’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

Get A Grip

I have a gripe with English.  It is said that a man with a watch always knows what time it is.  A man with two watches is never sure.  For a word with one meaning, or even several established meanings, I know what is meant.  For words which keep adding, subtracting, and modifying meanings, I am less and less sure what is meant.

The word ‘grip’ originally meant, a grasp, a grab, a hold, by a person’s hand.  Recently, technology has included machines.  Once upon an archaic, the words ‘grip’ and ‘gripe’ meant the same thing.  (Don’t ask me why.  I can’t get a hold on it.)  Now grip can mean a small suitcase with a handle, which can be grasped and carried by one hand.  Gripe can be a nagging complaint by someone who may not have a firm grip on reality.

At one time, ‘grippe’, which is pronounced grip, but which is neither grip nor gripe, was the word to identify influenza, the ordinary, seasonal, gastro-intestinal flu,’ a kinder, gentler, distant relative to COVID.  “Grippe” could cause abdominal cramps, especially among babies and young children.

To alleviate these symptoms, “Grippe Water” was developed and marketed.  My mother dosed me with it several times.  The original formula contained alcohol and sugar in addition to sodium bicarbonate and dill oil – a couple of stomach calmers, some calories to replace what might have been lost to the illness, and a mild sedative to aid with sleeping.  It was once said that the best remedy for a colicky baby, was a good, thick, oak door.

Then the All-Or-Nothing, Save Us From Ourselves, Snowflakes got a grip on it, and removed all the “bad” ingredients, so present-day products do not contain alcohol or sugar, but may contain fennel, ginger, chamomile, cardamom, licorice, cinnamon, clove, dill, lemon balm or peppermint, depending on the formula.

Grippe’ was what caused the cramping, but ‘gripe’ is the term for the actual clutching, grasping intestinal pain.  Since the formula was changed, the name has also been changed.  ‘Grippe Water’ is no more, and the new product is ‘Gripe Water.’  That’s only one of the English terms that I have a gripe about.  😯

Flash Fiction #249

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

RELATIVE RELATIVES

Hi Daddy!  When are ya comin’ home??

My business deal’s almost finished.  I’ll be home on Friday.  Anything interesting happen?

The roses died.

Oh…. why?

The heat from the fire.

Fire??!  What fire?

When the garage burned.

The garage burned!!? How?

The firemen said that it was sparks from the house that set it on fire.

The house was on fire!??  What happened?

Mommy says that it happened when the furnace exploded.

Furnace exploded!??  Was anybody injured?

No Daddy, but we’re gonna hafta get some new roses when we get out of this motel.

MOTEL!!??

Here’s Mommy.  She can ‘splain.  😳

***

Aah – the innocence of childhood.  Everybody’s got their own priorities.  Daddy’s may be home-owners’ insurance.

***

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

’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.   😯

Stop Watching

A guy told me that you burn as many calories making love, as you do running 5 miles.
He’s a moron.  Who runs 5 miles in 30 seconds?

***

Doctor; (handing me the baby) I’m sorry.  Your wife didn’t make it.
Me; (handing the baby back) Then bring me the one my wife made.

***

You can’t truly refer to yourself as an adult, until you catching yourself getting mad because the grocery store changed its layout.

***

My Tinder bio says that I have a corner office, with a view of the city.  I drive a $200,000 vehicle, and my company pays me to travel.

My dates seem disappointed to find that I am a bus driver.

***

Did you hear about the circle who graduated from university?
He had 360 degrees.

***

Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl using the bathroom?
Because the ‘P’ is silent

***

I was at the post office, when I saw a blonde woman holding an envelope open, and shouting into it.
I said, “What are you doing?”
She replied, “Sending a voice mail.”

***

Eight-year-old Nina brought her report card home from school. Her marks were good…mostly A’s and a couple of B’s.

However, her teacher had written across the bottom: “Nina is a smart little girl, but she has one fault. She talks too much in school. I have an idea I am going to try, which I think may break her of the habit.”

Nina’s dad signed her report card, putting a note on the back:  “Please let me know if your idea works on Nina because I would like to try it out on her mother.”

***

One morning I was called to pick up my son at the school nurse’s office.

When I walked through the main entrance, I noticed a woman, curlers in her hair, wearing pajamas. “Why are you dressed like that?” I asked her.

“I told my son,” she explained, “that if he ever did anything to embarrass me, I would embarrass him back. He was caught cutting school. So now I’ve come to spend the day with him!”

***

Paddy pulls up to the traffic light, right next to a stunning-looking girl.  He smiles, and rolls his window down.  She smiles back and rolls her window down also.  Paddy says, ‘Have you farted, as well?’

