Trick Questions

A Pulitzer-winning reporter is writing an in-depth piece – about you. What are the three questions you really hope she doesn’t ask you?

This must be the interview which celebrates my having won the Blogging Pulitzer, right? No? Has there been a mass shooting in town — and I’m the shooter? The Blackstone has angrily overflowed and washed my house away?

Garry Clean Harbors-SMALL

The aliens have landed and are shacking up in the guest room? The aliens tried to land, but couldn’t find a suitable spot to set down, the driveway being full of cars?

The President is visiting us because he’s run out of foreign countries with which the U.S. is, was or will be at war?

Really — I’m past the age where I have anything left to hide. What could anyone ask about which I haven’t already written and published in a post?

So bring it on. We are media savvy in this household. Ain’t nothin’ you can ask that we can’t answer!


Mutants and Hybrids

If you were one part human, two parts something else — another animal, a plant, an inanimate object — what would the other two parts be?


Those who recall the furor over Gay marriage should probably have expected the hysteria over the legalized joining of humans with their favorite technology, animal, mineral or plant.

As millions of teenagers race to fuse with their cell phones, nerds with their computers, aviators with fighter planes, animal rights activists with their favorite vanishing species (leading some to wonder if this will not signal the death knell for many species) and tree huggers with large forests, fundamentalist Christian groups — never imagining the far-reaching implications of this law — scramble to get out of church and on the street.


“Clearly,” stated the Reverend Righteous P. Indignation, spokesman for the Church of the Ridiculous Assumption, “This is not what God had in mind. Although the Bible does not specifically mention marriage — or fusion — with non-human things, this can’t be right in His eyes.” Indignation’s statement was greeted by catcalls, neighing, bleats, beeps and a goodly amount of shrill ringing.

Many, mirroring the human yearning for the freedom of flight have chosen to become two-thirds bird. Racing enthusiasts have become mostly horse, often with the rear end as the dominant segment while their bookies have chosen chainsaws and jack hammers.

While corporations hustle to reinvent themselves in light of a weirdly altered target audience, communications providers from television to Hollywood try to reconfigure everything from seating in stadiums to snacks at movie kiosks.

The potential impact on major sports has not yet been calculated. Some prefer to be a ball and others a bat, so to speak. Simultaneously, the IRS is — at long last — revising the tax code before everyone gallops, flies, beeps, whirs and chirps him or herself forever out of reach of tax collection.

Only Walmart, ever sanguine, merely widened the aisles in their super-stores.

“We never care what customers look like,” said a spokesman. “If they look or behave like sheep or cattle, as long as they pay at the register, everyone is welcome at Wally World.”

MacDonald’s had no comment.


I woke up this morning to the sound of the phone ringing. It was the hospital. Just as well since I had to call them anyway.

“How are you?” asked the Lisa, the nurse for the unit.

“Swimming in a world of mucous,” I said. “But I don’t think it’s pneumonia. It doesn’t feel like pneumonia.”

“Are you coughing?”75-Sky-NK-84

“Not much, but I’m sneezing a lot.” I’m an epic sneezer. I put my heart and soul into my sneezes. They echo through the house. I’ve been known to sneeze 8 or 9 times in a row and throw my back out at the same time.

“That’s not good. After surgery, sneezing or coughing can be really painful.”

I could only imagine. The image it conjured was all too graphic. Ouch!

I called my friend to tell her surgery was postponed.

“Garry says he won’t drive me there. He says he has a bad feeling about this.”

“Me too,” she said. Me three, I thought.

Next call, the doctor. Chest x-rays all around. I don’t have pneumonia, but Garry does. I’m about 4 or 5 days behind him in this particular viral infection, but hopefully I won’t go the same route. I don’t believe in prophylactic antibiotics and neither does my doctor, but Garry is now on what have to be the most expensive antibiotics on the market. Usually, antibiotics are free or really cheap, but these were worth two weeks of groceries. Impressive. I hope they are as effective as they are costly.

Presumably Garry is now on the way to getting better. He’s not there yet, still pretty miserable.

Meanwhile, my surgery is postponed until I can breathe, no coughing or sneezing. The new date will depend on how long this cold takes to go away. If I’m lucky, a week. Unlucky, longer. At this point, I want to get this show on the road, get to the other side and start the healing process.

A thought for us all. With all the research and advances in medicine, there is still virtually nothing to be done about The Common Cold. I doubt they are any closer to a cure (or prevention) now than ever.

So where’s the silver lining?

I won’t be in the hospital for my birthday. Good. I’ve spent two birthdays in the hospital. Maybe this time, I will celebrate with Garry in our favorite Japanese restaurant. Overeating on sushi and other good stuff.

Even if we wind up eating breakfast sandwiches in front of the TV, it beats out hospital food with a side order of morphine drip.


