’22 A To Z Challenge – H

 

Benny Hill!  Benny Hill!  Benny Hill!

What can you say about Benny Hill?

He was a mediocre actor, a funny TV comic, and a brilliant writer and comedian.  To be the writer and comedian, he was also a brilliant linguist, sometimes making puns and jokes in two and three languages.

He got “Son of a bitch!” past the BBC censors by claiming that a French skit character spoke of, ‘Ze sun, over ze beach.’

He talked about having a bent wood chair in his dressing room.  Not a Bentwood Chair – but a bent wood chair, because his dressing room was in the damp, BBC basement.

With the moving of a couple of letters on a sign, he turned
Dr. Johnson
the
rapist

Into

Dr. Johnson
therapist

Not only was he familiar with French and German, but quite knowledgeable about regional British accents, where, if you travelled 50 miles, the common folk could not be understood, and bread rolls had changed names.  Sometimes he used words and phrases that those born on this side of the pond didn’t recognize.

Once, he wrote a bit, making fun of a commercial from Cheer detergent, which had just begun selling in the UK.  We’ll take two dress shirts, and pour blackberry juice on both of them.  Then we’ll wash one of them in Applaud detergent, (So no-one could accuse him of making fun of Cheer) and the other one in Ben’s Cleanso.  Flash out – flash in.  And there you see it friends (Both shirts still badly stained)  Not a haip o’ the difference.

HAIP

haip = “wattle, sheaf or heap of straw etc.”
(Therefore – something small, or inconsequential)
And you thought that the word for H was going to be Benny HILL.

I took its meaning from context, but I had to wait for Al Gore to invent the Internet, and then wait some more until stable genius (Like Mr. Ed), Donald Trump perfected it, to meet its parents online.  I still haven’t, really.  I finally found one word-site which gave the definition, but only said that it was British dialect, and very rare.  It did not say what area dialect, although I suspect Northumbria/Yorkshire – up north, away from London and the universities, where the poor folk live.  If this word were coined in the US, it would be from Appalachia.

Helpful fellow-blogger and word-nerd Daniel Digby, just introduced me to wordhistories.net, a Frenchman living in Lancashire, who blogs about etymology.  At first I shook my head about a Frenchie in England but it makes as much sense as a Quebecois in Ontario.  It’s 300 miles from London to Paris, and 300 miles from Toronto to Montreal.  Perhaps he’s more successful wrestling search engines than I am.  When I get back from Merriam-Webster on Wednesday, we can have a few laughs.   😆

Mistaken Identity

It’s a pandemic of poseur, Pocahontas Pretendians.  America has had a recent deluge of government functionaries at all levels, falsely claiming to have Native Heritage.  It happened again!  Two more Canadian female Federal politicians, one of them the Assistant Minister of Indigenous Affairs, have been found to be pretending to have Native blood.

This goes back as far as around 1900, when an English writer came to Canada, became a trapper, called himself Grey Owl, and lived with two different Indian women to get experience and information to write a book about ‘Being An Indian.’

In the 1970s, an Italian-American styled himself as an Indian named Iron-Eyes Cody.  The government even paid him to be in an ecological TV advertisement about keeping the highways clean by not throwing trash out of cars.

While there was money to be made, these two were unusual.  Until about fifty years ago, it was considered quite déclassé for a white person to be deemed even partly indigenous, any more than being thought to be even partly Negro.

Slowly that changed.  Twenty years ago, Eileen Edwards, a white chick from Windsor, called herself Shania Twain, in celebration of her non-existent Native Heritage.  Ten years ago, Justin Bieber claimed that he was enough Indian to get free gasoline, when even full-blooded natives had to pay.

It’s become a cottage industry.  Scarcely a week goes by without another claimant being exposed.  It’s hardly an official diagnosis, but I have been told that it is a form of Indigenous Munchausen’s.  People who are nothing and nobody as a white person, claim Native background and receive sympathy as a member of an oppressed minority.  They get undeserved respect, more than their fifteen minutes of fame, and often, impressive and well-paying positions.

It’s often unclear whether these people are intentionally lying, or whether they actually believe their delusions.  A little from Column A (Or here in Canada, Column Eh.), a little from Column B.

’20 A To Z Challenge – U

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s New Pussycat? Whoaoo-oaoo-oaoo-whoa!  Tom Jones says, It’s Not

UNUSUAL

to hit a bit of writers block, but that’s old news.

