Flash Fiction #183

Retirement Village

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

RETIREMENT VILLAGE

Wuz anybody famous ever born here? Y’alls gotta be jokin’! We wuz gonna have Thoreau Theodore, thuh weather-forecastin’ prairie-dog, but thuh little varmint wouldn’t come outta hiz hole. Wouldn’t matter if’n he seen hiz shadow or not, we’d jest git ‘nother six weeks of whatever’s outside.

Some Eastern dude retired here. Place useta be called Nowheresville – motto, “Civilization’s Thataway ->”. Folks renamed the town after him. Think he wrote a book – sumpin’ about fishin’ at some pond, ah think. Doan know why ennybuddy with a pond ta fish in, would come to a place like this, drier than a popcorn fart.

***

Click to hear ‘Wild Horses,’ Canadian Gino Vanelli singing about parts of the US where the population density is so low, that you can be, “a hundred miles out of town.”

***

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

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Neither Fish Nor Fowl

Ruler

Canada became metric in 1973….  Or did it??!

So, there was Canada, wedged between England and the United States.  We measured things with the Imperial System – all except where the British 160 ounce gallons, the 40 ounce quarts, and the 20 ounce pints became the wimpy, American Lite 128 oz. gallons, 32 oz. quarts, and 16 oz. pints – and except where you bought a pint of beer, and it was only 12 ounces.

In “Metric” Canada, you can’t buy a pound of butter; you get a 454 gram block.  The wife’s Not-Legally-Pint and Quart glass canning jars are 473ML, and 946ML.  A 12 American ounce can of Pepsi is 355ML in Canada.  At least Canada is not alone in this No-Man’s-Land.  I recently found that the serving ‘Standard’ for beer in Australia is 256ML – or, an 8-ounce cup.  The only time an Aussie bar ever serves just 8 ounces, is to some opal-miner’s 10-year-old daughter.

The weather forecast on the radio doesn’t say that we’ll get an inexact 2 to 3 centimeters of snow, it says that we’ll receive 2 ½ centimeters, because the old guy at Environment Canada still says that it’ll snow an inch.

I thought that all this back and forth might confuse immigrants who are thoroughly embedded in the Metric System, but the Polish women at the EuroFoods store seem to be just as capable of dishing out 300 grams of sliced salami, as they are ¾ of a pound.

We’ve only been at this Metric thing for 45 years now, and with typical Canadian lack of determination, we still haven’t fully committed to it.  This is about the softest conversion that I’ve ever seen.  I wonder if there’s some type of Metric Viagra that could firm things up a bit.  😆

As usual, I hope to see you here again in a couple of days.  Now, let’s see.  In Metric, that’s….  😳  Oh well, come back whenever you like.

Complete And Correct

Calipers

Used properly, the English language is one of nuance and precision.  Used as many of the great unwashed do….it’s a wonder that even the pizza order is correct.

I have quoted Mark Twain’s admonition that “There’s a mighty difference between lightning, and a lightning bug.”

I recently stumbled across a blog post about euphemisms;

Euphemisms are generally used to change something icky into something more palatable. As George Carlin said, “Sometime in my life—no one asked me about this—toilet paper became bathroom tissue. The dump became the landfill. And partly cloudy became partly sunny.”

I heard Carlin’s debut album, shortly after it came out.  It was funny.  His later work – not so much.  It’s difficult to be funny for 40 years.  He began to make fun of the English language.  I didn’t find it terribly funny, because it was neither complete nor correct.

None of the above are euphemisms.  Early toilet paper was paper….like pages from a Sears catalog.  It beat using a corn cob. Soon, it was transformed into soft, absorbent tissue, used all through the bathroom, for applying skin cream, removing makeup, blotting lipstick, (a single square is faster and cheaper than an entire Kleenex) blowing your nose, or as emergency feminine hygiene material.  It is no longer paper, used only on the toilet.

We used to just dump and abandon garbage – hence, DUMP.  Nowadays, waste is shredded, some is incinerated, compost starter and soil is added and mixed, and the lot is bulldozed and landscaped into a re-usable landfill.

