Monthly Archives: July 2012

some slang

turd-walloper : a night soil man

dimp: a cigarette end : Army 1939

get a green rub : to be reprimanded for someone else’s fault : Naval c. 1910

Mahogany Top : a red-headed man : ca. 1860-1900

pinch it off ! : get a move on : Australian ca.1925

pin for home : to go home : Canadian

potato : a girl (young woman) : Australian : ca. 1925

shit-hot : unpleasantly enthusiastic : Canadian soldiers’ 1914

sweet Jane : a complaisant girl : Teddy Boys’ since ca. 1948

up the rock : in detention : Brit. Naval

winge : to complain frequently or habitually : Australian ca. 1910

Yizz : to sleep : RAF 1930

bopper : bread and butter

barrel tinter : beer 1850

goo goo : lip balm , since 2009

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I heard a news anchor ( ” News anchor ” is a funny term , isn’t it ? ) say :  The police are not releasing information so far because the next of kin of the victims are waiting to be found . I wonder how the next of kin  wait to be found . How does one wait to be found ( unless it’s a game of hide-and-seek )  ?

Up-and-coming  ( up and coming is a funny term , isn’t it ? ) actors may be waiting to be found . More correctly , they may be waiting to be discovered . I’m sure that there are some starry-eyed hopefuls still waiting to be discovered . They know and still believe in the old Hollywood tales of Schwab’s  counter encounters . Wasn’t Lana Turner ” discovered ” there ?

Some of us know that we have the solution to some of society’s problems . If only someone would ask !  I have one or two incredibly brilliant answers to age old questions . Maybe I should  wait to be found . Now that I’m on Facebook things might begin to click . Whoever finds me , though , will have to read between the lines , so to speak . Ignore the pictures of my potato crop . Ignore the pictures of my cat and the tomato plant shots and the dining room walls . Look beyond the image of the tree out front with the yellow flowers . Meanwhile , I’ll be waiting about and around .

I should mention something about that tree , though , before continuing . I saw the same tree at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena last week . The museum has an interesting garden out back with a pond and sculptures and all the plants are labeled . My tree , I know now , is called a Golden Medallion tree . It’s a native of Brazil . I hadn’t known that . It’s more scientific name is Cassia Lepto phylla . I already knew that . Well , I knew Cassia .

I might have to give a few hints as I’m waiting to be found . I might need to target whoever needs to find me . I’m not saying that I’m tired of waiting . In fact , I’m not actively waiting . I’m passively waiting . Can a person actively wait ? Wouldn’t that change the dynamics ? I mean , don’t you either wait , or not ? When you actively wait , doing something , then you’re not waiting . Right ?

Be that as it may , the school board should contact me because I have all the answers to all of their questions . If they would only ask ! But , it’s only right that they take the initiative . They really need to want to be saved . At that point , if it ever comes , things will change and , finally , begin to be fixed . Meantime , I’m waiting to be found . Sort of . I suppose . Waiting for the clouds to roll by .

I know that there are hundreds , maybe thousands , of consulting jobs out there , for me , in various realms , that are just right for me : obscene amount of pay ; don’t have to do a good job , necessarily ; huge benefit package and pension attached , etc . These needy realms  have not yet contacted me , but  I ‘m waiting to be found . Sort of . I suppose . I’m on Facebook . You ( speaking directly to you potential contactors out there ) could apply to be my friend . Sorry , I don’t  Twitter or Pinterest  , or whatever has replaced those by the time you read this .

By the way , if you are California state government , I don’t have answers for you people . Sorry , Jerry and you people up there in Sacramento. I haven’t been following your shenanigans very closely as you’ve driven us into the ditch . Look on Facebook and find someone else who’s waiting to be found . I’m not going to CONFIRM your request for friendship .

And if you are the feds : NOT CONFIRMing you people , either . Oh , I have the answers ( and so does everyone else ) ; but , I don’t want to be found . In your case , I’m not even waiting . I know you want me , though , Obama and Romney , but ” It’s a trying thing waiting supper for lovers ” ( Dickens ) . [snuck in a wobbly literary reference !].

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   Someone in Qatar checked out my blog yesterday . Thank you , person in Qatar !  It must have been a slow day in Qatar . Whatever ! I hope you enjoyed reading the post . You should read a few more of mine . Don’t assume that they represent America , though . That wouldn’t be right .

