WHITER THAN THE WHITEWASH ON THE WALL – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Whitewash

From “Oh! What a Lovely War” made and released in 1969, these are songs soldiers sang in the field.

Despite the awfulness of our current political days, the endless years of World War 1 were at least — in their own way — as bad or worse. They probably didn’t “feel” as bad because they weren’t coming from “better times” to worse ones, which Americans (at least) are doing. But it was a filthy war that killed off an entire generation of European men. It took until World War 2 for there to be enough men to fight again — a statement that should make you shiver.

The war was hideous and rather than being “the war to end all wars” became the war that started all other wars, many of which we are still fighting.

It was the first movie David Attenborough directed and it’s brilliant. If you can get your hands on it, watch it. Then watch it again and maybe do a little reading.

The horrors of the past are just lurking around the next corner of the road.

This is “Whiter than the Whitewash on the Wall”

And finally, the ending sequence that to this day brings tears to my eyes.

This is what we seem to be trying to repeat, but from our next war, we might not have a world from which to emerge.

Also, click here for the Roger Ebert review of the movie, “OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR” from 1969, which was just the day before yesterday, wasn’t it?

PASS ME THE MEGAPHONE – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Megaphone

This was one of those days. If I’d had a megaphone, I could have just sat in the middle of my bed and shouted into it. That’s what I wanted to do.

WordPress just fixed us again. Using a function that doesn’t work that’s supposed to “powerfully find any post you’ve ever posted” by hovering your cursor over the title of your post which will then let you “copy” the post so you can “rewrite” or repost it.

The only thing that’s wrong is that it doesn’t work. The old version didn’t work well either, but the new one is much worse.

I had to call an insurance company and say I can’t afford insurance. Call AT&T and tell them they are a bunch of lying bastards. Call Bank of America and tell them they don’t have to cancel my debit card because I found it. Except they never canceled it and never ordered a new one.

I feel so PROTECTED.

We’ve got ants. In February. The yard has ticks. We haven’t had any snow. Like … none … really. We got to leave the windows open though, so at least the air was fresh.

A megaphone.

If I yell loud enough, would everyone hear me? Would it be loud enough to make the dirt under the half-ton of our bed bounce around down there? We’re never going to get it clean.

We can’t move the bed. I think if we got all the people we know together, we still couldn’t move the bed.

I’m tired of arguing with people. Explaining that I can’t do that because we don’t have the money. Explaining that it sounds like the vacation from heaven, but it doesn’t matter because we still don’t have the money and given that we live on a fixed income, we will never have the money.

Never is a funny word. We are never supposed to say never because there’s always a way. But sometimes, there is no way. There’s no answer. There’s no solution. No amount of searching for answers will change the answer because the answer is never.

Not ever in this lifetime will this situation change. That’s a fierce piece of knowledge to face.

THE WESTERN WALL IN JERUSALEM – Marilyn Armstrong

My favorite place in Jerusalem was the Western Wall, sometimes incorrectly called the “Wailing Wall.” In Hebrew, it’s Kotel — it rhymes with motel.

I used to go to the Kotel to pray and leave messages for God.

Western-Wall-Placard-1000x666

I loved the approach to the Temple mount. I would stand for a while, looking down at it from the approaching steps, trying to form an image of what it must have looked like when it was the hill where God talked to Isaac, where God said that He would never again ask for another human sacrifice.

So what was with all the war and massacre and death? Doesn’t that count?

Then I would walk down the stone steps to the wall and get as close as I could get, so my nose grazed the Wall. I would lay my cheek and the palms of my hands flat against it and feel the humming of power in those ancient stones.

Western wall overview

From close up, you see the messages, tens of thousands of messages rolled tightly into tiny scrolls tucked in the crevices between the rocks. Every kind of prayer, every kind of message, all on tiny folded pieces of paper, cradled by giant stones.

Tucked between the stones were all the prayers, hopes, fears, and gratitude of people who came to this special place to leave a messages for God.

The Wall talks to you and says “You can leave your message here. God always checks his messages and He will get back to you.”

I always brought a message and tucked it into the stones. I knew God would read my message and get back to me. As surely as I knew Jerusalem is the center of the universe and closer to Heaven than any place on earth, I knew I lived down the street from his message center. If every prayer is heard, prayers left at this address got to Him sooner.

western wall with notes

There were groups of rabbis who spent their lives praying at the Wall. For a small fee, they would pray for you. If you believe there is a special potency to the prayers of pious men, the rabbis of the Kotel were worth a donation. They didn’t ask for much – whatever you could afford and for your money, you got a prayer specialist to put the word in for you.

