#AtoZChallenge — Z is for Zip

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Which, unfortunately, I do not have a lot of in my step.

At last, we have reached the end of the alphabet because I’m running out of zip to write these blogs.

So…

Zip is the sing, the energy, the spring we have in our step, that usually gets us from a to b quickly.  Without this zest, we would need to take a bus, train, or cab.

Then comes the variations like …

Zip code, we all have one of these, though in some countries it is called a postcode.

Zip it up, meaning do not speak, especially if you’re about to spill a secret.

A zip, which is a part of some types of clothing, usually in trousers, jeans, and skirts to name a few.  Some dresses have long zips, some short, all seem to get tangled at one time or another, or, in the most embarrassing of situations, split.

Then there is a colloquial use of the word zip, meaning nothing, zilch, zero, in other words, a basis for of z words.

And that’s about as much zeal I’m going to show for writing this last blog, and I’m going to close the book on it.

Thank you, and goodnight.

#AtoZChallenge — Y is for Yellow

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It was an easy choice from the start, yellow is a colour, in any number of shades from very pale to very dark.

We have yellow egg yolks, yet another y word, and depending on whether the eggs are farmed in cages or free range can dictate the shade of yellow.  Free-range gives the brightest yellow, by the way.

We have yellow cabs, but oddly enough these cabs are orange, not yellow as in this country, though the same may not be the case overseas, particularly in New York.  Good thing they are bright yellow so you can see them coming if you are crossing the road, perhaps illegally.

We have yellow bananas and lemons, probably the most common answers when asked, what is yellow?  That, and perhaps the yellow rose of Texas.

Then there is a more sinister meaning of the word, and it is associated with cowardice, and cowards are said to have a yellow streak down their backs.

If you have yellow fever then you are in a whole world of pain.

You can sometimes have what appears to be yellow skin, a sign of jaundice.

There is a yellow sea, and then there are the yellow pages, sometimes a substitute name for a telephone directory of businesses.

And lastly, an expression that comes out of the past, and not used so much these days, but people from Asia were thought to have yellow skin.

#AtoZChallenge — X marks the spot

In the wake of watching too much television, and in particular Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a very quaint but completely ambiguous statement was dismissed as something that would never happen in archeology, x marks the spot.

Of course, as we all know only too well, x really does mark the spot on treasure maps, and I’m sure there’s been quite a few of those over the last few centuries, what with the numbers of pirates on the high seas, well one known such as Blackbeard, and some not so well known.

And those treasure maps always seem to find their way into children’s stories for some reason, maybe because as children we were likely to believe it possible, whereas an adult, the only place we’re likely to find an x is where someone who can’t write signs their name.

That might also include a lot of press-ganged sailors, who were virtually kidnapped into British naval service to chase down those pirates, all of whom seemed to have that same ubiquitous signature.

And, by the way, that x marks the spot was in that Indiana Jones movie, a rather large x making up a part of the marble flooring.

X doesn’t often find it’s way into mainstream English, even as a prefix, except in the case of x-rays which is electromagnetic radiation.

And in science fiction, the most interesting use of x-ray is for using x-ray vision, starting with Superman, and ending with more sinister connotations.

Other than that the only word that I can remember that starts with an x is xenophobia, which seems to be raising its head around the world, the fear of people or objects from another country or culture

#AtoZChallenge – V is for vision

I had one myself once, whether it was a peek into my future, or whether it was just playing out a scene for one of my stories, it was rather intense.

That variation of the word vision is one that uses ones imagination. I do it quite a lot, and I call it the cinema of my dreams.

But…

Vision, in the simplest sense of the word, is sight, what you see.

People can try to make it better, like movie studios, who have called it rather interesting titles such as VistaVision or Panavision, either of which sounds quite remarkable, and it may have been back in the day, but it’s probably quite ordinary these days.

A vision, in another sense, might be something like a dream as mentioned before, which might happen when we are asleep, but if awake, it might be because we are very bored with our job and we’re imagining what it would be like at Santorini or the Bahamas, or anywhere but where you are now.

