Challenge – Be Bored For A Week

office-worker

I tried to be bored, but the voices inside my head wouldn’t let me.

Bored

Actually, I really didn’t try, because there was only one voice inside my head – and it was mine.  I gave it a shot, but quickly found that any time I stopped thinking about everything/anything, I wound up back at my Gravatar description, researching something else that would do me no good at all, except as blog-fodder.

I tried some of that mindless Yoga contemplation – didn’t work!  As soon as I stopped thinking about blog-posts, and useless trivia, into my head popped Spring Byington.  She was a C-grade actress who only had one television series, called December Bride.  It ran from 1954 to 1959.

She played a middle-aged, divorced woman, living with her grown daughter, and everybody was trying to fix her up with another husband.  A (relatively) young Harry Morgan played the intrusive neighbor.  The gimmick was that, like Howard Wolowitz’s mother on The Big Bang Theory, his acerbic wife was often heard, but never seen.

***

In researching a trip to Detroit, MI, I found that there are several other Detroits in the US, including Detroit TX….which is near Oklahoma City….which reminded me of the Jim Croce song, Rapid Roy, where he sings about transporting illegal moonshine, “Runnin’ from the man in Oklahoma City, with a 500 gallon tank.”

How much would 500 gallons of white lightning weigh?  Hmmm – almost 4400 pounds!  Certainly not something to be carried in a stripped-down, hopped-up sedan, or even a pickup truck, and definitely not while trying to out-speed or out-maneuver State Police vehicles.

***

Almost as soon as electric rice cookers became available, the wife had to have one.  Six months later, they “New and Improved” them, by adding a tray in which you could steam things like the frozen dumplings that she likes to add to her homemade chicken soup.  Recently, on Facebitch, someone offered a new Black and Decker unit with the steamer tray, for $15.

When we went to pick it up, the irony was that it was offered for sale by a young Chinese-Canadian woman, still living with her barely-speak-English immigrant parents.  On the drive home I relaxed – and the voice in my head said ‘taffeta.’

There may be more than one of me inside, what I thought was, my empty head.  Almost immediately, the same/different voice said, ‘I’ll see you the taffeta, and raise you organdy and sateen.’  They’re all thin, bright, shiny fabrics, often used as decoration on women’s clothing.  Why would I even know that they exist, much less bring them up to myself during a car ride??!

It’s a wonder that I ever get any particular project completed, with all these odd thoughts and factoids caroming around at strange angles inside my brain, like a bumper car ride.  I’ve proved that I can’t bore myself.  I just hope that I haven’t bored you.  Stop back soon for a ham on rye post – something with a little more meat to it. 🙂

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’18 A To Z Challenge – H

Challenge '18Letter H

HERMIT definition (for 10-year old boys); a man who goes off by himself

We live in a medically marvelous age.  Average life expectancy has almost doubled since my birth.  It was not always thus.

Once Upon A Time in the Old West, Ben Cartwright lived on the Ponderosa ranch, with three sons and a male cook, and not a woman in sight.  Life was particularly hard on women, especially during childbirth, with no doctor handy.

Old Ben had three very different sons.  There was handsome, intelligent Adam.  There was big Hoss, strong as an ox, and almost as smart, and there was smartass, ADHD Little Joe.  The writers may have had a back-story which explained the vast variation among My Three Sons, but many who watched the TV series were baffled.  Finally, several seasons in, they had Ben explain the history and reasons, to Joe (and the audience).

Ben brought an Eastern bride with him when he moved west to achieve fame and fortune.  She gave him Adam, and died.  Ben then married a strapping daughter of a Swedish family from Minnesota, who were moving to California.  She produced Hoss, and also died.  Finally, Ben married the daughter of a town merchant.  She died in childbirth, producing Joe.

My paternal grandfather also experienced similar heartache and heartbreak, but he didn’t have Ben Cartwright’s grit and tenacity.  When the going got tough….he became a hermit.