***

Pat:  I tried to sue the airline for losing my luggage.
Mike:  What happened?
Pat:  I lost the case.

***

A duck stood next to a busy road, waiting for a break in traffic
A chicken walked up to him and said, ‘Don’t do it man.  You’ll never hear the end of it.’

***

Joe:  My friend Al went bald years ago, but he still carries a comb around with him.
Pete:  Why does he do that?
Joe:  He just can’t seem to part with it.

***

I’m not saying, let’s go out and kill all the stupid people.  I’m just saying, let’s remove all the warning labels, and let the problem sort itself out.

***

Sometimes you just gotta sit back, grab a drink, and face the fact that people are idiots.

Flash Fiction #236

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

FAIR TRADE

How do you get down off an elephant?
You don’t!  You get down off a duck.

I got a dog for my wife.
Seems like a good swap.

I saw a sign that said, Watch For Children.
I thought, that’s a fair trade.

Maybe I could get the Traders to exchange some new jokes for these old ones.  I would trade two weeks of COVID isolation for a fortnight visit to Wilmington, NC, to see how it took 75 years for Southerners to trade their insecure, racist bigotry, for acceptance, and peaceful coexistence.  It’s still not perfect, but it’s better.

***

Join the merry band of Friday Fictioneers.  Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple https://rochellewisoff.com/ site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

30 Day Challenge – Twofer

9: Your Last Kiss
11: Your current relationship, if single, discuss how single life is

I put these two together, because I’m not really going to write about either, yet they kinda go together.

The wife and I are now closing in on 53 years of marriage, but I’m sure that there are readers who would be surprised to find that there is not an abundance of “Love.”  For much of history, and much of the world, marriage was a socio-commercial undertaking.  Even today, ‘arranged marriages’ are common, and their divorce rates are lower than the ‘marriage for love’ ones.  They are based on mutual respect and adaptation.

I’m assuming that the author meant a passionate, ‘love-induced’ kiss, not the How Are You peck on the cheek from a sister-in-law.  At the three-quarters of a century mark, there’s not a lot of passion left.  The son says that he gets strange looks from co-workers when he tells them that we are each just hanging on until the other dies – dark humor, that boy.

Hoggimus-Higgimus
Man is polygamous
Higgimus-Hoggimus
Woman’s monogamous
It is said that a man will trade love for sex, and a woman will trade sex for love.  The wife and I have learned to respect each other, and there certainly has been a great deal of adaptation over the years.  There was a certain degree of love to get the marriage started, but…. 

A man chases a woman – until she catches him.  I came home one day from work, to find that the coffee klatch at my house had not disbanded.  I heard the wife telling the neighborhood women that she picked me, because she felt that I was very intelligent, and she thought that smart men made more money.  Oh, you sexy minx!  You had me at ‘Credit Check.’  I am the victim of an arranged marriage.  It was just my wife who arranged it.

I am not displeased or disappointed with my married life.  Only occasionally do I wonder how things would have gone in other circumstances.  One of my online friends has been divorced and living alone for 30 years.  I don’t have the self-sufficiency to live alone.  I need a zoo-keeper to care for and feed me.  As a mild sociopath, I could probably handle the isolation, but I still value the social and intellectual stimulation from my children, and now grandson and granddaughter-in-law.

There have been few periods in our marriage that could be described as brilliant fireworks.  That’s probably a good thing.  Slow and steady wins the race.  I have seen those whose lives, including their marriage, have been roller-coaster ups and downs.  Eventually the downs seem to be such a contrast, that they decide to give up and change them.  Divorce is survivable.  Suicide is not.

Our marriage has not been boring.  We have been able to travel a bit, and see and experience some interesting places and things.  Now that we are (much) older, and the bodies and the bank account are weak and creaky, we are learning to use our electronics for entertainment and social connections – like this.

Thanx for stopping by to read this unexciting description of Same Old – Same Older.  I’ll haul out more interesting info for next time.  Wanna hear about the neighbor who’s a drug dealer?

***

I’m still (reluctantly) getting used to this damned Block Editor. I’ve figured out most of it but, can someone tell me where to find the control for color of text??

Flash Fiction #26 – Summer Rerun

Hollywood

PHOTO PROMPT -Copyright-Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

I had a WOW composed, Just In Case, but Rochelle has once again, kindly proffered a prefabricated excuse for the creatively challenged.

It All Comes Out In The End

Rob honey?!  Come have a look at this.  We saved hard enough for this Hollywood trip; you should come and enjoy it.  Just look at the people – and the palm trees – and the….  ROB!!?….  What was that….?

What was the name of that stuff we saw advertised back in Illinois, that’s supposed to prevent ‘travellers’ diarrhea’?  Duckitall??  Dukerol!!  I thought that was just if you went to, like, Thailand.  I didn’t know about a bad fish taco in Redlands.

