adjective:  Characterized by vulgar or pretentious display; designed to impress or attract notice.

Synonyms:  Showy, pretentious, conspicuous, flamboyant, gaudy, brash, vulgar, loud, extravagant, excessive, too fancy, ornate, overly elaborate, more.

This is it. A building that is purely ostentatious. No apologies. Just gaudy and over-the-top, designed entirely to impress. It’s just one of many such buildings all over the country. Let us hope he will not paint the White House with gold and glitter. No one, apparently, ever told the man that “All that glitters is not gold.”

Quite probably, he wouldn’t care anyway.




Another anniversary. And a timely reminder where crazy leaders can take us. Do NOT drink the Kool-Aid. Really. Just say no. It’s now 38 years … and we seem to be heading back down the lonesome road.

Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Another year, another anniversary. It seems, given recent events, especially timely to remember where hatred leads.

Terror, born in hatred and nurtured by evil, doesn’t always come from somewhere else. We grow our own bad guys, too. It’s why I cringe at the over-simplified “meme psychology” that currently dominates media. Education doesn’t cure evil. Nor does sending in the Marines. Evil will always be us. We need to recognize it for what it is. Even when it smiles and makes pretty promises.

It happened — or perhaps culminated — on November 18, 1978. Which makes today the 37th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre, one of the most bizarre, horrible events of the 20th century

If you were old enough to read or understand television news in 1978, you remember the Jonestown Massacre. With religious fanaticism and radical fundamentalism enjoying a groundswell of popularity — even among people who ought to know better — it’s a good time to remember where…

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“Nothing is certain anymore. Nothing. Chaos is king and magic is loose in the world.” That was the conclusion Robert A. Heinlein drew at the end of his two novellas, “Waldo” and “Magic, Incorporated.”


I have always wanted magic to be real. Over the nearly 7 decades of my life, I have had to accept that if magic exists — magic in the sense of spells and witches and wizards — I don’t have it. But perhaps it is time to redefine magic. Maybe magic isn’t a coven chanting at the new moon or spells cast by wizards. Or amazing feats by creatures born in myth. Magic is everywhere, loose in the world.

Super moon through the trees - November 13, 2016

Super moon through the trees – November 13, 2016


Even my favorite magic — time travel — is real. We all travel through time, but we march not to drums, but to the beat of our hearts. My time travels have shown me a transformed world where technology has created what no one imagined or dreamed.

Is that not magic? And if we cease believing, will that magic disappear?


I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016


It can be difficult to tell compliments from insults. You’d think it would be easy and obvious, but it isn’t.

As a child, my mother comforted me with her classic line. Somewhere in my head, I can still hear her. A lonely (probably weird) child, as a teenager, it took me a long time to find my social self. Mom could reassure me in her own special way: “There’s someone for everyone,” she told me. “Even you.”


And then there was the clothing my mother made for me. It was gorgeous, fashionable. Far better quality than the other girls wore. The Mean Girls (those girls have been around forever and live everywhere) just said “Eww! Where did you get that ugly dress?” It wasn’t ugly. They were ugly. Nicer, kinder people (adults mostly) would say, “Your mother must have made that for you. It’s so … interesting.”

As a young woman, I put on a lot of weight. Before I got rid of that hundred and fifty pounds, there were some great lines from “friends” who knew just the right words to make me feel good: “You dress really nice for a fat girl.” “I don’t think of you as fat. You’re just Marilyn.”


Later on, no longer fat, compliments have streamed in nonstop: “I thought you were a nun. Don’t you own anything that isn’t black?”

My all time favorite came from the woman who never got my first husband to the altar. Had he lived longer, she might have worn him down. She just needed another decade or two. She was baffled by my popularity with men. “I’m very nice to them,” I said. “I make them feel special and loved.” There was more to it than that, but this was what I was willing to share.

“I do that too,” she whined. (No, she didn’t.) “But,” she continued, getting ever more nasal, “How come they marry you?”

And finally, the clincher. After I published my book. “It was much better than I expected.” What were you expecting?


Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2016 Week 46

Thanksgiving is next week, but as far as the stores are concerned, Christmas is just one day later. And down at the dam, the last few leaves are clinging to the trees … except weirdly, some still have all their leaves. It’s a bronze and deep red time of year.

Buy your wreathes and turkey at the same time.

Buy your wreathes and turkey at the same time


The last red leaves of autumn

The last red leaves of autumn

The church seen from the river. I never realized you can see it from here because you can't until the leaves are gone ... mostly gone ...

The church seen from the river. I never realized you can see it from here because you can’t until the leaves are gone … mostly gone …