He married early, and had three kids, two girls, and a son whom he named Cecil – and his wife died.  With the help of an older, unmarried sister, he took care of them until the wife’s clan took them in.  This was a family that my Father was totally unaware of, until his half-brother tracked him down, after he was 65.

After a couple of years, Grandpa remarried, and again, had two girls, and then a boy, my Father, whom he named Cyril. Four years later, his second wife died while delivering another daughter.  Grandpa just disappeared, leaving the older sister, and the rest of his family, to take care of 4 kids, including a baby.

I met never-married ‘Aunt Jesse’ (actually my great-aunt) later in life.  She may have been the first instance in my life of, Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell.  Her actual name was Jezebel, but the devout Baptist would never let it be used.

I don’t know if my Father knew where his father was for almost 20 years.  When I was 4 or 5, my Dad began to take me to visit him, two miles up a concession road, off a nowhere highway.  He was living in a wooden, 2-man logging shack, by the side of the road.  It had a two bunks, a table and two chairs, a latch-string door, (look that one up) one tiny window, a wood-burning stove, no electricity, and a hand-pump for water.  The sink drained outside, but there was no bathroom….and I don’t remember an outhouse.  I used to water a nearby Maple.

After ten years of this, my Grandpa got an offer from a nearby farmer.  The farmer had bought the adjoining farm.  Now he had two farm houses, two barns, and two sets of animals, so he paid my Granddad a little, to live in one farm house, as a caretaker.

As a house, this was a big step up.  This one had central heat, hot and cold running water, a bathroom, and lights.  There was no radio, and no TV.  He had copies of the weekly paper from the nearest small town, but I never saw magazines or books.

Probably, after Dad located his Father, his three sisters (and their spouses) must have visited him from time to time, although we never met anyone else when we visited.  The farmer may have at least passed a little time with Grandpa when he came over to do chores, but he must have been alone for days – weeks – at a time.  As a loner, he makes me look like a rank amateur.

I look forward to your company here, again in a couple of days.  Recommend me to a friend – or an enemy.   😳

 

A To Z Challenge – A

 

Challenge2017

Another year – another Challenge.  Is it April again, already??  I guess I have to start with

Letter A

I was thinking about doing a series about animals from A to Z, Ants to Zebras, but I discovered that, if it didn’t involve gravy or barbecue sauce, I didn’t really know much about animals.

I also considered a themed series about rock groups, from AC/DC, to ZZ Top, but when I got to the bottom, with the Top, I decided that the post would be about Assholes.

On the old WKRP In Cincinnati TV show, the character of Les Nessman had to do the sports reporting without knowing anything about sports.  He insisted on calling the golfer Chi-Chi Rodriguez, Chai Chai Rod-rig-weez.

When ZZ Top was still tooling around the airwaves in their Eliminator, whether through honest ignorance, or just an attempt to prove the ‘We’re Canadian, Eh’, a local asshole DJ always introduced them as Zed Zed Top.  American is a ‘foreign language’, just as much as Spanish is.  Learn to use it and pronounce it correctly!

Despite every other radio DJ making it sound like ‘Jamaica,’ a recently promoted female announcer missed the apostrophe, and the double entendre joke, and introduced Led Zeppelin’s song, D’yermaker, as ‘dyer maker.’   The Mr. Big candy bar ads used to claim, “When you’re this big, they call you Mr.”  When you’re this clueless, they call you Mr. Asshole.

Now you know my ABCs will be coming at you for another year. 😳

WOW #5

Dictionary

The Word Of this Week is;
Shivoo

Look out! There’s been a mudslide.  The mundane mumble-tongues couldn’t understand, remember or pronounce the EYEtalian word Charivari, so it slid down the linguistic hill, and entered the English language as

shivaree

noun (US & Canadian)
a discordant mock serenade to newlyweds, made with pans, kettles, etc.
a confused noise; din

Also (esp. dialect) charivari  

Then it made its way by tramp steamer to Australia, land of kangaroos, platypuses, and Diggers who can’t handle three-syllable words, where it ended its ignominious tumble, as the Abo word

shivoo

noun, plural shivoos. Australian.
a boisterous party or celebration.

