THE PRESS DOESN’T MAKE UP STORIES

WHAT IS TRUTH? DOES IT MATTER?

I don’t have a lot of friends in the Republican camp, but there remain a few. It didn’t used to be such a gigantic divide, but it has loomed hugely since the last election.

The other night I heard from an old friend who lives down in the middle of Georgia. Not Atlanta. The less expensive part where the non-city folk live. She is a warm, sweet, kindly woman, but times they are a’changing.

I don’t know what I said — probably nothing I really thought about — and she said “But we don’t know what the truth is. The media just lies all the time.”

Pause. Longer pause.

“Garry spent his whole life in news and many of our best friends were or are in the news business. Sally, they DO NOT MAKE UP THEIR NEWS STORIES. They never did and they don’t do it now. They spend their lives searching for the facts. For proof. For truth. They do not lie.”

An even longer pause. “But what difference does it make anyway?”

If she cannot understand that there is an uncrossable gap between truth and lies, then what is there to discuss? Perhaps that is the bottom line of our current issues with truth, that so many people on both sides of the political lines don’t care about truth and don’t think truth matters.

If the truth doesn’t matter, then I am not sure what does matter. For me, the truth always matters and I can’t even imagine a time when that would no longer apply.

SLAUGHTER AT FURRY TOY PASS – MARILYN & GARRY ARMSTRONG

A cautionary tale for lovers of stuffed, furry toys
– and dawgz!


 Story by Garry Armstrong

Photography by Marilyn Armstrong


No one wants to talk about that dreadful, dark day in history. It was a day of senseless violence — as opposed to those many other more sensible violent periods. The massacre was perpetrated on an innocent, unsuspecting civilian population. The blemish on our national reverence for furry creatures with embedded squeakers can never be erased.

Squirrel was the first -- but hardly the last -- casualty.
Squirrel was the first — but hardly the last — casualty.

We treasure stories about children playing with teddy bears. We sing lullabies about cuddly, soft animals who live in the sense memories of our innocent kid years.

We should have seen it coming
We should have seen it coming

But, now there’s a darker, more murky chapter. It’s about our Scotties, Bonnie and Gibbs. A bloody chapter about the ambush at Furry Toys Pass!!

There’s no forgetting the innocence of the furry victims. Mr. Rabbit, the Hedge Hog brothers. Cousin Squirrel, and Yellow Beaky Kid. They lived their lives in quiet solitude, in a hidden valley that promised safety from marauding Scotties.

Bonnie has broken through! Security breached! Alarms sounding!
Bonnie has broken through! Security breached! Alarms sounding!

Security was heightened as new members joined the furry family.  But the Scotties had a mole who leaked information to them about what should have been The Safe House. Danger was near. No one fully appreciated the depth of the Wrath of the Scotties.

With fang and claw, Gibbs is first to attack!
With fang and claw, Gibbs is first to attack!

Deception was a key part to Bonnie and Gibbs game plan. They appeared quiet and serene, maybe nothing but biscuits on their mind. We were lulled into a false sense of security. The Furry Kids were left alone and vulnerable in the pass that led to a box canyon and the badlands.

it's a trap, a trick, a feint!
it’s a trap, a trick, a feint!

In a flash, Bonnie and Gibbs made their move!! We couldn’t believe what happened. Mr. Squirrel!! The Hedge Hogs, The Soggy Doggy and Yellow Beaky Kid — all snatched in cruel jaws before we could move to save them. We couldn’t keep up with Bonnie and Gibbs as they swooped in for their prey.

Back up troops were too far away. Bonnie and Gibbs had taken over Furry Toys Pass!!

We’re now waiting for a dispatch from Reuters to see if  Bonnie and Gibbs will consider a diplomatic trade-off for the lives of their furry hostages. The Scotties are adamant in their demands. They want a huge payoff. BIG biscuits, none of those wimpy, small brittle things that melt in their paws.

Garry tried negotiations, but the Scottish Terrorists remain obdurate!
Garry tried negotiations, but the Scottish Terrorists remain obdurate!

