RAGE AND HELPLESSNESS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Number

I woke up this morning in a rage at my father, but really, at all the men in my life who have taken so much and given back so little. In all these years of living, how could I let so many numbers of years travel by while I failed to realize the amount of anger I’ve accumulated?

And how did I fail to realize how helpless I have felt through all these years?

Goes to show you — just when you think you are over the hump, there’s another hill right in front of you.

I think the hills are never done.

PORT OUT, STARBOARD HOME – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Saturday – POSH

That was the way to travel. Port outboard, starboard on the way home. POSH – the comfortable way to travel aboard a steamship. Now, it means something else. Elegant or fancy. Even “dressed up.”

titanicstory.com

But once, it meant how you chose the best room on the steamship carrying you on your worldwide travels.

I would like to travel POSH, wouldn’t you?


Just one addition:

Once upon a time, there was a great sea captain. Every morning, before he talked to his crew, he went to his safe, took out an envelope. He then read its contents, nodded, and moved on with his day. He never told anyone what was in that envelope (or the safe).

Not surprisingly, after his death, everyone wanted to know what was in the envelope.

It was opened. It read:


PORT = LEFT


I was always taught by people I knew who sailed that the most comfortable cabins were always “port out, starboard home.” I never met a sea-going person who did not know this. It has to do with how the ship takes oncoming waves or the position of the sun on the deck of the ship. Only the wealthy could afford two separate cabins, one for outward bound and the other heading for home.

What do dictionaries on the Internet know about the seas? Not much!

THIS INFINITY IS TOO SMALL – Marilyn Armstrong

College was not, as it turned out, particularly useful for practical stuff. Although I learned a reasonable amount, it had a tendency to be the kind of thing that makes great conversation while playing Trivial Pursuit rather than while trying to figure out your household budget for the month.

Consider the subject of infinite sets. I am not a mathematician. I’m okay with arithmetic and I can figure out a basic, algebraic equation if you give me enough time and scratch paper … but otherwise? Unless it’s part of a computer language, I’m at a loss.


Finite versus infinite sets. Equipotent sets. Countable sets. Example!

I remember infinite sets because it was similar to trying to understand time travel.

An infinite set is any combination of numbers that has not end. There are lots and lots of them. All positive numbers, like 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 … and obviously, you can keep counting until the moon turns blue and the world is exhausted.

But what about an infinite set of all negative AND positive numbers, so that they go back forever into the minuses as well and infinitely forward into the positives. Forever and a day. With no end. That would be twice as big as all positive number … but equally infinite.

There can be infinite sets of only numbers which divide by three or cardinal number and any bizarre combination of fractions. They are all infinite, but some are bigger than others.

Finite and infinite sets. Two sets have the same cardinality when there is bijective function associating them. Cardinality it is reflexive, symmetric and transitive. Countable sets: the set of all integers, set of even numbers, positive rationals (Cantor diagonalization). Set of real numbers between 0 and 1 has same cardinality asset of all reals. Computability of functions.

How can one infinity be bigger than another infinity? Apparently, universes are sort of like that and now, my brain is due to explode because I can’t keep this kind of information in there.

Our personal numeric world consists of shockingly finite numbers. That’s one of the amazing parts of retirement. You have what you have and you will never have more unless you hit the lottery or have an extremely rich relative planning to die and leave his fortune for you. Retirement income just “IS.” It won’t get bigger. Retirement income pretty much stays the same while the world trundles on.

Life and the universe may be infinite, but retirement income is not.

It’s just a thought to ponder. If you feel like pondering.

A TIME-WARPED GUEST – Marilyn Armstrong

CELEBRATING THE FAMILY WE NEVER MET


You just can’t trust a time portal. As soon as you think you can relax, eat a little dinner, another old family member drops by. Or, rather pops up.

“So,” says Uncle Shmuel, who has appeared out of nowhere and now miraculously speaks vernacular American English — albeit with a heavy Yiddish accent. “Nice place you got here. I see you keep your animals in your house. That one there sounds like a pig but looks like a dog.”

“They are our pets, Uncle Shmuel. The oinker is Nan. She just makes that sound. She’s kind of old. I think that’s the dog equivalent of ‘oy’.”

“Pets, shmets. Animals. In the house. What’s next? Toilets? Never mind, your life, your choice. Oy.”

“Can I give you something to eat? Tea? Coffee? Cake? If we don’t have it, I can go out and buy some.”

“Are you Kosher?”

“Uh, no. Not Kosher,” and I shiver, thinking of the bacon and ham that yet lives in our kitchen. “Oh, wait, here’s my husband. Uncle Shmuel, I’d like you to meet my husband Garry.”

Shmuel looks shrewdly at Garry, then at me. “He doesn’t look Jewish.”

Garry’s eyes twinkle. “But really I am,” he says and deftly pulls a yarmulke out of his pocket. You have to hand it to Garry. He’s very sharp. The yarmulke has “Joel’s Bar Mitzvah” printed across the back in big white letters. Fortunately, Shmuel doesn’t notice.

“So,” Shmuel continues after a pregnant pause, “You still have problems with Cossacks?”

“No. No more Cossacks, but too many politicians,” I reply.

“Cossacks, politicians, there’s a difference?” he asks.

“Not so much,” I admit. He’s right. There is no difference, except maybe for the absence of a horse.

“And for a living, you do what?”

“We’re retired. But before that, I was a writer. Garry was a reporter. On television.”

“What’s a television?” I look at Shmuel. That’s when I realize we are about to embark on an extended conversation. All I say is: “Oy vay is mir!” Which seems to sum it up.

Oy vay. Can someone set the table?

WILD STRAWBERRIES – By Marilyn Armstrong

Wild Strawberries 


I’m going hunting for a proper square pink picture. It’s not the pinkness that’s the problem. It’s the squareness. I have oodles of miscellaneous pictures full of pink … but most of them aren’t square.

These are wild strawberries. We used to have a lot of them, but this year, not so many. The strawberries are tiny but incredibly sweet.