If you want something more intellectual , then I suggest that you check out The Coming of the Toads .  My friend Joe writes it . It has cohesion and coherence and cognizance . Half the time I don’t get the references , so don’t worry too much if you haven’t read the canon of English literature , or don’t know progressive jazz , or have never surfed . Regardless , or irregardless , or nevertheless , or none the less , you’ll enjoy Joe’s  blog .

    You found my blog , so then maybe you have tasted several worldwide blogs and know something about what’s what with worldwide bloggery . Maybe you could recommend a few good ones to me . Something light and humorous ? Other themes will do , too . Nothing rabid , please . I’m not joining any cults ; not looking for any conversions . Something light , please .  Airy . Okey ?

I’m assuming that you’re not the CIA . Though , who else in Qatar would read my blog , I wonder ?  But , if you’re the CIA , then forget everything I said . Doesn’t matter . Don’t check out Joe’s blog . Not that there’s anything objectionable in it . Just forget it . Go about your business . Sorry you somehow got sidetracked . Wrong number . Maybe you ‘re concerned about my blog since it doesn’t seem to fit any pattern , theme , focus . Could be coded messages to insurgents ?  What else ? That might make sense . Otherwise , it appears to have no focus . No sense . No cohesion . That must have seemed suspicious to you birds . Now I see that ! Well , do what you have to do ; you’ve never taken my advice before .

I hope you are not the insurgent terrorist infiltrator devils somewhere out there in the desert waiting for the next drone strike . Maybe you got a wrong number  — hacked in to the wrong web address . Sorry . You read my blog and mistakenly thought it had some purpose ? Can’t figure out what that purpose is yet , though , can you ? Keep trying . New messages sent every once in awhile . Embedded in them is a world of intelligence . I try to disrupt any coherent  patterns so that the CIA can’t track  it all so easily . Wait . Necessary and vital  intelligence is on the way . Sooner or later . Wait for it .

   Or , do I have some random friend who happens to be in Qatar ? Work  ? Oil industry ? Natural gas ? Shant , are you there ? You did say your Arabic would come in handy some day . You did try to sign up for the Iraq war as an interpreter . Too bad you spoke Arabic , as it turned out . I’m sure that made you too suspect to go . Army can’t be too careful , you know . Did you go to Qatar ?  Warm vacation ? If you are in Qatar, Shant ,  and you read my blog : thanks .

   Probably some random Qatari mistakenly happened upon my blog post . Did s/he read it or not ?  I wish s/he did read it , but who knows ? Does it matter ?

   Yes , it matters . My little bit of nonsense somehow gets to Qatar and pops up on a computer screen , or an i pad screen , or a smart phone screen , or whatever , and then , what ? , it’s  ignored ? Maybe it’s merely glanced at and immediately disregarded ? Such an opportunity gone to naught  ?  We’re talking Qatar here !

  FBI  interrogator asks me : Why are you contacting Qatar ?

I’m not contacting Qatar , I say . He pulls out the transcript from his satchel and throws it down on the small metal table bolted to the concrete floor  .

Oh , that , I say . The FBI agent smiles . Not pleasantly . His slick smirky facsimilie of a smile says Got you caught up in your own twisted lies , Bud . He asks me to explain why someone in Qatar would read my blog . Better think hard before you answer , he suggests . You’re  beginning not to make sense .

It doesn’t make any sense to me , either , I say .

Okey , we’ll start over , he says . Someone in Qatar checked out your blog ….. “

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The director of the counseling agency called me in to her office one day . She’d heard that I had done some painting . Or she guessed that I might have . She had a question . Come with me .  Sure . You’re the director . You’re the boss .

   She walked me over to one of the rooms . The floor was all covered with drops of paint . I mean the entire floor . Do you think you can clean this up ?

   Linoleum floor . Lots of paint . Sure , I said . What happened here ?

   She had gone out to the street and collected three or four guys , gave each one a roller and pan , and told them to paint . They did  .   Some of the paint actually went onto the walls . I guess she had no brushes since the corners were not painted . But , what the heck ! ; she had given a few guys work for the day .

And she had inadvertently given me a few extra hours of work , too . Not really the line of work that I had been hired by the agency to do , but paid work is paid work . So I  spent a day scraping paint splatter from the linoleum floor and cleaning it up as best I could .

  The director was happy with my work . I like to think that she had told no one else about the paint mess out of embarrassment ; but , who knows ?  I have one more question , she said after I had finished . What ? Another room ?

   She left for a couple of minutes and returned with a balled -up dress . A nice one , maybe silk , floral pattern . It was completely covered with dried paint . She had been standing in the room as her enthusiastic people painted . Can you get this out of my dress ?  No .  But it’s water-based paint ,she said . It’s supposed to wash out with water . Not after three days  .

