AWKWARD CAN BE CUTE IN A KLUTZY WAY, RIGHT? – Marilyn Armstrong

Awkward?

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Me walking anywhere. More like limping. Me, trying to clamber into the bathtub and hoping, praying, I’m not going to fall down in the process.  Awkward is anytime I have to go upstairs. Worse, slowly and awkwardly going down. I rarely fear falling upward, but I’m always sure I’m going to fall down.

My days of grace have wandered far into the distance. Not that I was ever really graceful, even way back in the days of youth. I always felt like my feet were about to get tangled together and down I’d go. About the most graceful I ever felt was on horseback!

Now, I’m glad if I can get anywhere and not fall on my face doing it! Some of us are just born that way.

GARRY ARMSTRONG HITS THE ROAD – CEE’S WHICH WAY PHOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge

Somewhere in Uxbridge

The lonely motorcyclist

Just when Marilyn thought I’d given up photography, having not picked up a camera since the great storms of March, I surprised her and took the camera with me today. It was a good road day, too.

Watch your speed!

Passing the cop shop

Before the day was over, I was in and out of five separate valley towns.

I call him “The Lawn Whisperer”

Gardener at work

Starting in Uxbridge, I went through Mendon to Milford. From Milford back through Mendon and Uxbridge to Whitinsville and the Super Walmart. From there down into Douglas, then back up and finally, home.

But I got a lot done and in the end, that feels pretty good.

I LIKE BASEBALL – Marilyn Armstrong

I enjoy baseball. I used to enjoy it because Garry is such a passionate fan of the sport, I was either going to learn to like it, or spend half the year having no one to talk to because there was a game on television.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Gradually, I got to really like the game for its own sake. Its complexity. The slow, careful way it unfolds. The subtleties of how the ball is thrown, how the pitcher finds the seams and throws so the ball dips or rises. How it is caught and by whom. The way the field is set up, depending on who is hitting. All those decisions about running and stealing.

Errors.

Was it a mental or physical error? What other sport takes the time to figure out whether the subject thought wrongly or just did the wrong thing? Imagine a football announcer discussing whether that hit was a mental or physical error? No one talks “mental” in football, despite the enormous complexity of the game. Baseball is relatively simple compared to football.

Garry and Harvey Leonard, famed meteorologist, sharing old Dodger baseball memories

Stop and think about all the things that must go through the mind of the quarterback and his team to make a play. It is — sorry for the pun — mind-boggling.

The point is, I like baseball and I sort of like football, though I’m less familiar with its finer points than baseball. Football makes me say “OUCH! That really had to hurt!” while watching. I’m amazed anyone has a brain after it gets whacked during the game.

Gate D – Fenway Park

People who don’t like sports don’t get it. They don’t see the point. Why bother? It’s just a bunch of guys running around a square before when a ball gets whacked by a batter.

Can you whack that ball? If you can do it regularly, you can get paid as much as $250 million for — I’m not sure — maybe 10 years? Does whatever you do pay that well? So, however dumb you may think it is, if they would pay you that much money, you think you might run around the bases? Yeah, I think so too.

So now we get do why is it dumber to play baseball then do something else? Is working in a bank smarter? For that matter, is writing manuals for software inherently more intelligent — or is it just something I do well enough to get paid?

Mostly, what we do for a living depends on what we are good at. It’s nice when it’s something thoughtful where you can make a difference, whatever that means these days. But most of us just do the best we can with whatever talents we have. Maybe it makes a difference — sometimes — and then again, maybe it doesn’t.

So why is running around during a ball game sillier than sitting in front of a computer writing code for computer games? What is the difference except that ball players make a lot more money (because it’s easier to find a coder than a pitcher or a guy who can hit 50 home runs)?

So much of what we do in life is pretty dumb. We don’t do what we do to be smart. We do it because it earns our living and we need a paycheck. We do it because it’s enjoyable. It makes us smile, laugh, cheer and feel good about something that isn’t politics or money. Our life is not on the line. It’s just fun.

If you are one of the intensely annoying people who despises sports because they are stupid, ask yourself a question: What do you do in your life which is so much smarter? And how well do you get paid to do it?

Who is smarter, really?

THE NEW POLITICAL MORALITY – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I read an article in the Washington Post on Sunday, May 12, by Marc Fisher, that piqued my interest. It was titled “The shape of the sex scandal has shifted. What does it take to kill a political career these days?”

