I originally wrote this on election day 2017. It reminded me of a post I wrote a while back that sadly is still as current as it was back then. And it will be current next year too. And the year after that.

I don’t know about anybody else but I usually spend at least five minutes every day deleting the junk email from my account.

I’ve had an AOL account from literally when they first started. I briefly worked for them and got the account for free. Yes you had to pay for an email account back in those dark early days.

I have other email accounts, but I like this one. I’ve had it for over 20 years. I know that if you have an AOL email account millennials think it’s funny and it means you’re old.  And do you know what I say to that? Fuck you, you little bastards. I was using email before you were even a gleam in your father’s eye.  (And get off my lawn!)

Most of my junk mail is from political organizations like the DNC,, People for the American way, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Michelle Obama’s cousin, etc. I’m sure the Republicans do the same thing. Blessedly, I don’t get those emails.

The ones I do get are incredibly annoying. They are always at def-con five. Or is it Def-con one? Whichever is worse, these are them. The world is always coming to an end.

Here are the real subject lines from three of these emails:




The body of the emails will tell you that the Republicans have won everything. It’s over. We are all doomed. Everything we hold dear is gone.


But when you get to the bottom of the email it says:

“However, if you could just chip in 3 dollars,
we could fix all this and the world would be fine again.”

Excuse me?? THREE DOLLARS??

You just had me freaking out about the end of all that I love and hold dear — and you could fix it for THREE FRIGGING DOLLARS!!!?

For God’s sake, take up an office pool! Dig up lost change in the break room sofa.

Tell me there isn’t a few bucks in there.

All I’m saying is, tone it down, guys.

God, I wish spam filters actually worked.

HURRY, HURRY, HURRY – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Hurry

Hurry! Today’s our last chance for this great deal!

Hurry! If you don’t pay by Friday, you might lose your payment plan!

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! This is your last chance, your final opportunity!

Everything has to be done now. This minute. Immediately. The bank has to get that bill paid this minute because if they wait 30 minutes, they will charge you extra … sometimes, a lot extra.

Don’t ever stop running because the world is chasing you! But don’t worry. One day, you’ll die and then, they can chase you forever, but you will never get caught.


Tom’s brother, Todd, came for a visit with his dog, Houla, a Catahoula Leopard Dog. She’s only fourteen months old so she’s still a puppy, with puppy energy and a puppy’s desire to play constantly with my two, older dogs.

My three-year-old dog, Remy, played with Houla a lot and the two of them chased each other around the yard at top speed. What’s surprising is that my nine-year-old, Lexi, also played with Houla. This is great because it gave my otherwise couch potato dog some exercise. So the three dogs got along fine, unlike Houla’s younger days when we constantly had to intervene to break up overly aggressive or enthusiastic wrestling matches.

The problem is that Houla discovered a way to get out of our fenced in backyard. We have a tall, reinforced fence covering a large area around two sides of our house. Our dogs have not breached the perimeter for years. Remy found a hole in the fence when we first adopted her but has not found another way out since we plugged that hole. Apparently, she just wasn’t looking.

Houla six months ago

One day we realized that Houla was not in the room with us and we went looking for her. She wasn’t downstairs and she wasn’t upstairs so we went out to the backyard and called her. She instantly appeared, happily wagging her tail at us, from the outside of the fence. We brought her back inside and in short order, she was out again.

Houla outside, looking for trouble

We had to figure out how she was getting out so we all took turns watching her when she went out. After a very short time, she made a beeline to a spot in the fence and started digging and prodding the fence with her nose. Houla had found a small area of fencing that had a hole on the inside, which Houla made bigger. Then she managed to pull on the fence with her teeth and dislodge it from the ground so she could wiggle under it and out the other side.

Houla in a rare quiet moment

This was the beginning of a two-day battle of wits and wills between Tom and Houla. Tom started by putting logs up against the loose part of the fence, but Houla just pushed them aside and escaped under the fence again. Tom then put a large garbage can on the outside of the fence and rocks and more logs on the inside. No problem for Houla.

Tom’s early attempt to stop Houla from getting out

Tom was frustrated and kept piling more things on the trouble spot. Each time he was sure that he had come up with something that Houla couldn’t possibly get around. His confidence was adorable, but he was always wrong. He even used stakes to keep the fence attached to the ground – to no avail.

Another cute photo of Houla as a younger puppy

To add to the problem, when Houla got out, she found a large mud hole to splash in and kept reappearing wet and dirty at the outside of the fence. We had to hose her down and dry her off before I would let her back into the house.

Houla with Todd

Now things got serious – except that I kept laughing at Tom each time he’d get outsmarted by a dog. But we couldn’t all leave the house at the same time because while Houla was adept at getting out, she couldn’t get back in and we didn’t want her wandering out to the road or getting lost in the woods.

