Archive for August 2011

Violent Doughnut Ring Smashed

August 28, 2011

If you love doughnuts, no matter which kind, wouldn’t this headline intrigue you?

It did me.

Fight over us

  • I flashed back to my childhood when I would save my pennies and nickels to buy a doughnut at the specialty doughnut bakery on my walking route to school.
  • I imagined a war between doughnuts. Of course, the chocolate frosted, cream-filled center Cyclops would clobber the jelly-filled, sugared Bismarcks.
  •  I pictured an epic battle, maybe in 3D that would rival Conan’s latest movie adventure.
  • I figured if I could stay awake late enough I’d see this headline featured on Jay Leno’s weekly Headlines with its comical examples.

But this headline blared violent doughnut ring smashed. I had to read the full article.

To save a doughnut...

Evidently a Greek seashore community was having trouble with competing vendors of the doughy treats. One group had cornered the market with its unfair and violent tactics.  When an undercover officer posing as a doughnut seller was attacked by this vicious group, the police were finally able to apprehend the aggressive group after some pitched fighting.

Now, picture the possible scenes of pitched fighting. Undercover agent/doughnut seller beating off thugs with a barrage of jelly doughnuts, or oh no, my Cyclops!!!! Thugs hammering the police with fritters, glazed confections, elephant ears. And the most damaging—custard-filled long Johns.

But peace has been restored on the Greek seashore. The doughnut thugs have been arrested and charged with many heinous crimes. They may even go to prison where they won’t see a doughnut. Serves them right, don’t you think?

Busted...doughnut vendors now safe.

Most importantly, Greek doughnut vendors are once again able to ply their calorie-laden goodies. Peace is restored .

And I still chuckle each time I think about that headline. I expect I’ll remember it for quite a while.

That headline is sure much better than the ongoing news regarding Hurricane Irene, and those of us safe elsewhere worry and pray for the victims of Irene’s destruction. I have many loved ones who live in that area. My thoughts are with them today. I wish they could be enjoying instead visions of violent doughnut wars instead of wind and rain driven violence.

Advertisements

Lost In My Story

August 21, 2011

"You asking me for ideas?"

What do you blog about when you don’t have a clue?

Even my puppy hasn’t been helpful.

It’s certainly not because I’m bored. Worse, it’s not because I don’t have anything to do. In fact I have way too much to do. Maybe that’s the point.

But it’s Sunday and it’s the day I post to my blog. However, I’m fresh out of ideas. Now you might ask why is that? Maybe because I’ve been hard at work on editing my book Fireweed Affair. It’s set primarily in Alaska at this time of year.

I love editing.  No, really, I do.

It’s the process where I fine tune all the elements that make a book a great read. I have my own process as I’m sure most writers do. But with this edit I’m pretty much deep into my characters and the setting of Fireweed. It’s difficult to pull myself out.

My family’s lucky if I remember to do a load of laundry at this point.

A Cluttered Desk Is Progress

Clutter, clutter, everywhere

My desk is a mess as these photos verify.

My dog Oreo looks longingly at me from the floor when my butt seems permanently attached to my office chair.

One day, I think it was Wednesday, I forgot to wash my face until almost 4:00 in the afternoon! We haven’t run out of toilet paper yet, but I have it on my “Must-do” list for tomorrow. Of course, I may think I’m in a Sam’s Club in Alaska instead of Wisconsin.  Oh, wait, where my story is set, there are no stores, not many people, just a lot of mountains, fishing and a mystery to solve.

One of my Alaskan scenes

So while many of you are enjoying the last free days of August or maybe shopping for back to school supplies, you know where I’ll be—in my office, fleshing out my characters and my story in the Alaskan bush.

Define Paraprodoskian

August 14, 2011

After the Rain

“No good deed goes unpunished.”

That’s been a sentence I’ve been spouting quite frequently to friends and family over the past few months. Some have heard it so often they now finish my sentence before I get all the words out of my mouth. That should tell me something.

Like I’ve been way too cynical lately, perhaps? Or maybe just a tad disappointed in “stuff” that’s landed on my shoulders lately or on my hubby’s and my collective shoulders. But this isn’t a whine post, I’ve done that already and really I do have a point to make.

One is when I say that and my family or friends finish my sentence, we laugh. Because laughter is a great antidote to despair or depression.

Really. I should know because life hasn’t been very easy lately. If something can go wrong, I know it will happen—thus my sentence bursts forth. People who know me ask how I stay productive when it seems life is falling apart, or even more importantly, how I stay sane. In fact I had two people ask me that yesterday.