Origin of shivoo – origin uncertain

This is like the story from several years ago, where a Florida woman had been brain-dead from an accident for five years. Her husband wanted to pull the plug on the life-support machine and achieve closure, but her Catholic parents fought him in the courts.

His/their family name was Chiavo, and even the more intelligent of the TV talking heads insisted on pronouncing it Shy-voe, when any good Italian made three syllables of it, and pronounced it Shee-ah-voe.

Out among the street trash, one could get kicked in the nuts, or the balls. Some tried to describe being mugged with a more upscale word.  Whether it was too intellectual, or simply too long to say, gonads quickly shrank to ‘nads.  The mud has slud even further.  Now, ‘nad’ is (mis)pronounced nard, a word which used to mean ‘an ointment used by the ancients.’

Jimmy Cliff sang I Can See Clearly Now. If we could get more of the great unwashed to hear and pronounce clearly, communication and comprehension would benefit greatly.   😯

The Most Important Meal

coffee

WOMAN’S PERFECT BREAKFAST
She’s sitting at the table with her gourmet coffee.
Her son is on the cover of the Wheaties box.
Her daughter is on the cover of Business Week.
Her boyfriend is on the cover of Playgirl.
And her husband is on the back of the milk carton. .

WOMEN’S REVENGE
‘Cash, check or charge?’ I asked, after folding items the woman wished to purchase. As she fumbled for her wallet, I noticed a remote control for a television set in her purse. ‘So, do you always carry your TV remote?’ I asked. ‘No,’ she replied, ‘but my husband refused to come shopping with me, And I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally.’

And finally,
God may have created man before woman, But there is always a rough draft before the masterpiece

***

The object of war is not to die for your country
but to make the other jerk die for his.
General George Patton

***

At one point during a game, the coach said to one of his young players, “Do you understand what cooperation is? What a team is?” The little boy nodded yes.

“Do you understand that what matters is whether we win together as a team?” The little boy nodded yes.

“So,” the coach continued, “when a strike is called, or you are out at first, you don’t argue or curse or attack the umpire. Do you understand all that?” Again, the boy nodded yes.

“Good,” said the coach. “Now go over there and explain it to your mother.”

***

I need to get in shape; if I was murdered right now my chalk outline would be a circle.
I am always going the extra mile: because I never stop for directions.
Am I fat? My favorite food is seconds.

***

What are the Five Reasons for not wanting to be an Egg?

  1. You only get laid once.
  2. You only get eaten once.
  3. Seven minutes to get hard (in boiling water).
  4. You have to come in a box with 11 other guys.
  5. The only one that sits on your face is your mother.

***

I have a great diet. You are allowed to eat
anything you want. But you must eat it with naked
fat people.

***

I hope you don’t fuck like you park…you’ll never get it in…

***

😆

 

I Read You, Loud And Clear

For years, I averaged reading a book a week – about fifty a year. Two years ago, when I first listed what I’d read, there were only 31 books.  Last year’s list improved minimally, to 33.

When we moved into this house 15 years ago, we placed the TV and all attendant electronics in the finished Rec Room in the basement. The wife’s deteriorating mobility and bladder problems have meant that we haven’t watched more than 10 hours of TV together since last April/May.  That has led to an increase in my reading.  Below are what I read last year.  The year’s total ran to 46.