Finally, Tom pulled out all the stops. He put a heavy bucket of salt from the winter on the outside of the hole and blocked the inside with an even heavier metal ramp that we use to get the dogs on and off our boat. Success! Houla has gone outside and poked around her escape route but has not managed to get through again.

Tom finally managed to plug the hole in the fence

Crisis averted! Tom is vindicated! For now.


From ChosenPerspective’s Song Lyrics Sunday 4-21/19

It crossed my mind that her song said the same thing. Life should not be this difficult. We didn’t start this fire, but someone did. Perhaps it was started by the very first human who made his own fire with his own tools. Perhaps this is the direction that all human history has taken.

I just know that life was not this hard even a few years ago. But now it’s hard, so hard, so painful, so stressful. In a time of my life when there should be little stress, it’s as if the weight of the world is coming down on our heads.

Life is heavy. The world is heavy. There seem to be no answers that make any sense. Only the sense that this world is crushing us.

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, “The King and I” and “The Catcher in the Rye”

Eisenhower, vaccine, England’s got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it …

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, “Rock Around the Clock”

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev
Princess Grace, “Peyton Place”, trouble in the Suez

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it …

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, “Bridge on the River Kwai”

Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide

Buddy Holly, “Ben Hur”, space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

U2, Syngman Rhee, payola, and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, “Psycho”, Belgians in the Congo

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it …

Hemingway, Eichmann, “Stranger in a Strange Land”
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

“Lawrence of Arabia”, British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it …

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

“Wheel of Fortune”, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can’t take it anymore

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on …

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No. we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it …

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it …

Songwriter: Billy Joel  – We Didn’t Start the Fire lyrics
© Universal Music Publishing Group

The world is an onerous place. The business of surviving gets worse almost by the minute. I didn’t think it could get worse. I thought we had bottomed out. Apparently, there is no bottom. Maybe there never was and we all previously lived in our own personal parallel reality.

It’s almost a sunny day. The birds are lunching on the deck. I think I’ll take pictures.

BUT ANYONE COULD DO IT … Marilyn Armstrong

We all have friends who do stuff we can’t do.

They make a perfect pie crust and the filling is great, too. They build and refinish their furniture. They tune the car and rewire the basement on Saturday afternoon and still have time to make dinner for company.

You love them, with just a hint of hate because they can do it all and you can barely drag yourself out of bed, brush your hair, and have coffee before mid-afternoon.

They do a little painting, a bit of carving. Frame their own pictures. Repair anything that breaks. They are never worried about anything because they know exactly what to do.

apple pie

These are the woman who breezily raises two children after dad leaves while working full-time and never do they seem overwhelmed or even tired. The men build corporations, sell them, build another one — and don’t know why you can’t do the same.

It’s so easy.

They throw great dinner parties and the food is delicious. The dishes match or are charmingly casual yet coördinated to look casual in a fashion magazine sort of way. But you know they are supposed to look that way and no matter how hard you try, your version of “casual” just looks … well … casual.

Because that look takes work and an “eye.” It’s an art form.

stove and kitchen counter

When you ask about that wonderful pie crust, they say “Oh, it’s nothing. Just a bit of butter and flour. A bit of sugar. Cut everything up with a couple of butter knives, roll it out, and there you are.” If you are lucky, you get a demonstration and it does look easy.

You go home, get all the ingredients together and give it a try. Which results in an unusable lump of muck which ultimately, you toss in the trash.

After which you buy a pie crust or better yet, buy the whole pie. Because it isn’t so easy. Not for you, anyway.

Modest, humble people who do brilliant stuff about which they are completely offhand. They seem baffled why you would think any of it is a big deal. Apparently, it isn’t. To them.

To you, it would be a minor miracle if you could accomplish one little piece of it. Yet they will always say “But it’s so easy. Anyone could do it.”

Anyone except me. I can’t do it.


FOWC with Fandango — Extra

It seemed a normal enough evening. Garry went to bed before me — he likes to watch old movies in bed — and I finished up posting pieces and then followed him in. Before getting into bed, I changed the setting to make it easier for him to watch the movie and for me to listen to my audiobook … and make one last check of the posts that go up around midnight.

Then, I sunk quickly into sleep.

All was going well until I woke up around five in the morning and wanted to raise the bed a little higher. It’s allergy weather and sometimes if my head is up more, I breathe better.

I found the remote (it’s a wireless bed), and pressed “Head-Up.”

Nothing happened. I also noticed that the light wasn’t on, so I figured it needed new batteries. It was early and I just wanted to go back to sleep, but I dutifully got up, found four new rechargeable AAA batteries and plugged them into the remote.

I pressed the button.

Nothing happened.