It’s a nice dress . Too bad you have to throw it out , I said . What I was thinking was : You have a PhD  ? You’re the director of the agency ? Does anyone offer a PhD in common sense ?

     Painting isn’t rocket science . But , as in all trades , there are skills and knowledge that professionals  have , and experience , that makes a paint job professional , versus a home made paint job . Pros can probably do a job better and faster than the amateur .

But , who cares ? , I say . A homemade paint job is something to be proud of . Like homemade bread , or homemade beer , or anything homemade . So , sometimes it doesn’t work out as well as you intended !  You might spill the paint . You might paint yourself into a corner .  Edges might end up a little crooked . Little drips might have dried on the walls . You might have to live with some  imperfections . So what ?  [ perfectionists , protests noted ! ] .

Ada and I were painting our living room last week .

Look at all the things on the walls !  Took it all down and stuck most of it in the spare bedroom in boxes . Cleaned it first , of course . [ I say , ” of course ” , but I had strict orders from the job boss to do that . I used to live by the adage : There’s more than one way to skin a cat . I would have washed the things just before putting them back up . But in our house , apparently there is only one way to skin a cat . { cat lovers’ protest noted } ]

We did a pretty good job . Not perfect . Of course , certain details were done and redone and redone again . Better , but still not perfect . The color’s nice . The room looks good . We may not make it into the painters’ union , but , luckily we don’t have PhDs , so we didn’t make too much of a mess [ PhDers”  protest noted ] .

   And looks like we won’t need counseling , despite a few random disagreements about what needs to be done when , and how , and who .  I can see Ada and I in counseling , with that silk dressed director , talking about painting problems .

   Tell me about the painting  , she’d begin . Then we’d talk for an hour once a week for years about how painting made us crazy .

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Busy .

   Are you in the thick of things ? So busy that you can’t :






{[please fill in the blanks . This is a test ] hint : if you filled in any of the blanks then you might not be busy . I mean busy !]

Busy bee ? Are you ? Buzzing around in eliptical arcs ?  What are you , then , protecting ? Something ? What is your queen ? Is there nothing ? Is it just the need to be busy ? Does that make you feel needed , important , productive , worthwhile ?

“Since I retired I’ve been busier than I’ve ever been !”  [not a quote from me ] .

Where did the time go ? If we only had the time to get done all the stuff that needs to get done ! 

Yeah , sounds great ! Wonderful idea ! I’d like to take you up on it , but I’m busy .

Too busy ? Are you sure ?   [               ! ]. 

If you want something done pick the person to do it who’s too busy to do it .

I’m usually not busy . Don’t pick me . I’m not in the thick of things . Those who are in the thick of things are much better people than I am . I’m not a busy bee . Those busy bee types are the ones worth something ! Their lives have purpose !

I know . You are much too busy to read dribble like this . I understand completely . Did you fill in the blanks above ? Take time .

I tricked you into joining the ranks of the unbusy , see ? , if only for a minute or two . It’s calm here . Of course , your  place here in the ranks doesn’t include bragging rights . People are , generally , suspicious . What does s/he do all day ? What does s/he do all day when I’m so so busy ?

Nothing . Nothing to brag about . Nothing earth-shaking . Definitely nothing  in the thick of things . That’s what I like about it . It’s a lull . Languid relaxation .

Thank you for reading this . I’m glad that  you weren’t too busy . Do you feel guilty , though ? Then , shouldn’t you get busy ?  The other busy bees need the reassuring  buzz . And , after all , things need to get done .

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hummingbirds & luck

Just a little slang history to start off : soldiers in the trenches in World War One , the so-called Great War , called some artillery shells ” hummingbirds” , because they made the noise as they flew . So much for good connotations for hummingbirds . But , that was a long time and several wars ago .

I’ve written about hummingbirds before , I think . About the hummingbird that came into the kitchen , flew around against the ceiling , and couldn’t get out . About how a Mexican-American friend told me that having a hummingbird in the house  is good luck in Mexican culture . Goes back to the hummingbird-loving Aztecs .He asked me if I had touched the creature  . I hadn’t . That , he said , would have been better luck .

When I told my mother about the hummingbird , she reminded me that to the Irish a bird in the house is bad luck . One of my sisters explained to me that birds in the house indicated a neglected house , holes in the roof , or no one to chase the birds out , an empty house on hard times . Maybe the tenants have been  evicted , or they emigrated , or they starved to death in the famine years , or ……………….., well , bad Irish  luck .

