in Hell you get named after rain clouds, I don’t know. No wonder these people tried to conquer Europe – Twice

Kieswetter

***

Arbitrary

How you’ve heard it: “His bookshelves are organized in a totally arbitrary way. “What it means: Random, erratic, unpredictable, not based on coherent logic whatsoever.

It may be unpredictable to you. It may appear erratic, but it is not random! ‘Arbitrary’ means selected, or chosen. The books on the shelf may be arranged by size, by color, by the number of pages, or even in reverse alphabetical order of the authors’ first names. You may not see the order. You may not agree with the logic, but the owner arbitrarily chose it. He may even have chosen random.

***

My neurologist, the guy who probably saved my sight – the doctor who was willing to throw me in the trunk of his car and drive me 60 miles to a hospital specializing in eye health – has been charged with 34 counts of sexual harassment, and had his medical license revoked. I did not see that coming.

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We recently survived another Federal election. One of the son’s co-workers asked him – based on the number of lawn signs – who he felt would be the winner in our neighborhood. The son replied that it looked like Re/Max Realty was out ahead, with Century 21 close behind. The son held out hope for a young upstart named Butter Tart Festival, holding a revival meeting at a local tourist trap. The worker protested, “Aren’t you ever serious?” “Sometimes.” “See, there you go again.” Ya just can’t win.