Gliding Off

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is GLIDE
Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) is IDYLLIC
Your Word of the Day this morning is EXCURSION

What waits for me? Who knows?
Beyond the rippling tide:
adventures – or a lazy day
of watching seabirds glide.

A siren call across the swell
pulls me from my chair.
Away to sea, my boat and me,
with hope of havens fair!

Idyllic isles or rolling seas,
excursions o’er the foam;
I’ll spend this month meandering
intriguing paths to roam.

Methinks the month will fly…
I’ll pass through sun and rain.
I shall return when “dog days” burn
and dock my boat again.

🙂

No, I’m not really gliding off into the rolling sea, but I am taking a holiday from blogging in the month of July. I’ll continue my Ragtag Daily Prompt duties Sunday evenings and I intend to keep posting interesting words & meanings on my Word Buds site but otherwise, you won’t see me here very much before August 2.

H--Closed July

Words of Fervor & Folly

Good afternoon, dear readers. I’ve been looking at the word prompts for today, plus I read an interesting article at Pocket, now I’ll try to gather all the thoughtlets that are bouncing around.

First, I must thank Fandango for his FOWC prompt today, which is ARCANE. I thought I understood this word, but decided I’d check in the dictionary and be certain. And I was SO WRONG! Somehow I’ve gotten this word confused with INANE.

Sue’s JibberJabber prompt for today is CHANGE and I’ve had to completely change my thinking after this little visit to the dictionary. I’ll know better now if I happen to read in a story: “After making an arcane remark in answer to his question, his assistant left the room.”
How I’ve misjudged the poor person! I always thought they’d said something stupid or sarcastic.

According to Lexico, ARCANE means
Understood by few; mysterious or secret.
synonyms: obscure, deep, profound

INANE means:
Lacking sense or meaning; silly
synonyms: empty, insubstantial

ASININE, going even further, means:
Extremely stupid or foolish
synonyms: silly, brainless, nonsensical

The Your Daily Word prompt for today is PLETHORA, so I’ll tack this all together for a bit of linguistic history.

Owing to its tendency to gather words from all nations, the English language has a plethora of words that mean, or sound, almost the same — synonyms, we call them. Check out any thesaurus and  you’ll see dozens of synonyms for some words, especially slang expressions. I counted 48 shorter variations of “drunk” and a few longer ones like “in his cups.”

Quite a few dictionary words are archaic, or regional and thus arcane — do you know what a SCOP is? — while most are widely known to English speakers across the globe. Some words have shifted, like HAGGARD, which meant wild or untamed, but has shifted over time and is now understood as “having a gaunt, worn appearance.”

Over the centuries the Bible has had a profound effect on English, giving us the Ten Commandments and the  Golden Rule, along with many other expressions and lines. And poets have enriched the language with expressions that became part of everyday vocabulary.

Like Bobby Burns, with “the best laid plans of mice and man go oft astray…” Even though he wrote his “Ode To A Mouse” in 1785, I still see these words in articles today. Charles Dickens gave us Scrooge, who will forever represent the quintessential miser.

Sitcoms and stand-up comedians have added a lot of witty and/or inane wisecracks, like “He’s quite fond of John Barleycorn,” and “The elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor,” and punch lines like “Been there; done that.”

Now for a thought on FERVOR, which I gleaned a few hours ago from an article at POCKET. Here’s a list of six “weak verbs” we should use sparingly in our speech. Using these expressions make us sound INDECISIVE.* Something to consider.
I think
I need
I want
I hope
I guess
I suppose

*Synonyms: ambivalent, conflicted, doubtful, dithering,
faltering, skeptical, wishy-washy, uncertain, wavering

And now I guess…oops!…I…er…definitely WILL go and do something else. 😉

Shoot the Things!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today:  ENOUGH!
The Word of the Day Challenge:  USUAL
Sue’s Jibber Jabber prompt word: HISTORY
Fandango’s One-Word ChallengeBABY
And here’s my response — an oft-beaten drum of mine:

Down with Imports!

