WOW #55

CCI_000010

Here’s a word only my Grandmother would have used. Actually, she was too much of a stern, proper old lady to ever allow herself to be in a position to use the word

AMBUSCADE

an ambush.
to lie in ambush.
to attack from a concealed position; ambush.

Middle French emboscade < Old Italian imboscata,

When English riffled the pockets of other languages for words, sometimes the ears and mouth worked, but the eyes were busy elsewhere. Often, foreign words were inducted into English like a Manhattan – with a twist.

Manhattan

English is Larry The Cable Guy’s “Git ‘er done” language. It don’t have no time for all them extra little syllables. The Spanish ‘La Riata’ (something to retie with) becomes simply lariat, in English.

The word petty came from Old French petit, small, minor. So a Naval Petty Officer is not mean or ungenerous in small or trifling things, but rather of secondary rank, especially in relation to others of the same class or kind.

What was subtile (soob-teel) in French, somehow became subtle (suttle) in English. Check (a means of verification) went from English to Middle French, to become cheque, and then back. The German word pflug, became an English plough. Wisely, American English has made each of them (back) into check, and plow. In French, fait simply means, ‘made, completed, or done.’ When it got to England, it became quite a feat.

Elvis Presley’s birthplace, Tupelo Mississippi, is named for a local tree. I thought that it was Spanish. You don’t even want to know how it got into English, from the Creek Indian word, ito opilwa.

Why They Don’t Speak English

Stunned Emoji

Why do you study English??! We all speak it.   😳

The lights are on, but there’s nobody home.
The wheel isn’t turning. The hamster is dead.

Once upon a time, on a sunny September afternoon in 1958, I sat in a high school English class. We were studying Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice.’ The teacher had just read a passage, which included the phrase, “By dark and divers ways.”

The SCUBA diving system was a relatively recent invention, having only been patented by Jacques Cousteau 15 years earlier, in 1943. Suddenly, Biff, the class jock who sat in the row next to me, put up his hand. “Uh, Mr. Johnson, are they talking about guys who jump off cliffs, or that new SCUBA thingy?”

Mr. Johnson is bewildered. As far as he knew, we hadn’t been talking about people throwing themselves off cliffs – and he had no idea what a “SCUBA thingy” was. As he was stammering for a reply, I hissed at Biff, “Put an E on the end of it!”
“Whuh??
No talking in class!
Well, I was in it now. Might as well be hung for a sheep, as a lamb. “Put an E on the end of it!”
“Uh…. Edivers??”
That’s right Biff; there are two ends to a word. Only you would pick the wrong one. Now there were at least two confused people in the room.

“What’s going on back there?”

I stood up. I’m sorry Mr. Johnson. Biff saw the word ‘divers,’ and wondered if Shakespeare was talking about people who dive off things like cliffs, or if he was referring to the new mechanical system which allows people to be SCUBA divers, and breathe underwater, even though it didn’t exist 400 years ago.

We just came here from French class, where the French word ‘divers’ (dee-vare) means of many types, different, various. I was trying to tell Biff to add an E at the end, to produce the English word, ‘diverse.’

This led Mr. Johnson on a spirited lecture about the origin and changes to many English words, and got me off the hook. Biff probably went on to fame and fortune, and a football scholarship, while I can only define the word ‘obscure.’ He was regularly outwitted by the tackling dummy, and needed a handler to tie his shoes, ‘cause Velcro hadn’t been invented yet.

’19 A To Z Challenge – &*%$#

AtoZ2019

I was right! Somebody slipped something to me. I’m lucky it wasn’t a roofie at a bar. It took two of them, ganging up, to do it. Julius Caesar, aided and abetted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, reformed and refined the calendar commonly used today.

My publishing schedule is simple. There are 52 weeks in a year. There are 26 letters in the alphabet. Publish every two weeks – 26 x 2 = 52. It all comes out even, except….

52 weeks times 7 days, is only 364 days, and the year has 365. Each year starts a day later than the previous one – except that Leap Years add 2 days. In the 6 years that I’ve been doing the Challenge, I’ve gained 8 days – more than a week. It was either start doing a March Challenge, or add an excuse, an extra 2 week cushion, and an ad lib post.

Ampersand
Once the 27th letter of the alphabet
Click here for more info https://www.dictionary.com/e/ampersand/

Caesar and Il Papa lawyered up with a smart Jewish attorney. He told me to shift the blame to my old friend, the Ampersand. It was his fault that there was Plus a day or two each year. Old Amp is a bit archaic, and somewhat out of style these days. I felt some regret at betraying him, but it’s every blogger for himself these days.

Survivor

I guess I’m actually lucky to have survived this past year. I’ll have to try harder in the coming months.  😀

For those of you who thought that I might publish an extra comedy post…. the joke’s on you.  😉  😆

 

Flash Fiction #223

Inspiration

PHOTO PROMPT © Jeff Arnold

WHERE’S WALDO?

What’s here? Typewriter? Check. As old as me, but in better shape.
Coffee to rev me up – wine to smooth me out.
Notepad and pencil. Check.
Dictionary? Bah, I know the meaning of every word.
Enough light for old eyes. Cozy work desk!
Something’s missing!

