’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  To achieve what honest labor used to provide, it has been replaced by ‘The Gym.’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.   😯

I Feel Great

I have been ‘Grand’ for decades, but I just found out that I’ll soon be getting a promotion to ‘Great.’

After getting everyone’s forehead blasted with a phaser infrared thermometer, we had the daughter, and her son and wife over for a long overdue, COVID-prevented family meal and visit.

The grandson and his wife provided the dessert – warm, soft, deep-dish brownies, with either French Vanilla ice cream, or coconut-flavored whipped cream.  Before they brought that out, they served up something much sweeter.  They had news that they’d held for almost four months, until they were sure, and had the chance to reveal it to the two older generations, all at the same time.  They are pregnant (Well, she is.) with their first.

The Grandson married a bonnie lass with a good Scottish heritage.  She doesn’t so much have a bun in the oven, as a solid serving of haggis.  Here is an image of their wee bairn, a Scotch egg, building up power to burst forth and amaze the world, as the first in the next generation of the NSFW Clan.

The kilt is still a bit long.  It will be a few more months before we know whether we will get a bagpiper or a Scottish dancer.  You just know that I will keep you informed.

The wife says that she is willing to start being called Gigi – GGGreat-Grandmother.  I think I’ll just stick with Archon, or G.O.D.   😀  😀

Proof – Of The Desperation Of Christian Apologists

You can not prove (or disprove) the existence of God through philosophy, logic, argumentation or debate.

Figures lie, and liars figure – and words, and those who wield them, are not much better.

I once had a mathematics professor who had some spare time after one lesson.  He erased two blackboards.  At the top of one, he wrote x = 1.  He then wrote a simple binomial equation beneath it. Below that, he began to add factors – multiplying, dividing, squaring, till the seventh equation was fairly complex.

At the top of the next board, he began to solve and simplify – each equation becoming less complex, until the seventh line solved, to show that x = 2.  😕  I thought that I followed the sequence, and my buddy, the numbers nerd later assured me that I did – we all did.  The teacher had just proved something that was observably false.

The Arguments For The Existence Of God

The Cosmological Argument: An argument for the existence of God based on the observation that, since every known thing in the universe has a cause, which can only be God.

The Moral Argument: An argument for the existence of God which reasons that there must be a God who is the source of man’s sense of right and wrong.

The Ontological Argument: An argument for the existence of God that begins with the idea of God as the greatest of beings that can be imagined. As such, the characteristic of existence must belong to such a being, since it is greater to exist than not to exist.

Teleological Argument: An argument for the existence of God which reasons that, since the universe exhibits evidence of order and design, there must be an intelligent and purposeful God who created it to function in this way.

The Cosmological Argument – every known thing in the universe

Mealy-mouthed, and weasel-words, which only prove a narrow mind, and a pile of assumptions and pre-suppositions.

It is possible that there are things within the Universe which have no cause.  Just because they have not been observed does not prove them impossible or nonexistent, or limit the choice to ‘only God.’  It seems likely that the Universe itself has no cause.  It floated about, apparently forever, in the timeless, spaceless Meta-verse that God is supposed to “exist” in.  But the Universe is palpable, observable, malleable, and measurable, while God cannot be proved to exist beyond the hopes and faith of religious believers.

The Moral Argument:

Reason: to think or argue in a logical manner.
to form conclusions, judgments, or inferences from facts or premises.
to think through logically,
There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of ‘reasoning,’ thinking,’ ‘logic,’ or ‘facts’ in this unproven claim.  It denies Atheists’ claims that they are Good Without God, and ignores the observed fact that most Atheists are ‘good’ and moral, while many God-botherers fill prisons and divorce courts.

The Ontological Argument:
Like many Christian arguments, this one starts at the desired conclusion, and works backwards to somehow justify it.  There is no suggestion, no evidence, much less Proof, that there is a “greatest being,” and even if there is, there is no indication that it is the Christian God. As the argument even says, it’s all based on imagination.

