CONTINUING OUR GRAND EXPERIMENT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Continue

Continue?

In many ways, the nightmare we are currently experiencing is a continuation of what went before. None of this came out of “nowhere.” We’ve had bad presidents and even some of our good presidents were not all that great. We have plundered the earth and made money the beginning and end of all things. Greed is God.

Notice how little time it took and the methodology. Simple, wasn’t it?

We worship money. We’ve been watching “Luke Cage” on Netflix and his comment that “The only thing that gets respect is money” is disgustingly true. You can be any color you want including pink with yellow polka-dots, but if you don’t control a few billion dollars, you aren’t going to get real respect.

Given our passion for money, why not elect a buffoon for whom greed and the power it gives him has been his all-consuming goal his entire life? We’ve been heading this way for a long time. We didn’t understand where this direction would take us.

The displacement of Germany’s liberal democratic government took ONLY ten years. Most of it happened in less than five.

Europe hit some kind of long-held target when it rounded up everyone they didn’t like and killed them. When World War II was finished, there were no foreigners or Jews or Romany left. They were dead. The perils of the world have changed the scenario, but the plundering of the earth to create the mess it’s in now didn’t start in the U.S.

The Rhone, the Rhine, and the Thames were flowing sewerage long before the U.S. even got its industrial revolution in gear.

In November 1923, a German army veteran and leader of an extremist party, Adolf Hitler, tried to take a page from Mussolini’s book. Hitler’s rise to power is one of the most significant events of our century. His success raised disturbing questions that we still debate today. How did Germany, which had a liberal democratic government in the 1920s, become a totalitarian dictatorship in the 1930s? Why did Hitler gain the enthusiastic support of many Germans? In less than a decade, he turned one of the most liberal nations in the world into the greatest killer of them all.

It doesn’t take a hundred years. It doesn’t even take a lifetime. In these hyper speedy days, with ultra-fast communications, it can take virtually no time. It took Germany a decade, but we’ve gotten there much faster.

Our rise to power wasn’t unilateral. We needed help and we got it by — you guessed it — immigration. We imported Europeans who knew how to build the mills and sluice the waste into our rivers. We couldn’t have done it without your help. Thanks, guys!

When you start to throw dirt around, make sure you let some stick to you. This world is one world. Nothing happens independently without collaboration. Despite that America has probably the worst goon and buffoon in office, Australia, Canada and many countries in Europe are not far behind. The hatred we spew is being spewed on every continent and in many languages.

The U.S. is not alone. If you think we are, you should look around. Read your own newspapers and think about your own government. All those things about which you are so proud and which took years to build can be stripped away so fast you won’t have time to say “what happened.” You’ve done it before, you can do it again.

Let us show set you an example. After all, you already dragged us into two world wars. Maybe it’s our turn to show you how evil a government can be. Continue indeed. Yes, let’s do that. Let us continue. It is amazing how little we seem to learn from history, isn’t it?

Are you going to continue too? You had Hitler and Mussolini. Are you getting ready for your next set of dictators? It took very little to overthrow Germany and a lot other countries helped Germany along. They didn’t think all that hatred was such a bad thing. They didn’t like Those People either.

Forgive me, dear overseas friends, but it’s time to look around at the whole picture. England pulled out of the European trade union before we got around to installing the orange moron in the White House. There were hate riots in Europe before we even got started on our 2016 election. Hatred didn’t start here.

It has always been with us. Always. Here, there, and everywhere.

If we get to start a world war, it’ll be our first.

But it won’t be your first. 

Also RDP #30 – FLUKE for RDP. Because this mess is no fluke. We walked right into this without believing it could happen. And here we are!

ALLOWED AND FORBIDDEN – Marilyn Armstrong

Are we still free?

As our “freedom” seems to be becoming increasingly less free with each passing day, I have to wonder about a lot of things I always accepted as true. Or close to true.

I never believed Americans were quite as “free” as we said we were, but we were freer than most places I could live. Americans were under less scrutiny than most places. Our press was stronger — and freer — than most other places.

A friend told me a long time ago that one of the major differences between Europe and the U.S.A. was how we see our “freedom.”



