Platyrhynchosian Philosophy !*

*Thanks for the title Richard – as always you found the perfect words!

The word for June 8th is:
Duck /dək/: [1. noun 2. verb]
1.1 A waterbird with a broad blunt bill, short legs, webbed feet, and a waddling gait.Old English duce from the Germanic base duck – expressing the notion of “diving bird”.
1.2 A pure white thin-shelled bivalve mollusk found off the Atlantic coasts of America.
1.3 An amphibious transport vehicle.
1.4 A quick lowering of the head.
Middle English: of Germanic origin; related to Dutch duiken and German tauchen ‘dive, dip, plunge’.
1.5 A strong linen or cotton fabric, used chiefly for casual or work clothes and sails.
Mid 17th century: from Middle Dutch doek ‘linen, linen cloth’; related to German Tuch ‘cloth’.
2.1 Lower the head or the body quickly to avoid a blow or so as not to be seen.
2.2 Plunge one’s head or body underwater briefly.
Middle English: of Germanic origin; related to Dutch duiken and German tauchen ‘dive, dip, plunge’, also to duck.
Four letters with seven different commonly used possibilities and at least four others according to the OED!

You Got Goût!

Now I very seldom talk on the blog about any health issues which I may have; I assume that my faithful reader has enough troubles without listening to my list of ailments and complaints. However I have of late been “enjoying poor health” as my dear friend Ryan use to say of his “sainted” mother. One of the ailments – a new one to share with the other seniors on the veranda of the general store* – appeared suddenly on Tuesday morning last: my left foot was swollen, painful, and a hereditary bunion was as red and tender as a rare sirloin. Liniments, ice packs, and cries to several deities – in language both pleading and profane – did little to lessen my discomfort.

So yesterday morning I hied me hither to the Emergency Room to join the wounded and broken of body of our fair Isle to find out what the hell was going on.

The good doctor did what good doctors do and proclaimed: You may have gout. I looked at him aghast. Well of course I had “taste” but I hadn’t heard such bad pronunciation of the French language since the demise of John Diefenbaker. I corrected him immediately: Doctor, I believe there is a circumflex over the U, you omit the T and it’s pronounced “goo”. He assured me that he was not speaking in French but was referring to an affliction of the royal and the rich. Again I was aghast! “But I am neither, I am but a humble retired gentleman of a certain age who enjoys oysters, lobster, a medium rare steak, and the odd tipple.” He nodded sagely, no doubt as puzzled as I as to how this diagnoses could be right given my almost monastic lifestyle. However he went about scribbling a prescription, having blood drawn, and suggesting a moderation in diet until next week when I see my family physician.

Of course since that pronouncement smoke has been rising from the keyboards of our household and Doctor Google has been consulted repeatedly. It would appear that if indeed I do have gout – I mean that I have goût is a given – I may have to give up Neptune’s bounty, the Bacchic products of the vine and hop trellis, the fatted calf, the delights of frozen cream, and organ meats. Okay that last one: pfft! Like I needed an excuse? But the others? Hey come on? Why then, at this stage of life, did the gods direct our paths to PEI where seafood, craft beer, wine, Island beef, and Holman’s Ice Cream abound? Is this their idea of a cruel joke?

This means that under the loving but watchful eye of my own Nurse Ratched I will abstain from all manner of sweetmeats and alcoholic nectar for the time being. I cannot say I am pleased about this turn of events but will try and be a good boy and eat my tapioca and milk-toast.

You know I don’t like to be dramatic but I’ll paraphrase Shakespeare: As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; they use us for their sport!

*Sadly the general store has been supplanted by a Brazilian coffee shop in a mall named after some hockey player where substandard and defrosted donuts are served to ever gullible Canadians. But that would be a rant for another time.

The word for June 4th is:
Gout /ɡout/: [noun]
1. A disease in which defective metabolism of uric acid causes arthritis, especially in the smaller bones of the feet, deposition of chalkstones, and episodes of acute pain.
2. A drop or spot, especially of blood, smoke, or flame
Middle English: from Old French goute, from medieval Latin gutta, literally ‘drop’ (because gout was believed to be caused by the dropping of diseased matter from the blood into the joints).
I really do prefer the French word but ………

Sock It To Me

Confessions of a Sock-a-holic

If you are old enough to remember this – you are really old!

