Tag Archives: family

Whish

Yesterday was a stormy day in Brooklyn; the sky was dark and foreboding for much of the day, and the air was heavy with the coming rain. The dragons, suffering from some sort of seasonal molting process, were flitting about the garden as though in a frenzy. And after a full day of recovering from Cousin Cate’s mushroom “vodka”, I was ready to post here in my journal.

Until the power went out.

We initially assumed it was from the storm. But we were the only ones without power. And then I heard the tell-tale sounds of flivvervaats in the walls. It appears juvenile flivvervaats are like squirrels – they adore crawling through walls and ceilings and chewing through electricity wires. Fabulous. These creatures gestate in the womb for approximately 4 months and then require an additional 2 years to be able to live without their mothers. That means 2 years of suffering through chewed bookshelves, destroyed power cords, and an odd and pervasive odor that mimics nutmeg on a good day and Valerian root on a bad day.

It also means that we are all acclimating to the sounds of flivvervaats in the house. This includes an increasingly robust encyclopedia of sounds. Which brings me to today’s word.

Whish is a noun meaning to move with a soft, rushing sound; whiz; swish; the whirring or whizzing sound of rapid motion.

First used in the 1500s, whish is an echoic and imitative word. This sound became the word used to describe it. Like woosh, bloop, or peep.

Though the power is back on in this old house, and the garden has been cleaned of detritus from the family equinox festivities, there are still whishes from within the walls, keeping the human inhabitants a bit on edge. Perhaps once this storm system passes the flivvervaats will calm down.

Or perhaps I’ll have another belt of this mushroom vodka and be unaware of things for another 20 hours.

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Vituperate

The Autumnal Equinox falls on the 22nd of September, over a week away. I already have numerous family members in this house, and as I’m sure happens at your house during the holidays, people are rubbing each other the wrong way.

There have been a few thrown mugs, one bout of fisticuffs, and plenty of harsh words. And that was just this morning before breakfast. Which brings me to today’s word.

Vituperate is a verb which means to rebuke or criticize harshly or abusively; berate; to find fault with; to scold; to overwhelm with wordy abuse; to censure severely or abusively.

It is derived from the Latin vituperatus (past participle of vituperare), which is from vitium meaning fault plus parare meaning to make, prepare.

First used in the early 1500’s, vituperate is synonymous with vilify, censure, and berate. One who vituperates is a vituperator and it must be said that there has been an enormous amount of vituperation in this house this week.

I just hope that this old home can withstand another week of familial unrest before the equinox. And I hope this old man can withstand it. I refuse to walk through my house with a helmet on. But safety first, my dears, safety first.

 

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The Family Continues to Arrive

At what point do we stop pretending Cousin Cerese is the victim of a terrible curse and start accepting that Cousin Minoru married a llama?

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Labor Day: ReDux

Well, Happy Labor Day, oddlings. The sky in Brooklyn is an undulating palette of greys, blues, and whites. Perhaps we will have rain. Perhaps the day will just continue as a moody overcast day. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Bubo hates the word perhaps for reasons unknown. She also hates the word yarn. I think perhaps she’s overly cranky because her attempts to over-dye the bright orange paint on her feathers made them a deep violet color. It’s rather striking. Apparently, the heaviness of extra paint on her feathers is making complicated hunting moves difficult for her.

Luckily for Bubo, we live in Brooklyn, and there is a plethora of pigeons who land in our garden even though there is a fierce hunting machine living in said garden. Oh, pigeons. So shockingly ignorant and unperceptive.

So it is Labor Day here in the States. Silas is manning the barbeque grill (hand-tooled from a small tractor) and Mordecai has spent the weekend mixing pitchers of cocktails. Rumor has it some family members will be descending, though this family doesn’t operate on a standardized calendar. With the Autumnal Equinox right around the corner, they could be showing up in about two weeks. It’s so hard to tell and not a single family member has figured out their cell phones yet.

I can’t quibble – I’ve been unable to find my cell phone for four days. Troublesome thing, technology.

At any rate, I thought I would re-post a previous missive about Labor Day from 2011. So, here it is. Be safe, oddlings, and enjoy your Monday, whatever it portends.

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It occurs to me that many people do not think about what these national holidays mean. They take the day to relax, revel in not being at work, and to grill meat and drink beer. Well, sure. These are wonderful things. But it’s important to know why we get this day to enjoy doing these things.

This is from the United States Department of Labor Page:

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

There is also an article about the true Rosie the Riveter that I trust you will find interesting.

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