I’d like to meet the fellow who thought we needed English sparrows here in Canada. I’d like him to know just what havoc he has wrought, how badly these aggressively invasive pests have decimated the native population. Already at risk because man has taken over their native land, our local birds also have to contend with these invasive imports. Add starlings to this list, too.

Some of my current grief is our own fault, I will admit. Last winter we thought we’d put out a feeder for chickadees, woodpeckers, nuthatches — all those cute birds that do linger here over winter. And what did we get? Oodles of English sparrows. Unlike the native birds, they have no idea of migrating, no native southern winter region.

This spring when my tree swallows returned, the sparrows were still hanging around even though we’d quit putting out feed a month before. One pair claimed one of the nest boxes we’ve set up for swallows. Another pair took over the swallow house on the north side of our house. One pair of swallows looked like they’d hang onto the south-side nest. But no. The sparrows drove them out, too. I only hope they didn’t kill the swallows as they are wont to do. I was furious when I found a dead swallow in the nest two years ago; the sparrows just built on top of their victim.

Enough! It’s too late to provide nests for the swallows and I don’t want a bunch of starving baby birds around our yard, so I’ll leave things as they are until summer’s over. But once our usual birds have left I’m inviting my grandsons over with their rifles and we can have a Sparrow Liquidation.

Invasive Species Still Coming

This is my personal grief, but others in this area have had grief because some light-bulbs thought they could import wild boars for sport hunting. The creatures thrived; with no natural enemies they soon took over woodlands. Now to get rid of them! A few years back our menfolk had a giant boar hunt and killed as many as they could. But the creatures have great instincts for survival.

History is full of examples of species brought over from “the old country” to become a horrible nuisance in a new world. Rabbits in Australia, for one. And Canada geese. Fine here, but they aren’t wanted in Australia. Anacondas in the Everglades are the product of exotic pet sales. Ditto with the piranhas dumped in the Southern lakes and rivers.

Some people have no comprehension as to what they’ll do when the reptile or fish they wanted as a “novelty pet” gets too big — or the owner has to move — or whatever. But our governments should be able to learn from history and ban the import of exotic creatures.

And they have, to some extent. But if some teenager wants a Komodo dragon because it’s “rare and unique,” somebody else will find a way to capture one and smuggle it in. And this is really sad, because how many little ones will die in risky transit methods?

I read an interesting new item one time: a woman coming in by plane was stopped at US customs and it was discovered she had fourteen rare baby lizards — illegal to import — stuffed in her blouse. Destined for sale as rare pets. Two stars for SANGFROID; five stars for INANITY.

Save the native flora and fauna from extinction!
Ban the import of exotic species.

reptile-3110174_640
Imagae by Schwoaze  —  Pixabay

“IF” We Were Conquered

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was WHAT IF
Sue’s Jibber Jabber prompt word is WIN
The Word of the Day challenge is THEME
Fandango’s writing challenge for today is APROPOS, a word which means “something both relevant and opportune” or “in an opportune time”

Putting these together, I have come up with…

“IF” Day in Winnipeg

As World War Two is raging across Europe, town counselors in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, asked the question, “WHAT IF the enemy conquers Europe, and proceeds to conquer Canada?”

Deciding to do something dramatic to demonstrate this APROPOS question, the city arranged for a takeover, calling it “IF Day.” This THEME had a two-fold purpose: it would give the citizens a small but realistic picture of what European cities were enduring — and what we’d be in for if the Axis powers would WIN the war — and it would prompt the sale of more war bonds.

Importing German army uniforms from Hollywood, and hiring actors for key roles, the city staged a takeover On Feb 19, 1942. The morning started with a mock battle involving more than 3,500 Canadian troops and reservists who battled it out realistically with weapons, tanks, smoke and gunshots. (This was, in fact, the largest military mobilization ever yet seen in the province.)

Citizens heard gunfire in the city’s outskirts; artillery smoke drifted over; routed Canadian forces fled through the downtown. Then came lines of “enemy” troops and armored personnel carriers, conducting their victory parade down Portage Avenue, which was renamed Adolfhitlerstrasse. Nazi soldiers marched into City hall; the Mayor and City counselors were arrested and led away to “an unknown fate.” The Nazi flag was hoisted over the city center.