Media weather language is precise.  There are seven words to describe skies – from overcast, to cloudy, to partly sunny, to scattered (clouds), to partly cloudy, to sunny, to clear.  Partly sunny is 10% open sky.  Partly cloudy is 10% cloud.  They are not even vaguely the same.  One did not turn into the other, no matter what George falsely claims.

George lost me as a customer when he claimed that there were 3 words – flammable, inflammable, and non-flammable.  “Why 3??  Either it flams, or it doesn’t flam.”  Just a minute George, flammable means that something will burn.  Inflammable means that it will immediately, vigorously burst into flame.  A block of wood is flammable.  An open pail of gasoline is inflammable, so, there are 4 words, flammable – non-flammable, inflammable – non-inflammable.  If you’re going to bitch about something, even for comedy, it really helps your credibility if you know what you’re talking about.

I was in a medical center the other day, where an information station was set up under an umbrella. Emblazoned on the umbrella were the words SERVICE AMBASSADOR. I find nothing distasteful about the word INFORMATION, but I am entertained by the thought of a group meeting to find a supposedly better (and definitely more pompous) description of the services offered under that umbrella. SERVICE AMBASSADOR: Do you suppose the, ahem, ambassadors who staff that desk need congressional confirmation?

Like ‘toilet paper’, above, ‘Information desks’ have developed to provide far more services than mere information.  Every English-speaking country in the world has Ambassadors.  I can only hope that it was a vain attempt at humor, and not narrow-minded American provincialism that she felt any of them require U S Congressional confirmation.

Loblaw’s food chain came forward, and admitted to price-fixing on bread.  A letter to a newspaper complained that their fraud conviction was ironic.  1 – By voluntarily admitting wrong-doing, they received immunity from prosecution – so, no conviction.  2 – The bread was exactly as advertised, just too expensive.  What they did, was price-fixing, not fraud.  3 – What is ironic, is that the guy who complained, hasn’t got a clue what he’s talking about.

Come on people, Stop, Think, Understand!  English is a beautiful, accurate, expressive language.  Please learn to use it correctly.  That’s what I ask for.  What I’ll probably get….is that guy’s Hawaiian pizza.  😯

’17 A To Z Challenge – R

Challenge2017

The word ‘Roundhouse’ has two, very different but connected meanings, so, for the letter

letter-r

I’m going to tell you about them.

Roundhouse Slang. A punch in which the arm is typically brought straight out to the side or rear of the body and in which the fist describes an exaggerated circular motion.

This is a type of punch that is usually not thrown until a jab or a hook has stunned an opponent, and his defenses are (slightly) open, because it opens the defense of the fighter who is throwing it. The large circular motion is necessary to accumulate speed and striking power.

At the height of his career, I saw Bruce Lee demonstrate, what he called ‘A One Inch Punch.’ He stood before a sparring partner, tightly clenched his fist and held it 1 inch from his opponent’s chest.  He then wound up his ‘punching muscles’ while holding back, like a dragster revving the engine, but standing on the brakes.

When he had achieved maximum dynamic tension, he suddenly extended his arm, and the victim went stumbling backward. But that was not a punch! That was a push, a powerful push, but a push.  Even a dragster cannot achieve its top speed in its own length.  A punch requires time and distance to amass its total potential

Roundhouse II

a building for the servicing and repair of locomotives, built around a turntable in the form of some part of a circle.

My home town was the end of a railroad line. Another spur on the other side of the peninsula extended all the way to the northern tip.  Train engines can push backward, as well as pull forward, but pulling is more efficient.  Normally, at rails’ ends, and any other place where locomotives have to turn around, roundhouses are used to give them a 180° spin.

My town though, grew up because it was a Great Lakes Port. Besides the river docks, a long stone pier was built out to the offshore island, offering storm protection.  The railroad was used to carry freight from Lake Huron, to Toronto and Lake Ontario, before the building of the Welland Canal, to get past Niagara Falls – grain to flour mills, lumber to the factories, iron ore to the steel mills.

As the railroad came north into town, a spur line branched off, and ran west, out to the end of the dock. The spur line branched back, and joined the main line ending at the station, forming a giant Y, with an empty triangle inside it.  The engines and cars which needed to be reversed, were merely backed up, and run forward around the Y.

