COMPANIONS

Should I talk about the dogs? They are our companions day in, day out. Better friends than most friends, and always right there for us. Or do I talk about Garry, who is my husband, my best friend, the only person who will always put up with me. The proof of this is that he has not yet thrown me from a window or pushed me out of the moving car.

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I got up this morning after a long near-nightmare in which we were buying a house. But the house didn’t have a proper bathroom and there were cockroaches seething in what had been a tub which had, somehow, moved into the living room. The living room was big, but completely covered with mirrors– like a dance studio. We had bought it, but I wanted desperately be get rid of it. We’d signed papers, so it wasn’t simple.

I shook off the dream, waking up cranky and headachy. Outside, all I could see are naked oak trees, the leaves having been consumed by our plague of Gypsy Moth caterpillars. I wonder if leaves will grow back. I’m told they will, but it doesn’t look like it right now. It’s a winter view of a summer woods.


“A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-Yo Silver! The Lone Ranger rides again! … With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early west! ”

Come back, and leave me a silver bullet!


Garry wasn’t up yet, but the dogs were glad to see me. Talk about faithful companions. They were thrilled, jumping up and down with delight. Even though we repeat this same pattern every morning of their lives, minus the few days here and there when we are away from home, they never get tired of it and I never tire of them. I gave them each a greenie. Washed the water bowls. Refilled them. Noticed that somehow, there was peanut butter on the cabinet doors … and washed them, too.

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Coffee was brewing. I toasted a muffin, observing that there are no more muffins after this. We will have to go shopping. Thus when Garry showed up in the kitchen, I nearly snarled at him. Because I was snarly and he was there.

He didn’t say anything. He looked puzzled, but moved on.

Now that is a truly faithful companion. Even when you have no idea what’s going on, you just let it go because a snarly start does not define the relationship. Personally, I think it’s all about the coffee.

DAILY POST | COMPANION

AND SO, THE BIG NUMBER DRIFTED PAST …

I wrote about almost hitting 400,000 on the 9th of June, 11 days ago. Endurance, I called it. Still blogging after all these years. Yesterday, the number was 400,792, but it has changed  hand and I don’t know what it is now. It’s a moving target.

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I had an unstable professional life. I worked almost exclusively for startup companies. Venture capital funded and typically, very small operations doing leading edge work. I fit into that kind of place and the people who worked there. It should there be no surprise that bankruptcy was often the final chapter of my jobs. In any case, single product companies don’t keep a technical writer on staff forever. No matter how much the job is supposed to be “permanent,” after the documentation is complete … it’s time to move on.

Blogging has been great for me, the best gig ever. It has outlasted all but one of my jobs and has been more fun (and more satisfying) than any of them. It has given me new friends, made me a better writer and photographer … and given me epic amounts of pure satisfaction.

Nothing lasts forever, but I’m giving it my best shot.

THE CANDIDACY OF VERMIN SUPREME: A CAUTIONARY TALE – GARRY ARMSTRONG

It’s Tuesday again. No primary today, so I guess we have officially moved on to the next phase of our political process … though this year? Anything goes. In honor of it being a Tuesday, I’m rerunning one of my favorite — and still relevant — political posts by my own sagacious news guy, Garry Armstrong.


I have a laminated poster hanging on my bathroom wall. It’s about 35 years old and triggers sense memories every day.

Vermin Supreme poster

In the beginning, Vermin Supreme was a satirical figure. He campaigned in Boston municipal elections, a “photo-op” for those of us covering City Hall and School Committee campaigns — a pleasant break from the usual sound bites. 

Vermin offered a contrast to the old “machine” pols whose blood lines dated back to legends like James Michael Curley and Joseph Kennedy. He was the flagrant rebel to the “Last Hurrah” guys. The poster displaying a wrist squeezing dollar bills around an American Flag underscored the well-documented corruption that included candidates who were indicted or serving jail time for myriad felonies. The denial caption resonated with familiar sound bites from interviews with many candidates through the years.

I included footage of Vermin Supreme with background music — an only slightly muted version of “Send In The Clowns” — for one of my reports. Viewers loved it. The candidates were less enthusiastic. Back then, reporters were still allowed to swing for the fences without repudiation.

Vermin Supreme was a cult hero.

Almost 40 years later, Vermin Supreme has grown from cult figure into a Presidential Candidate who finished fourth in the recent New Hampshire Democratic Primary. Mr. Supreme even garnered more votes than GOP candidate, Jim Gilmore.

In an interview with CBS News Reporter, Rebecca Kaplan, Vermin Supreme outlined his platform that includes:

  • Mandatory tooth brushing to prevent gingivitis “which has been eroding the gum line of this great nation”.
  • Zombie preparedness … to protect America from the imminent Zombie invasion.
  • Time Travel Research …”To go back in time..and kill baby Hitler… before he is born”.

From CBS News: “Supreme got 256 votes Tuesday evening, finishing just behind former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who attracted 619 votes despite dropping out of the race after the Iowa caucuses. Gilmore, the former Virginia governor and last-place finisher on the Republican side, received just 131 votes.”

“In the interview, Supreme said that Republicans Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Santorum dropped out because they “knew they could not get more votes than Vermin Supreme in New Hampshire.”

Vermin Supreme may seem ridiculous but, as I write, I’m watching CNN political updates. Quotes from at least one candidate (guess who) give pause to our analysis of Mr. Supreme.

Photo credit: CBS News
Photo credit: CBS News

The ridiculous is now part of the daily rhetoric we hear from many who would be our next Commander-In-Chief. The candidates continue to be laugh fodder for late night TV hosts, but the humor is wearing thin as the campaign clock ticks down — and reality takes over.

The anger that fuels some candidacies may give us at least four years of regret once the cheers stop and it’s time to walk that walk.

In a private conversation, Vermin Supreme once told me he is trying to hold a mirror up the public and make them see the foibles of our elected officials.

I doubt if many people understand what the political joker is trying to tell us. The punch line is not really funny. Not these days.