Having tried the first thing that came to mind, I had to move on to the second thing, which is to reboot the bed by unplugging it, giving it half a minute, and replugging it. This, sadly, required that I get Garry out of bed because I’m short and my arms are short and getting my arm behind the bed to get to the plug, pull it out, then replace it is not as easy as it used to be. Eventually, after getting Garry up, moving the mattress out of the way, finding my little Maglite, I rebooted the bed.

Garry had to push the plug into the wall for me. It was the angle. And being short.

Then, I grabbed the remote and pushed the button.

Nothing happened.

I went and found another set of batteries.

Nothing happened.

The remote control was dead. After a mere 19 years, it croaked.

Our bed came with a lifetime guarantee. The only problem with a lifetime guarantee is they last exactly as long as that company is in business.

Sadly, the “Adjusta” brand was no more. It had become part of some other company years before. I knew one day something would happen and I was pretty sure it was going to be the remote that went because the engine on the bed will probably outlast us.

We pushed the mattress back into a sleeping position. Garry went and gave the dogs a nibble so they would stop barking and he went back to sleep.

I, on the other hand, turned on my light, opened the Mac, and went to, where I have always replaced all the remotes which Tinker (may she roam the fields beyond the bridge in joy) used to eat as snacks. One day, she ate all the remotes in the living room and that was a nearly $400 hit. But this was just a single remote, so I figured — $50? Maybe a little more? didn’t have any. They had a picture of one, but if you clicked on it, you got an advertisement for the company now making the bed we already own.

Just one extra little something to brighten my night which was turning into turning to morning by then.

As Fandango said, “You can find anything on Amazon,” so I went to Amazon, typed in “Adjusta-Magic” and hit ENTER. And there it was. Our remote.

It turns out it is no longer made by the same company that made our bed, but since the company that made our bed made (still makes) beds for three other companies (one of which absorbed ours), they now made a “universal” remote that would work on ALL their beds.

The new one wouldn’t say “Adjusta-Magic” on it and there would be no light. It would instead have three buttons that would automatically adjust the bed for reading, and two sleeping positions. I was grateful our bed was not in some strange sitting up arrangement. At least we could sleep in it while we wait for the remote.

It cost $120 for the remote. There was no alternative. It’s the end of the month when we never have any money, so I used the credit card with the lowest balance and figured I’d done due diligence. NOW I would get some sleep.

I drifted off.

The phone rang. One extra thing? It kept ringing, so it wasn’t one of the fake calls that get cut off. I had to answer it. It was just nine.

It was the mason who wanted to know if our heating unit had its own vent or went through the chimney. I said I didn’t know (actually, I did know, but I was only semi-conscious), said I would ask my son … and before I dug into my pillows, I asked him: “Do I have your phone number?”

He told me to get it off the phone, probably assuming it was a cell, which it isn’t. It does save numbers, but not the way a cellphone does. It’s more complicated. A lot more complicated.

And the only number I could find wasn’t a real number. It was one of the fake numbers that we never answer. Because I had picked up the call, it had not recorded it. I didn’t have the number. When I thought about it, a few extra items dropped into my brain.

I not only didn’t have his phone number, but I also didn’t have anything on paper from him. We’d verbally agreed on a price (no, I didn’t pay him) and he’d verbally agreed to do the job … but he had done it all from his van. I didn’t have his telephone number, company, or personal name.

Oh good. Perfect. An extra special day was shaping up.

I assumed if the guy didn’t hear from me, he’d call back, but he didn’t. So I called the next guy on my list who said sure, he’d come and take a look. I explained that it was a small job, but I would like to do it before it became a much bigger job. His other mason lives right down the block, so it should be easy to come to look at the chimney.

This time, I got his name and phone number. For someone who deals a lot with details, I can forget even the basics of making an arrangement. Anyway, this time, I did ask for the damned phone number. All the other guy — whoever he was — had to do was give me the number and there would not have been any problem.

Except for the non-working bed and my lack of sleep, that is.

It was after 10 by then. The dogs were barking and I wasn’t getting any more sleep. At least the sky was blue. Today and tomorrow are the only two days this week that aren’t supposed to rain.

I wanted to go take pictures … but I’m waiting on Owen to come over and fix the leaking faucet in the kitchen since the leak is getting worse and I already bought the faucet. But Owen only has one weekday during which he can do anything — and he had to get to UMass for his own medical results and he had to do some grocery shopping and I can’t go anywhere until he lets me know if he’s coming or not.

Anything extra? At least the coffee was ready since I turned it on when I got up to give biscuits to barking dogs.

The remote isn’t showing up until early in May — but that’s not so far off, right? And who need photographs anyway. I can always shoot more birds. With the camera, that is, although these days, we have accumulated a huge number of Cowbirds and nothing else seems to get to the food bin except the bigger woodpeckers from whom even the Cowbirds back way.

Somehow, I have this feeling the day ain’t over yet. Not sure why, but there’s a bit extra on its way. A little something more. Exactly what, I’m not sure. But I can feel it in the air.