Is that still true? I have a feeling it isn’t. You think?

Just a little note here:

The U.S. was explored by Europeans.

Spanish, Italian, English mostly. French. Portuguese. The people who didn’t “explore and settle” were the Natives whose land it was. So if a lot of what came with those original “explorers” stuck, you guys stuck it here. It didn’t get born in this soil. It was European. Brought here by the greedy guts explorers who showed up in ships and did their worst. We are your descendants. YOUR descendants. You might consider that in the midst of your condemnation.

You brought it and this is what it became.

WILD GARDEN IN BLOOM – Marilyn Armstrong

Our wild garden is blooming! It’s crazy growth time in the valley. Slow getting started, everything is over the top and I think we are going to have a massive display of roses and lilies this year.

Catalpa in bloom

Owen trying to tame the backyard

Owen making the backyard almost respectable

Roses

Even more roses

Daylilies

Wild garden

A week ago, there wasn’t a single bud on any of the rosebushes. By Friday, it was covered in buds … both the pink and the red bushes. Two days later, the roses are in full bloom, but there are thousands of buds still on the bushes. I guess that deep pruning was a good idea after all!

It’s harder to see the pink roses because they are in the back of the garden.

Spiderwort

Welcome to the wild place

The lilies have started to bloom and the catalpa is flowering. Catalpa grows like a weed here. I love it when it blooms, but it drops seeds everywhere and cutting them down to get them away from the well and pipes is a thing.

More catalpa

Also, we have had a massive attack of sassafras trees. All of them rooted since winter and are now taller than me. We are going to have to get out the chainsaw and hack them down.

Lily and a few roses

One sassafras tree is lovely. Two dozen is a bit much.

So these are pictures of our day. I already showed off the fourth orchid. This is the rest of the grounds. We’ll have a wild month of July, then everything will die back. Once the lilies are gone, it will look like a giant brown bed of weeds, but for one month, the garden is magic.

FLOWER OF THE DAY

JUNE IS SQUARE: THE FINAL ROOF #30 – Marilyn Armstrong

It’s that time of year again and squares are back!  

I can’t believe it. It’s been a whole month of rooves and roofs. On barns and teepees. On boats and tall buildings. From Boston to a museum by the Blackstone, we’ve been roofing it up all over the place.

And this is the last one! The very last one. I wanted to make it special. Glittery. Different. So I picked the line of tents on “lighting night” at the Heritage Museum on Cape Cod.

Tents at the fair on lighting night at the Heritage Museum


And so the sixth month of the year is finished and we head for the final six months.

That’s right. We are officially closer to the end of the year than the beginning. Wasn’t it spring, early spring, just yesterday? Now it is full summer and the flowers are deep and rich.

See you all in September when squares roll around again!


Well, the theme was ROOFS (or rooves if you prefer). Your roof could have been:

A – Any type, any condition, any size, and in any location.
B – It could be a shot across rooftops, of one roof like today or even a macro
C – You might prefer to spend some time under the eaves and in the attic, or enjoy the view from above as Brian has already done today.


See you in the fall!

A MILESTONE OF DESPAIR – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP #29: A MILESTONE OF DESPAIR

Fandango – Nightmare

It’s the one month anniversary of having WordPress abandon us for whatever future they think they see on their far horizons. I’m sure, whatever their milestone may be, it involves hitting all of us for more money. Because as far as I can tell, it’s always about money. Always and forever.

But also, these days, it’s also about meanness, cruelty and casual viciousness. As a nation, we are developing a kind of comfort with meanness and ugliness.

Jon Stewart said it well on Colbert’s show. Drumptf doesn’t merely do something harsh because he thinks it is necessary. He feels obliged to add an extra level of brutality to each thing.

He can’t say he disagrees with the press. He has to point out that they are also stupid and lazy. He can’t say he didn’t “have sex” with that woman. He also needs to mention that she’s too ugly for sex with a stud like him.

Everything he does is coated is that kind of nasty, mean-spirited ugliness and it has my head spinning. I can’t seem to wrap my brain around the beauty of the flowers when all I can see is that compared to DJT, Benito Mussolini was a real gentleman. Adolf Hitler had charm.

