What’s It Worth?

I was just lounging in a big tub of nostalgia.  (Do I still have any on me?
When I was a kid, a dollar meant something, and there weren’t very many millionaires.

First, the farthing (quarter-penny) disappeared – then the half-pence – now, Canada’s penny is no more.  As inflation lops off the bottom, it piles more on top that we soon get used to.

I recently had the chance to re-watch the old movie, The Girl, The Gold Watch, And Everything.  The hero is accused of absconding with$27,000,000.  At first, I couldn’t understand the fuss that was being made.  Now, twenty-seven million is a nice piece of pocket-change.  As the embezzling Congressman said, “A million here – a million there – pretty soon it starts to add up.”  Pretty soon, mere millionaires are a dime-a-dozen.

The son dug out and lent me the John D. MacDonald book that the movie was based on.  He had the 1980, movie-novelization copy, but the book was originally written in 1962.  An online conversion site showed me that One 1962 Dollar – is worth $9.83 today.  The missing 27 million would be worth over a quarter of a $BILLION in 2021 – now that’s worth getting upset about.

This all reminded me of a television show that aired from 1955 to 1960, titled The Millionaire.  Each week, multi-millionaire John Beresford Tipton, had an agent GIVE a cashier’s cheque for $1,000,000 to someone he had chosen.  Tipton’s socio-psychological curiosity was the reason that the show then followed each recipient, to see what they did with the money.

One man who had lost his wife, was despondent, and convinced that he would never find such a love again.  He took a round-the-world cruise, met a sweet, young, available thing onboard, and it all worked out with soap-opera predictability.  One million, back then, would be the equivalent of $10/12 Million today.  The interest alone would accumulate so fast that they never need get off the ship, except to purchase a Rolls-Royce for each port.

The running gag in this show was that, like Charlie, in Charlie’s Angels, except for a hand passing off the cheque at the beginning of each show…. We never saw Tipton, and yet, when I went to research the show, there was a listing for Peter Frees – as Tipton

I had forgotten that voice actors get credits also.  Peter Frees is the most famous person that you’ve never seen.  He actually did three unseen voices during this series.  He has lent his dulcet tones to dozens of video games and dozens of animated movies.  His list of voice credits is longer than the late, great Mel Blanc – Ehhhhh, what’s up with that, Doc?

’20 A to Z Challenge – W

 

 

 

I recently told a reader that I spoke/wrote all my Scottish Gaelic in English.  I told another that I did the same thing with the Spanish that he contributed.  It seems so simple, yet it’s harder than it seems, because there is no English language.  Every word in the language came from somewhere – everywhere – else.

The English language imports words from other languages wholesale, and then claims them as its own.  Some words are ‘naturalized’ – accepted and commonly used – more, and more quickly than others.  Then there are words that only pretentious wordnuts (with the accent on Nuts) like me, are even aware of, much less occasionally use.  This brings us to today’s (and yesteryear’s) social-commentary word

WEISSNICHTWO

wise-nicked-woe

Its meaning in the original German was, not clear where.  It came into English with the more substantial, definitive meaning of know not where.  In almost two-hundred years, I’m sure it must have been used a few times.  It was dragged, kicking and screaming, into English in 1833 by the British writer, Thomas Carlyle.  It was made famous – or infamous – by its use in his Latin-titled book, Sartor Resartus.

Even back then, he used it to describe a First-World problem.  World cities, especially those in Europe, were losing their visual culture, and were becoming homogeneous, indistinguishable, one from another.  There were Jews in Belgrade, Arabs in Marseilles, and Irish in London.  If you roused from a drunken stupor and wandered into the streets, you wouldn’t know where you were, until you fell into the Thames, or the Seine, or the Moscow River – and with the state, or lack of, municipal sanitation, even not then.

He used the word Weissnichtwo as the name of an indefinite, unknown, or imaginary place, like Utopia, Brigadoon, or Shangri-La.  The problem situation has only got worse over the years.  With the ubiquitous McDonalds, Domino’s, and Starbucks, and rampant, often war-driven immigration, a traveler might be anywhere.

I imagine that you’re just over there, shaking your head at this word.  You could be much closer to my next post soon, if you pop back in a couple of days.  I promise not to use any of those big, foreign words.  Might even offer up a few chuckles.   😀

Flash Fiction #247

PHOTO PROMPT © Alicia Jamtaas

LEFT HANGING

Ah, the joys of being a writer.  At least I’ve identified my Flash Fiction.
Big deal!  We’ve got your number,

I downloaded Rochelle’s photo.
Ho Hum!  After only eight years of practice.

