A SUDDEN JOLT OF OPTIMISM – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Overjoyed

I know last night’s debate was a mess in a lot of ways. Too many potential (and unrealistic) candidates and a really annoying and abrasive set of television hosts who refused to ever let anyone actually SAY something that might be important. I think it was Colbert who said it was just as well these guys weren’t moderating Lincoln-Douglas because no one would have gotten a word in, edgewise or otherwise.

Round two of four – Detroit

I also agree with Garry that they need to sit down in a big, comfortable room with plenty of coffee and other drinks, pizza, sandwiches, and dessert. Then, point out to the people who are not going to really run for president (because they don’t have the money, backing, or support to do it) that there are other important jobs to do.

A classic moment

Senators. Governors. Mayors. Judges, who run for offices in many areas. The people who aren’t going to make the final cut need to make their moves on other Democratic platforms.

Marianne Williamson had a positive response. Good ideas. I don’t think she has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning, but some good points made

They all had something to say — and some of it was reasonably intelligent, too — but they have to find another place to say it. There’s only one president, but we need a lot of senators.

As far as the actual debate went, there were too many people. The moderators were intrusive, mindlessly controlling and apparently not listening — and I was ready to whack them. I understand they were trying to maintain control, but some commonsense in letting people make a point before cutting them off would not have gone amiss. Thirty seconds is NOT enough time for anyone to say something sensible.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – You could actually see the friendship behind the political push to win

All this being said, I was overjoyed with a sense of optimism this morning and it was the first in a long time.

Optimism? Yes. Really. Because mostly, they agreed with each other and didn’t spend all their time trying to chop each other down. They talked about what needed doing. The didn’t agree with exactly how, but they agreed on what was important. It was the first positive feeling I’ve felt to date.

I needed that. Maybe I wasn’t overjoyed … but I felt better. A little less glum. A little less angry and depressed.

THE CHANGING SEASONS – JULY 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong

The Changing Seasons, July 2019 – Our Hottest July Ever!

It’s official. This has been the hottest July in recorded weather history … 140 years worth. Not only have these been the hottest days, but they have also been the hottest nights with temperatures rarely dropping below the 80s.

I haven’t been outside much. For an asthmatic, this is bad karma. The hot, wet air makes it difficult to breathe and lacking inhalers (because I can’t afford them), being inside is a lot safer.

I did take a few pictures in the garden and of the newly repainted deck, but this hasn’t been much of a photographic month. If someone turns down the thermostat and the humidity, maybe we’ll have some breathable air. Right now, it’s like trying to inhale hot soup. Whatever that stuff is, it isn’t real air.

The newly refinished deck — which is also why there are no birds. It was time to take in the feeders until the fall. I miss my birds!

The Garden – Daylily Central!

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

    • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
    • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
    • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

    • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
    • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
    • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to Su-Leslie’s post, she can update it with links to all of yours.

WHERE’S THE BUS STOP? Marilyn Armstrong

This is the kind of normal question that anyone might ask in any town anywhere. Except if you ask it here, the responder will look at you quizzically. Because honest Abraham of Civil War fame, we don’t have any public transportation in this town.

If you need to go somewhere, you have a choice.

You can walk. You can hop on your bike, assuming it isn’t the middle of winter with roads full of snow and ice and you’re still young enough to do it. You can saddle up your horse (or hitch up the buggy) … or jump in whatever vehicle you own.

That’s it. I’m told that way back before we were living anywhere, they used to have a bus. I would certainly not object to having a mini-bus so old folks — like me — could get into town without having a driver. So far, no go, but I live in hope.

No Uber. No Lyft. No taxi. Nothing unless you drive. There are train tracks, but the trains don’t stop here and anyway, they are all freight trains, not for passengers.

We have tracks, but lack trains

Most people don’t take their horses to town, but it has happened. It makes the horses nervous, though and carrying back the groceries can be a bit clumsy. So mostly, it’s feet, trucks, and cars. We’re about 3-1/2 miles out of the village and we are definitely past hoofing it.

This is casket truck. Everyone needs a traveling casket, right?

Or maybe something smaller?

Public transportation isn’t part of the rural lifestyle. At some point, the trains did stop here. I only know it because we have a converted train station that’s now a real estate office. But once upon a time, it was an actual passenger station.

Does a school bus count?

School bus, in town. I think you need to be attending a local school to get a lift!

Photo: Garry Armstrong

THE BELLS ARE TROLLING – Marilyn Armstrong

There are subjects I avoid writing about because no matter where I go, there’s a troll lurking and waiting for an opportunity.

Gun control and “right to life,” or more to the point, the right of the unborn as opposed to the rights of the already alive are big troll-gatherers. They have always been two of the hot topics on the Internet and the trolls follow them like moths to flames in the dark of night. At least I have some control over them here on Serendipity. It’s the big advantage of blogging rather than being part of an “open” bulletin board — or heaven forbid Facebook.

How do you know you are being trolled?


I’m usually pretty good at spotting trolls, but sometimes, they creep in. They make a normal comment and as far as you can ascertain, they seem okay. There aren’t many ways to figure out if someone new is a follower or a troll other than whether or not they have a valid blog. But not all followers have a blog. Some people simply enjoy following other people’s writings.

So you have a new follower. They start a conversation, but they never quit. By the time the second day of conversation arrives, they have stood on every side of a “discussion” … and are getting aggressive.

I have been trolled on places like Amazon. You would think a biography about Alexander Hamilton would be essentially troll-free, but you’d be amazed at the damage they can do. I think Amazon has done something to control these jerks, but not enough. If they want reviewers, they will have to end the trolling.

Places like Facebook are obvious trolling sites. If you are fool enough to open yourself to that sort of thing, you will get what you deserve.

This isn’t Facebook, so it’s simple. I’ll put up with a conversation as long as that’s what it is. The minute it starts to edge into trolling, I will end it. One warning from me — and if there is another murmur from the aforementioned troll — he or she is blocked.

I tell them why and they say I’ve misunderstood them. They were merely trying to “liven up” the conversation. There was a time when I actually believed that line. I don’t believe it anymore.

These trolls actually think their viciousness is funny. They think they are being “cute.” Or anyway, that’s what they say. I still don’t believe it. Cute and funny isn’t nasty, angry, and mean. Sometimes, you get an apology. “Oh, I was just trying to make conversation.”

Don’t believe it. Trolls know exactly what they are doing. They do it wherever they go. They aren’t stupid. They think getting you angry and upset is hilarious. For them, anyway.

If it makes you unhappy, they don’t care. They are doing it for their own amusement, not yours. Their idea of livening up the conversation is to get a lot of people upset and if possible, feeling bad about themselves. When you ask them they will say they like “stirring the conversation” by which they mean insulting and harassing people they don’t even know. It’s their version of “getting the conversation moving.”

It’s trolling. If it is making your nervous system jangle, you can bet it’s trolling. Unless it is someone you know who has just gone a little over the edge, it’s trolling. Do not let them turn your site into a battleground. Spam them, block them, get rid of them. They will drive your real readers away and inflict a lot of damage — to you and others. Trolls are ugly people and their idea of humor has nothing to do with how anyone else feels. The more upset they can make you, the more they enjoy it.

I sometimes wait a while to see if the commentary is going that way, but when it’s a “new reader” with a flurry of nasty, sharp things to say? It’s a troll. Bet on it.

There are things we need to say and sometimes they are controversial. People argue, sometimes with considerable fervor, but I think you will know the trolls from regular readers with strong opinions who have maybe gone a little bit overboard. You’ll know the difference.

Shut down the trolls. Don’t let them back on your site, no matter what they tell you. Once a troll, always a troll.