Drumptf has no charm. There is nothing cutesy about him. He’s not only unfunny, he’s cruel and most cruel to those who have the least ability to fight back.

He could have created an immigration package with which I’d no doubt have disagreed, but this wasn’t a political move. This was intended to show “how bad” we are and it certainly succeeded. To preventing desperate people from attempting to gain asylum here, he added to it kidnapping and imprisonment for babies, toddlers, and pre-school children. He can’t do something for some bizarre version of “the good of the country.” He also feels obliged to add a personal level of evil to the policy so it does not merely impinge on our political psyche but on our ability to believe we live in a decent society.

Michael Moore was on the show too.

He asked: “How often do you read the news and cry?” I don’t cry. I despair and have nightmares. I feel as if I’ve been overcome by a kind of mental illness. I’ve walked into a “fun house” full of hideous twisted mirrors and all I can see it an ugly, distorted version of something that used to be me or my fellows, but is now foul and twisted.

It’s not even anger. I’ve run out of anger. My current state is more like being a permanently abused child wondering if there’s any hope of rescue before I am beaten to death.

Like the cherry on the sundae, Drumptf is also a minority president. He was not elected by the majority of American citizens. Now that the not-so-Supreme Court has formally decided racial gerrymandering is legal — along with sending five-year-olds to court without a lawyer — one has to wonder with the likelihood of Russia messing with our elections (again) and gerrymandering if there’s any chance we will have an honest election.

I know this much.

All the people who didn’t bother to vote at all or who felt voting for a useless third-party candidate didn’t matter? You screwed us.

You know who you are.

If you do it again, Drumptf or one of his non-biological sycophants will be running this country when your great-grandchildren are praying for asylum in Canada.

Milestone? Really? For me, it feels more like a month of nausea and despair. Maybe it’s just me. Then again, maybe it’s not.

BACK TO THE GARDEN – COLUMBINE by Marilyn Armstrong

I thought the Columbine was finished for the season, but they seem to have come back again. Everything seems to be going around twice. Crazy weather, crazy garden. Crazy world!

So today, let’s take another look at the Columbine again. Because I love the color.

Columbine – 1

Columbine along driveway

More of the same 

Columbine, more 

And finally …

FLOWER OF THE DAY

UNHINGED – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Captured

My marriage is fine. My house is not falling apart. The car was repaired and runs well. Yet I feel quite unhinged. A prisoner of war in my own country. Or that’s how I feel.

From Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman’s “Good Omens”

The World is killing me. I live in a country where the courts think it’s okay to kidnap and cage children. To put five-year-olds in front of a judge — without a lawyer.

There was another mass shooting today.

If somewhere there exists a particularly reactionary and stupid lawyer, Trump will appoint him or her and while I won’t live forever, my kid and granddaughter will spend the rest of their lives in this oppressive world we have created.

My world is crumbling. So is yours, even if you don’t know it.

I am troubled. I have nightmares. Small things which would normally not bother me are making me crazy. I feel damaged as if I’d been in a car accident.

I have trouble finding anything funny because today there was another mass shooting and there are thousands of children in cages.

The world is broken; I am bruised all over. I feel helpless to fix anything. It’s a bad way to feel. It’s also weird. I’ve always been able to separate the personal from “the rest of the world.” Somehow, I can’t seem to do that anymore.

THE BANE OF HOUSEHOLD CHORES – BY ELLIN CURLEY

As I get older, I’m having a harder time accepting repetition as a big part of my life. I don’t mean cosmically or philosophically. I mean plain old boring repetition of everyday tasks like doing the laundry, washing the dishes, making the beds and cleaning the bathroom.

It always feels like ‘I just did that’ when it’s time to do it again! How many dirty dishes and how much dirty laundry can two people create? Apparently, quite a lot.

I never liked routine chores but I surrendered to their inevitability. Now they seem like an affront to my sensibilities.

What do you mean I have to unload the dishwasher AGAIN??!! I JUST did that!! I used to find sorting and folding clothes soothing and zen. Not anymore. Instead of sighing and resigning myself to another round of laundry, I rebel. I procrastinate; seriously procrastinate. I just had to do three loads in the washer and dryer just to find the TOP of my hamper!