What is also not unusual is that, like many other entertainment personalities, the Welsh singer, TOM JONES, isn’t.  He is Sir Thomas John Woodward OBE.  Jones is the most common Welsh surname, although there does not seem to be any among his immediate ancestors.

I can find no proof that he assumed the name Tom Jones because of a desire to reference the raunchy 1749 English novel with that name, which enjoyed a resurgence and republishing, just as he was beginning his public career.

Still, at the height of his popularity, inside industry observers estimated that he was having sex with up to 250 female fans per year.  His son/manager says that he is astounded and embarrassed that even into his 60s and 70s, female audience members were throwing panties with their phone number onstage.

So, I you got screwed without even a kiss, because Creativity bailed out and went for a beer, Desperation moved into the pilot’s seat, and barely landed a post with a U word in it.

I could go on a #MeToo rant, about guys like Bill Clinton, Harvey Weinstein, Peter Nygard, Jeffrey Epstein, Randy Prince Andy, Keith Raniere and Bill Cosby.  Men like this regard themselves, and are regarded by others, as alpha males, somehow entitled to unlimited sex with an unlimited number of females.  Sadly, these actions and attitudes are also not unusual.  Cosby’s only difference was that he had a kink where he preferred his victims unconscious.  All they have done is bring the concept of droit du seigneur up to date into the modern, electronic age.

I won’t do that (Too late!) because this post is already too depressing.  I’ll have something a little more upbeat in a couple of days.  C U then.  😀

The Need For Myths

Fairy Tale

Myths are stories of our search through the ages for truth, for meaning, for significance. We all need to tell our story and to understand our story. We all need to understand death and to cope with death, and we all need help in our passages from birth to life and then to death.

It may really not be possible to do away with myths. The myth is as much a part of the human need as the allure of it. Even when one does not want to, there will come a time when a person feels the need for a story. This inner need expresses itself as a search, or as a desire. It may come early in life or it may come late. Nevertheless, a person who thinks, is bound to realize a sense of emptiness. Nothing but a story could fill it. All a person would want or hope for is to find a good story, and then, live it.

Finding one’s myth

This is where one person differs from another. It’s easy to understand. What isn’t easy to understand is always, why one person chooses one story to understand his reality, while someone else chooses another. It is to be understood that: Till the time a person finds the story – the myth – that satisfyingly explains his existence and gives purpose to his mind, his soul, the power within is still not released. It is looking for its expression. The myth provides the expression. Only then, when one goes deep into his personal myth, is it no longer just a story, but life itself. Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.

Every culture ought to provide a satisfying myth to the people it holds – one might say – captive. Yes, cultures hold at least some persons captive, while the vast majority are simply organized by it. This is what we understand to be a society. Is that not true? The exceptional individuals of society – the artists, the searchers, the thinkers, and the visionaries – if they succeed in finding their creativity-unlocking-myth, will then become the heroes and the leaders. They may even one day become legends that others recall with some fondness and some fear.

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

2017 Books Read

That title is a calendar reference, not mathematical. I did not read two thousand and seventeen books – I’ve probably read twice that many in my lifetime – just not all last year.

With the daughter’s power wheel chair missing, the wife’s two knee replacement surgeries, more visits to more doctors, and the discovery of yet another crossword puzzle site, my book reading fell off significantly. From 51 books in last year’s post, I was down to about 25 in 2017.

I also reread a few old sci-fi books that I didn’t count, and a few on the list are 700/800 page – one even 1200 page – super-books, the equivalent of 2 or 3 books each. Here’s what occupied some of my time

Charles E. Gannon -Commander Cantrell In The West Indies

1636 Commander Cantrell in the West Indies

Another in the ‘1632’ series about a modern Tennessee town transported back in time, and how the inhabitants struggle to survive, both politically and literally.  Sadly, it’s all alternate history, and no real action, just a reason to sell another 800-page blah book.

Mark Greany – The Grey Man – On TargetOn Target

The Gray Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the ghost writers for the now-deceased Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Jr. series, this author has one of his own action series about an ex-CIA assassin, forced to go independent.

Tom Clancy’s – Full Force And Effect – On Target

Full Force And EffectUnder Fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Clancy’s name is the one that still attracts readers, but Mark Greaney and Grant Blackwood are two of 3 or 4 contract writers who pump them out.

Lee Child – Night School

Night School

After four years, I’m caught up.  It has been a most enjoyable series.  There will be one more Jack Reacher book this year, one more Dan Brown novel, and one more Ilona Andrews ‘Magic’ book in 2018.

