DON’T EAT THAT! – Marilyn Armstrong

Detrimental to Your Health 

Don’t eat eggs. They’ll kill you with all that cholesterol. No, wait. Eggs have the good cholesterol. Eat eggs. But not hard cheese. Wait! Real cheese is good for you … but not milk. Never milk. Except for those of you with calcium issues.

Calcium pills are better for you. Nope. We just discovered all vitamin pills are worthless. You need to get back to eating real food.

Except for animal fat (but butter is better) and eggs only on Tuesdays in a month that has 31 days or contains an “R” in it.

Everything is bad for you, good for you, dangerous, calamitous, fattening, helps you lose weight. Or will make you fat for sure.

We used to watch television back in a more benign news era and wait for the killer medical news of the day. Everything that would kill you on Monday (if it didn’t destroy your heart, it would probably give you cancer) and might very well be just what you need by Friday.

We concluded all food is detrimental to your health, but only if you eat it. The only possible solution is to not eat. Give up food.

No, wait. You have to eat, right? Damn, just when I thought I’d worked it all out. Okay, eat — but skip the bacon. It’s not detrimental to your health, but it’s really bad for the pigs.

THE HOLIDAY SEASON – Garry Armstrong

It isn’t depression.  It isn’t anger or melancholia. Maybe, it’s just a case of the “blahs,” the post-Christmas brain drain.

Last Night, Marilyn and I were doing our usual Christmas ritual of watching a classic, old holiday movie. We started with “A Christmas Story” which is always good for laughs. Darren McGavin is a treasure as the embattled but nice Dad. Peter Billingsley’s “Ralphie” captures a little of all of us when we were kids.

We were still smiling as we went to our second feature, “Holiday Inn”. This is the 1942 version (the year many future legends made their début on the world stage): Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire with lots of Irving Berlin classics including “White Christmas” making its début with Crosby, pipe smoke billowing, crooning in familiar style.

There are problems with “Holiday Inn” which we usually ignore but really couldn’t this year. The biggest is the Blackface act with Crosby and cast singing “Abraham” to mark a holiday. I left the room as the scene began and found chores to do until the next scene.

Blackface — which has stirred new controversy — has always troubled me deeply.  This classics movie lover usually fast forwards through similar scenes in beloved films from old Hollywood where racism was a staple and white stars would usually laugh benignly at the characters played by Black actors. The Stephen Fetchit, Amos ‘n Andy factor.

An old friend emailed a few days earlier, expressing her distaste for the “Holiday Inn” scene. It had made an admired film unwatchable for her. The racial controversy took a back seat as we enjoyed the rest of “White Christmas,” it’s creaky plot and great music. But it left us both feeling uneasy.

I had “A Christmas Carol” (The Alistair Sims version) ready for our holiday movie trifecta. Marilyn said she wasn’t in the mood for any more holiday movies after “Holiday Inn.” I usually stand up for old movies but I instantly knew what Marilyn was saying.

The Blackface scene reminded us of much of what’s wrong in our world now.  You can’t escape it by watching another old movie. The melancholia had settled in. We had striven all day to keep our minds off reality and just enjoy Christmas.  We couldn’t maintain the happy glow. I was reminded of Commander-In-Chief Donzo’s insensitive remark to a child about believing in Santa Claus.  All of the bad stuff started to march forward in our brains.

We settled on watching “Midsomer Murders,” a BBC series we’ve grown to love in recent years. That was the temporary Rx to our blahs as the dogs found their second wind and raced outside to bark at the moon, serenade our neighbors, and irritate the bejesus out of me now that I can hear them with my Cochlear implant.

Marilyn and I discussed some upcoming stuff and, clearly, we had lost the thin veneer of holiday cheer. We touched on my overfeeding the dogs which we’ve discussed before and I have ignored.  It endangers the furry kids’ health.  Marilyn’s point is on target even as I used their begging as an excuse to shirk responsibility.  The mood was clearly changing as we tried to engage our attention on “Midsomer Murders”.

The dogs provided some humor with their barkathon, my racing in and out to admonish them with no real success. I focused on Duke who was the main noise culprit. At one point, Duke raced into the crate before I could order him to do so as punishment.  We all laughed at the silliness of the moment. I think some of our good humor was restored as Christmas night drew to a close for us.

It’s still interesting how quickly things can change compared to the yesteryear world of Ralphie and “A Christmas Story”.

BICYCLES AND OTHER NON-CARS – Garry & Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bicycles, Tricycles, Motorcycles, Wagons

Not exactly an “open-air” traveling day. Very bright outside, but also, very cold and colder is coming. It seems winter will some. It’s been creeping up on us, little by little.

The pictures are mostly Garry’s, but a few of mine made the cut!

The lonely cyclist – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Photo: Garry Armstrong

A car and bike show

Kaiti on her own bike – a motorcycle — with four wheels!

Horse (fake) and carriage (real) in Gettysburg

Old fashioned taxi

Slow moving coach on a hot day in Tombstone


So here it is, the day after Christmas. Boxing Day, I do believe, which probably means I should put away the gifts lying around and move on into the (hopefully better) New Year.

Sadly, I cannot move much.

I have finally concluded that my right arm is — among other things — suffering from terminal Repetitive Motion Injury — or to put it another way, too many hours on the computer.

For once, I can’t blame it all on too much writing.  Rather, it is an excessive volume of photographs. Too many birds and squirrels. Too many hours spent moving a mouse. Too many tiny controlled movements in the right arm and wrist without enough “big muscle” activity to balance it.

The shot helped, but now, the time has come to help myself. This is not easy, but I’m declaring myself on vacation at least for a few days.

For me, not writing for that long is more than slightly traumatic, but if I don’t give my wrist and arm a vacation, it’s will get worse. Since this is one of the few things I can control, I need to do it. I will try to at least add comments for the day, but that’s about it. I have not written any posts for the rest of the week so others will have to post or it’s going to be a bit empty around here.

C’est la vie.

I can post a picture here and there — the ones I’ve already processed — but that’s going to be that.

Meanwhile, my son is in the hospital and won’t be able to do the things he usually does for me, so we are going to be more or less on our own for at least a few weeks while he heals up. It will be interesting to see if we can change the feed in the bird feeder. It’s so easy when you are tall and so difficult when you are not.

Junco with two Warblers

I knew the truth of it yesterday when I moved my wrist and a pain shot up my arm. This was in addition to the pain coming down my arm from the shoulder. Given how many years I’ve been using arms and wrists in a way that is not natural to humans, I’m surprised they have lasted this long. Probably a lot of strong muscles from all those years of learning piano. I had very strong wrists. Arthritis I could not do anything to stop, but the muscles have done an amazing job through all these years of keyboarding.

I’ll try to find things of interest to re-blog and see if any of my co-writers can come out of their Christmas caves to write an extra piece here and there, but as for me — I need that break. Apologies in advance to all and sundry.

Let’s call it a caricature of a long-standing tradition.