Maybe the political upheaval in the country will help me appreciate anew the reliable, familiar tasks that make up my days. If not, what is going to happen as I get even older? Am I going to be one of those people who is discovered in a pile of filth and garbage in a house that has to be condemned? I’m not there yet. But I worry.

 

ON THE DIAGONAL – A FUN PHOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Diagonal Line(s)

Along the diagonal of the canal

And the front of the building is all angles

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Long diagonal fence and a few wires and walls

An angled window

Angular fence!

JUNE IS SQUARE – ROOF 29 – Garry Armstrong

It’s that time of year again and squares are back! 

Not just a teapot, but also steaming cups of tea to accompany it


Well, the theme is ROOFS (or rooves if you prefer). Your roof can be;

A – Any type, any condition, any size, and in any location.
B – It could be a shot across rooftops, of one roof like today or even a macro
C – You might prefer to spend some time under the eaves and in the attic, or enjoy the view from above as Brian has already done today.


See you tomorrow!

REDUCED AND CAPTURED – RDP#28 AND #FOWC – Marilyn Armstrong

REDUCED AND CAPTURED – The way life feels these days …

It’s not losing weight, at least not in any literal sense. It’s more like a world in which I feel like there is less of everything. There’s less money because this is one of the things that come with retirement. You get “retirement money” — which remains the same forever no matter what happens to the economy.

Your life has nothing to do with the economy. An upswing in employment is meaningless when you are past employment. A jump in the Dow is hilarious if you have nothing in the market. You’ve got a pension — however ridiculously small it may be — and social security which is shrinking when everything else is rising.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

You will never get a raise or a bonus. It doesn’t matter if your house is falling down or your car died or you can’t afford medication for your chronic ailments.  Your social security raises are so tiny they don’t represent a single hit on a bank machine to get some walking-around money. And you don’t get bonuses. Not for Christmas, your birthday, or any other reason.

That is the meaning of “fixed income.” You will never get a raise and your income will never go up. Ever. No matter what happens to the rest of the economy.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

As for capture? You are a prisoner of age. Not because you’re too sick to do anything but because just getting through the month takes everything you’ve got. Vacation? A nice meal out? You can do it … as long as you know that by doing so, something else you need will be forfeit — like a mortgage payment or money for medications, food, and gasoline.

This will be the price you pay for anything you do that isn’t “in the budget.

Old Williamsburg

Poor, trapped, reduced and captured. It’s an interesting place to be after having spent a lifetime finding ways to enjoy freedom. Not interesting in a “good” way, either.

This wouldn’t be so bad if the world around you hadn’t gone utterly mad at the same time.  Believe me: this is not at all what I had in mind for my golden years!

WORLD SHARING AND ANOTHER MONTH PRETTY MUCH GONE – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World – June 25, 2018

Where has this first half-year gone? Whoosh! It was winter that never ended, a muddy, windy spring … now summer. Whoosh and it will be autumn. Why does winter last forever, but summer and fall are gone in a flash?

If aliens landed on earth tomorrow and offered to take you home with them, would you go? (remember this is SYW, they are friendly aliens)

I need to ask a few questions. HOW friendly are these aliens? Are they likely to love me so much they want to have lunch with me — as the main dish?

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND

Can they make me young? Cure all ailments? Can I bring Garry? Can I bring the dogs?

I’ve been waiting for the Mother Ship for years. I won’t let it go without serious consideration. As long as I can take my family and not become lunch, that is.

How tall are you? Are you satisfied with your height?

I’m SHORT. I used to be short, but not quite THIS short. I’m barely 5’2″ these days.

On the deck, I look NORMAL. On the ground, I am squat.

I can’t reach the top shelf of my kitchen cabinets. Am I satisfied with my height? Hell no.

Do you think you could live without your smartphone (or other technology items) for 24 hours? 

I could. I have. Sometimes, I look forward to it. I live without a smartphone anyway because although I have one in my bag, it’s off. It is my emergency phone and I rarely use it. 

I don’t think I could do without a camera, though. That would be painful.

