TRUTH THROUGH A PRISM – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Prism

Prism is a complicated word with a variety of meanings, mathematical, optical, and figuratively. I use the term figuratively — to see something through “the prism of a camera,” would be a common usage.

What is it?

In geometry, a prism is a solid geometric figure whose two end faces are similar, equal, and parallel rectilinear figures, and whose sides are parallelograms. (Got that? Really? Well, please explain it to me!)

In optics, it is a glass or other transparent object in prism form, especially one that is triangular with refracting surfaces at an acute angle with each other and that separates white light into a spectrum of colors. You can buy prismatic filters for a camera and many modern cameras come with some version of a prism built into them.

Prism is more commonly used in figurative speech. In this case, it is referring to the clarification or distortion of a viewpoint, as in “They were forced to imagine the disaster through the prism of television” — which would inherently change the natural viewpoint. I often think that is what people really mean when they say “reporters lie.”

Reporters don’t lie, but they force the truth through the prism of their format — television. This requires cutting down long commentaries to find the “nugget” without the longer speech. Although this is intended to sharpen the meaning of the comments, it doesn’t always do that. The personal point of view of the editor or reporter can affect the way the subject is presented.

But reporters don’t lie. They present information in a particular way which requires editing and shaping. Without this “shaping” of the news for presentation in a half-hour or hour news broadcast, there would be no television news at all.

For that matter, the same process is used in any form of print media. No one presents the full context of a speech in any form of news. Even in full book presentation, most commentaries are substantially cut. Why? Because you would fall profoundly asleep before you got to the main point of the discussion.

It’s all well and good to have long arguments which find you still haggling over details at dawn the following day, but reporting news in a format anyone can follow and understand takes a lot of understanding of the subject matter. Finding the “important nugget of information” in a cloud of context is a skillful occupation. It isn’t performed by people who get up in the morning planning on lying to the public — unless they work for Fox News, in which case reality bears little resemblance to their version of “news.”

So when you argue the prism of a format, remember it is done so you can make sense of it. If it isn’t a complete version of the whole truth, do your own research. Look for the truth. Find it. Read it. Search for more if that’s not enough.

ABC News

No one — least of all the people who report the news — suggests the versions they report are the uncut truth. That type of knowledge requires you.

Find the truth — then believe it after you discover it. If you start out with pre-conditions of “what truth should be,” you won’t find anything but your own opinion.


NOTE: The expression “through a prism darkly” refers to spying.

MIDNIGHT AT THE OASIS – MARIA MULDAUR – Marilyn Armstrong

MIDNIGHT AT THE OASIS


Lyrics: Midnight at the Oasis

Sung by:  Maria Muldaur

Midnight at the oasis
Send your camel to bed
Shadows painting our faces
Traces of romance in our heads
Heaven’s holding a half-moon
Shining just for us
Let’s slip off to a sand dune, real soon
And kick up a little dust
Come on, Cactus is our friend
He’ll point out the way
Come on, till the evening ends
‘Til the evening ends
You don’t have to answer
There’s no need to speak
I’ll be your belly dancer, prancer
And you can be my sheik
I know your daddy’s a sultan
A nomad known to all
With fifty girls to attend him, they all send him
Jump at his beck and call
But you won’t need no harem, honey
When I’m by your side
And you won’t need no camel, no no
When I take you for a ride
Come on, Cactus is our friend
He’ll point out the way
Come on, till the evening ends
‘Til the evening ends
Midnight at the oasis
Send your camel to bed
Got shadows painting our faces
And traces of romance in our heads
Oh come on, oh come on
Woo hoo hoo, yeah, oh yeah
Oh oh, yeah, yeah

Songwriters: David Nichtern


In answer to “Whatever happened to Maria Muldaur”? I asked that many times, always wondering why her magical voice was never a big hit somewhere.

Her first — only — album was brilliant. She had such a wonderful, flexible, joyous voice … yet after that album, she essentially seemed to vanish from the music scene. It wasn’t lack of talent (obviously) and surely, with the numbers she racked up with her album, she had more than enough offers to do more.

The answer was simpler than I expected and I think it offers a good example of what “performing” means — both to those who make it “big” and those who say “no, thanks.” There are more who say “no” than you might expect.

She did continue to perform, both on her own and with the Grateful Dead and other groups. Solo performance wasn’t her favorite thing. She enjoyed writing songs, singing songs, singing backup with other groups and singers, but performing solo wasn’t “her.”

I asked a few people who knew her personally what happened and the answers were always the same. She wasn’t a driven performer. She loved music and singing, but she didn’t have the passion for fame.

She had a long career. I don’t know if she still performs. but she would be 80 now, so she may have retired. She was around and with us for all these years, but rarely as lead singer. She did not seek it.

Not everyone wants to be a star. Even when you can do it, it doesn’t mean you really want it. For all of us who are good at something but do not compete, the ability and the drive don’t always come as a pair.

“Midnight at the Oasis” was her big number and from a listener’s point of view, I wish she had done more. But I understand — because I don’t like performing either.

ONCE UPON A TIME … – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Erratic

Once upon a time, I was a total wacko. That is not an exaggeration. In my late teens, I was nuts. Big time.

Fortunately, by the time I hit my twenties, I had settled a lot of my hash. If I wasn’t exactly “normal,” I was no longer completely loony tunes. As the years have rolled on, I have become more “normal” and less crazy until these days, I’m about as normal as I will ever be. So far, so good which is really the story of my life.

I am not particularly erratic. I am, if anything, a bit inclined towards doing being extra careful. I write with great courage, but I walk with utmost care.

I don’t know if this is how life goes for others who started out pretty wild and weird. I have gone through periods of serious depression and with some good psychiatric talk therapy, found ways to climb out of them. I also learned to control a lot of the mind muck that used to turn me into a mental tar pit.

One shrink pointed out to me that depression wasn’t just a feeling. It was a reaction to life, that it could become habitual. You are depressed because you are always depressed and that is how you see yourself, understand yourself.

And from that point, because he hit a nerve with that observation, I began to be happier. I stopped looking for the dark places and started hearing joyful music.

It probably helped that I was madly in love with Garry.

No, you can’t have him. He’s mine.

ALL THE SHADES OF RED – CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Red


Red roses on our bushes
Red Elvis at Imperial
Red Begonia hanging on the back deck
Red barn, red tree, Autumn in Sutton
Scarlet Cardinal
Red mouse, silver computer
Red restored antique truck at Hannaford
And of course, the Red Sox — still in first place in the Eastern Division.

PINKEST SKY AT VERNAL EQUINOX – Marilyn Armstrong

As pink as pink can be!

On the morning of the vernal equinox, I woke up to a room that was blazing in shockingly hot pink pre-dawn colors.

There’s something about the equinoxes that creates amazing sunrises and this one was something exceptional. I called (later, not at dawn!) a friend and she said she’d thought the house was on fire. It was that intense. I’m not even sure I have managed to capture the intensity.

Burning sky!
Amazing color
Just before sunrise