I decided to take up the challenge of three quotes in three days. This post has more than one quote, but all attribute to a single source — Eleanor Roosevelt. That’s almost like one quote, right?

I couldn't find Eleanor, but I realized I have her figure in my

I couldn’t find Eleanor, but I have her in my “historical dolls” collection. From Effanbee, 1985

No one nominated me because the bloggers I hang with don’t nominate. Neither do I, so if you find this challenge interesting, consider yourself invited to give it a whirl.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m reading — okay, listening (with Garry) — to the David McCullough biography of Harry Truman. Concurrently (and not coincidentally), we watched (again) Ken Burns’ “The Roosevelts.”

This heavy dose of over-achievers brought me face-to-face with how little I’ve achieved in life. One can only imagine how difficult it was for Eleanor, Franklin, or Teddy’s kids. Their parents were hard acts to follow.

I encountered Eleanor Roosevelt in person in October 1962. In the elevator of Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.

“ Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

We were both in wheel chairs. I was there to have a tumor removed from my right leg. She was there because she was dying and would be buried less than a month later. I don’t know if I said anything to her.

Eleanor with Franklin D. Roosevelt. By Effanbee, 1985

Eleanor with Franklin D. Roosevelt. By Effanbee, 1985

Probably not. I was suffering from terminally struck dumb. She was the woman in whose footsteps I would have most wanted to follow, if I had unlimited options and an inclination to dedicate my life to public service. Which, even then, I knew I didn’t.

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

There was never a question in my mind of being her. I loved that she was always on the side of right and justice — and willing to fight for it. And remarkably effective, too. She was the woman who could and did.

Having had this chance encounter, I did not immediately dedicate my life to battling evil on behalf of the greater good. That wasn’t my thing. I thought I could, at the least, do my best to choose rightly if I came to a crossroads and was obliged to make a decision.

Winston Churchill, FDR, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Great moments in history from Effanbee, 1985.

Winston Churchill, FDR, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Great moments in history from Effanbee, 1985.

So I have. Not always as successfully as I would have liked, but not bad — for a non-Roosevelt.

“Do the things that interest you and do them with all your heart. Don’t be concerned about whether people are watching you or criticizing you.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

There are people who are larger than life. Not that we think they are. They really are. We can admire them, enjoy them. Be glad they are in our world to fight for us.

Eleanor with Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. World War II historical dolls from Effanbee.

Eleanor with Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. World War II historical dolls from Effanbee.

I never thought I’d be one of those people, nor did I expect to personally know such a person. They are rare enough in the annals of human civilization. My chance and oh-so-brief encounter with Mrs. Roosevelt in the elevator was probably the closest I would ever be to greatness in the largest sense. But it was enough. I am enough.

“ One thing life has taught me: if you are interested, you never have to look for new interests. They come to you. When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else.” — Eleanor Roosevelt


I must be the world’s worst eavesdropper because I’ve never overheard a conversation that was a game changer.

Maybe it’s because I try hard to not overhear pieces of conversation. So many misunderstandings end up ruining relationships — someone heard a piece of something, and never got the rest of the story. It’s a popular theme in books and movies. It never works out well.


So here I am, older and I haven’t a single bit of stuff to contribute. Nothing overheard. Oh, I’ve overheard strangers. I’ve heard producers trying to pitch a new movie, actors trying to get a role. But nothing about me, nothing from mine. Did I miss something deliciously scandalous?

Mostly, when you eavesdrop, you just hear icky stuff you wish you’d missed. No, thanks.


“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me.”

It’s an old childhood chant, a miserably inadequate defense against bullies and bigots when one is small and powerless. It was oft-repeated, not only by we, the little victims, but by parents, teachers and other wise counselors. It was supposed to comfort us.

It didn’t because we all knew for a certainty it was untrue.

Names can and do hurt. The hurt caused by a cruel name goes deeper than any mere cut or bruise to the body. Psyches heal but slowly. Sometimes they never heal.

Horrible words. Can you still tell me — with a straight face — that names can’t hurt? Will you give me all your arguments that “political correctness” is stupid? That anything which makes it illegal or socially unacceptable to spew hate is too restrictive of free speech? Really? Your free speech? It’s not my free speech. I don’t talk that way and I don’t hang around anyone who does.

Do you actually believe it? Or did you read it as part of some rant on Facebook?

Of course names hurt. They’re intended to hurt. They have no other purpose on earth but to cause pain. These words carry with them the ugliness of generations of haters. It has been argued by otherwise respected bloggers that if a member of a minority (in your opinion) does you wrong, you have every right to strike back any way you can.

I disagree. Racial and ethnic name-calling epithets are never justified. By anything.

hate speech is not free

Is it the word or its intent that hurts so much? Both. Words have power.

“The pen is mightier than the sword.”

But wait a minute. I thought words could never hurt me? (Oh yes they can, yes they do.)

Words bring with them the weight of history. A hate word carries the ugliness of everyone who has spoken it. Each time these words fly into the air, their potency is renewed and reinforced.