Teleological Argument:
Apophenia is the tendency to mistakenly perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things. The term was coined by psychiatrist Klaus Conrad in his 1958 publication on the beginning stages of schizophrenia. He defined it as “unmotivated seeing of connections accompanied by a specific feeling of abnormal meaningfulness”. He described the early stages of delusional thought as self-referential, over-interpretations of actual sensory perceptions, as opposed to hallucinations.  Such meanings are entirely self-referential, solipsistic, and paranoid (Emphasis mine)—”being observed, spoken about, the object of eavesdropping, followed by strangers”.  Pareidolia is a type of apophenia involving the perception of images or sounds in random stimuli..

It is considered poor form and bad manners to say that religious people are crazy, but it seems that portions of their delusional, unsupported beliefs, must fall within the parameters of the clinical definition.

 

Jesus!  More One-Liners??!

I found $20 in a parking lot today, and I thought, What Would Jesus Do?….
….so I turned it into wine.

You know what borders on stupidity?….
….Canada and Mexico

My wife bought me a 2021 calendar….
….My days are numbered now.

Neutering your pets….
….makes them less nuts

Helvetica and Times New Roman walk into a bar….
….”Get Out Of Here!” shouts the bartender, “We don’t serve your type.”

Hear about the new restaurant, named Karma?….
….There’s no menu.  You get what you deserve.

How do you drown a hipster?….
….Throw him in the mainstream.

Why did the hipster burn his mouth?….
….He drank coffee before it was cool.

What kind of exercise do lazy people do?….
….Diddly-squats.

I got my wife a fridge for her birthday….
….I can’t wait to see her face light up when she opens it.

Don’t try to write with a broken pencil….
….It’s pointless.

I was gonna tell a pizza joke….
….but it’s too cheesy.

My wife complained that I didn’t buy her flowers….
….To be honest, I didn’t know she sold flowers.

I’m a social vegan….
….I avoid meet

My math teacher called me average….
….How mean!

Pilates??!….
….I thought you said pie and lattes.

I told my wife that a husband ages like wine.  We get better with age….
….Then she locked me in the cellar.

I’ll tell you what often gets overlooked….
….Garden fences

Don’t start any vast projects….
….with half-vast ideas

Ever wonder if illiterate people….
….get the full effect of alphabet soup?

How was Rome split in two?….
….With a pair of Caesars….
….Nope!  Unintended.

What happens when you play a country song backwards?….
….It gets even more annoying

Be strong….
….I whispered to my Wi-Fi signal

I ran out of toilet paper and had to use newspaper….
….Times are rough

I have a split personality….
….Said Tom, being frank

I failed Math in high school so many times….
….I can’t even count

I used to have a handle on life….
….But then it broke

Don’t you hate it when someone answers their own questions?….
….I do.

It takes a lot of balls….
….To golf the way I do

People who use selfie-sticks….
….Need to take a good, long look at themselves.

 

WOW #66

The elections are coming!  The elections are coming!  Actually, they’ve been had – and so has the electorate.  It was Donald tRump against Whatzizname.  Let’s skip past Pathology and Psychology, and go directly to

PSEPHOLOGY

ORIGIN

Psephology, “the study of elections,” comes from Greek psêphos “small stone, pebble.” (The Greeks used pebbles in counting and arithmetic functions; the ancient Athenians also used pebbles to cast votes in elections and trials.) The element –logy is the completely naturalized combining form used in the names of sciences (geology, biology) and bodies of knowledge (theologyastrology).

The 20th-century British historian R.B. McCallum wrote in a personal letter that while with C.S. Lewis and other heavy-hitting philologists, he proposed the term electionology, which so offended the sensibilities of Lewis and the others that they proposed the etymologically correct psephology, avoiding the dreadful Latin-Greek hybrid. Psephology entered English in the mid-20th century.

At first I thought that I would need to be paid – handsomely – to study elections.  Elections themselves seem to be interesting only to CPAs and statisticians.  However, the dramatis personae, the cast of characters, has evolved to make them high drama, and low comedy.  After that first Punch and Biden debate, I thought that they would have to provide the moderator for the second with a cattle prod.  It seems that a simple mute switch was sufficient, although sparks still flew.