I know! Two things – me…. and Inspiration.
What’s this??! Rochelle wrote two FFs? So, that’s where MY inspiration went. Erato, you traitor! I’m gonna binge watch The Masked Singer till you get back. Sarah Palin says her performance was the craziest thing she’s ever done. She apparently forgets, “I can see Russia from my house.” 😳

***

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

Wrong For The Right Reasons

dinosaur

A very atypical Christian Apologist published a post where he admitted that he accepted that the Universe came into existence 13.8 Billion years ago, and the Earth and the Solar system coalesced about 4.5 Billion years ago. He believed in Evolution but, desperate to keep his God’s fingers in, he posited a Creator which nudged and guided Earth’s development, until Mankind reached the exalted pinnacle.

***

I could believe in a Creator like this. The 2 problems are; such a being would not need or want, to be worshiped, obeyed, or called “God.” Second, it would not be the omnipotent, create everything in a snap of a non-existent finger, prayer-answering, miracle producing, sin-punishing “God” that most Christians (especially Apologists) believe in.

***

Why would such a being not want to be recognized as what he is: God? And if he made everything to work a certain way, why would he not want us to avoid screwing that order up and breaking things, i.e., obey him?

Also, if he has the power to create all things, which would imply that he has the power to make things be different than they are, wouldn’t this constitute at least some loose sense of “omnipotent”?

***

I am amused, but confused, with your use of the phrase, “loose sense of ‘omnipotent.” This joins ‘a little bit pregnant,’ and ‘partly dead!’ It’s either/or, yes or no, it either is, or it isn’t.

What you have described is a version of the ‘Watchmaker God,’ wind the Universe up, and let it run, or the ‘Power-Steering God,’ which lets existence pilot itself. You have invented a Gardener God. Actually, perhaps ‘He’ is not God. Perhaps ‘It’ is not omnipotent, and is unable to create the Earth and mankind instantly, through ‘magic’, but only through careful tending. Maybe this creature (not ‘The Creator’) is fertilizing and planting Someone else’s garden.

It is not the all-powerful Being, who wants – needs – demands – to be blindly obeyed, and worshipped as “God.” Do ants in an ant farm worship the little boy whose bedroom they are in? Does a tulip pray to the gardener, to become a rose? Would the gardener hear? Or care? Or be willing or capable to do it?? What you have described is not ‘God,’ but merely a being with more knowledge and power than we have – yet.

Why would you specify a predetermined order, and fear altering it? The purpose of doing, is learning. Change, and variety, is good. The wife raised some pepper plants on our deck. In one large planter, along with six jalapenos, we had a big tomato plant, apparently from a seed in the compost. It wasn’t wrong. It didn’t need to be controlled, or corrected. It was an interesting and educational occurrence. Vive le BLT!   😀

’19 A To Z Challenge – Z

AtoZ2019Letter Z

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun goes down, the tide goes out.
People gather ‘round and they all begin to shout.
Hey, hey, Elmer Fudd
It’s a treat for the elite to know that Archon is no dud.

Avatar

Ray Charles – Mississippi Mud

At least I think those are the lyrics. Click above to hear Ray Charles sing it, and check me out. I don’t know whether All the People gathered ‘round and shouted. I know I did! This post is about the letter Z. I have survived the 2019 A To Z Challenge.

Survivor

For the letter U, I claimed that I had a Useless tale of absolutely nothing. For the final letter of the year, I turn it completely around, and give you a Useful tale about nothing. It is interesting, how many terms for nothing, cluster at the end of the alphabet. For the letter Z, I give you

ZERO
ZIP
ZILCH

These are not terms that you want to slip into the weekly production meeting.
What did you accomplish this week, Hodgens??
Zero, Boss. Real zip. Absolutely zilch! I read all the Dilbert cartoons, to keep up with Wally‘s antics.
Well, you can do all that nothing from home, because that’s what we’re going to pay you.

Wally

Be especially careful with that last one. I had a female co-worker who went into paroxysms at the mere sound of it. It was the first time I found out that there are people who get angry, or ill, just hearing or reading certain words – ‘Moist,’ anyone? 😳

Even in the song above, I thought that, to rhyme with the Mississippi Mud title, the real lyrics mentioned “Uncle Judd.” When I researched it, I found that they sang about ‘Uncle Dud’ (Dudley), which is just another word for nothing, nothing useful, nothing productive.

Speaking of duds…. either I missed a letter, or somebody slipped an extra week into the calendar. Two weeks from today is not the first week of April, to begin the challenge anew. I’ll have to get productive and compose an extra, ad lib post. An extra joke post, anyone??

Flash Fiction #222

Vindication

PHOTO PROMPT © Ceayr

PRIDE OF PLACE

His fifty years of work history – half in factories, half in offices – was proudly productive, but not boastworthy. Finally, here in this little park, in his retirement, he was vindicated.

It began innocently. A young mother watching a child, wondered what ladies were like in the last century. Another day, a young boy asked if he’d driven any cars like the ones in the Cruise Night parade.

He waxed eloquent, weaving tales of similarities and differences. Soon, he had a small audience whenever he came here to sit – stories of this, remembrances of that. He had become the tribal elder.

***

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

It takes a village to raise a child, but sometimes it takes the village idiot to entertain one. 😉 😆