Eric Flint – Grantville Gazette VI

grantville gazette VI

David Weber/Linda Evans – Hells Gate

hells gate

Lee Child – Nothing To Lose – Gone Tomorrow – 61 Hours – Worth Dying For – The Affair

nothing to losegone tomorrow 61 hours

worth dying for    the affair

Clive Cussler – Golden Buddha – Trojan Odyssey – Sacred Stone – Lost City

golden buddha  trojan odyssey

sacred stone   lost city

James Rollins – Sandstorm – Map Of Bones – Black Order

sandstorm  map of bones black order

Greg Loomis – The Coptic Secret – Gates Of Hades

coptic secret gates of hades

Steve Berry – The Romanov Prophecy – The Alexandria Link – The Venetian Betrayal – The Paris Vendetta

the-romanov-prophecy-1 the alexandria link

the venetian betrayal the-paris-vendetta-1

Ilona Andrews – Magic Bites – Magic Burns – Magic Strikes – Magic Bleeds – Magic Rises – Magic Slays – Gunmetal Magic

magic bites magic burns magic strikes

magic-bleeds magic-rises

magic slays gunmetal-magic

John Ringo – Strands Of Sorrow

strands-of-sorrow

F. Paul Wilson – The Tomb – Legacies – Conspiracies

the tomb  legacies conspiracies

This is a series introduced to me by Ted, at SightsNBytes.  Thanx Ted!  There will be more in next year’s list.

Sharon Lee/Steve Miller – Saltation

Saltation

Larry Correia – Monster Hunter Nemesis

monster hunter nemesis

I read the paperback version of this, but the best photo I could download was the audiobook.

William C. Dietz – At Empire’s Edge

at empires edge

Tom Clancy – Against All Enemies – Dead Or Alive

against all enemies dead or alive

Like Monster Hunter, above, I read the softback version of Dead Or Alive, but picked up the photo of the CD version.

David Feldman – Why Cats Don’t Like To Swim (Imponderables)

why cats don't swim

Jonathon Sarfati – Refuting Evolution – Refuting Evolution II

Refuting Evolution Refuting Evolution 2

Tony Daniel – Guardian Of Night

guardian of night

William Manchester – A World Lit Only By Fire

a world lit only by fire

This was a book suggested by Jim Wheeler, as a research tool for the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance.  It clearly lists the excesses and sins of the European Royalty and the Catholic Church hierarchy (They were often the same thing.), and justifies claims I made in my The Torture Of Faith post.

Bonaventure Des Perier – Cymbalum Mundi (The Noise of the World)

cymbalum mundi

I found this book mentioned in Manchester’s treatise, above.  Written about 1542, it sneaks around mentioning the same things as ‘World‘ does, because, at the time of writing, accusations of heresy or sedition could get you tortured and burned at the stake.

Robert A. Heinlein – The Door Into Summer

the door into summer

Still in my book collection, I hadn’t read this one for 30 or 40 years.  It’s always possible to get a new insight from Heinlein, so I re-read it.

Gordon R. Dickson – The Man From Earth

The man from earth

Another book from the ’60s.  A collection of 10 of Dickson’s short stories, written from ’52 to ’65.  This anthology was published in ’66.  I never read it then, but pulled it from a pile the son was getting rid of.

***

In past years I have proof-read about half of two novels, for two different authors.  This past year, I had the privilege of beta-reading (proof-reading, character and plot development suggestions) for two new authors.  There are no cover pictures because they have not been published yet, hopefully soon.

Tom Elias – Degree Of Separation

Moon

Sci-Fi mystery

Will Greaney – The Last Ride

Tank

Army mystery

Aside from my posts (Thank you!  Thank you!), what have you guys been reading?

Archon – The Early Work Years

My mother worked every day of her life, both as a mother and wife, inside the home, and later, as a fellow-wage-earner, outside it.  This was before automation, and often before electrification.  She instilled in me early, a strong work-ethic.  Between ages eight and twelve, I had three paper-routes for two different newspapers.

The first job I remember her having was as a waitress at the lunch bar/dining room of a local hotel.  Since she worked from 11 till 3, my brother and I ate our lunch where she worked.  I remember a lot of hamburgers and fries, or hotdogs and fries, and the reduced cost of our meals came out of her earnings.