Garry got sick a few days ago and this morning, I woke up full of gunk. I called the hospital. They said unless I had a fever or a cough, the show goes on. But hey, wait a minute. I can’t breathe … I’m wheezing and sniffling and choking … and I’m going to have hours and hours of anesthesia? No, I don’t think so.

me sicko

This is all going to get delayed a few days, at least until I can breathe without the weird gurgling sound my bronchial tubes are making. (Take a breath or try, anyhow. Gurgle. Whistle. Wheeze. Sniff.) I don’t think I’m well enough for a trip to the grocery store. An asthmatic with a chest cold going in for heart surgery? I think that’s not such a good idea. I understand about schedules, but I’m not going to die to avoid inconveniencing the hospital.

We’ll see where I’m at tomorrow, but my husband is firmly against major surgery while I’m having trouble breathing. I’m inclined to agree with him. Stay tuned for more ongoing drama.


In response to today’s Daily Prompt, ripped from the headlines, one of today’s stories in the Boston Globe reads as follows:

Marijuana advocates eye legalization in Mass.

An effort has been launched to both get a question calling for the drug’s legalization on the 2016 ballot and to raise enough money for victory.

I kind of wondered what happened. I mean we passed a referendum making medical marijuana legal more than a year ago. We passed it, we talked about it and as happens to much legislation and good intentions in this commonwealth, it was never heard from again. I think we could legalize it and have an equally impressive result, that is to say, nothing. Nada. The good news would be that there would be no more busting people for smoking a joint at a concert … or would it? I suppose it would depend on how the law was worded. But I somehow doubt it would make it more available to most people. Or cheaper. Or better quality.

Why not? Because this is Massachusetts. Not only (to quote Tip O’Neill) is all politics local, but all politics is more than slightly corrupted by a long history of entrenched political chicanery. Boston has the original party machine. Okay, maybe we share the honor with New York, assuming you consider it an honor.

marijuana in my dreams

So they can eye legalization, but that won’t do me or my baby boomer buddies much good. Even if they pass it, they will find a way to keep it from being easy to buy or even moderately available. By the time they finish with the legal mumbo jumbo, it will be easier to go find the original illegal sources and buy some there. Because otherwise, it will be just like trying to get MassHealth. You’ll fill out a thousand page form, send it in, and they will lose it. You will fill in another form, send it and they will tell you it’s too late to meet the deadline (because they lost the first one). Eventually, they will — with snail-like slowness — start to process the application. If you don’t die first, a year or two later, you’ll get some fantastic medical benefits, or in this case, weed. Except the price will be so high you’ll realize the illegal stuff was a bargain in comparison. The taxes alone will exceed the original non-legal price by hundreds of percent.

Dream on, you aging hippies. It aint’ gonna happen here in our lifetime.

Related posts:


He wanted to be a movie star, on the silver screen. I wanted to be an author. Somehow on our way to our dreams, we found our way to the college radio station. A puny thing, just 10 watts when Garry and I met in the tiny studios under the Little Theater. I was 17, Garry 22. He was a little older than most of the undergrads because at 17, he’d enlisted in the Marines and by the time he got out, a few years had passed.

Garry Clean Harbors-SMALLWe found the radio station by accident, but it fit. Garry stayed and became its Program Director. I hung around and began dating the Station Manager, who coincidentally was Garry’s best friend. Which is where our personal history gets a bit tangled and hard to explain, so I won’t. I was the Chief Announcer. Even though I knew I wanted to be in print, not electronic media, the radio station was a great place to try out new skills. There were scripts to be written, newsletters to create. And I had my own radio show and a whole bunch of great friends, most of whom are still great friends.

We were all oddballs. Creative and talented. Almost all of us went on to careers in media and the arts. We turned out a couple of authors, audio engineers, talk show hosts, DJs, TV and radio producers, news directors, commercial writers, college professors and Garry, a reporter whose career spanned 45 years, 31 at Channel 7 in Boston.

Surprisingly little footage of Garry’s on the air career  survived and until someone found this clip, we had nothing from his years at ABC Network. An old friend of Garry’s sent us this footage from 1969, the last year Garry was at ABC before he jumped to television. It’s a promotional piece for ABC News and features faces and voices from the past … and one young up and coming fellow, Garry Armstrong.

Let us return to those days of yesteryear, when television cameras used film and there was a war raging in Vietnam. 1969, the year my son was born, the year of Woodstock, the end of an era, the beginning of everything else.

Look at the equipment circa 1969. Antiquated by today’s technical standards, but the standards by which the news itself was gathered and reported were incomparably higher than what passes for news reportage today.


Emergency measures have been initiated when our intrepid vacationers, Garry and Marilyn Armstrong of Uxbridge, Massachusetts realized they have bigger problems than they realized … and that’s saying something.

Maintenance at the 1 star Cape Winds In Hyannis is rumored to be on the way to unclog both of Unit 17’s toilets. When Mrs. Armstrong reported the problem, Front Desk replied with “That’s odd!”

“I, ” responded Mrs. Armstrong, “Would not describe it as such. “I would call it clogged.”

Informed of the problem, Mr. Armstrong pulled the covers over his face. What a dump.