OPEN MEMORY – Marilyn Armstrong

A Wide Open Memory – RDP #46 and #FOWC

Just when I think I’ve finally figured out what’s going on with my body, something weird changes and I have to figure it out all over again. When I think I know what I look like, I take a peek in the mirror and wonder — “Who is that?”

When I know what day it is? It isn’t. Sometimes, I’m not fully clear on the year and recently, someone asked me my age and I said 22 without even a pause.

What would Superman have to say about today’s world? I’m absolutely sure he could fix it, aren’t you?

Now, it’s obvious I am not 22 … or for that matter, 62. I think my brain skipped a beat and made me — for that brief moment — the girl I was. Because in 1969, I really was 22. That was a great year. My best year.

The music was amazing. The news was upbeat and we just knew that somehow, everything would work out better. And it would do it soon.  It wasn’t that we didn’t have plenty of issues and problems, but we were positive, and absolutely, positively certain that we could overcome them and really be great. Americans.

Great Americans, not these tawdry pretend imitation creatures that mealy mouth Americans but act like Stalin’s cohorts.

We walked on the moon and the Mets — who had previously been not only the worst team in baseball but hilariously the worst team — won the World Series. My friends were alive, full of bounce, and energy. Nobody was trying to figure out where they could move so they could use public transport, avoid having to drive, and skip the hard winters.

We still liked winter. We thought snow was fun. We went sledding and tobogganing even though they hadn’t yet invented Uggs. We went to the beach in summer and people got a suntan and bragged about it.

We got birth control and Roe V. Wade came down from the Supreme Court — and it was a real Supreme Court with honest-to-God the best in the world judges on it. They didn’t always agree and some of them were definitely strict constitutionalists while others were more inclined to change the law because the world was growing up.

But for all of them, the Constitution of the United States was the issue. It mattered. Law mattered. No matter where they fell, on which side of whatever issue was presented, they cared enough to be sure they made decisions they believed were in the best interests of the people they served.

Remember that? They people they served? They served us because we were the people. Even the politicians we hated were real Americans. They believed in this country. They believed we had a role in this world and it wasn’t just to become the richest, most corrupt global corporation on Planet Earth.

It’s not hard for my brain to take a bounce and get back there. I wonder what kids today will remember as their happiest days? I hope it won’t be how many different things they could do with their mobile phones. That would be too pathetic.

So just when I think I know something, it skitters away. Sometimes, it’s because I forgot. It’s easy to forget. So many things don’t feel important now. Values have changed. My understanding of reality has changed.

Remember growing up with The Lone Ranger?

I bet the Super and Lone could make things right! With maybe a hint of Crockett, just for the legend. You should always print the legend.

#RDP – Open

#FOWC – Memory

LYING, LIES AND LIARS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Since Donald Trump entered the political scene, we’ve had to deal with lies and lying on a daily basis. You could say that our society has become obsessed with lying.

At first the news media were reluctant to call Trump’s untruths, ‘lies’. They felt that the word was too harsh and possibly biased. But as time has increased the number, the frequency and the egregiousness of ‘untruths’ coming out of Trump’s mouth, the media has changed it’s tune. Now they call his lies, ‘lies’. So we hear people talking about lies and lying every day.

In this atmosphere, we watched one of our favorite movies again and saw it from a different perspective. The movie, from 2009, is called “The Invention Of Lying”. It’s a Ricky Gervais masterpiece.

It couldn’t be more relevant to today’s culture of political lying. The movie has a very interesting concept. People in the movie’s world can only tell the absolute truth. They are incapable of lying, of saying anything that is not 100% true. They can’t even imagine the possibility of lying.

This leads to some interesting interchanges since everyone is brutally honest at all times. Examples of this phenomenon are: Secretary tells her boss he is a loser and she’s hated every day she has had to work for him. A waiter tells the customer “I don’t like you, so I spit in your food.” On a date, the leading lady tells the hero she won’t sleep with him or go out with him again because he’s not a good genetic match. She’s beautiful but he’s short, fat, and has a snub nose. She doesn’t want fat kids with snub noses.

A sign outside a nursing home says something like, “Depressing Place Where Old People Go To Die.”

Another side effect of total truth-telling is that there is no art, TV, theater or even novels. This is because art and fiction are forms of making things up. Saying things that are not 100% true. So the only entertainment is ‘readers’ reading history lessons on film. The history writers are each assigned centuries. They produce scripts depicting real events from that century. One popular movie was “Napoleon – 1812-1813.”