It might also describe our particular slant on what else we would like to happen, whether at work or somewhere else, but it’s usually confined to our closest circle of friends. Bosses never invite nor want to hear plebs ideas of improving their lot.

Hence, I have a vision…

But no one will listen. Perhaps if I was Martin Luther King, things might be different.

Then, at the end of it all…

There are visions and then there are visions, like seeing something that no one else can see, whether driven by hullucenagenic drugs or magic mushrooms, or you just happened to be there to see what no one else could.

Dragons, lizard people, or the virgin Mary.

And no, I have not seen any of the above.

Yet.

#AtoZChallenge — U is for Under

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Under by itself is a rather boring word, you know, under the moon, under the sea, under the influence, which is not hard to be if you’ve been hypnotised or after a few drinks.

Under is anything beneath something else.

But add it to some other words like,

Underrated, which means it is better than what others give it credit.

Underwear, what you would wear underneath your clothes.

Understudy, the person who takes over a lead role when the lead is incapacitated.  And how many understudy’s are guilty of harming the lead, in order to get a big break?

And not get away with it?

Understood, an agreement that might or might not be in writing that something will happen, that is, it is understood that I will be the next president.

Or not.  Who on earth would really want to be president of anything?

So in the spirit of trying to confuse everyone all of the time, I have a conundrum in the form of a question, what is the difference between under and underneath.

To me there is none, you can be under the sea or underneath the sea, or under the table or underneath the table, but then there’s another, you can be under the influence but not underneath the influence, though technically you could,  if you wanted to use confusing English.

And, just to add to the confusion further, I can say that the submarine sailed under the sea, underneath the sea, but, in actual fact, it doesn’t.

What is under the sea is the sand, or sea bed, and a submarine does not plough its way through the sand, does it.

What we really are saying is that a submarine moves through the water.

Just saying…

#AtoZChallenge — T is for tap

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There is nothing worse than, when lying in bed unable to get to sleep, you hear every noise in the house and out, but none worse than a dripping tap.

Its often not because someone forgot to turn the tap off, but a washer is on its last legs.

There are taps for the fallen brave, but aside from the fact that is the name of a piece of music, I think it’s also the title of a film.  But taps itself is a bugle call at dusk, and also played at military funerals.

Then there’s that income stream that you can tap into, other than your next door neighbours power supply.

But what would be far more interesting than to tap into a phone line and listen in?  Despite the fact that eavesdroppers never hear anything good about themselves, you could learn something you didn’t want to know.

Then we can go back to the 1930s and a series of films that starred one of my favourite actors Fred Astaire, who was, of course, a tap dancer, along with Ginger Rogers.

In fact, my middle granddaughter is quite a good tap dancer.

And, lastly, was that a tap on the door, or a tap in the window?

#AtoZChallenge — S is for second

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It would be very interesting if duelling was still allowed.  There are a few people I’d like to stand toe to toe with, take ten paces, then test my ability to shoot with an old style flint duelling pistol.

What’s this got to do with anything?

It’s where our word of the day comes in.  If I lose my nerve, or I know my opposite number is a better shot, my second would have to stand in my place.

It’s,  if anything, an older use of the word.

Of course, it mainly means, on one hand, coming second in a race or a competition, not exactly the place you really want to be, simply because no one really remembers who came second.

It plays host to a plethora of statements using second as part of the saying, such as,

Second rate, second hand, even if it had more than one owner, second best.

But then there’s a few more that mean something else like a second look, mainly because you didn’t trust your eyes, second nature, it’s been drilled into you (a rather painful idiom if it truly was) and second sight, though this might not necessarily be a verifiable attribute.

And, of lesser note, I’m not necessarily sure I’m second to none.

On the other hand, and pardon the pun using this definition, it also describes a length of time, very short in fact, and it takes 60 of them to make a minute.

Hang on, it’ll only take a second.  Yes, we often use the word in vain.  I doubt there is any one of us who could do anything useful in a second.

#AtoZChallenge — R is for rabbit

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Have you ever heard of someone rabbiting on, you know, endlessly rattling on about nothing?

