Trick or Treat | Halloween Jokes

Happy Halloween! Celebrate safely.

Josh Mosey

Happy Halloween everyone! Instead of candy (which is difficult to enjoy digitally), here are some Halloween jokes. And as with all terrible jokes, please enjoy them responsibly.

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What did one ghost say to the other ghost?
“Do you believe in people?”

What did the boy ghost say to the girl ghost?
“You look boo-tiful tonight.”

What do birds give out on Halloween night?
Tweets

What do ghosts add to their morning cereal?
Booberries

What do ghosts drink at breakfast?
Coffee with scream and sugar.

What do ghosts eat for dinner?
Spookgetti

What do you call a ghost with a broken leg?
Hoblin Goblin

What do you call a witch who lives at the beach?
A sand-witch

What do you call someone…

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Friday 5 | Click-worthy Links

Wireless Computer Mouse with Wheel

Here are 5 more places online worth checking out:

  1. Happy Halloween! Have some historic authors decked out for the holiday!
  2. Speaking of authors, here’s a bit of fun with what famous authors would order at Starbucks.
  3. Have you ever wanted to learn bookbinding while also enjoying a good sandwich? Your prayers have been answered.
  4. Sometimes, insults are mean. These go below and beyond. Enjoy some devastating comebacks from history.
  5. Finally, scientists are answering the real questions. Though you should probably be over 18 for some of the answers. *NSFW Warning*

Enjoy!

On the Origins of First, Second, and Third

1st_2nd_3rd

Have you ever wondered where the words for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd come from? I have. I mean, four through ten make sense by just adding a “th” on the end of the numeral. So why are first, second, and third places so special?

Well, according to the Word Detective, we first need to understand the difference between ordinal numbers and cardinal numbers.

Ordinal number describe a thing’s place in a series, like first, second, third, fourth, and so on. You probably could have guessed that ordinal would be related to something’s order, right?

Cardinal numbers describe the amount of birds there are in a tree. Just kidding, but they could. Really, cardinal numbers just refer to normal, everyday, math problem type numbers, like one, two, three, four, etc.

Most of the time, the ordinals match up with the cardinals. Well, except when they don’t (first, second, third), which is why we are here in the first place. As to why they don’t always match up, no one really knows why we don’t use oneth, twoth, or threeth, aside from perhaps because we would sound like we have lithpth. Sorry, lisps. Someone must have decided to change things up one day and other people went along with it.

As to where the words actually come from, “first” is a descendant of “fyrst”, which was anglicized from the German “furist”, which also spawned the word “fore” as in “foremost”. So first is really a derivation of foremost, which makes a lot of sense.

The word “second” is a loan word from the French, which is a descendant of “secundus”, which means to follow in order. Before English speakers adopted “second”, apparently everyone just used “other”. That would have been really confusing, so it is probably a good thing that we started using it.

Third, we come to “third”, which is so close to three that you may not have even noticed that the “r” is in the wrong spot. In fact, this is precisely where the word “third” came from, as letters used to be a lot more fluid than they are now, and one day’s “thrid” became another day’s “third”. Simple as that.

So why didn’t we keep going and invent other words for 4 through 10? Maybe we just decided that enough was enough and that we should start to make sense.

Tune in next time when we go over two other crazy numbers, 11 and 12!

The Other Inklings | Lord David Cecil

A while back, I started introducing you to the Inklings of Oxford. Why? Because the Inklings was a legendary writer’s group that gave birth to such masterpieces as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.

But there were more people in the Inklings than just C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Let’s take some time and meet a few of the lesser-known Inklings.

* * * * * * * * * * *

I’m a firm believer that bad things happen for good reasons. I believe that this was the case with Lord David Cecil, Oxford professor, historian, biographer, and our next lesser-known Inkling.

Lord David was a delicate child who developed a tubercular gland at the age of eight. Due to the required surgery and recovery time, he spent large amounts of time in bed, where he developed his love of reading. And if you consider a love of reading anything less than a wonderful thing, you and I won’t see eye to eye on a lot of things (because you are wrong).

Cecil was the grandson of Lord Salisbury (a 19th-century British Prime Minister) and the son of James Gascoyne-Cecil (the 4th Marquess of Salisbury). Born on April 9th, 1902 in London, Lord David was the youngest of four children, meaning that his title of Lord was one of courtesy only.

