We haven’t done this in a while, and since the muse-driven spark plugs in my brain seem to be missing on all four cylinders (I only wish that there were eight or sixteen), let’s see if this little exercise can jump-start the neurons. Remember, if you think there should be rules, they’re here, but the first rule of Random Blatherationings is that we’re making this up as we go along. What? You mean it’s not blatantly obvious?
Tonight’s three random seed words are “assentatory”, “maleberry”, and “sourwood.”
ASSENTATORY: The short definition is “flattering or obsequious,” but it’s an obsolete term. Apparently over a hundred years obsolete, since the last reference to the word seems to be the 1913 Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. Looking for a reference where the term is used, I get nothing except a prompt asking if I’m really asking about “USS Sentry.”
Sure, let’s go with that! The USS Sentry is an Avenger-class mine sweeper (officially a “mine countermeasure ship”, or “MCM”), commissioned in 1989. She’s apparently based out of San Diego at the moment, with a complement of six officers and seventy-five enlisted, although there is a note on Wikipedia that she’s been designated a reserve ship and only at full crew-capacity when the reservists are aboard. Interesting.
I’m sure when people volunteer or enlist they all imagine that they’ll be driving a tank or on a nuclear submarine or aircraft carrier or flying an F-18. But some end up on the smaller ships that are just as important, just as critical with their jobs. It may not be glorious, it may not be flashy or spectacular, but all of the pieces count in the big picture. Plus, these days, it’s a job, and that’s not to be sneezed at.
MALEBERRY: Isn’t that where Opie, Andy, Gomer, and Aunt Bea lived? While the black and white, “aw shucks” attitude, and happy ending with goofy residents every twenty-nine minutes looks a bit dated, the show still holds up pretty well.
Plus, it gave us Ron Howard, who may have only been six years old when the show started in 1960, he must have really been soaking up knowledge about how things worked. As impressive as his acting credits might be (“Andy Griffith Show,” “The Music Man,” “Happy Days,” “American Graffiti”), his directing credits are just amazing. (We’ll just overlook the live-action version of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”) “Splash,” “Cocoon,” “Parenthood,” “Apollo 13,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “Rush,” and those are just the ones that pop out of the list as being fantastic instead of merely good. Best of all, he’s in negotiations to do a film version of Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book”? Please, please, please, please, please make that happen!
Ignoring my blatherationings above, a maleberry is “a deciduous, much branched shrub, Lyonia ligustrina, with dense downy panicles of small, bell-shaped white flowers — also called swamp andromeda.” Oh, yeah, that stuff. (I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it, and if I did, I didn’t know what it was.) Apparently it’s only found in the United States along the Eastern seaboard, inland as far the Ohio River Valley, then in the south along the Gulf Coast as far north as Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
It’s also apparently toxic if your dog eats it. Why your dog might be eating it is beyond me, but dogs do strange things. They’re weird creatures some times.
See, the blatherationings were more interesting! (That’s sort of the point.)
SOURWOOD: This is another word for the sorrel tree, which is great information if you know what a sorrel tree is. For the rest of us… Google it. It’s a big tree with big, long, flat leaves and bunches of little white flowers and pods at the end that look like tiny white bells. It looks like it can grow pretty much anywhere in the US except for the central-northern tier of states, Idaho over to Minnesota. From the pictures I see, it seems that it turns bright, bright colors in the fall, red, yellow, and purple, which I really like, but I can’t say that I remember ever seeing one.
I really enjoy the fall colors when the trees turn, something that I miss here in Southern California. We do have some trees that turn and some of them do so with spectacular color, but it’s a tree here or a couple there, all surrounded by dry brush, palm trees, cactus, and so on. In the midwest, northwest, or up in New England especially, it’s every stinkin’ deciduous tree from horizon to horizon that each turn their own palate of colors, with the pines and evergreens thrown in for contrast.
Of course, that simply a sign that snow is around the corner, and while that’s also something I miss in SoCal, I’m not so sure how well I’ll react to it if and when I end up back in a climate where there are actually four seasons. It should be “interesting” when it happens.