For many years I was a collector of socks – yes you heard that right – socks. I had argyles; I had Hot Soxs; I had dress socks; I had Christmas socks (did I really need four pairs of Christmas socks?); I had socks emblazoned with dacshies; I had socks in every colour of the rainbow and a few that were no colour known in the spectrum. They were short, they were mid-calf, they were long. They were cotton, they were wool, one pair was shot with silk. And I seemed to have kept every damned pair of them for the past 30 years.

This week I went through my two sock drawers – yes two sock drawers – and discarded anything that I had not worn in the past two years or beyond. I counted 63 pairs of socks – no I am not exaggerating! 63 pairs of socks that I have not worn in the years! They were sorted, laundered, examined for holes, tatters or frayed elastic that would cause ankle sag. They were then bundled up and taken to Sister Aldona at the Sisters of Martha a few blocks from us.

Apparently socks are the one thing that people tend not to donate – perhaps because of perceived sanitary issues but we’ve been assured that, though they may be clean on delivery (believe it or not this is not always the case) they will be laundered again before they are distributed. And they are a much welcomed item at the Burke’s Welcome Shop. Since 1993 the small shop, founded by Sister Florence Burke, has been collecting and distributing items to those in need on our Island. I prefer the good sisters to a few of the perceived “charities” that take and resell used items at a profit to their shareholders.

Yes those are lobsters, butter, rolls, parsley and claw crackers.

However before you cry for me in my poor barefoot state let me assure you that there are still 35 pairs of stock to keep my tootsies covered for the foreseeable future. And that includes the lobster socks that I will be sporting at Friday night’s lobster dinner! Who says we don’t know fashion down here in the East?

The word for May 19th is:
Sock /säk/: [1. noun 2. verb]
1.1 A garment for the foot and lower part of the leg, typically knitted from wool, cotton, or nylon.
1.2 A hard blow (informal)
2. To hit forcefully (informal third person plural)
Old English socc ‘light shoe’, of Germanic origin, from Latin soccus ‘comic actor’s shoe, light low-heeled slipper’, from Greek sukkhos .
The informal usage first appears in the 1700s and is of unknown origin.

The Heart of Photography

A year ago, as the reality of the global situation sank in, I posted a photograph of a lone priest in the vastness of St Peter’s Square taken by my friend Cindi Emond. It spoke to the heart of what much of the world was feeling at the time: loneliness, confusion and abandonment. Almost a year to the day, a virtual exhibition of Cindi’s photographs has opened as part of the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival.

A left click will take you to Cindi Emond’s FOR ALL THE “I LOVE YOU’S” WE FORGOT TO SAY.

A century ago a natural disaster brought loneliness, confusion, and abandonment to a small Italian village in the Abruzzo. FOR ALL THE “I LOVE YOU’S” WE FORGOT TO SAY tells the story of that village A century ago a natural disaster brought loneliness, confusion, and abandonment to a small Italian village in the Abruzzo.Cindi’s photographs and words are a melancholy but powerful examination of a world that changed in a heartbeat but also in many ways forged on despite the change. A left click on the entrance to the exhibition will take you inside.

Congratulations on a beautiful and moving photo essay Cindi and thank you.

The word for May 2nd is:
Abandon /əˈbandən/: [1. verb 2. noun]
1.1 Cease to support or look after someone or some thing; desert.
1.2 Give up completely (a course of action, a practice, or a way of thinking)
2. Complete lack of inhibition or restraint.
Late Middle English from Old French abandoner, from a- (from Latin ad ‘to, at’) + bandon ‘control’ (related to ban).

Gratuitous Puppy Video

My friends on Facefart have already seen this but I thought I’d make it an official Nick and Nora Production™. Nora shows best in the enlarged view

Our Nora could give sange froid lessons to Greta Garbo.

The phrase for April 15th is:
Sange froid /säNGˈfrwä/: [noun]
Composure or coolness, sometimes excessive, as shown in danger or under trying circumstances.
Mid 18th century: from French sang-froid, literally ‘cold blood’.
And for any of my younger readers Greta Garbo was a famous actress back when I …. sigh! Never mind!