Ilona Andrews – Magic Binds

Magic Binds

I got out of ‘Magic’ Sci-Fi about 30 years ago, but this series has lots of diverse character and plot development, thought and planning, and action.

Steve Perry – Patriot Threat

The Patriot Threat

A Dan Brown type of author, with a wide range of plot ideas, very enjoyable, but with just not quite the same OOMPH.

James Rollins – Blood Line – The Eye Of God

Blood Line

The Eye Of God

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like Steve Perry, above, a good, solid action/adventure author.

Clive Cussler – Plague Ship

Plague Ship

While not dead, like Clancy, Cussler is old enough that he is co-writing with his son Dirk, and a couple of other commercial writers, as well as establishing the story arc and parameters, and letting them loose.

Will Adams – The Lost Labyrinth

The Lost Labyrinth

A fresh young writer who isn’t likely to die before I do.  His books (so far) are about action and intrigue around Middle Eastern archeological sites.

E.E. (Doc) Smith – Subspace Encounter

Subspace Encounter

A re-read that I downloaded a cover for.  I also re-read his ‘Skylark’ series, The Skylark of Space, Skylark Three, Skylark of Valeron, and Skylark Duquesne.  This year I hope to re-read all 12 of his ‘Family D’Alembert’ series.  While not as prolific as Isaac Asimov, Doc still pumped out almost 50 novels in four different series.

E.C. Tubb – Earth Is Heaven – Melome – Angado – Symbol Of Terra

Earth Is HeavenMelome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AngadoSymbol of Terra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I lost this series about 20 years ago, after reading the first 26 episodes.  I recently thought of it again, and found that there were seven more available on Kindle.  The original author wrote to number 31 before he died.  He left notes for novel number 32, which his estate hired another commercial writer to assemble.  The story arc almost got the hero home to Earth, so he wrote a happily-ever-after finale to this epic tale.  I read four of them in 2017, and plan to finish the other three this year.

James S. A. Corey – Leviathan Wakes

Leviathan Wakes

Recommended by BrainRants, this is the first of five books, being made into a television series on SYFY, which I can’t get here in Canada.  The hero ‘acquires’ a slightly outdated destroyer spaceship, and renames it Rocinante, after Don Quixote’s horse, establishing the whole ’tilting at windmills’ flavor of the story.

Robert Asprin/Linda Evans – Tales Of The Time Scouts II

Tales of the Time Scouts II

Another adventure into the paradoxes of time travel.  This is actually 800 pages of two related stories in one (large) book.

Thomas Cathcart/Daniel Klein – Plato And A Platypus Walk Into A Bar

Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar

Another recommended book, although, with apologies, I can’t remember the nice gentleman’s name.  (Stand up Sign in and take a bow.)  This one explores the philosophy and psychology of jokes and humor.  I can’t find its companion, ‘Aristotle And An Aardvark Go To Washington’ in Canada.  I’ll wait till the next time we order something from Amazon, and add it to the order to get free shipping.

Well, that’s (more than) enough about me.  Besides my output, what did you read last year??

2017 A To Z Challenge – B

Challenge2017

When I sieved out the following list of B-word prompts, I was struck by how many of them could apply to me.  Rather than choosing only one, here are some random thoughts about a few of them.

Bibliophile
blood
baggage
belief
bold
books
beach
barn
blog

Letter B

My home town is halfway up the East coast of Lake Huron, in Ontario. It has 3 miles of lovely warm, soft, white sand beach.  It has become a vacation haven, and tourism is a large part of its financial wellbeing.

The town to the south gets only 1 mile of shoreline. The tiny tourist village to the north sits in the center of 10 miles of sandy shore.  Access to the water is good, and the swimming is wonderful but, in both cases, the sand barely reaches above the water level, and their beaches are flat, hard and damp.

My mother constantly read to me as a child, and I learned to read quite young. I became a bibliophile, a lover of books.  I am also a logophile, a lover of words, but all the wonderful words are in the wonderful books, so we’ll discuss that later.

Ray Bradbury said, “Libraries raised me.” My tiny little town had a tiny little library, about the size of a medium house.  It was only open two days a week.  The volunteer librarian was a former teacher.  It was here that I learned early, the value of linguistic precision.

The fine for late books was 2 cents, biweekly.  The intent was for 2 cents, per book, for each of the 2 weekly open days.  I stood beside a man who went and got a dictionary to show the librarian that ‘biweekly’ also meant ‘every two weeks.’  He would pay 2 cents, but not the 8 cents that she demanded.

