“But Madame, I must insist!”

How many times have I heard that line in a movie or a book. Inevitably, it’s either a man talking to a woman — dominant to less dominant — or a “queen” dowager speaking to her underlings. There’s such a quality of superiority in that expression, the ultimate “I know so you have to listen to me because I KNOW.”

Photo: Garry Armstrong

With #METOO in progress — and with Our Elected Master deciding the one thing America has never needed except after winning a war — the last time was 1991 after George Bush purportedly won the Gulf War. Whether we “won” that is a moot point, but at least it was supposedly a  “victory.” I know there hasn’t been one since then because I would remember it. One of the great things about this country is that we have never needed to display our military might that way.

If a gigantic asteroid were barreling toward impact with our planet, you can bet there would be at least a few members of Congress who would insist on leaving it alone, either because they would see it as a warning shot from the Almighty or because a mining company with a savvy team of lobbyists had laid claim to the big rock.

David Horsey

We do display our military might in other ways of course — like invasions, engulfing, stealing natural resources — not to mention sometimes killing off entire populations. Mostly, though, we’ve skipped marching our soldiers and our tanks and rockets around for entertainment. We’ve never needed to do that.

“But, ” says that man who somehow, and I swear I will never understand how, became our elected president, “I insist. I want to see all my soldiers marching in neat lines. I want to see tanks and rockets and missiles all shiny. And I’m going to have a special uniform with lots of gold braid and maybe a really fancy hat and I insist that everyone salute me. Do you think I could insist everyone call me ‘Your Majesty’?”

He looks around and does not see how everyone’s face is red and hidden in their hands. Our national shame is blustering again.

And then, there’s  … “I don’t want to go to a fancy restaurant. There’s never any place to park and I have to wear heels and stockings. The waiter acts like Lord of the Manor where I don’t live,” I say.

“But I insist,” says my date. Not my guy. I already know this before the date begins. I’ve never been involved with anyone who used those words in a conversation with me. I come from a family with a big mean daddy who always insisted. He insisted when he was completely wrong and had no idea what he was talking — but just to confuse us, he also insisted when he was right. It was remarkably difficult to tell the difference.

I’m pretty sure where at least one chunk of my cynicism comes from. Erratic parents are the worst. When they are knowledgeable sometimes and completely ass-backward the rest of the time. You don’t know what to believe. If you are me, ultimately, you don’t believe anything without three kinds of proof.

The harder they insist, the more I am inclined to resist.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

You can reason with me. You can prove your point with facts and if you also make me laugh, I will not only agree with you, but I will love you for it. I will listen to your point of view as long as you aren’t stuffing it up my nose, calling me names, or behaving like an asshole.

Just don’t insist.

Unless the house is burning down and you know the only way out. Then, feel free to insist.


Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – Feb. 9, 2018

Highway from Connecticut
Downtown — Prudential Tower, Boston
Street corner, downtown Boston
Sidewalk by Fenway Park
Scaffold bridge – Boston with Prudential Tower


I have found that one topic most dog parents love to talk about is barking. More precisely, excessive and/or loud barking and howling. Apparently many people live with serial barkers, like we do.

So, here are my thoughts on why some dogs bark so much. First, their hearing is far more acute than ours. So we have to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are actually hearing something when they suddenly jump up and start barking and howling hysterically. (We have one barker and one howler).

But why do some dogs feel the need to comment on every sound they hear while others don’t? Some dogs are specifically bred to be guard dogs and protectors. Their DNA literally programs them to alert us to any and all potential threats.

Bark. Bark. Bark. Bark.

How they define ‘threats’ is another question. It may just be anything outside the norm for the household. This means that the presence of other dogs, or even squirrels, in the immediate neighborhood could be seen as a potential threat. Cars pulling into my neighbor’s driveway always seems to present a clear and present danger to my dogs.

My husband used to joke that our dogs were actually protecting us from invading inter galactic space aliens. Then he realized that he might have stumbled upon the truth. There may really be space invaders (or ancient demons from the underworld, take your pick) who regularly attempt to take over the earth. These predators may emit sounds that only dogs can hear. So the late night attempts at world dominion are thwarted, every time, when the evil doers hear the warning barks of the canine earth protectors.

Invaders fear these protectors. They may be particularly sensitive to the sounds that dogs emit. They may even be rendered powerless when exposed to the frequencies of dogs’ courageous barks.

So when your dogs wake you at night barking frantically, don’t yell at them. Thank them and pull the covers up over your head.


A Photo a Week Challenge: New Photo, Open Topic

If Nancy hasn’t been taking many pictures, I can really relate to that. I have taken a few, here and there, but mostly not much. Part of the problem is that I’m really busy, but it’s also the middle of the winter and there’s isn’t much to shoot.

Meanwhile, Garry hasn’t felt well and intermittently, neither have I. There’s some kind of stomach bug going around. He gets it, I get it. He gets it back. I get it back. My son had it. My granddaughter had it. Actually, it is possible that EVERYONE in town has had it so every time we go out for any reason, we come home with “IT.” Whatever “IT” is. The doctor seemed to think it was a version of the flu, intestinal.

It has certainly taken the verve out of our days and made us want to do nothing more than sleep, sleep, sleep. I’m not much of a sleeper, but for an insomniac, I’ve been tired.

In between all of that, I’ve got a lot of stuff to do and for once, it’s on a deadline.

I hate deadlines. They remind me of the bad old days, also known as “work.” You know. Having to get there on time? Do something for hours, then drive a hundred miles home? That kind of bad old days.

But in response to Nancy’s call to action, I took out my smallest, least intrusive camera and took a couple of dozen pictures. Some more of the Christmas cactus … and a few of the back porch which has some icy snow on it.

We got weather yesterday. It was supposed to be a lot of snow, but it turned out to be a little snow, a lot of rain, a good deal of ice. What’s left on the deck look like it would crackle if you step on it.

I did not step on it.