As Under The Dome ended last week, the dome was shrinking. For no particular reason, at the start of this week’s episode, it stopped shrinking. But — the girl who came back from the dead started dying all over again and anyway, the dome stopped shrinking for almost the whole episode. Why did it start shrinking? Why did it stop? Why did it get so cold? Why did it warm up again?

Only The Dome Knows. Garry calls it the Holy Dome, All-Knowing Dome. “Praise The Dome,” said Garry. I nodded. The Dome is clearly God, all-knowing, all-powerful, entirely irrational. Bloodthirsty. The qualities every deity needs.

She's dying. No, wait, she's miraculously saved. Oops, dead again.

She’s dying. No, wait, she’s miraculously saved. Oops, dead again.

Anyway, the Chosen of The Dome join hands to save Melanie (the previously dead but resurrected girl) and — A MIRACLE! She comes back to life. Again! From the dead she rises one more time. Dang, but these Mainers are hard to kill.

“It’s so beautiful,” she says (I’m assuming she means the world is beautiful) … but before the words have entirely left her lovely lips, a whirlpool-like vortex appears. Poor dead-resurrected-dead-resurrected Melanie is sucked into it. Dead again. Swallowed by a vortex. Where are the alligators when you need them?

What? “What’s happening?” they cry. “We don’t understand!” Someone says something about quantum physics and Garry says “WHAT????”

I’m laughing too hard to answer and anyway, I have no idea what’s going on. Commercial break, news promo. Sometimes reality and fantasy are weirdly similar.

Back on the show, everyone is saying “What’s going on? The Dome is shrinking again, but faster this time.” If they don’t understand, you can bet no one watching the show does either. By now, I am yelling at the television. I want giant alligators to come and eat the cast, but instead, Big Jim is beating the crap out of someone. I must have missed something

Music up full. A folk singer is howling “Turn, Turn, Turn” and Garry looks at me, one eyebrow raised.

“What could possibly happen next?” Garry asks. He’s kidding of course. Anything could happen. I’m still voting for alligators but someone told me last week it would probably be a giant spider. I don’t like spiders. Anything but spiders.

There’s only one more show this season. The coming attractions suggest they are planning a third season. That seems outlandish, but this entire season was absurd, so why not another 13 ridiculous episodes? I don’t remember if The Dome was still shrinking when they ran the credits, but there weren’t any alligators. Pity.


It’s your 24th wedding anniversary and you want to get something for your spouse. What do you buy when you’ve been married such a long time and the only things either of you need are things you can’t afford?

Easy! You buy something no one needs, but which will make you laugh. Because fun is always with a few bucks!

I created his and hers Serendipity sweatshirts and they got here a few days ago. Cool. But weeks before I designed the sweatshirts, I had found Robby. Blame the Daily Prompt. While writing about Roomba, the vacuuming robot that couldn’t, I found a website on which someone was selling a near-mint 12″ original Robby the Robot. The one and only original toy robot who is a perfect miniature of Robby in Forbidden Planet.

Robby the Robot Forbidden Planet In box

He walks. Well, more like he stumbles, then falls over. He talks. His voice is the voice of Robby from the movie.

Note: The falling over is not from the movie, but seems to be unique to the miniature.

He says:

“How may I help you?”

“That is correct!”

“I am programmed to respond to the name Robby.”

Unlike modern robotic toys, he is wired to his remote control and what he does best, other than speak — he sounds like Walter Pidgeon — is to stand on the coffee table looking collectible.

Robby the Robot Forbidden Planet unboxed

I am, in case you haven’t noticed, very “into” collectibles. I not only have a lot of them, I used to have an online business selling them. A lot of dolls, but anything old and interesting. Lots of antique, cast-iron doorstops and bookends. I actually did pretty well for three years, until the economy crashed and that discretionary income people used to have disappeared … and my customers with it.

Today, Garry was introduced to Robby. Every time he walked and fell over backwards, we laughed. Now, standing proudly on the coffee table, he is a member of the household. We needed an entertaining, 20-year-old toy robot. Sometimes, a toy is exactly what we need. We are, after all, still children.

If a 12-inch reproduction doesn’t do it for you, you’ll be glad to know that Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is offering a full-size reproduction for $17,515.00. Shipping, at $990.00 is a bit pricey, but in for a penny, in for a pound.



To-Do? Done!

Quickly list five things you’d like to change in your life. Now, write a post about a day in your life once all five have been crossed off your to-do list.

VeganWitches“What a world, what a world” cried the witch. “I’m melting, melting.” And she melted. Referring back to her previous statement, it is quite a world and certainly could use some adjusting. So, off the top of my early morning head, I’d like to say this about that.

1. Whichever dog is piddling on the rug in the morning, it isn’t going to get you more biscuits, better food, an upgraded position on the sofa, or your own laptop. If we ever find out which one(s) of you are doing it, a good thumping is more likely. Stop it before I catch you because … to quote another movie big shot: “You won’t like me when I’m angry.”

2. Our television is 13 years old. It works. But it’s falling behind technologically. If any of you WordPress pixies feel inclined to drop by during the night, take away the huge old one and replace it with a nice, sleek, shiny new one, I would certainly not object.