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

Seeing the fourth orchid come to life, getting the lawn mowed (love the fresh grassy smell) and finally setting the deck to rights.

Four orchids

One of the really positive parts of having real company is that you do the things you’ve been putting off. If no one ever visits, you can let them slide.

WHEN IT STOPS BEING FUNNY – Marilyn Armstrong

How funny or witty can you be when reality — your existence — has gone beyond whatever we imagined was the ultimate degree of ludicrousness? When your future expectations have been effectively annihilated?

That we have a horrible government (it makes me ill thinking about it) is bad. Awful. Unspeakable.

But all the little things that should be easy are also obscenely complicated. There’s no reason for it — except the people with whom one is dealing are incompetent. Not because they can’t do the job, but because they don’t care.

Is this all part of the overall feeling we have that our country is going to hell? That trying to be better isn’t worth the effort? We already know we aren’t going to be rewarded because no one cares about the quality of our work.  Or us.

I have learned that when anyone “fixes” something, the new version is going to be harder to use and less functional. This includes hardware and software. It includes medical care. It includes any form of communications. It includes things like logging on to my computer.

I didn’t want to have a password for my computer because no one uses it except me. Garry wouldn’t go near it. It’s too heavy to haul anywhere and I would have to be dead for someone to try to figure it out.

But I gave up. I put in a password. Yesterday, Microsoft sent down a new version of Windows 10 and now, I can choose one of three ways to sign in. I can use my password. I can use a numerical key through Microsoft. Or I can set up facial recognition.

Thanks. If I didn’t want a password at all, why do I now need three choices of new ways to slow down my computer?

I turned off Alexa on each machine on which it has appeared. I refuse to use voice recognition or Skype. It takes me at least three tries to make the robot in the computer understand what I’m saying. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how many times I say it, it isn’t going to understand.

Moreover, I don’t need Alexa to take charge of anything, thank you very much. Please, take Alexa, Cortana, and Siri away. Make them disappear.

I don’t need electronic solutions to stuff that isn’t a problem. If I add these electronic solutions, they will become problems. It’s like the electronics in your car. You don’t have a key, so if the computer malfunctions, you not only can’t drive your car, you can’t even open the door.

Why is everything so needlessly complicated? Why does every simple task involve hours on hold, getting disconnected? Why are they making toilets require Bluetooth or WiFi? Are they going to analyze our shit to make sure we’re getting the right amount of roughage? Do I need the toilet to talk to me?

Why am I arguing with robots or people who know less about the problem than I do? Why won’t people believe anything I tell them?

I’m tired of being mad. Tired of arguing about stupid shit. I’m worn out. I am not ill, dying. I’m not going to have a stroke or heart attack. I’m exhausted from endlessly dealing with a million idiotic things that should not need to be dealt with at all. By anyone.

I’m tired of the incompetence of people who have jobs when so many competent people could use a job.

It’s not merely that we have a stupid government. It’s that we are becoming a stupid country. Not “stupid” in the sense that we don’t have brains, but stupid in the sense that we don’t use them. Brains, that is.

I’m having trouble finding this funny. That worries me. If I can’t laugh, how can I keep going? Laughter is the one thing that makes life livable. Take it away, and life will totally suck.

I used to say when comes the revolution, I’ll be on of the first up against the wall. Right now, not only does that seem likely, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea. It could save me from trying to try making another appointment with a doctor.

Lately, even watching comedians isn’t funny because the news isn’t funny. It’s tragic, sad, depressing. And getting worse. I no longer think it can’t get worse. I’m positive it will get worse. I try not to think about how it could get worse. I just want it to not get too much worse until after I’m gone.

It would be just our kind of luck for both of us to live to 120.

JUNE IS SQUARE – ROOF 28 – Marilyn Armstrong

It’s that time of year again and squares are back! 

Roof on an old red barn in Mendon


Well, the theme is ROOFS (or rooves if you prefer). Your roof can be;

A – Any type, any condition, any size, and in any location.
B – It could be a shot across rooftops, of one roof like today or even a macro
C – You might prefer to spend some time under the eaves and in the attic, or enjoy the view from above as Brian has already done today.


See you tomorrow!