Lord David attended Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford before becoming a Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford from 1924 to 1930. Cecil published his first book, The Stricken Deer, a study of poet Thomas Cowper, in 1929 and made an immediate impact as a literary historian. He went on to write studies on Walter Scott and Jane Austen.

In 1939, Cecil became a Fellow of New College, Oxford. After a brief stint in 1947 at Greshem College in London, Lord David returned to the University of Oxford in 1948 as a Professor of English Literature until 1970. During his tenure, Lord David published studies of Thomas Gray, Thomas Hardy, Dorothy Osborne, Walter Pater, and William Shakespeare. But he did not limit his studies to literary figures, covering distant relative Lord Melborne, visual artists Max Beerbohm, Edward Burne-Jones, Augustus John, and Samuel Palmer, as well as a number of others.

Having established himself as an authority on the arts from his volume of work, Lord David Cecil appeared frequently on BBC television in his retirement.

Cecil died on January 1st, 1986, leaving behind three children: actor and journalist, Jonathan Hugh; historian, Hugh Peniston; and literary agent, Alice Laura. He was preceded in death by his wife Rachel, author of popular novel, Theresa’s Choice.

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My sources for information:

Ruin Value

There is a concept in architecture that buildings can be made to be aesthetically pleasing, even when they are in ruins. This is known as “ruin value”.

1024px-Parthenon_from_westThe Parthenon in Greece is a good example of this concept in action. Though long abandoned to the elements, the ruins of this ancient Greek temple are still pleasing to the eye.

There’s something beautiful about this idea of ruin value when applied to a broader scope than architecture. One day, we will all die (unless we don’t, in which case you can ignore this post as we’ll have more exciting things to discuss). What we leave behind will be subject the elements of other people’s memories, whether our life’s work is still useful, and whether we made any impact on the culture in which we lived.

When we’ve been dead for as long as the worshipers of the goddess Athena, will we have a Parthenon that other’s can still enjoy? Will the books or blog posts that we write be pleasing after we die? Will our houses have little plaques that say that we lived there once upon a time? Will people remember us or our legacy?

I would like to live such a life that even the ruins I leave behind are worth seeing. Wouldn’t you?

I am addicted to the donuts at Post Family Farm.

Sometimes, it just feels good to come out and admit something like that. If you’ve been to Post Family Farm in Hudsonville, Michigan, then you know what I’m talking about.

mosey_family_farmMy wife and I took the kids this past weekend to Post Family Farm. Our eldest went earlier in the week with her preschool class and they sent her home with a pumpkin and a coupon to come back. Since we haven’t been able to get to an apple orchard yet this year, we decided that this might be a fun autumn activity alternative, so we packed up our boots (because mud happens on the farm) and drove out.

We all had a great time. The only downside (aside from the cost of visiting on the weekend (serious, go during the week if you can)) was the weather, which was so nice that everyone brought their families out for a bit of fun. But the kids did well, even with the long lines, and enjoyed a ride on the barrel train, met a few farm animals, went on a hayride, and picked a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch.

We waited until the end of our trip to brave the line for the donuts. Everyone who has ever mentioned Post Family Farm has brought up their homemade pumpkin donuts as the main reason to visit. We weren’t about to miss out on something so legendary, even if we had to wait for a full half hour in line to get them.

I wish I had taken some pictures before we gobbled them up, but as soon as we had them in our hands, taking pictures was the last thing on our minds. Oh man. They were so good. Upon finishing our half-dozen, I immediately regretted that I hadn’t got the full dozen.

So if you are in the Hudsonville area and you want a bit of family entertainment (and  mind-blowing donuts), stop into Post Family Farm.

Friday 5 | Click-worthy Links

Wireless Computer Mouse with Wheel

Here are 5 more places online worth checking out:

  1. Are you ready for your robot servant yet? It could be right around the corner.
  2. Have you ever wondered why some books are only available as hardcovers first? Here you go.
  3. For my writing friends, here are Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling.
  4. What if it were possible for a bookstore to grow in spite of Amazon’s controlling grip on publishing? Oh wait, it is possible. Here’s a great example!
  5. Transformers! Robots in disguise! What a glorious world we live in where cartoons from the 80’s can become reality. I just hope there not a team of rogue geneticists working on a race of Smurfs, because I think that would haunt my dreams.