That’s just one use of the word rabbit.

The most obvious is the animal, a rabbit.  You know, that burrowing, plant-eating, long-eared, short-tailed animal that goes by the name of Bugs Bunny, maybe.

Nearly every child has a stuffed, cuddly one.

Of course, it’s of some significance at the moment because its Easter, and that there are countless chocolate versions of the so-called Easter bunny.

Then there is that 6-foot high invisible rabbit called Harvey, or not necessarily a rabbit, but a pookah.

We use the expression rabbit ears to describe those old interior television antennas.

There’s rabbit stew, rabbit pie, and white rabbit beer.

But my favourite is when the magician pulls the proverbial rabbit out of a hat.  It’s an expression we also use for someone who pulls off an impossible task.

#AtoZChallenge — P is for Pad

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Here is another of those three letter words that can have so many meanings that it is nigh on impossible to pin it down.

You have to use it in a sentence which all but explains it.

For instance,

A pad might be a writing pad, or a note pad, something on which you can write, notes, stories, anything really, even doodles.

I’ve got several in different sizes for different occasions, where I write down ideas as they come to me. but, I’ve yet to find a waterproof one, you know, for those ideas that come to you in the shower.

Of course, there’s always the writing on the wall…

Cats, dogs, a lot of animals have padded feet.  I’d say, for a cat, those pads would be like shock absorbers.

You can pad an expense account with false expenditure in an accounting sense, I’m sure a lot of people are tempted to do so.

I know places, where a single man might live, is called a bachelor pad.  So many men like to think they may have one, but it takes money to buy the accoutrements of seduction.

Then there’s a medical dressing, a square of gauze called a pad, usually absorbent and soaked in disinfectant to help protect and repair a wound.

Shoulder pads, for broader shoulders

Knee pads, for when crashing off a bike, a scooter, or roller blades.  Which reminds me, do people actually still use roller blades?

Shin pads for soccer, and ice hockey players

A helipad which is for helicopter landings and takeoffs, much the same as a launch pad for rockets.  Unfortunately, rockets do not generally have a tendency to land, not unless they are bombs, like the V1 and V2 rockets of WW2.

It could also be what someone does when walking around a house in socks, the man stealthily approached the thief, padding silently in his socks so he wouldn’t be heard.

And lastly,

A place for frogs to hang out, ie, the flat leaves of a water Lilly.

Any more?

I’m sure there is, just let me know.

 

#AtoZChallenge — O is for Order

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I gave the order to my assistant to order the supplies we needed in order to maintain stock levels.

Oh, yes, the word order is one of my favourites, because it can confuse the hell out of many people in its simplicity and yet complexity.

I gave the order, it’s what happens in the armed forces, and a lot of other places, but mostly we would associate it with organisations that have hierarchical authority.

The military, for one, cut orders, the means of sending one of its minions to another place, or to do a specific job.

Order supplies, well, just about anyone can order something from somewhere, usually on the internet, and sometimes require or are given an order number so it can be tracked.

In order to maintain, in order to get what I want, in order to get elected, this is just another way of using the word, with the aim of achieving something, though I’m sure there’s probably a better way of expressing these sentiments.

Law and order, well, doesn’t everyone want this, and doesn’t it always turn up in an election campaign, and seems to be the first thing sacrificed after the election.  The thing is, no one can guarantee law and order.

There is the law and there is administering it.  There is no order that comes with it, we just hope that order is maintained, and deplore the situation when it isn’t.

Perhaps in order to maintain law and order, we might need more police.

Then, of course, there is alphabetical order, and numerical order, where things can be designated from A to Z, like this challenge, or from 1 to 10, or more.  We can sort words alphabetically, numbers numerically and data items by keys or an index.

This is naturally called a sort order.

Then there is my car, or bike, or washing machine, or mixmaster.  They are currently in good working order, though that might not last.

And lastly, in deference to all those out there who are thinking of becoming dictators, it’s always possible, one day, there will be a new world order.  They might actually be in their own particular order, whose intellect might be (?) of the highest order.

Surely that is one order too many.