You go ahead with that walking tour of the homes of the stars.  My tour’s going to be sitting.

***

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-badge-web

I saw Dukerol advertised a couple of days before the original challenge, so I worked it into this Flash Fiction.  In the six years since, I have never heard it mentioned again.  😳

 

’20 A To Z Challenge – I

A To Z ChallengeLetter I

 

 

 

 

 

 

have been an inept, indolent idiot, about the A To Z Challenge, for the letter I.  I have not had an iota of inspiration, so I have decided to insert a travelogue.

20 Fun Facts About Estonia

Esto Man

Esto-Man

Careful!  You may end up unintentionally learning something.

You may be wondering why I chose Estonia for this blog.  Since rheumatoid-arthritis prematurely retired Cookie Monster, our Estonian-heritage, ex-chiropractor, he and I and my son have got together about every six months, to sample the various road-house restaurants in the area.  We enjoy deep, socially-significant conversation, lack of female supervision, and delicious, but questionable, menu choices.

Mr. COVID19 has put a kink in our calendar.  We are almost a meeting behind.  I publish this so that he will have something to read in self-isolation.  If it influences him to offer to buy me an extra beer when we are paroled and next visit Montana’s, that’s purely coincidental.  😉  So, here are some non-evaluation related facts you may enjoy about this country in northeastern Europe.

Let’s get started with “tere” which means Hello in Estonian!

Fact 1:
While the official capital of Estonia is Tallinn, the country is unique because it has more than one recognized capital. In fact, it has several capitals that change throughout the year. Tartu is established as the “cultural capital of Estonia”, while Parnu is known as the “summer capital”.

Fact 2:
Estonia was the first country in the world to use online political voting.

Fact 3:
Estonia has two Independence Days. It first achieved independence from the Soviet Union on February 24, 1918 and again on August 20, 1991 after 51 years of occupation. The second date is known as the “Restoration of Independence Day.”

Fact 4:
Estonian is the official language. Russian is also widely spoken.

Fact 5:
The Estonian currency was the Kroon, but they have joined the Euro-zone and Euro is their official currency now.

Fact 6:
Even though Estonia is considered to be a part of the Baltic countries; along with Latvia and Lithuania, there is no real political alliance.

Fact 7:
Estonia is named after the “Ests” who inhabited the region in the 1st Century AD.

Fact 8:
Estonia is the least religious country in the world with only 14% of the population claiming any religious beliefs.

Fact 9:
Almost 50% of Estonia is covered by forest.

Fact 10:
Estonia has a population of 1.3 million and one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe.

Fact 11:
Estonia has the highest number of meteorite craters per land area in the world.

Fact 12:
Estonia is the homeland of Skype, Hotmail and KaZaA.

Fact 13:
All Estonian schools are connected to the Internet.

Fact 14:
Chess Grandmaster Paul Keres was born in Estonia. When he died in 1975, over 100,000 people attended his funeral (10% of the country’s entire population).

Fact 15:
Out of the nearly 200 countries in the world, Estonia ranks in the second place with a literacy rate of 99.8%.

Fact 16:
In 1994, Estonia became the first country to institute the flat income tax.

Fact 17:
They have the biggest collection of folk songs in the world with written records of 133,000 folk songs.

Fact 18:
The Estonians invented Kiiking, which is considered a sport. It involves fastening yourself to an enormous standing steel swing (kiik means swing in Estonian) which has a full 360 degrees of rotation to it. To swing a kiiker, the contestant must pump by squatting and standing up on the swing. The swing gains momentum taking the person in full circle by his skillful pumping.

Fact 19:
Estonia produces quality vodka and boasts Viru Valge and Saaremaa as its most popular brands.

Fact 20:
And, in case you are thinking of relocating, Estonia doesn’t accept dual citizenship.

Hope you enjoyed this. Head aega! (That’s “goodbye” in Estonian.)

 

Flash Fiction #228

Foreign Food

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

FOREIGN FOOD

Eat healthy they say. You’ll live longer.
Nah…. It just seems like it.

Back in the Dark Ages – pre-Golden Arches – he’d had to satisfy his fat and carb cravings at Canadian-born Harvey’s, and A & W. Finally, Burger King, Wendy’s and Taco Bell oozed north.

Eventually, do-gooder gastro-snobs ruined fast food. Eat Light, add a salad. Salad is a promise that real food will appear later.

Then he drove to Florida, and discovered Checkers. Ah, burger bliss! No sit-down, long before COVID – just two drive-thru cholesterol lanes. Free heart attack with every meal – but what a tasty way to go!! 😎

***

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-badge-web