Enjoy!

100 (plus a few) Word Challenge | Could I Really Wear That?

Click here to see the prompt that inspired this story.Normally, I follow the rules for Julia’s 100 word challenge and stick to the word count suggested.

This week, I’m being a rebel because the story that came to me could not be trimmed to fit.

Oh well. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it anyway.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

With my folks out of town and Jessica getting out of work early, the last thing I wanted was to be stuck cleaning out my dead grandfather’s office. But here I was anyway. Looking around the room, I knew that this job was going to take forever. When I die, I hope I’m not as big a packrat as he was.

“I wish I had more time with my girlfriend,” I said to nobody, knocking some knickknacks from a shelf in a dramatically futile gesture.

“You could,” said a voice.

I spun around to see a short Arabic man standing amid the clutter of my recent outburst.

“Wishes are my area of expertise,” he said.

“What? Where did you come from?” I spluttered.

The man stooped to pick up a broken jar. “My former master must be dead, for he only used two of his wishes, yet here I am in front of you.”

“Your former master?”

The short man pointed to a large portrait of my grandfather.

“He was a hard man, but smart. Shrewd. He never trusted me. And his wishes made me work hard every day I was in his service. In gratitude for my release, I will grant your wish.”

“What wish?” I asked.

“More time with your girlfriend. Here,” he said, reaching into the folds of his robe and handing me a pocket watch. “Simply press the button on the side and time will stop for you and your girlfriend.”

“How do I know it will work?”

“You just saw me materialize in this office. Besides, I couldn’t lie to you even if I wanted to, could I?”

“Really?”

“Wear that watch tonight. Take your girlfriend out on a date. Press the button and see what happens.”

I looked down at the watch, inspecting it as though I was some kind of expert at paranormal timepieces. “One question,” I said. But the room was empty again.

When I picked up Jessica that night, she commented on my new watch. “Just wait until you see what it does,” I said.

I waited until we were on a busy sidewalk for maximum effect, pulled the pocket watch out with a practiced swing, and pressed the button. Nothing happened for a second… then we heard a shout.

“Watch out!” someone cried as a car jumped the curb to our left.

pocket_watch

Excuses & Reasons | A Response to Bob Evenhouse

My writing buddy and fellow Weakling, Bob Evenhouse, did a great blog post yesterday about excuses. I’d like to offer another point of view.

Josh Mosey, confidently leading a session at the Breathe Conference about blogging as if he knows something about it.

Josh Mosey, confidently leading a session at the Breathe Conference about blogging as if he knows something about it.

I recently led an hypocritical workshop at the Breathe Conference about blogging (the truth comes out!). My presentation was an introduction to blogging. I gave some reasons why people should be blogging. I gave a few strategies for how to get started and how to keep going. Then I gritted my teeth and gave the advice that I too have been ignoring: how to keep your blog from killing your other writing projects.

I’ve been very consistent on my blog, but to be completely honest (because complete honesty is what the internet is for, right?), I’ve allowed my blog to kill my novels.

I am, and always have been, a great un-finisher. It’s amazing that I manage to finish these sentences as I type. To date, I have three unfinished novels (two of which are the firsts of unfinished series), and a whole slew of unfinished stories revolving around a squirrel and his invisible roommate (the stories are at least written, but I need to illustrate them or somehow get them published still). Plus, I have a number of short story ideas that need written down. Then somewhere in the midst of these projects, I decided to start a blog.

Why would I start a blog when I have so many unfinished manuscripts crying out to me from within my brain? There are some days I ask the same question. The answer I eventually circle back to is that I want to one day be published and I want a community of readers and other writers with me when that happens. I want to hone my craft by sitting my buns in a chair everyday and banging my head against a keyboard until words form themselves into sentences.

A strange thing happened when I started my blog. I didn’t stop writing it. Granted, I need to figure out how to work this perseverance into my other projects, but at least I’m writing something consistently.

I could come up with a lot of excuses for why I haven’t published a bestseller yet. Instead, I’ll give you the only reason that I think stands a chance at plausibility: I’m still learning to finish things well. This blog is part of that. You, reader, are part of that too.

Thank you for the encouragement along the way. I need it.