The hero of the movie, Marc, played by Ricky Gervais, suddenly realizes that he has the ability to say things that ‘aren’t’. He first uses his ability to lie to get money from his bank. He merely tells the teller that he has $800 in his account when he only has $300. The teller apologizes for the bank error and gives Marc the $800 that she now believes he has in his account. Whatever Marc said must be true, so it must be a computer error.

The movie ramps up the social commentary when Marc ‘invents’ religion. His mother is dying and tells Marc that she is scared. So, to make her less fearful of dying, Marc tells her that she’ll be going to a wonderful place where she’ll see all her deceased loved ones, she’ll be eternally happy and she’ll get her own mansion. Some hospital personnel overhears Marc’s conversation with his Mom and they believe everything he says.

The next day, there’s a huge crowd outside Marc’s house demanding more information about what happens when you die. Marc ends up inventing ‘a man in the sky’ who controls everything. He writes down ten rules about the man and the afterlife on two pizza cartons. It’s very interesting to see the changes in society and in the people once religion is introduced.

The genius of this movie is that while it’s a super high concept film, you really care about the main characters. You get drawn into the ‘love story’ at the core of the plot. The drama revolves around whether or not the beautiful and wonderful girl, Anna, played by Jennifer Garner, will overcome the superficial biases of the culture and marry her best friend. He’s the guy she rejected by saying that he would give her fat kids with snub noses.

This movie is a hidden gem. Lots of big stars today had small parts in the movie. People like Tina Fey, Rob Lowe, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor, Jonah Hill, etc. Great casting!

I highly recommend this movie. We’ve shown it to a few friends and they are all blown away. They thank us for introducing them to something so well done and engaging. I hope we can create a cult of fans for this overlooked and underappreciated piece.

I hope you’ll watch it! You’ll thank me too! Since we live with non-stop lies from our leaders, it’s refreshing to spend two hours with people who can’t lie at all!

IT WASN’T MONDAY WITH FLOWERS – Marilyn Armstrong

All photos: Garry Armstrong

I told Garry he had to get up early because the guy was coming from Hellen’s Fuel to adjust the boiler. It’s supposed to be an annual event and recently, is more like annual-and-a-half. We usually have plenty of extra money in the “heating oil” account, but winter was colder and longer than usual, so we got at least two extra fillings of oil … and we ran out of money. That’s a first, too. We’ve never run out of money in all the 18 years of living here.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

There’s a first time for everything.

So, the guy didn’t show up to “tune” the boiler. I called the company, but no one was there. The office was empty. I thought that was pretty strange at midday on … hmm. I furrowed my brows and looked at Garry.

“Is today Monday?”

“No,” he said. “Today is Saturday.”

“Right,” I averred. “Because yesterday was Friday. Why did I think today was Monday?”

“Does that mean the guy isn’t coming to fix the boiler?”

“It means that yes. But why did I think it was Monday. I knew all day yesterday it was Friday. I lost a whole weekend.”

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I worry myself when that happens. It’s one of the problems that come with not having kids in school or going to work. Every day is pretty much the same as every other day. This is not a bad thing unless you have an appointment or intend to watch something live on television. Like Wimbledon or the soccer finals.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

When you have lost your weekdays, organizing can become entertainment. At least I didn’t drag him out of bed really early, but I was absolutely sure it was Monday.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

And, though I may not know which day of the week it is, I pretty much always know the real date because I schedule my posts and bank payments, so I spend a fair bit of time staring at calendars.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Still, it wasn’t Monday. Now, 10 hours later, it still isn’t Monday. But when I post this, I’m sure it will be Monday. Because I’ll use a calendar.

Flower of the Day

ODDBALLS FOR THE WEEK – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge

It’s hot out there. The dogs don’t even want to leave the house. Air-conditioning is on for the day. What to do?

Just a cushion. For the dogs.

It is beautiful outside. Beautiful, humid, with just enough sunshine to make it feel like a cooker. There isn’t anything unusual about this. We call this “summer” in New England.

In and out of the deli

I always laugh at people who somehow think we have this crisp weather here. Everyone takes pictures of New England in the fall and that is when we actually have crisp weather. But that is the only time we have it. The rest of the time it’s bitterly cold with mountains of snow. Hot, humid, and hazy, or layered in the mud.

Trying to get out-of-town. Futile and expensive.

Let me restate that: anywhere near the coast is like that. Probably if you live in Vermont in the mountains, it’s different. Actually anywhere far from the coast with some altitude generally gets less of the mucky weather, though this year, that hasn’t been true. It has actually been hotter north of here than in the valley.

The last time we did laundry … and it’s time to do it again.

That’s not usually the way it goes. The only place the weather has been typically typical is on the coast itself where the sea breeze drops the temperature and generally makes life more pleasant in the summer.