Friday, 21 October 2016

The Name Game

Image result for chief wahoo

Baseball's Blue Jays didn't make it to the World Series. They lost their best-of-seven series against the Cleveland Indigenous People. Who? you say. Well, I call them that ever since well-known Canadian Aboriginal activist Douglas Cardinal took them to Ontario court in an effort to prevent them from wearing their "Indians" uniforms and using "Chief Wahoo" as their team logo. I understand Cardinal's sentiments but I don't think teams like the Indians or the Braves or the Kansas City Chiefs for that matter are going to change their names unless it's voluntarily. And I whole-heartedly support a change from such offensive monikers.

I'm not a big baseball fan but when Canada's team gets into the playoffs you gotta cheer. I'm more of a National Football League guy. And the NFL isn't without it's offensive team names. For example, how about the Washington Redskins. The Redskins started out in Boston in 1932 and they've remained the Redskins ever since. Having offended Aboriginal people for so long I think it's time they offended white people and changed their name to the Washington Palefaces. Works for me.

The Bengals, the Colts, the Jaguars, the Dolphins, the Broncos, the Bears, the Lions, the Panthers,the Rams - all animals and not a Cow or an Anteater among them. Well we can always hold out hope for an expansion team, maybe.

Seahawks, Cardinals, Eagles, Falcons, Ravens - five teams with bird names. What is this the Audubon Society or a Football League?

While we're at this name change thing I've often wondered about the Buffalo Bills. Why not the Buffalo Bobs, or Brians or in the interest of equal rights Bettys or Barbaras.

The New England Patriots might consider giving equal time to the Traitors. The Cleveland Browns have a whole rainbow to choose from. I'm kinda partial to the Cleveland Crayolas. That way we don't offend any colour. We offend all of them.

The Cincinnati Bengals could change a few letters around and become the Bagels - the first food team in the NFL.

The New York Giants could take a cue from their Canadian neighbours and add the word Friendly to their name. I'd root for them in my little rocking chair by the fire.

Now when it comes to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers why don't they go all the way and just call themselves the Peg Legs?

And finally when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys, maybe it's time in their illustrious history they gave equal time to the Indians. Oh, wait a minute. This is where we all began. Well, that's not gonna work.

Oh, I know. The first letter of the name I treat like it wasn't there. But a B or an F or an M will appear. And then I say bo add a B, then I say the name and Bonana, fanna and a fo. And then I say the name again with an M this time.

Cowboys Cowboys bo owboys Bonana fanna fo Fowboys
Fee fy mo Mowboys

The only problem with the Shirley Ellis approach to team names is its an awful lot to fit on the front of a football jersey. But it might make listening to the play-by-play a lot more interesting...and lyrical.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Sounds Like...

Tom and Jerry were the best of friends. But their fellow Grade sixers were always making fun of them asking where their friends Tweety and Sylvester were. It really riled them that their so-called friends bullied them and referred to them as an animated cat and mouse.  They were;t cartoon characters. Or even folksingers. They were anything but. One day in the cafeteria they discussed the problem.

"I'd really like to squish those guy" moaned Tom to Jerry one day.

"Squish?" said Jerry. "That's a funny word."

"It's an onomatopoeia" replied Tom.

"On-a what?" said Jerry. "Sounds like something the dog did."

"Huh?" said Tom.

"You know, 'Spot, on the mat he pee, uh'" blurted Jerry laughing and blowing milk out his left nostril at the lunch table.

"No silly, it's a term for a word that imitates a sound."

"Burp" said Jerry after a long draw on his milk straw.

"Exactly, said Tom. "Good example. You could use some Alka-Seltzer. You know 'plop. plop, fizz, fizz'."

"Give me some more cried Jerry.

"Bang, bark, beep, boom, bow-wow, buzz - they're all examples of words that sound like a sound. Ha, I made a funny - sound like a sound" laughed Tom uncontrollably.

"Growl, grumble, grunt, gulp - those are some more."

"Wow" said Jerry wide-eyed "How do you know all this stuff?"

"Well one day I was in the boys' room taking a whiz and I accidentally tooted. The guy next to me laughed and told me those were examples of onomatopoeia."

"Ha, I get the pee-uh part chortled Jerry."

"Very funny" derided Tom "But now you're just starting to babble."

Tom and Jerry looked at each other, eyes wide, and just groaned.

The prompt this week is burble/babble over at Studio30+. Their website is still down but you can click over to their Facebook page. Ha! "Click" See what I did there?

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

When You Gotta Go

Image result for constipation

It was embarrassing. Conrad hadn't had a poop in a week. No matter how hard he tried; no matter how long he sat it just wasn't happening. And he'd eaten enough prunes and ingested enough Benifiber to last a lifetime. After the third day his wife had jokingly started calling him Constipated Conrad. But to Conrad it was no joke. He needed to do something to rid himself of this accursed dilemma.

Then in the middle of the night Conrad had awoken doubled over in pain. The build up of bile was becoming unmanageable as was evident in what was happening in his stomach. His wife called 911 and an ambulance was dispatched.

Conrad didn't find it nearly as humorous as the ambulance attendants and he suffered through their questions of what he'd eaten and what he'd taken in an effort to break the dam, as it were. (Their words, not mine.) Wheeled into Emergency, Conrad suffered further indignation as the nurse asked him many of the same questions posed by the first responders.

Satisfied she'd obtained all the information she could from Conrad the nurse whispered into his wife's ear.