I have a title.
Life imitating art – again.

I have a theme.
Your therapist will be intrigued.

I have a bright, colorful story arc.
Which will not end in a pot of gold!

All I need now is a great finish, a fascinating denouement.  Think, Archon!
We’re sorry!  The inspiration that you are trying to reach is currently binge-watching The Expanse, on Amazon.  Please try again later.

***

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

Not For A Billion Dollars

Charles Ray Fuller, a Texas dumb-dumb, tried to cash a bogus check for $360 BILLION. To top it off, the check wasn’t even made out to him. He was arrested on forgery charges and sentenced to a million billion years in prison.

***

A West Palm Beach, FL man was arrested on a slew of charges, and was perhaps a bit too honest on his arrest report. He listed his occupation as “drug dealer” and was charged with being the most obvious criminal in the history of crime.

***

Things were looking up for Frank Singleton when he was released from jail. However, when he realized that he didn’t have a ride home, he walked straight into the prison parking lot and attempted to carjack a woman. He was foiled when he realized that he couldn’t drive a car with a stick shift. As he was re-arrested – this time, for felony carjacking – Singleton told police that he simply “didn’t feel like walking.” We’ve all been there.

***

Polish author Krystian Bala, might’ve gotten away with murder… if he hadn’t written about it in his book. His 2003 novel Amok became a bestseller in Poland, but he paid the price when police noticed that the details of a murder in the book eerily matched those of an unsolved case.

The similarities led the police to investigate further, discovering connections between Bala and the victim, including the fact that the victim was romantically involved with Bala’s ex-wife. Whether or not he was inspired by the OJ Simpson “novel” based on a similar subject is unknown. What is known that he received 25 years in prison.

***

The dumbest policeman in the world, who was making some extra cash with drugs and prostitution, was brought to justice after driving a $170,000 Ferrari to work. Osman Iqbal, an officer based in Birmingham England, was jailed for seven years for running a brothel.

***

John Pearce came to realize the hazards of daylight burglary when in the course of climbing through a window, his foot became caught, leaving him dangling upside-down in plain sight of pedestrians walking down the busy sidewalk. Onlookers proceeded to mock him mercilessly until police arrived.

***

A 22-year-old man in Mineral Wells, TX landed himself behind bars after allegedly posting on his Facebook page that he had more than a dozen warrants out for his arrest. The warrants ranged from traffic citations to petty theft and totaled more than $1,200 in fines.

***

Let it be known that you can now be arrested for ballin’ on a budget. William Anderson, 51, was arrested after attracting attention by applying for welfare while driving an H2 Hummer. Thinking it an odd sight, the local sheriff ran the plates, and the vehicle came up as stolen.

***

An Ohio man reportedly called 911 numerous times, threatening to harm himself, after he had downed an entire bottle of Everclear because his pet pig, Millie, had eaten all of his marijuana. He was charged with disorderly conduct and later said that he would keep his weed out of reach of his pot bellied pig.

***

A 56-year-old woman’s boldly idiotic defense in her trial for drunk driving was that the alcohol did not affect her because she kept one eye closed to avoid seeing double. She was sentenced to two months in prison. If she keeps her eye closed it could cut it down to one.

***

A Florida man and woman spent two days trapped in what they said they believed to be a locked closet – until police let them out and discovered that the door was actually never locked.

John Arwood and Amber Campbell claimed they were chased into a janitor’s closet at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, FL, by unidentified assailants. They were charged with trespassing and Campbell was also charged with violating her probation.

Flash Fiction #244

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE

Why can’t we stay up till midnight on New Year’s Eve??  What are they doing?

I don’t know.  Lift me up so that I can see over the counter…. Nuthin’ much, just drinkin’ cola outta glasses, talkin’ and smokin’.

Uncle Bob doesn’t buy his cigarettes at a store.  I think he picks his own tobacco in the woods – he calls it skunk-weed.  What’re they talkin’ about?

Nuthin’ really.  It doesn’t make sense to me, but it must be funny, ‘cause they’re all laughin’ a lot.

I’m gonna have chips and dip and Cheezies for New Year’s when I’m an adult.