The premise was simple. Plain old adultery used to be enough to tank a politician’s career. Today, not so much. The Gold Standard today for a career ending scandal has to involve violence, lack of consent, under age and possibly criminality.

I think I’m okay with this moral evolution. I never thought that politicians’ consensual sex lives should be a political issue. That was the purview of the overly moralistic, puritanical religious fundamentalists and others who view sex itself as something dirty and unsavory. I’m more interested in politicians’ positions on ‘moral’ issues like helping the poor, the sick and the victims of injustice and inequality.

‘Conservatives’ always seem to define morality in terms of sexual behavior. They also seem to be obsessed with the trappings of sex, like birth control and abortions. I always felt it was immoral to force women to get pregnant when they didn’t want to, or force them into celibacy to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Not only is that immoral, it’s also highly unrealistic and impractical. Sex is here to stay. Deal with it.

But today’s morality is taking a different turn. It focuses on the issues of the Me Too Movement – abuse, abuse of power, and consent. I have to admit that I didn’t realize how many women are harassed and taken advantage of, particularly in the workplace, where they have little, if no leverage. But given the prevalence of these abuses, I like where the emphasis is today. It’s on women’s consent and on their control over their own bodies. It also recognizes the verbal abuse, harassment and intimidation that women are subjected to, clearly without their consent.

Many high-powered men have been guilty of actual crimes against women. Bill Cosby has finally been convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting women. Other criminal behaviors that have been recently alleged are spousal abuse (Rob Porter), abuse of power and possibly rape (Harvey Weinstein) and physical assault (Governor Eric Greitens and former NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman).

Harvey Weinstein

Morality now is more in the realm of actual morality, not just sexuality itself as immorality. Hopefully this moral shift means that most Americans are prepared to give consensual, albeit extra-marital sex, a pass in their celebrities and politicians. It is usually a private matter between spouses. Or it should be.

The exception is when the perpetrator’s behavior reveals more about him than just promiscuity. For example, when Trump used to brag about his extra-marital affairs and flaunt them in the media, to the humiliation of his wife. Or in his Billy Bush tape when he reveled in the celebrity status that gave him the power to do whatever he wanted to women, sexually. Then there was Rudy Giuliani, who openly cheated on his wife and then informed her that he was asking for a divorce on national television.

Women are now, finally empowered to speak out and be believed about the abuses they suffer at the hands of men. Particularly men who are in positions of power over them. Up to now, the reality for most women was that they were afraid to report harassment, abuse or worse. If they did, they were unlikely to be believed over the denials of the more ‘powerful’ men they were accusing. That in itself is amoral. Morality, as well as justice and equality, will be taking a big step forward if women are encouraged to come forward more now and are believed when they do.

So maybe this new, politically correct morality will be a good thing for the country. At least for its women.

FLOWER MACROS ON THE DECK – Marilyn Armstrong

Flowers of the Day and Probably for the Summer

Every summer, I hang two pots on the deck. I used to hand two fuchsias and some begonias in the corners, but for the past few years, no one is growing fuchsia, so it has been some form of begonia.

This year, it’s on trailing geranium and a lovely pink begonia. I miss the fuchsia and don’t understand why no one is growing them. Someone said they went out of style.

Went out of style? How does something that beautiful “go out of style”? And the fuchsia were very popular with the hummingbirds. I hope they will like these flowers half as well.

One geranium

It was a cool but pleasant day, so while Garry was out — little did I know he was busy taking pictures too. I took a some macros of the hanging pots on the deck and got a few of the lilacs. It’s hard to get the lilacs. They are way high up off the ground. It’s easier for me to shoot them from the deck with a really long lens.

I guess we’ll have to do some work on the lilacs to make them come back a bit lower to the ground!

Two geranium

The weather was so bad this winter, I almost gave up photography, but Garry went out there and took tons of them. He came in frozen solid, but he had pictures.

Pink begonias

After the March storms, he put the camera down and seemed to have no interest in shooting anything. I think he was tired. He made up for it today.

More pink begonias

We both did, actually. Between the two of us, this was a solid 300 shot day, most of them from Garry. But these are mine. It’s definitely macro time!

Deck flowers 2018

I don’t put up so many flowers these days. It’s hard for me to lift the watering can up over my head, so two pots generally suffice. But if someone would please grow some fuchsia, I’d make the sacrifice!