3. Surely at least one wish grantor at your headquarters is in charge of paving? Because our driveway is a disaster and winter is coming. New asphalt please?

4. Speaking of winter coming and driveways … emphasis on the “drive”  … we could really use some kind of SUV to deal with the bad weather. We can’t afford one, but now that you are so spectacularly successful, maybe you’ve got a spare vehicle lying around you might send our way? Swap you for our 2003 Sunfire. It’s a cute little thing, but useless in the winter. Only has 115,000 miles on it and it’s bright yellow.

5. A general bump in income would be appreciated. We worked hard. Combined, the two of us worked for more than 80 years. It’s sad finding ourselves in such straits. We don’t need to be rich, though we wouldn’t object … but not poor either would be nice. I’d like to have more money than month. A little spare. Some discretionary funds.

Thank you all very much. I’ll be getting back to my coffee now. You want a cup? Have a seat. I’ll go get it.

Oh, and please make sure all those “gifts” are tax-free.

EPILOGUE: The Day After Tomorrow

Monday morning, I will get up and pad out to my living room in my bare feet, I will not step in a cold pool of dog pee. I will turn on my brand-new television which will have much better sharpness and clarity than the current one. I will not have to clean my glasses because things are a bit fuzzy.

I will gaze contentedly out my picture window where my new SUV will be waiting for me on my smoothly paved driveway. All our stuff will be packed because as soon as we finish a quick breakfast, we’re going away for a couple of days … now that we can afford a night or two in a nice bed and breakfast on the Cape.

Thanks for everything. See you in a few days.


Hand-Me-Downs – Clothes and toys, recipes and jokes, advice and prejudice: we all have to handle all sorts of hand-me-downs every day. Tell us about some of the meaningful hand-me-downs in your life.

The family

The most important stuff I got handed down to me — other than my DNA, which has turned out to be a mixed bag of goodies — were attitudes. Culture. Habits. Taste. Sayings and a few useful tips.

My mother gave me a love for books, as well as an expensive — nearly lethal — appreciation for the finer things in life. Without, sadly, leaving me the money to afford them. She also left me her far left knee-jerk liberal world view and a saying I have never quite escaped: “For everyone, there’s someone. Even you.”

Thanks mom. You have no idea how much confidence that’s given me.

Dad? Not my favorite person, but he did pass along some good jokes and knowledge of how to tell one without blowing the punchline. He also taught me how to throw a meal together using whatever I have in the fridge. Because knowing “what goes with what” is the most important thing to know when you do a lot of cooking.

He also bequeathed me a firm — grim — determination to be as unlike him as I could be. Plus one great saying: “It’s not what you don’t know that will get you in the end. It’s what you do know that’s wrong.”


Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?

Aww, c’mon. I read everything, including the back of cereal boxes. I guess science fiction and fantasy are my top two this decade, but history is a very close runner-up. With thrillers and biographies hanging in there too.


I read all the time, pretty much. If I’m not writing or shooting or processing, I’m reading.

What is your biggest fear or phobia? (no photos please)


I have a couple of really creepy photos, if you change your mind!

What is your favorite cheese?

You keep asking hard questions. Well my favorite changes. Bleu cheese is a favorite, but right now it’s sharp parmesan. Sometimes, it’s Jarlsberg. Sharp cheddar is a perennial and almost a staple. Cheese — kind of a moving target!

What is your favorite month of the year?


The Canal, mid October 2012 - Photo: Marilyn Armstrong




Next in Line — A second #RoyalBaby will soon be joining the Windsors in England. Given the choice, would you rather be heir to the throne, or the (probably) off-the-hook sibling?

Are you kidding? Seriously?

Heir to the throne of England. Right. Even in my wildest imaginings, I never so much as posited the proposition of finding myself royal. I would as soon imagine myself a sirloin steak … sooner, really.

raz raspberry snoopy cartoon

Snoopy demonstrates the raspberry.

And what, pray tell, is an off-the-hook-sibling? Is that like a disconnected telephone? Are you trying to sidle up to illegitimacy? Or do you mean one of the family that can’t inherit? If that is what you mean, why don’t you say so?

I feel my self-expression being stifled this morning. So, in an ongoing need to give fuller rein to my feelings (and you would not want me to bottle them up — that’s so unhealthy), I would like to offer you a raspberry. I cannot think of any other way to express how I feel about this prompt.

The “raspberry” — razz or Bronx cheer — is a noise we make with our tongue and lips. It is used when we have run out of words to express how we feel. It speaks for itself. It isn’t a compliment.

Follow these simple instructions:

  1. Place your tongue between your lips.
  2. Blow until you produce a sound like a fart. You may have to practice until you achieve the desired resonance.
  3. You should be able to hear a fully matured raspberry across a moderately large, crowded — even noisy –room.

You’re welcome.

NOTE: What happened to the Weekly Writing Challenge?

I actually got an answer from WordPress (surprise!). Turns out, Weekly Writing Challenge has moved — as of September 1st — to Tuesdays. Which is better because I’m not challenge-ready on Monday.