***

Some adults never grow up.  As Rochelle’s site says, ‘Growing old is inevitable.  Growing up is optional.’  At least these kids were supposed to be in bed, but little mice have big noses.  Celebrate New Year’s any way you want, but stay safe.  Let’s do this again next year.  😀

***

If you’d like to have some fun – in a non-smoking household – go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

I’ve Been There And Back


 

 

 

 

Lost in thought – and other places.

I recently read a post from a young Canadian female, about making a wrong turn at night, and driving into the United States.  She said that she had submitted the tale as a Creative Writing essay, and had received an ‘A’ for it.  I expected a teen-ish high schooler, or a college student.  While not bad, I mentally edited it for a few word-usage, spelling and punctuation errors.

She wrote that, as the driver, she and her boyfriend went out for a late-night McDonalds run.  They followed the border, and mistakenly turned south, into the US.  This could happen almost anywhere along the border, but I suspected British Columbia.  Then the story said that she inadvertently took the up-ramp to the bridge in Windsor, and wound up in Detroit.  But the bridge to Detroit doesn’t go ‘South.’  It faces North-West.

She managed to find the entrance to the tunnel to return to Canada, to the north(?), but it was closed for maintenance.  After some more driving and searching, she managed to get back on the bridge.  The Industrially-Polite Canadian Border guard listened to their story, and let them back in without passports.  The McDonalds was now directly in front of them, but they’d spent their burger-bucks on two bridge tolls.

When I viewed the post, I did so, on the WordPress reader.  When I commented, it took me to her actual site.  There I was met with a photo of a partially-clad, full-figured young female, and claims that she was a model, an actress, and an author (?), with 20,000 Facebook followers.  A sort of Canadian-Lite equivalent to the Kardashians – famous for being famous.

I can’t fault her for her little mishap.  Something very similar occurred to us.  Back before 9/11 and passports, the wife and I spent a weekend in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  After checking in Friday night, and eating dinner, we drove on down to the end of the big highway to Fort Erie, ON, and began looking for the terminus of the romantic Riverside Drive, which would take us back to our hotel.

Somehow, a wrong turn in the darkness took us into the one-way driveway to the Duty Free shop.  There is no bridge toll from Canada to the States – nowhere to stop – nowhere to turn around.  With no other exits, we were soon in Buffalo – almost.

As soon as I got off the bridge, I immediately slowed and pulled onto the road shoulder on the fast side.  I carefully dodged a few orange, nylon traffic cones, drove across the paved median, and butted into the line of Canada-bound cars.  There is a bridge toll to cross from the US to Canada, so I was soon confronted by an American Border guard.

I carefully explained what had just happened, and said that I just wanted to get back.  They might as well have robots doing the job.  Do not distract a public servant from his well-rehearsed spiel.  I had just related what had occurred.
“How long have you been in the United States?”
“Uh, going on ninety seconds now.”
“Did you purchase anything while you were in the country?”
(What…. from the trunk of your car, parked over there?)  “No!”
“Very well, away you go then.”

I was happy to pay a(n American) dollar to return to the land of socialized medicine.  We postponed any moonlight trips up the Riverside Drive, until we were sure that we’d found it in the daylight.  Over the years, we have been a number of places that we did not intend to be, but that was the only time that it was in a foreign country.  I’m back, and ain’tcha glad??!  😉

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.

 

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.

Book Review #23

more research into Christianity vs. Secularism. The author has more than 20 books about the New Testament. I just can’t believe that he points out all the mistakes and contradictions…. yet says that he still believes.

Christian Apologists insist that Atheists “rebel against God,” or “deny God,” or, “have something against God,” usually attached to a baseless claim that they do it so that they can ‘sin’.  This old Atheist – especially as I get older and older – certainly doesn’t.  My sinning days are long past.  Substitute the word unicorn, for God.  I don’t rebel against unicorns.  I don’t deny unicorns.  I don’t have something against unicorns.  I would love it if they actually existed.  I just don’t see any evidence for either.

Like most other Atheists that I know, as the specter of my imminent demise looms closer and closer, I would welcome the existence of a God, a Savior, Salvation, Heaven and Eternal Life.  In the futile hope of some proof, I sometimes seek the knowledge and opinions of experts.

