RDP: Thingamajig or Whatchamacallit

Ragtag’s Daily Prompt word today is thingamajig. It is a word we’ve always used (or one like it) when we don’t know or remember the name of something. I looked up the word to see how it would be defined:
Merriam-Webster has a good, concise definition: something that is hard to classify or whose name is unknown or forgotten. 
I found the synonyms amusing: dingus, doodad, doohickey, hickey, thingamabob, thingummy, whatchamacallit, whatnot, whatsit (also whatsis or what-is-it)

I am often at a loss for words, so I’m likely to use thingamajig or one of its synonyms more often than most people. However, as I looked in my photo archives, I did find some objects that defied definition or name. These are some of them.

The Bottle Tree Ranch in California, on Route 66, is full of thingamajigs, doodads, and whatchamacallits. In fact, I think that is its entire reason for being. Lots of weird, rusty machine parts that I have no clue as to what they are even used for…
More such things are on display at the Overlord Museum at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. If your thing is machines used in war, this is the place to visit.20190620_124504
There was a lot of chaos on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as these displays attest to, so it’s only to be expected to find plenty of hoojiggies (another synonym!) there.  I trust that the men who were using these pieces of machinery had better vocabulary about them than I do!
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Enough of broken machine parts! What would you call this so-called piece of art, on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam?
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(Yeah, me neither, but scary, for sure…)

But – saving the best for last – I had to take a photograph of this weird whatchamacallit I spotted along a sidewalk in Chicago. I have no idea why it’s there or what it’s used for. (The water bottle adds a nice touch, though! At least it can be used to set things down on, and then forget them!)
If anyone can clarify what this thingamajig is, I’d be interested to find out!


RDP: Dancing, Yeah!

Ragtag Daily Prompt today is Dance.

A Sunday afternoon on Avenida Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil: Ballet and…

…political protest batucada: “Fora Temer” – a protest against the vice president (Temer) who took over for Pres. Dilma Roussef after her arrest.

Panama Canal Cruise – in Mexican town of Tuxtla Chico, Chiapas

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Panama Canal Cruise on board m/s Veendam: Mexican dancers

Verde Valley School 70th anniversary: Saturday night dance

RDP: Nations of Allies

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today (1/25/20) is nation.

The blogger, Marilyn Armstrong, who wrote about the state of our nation said it much the same way as I would, so I won’t repeat the sentiment, but instead provide a link to her blog.

For my contribution, I remember more valiant days in our history.  I am posting photos I took at Arromanches, France, at the site of Port Winston, an artificial harbor important during D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. The flags represent the Allied nations during World War II who contributed to the liberation of France from the Nazis.


Left to right: Netherlands, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic), Norway, Poland, Canada, Belgium, United Kingdom, United States of America

Another view:DSC00293
On June 6, 2019 – the 75th anniversary of D-Day – there was a major commemorative event, including the presence of many national leaders, including Trump (I’m glad we were there almost two weeks later instead!). Attendees were given (or they purchased, I am not sure) small crosses with paper flowers attached which they could leave at the base of monuments, write someone’s name, etc. These little crosses were still there when we visited on June 17.
D-Day was the combined effort of several nations, primarily the British, Canadians and Americans. The site at Arromanches is the location of Juno Beach, one of the British invasion sites. The mission that became the Battle of Normandy, which lasted about a month, was successful only because of the perseverance, bravery, and sacrifice of the forces who fought at the cost of many casualties.

RDP: Panoply of Animals

I didn’t set out to collect little animals, but in truth I love collecting little things from different cultures, and animals are universally loved. I have collected small animal figures from Mexico, Brazil, Tanzania and others that I have either acquired or inherited.

I tried to fit most of them on one shelf for this photo.
20180923_153317_001Behind this animal panoply are portraits of my parents (in the middle – the woman with the pink hat and scarf is my mother, and next to her is my father), Dale’s parents (black & white photo on the right) and my great-grandparents in back on the left.

The animals include alebrijes (whimsical,colorful animal carvings from copal wood in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico); several ceramic birds as well as a small snail, mostly from Mexico; and black clay animals (including an armadillo, two birds, and a turtle) all of which are whistles, also made in Mexico by an elderly potter in the late 1960s who claimed to be the daughter of a Mexican mestiza woman and a French soldier – she had blue eyes.

On the left, in front of the portraits of my great-grandparents, is a fish made out of a gourd. I bought this in northeastern Brazil. It was made by an indigenous artist from the Amazon region.

The birds mounted on wood in the front at left (a loon and two other birds) are ceramic and were inherited from my mother. At right, a rather fearsome beaded animal is a lion, made by Maasai women in Tanzania. Next to the lion are two small turtles, part of a turtle collection that belonged to a woman from my church who died and asked that at her memorial service, the attendees should select one or two from her collection as a remembrance of her.

