Heteronyms and Homographs

My Mom forwarded this to me in email: 

Heteronyms…
Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning.
A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.
You think English is easy? I think a retired English teacher was bored…THIS IS GREAT!
Read all the way to the end…
This took a lot of work to put together!
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the base of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes..
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong for me to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France .. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible..
PS. – Why doesn’t Buick’; rhyme with quick’?
You lovers of the English language might enjoy this.
There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is ‘UP’.
It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call UP our friends.
And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special..
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn’t rain for a while, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP,
for now my time is UP,
so…….it is time to shut UP!
Now it’s UP to you what you do with this email.

Your Monster in Your Haunted House

happy-halloweenCreate your own haunted house.

Plan the layout, the type of rooms, the design and colours. Write about the street appeal and what people see, hear, smell and sense from out on the street.

Then, create the monster living in the house, the surprise in the centre of the maze of rooms and storytelling. What happened to create this monster and what will happen in the future? Do things get better or worse for your monster in your haunted house?

Art from: ASCII Artist.com

Your Monster in Your Haunted House

Create your own haunted house.
Plan the layout, the type of rooms, the design and colours. Write about the street appeal and what people see, hear, smell and sense from out on the street.
Then, create the monster living in the house, the surprise in the centre of the maze of rooms and storytelling. What happened to create this monster and what will happen in the future? Do things get better or worse for your monster in your haunted house?

Message in a Bottle Delayed

messageinabottleSource: 25 Incredible Stories From The World Of Ships, Boats, And Sailors

Pretty unbelievable. One of those things you would guess as false and yet wonder if it’s just odd enough to be true.

Imagine you found (by some long chain of events) a message in a bottle from a long forgotten relative. Just as in this case,  written as he or she was dying then left to be found. You could create a whole story about how the message was left but lost and wandered around for centuries only found by some odd mixture of events. It wouldn’t need to be a message in a bottle. It could be found in a time capsule. It could have been under the floor boards of an old house being demolished. So many options to choose from or invent.

Write the story, from start to finish, all the places and people who became involved in that old message along the way.

Quick Fiction Fix

I don’t remember what or why I wrote this. It’s been in a text file (unsaved) to my desktop since the weekend. The flash fiction that time forgot. How many times have you written something, finished it and then realized you had no idea why you started it?  Maybe it’s just me.

I feel asleep in front of the computer, looking up postal codes for Christmas cards. I woke up to a dark house and a darker computer screen. The power had gone out, again.

The fireplace was keeping the room warm and dimly lit. I might not have power but I had the essentials: heat, water and a roof to keep the snow from burying me. Likely there would be power again by morning.

So until then… watch a little TV… No. I laughed at myself. So dependent on electricity. Can’t even boil the water to make fresh coffee.

I got up to shut down the lights (to save power, right?). I checked the door locks. All was well. My foot was just on the first step to go upstairs to bed when the computer monitor flickered.

Without power there was nothing electrical working. I froze, puzzled. Was this some new paranormal phenomena? Some new scientific breakthrough?… Of course I had to go back to investigate.

An email was now on my screen. The rest of the computer was dark, no flickering lights showing the Internet was connected or the computer had power. In every science known to modern man it was impossible for an email to show up on my computer and yet, it was there.

No sender name or return email address. Just a note “See you tomorrow”.

I wasn’t going anywhere tomorrow. We were expecting a heavy snowstorm, it was a Sunday and my Christmas shopping could be put off for a better day. No one was coming here. I liked my weekends quiet and alone when I could get them that way.

I decided there was some yet unknown scientific principle at work, or the message was for the invisible aliens living in my house and not meant for me at all.

Writing Prompts for Preschool Children

Easy ideas for preschoolers to get writing:

Would you rather…?

  • have potato chips or French fries?
  • play with a cat or a dog?
  • dance or sing?
  • climb a tree or roll in the leaves?
  • swim or skate?
  • make a cake or eat a cake?
  • jump in puddles or stay dry?
  • go to bed late or get up early?
  • have a pet mouse or a pet elephant?

What would you do if…

  • a pet lion came to visit your house?
  • you caught a giant fish?
  • you had an invisible bicycle?
  • you found a real treasure map?
  • you found a secret door?

Start storytelling by asking the children to tell you about their drawings. There’s always a story behind them, for whoever listens. How many words can they write to go along with the words they have drawn?

 

Miranda, The Ghost Next Door

miranda1I read a book about a ghost named Miranda, when I was about 12, and I’ve been haunted by it ever since. I could not remember the title, the author or anything else very helpful. But, it seems I had a lot more in my mental storage than I thought.

On impulse I searched for “Miranda ghost book” today and I found it! I was sure it was the same book as soon as I saw the book cover! I felt that connection to myself from so long ago. I remember how I felt then. A feeling of loss, sadness and the drive to never forget Miranda. I even decided I would name my first daughter, Miranda. (I never had a daughter but today I’ve read at least two other women named their daughter Miranda based on this book).

The book was written by Wylly Folk St. John and is titled The Ghost Next Door.

The best place to read more about Wylly Folk St. John was all the blog posts and photos from  Elizabeth Harper, her great-niece.

I don’t have a clear memory of the facts from the story but all the feelings are still there. Looking into the book again today the feelings are coming back, almost as fresh as the day I turned the last page when I was reading the book.