I composed this post before the Great American Election of 2020, so, no spoilers.  Don’t tell me how it turned out.  No matter who won, the American public lost.  Now we Canadians face the inevitable march to the polls, to choose between Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dumber.  I’m gonna study my crosswords till they spend my pension on Green Energy.   😯

Remembrance/Veterans Day

No matter what you call it, this is a little reminder that today is Remembrance/Veterans Day.  Take two minutes at 11:00 AM to stand quietly and remember, respect and honor those in the Armed Services, past and present, who have given so much, so that we can have peace and security.

Take some time today – Hell, take all day if you want, and take a bit of time any other day, whenever it’s possible – to shake the hand of a veteran, or current Serviceman, elbow-bump, or otherwise COVID-acknowledge them.  Smile behind your mask, and say, “Thanks!”

 

’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!

 

Flash Fiction #240

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

IMPRISONED INTELLIGENCE

In 1960s America, civil rights was still just a dream for many.  What should have been an inalienable right – Voting – sometimes had conditions.  Negroes had to Prove they were educated, Prove that they were intelligent enough to vote.

A Negro in Alabama approached a polling station.  A redneck Cracker handed him a copy of the Hebrew Times to read.  When he couldn’t, he was given a sheet of waxed paper and a ballpoint pen, and told to write his name.

When he failed that several times, he said, “I just don’t understand it.  I could read and write this morning.”   😯

***

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

I Smell A Rat

I trapped, and poisoned, and locked out all the rats.  What I smell, is something completely different.

Twice, last summer and fall, our two new Scottie Terrors Terriers came back into the house at night, smelling of skunk (….only, not).  They didn’t get sprayed, but were nearby when it happened.  A quick bath for each of them and their collars, and everyone slept peacefully.

Everybody knows what a skunk looks like, and what one smells like.  The odor is sharp, acrid, bitter, nasty.  This smell was none of those; it had more like a ‘husband crawling into bed, after a baked bean dinner’ stench – almost a sweetish tinge to it.

After the second occurrence, I was in the back yard, picking up what dogs put down and – What’s this??  A chunk of dried hide, as big as my hand, with black and white fur on it…. and over there, a second piece, just as big,,,, and yet a third piece, half as big.

The wife insisted that her little angels wouldn’t eat a skunk, and we found no bones, but I don’t see any cat-sized animal losing that much skin, and surviving.  It’s a pity, too!  Skunks will eat rats, and garden slugs.  As the snow began to fall, I noticed cat-prints in it, across my driveway, up my front walk, across in front of my porch, and disappearing, because the house kept the nearby snow melted.  Probably a cat that a neighbor allows to roam.

As winter progressed, and the snow piled up nearer the house, I realized that these ‘cat-prints’ led to a hole under my concrete porch.  😯 Uh-oh!  This can’t be good!  My resident skunk was no fool.  It roamed both my neighbors’ yards, usually keeping 8-foot wooden fences between it and the too-often yappy dogs.

Skunks are nocturnal.  I flicked on the light, and opened the front door one night at 4 AM, to retrieve my ‘morning’ newspaper, and there, six feet away, was the skunk!  I quickly and quietly closed the door.  The wife went out for a coffee date with an ex-co-worker.  Just as the women returned at 3 PM, the “nocturnal” skunk retraced that earlier path, right in front of them.

They both got a good look at it.  It was definitely a skunk…. only, it wasn’t marked like a ‘skunk’, and it didn’t move in that hoppy, undulating way that skunks move.  When she got in and settled, the wife grabbed her laptop, and researched “Skunks.”


Has no natural habitat, only un-natural, like its own imagination, and Ego-sphere

This is the American Mac-and Cheese-Head skunk.  It is continually raising a big stink, but it’s usually restricted to the Washington DC, or Mar-a-Lago areas.

 

Spotted Skunk

Apparently, there are 12 kinds of skunks, several of which can exist where I live.  It couldn’t be a European Polecat.  At first we thought that it might be an Eastern Spotted Skunk that we’d spotted.  More careful study revealed that it is most likely a Hooded Skunk.

Hooded Skunk

This explains the difference in the smell of the spray.  More recently, I opened the front door again at 4 AM, and heard squeaking and squealing beneath my porch.  Either it was complaining about the new Wi-Fi password I’d installed, or I have a female, raising a litter.  👿  It’s gonna be an interesting spring.  Besides a husband who likes spicy burritos, 🌯 what do you have that creates a stench where you live?

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.