Next to the lion, a strange sort of dragon-looking green ceramic creature with horns, long fangs and white spikes along its back is a hodag. This legendary animal originated among the lumberjacks of northern Wisconsin, and it became the official symbol of the town of Rhinelander. The story goes that some of the seasoned lumberjacks built a hodag out of some realistic-looking material which resembled a reptile, and somehow rigged it to move its tail and eyes. They placed it in the woods to be “discovered” by the newbie lumberjacks, and according to the story, it worked! The rookies were scared of this animal they had never heard of before, at least at first.
As they looked more closely at it, they realized it was fake, but the legend stuck and the hodag became famous in those parts. My family home had several hodags – either ceramic or stuffed. My mother had spent part of her girlhood in Rhinelander!


This hodag greets visitors to Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

My most recent acquisition is a green, white and red striped snake, coiled in front of my mother’s portrait. I bought it yesterday at a Craft Fair hosted annually at my church. The sculptor, a young, rather shy man named David, had a display of lots of his fanciful clay animals, many with two heads! I asked if he let them harden naturally or fire them in a kiln. He said he bakes them in his oven!

These are the stories of my panoply of animals. I probably will continue to add to it as I find others that strike my fancy!



RDP: Slippery in Winter

Last winter was a mild one for the Chicago area in comparison to others in recent memory. We got some snow, after which it thawed a bit, then turned cold. This made the roads and sidewalks icy and slippery. It became easier and less hazardous to walk on the crunchy snow than on the sidewalks – as long as you had your boots on!

I have lived in the Midwest most of my life and have never liked winter. It looks pretty after a snowfall and I appreciate the cycle of life with the changing of the seasons, but it’s just too COLD! Plus at my age, I am in danger of falling, especially when it’s slippery out!

I took this shot from a local park district walking track, looking down at the deserted park in back of the building. Most seasons, I love to walk on that path, which makes a 3/4 mile loop, but there was no one out there when I took this picture. You can see by the footprints in the snow that both human and animal had recently been walking through it, but not on the path, which was icy and slippery that day!

RDP: Slippery

RDP: Birds of Tanzania

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is bird. We saw and photographed a variety of colorful and unusual birds while on safari in Tanzania last February. Here is a sample.


Lilac breasted roller takes flight in Tarangire National Park.


White-browed coucal – Arusha National Park


Lesser flamingos on Momella Lakes, Arusha National Park. The only adult in this group is the taller, pinker bird on the left. The others are young – their feathers do not turn pink until they reach adulthood.


Silvery-cheeked hornbill, Arusha National Park


Red-billed hornbill, Tarangire National Park


Go-away birds, Tarangire National Park


Vultures and storks fight over prey, Tarangire National Park


Superb starling looking down on me from its perch, Serengeti National Park


Red and yellow barbet, Tarangire National Park


Egyptian geese, Tarangire National Park


Crowned plover, Tarangire National Park


Ground hornbill, Tarangire National Park


Lilac-breasted roller, Tarangire National Park


A male kori bustard displays his fancy tail feathers for a potential mate, Ngorongoro Crater.


Yellow-billed stork, Ngorongoro Crater


Baglafecht weavers followed us around at this spot where we had lunch. Some even got into the vehicle to peck the food right out of my hand! Ngorongoro Crater


Sacred ibis, Ngorongoro Crater


Marabou stork, Ngorongoro Crater


Sandgrouse, Serengeti National Park

RDP: My Nickname

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is sobriquet, a fancy word for nickname.

I have always had the nickname Katy – not so unusual today, there being a number of famous young adult Katys. But when I was a kid, it was a rather unusual nickname. Most people whose “real” name was Katharine (or any of the many other ways of spelling it) were nicknamed Kathy in those days. There were a few named Katie (not spelled the way mine was) and even fewer Kates at that time. I was named after my maternal grandmother, whose nickname was Kate.

Because my nickname was unusual and because people who didn’t know me well would automatically call me “Kathy” (which I hated), I didn’t like either my real name or my nickname very much. This probably had something to do with my low self-esteem in general. At the time, I tried to come up with a better name for people to call me.  I decided I liked the name Karen – a much better name than Katharine/Katy! I tried to get people to call me Karen, but no one would, and soon it became embarrassing, so I went back to Katy.

Now I like my name – although I wish my parents had decided to nickname me Kate – like my grandmother and like Katharine Hepburn. If someone calls me Kate, I’m fine with that. Just please don’t call me Kathy!!

Here I am in my namesake town, Katy, Texas, in 2013.
Old train station and museum

My name was everywhere in this town, even on magazine covers!

Photos taken by my husband, Dale, with my camera.