The book seems to be out of print now. Maybe the publishers thought the story had become too dated to sell. There is another edition but it lacks the illustration from Trina Schart Hyman.

wylly-folk-st-johns-obituary-pg-14wylly-folk-st-john-obituary-pg-2-used3

GoodReads: Wylly Folk St. John

GoodReads: The Ghost Next Door

Sherry Alston had never been told about her dead half-sister Miranda. So when Sherry came to visit her Aunt Judith, no one could explain the odd things that started to happen. Who was the elusive friend Sherry said she saw in the garden? Was she an imaginary playmate – or could she be the ghost of Miranda who had drowned in the pond years ago? Uncanny reminders of Miranda began to turn up – a blue rose, a lost riding whip…

Wylly Folk St. John’s house has been preserved as part of the historic preservation society.

Amazon: Wylly Folk St. John

Disney made her Secrets of the Pirates’ Inn into a TV movie. I found the full movie (1969) on YouTube.

The Dark Stories of L.M. Montgomery

amongshadowsAmong the Shadows: Tales from the darker side of L.M. Montgomery (the writer of Anne of Green Gables).

What makes a story creepy? There are obvious things like ghosts, graves, death, etc. But, what could you write without obvious creepy things?

I still think the real horror isn’t the stuff made into a typically horror movie or book but the day-to-day stuff we all but take for granted. The real horror is losing your place in the world. Losing your credit card – that flash or flush you feel when you realize you didn’t just misplace it in the house.

Horror is simple and strong at it’s best. Being chased by bloody corpses, ghosts or assorted made up monsters does not compare to the horror of getting audited for unpaid taxes, not being able to find your child in a department store, or … what?

Think of a situation which would be very dark, creepy and horrifying for you and write about it.

Where Did “Piss Poor” Come From?

Where did “piss poor” come from?

If you’re young and hip, this is still interesting.

NOW THIS IS A REAL EDUCATION

Us older people need to learn something new every day…

Just to keep the grey matter tuned up.

Where did “Piss Poor” come from? Interesting history.

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot.

And then once it was full it was taken and sold to the tannery…

If you had to do this to survive you were “Piss Poor”. But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot…

They “didn’t have a pot to piss in” and were the lowest of the low.

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

Here are some facts about the 1500′s

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June.. However, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.

Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.

The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water,

Then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children.

Last of all the babies.

By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.

Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath.

It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof.

When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house.

This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed.

Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection.

That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt.

Hence the saying, “Dirt poor.” The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery In the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing..

As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way. Hence: a thresh hold.

(Getting quite an education, aren’t you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire.

Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers In the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day.

Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while.

Hence the rhyme:

“Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.”

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.

When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off.

It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “bring home the bacon.”

They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter.

Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death.

This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status..

Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle,

And guests got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky.

The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days..

Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.

They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.

Hence the custom; “holding a wake.”

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people.

So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave.

When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.

Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be, “saved by the bell” or was “considered a dead ringer.”

And that’s the truth.

Now, whoever said history was boring!!!

So get out there and educate someone!

Share these facts with a friend.

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering,

“What the heck happened?”

We’ll be friends until we are old and senile.

Then we’ll be new friends.

via Where Did “Piss Poor” Come From? | Green Living History.

What to do with Broken Books

book drunkardBooks get broken. Some can be repaired. Some aren’t worth repairing but could be repurposed/ upcycled instead. Book art is nice to see but, I think it needs to be practical so we aren’t just creating clutter but something useful too.

I don’t have many hard cover books these days. I miss them.

When you buy a book now it’s either a paperback or a bigger sized paperback book. Very few books are published and distributed as real hard covers any more. In stores they seem to think those big sized paperback books are the new hard cover books. They’re wrong. I think they just don’t want to reduce the price. But, do they really think we are that easily fooled?

The old hard cover books, the real hard covers, needed some extra looking after once in awhile. The old bookbinding sometimes came a bit unravelled if the book were well read many times. We would recover the book. We used wallpaper left over from a home decorating project, drawing paper from architectural drawings my Dad didn’t need any more, or plastic which was intended as drawer liners but worked very well as book covers too.

It wasn’t just book covers that took abuse. We taped up pages and made home made repairs to the book spines too. Tape wasn’t the best choice for fixing pages though. After time the tape would get yellowy and sometime after that it would eventually lose its stickiness and fall right off as if it were just an ordinary piece of plastic. I guess, by that time, it was.

Helpful Links

Books Beyond Saving Can be Upcycled

Not all old books can be saved.

Sadly I lost a few boxes full of books when the water heater tank leaked and eventually cracked down in our basement at one house. No one noticed right away. So there was water on the floor awhile. The boxes were in the same room, sitting in the water. The water was soaked up into the cardboard box and into the books.

The books on the bottom were the worst off. Some were mildewed and I wasn’t even able to pick them up due to allergies to mould and mildew. Books in the middle were water logged, thickened with wavy pages. They couldn’t be saved. No store would have taken them in trade and I couldn’t keep them due to the allergies. Most of them were past being readable anyway. Some books on the top were not too bad. But, I was so disheartened I wrote them all off.

We burned them all. At that house we had a large backyard on the edge of a small rural town. So burning out in the back garden was ok.

Burning isn’t the only option for books beyond saving. If the pages are okay still you can do a lot in creating book art. Books in bad shape can still be used, just in different ways.

Be Creative but Practical Too

I think there is one very important thing to keep in mind when we repurpose books or anything else. That is to keep the repurposing functional. Yes, a lot of the book art is cool or interesting to see, but where will it be a year from now even? Will we still like it, want to keep it and want to give it space in our home – or will it just become one more piece of stuff we have around adding to the clutter?

There should be new value added to anything we repurpose. If we are just creating mindlessly or for the joy of the moment then are we really repurposing and upcycling at all? Or are we just giving the book a temporary stay of execution?

I think it’s very important to find new uses for old things but they should actually be useful.

If you can’t fix them… repurpose them!