We’re not sure if we can save the furry kids from prison time. Too many treaties have been broken, too many treats consumed. Too many casualties with holes in their furry bodies, squeakers mashed to groans. Too much hours spent stitching and mending. Too many colors of thread needed — and too many needles.

The Old Man was right about those Scotties. They are bad.

Bad to the Bone!!


A final note: With the addition of Duke the Dogge, crazed killer from east of Uxbridge, all that remains are carcasses. Yesterday, new carcasses arrived as well as three new squeaky balls and a dozen low-bounce tennis balls. The bodies of the soon to be demolished are hanging on the door of the microwave. Their days are coming.

WILD HORSE PASS: THE SHOWDOWN – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Story by Garry Armstrong
Pictures by Garry & Marilyn Armstrong

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THE STORY OF THE POSSE FROM HELL – Garry’s Tale

More than a week in Arizona and we couldn’t lose them. We couldn’t see them. The big country that protected us shielded them, too. It was the posse from Hell!

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We kept to the high country, hoping the cactus, tumbleweed and narrow trails would distance us.

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Scorpion Gulch was the way to the mountains and beyond. We saw a few pilgrims here and there taking in the view. They ignored us. Good for them.

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This was the same trail used by Waco Johnny Dean, Long Tom and Dutch Henry Brown in the relentless chase for that Winchester ’73.

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The same trail used by Sheriff Pearly B. Sweet and the posse from Welcome and Carefree who pursued Bob Hightower, Pete and the Abilene Kid, the three Godfathers.

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There was no losing our posse from Hell.

Rawhide, we figured, might be a good place to lose those guys … whoever they were.

Rawhide — a place where dudes are welcome. We wouldn’t be noticed as the pilgrims sashayed up and down Main Street. Maybe the posse from Hell might have paper on a few of these strangers.

Rawhide also was a good place to grab some grub. Maybe even some shut-eye. But no time for real fun if you get my drift. Those pilgrims kept giving us shifty looks.

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Back on the trail, I thought we saw an old saddle pal. He rode with us in the old days. He was a good old boy. Turned out he was dead and just a statue, probably done in by the railroad men who dogged us for too many years. Close up, our old pal still looked good. They don’t make men like him any more.

We had to move on. No sense chasing memories. We wanted to head back to the high country and the safety of those mountains. But time was running out. We knew the end was near.

Just as well. We were running low on luck and bullets.

The posse from hell finally cornered us at Wild Horse Pass. They stayed with their long guns as we faced them down. It was a long day’s siege into night.

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We would not go quietly. We could see the fear in their eyes as we held our position. Clearly, we  had them on experience, as we stared across the pass and other confrontations which have blurred over the years.

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In the distance, we heard the strains of “Shall We Gather At The River” sung mournfully by the good folks at The Light of The Desert Lutheran Church. Was this a boot hill elegy?

Print the legend.

SHARING MY WORLD – MARCH 2018

Share Your World – March 5, 2018

Forward

The other night I had a seizure or something pretty remarkably like one. It isn’t the first time this has happened to me — nor is it the first time I’ve tried to discover why. I’ve had several sound theories, but none of them has been correct. Garry wasn’t going to let this one slide and I can’t blame him. I think I scared him half to death and I found it pretty scary too.

My doctor booked me for an EEG on the 15th. It has been a few years, so maybe they know something now they didn’t know last time. I’ll see.

What did you or did not like about the first place you lived without your parents?

Wow. Talk about a blast from the past! The first place I lived away from home was a room in a little house in Hempstead or maybe it was East Meadow. Near Hofstra University, which at this point didn’t have its own dormitories. It would a decade later and by then, I had graduated — and was also married.

It was a house just like this, but with less land.

What did I like about it? It wasn’t with my parents. Anything away from “home” was great. Also, no one cared who you brought home or basically about anything except whether or not you paid the rent. There was no one watching you, reporting about you, or keeping tabs on you.

We had fun. It was an old, dinky house, but we played music, laughed, and every night was a little party. It was the way dorms are supposed to be but generally aren’t.

What is your most favorite smell/scent?