It’s time to stop forgiving bigots, stop letting them off the hook. Those hate-filled monologues by drugged and drunken celebrities were no mere slips of the tongue. They were not caused by drugs or drink. You could fill me with all the drugs and booze in the world and you’d never hear that from me. Because it’s not in me.

People who talk hate never do so by accident. It isn’t because of their environment, upbringing, or environment. It’s a choice they made. They know exactly what they are saying and why. It isn’t a joke. It isn’t funny. It isn’t okay.

Excuses are not repentance. Don’t give bigots a second chance. Be politically correct. It’s not merely political correctness. It’s also the moral, righteous, decent, civil, and humane way to behave.


Marilyn Armstrong:

This was a silly prompt. Ask a silly question, get a silly answer. I like this one so much, I tried to read it out loud and by the end, was laughing too hard to continuing talking. So, without further ado …

Originally posted on The happy Quitter!:


When I read today’s daily prompt I thought about an oldie but goodie and found it to be the perfect reply:

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Marilyn Armstrong:

Off to various doctors and hospitals today, so I thought a spot of humor might be in order. I got a kick out of this one and maybe so will you!

Originally posted on DCMontreal: Blowing the Whistle on Society:

Irritable Vowel Syndrome – something has to change yventually!

©DCMontreal 2014 ©DCMontreal 2014

 Cause, Meet Effect.

Me DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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As I busy myself, casually doodling on my little pad of paper, everything seems flat. I don’t know why I’m doing this. It doesn’t make me feel good or happy. It’s just something keep my little hands busy. Make work. Nothing important.


Oh how I yearn for the day when prompts or quotes offered real inspiration. Sad to be trying to come up with something unusual, or at least mildly interesting. Vaguely wondering how long I’m going to keep this up when I know it’s not going anywhere and no one will see it.

Maybe I’ll get an x-ray of my so-called brain. See if I’ve still got one. You can check back tomorrow for results. Bet you’ll find a blank page. Zero equals zero.

Not that it matters, but today’s Daily Prompt is “Alphabet Soup.” No pingbacks.


This isn’t a friendly town. People fraternize with the people who attend their church and seem to regard anyone else as potentially hostile.


Of course we didn’t know that when we moved here. We knew that it was a very white town, that Garry was likely to be the first (only) person of color, and I might well be the first (only?) Jew. In fact, apparently well-intentioned people said stuff like “Gee, I’ve never known a Jewish person before” and honestly didn’t see anything wrong with this. Meanwhile, Garry got stares. No way to know if they were staring because they’d seen him on TV or because he’s brown. Both?

Our situation was made even more complicated by our neighbor, Ned. A big guy. Rode a Harley. I love Harleys, but there are Harleys and then, there are Harleys. This one was chopped and really loud. When Ned started his bike, the vibration alone could knock me out of bed.

Ned was massive. Tattooed. He hung with a bunch of skin-head friends. They had raucous parties with lots of beer. We didn’t expect to be invited, nor did these seem to be our kind of party.


Ned flew a Confederate flag over his house. Prominently. We learned he’d always done this. It was part of some family roots thing tying him to his original home state of Georgia. Me? I think it’s time the south moved on. The war ended a more than a century ago. Time to get over it. But I’m from New York so I probably don’t understand.

Our neighbor’s house was the only one in the Valley flying a confederate flag and we were the only mixed-race couple in town. Ironic, to say the least. And we were a poster couple for hate groups.

black jockey racist statue

Garry is pragmatic and tough. His mild-mannered demeanor belies his Marine Corps interior (semper fi, and note I did not say “former Marine” because there’s no such thing as a former Marine). Moreover, he couldn’t have survived 40-years as a reporter without being tough.

One fine summer’s day, music screaming from Ned’s boombox, Garry looked at me and murmured those fighting words: “This is ridiculous!”

He marched down the driveway, through the woods that join our two houses, to Ned’s front door. Garry knocked. Loudly. When Ned finally answered, Garry said: “Hi. I’m your neighbor. Garry Armstrong. Do we have a problem?”

Shortly the flag disappeared along with a noxious black jockey statue. Turned out, Ned was a plumber. He fixed our bathroom pipes. The whole skinhead thing dissolved in the face of a brown-skinned guy who did news on Boston TV. Seemed it was less important who Ned was than who Ned, with a little encouragement, was willing to become.

Eventually Ned got into drugs. Or something. We were never sure what. His wife left. His life fell apart. One day, he vanished. Fortunately, he returned our extension ladder before going.


Other folks live there now. They are not actively hostile, which is about the best one could say of them. In the year and half they have lived there, they’ve never bothered to say hello and I doubt they ever will. They object to our dogs barking so much. Hard to argue with that. I wish they’d shut up too, but hey, they’ve got dogs who do their own share of barking. (There are a lot of dogs around here. If you are outside in the evening, you can always hear a dog barking somewhere.)

I miss Ned. No one fixed pipes like Ned and he always gave us a huge discount. He turned out to be a funny guy and a good neighbor. Who’d have thunk it.