She eventually developed a circle of people she cleaned homes for, both year-round residents and summer visitors.  She was requested to do more than just clean.  She cooked food for soirees, and served as waitress.  A tiny woman, there were often things she wasn’t strong enough to do.  From 12 to 16, I occasionally worked with her, taking down shutters or storm windows, putting up screens, cleaning out garages or storage sheds, mowing lawns, trimming trees, and sweeping or shovelling sand off sidewalks and driveways.

One customer my mother had, was a grumpy old fart who owned a convenience-store and eight cabins near the beach.  He made most of his money during the summer months.  Since my birthday was in September, and I had to be 16 to get a summer job in a factory, she arranged for me to work for him in the summer of 1960, for the lordly sum of 50 cents/hour.  Nothing difficult or complex, a retail clerk.  I took money, made change, directed customers to product, kept an eye out for shoplifters, stocked shelves, swept up and hand-dipped ice-cream cones.

One slow, hot afternoon, I made myself a cone.  The old man came in the back door just as I was putting money in the till to pay for it, and asked me what I was doing.  When I explained, he told me of the girl he’d had the summer before.  She just about ate him out of house and store.  Pop, chips, candy bars, ice-cream cones, and never thought to pay for any of it.  He was impressed with my honesty.

The next year, my father arranged a summer job at the R.C.A. Victor plant where he worked.  For the first week, I moved raw material, sanded some edges, and wiped dust off cabinets about to be packed.  For this, I was paid $1.27/hr.  After last summer’s 50 cents, I was rich.

They moved me to the spray-finishing department.  TV and stereo cabinets came in on rollers from a half a dozen assemblers.  I was to take them off the rollers, and place them on large trays which would carry them by chain-drive through the spray booths.  One of the sprayers came over to tell me that, I could probably move the individual TV cabinets by myself, but the five and six-foot long stereo cabinets needed two people to move safely.  While they liked a mix of big and small on their line, he told me to accumulate several big ones at the end of the rollers, and call him or one of the other guys, who would help me load up a batch at a time.

While I got an hourly wage, these guys were paid piece-work.  They lost money every time I called them.  About the third day, a little light went on.  I walked up the line, and gave the next empty tray a pull.  Sure enough, the drive pin to the chain wasn’t attached, it was merely pushed.  I could pull a tray forward till it touched the end of the previous one, and it would just sit there till the drive caught up to it.  This gave me lots of time to swivel one end of a big cabinet out, and place it at one end, then move to the other end and safely repeat the process.

About the end of the next week, my spray booth guy suddenly commented that the cabinets were randomly mixed and I hadn’t requested any assistance.  When I explained my process, he was thrilled.  They could do it that way when they didn’t have an assistant, and could teach next year’s intern.

Next year I worked there again, just not in that department.  The wage scale had increased to $1.34/hr.  I was rich as Croesus.  Good thing too, I had a car to support.  The plant shipped most of its output in train cars.  I and another young lad were given the job of loading the boxed cabinets into the cars.  The work was sporadic.  A batch would be inspected and packed and sent down a delivery belt, to a set of rollers.  It was our job to roll them out and stack them in the car. 

Often we would finish one lot before another came down.  Since the shipping department was right outside the office, it would not do to have us standing around.  The shipping foreman told us that, if we weren’t loading, we were to be in one of the cars.  He said that we could eat, read, play cards, go across the street to the store, even sleep, but when he stuck his head in to say there was another shipment, we’d better be there, and ready.

My assistant got a case of the runs one day, and was gone for a lonngg time.  Another batch started and was piling up on the delivery belt.  I used the same system I had the year before, only vertically.  I pushed a row against the wall, then another row in front, then lifted the next one up by one end and pushed it back.  Put another row in front and pushed some more up, then repeat, using layer two to lift layer three.  By the time he got back, I had packed the entire lot myself, and the foreman never even knew he was missing.

I was just too damned dedicated.  If there was a job to be done, I was the fool who done it, but I think it made me a better me, and helped me get jobs later in life when I badly needed one.  I feel my work ethic shone through.