We never needed an expensive and maintenance-intensive roundhouse. We did have a big railway building that was large enough to house a couple of locomotives, and cars which needed repair, out of the weather.  We called it ‘the roundhouse,’ but no engines ever got dizzy on a roundabout.

Now, the trains are all long gone, the tracks ripped up, the right-of-way is a hiking trail, and all that’s left are my fond memories. That feels like a roundhouse punch.   😦  😯

Elementary

Sherlock

Sherlock Holmes – Elementary Dear Watson

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, set up their tent, and fall asleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes his faithful friend.

– Watson, look up and tell me what you see.

Watson replies, – I see millions of stars.

– What does that tell you?

Watson ponders for a minute. – Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.
Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo.
Timewise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three.
Theologically, it’s evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant.
Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?

Holmes is silent for a moment, then speaks. –
Watson, you’re an idiot, someone has stolen our tent.

***

You’re not going to believe this!

A woman got a problem with her closet door – it was falling every time a bus was passing by. So she called a repair man. The repairman comes and sees that indeed, the door falls out every time when a bus passes by. “OK, I am gonna see what is going on, just close the door behind me” and he steps into the closet.

At that time the husband comes home from work, opens the closet and finds the repairman.
Husband: “What the hell are you doing here?”
Repairman: “Well, you are not going to believe it, but I am waiting for a bus!”

***

Who am I?

Night.
A sleeping couple is lying in a bed.
Door bell rings.
The couple wakes up.
Woman: “Quick! My husband is back!”
Man jumps out of a window.
On the way down, he starts to think: “Shit, I am the husband!”

***

Shoe repair shop

Arnold and his wife were cleaning out the attic one day when he came across a ticket from the local shoe repair shop. The date stamped on the ticket showed that it was over eleven years old. They both laughed and tried to remember which of them might have forgotten to pick up a pair of shoes over a decade ago.

“Do you think the shoes will still be in the shop?” Arnold asked.

“Not very likely,” his wife said.

“It’s worth a try,” Arnold said, pocketing the ticket. He went downstairs, hopped into the car, and drove to the store.

With a straight face, he handed the ticket to the man behind the counter. With a face just as straight, the man said, “Just a minute. I’ll have to look for these.” He disappeared into a dark corner at the back of the shop.

Two minutes later, the man called out, “Here they are!”

“No kidding?” Arnold called back. “That’s terrific! Who would have thought they’d still be here after all this time.”

The man came back to the counter, empty-handed. “They’ll be ready Thursday,” he said calmly.

***

It Beggars the Imagination

“Can you spare some change?” a beggar asks a passerby.
“No, I know you’re going to spend it all on vodka.”
“No, sir, I don’t drink.”
“Then you’ll gamble it away.”
“No, I don’t gamble either, sir.”
“Well then, you’re going to spend it on women.”
“No, sir, I don’t spend money on women.”
“Okay,” the passerby finally agrees, finally. “I’m going to give you $100 if you come with me. I want to show my wife an example of what can happen to a man who has no bad habits.”

Flash Fiction #68

Chivalry

CHIVALRY

It was a dark and stormy night when Sir Lilliput, King Arthur’s smallest knight requested shelter at the country inn, though he admitted “I fear I have no coin to pay.”

Being a dwarf, he’d had the blacksmith forge a child-sized suit of armor, but was too small for a charger. Instead, he saddled and rode a huge Flemish Mastiff.

A regular customer asked why the innkeeper fed him and his mount, and complained that he always demanded cash on the barrelhead of them.

“Look at the weather outside. I wouldn’t send a Knight out on a dog like that.”

***

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

Flash Fiction #60

Night sky

PHOTO PROMPT -© Madison Woods

THERE’S NO EXCUSE

It was a dark and stormy night. The clouds looked like God Himself had burned them, like marshmallows over a giant campfire, then stuck one of His fingers through, so that He could see the moon…..

Dear Ms Wisoff

Please forgive Archon for not completing his assignment on time this week. His girlfriend, Erato, abandoned him – again, and he’s been quite depressed.

He’s been in bed for days, with a cheap hooker and expensive blow bad case of flu. If you can excuse this one omission, he promises to have two bright Flash Fictions for next week.

Thanx

Mama Archon

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

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