Vanilla or cinnamon.

Would you prefer snowy winters, or not, and why?

I want snow twice each winter and never on New Year’s Eve because the drunks driving on snow die in heaps of twisted metal.

The gate, the dog, the blizzard

Not that I will be one of them because we have long since stopped doing anything on New Year’s Eve other than watching movies and giving each other a kiss when the ball drops in Times Square.

Snowy day

I want each snow to last 24 hours, then melt cleanly away. No ice. No pile-up on the roof. No need for $50 for each plowing of the driveway.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?

Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

Reading “Lord of the Rings” has reminded me of all the other times I read it. How much I love the books.  How the first time I read it was a couple of months following my spine surgery in 1967. I was in the hospital for 5 months and I read everything I could get my hands on. Which included “Lord of the Rings.”

These books opened a whole new world of literature for me.

WHY SOME FRIENDSHIPS DON’T LAST – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Why do some people become ‘old friends’ and others drop by the wayside? Why do some people stick with you over decades while others drift away? I’ve been thinking about this as I ponder the long list of people who have dropped out of my life after often long runs as top-tier friends.

I believe that most people start out as situational friends. You meet and become friends because you’re sharing an activity or a stage of life. Examples are people you work with and parents whose kids go to school with and/or are friends with your kids. Also, people you meet through hobbies, like at a golf or tennis club, a knitting circle, a book club, etc.What makes some of those friendships ‘take’ and become permanent? I have no idea. Many friendships seem to end when the shared activity stops – you change jobs, your kids graduate or find new friends, you leave the club, whatever. I’ve had so many friends like this it blows my mind. I’ve often wondered why we lost touch. Why was it that that particular person or couple slipped away? We were so close!

But some friends do stay with you and ripen into wonderful ‘old friends’. I’ve never been able to tell which friendships will last and which won’t. In the mid-late 1980’s I was redecorating my house from top to bottom. I spent two years working closely with my decorator and we became friends. At around the same time, my daughter became friends with a girl in her kindergarten class and I became friends with her Mom (and Dad as well – we also socialized as couples). Those friendships lasted all the way through high school – 12 years.

Who am I still close with 30 years later? The decorator. The Mom still lives five minutes away from me and we haven’t even talked in years and years. The decorator moved out-of-state over 10 years ago but we’re still the dearest of friends.

For many years, Tom and I had a group of friends who shared a dock with us at the marina where our boat lives. We were crazy close. We traveled together with our boats, partied all summer and had get-togethers during the winter. Gradually, boats left the marina, people moved away and most of them disappeared from our lives. Only one friend remains out of at least six-eight couples. I was heartbroken that the ‘gang’ dispersed into the ether.

I think that friendships like these end primarily because of some combination of laziness and busyness. When you no longer share that situational ‘bond’, you’re no longer thrown together a lot. So you have to make more of an effort to see each other. Obviously, if you haven’t developed a strong emotional connection that transcends your ‘situation’, that isn’t going to happen.

Also, people are very busy. Between work, family and other friends, time is always at a premium. If you’re not at the top of someone’s ‘priority list’ you lose out. The common ‘bond’ was often what got you to the top of the list before. Now, unless you have that deep personal bond or you forge a new bond that shoots you to the front of the line – you’re toast. You just don’t fit into the new reality of your former friends’ lives.

I have to admit. I’m hypersensitive. I take it at least a little bit personally whenever someone drops out of my life. But I don’t lose sleep over it anymore. I’ve learned that making and keeping friends has as much to do with timing as anything else. Just like with romantic relationships. Some things are just not meant to be.

Fortunately for me, many wonderful friendships have blossomed and lasted and enrich my life today. Many of these friends now live all over the country as well as in the UK and Europe. But distance has not lessened our connection. Some things ARE meant to be.

SQUARED CIRCLE AND A PIZZA CUTTING TOOL

Circles and squares in squares. What could be simpler? Almost anything? What could be rounder than the pizza cutting tool? It is indeed very round.

Squared yet somehow round — the pizza cutter

Squaring the Circle with Squared Squares