A mock newspaper was printed up, the first section announcing the “victory” at Winnipeg and filled with Nazi propaganda. Among other proclamations, the Boy Scout troops were ordered to disband. The city’s Jews had to wear Star of David armbands. The latter part of the paper, however, contained serious accounts written by a number of the city’s immigrants, detailing what the Nazis had already done to their homelands.

As the day went on, citizens were harassed. One on-site reporter’s papers were seized and torn up; a city bus was stopped and all passengers had to provide ID. According to news accounts, this wasn’t polite questioning, either; they were “rough” searches. At once point Nazi officers stomped into a restaurant to arrogantly harass the staff and force out existing diners. According to an account written by Tristan Hopper, “This wasn’t just a few swastika flags carried through the town; civilians were quite literally being harassed and verbally abused by fake Nazis.”

“If Day” was a great demonstration and a huge success in rallying the citizens against Nazism. The sale of war bonds at that time raised $65 million. Still, “If Day” had to present a sanitized version of what Nazis actually did to captured cities. The year 1942 went down as the deadliest year of the Holocaust, as Nazi death squads used mass shootings and burnings to obliterate whole communities in Ukraine, Poland and other captured territory in Eastern Europe.

Opportunity

The Word of the Day prompt this morning  is OPPORTUNITY

Helpping hands.Tumasu
Helping Hands image by Tumisu  from  Pixabay

Border.grey.Analese Batista (2)
I’ll take the opportunity now to tell you about the various ways we bloggers can exercise our writing talents. You’ll find the links for the first four in my sidebar, under Writing Help.
–Ragtag Daily Prompt: COMPOSURE
–Fandango’s One-Word Challenge :COMPENSATE
–Your Daily Word: REVEL
–Friday Fictioneers photo prompt

Click here to see One-Liner Wednesday by blogger Linda G Hill. This post is what led me to compose the message above.

And here’s a new one-word writing prompt from blogger Sue, who started it on May 1st after the April DISCOVER prompts came to an end. Click here to check it out: Jibber Jabber with Sue. Her word for today is STORY

Hanging On

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is HANG ON
Fandango’s One-Word Challenge is CONTEMPLATE

temp-challenge

So this morning I’ve been contemplating the various aspects of hanging on. Consider the tree in this photo. It had no easy way in life; it didn’t just thrust its roots down into nutrient-rich soil and grow. Rather, it had to made its own spot and hang on.

A seed sprouted in some bit of dirt that accumulated in a crevice, taking what nourishment it could get from the rainfall. Then its root drilled into the rock tendril by tendril, day after day, to anchor itself against the wild winds that would tear it out. As its root wedged the rock apart, it collected more wind-blown soil and rain and kept on reaching for the sunlight above.

While the tree needed to put forth those efforts to anchor itself, of greater importance is WHAT it’s anchored to. It isn’t clinging to a mountain of cotton candy. That rock has stood from the beginning of time and will not be moved by storms that blast over it.

I recall an account I read after a tornado in Ontario years ago. A man was working in a Dept of Highways equipment shed when the workers heard the tornado bearing down on them.  In desperation this man grabbed some solid piece of steel equipment, hoping the twister wouldn’t carry him away. A moment later the tornado ripped the roof off the shed, sucked up the three-ton road grader nearby and carried it away. You could almost think the storm was making fun of his idea of “something solid.”

Snail.Bellezza87
Bellezza87 — Pixabay

Right now a wild virus has been sweeping across our whole planet, disrupting our lives like we never imagined anything could — short of a war. And here we are, poor creatures, trying to hang on and carry on as best we can.

We’ve been given many warnings and guidelines to help us stay healthy. Fearing shortages, people have rushed to stock up on necessities — probably making matters worse — but I trust we all know that hanging onto a mountain of toilet paper and dry pasta isn’t going to assure our survival.

How we weather the emotional part of this storm — and future storms — will be determined by what security, what type of rock, we’re hanging onto, won’t it?

In these scary times, here’s the Rock Christians are clinging to:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:38-39