Ada called me out to the garden yesterday . One of our cats had accosted a hummingbird . How that happened I don’t know . I can’t imagine our spoiled cat hunting and being successful . I went outside and Ada pointed at a clump of grass . ” There’s the hummingbird ,” she said as she held off the cat . I didn’t see anything but grass at first . But there s/he was , a tiny hummingbird lying still in the grass .

I didn’t know if the little thing was dead or not .

Their tiny hearts must pump extremely fast . Imagine , then , being attacked by a cat when you’re just minding your own business , flapping around the garden , sipping sweet water from the feeders , tasting nectar from the flowers . A nice day , otherwise . Except for the cat .

So I put the motionless birdie in an empty box and set the box on top of my car so the cat couldn’t get to it . And in a few minutes the bird flew away . It had learned lessons from a possum , I think , and played dead .

Our other cat , Cosmo , has been mysteriously sick for several days . She wasn’t eating ; she looked haggard and had no energy ; she found dark places to hide . I , eventually , force-fed her . We had taken her to the vet who prescribed anti-biotics . Nothing seemed to be working .

When the hummingbird was rescued by Ada and me  Cosmo suddenly seemed to recover . She went out into the kitchen to eat .She took a walk out in the yard .  She picked a less secluded  place to lay down . She seemed to regain energy . I think that the hummingbird , having been saved , had spread some good luck around  . Just a hunch .


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Rodney King & social order

   I should say something about Rodney King . He was found at the bottom of his pool ; he died , and was buried . One of his daughters spoke at the memorial service . She wanted to speak about the man and not the symbol .

     Several LAPD cops beat him in 1991 and the vicious beating was filmed . The cops were tried and found not guilty . Only in court . In the so called   “court of public opinion” the cops were guilty .

    And then came the so called  “LA riots”. Looting and burning and mayhem went on for days . I was teaching at Virgil Middle School at 1st and Vermont . In my classroom we were watching on TV the fires burn and the stores looted .  ” Hey , Mr. H ,” one of my students said , ” that’s across the street “. We all turned to see the real scene unfolding across 1st Street . The small shops on  Vermont  were burning . Just like on TV .

   The school went into lockdown . No one in , no one out . The principal sent up to the classrooms  blocks of government cheese and cartons of chocolate milk after a few hours . That was all he had .

   I saw days later a photo in US News and World Report of one of my students . He brought the magazine to school to show me . He was very proud . He was smack in the center of the centerfold photo of looters emerging from a store , arms full of stolen goods . ” I didn’t get anything at that store , ” he said , as if it had all been some exciting ,  impromtu game . ” I got some clearasil at another store , ” he explained  .

He was a nice kid . I explained to him that what he had done was criminal activity and so , maybe , it wouldn’t be such a great idea to show everyone his picture . I was the wet blanket .  For weeks afterward students showed up in new shoes . Some of them complained that the shoes  were the wrong size .  

It had been a party . Free stuff ! The cops weren’t around to put a damper on things . LA Riots  ? The media labelled it as racial . Certainly a free-for-all . What’s your connotation  of riots ? Most of those looters in the Virgil area wouldn’t have known  who Rodney King was .

Quietly , over the next few weeks , the Koreans took their kids out of Virgil . It was weird to notice them gone . Where had they gone ? Their fathers had got a message and weren’t taking any chances  after so many  Korean stores had been burned down in the area . Virgil is on the edge of Koreatown .

I’m trying to think back to that political philosophy class I once attended at UCLA . Wasn’t it Tom Hobbes who thought human nature was evil?  That that nature had to be controlled . Was it Voltaire who believed the opposite , that human nature is good ?  I found this quote from Voltaire : To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid ; you must also be well-mannered .  Well , maybe it wasn’t Voltaire I’m thinking of . Philosophy isn’t one of my strengths . Maybe I’m thinking of Jean Jacques Rosseau. He said : All of my misfortunes in life have come from putting too much faith in my fellow men .  No , I don’t suppose it was he either .

We seem to still have a problem of social and political order . Thomas Hobbes died in 1679 . Can we get somebody working on this ?  You know , with the goal of finally coming to a solution once and for all ? And , I think , we should follow Will Rogers’  advice :Nothing you can’t spell will ever work .

  Rodney King said at the time of the notorious incident : Can we all get along ?

A good question . Voltaire said : Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers .

I’m not really expecting an answer . I wanted to mention the passing of Rodney King , a man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time . He became a symbol and  to some a hero . Will Rogers said : Being a hero is the shortest-lived profession on earth .

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