I probably went to the Kotel more than a hundred times over the years, but I most remember one day above all others. I went that day because my mother was dying. I wanted to ask God to give my mother and I some time together.

It seemed pointless to pray for her cancer to be cured. It had spread too far, had invaded too much. I knew it was her time. I accepted death, even my mother’s, but a little time didn’t seem too much to ask.

I bought prayers from the rabbis, then went to the Wall and left my message among the stones.

More than thirty years have passed, but I bet my message is still there, exactly where I left it. With all the other messages left for God in the Western Wall at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

TODAY WAS A DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

I had been considering getting an insurance plan on all our home appliances — including the heating and electrical and plumbing — and the roof. The problem is, we couldn’t afford a longterm plan. At $500 a hit for four hits, that is all our money. Bought month by month, it’s $45/month which makes it a lot more expensive and for us would mean less money for food, medications, dog food, bird food. Everything.

The thing about a fixed income is the fixedness of it. It means that whatever money you get, you will never receive more than you do right now. You will never get a raise or a Christmas bonus. Or any bonus. If the price of food and gasoline and heating oil goes up? Your income doesn’t.

So you have to think long and hard when your “savings” account is less than $2000 because your house has had its way with your savings.

You can eat less. You can even do without medications if its absence isn’t life-threatening. But when a piece of the house is sagging and showing signs of collapse, you have to fix it. Somehow.

Right now, I’m looking at the chimney which urgently needs repointing before it collapses. The bathroom that so badly needs renovation; in which the tub has been scrubbed so much, the color has leached out. The wall tiles weren’t anything special when brand new and they are a lot less special after 50 years of mildew and aging grout. My son has been planning to fix parts of the bathroom for years. As he rounds the bend to age 50, I think it isn’t going to happen. So tomorrow, the bathroom fixer-uppers will be here and we’ll see if we can make something happen. I don’t know if it’s possible, but it sure would make life easier if we could.

I canceled the house insurance. It doesn’t matter how sensible it is. We do not have the money, not if we are going to fix other things. Pray our heating system doesn’t die because I think we’ll die along with it. And that the roof doesn’t start to leak.

We live in that sad place where we earn too much money to get any state subsidies and too little to live comfortably.

Then I got a bill from AT&T for $70 AFTER the letter which told me that was NOT going to happen. I told them they could keep their service. I disconnected my phone and said I’ll die before I pay them. Then I called U.S. Mobile.

Total: $35 + $2 shipping for a flip phone. I can upgrade later. Including a SIM card. If all we are going to do is talk, I can get 300 minutes for 5 bucks a month. If I want to add 200 texts (I’ve yet to send one), it would be another 5 dollars. If I got their unlimited plan, it would be $34.99, which is still $5 cheaper than anything AT&T offers for “Seniors.” Since it’s an “open-phone,” I can get a better phone if I want and just move the SIM card.

They have begun selling Blackberry phones again … the ONLY cell phone Garry ever loved. Ah, the classics.

I lost my debit card Sunday night, so I canceled it and ordered a new one. I found it today. It was hiding inside my Apple computer. I called BOA to cancel my order for a new card. They hadn’t ordered a new card or canceled the old one. Talk about feeling protected! After all the jabbering on the phone, they did absolutely nothing. Lucky me, nothing was needed but they didn’t know that.

As part of the hunt for the missing debit card, I discovered that the areas under the sofa in the living room and under the bed were beyond words. The living room was merely dirty. The area under the bed was appalling. There’s no way to just clean it. The bed, mattress, machinery (it’s a movable bed), and its frame must weigh half a ton.

We cleaned what could be cleaned. The rest of the dust and mess will have to stay there because there’s no way to move that bed … or to get a vacuum under it.

Then I realized that I could not plug in Garry’s new lamp because we don’t have an extension cord. I ordered two AmazonBasic extension cords. Now, I hurt everywhere and I never got any coffee.

So I also didn’t write anything until now and this is going up tomorrow because there’s nothing on the boards for tomorrow or any day until next weekend.

Meanwhile, WordPress removed the way you call up old blogs — which I do often, most of the time rewriting them before posting. I have close to 9,000 blogs and if I can’t access them without their actual name (like I’m going to remember 8,768 blog names?) … I give up.

Honestly, I feel like giving up anyhow. I’m tired of WordPress and AT&T and anyone who wants me to pay them more money for less. I think that’s everyone.