A local man became a mining engineer. He located an ore field in Northern Ontario, staked a claim, and sold the rights to a mining firm which would extract the minerals.  With the initial payout and ongoing royalties, he retired early, as the town’s richest resident.

He and his wife were great readers, but they never had children. When his wife died, and he was facing his own mortality, he donated a large portion of his fortune to the municipality, to be used to build a library in memorial to his wife.  We got a fairly large (for a small town) new library, right beside the Town Hall.  His bequest bought lots more books, and an annuity paid for hired staff.

When I moved 100 miles to Kitchener for employment, it was easy to pack my luggage. I had very little.  I also had to pack my baggage – my propensity for procrastination, my learning disorders, my neurological syndrome which causes poor physical control and lousy short-term memory, as well as my autistic-type inability to read social cues, and make and hold friends.

I am more methodical, determined, and tenacious; I would never be described as bold. Having survived an interesting, if not terribly thrilling life, now in the twilight of my years, I can put these thoughts and remembrances down, and publish them in my blog.   😀

 

A to Z Challenge – I

April Challenge

I spy with my little I – a whole bunch of stuff that starts with ‘I’. Aye, aye!

Letter I

Illusion – Allusion – Elusion

Illusion
noun
something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.
the state or condition of being deceived; misapprehension.
an instance of being deceived.

allusion
noun
a passing or casual reference; an incidental mention of something, either directly or by implication:

the act of alluding; the making of a casual or indirect reference to something:

elusion
noun
the act of eluding; evasion.

Idiot
noun
The old fart who thought he could just compose 26 interesting alphabetical posts.

I was under the illusion that I was a competent writer.  I made an allusion to my extensive vocabulary.  The elusion of literary greatness rankles and sobers me.

Speaking of sober….

Intoxicated
verb (used with object), intoxicated, intoxicating.
to affect temporarily with diminished physical and mental control by means of alcoholic liquor, a drug, or another substance, especially to excite or stupefy with liquor.

to make enthusiastic; elate strongly, as by intoxicants; exhilarate: 

The prospect of the success of this post intoxicated me.  I was enthusiastic, but reality stupidified stupefied me, and diminished my mental abilities. 

The drunken pick-up couple stagger out of the bar. He says, “I’m stiff.”  She says, “I’m tight.”…and they’re both lying.

This demonstration of my restricted talents has made me quite

Insecure
adjective
subject to fears, doubts, etc.; not self-confident or assured:
an insecure person.
not confident or certain; uneasy; anxious:

Insincere
adjective
not sincere; not honest in the expression of actual feeling; hypocritical.

I am not being insincere, when I say that I would like a bunch of visitors – and a pile of views….but I’ll settle for a few nice warm ‘likes.’

I thank you!    😀

 

Sunshine And Lollipops

sunshine2

In my 300 post, I mentioned, again, the fact that some of the long-established bloggers are disappearing, or cutting back on their volume of posting, due to life changes. I thought by now, that just about everybody had a blog, except perhaps, coots even older than me – and yet, new ones keep popping up.

One such new one is Cordelia’s Mom. She must be the youngest retiree ever. Such a lovely lady can’t possibly be almost as old as I am. I know she’s not as surly. Cordelia doesn’t have much to say, but her Mom is full of wit and wisdom. Click on the link above to go have a look for yourself.

Mom has been blogging for about six months. We often use the same tags on our posts, so I kept running into her, and began commenting. Perhaps intrigued by the lack of references to psychiatric treatment, she started visiting my site.

I received my first blog award when I had only published 14 posts, and didn’t really know what to do about it. Similarly, Cordelia’s Mom recently received two awards. One was the Sisterhood of The World Bloggers Award, welcoming her to the distaff side of writing and soul-baring. The other was The Sunshine Award.

Since I don’t qualify for the “Sisters” award, she kindly passed on a version of the Sunshine Award to me. To prove how well she knows me already, in her nomination post, she lists me as Grumpy Old Dude – Archon’s Den. She sent a big chunk of Sunshine my way. I’ll just have to reflect it on you as best I can.

This is my kind of award. Other than acknowledging receipt of it, there are no rules. It’s just a way of showing that other bloggers are aware of and appreciate you, and perhaps bring a few more readers to your site, by being part of an ever-widening circle of writers.

By begging and whining to the wife, but without actually tripping over my ego, I managed to get a copy of the Sunshine Award graphic installed at the top of this post, just to prove that I’m not hallucinating (again). I thank Cordelia’s Mom effusively for including me in her group of worthy recipients.