"What's that?" shouted Conrad. "I'm the one with the problem" he yelled. "You should be telling that to me!"

"Well" said the nurse "I was just telling your wife that we'd likely have to give you something that was anathema to you."

"Oh no you don't" squirmed Conrad, not the sharpest knife in the drawer. "I'm not taking no anathema."

The nurse and Conrad's wife dissolved into laughter as the nurse quickly responded "Don't worry Conrad we're all friends here. We're not enemas."

The prompt from my friends at Studio30+ is accursed/anathema this week. They're having trouble with their website lately but clicking on the link will take you to their Facebook page where you can see the rest of the accursed submissions.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

My Back Pages - September

Damn, October already. And I'm not ready. Not for the cold, the snow, the sleet. None of it. Maybe I'm rushing things, but fall is definitely in the air as the leaves are starting to turn. So September's come and gone and I'm another 9 books under my belt since August. This brings my total reading this year to 46 books, four shy of my projected 50 for 2016.

It was an interesting month for reading, as eclectic as ever. I started out with a four-book bundle under the rubric of Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons. This was recommended to me sometime ago by a good friend and I just never got to it until recently. It was a sprawling, science-fiction fantasy and while it took half th month to read was nevertheless quite enjoyable.

Next up was the new Ian McEwan novel Nutshell, a fascinating tale told by the fetus in his mother's stomach. I also read Emma Donoghue's latest, The Wonder. She wrote Room, if you'll recall. This one ws very different about a pre-teen in 1800s Ireland who starves herself. I won't say more than the other than to say I quite liked it.

I also read a fascinating biography about the Allman Brothers, and a couple of classics: The 13 Clocks by James Thurber, highly recommended by Neil Gaiman who wrote the forward and one if the grandaddies of science fiction, The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.

Here's the list and my ratings:

Hyperion Cantos (#1) - Dan Simmons ****
The Fall of Hyperion (#2) Dan Simmons ****
Endymion (#3) Dan Simmons ****
The Rise of Endymion (#4) Dan Simmons ****
Nutshell - Ian McEwan *****
One Way Out - The Inside Story of the Allman Brothers Band - Alan Paul ****
The Wonder - Emma Donoghue *****
The 13 Clocks - James Thurber ****
The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells *****

If you're interested in learning more about these books click on the Book button at the top of this page for a review.

It was a good month. I'm looking forward to October. What are you reading these days? I'm always on the lookout for recommendations.

Thursday, 29 September 2016


Fiona and Frank Fiddler are in love. Fully. Completely. They must be. Fiona and Frank Fiddler have 14 children, all whose names begin with the letter "F". You know how parents with just a few children mix them up and run through their names until they hit on the right one?  One can just imagine the scene at the Fiddler dinner table. "Fred, Francis, Frank Jr. get your elbows off the table." "Fatima, Faith, Fannie stop picking your nose." "Farah, Fawn, Fay...which effin one are you again? Never mind, just pass the fish."

Before I forget I should share how this all began. Fiona and Frank met in Fiji, each while on vacation. Over a chance encounter and a fruity drink at the Hotel Fairmont bar they fell hopelessly in love. As the Beatles would say 'It would be a love that would last forever'.

Back home in Fredericksburg, Texas Fiona and Frank quickly became Mr and Mrs Fiddler. And while neither of them were musicians, it soon became obvious to family and friends they certainly  knew how to fiddle around.

Fiona was a financial planner and Frank sold fridges and they managed to buy a four-bedroom bungalow in which to start a family. If they worried about whether or not they could get pregnant they needn't have. Frank Jr, their first-born proved them fertile. Fatima, their fourteenth proved them good Catholics.  If their faith were based on their fertility then Fiona and Frank Fiddler already each had one fecund foot in heaven.

The scene around the TV after dinner was a sight to behold. The family would spread out on a collection of feathered futons and watch their favourite show together, Family Feud. Then they'd watch X-Files. They especially liked Fox Mulder, although, sometimes they found this show a little frightening and a little far-fetched...but they wanted to believe. Finally, before the little ones flew off to bed they all watched repeats of Fantasy Island.

And with that this funny little fable of fertile Fiona and Frank Fiddler and family comes to an end. Finally. As the French would say 'finis'.

This week the folks at Studio30+ ran with fecund/fertile as their writing prompt. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

I Fought The Law and the Law Won

One day Robert and I were walking downtown when we came upon a burning building. It was sheer mayhem with tons of people watching the goings on. I turned to Robert and our conversation went like this:

Robert: Oh my God. What should we call this then?

Me: A herd of heroes?

Robert: Not quite.

Me: An army of ambulance drivers?

Robert: Good guess.

Me: A mob of medics?

Robert: Not what I was going for.

Me: A flange of firefighters.

Robert: That too.

Me: A  flock of fuzz?

Robert: Close.

Me:A band of men and women in blue?

Robert: You're getting warm.

Me: Not a parliament of police?

Robert: No.

Me: a draft of detectives?

Robert: Warmer.

Me: And their congregation of cars?

Robert: What?

Me: Okay, okay, how about a litter of lieutenants?

Robert: Nope.

Me: Okay, then a scattering of sergeants.

Robert: Sorry.

Me: Okay my last guess: A pack of privates?

Robert You're way off.

Me: Okay smart guy, what then?

Robert: Why it's a copse of cops!

The prompt from the people at Sudio30+ was copse/grove this week. I stretched the meaning of the clue with this group of groups.

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