An Early Morning Visitor

One is to see something wonderful or positive and acknowledge it within a few minutes of waking. Okay, I’ll give you time to get your eyes open. Maybe even a few minutes more. But then look around and find that thing, and appreciate it. That’s why I took the photo of the dragonfly still sleeping on my balcony post one morning this week. Within a few moments after I took the photo, it was flying away for a busy day of helping to keep our mosquito population under control.

The second element that helps me is to find humor in things. Thus, the reason I laugh after I verbalize my oft-repeated mantra that began this post. And yesterday I discovered the real reason I laugh as do others who hear me.

“No good deed goes unpunished” is an example of a paraprodoskian phrase. This is a figure of speech/sentence where the latter part of a sentence is surprising or unexpected. This change causes my listener or reader to reframe the first part of the sentence. Sometimes the effect is humorous, sometimes, dramatic. However, comedians or satirists (or ordinary people like me) use this a lot.

Many used my example before me. Clare Booth Luce, known for her diplomacy and writing; Oscar Wilde–poet, dramatist, author; film maker Billy Wilder; and my favorites, American financier John P. Grier and banker and wealthy man Andrew W. Mellon—all used this example long before I was born.

And that’s long ago!

So how did I discover my well-used sentence might be considered a paraprodoskian element?

Yesterday, a friend of mine, one who’s listened to me and laughed with me when I spout my sentence, sent me an email defining the word and giving me a list of examples. I laughed and laughed at her examples and her message.

Fortunately, I opened email very early yesterday. It represented my positive and wonderful item for the day. And it kept me laughing or chuckling all day long. It also prompted me research more about the term and see if I could find other examples. So I leave you with a few I gleaned while I checked out the internet.

I hope you enjoy them and they give you a chuckle for at least a day. 🙂

The Beauty of Abundant Rains

“You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they have tried everything else.” Winston Churchill

“She looks as though she’s been poured into her clothes but forgot to say ‘when’.”  P.G. Wodehouse

Anonymous:

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.

If 4 out of 5 people suffer from diarrhea…does that mean one enjoys it?

If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of payments.

Tomatoes are a fruit, right?

These are my favorites…

A bank is a place that will lend you money…if you can prove you don’t need it.

Some people are like Slinkies…not really good for anything, but you can’t help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs.

Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity they can train people to stand at the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.

I didn’t fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.

August Thoughts

August 7, 2011

Under sail on a sunny windy afternoon

Inspiring reverence or admiration, of supreme dignity or grandeur, majestic; the eighth month of the Gregorian calendar.

Today is the first Sunday in August, another long summer month. It is the eighth month of our calendar—the one I currently wish I could flip to maybe October. Then it should certainly be cooler at least at night.

In Wisconsin we often refer to the heat and humidity of August days as the “dog days.” According to Wikipedia, “Dog Days…very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress. The name comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, in close proximity to the sun was responsible for the hot weather.”

I didn’t know that. My guess was that August was a time the dogs were so hot even they didn’t have any energy or maybe were more likely to become rabid because the heat tended to make everyone and everything crazy.

I probably read that somewhere, maybe when as a child I’d go to the neighborhood library which had thick walls and lots of shade produced by the huge old oaks surrounding the building. That place was always cool in temperature during summer. Also cool were all the wonderful books I’d read there in addition to all those books I borrowed and brought home. To read while sitting on the front porch of our home waiting for what my grandmother would refer to a 25-cent breeze. Hopefully, from the east off Lake Michigan which would always be cooler than from the south or west which brought HEAT.

Anyway, I may have read something then about how ages ago people believed that dog days were “an evil time when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing …burning fevers, hysterics, and frenzies.”  (Wikipedia)

Now, what impressionable 8 or 9 year-old reader wouldn’t think what I did?  And in this information-overload world when I try constantly to read to keep up on new knowledge, why would I look up the meaning of something I’d used every year and heard others use?

Until today, when I realized if I was posting about August and dog days, I’d better know more about both of them.

Canoeing on a hot evening

So I’m thankful, I guess, that August is here now. It’s still dog-days-hot, but I’ve learned a few totally unnecessary tidbits to support a never-thought-about-before but an often used term. One never knows when information like this might be useful, such as playing Trivial Pursuit  with my nieces and nephews and impressing them with my useless knowledge.

So what about you, what totally irrelevant but somehow meaningful piece of information or fact have you learned this week?  Please post it and share your useless fact with me. Who knows how I might use it?