The Book: Jesus Interrupted

The Author: Bart Ehrman

The review:  I start with an author whose name made me suspect that he was Jewish.  I thought that I might get a glimpse of the New Testament from the outside.  I was mistaken and disappointed.  Still, he attended three prestigious theological colleges, has degrees, and letters behind his name.  He should know something.  He has published over 20 books about different aspects of the New Testament.

He now teaches at a theological college.  He says that, almost without exception, each year’s new batch of students think they do – but really don’t – have any idea of what the Bible actually says.  He laid out a trail of over a hundred examples of Biblical errors, contradictions, misinterpretations, insertions, deletions, forgeries, books credited to Paul or the Apostles but actually written by someone else.

A couple of the forgeries made it into the Canon.  A few of the books which seem valid to researchers were left out.  The four Apostolic Gospels, and Paul’s writings, don’t agree with each other.  He admits that they were intentionally skewed (deceptive propaganda) to mislead different groups, to get them to join the movement.  Of the graduates who go on to become priests, preachers or ministers, he has never heard of one who teaches, or even mentions, any of this to their congregations.

As I was reading this book, I encountered a female Atheist blogger who was reading one of his other books.  She thought that he was, at least, an Agnostic.  In my book, he says that he is a non-denominational Christian.  He shows how modern Christian dogma and Orthodoxy came into being, just because the group centered in Rome – weren’t true and correct – just better organized and more powerful. 

After all of this, he says that he ignores all these inconvenient details, and believes in Christ as a Savior, because the underlying story is so uplifting.  He claims that he will not officially join a particular religion or Christian Denomination until he finds one which doesn’t harass or marginalize females or LGBTQ.  😯  Well, good luck with that.

Each year, when it comes time to teach why the Jews do not accept Jesus as the Messiah, he shows them how He does not fill the requirements in Hebrew religious law.  To them, Jesus was just an itinerant, apocalyptic rabbi, who claimed to speak for God.  He uses the analogy of how foolish it would be for Christians to accept the similar claims of David Koresh, of Waco’s Branch Davidian.  Each year, at least one student complains on their professor evaluation form, “I can’t believe that Ehrman believes that David Koresh is the Lord of the Universe.”  He finds it amusing.  I find it amusing that he does not see the irony.

As always, I had hoped to learn something new.  All I learned was to choose my reading more carefully.

’20 A To Z Challenge – M

I don’t exactly hate poetry, I just hate what sometimes passes for, and pretends to be, poetry.  I have written some poetry, and had some poetry written about me.  I am going to introduce you to the word for the letter M Challenge this year.

Musophobist

A person who regards poetry with suspicious dislike.  From the Greek words meaning “Muse” and “fear.”
A person who doesn’t like poetry and is suspicious of it.

This word was used (and probably coined) by the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), who quite possibly inspired more than a few musophobes, with poetry that was as dark and disturbing as Edgar Allen Poe’s works.

Some of the best contemporary poets are song writers.  If you listen to, or read the lyrics to their songs without the music, you find that they reference social situations, with intricate, repeating, progressing word play.  We’ll ignore Justin Bieber, who actually doesn’t write poetry much better than I do.  Justin Timberlake has some good stuff, and I like Ed Sheeran who, like Billy Joel, writes poetry/lyrics about his life.

I’m stuck in the past, liking writers such as Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, and (another) Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues.  THE BOSS, Bruce Springsteen, made a name for himself writing intricately-rhyming songs for other singers, before he began performing them himself.  Sadly, in the song Blinded By The Light which was released by the group Manfred Mann, a young singer with a speech defect turned a 1932 “Deuce” hot-rod into a douche.  😳

On a couple of Moody Blues albums, between some beautiful songs, John Lodge does a spoken-word recitation of poems that didn’t turn into songs.  I’ve published them before, but for those who may have missed them, here they are again.

MOODY BLUE

Breathe deep the gathering gloom.
Watch light fade from every room.
Pensitive people look back and lament,
Another day, uselessly spent.

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one.
Lonely man cries for love, and has none.
Senior citizens wish they had some.
New mother picks up and suckles her son.

Cold-hearted orb, that rules the night.
Removes the colors from our sight.
Red is grey, and yellow, white,
But we decide which is right.

And which, is an illusion….

 

MOODY CONTEMPLATION

Between the eyes and ears there lie
The sounds of color
And the light of a sigh
With thoughts of within
To exclude the without
The ghost of a thought
Will exclude all doubt
And to name this thought
Is important to some
So they gave it a word
And the word is ‘OM’