I don’t have to answer any questions, or make up new ones. I don’t have to reveal even more about myself, which is good. There’s only so much toilet paper on a roll. Once it’s empty, it’s empty.

My co-defendant buddy, Oscar the Grouch, tells me that I can take The Fifth – even though we don’t have it here in Canada – and not actually nominate anybody else for this award, to protect my persona. He and I are going to do some tequila shots, put a big platter of nachos out of our misery, and watch the Die Hard marathon. If anybody wants to make something out of that, just knock on the garbage can lid.

I Can Read You Like A Book

I’ve read books all my life.  As I saw myself getting near to retirement, I laid in a stock to keep me interested, and my time filled.  There must be 25 or 30 lying around the house that I haven’t got to yet, with more arriving all the time. I promised poor Art Browne @ Pouringmyartout, that I would read his eBook by October, and here it is January.

I discovered blogging, and, composing my own pitiful output, as well as reading and commenting on what you guys write, has cut down on my book-reading somewhat.  The busiest year I ever had was 1977, when I read 72 books in the calendar year.  Usually I read about a book a week, or about 50 a year.  This past couple of years, the totals have been less.  In 2013 I read 31 books.  The following is a list of how I spent some of my time.

The first two batches are the community writing I posted about.  They are credited to a “James Axler”, but no such author exists.  Instead, 8 or 9 writers for each series, rotate publishing a book a month.

Deathlands Series:  Hell Road Warriors1-Hell Road Warriors

This is the book I had the most trouble with.  The action scenes are fine, but the story starts 50 miles from my home town.  Early in the book I was already saying, “That highway doesn’t connect to that one.”  Then it goes north across Lake Huron.  This is the passage where they got there early to get a good birth on the ferry, but forgot to chalk the wheels, and the breaks failed.

Then they went through the Soo Locks, to get into Lake Superior.  The “locks” are giant log and steel constructions, pulled across the river by 40 pairs of oxen, to prevent unpaid passage.  This ignores the 21 foot difference in water level between the two lakes.  Every chapter, sometimes every page had a word misusage.  This is probably the straw that broke this reader’s back.

2-Palaces of Light 3-Wretch Earth 4-Crimson Waters 5-No Man's Land

 

 

 

Palaces of Light – Wretched Earth – Crimson Waters – No Man’s Land

****

Outlanders Series:

1-Dragon City 2-God War 3-Gensis Sinister

 

 

 

 

Dragon City – God War – Genesis Sinister

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One Day on MarsTravis S. Taylor – One Day on Mars

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1-Grantville Gazette IV 2-The Eastern Front 3-The Saxon Uprising

Eric Flint – Grantville Gazette IV – The Eastern Front – The Saxon Uprising

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4-The Tangled Web (Virginia DeMarce)

Virginia DeMarce – The Tangled Web

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5-The Papal Stakes (Charles E. Gannon)

Charles E. Gannon – the Papal Stakes

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1-Overkill 2-Undercurrents

Robert Buettner – Overkill – Undercurrents

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1-Killing-Floor 2-Die-Trying 3-Trip-Wire

Lee Child – Killing Floor – Die Trying – Tripwire

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1-Sinai Secret 2-Voodoo Fury

Greg Loomis – Sinai Secret – Voodoo Fury

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Fire Ice

Clive Cussler – Fire Ice

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1-The Knowland Retribution 2-The Lacey Confession

Richard Greener – The Knowland Retribution – The Lacey Confession

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1-Tinker 2-Wolf Who Rules 3-Elfhome

Wen Spencer – Tinker – Wolf Who Rules – Elfhome

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1-The Human Division

John Scalzi – The Human Division

This book was originally 13 long chapters, essentially short stories, published in an on-line journal.  They have the same general group of people, on and off the same interstellar spacecraft, but the paper and print compilation seems somewhat disconnected.

*

2-The Inquisitor's Key

Jefferson Bass – The Inquisitor’s Key

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3-Deep Fathom

James Rollins – Deep Fathom

This is the first in a series new to me.  There are eleven more, and all available at no cost from an on-line library – if I can wrestle the Kobo away from the wife occasionally.

*

4-The Righteous Mind

Jonathan Haidt – The Righteous Mind, Why good people are divided by politics and religion

This is the deepest and most educational book I read all year.  The author explains how and why people make certain thoughts and ideas “sacred”, even when others, or the evidence, don’t agree with them.  It gave some nice insights into puzzling behavior.  I’m almost proud of myself for reading this one.

We all read, because we all write.  Anybody else want to brag about a book or two you’ve recently read?