FAREWELL OCTOBER – Marilyn Armstrong

END OF THE AUTUMN – ANOTHER YEAR PASSES

It’s the last day of October and most of the trees are bare. It has been raining all week and last night’s wind and rain finally finished off the trees. So, in this vintage version of the old Inn around the corner, we say gooodbye and hope that winter is more kindly this year.

Photo by Garry Armstrong, processing by Marilyn Armstrong.

The 1700s Inn at at the end of our road. It has been added to, but the basic building remains. Until recently, it was a restaurant. Maybe it will be again.

WHO SAID LIFE IS FAIR? – Marilyn Armstrong

With shock and grief, I hear the wailing of betrayed youth. They have made the awfulest Big Discovery.


Life is unfair.


You work hard, perform brilliantly yet wind up bruised and forgotten. Then again, you might find yourself famous, rich, and covered with honors. It’s not cause and effect, though we like to think it is … until the economy, health, or other people betray those beliefs.

The younger me knew — with 100% certainty — that work, talent, ambition and determination were magic. The older me learned you can do everything right, follow all the rules and then some, and it still doesn’t work out.

bankruptcy

I did it all. I worked hard and with more than due diligence. I smiled when I wanted to snarl to keep that critical positive attitude. I was creative. I gave it my all.

I did okay, but while I worked hard and put in overtime, I watched the suck-ups, second-raters, and those who worked cheaper if not better, move past me. I came in early and stayed late while they went to meetings and took long lunches. If I’d gone to more meetings, would that have changed the outcome?

Somehow, I doubt it. I can’t be someone I’m not, though I sure did try. It’s out of my hands. I’m a passenger on this bus and it’s a long ride ahead of me (I hope).

Former belief: Play by The Rules, give it your all. You are bound to “make it.”

Current belief: Do the best you can and hope for a bit of luck and a boss who really likes you. Oh, and a company that won’t go bankrupt before you get paid. If not, enjoy life. It’s the only one you’ve got.

We tell our kids if they do it all right they will get that pot of gold. We don’t tell them that work sucks. Most of their bosses will be morons who know less than they do and have less talent.

But we also were right. They will earn a reward: the satisfaction of knowing they did their best. It’s a big reward. Everyone can count on it and no one can take away.

We have to try. If we succeed and for a while, we get a piece of the good stuff, at least enough to feel it wasn’t a waste of time, that’s great. For some, it just doesn’t happen. Bad luck? Wrong attitude? Crappy economy? Not quite enough talent?

And you have to know that trying may not be enough. You also need talent and luck and good timing.

Sometimes, you need a better agent.

I no longer believe in inevitable triumph. There’s always a chance you’ll make it to the top and it’s fantastic if the magic works. For me, realism has replaced optimism. Everyone’s best achievement is living up to our best self. If this also turns into a success, I’ll wear your t-shirt. If not, this is an achievement no one can ruin. You can’t control the world, but you can control yourself.

Life’s a roller coaster. You’re up and then you’re down. Screaming, crying, laughing … you go where the rails take you. Life will surprise you and sometimes a loss becomes a winner and will give you moments of unimagined joy.

Rejoice when times are good, but if you must, cope with the darkness. You can learn a lot in the dark.

WHOLE BODY HEALTH: I KNEW IT! – Marilyn Armstrong

I was sure that the damage to my heart was related to the drugs they gave me for cancer which had been dealt with just four years earlier.

Tonight, on CBS News, they are finding a direct link between breast cancer and cardiomyopathy. The wrong chemo, an incorrect amount of radiation, the wrong drugs and what has kept them from making the connection before was that the heart damage often doesn’t show up for years following cancer … as long as a decade. My time was 4 years.

I had been saying to other people I know who are having heart issues … specifically myopathy … involving damaged valves and thickened ventricle walls which make pumping more (and more) inefficient who also — earlier — had cancer. Asking them if they think the treatment they got for cancer may have been the starting point for their heart issues. The answer is a long pause and “I don’t know. I always wonder about that.”

I have always said that the problem is that we are not pieces that you put together like a jigsaw puzzle. Everything is connected to everything else. I’m sure of it and no, I don’t have statistics to prove it. It takes dozens of years for these stats to finally be proven, but you know. You are just sure, but you’re not a medical professional and you don’t have the facilities to run the tests.

I did put the idea to my oncologist and all three of my cardiologists. While no one would confirm my feeling that these issues were not separated, they were also unwilling to tell me “no way, can’t happen.” Because they see how many people who have previously had cancer show up with cardiomyopathy. You don’t necessarily need years of testing to spot a trend.

Meanwhile, as more of us sense the increasing tendency of the medical community to use smaller specialization, the rest of us are sensing this approach is inconsistent with reality as we feel it.

I have been saying for a long time that there aren’t a lot of things wrong with me. There’s one thing and all these other issues are merely a part of a much bigger picture.

I can’t prove it, but I believe it. Doctors need to look at us as a unit. They need to look at all of our working parts. Not just look at our hips without making sure the spine is functioning. To not look at one’s hands without understanding how the wrist is coping or for that matter, the shoulder and elbow.

It is incredibly frustrating to know in your gut that there’s something important happening in your body, but no one is LOOKING at your whole body.

SHARING MY WORLD – OCTOBER’S END AND WINTER BEGINS – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World – and a Happy Halloween!

Questions:

Where’s the line between respectful disagreement and being downright mean (bullying) to someone?

There’s no official line, but I think you know it when you hear it.

Would you prefer to live in a world where alcohol was free or where politicians were honest?

Aw, c’mon. I don’t even drink.

What’s one habit you have that your family or friends think is rather childish?

Staying up all night reading a book. I’ve never managed to entirely break the habit, but I’m not allowed to complain how tired I am the next day. I made the decision, I bear the consequences.

Would you rather go to a big party and rub shoulders with the rich and famous or go to an amazing quiet Garden that hardly anyone has ever visited?

Ironically, because of Garry’s job, I’ve gone to a lot of rich and famous parties and pretty much all of them were expensive (you had to get clothing, right?) and when you got there, dull. Almost ANYTHING, including watching old TV shows, has got to be more exciting. A quiet garden sounds fine. Maybe with a bit of background music, too.


Halloween Question:    What do you think of the idea of “trick or treat or money for a charity” as a way of making Halloween more useful?

Nice idea. I don’t think it would really work, but it’s always worth a try.

SYWSkeletalHand

MASSED SQUIRRELS ATTACK RURAL HOME SLAUGHTERING RETIREE – Marilyn Armstrong

Gazing out of her bedroom window, she nothing that each feeder had two or three squirrels clinging to it and there were more of them on the deck and on the railing.

“This,” she said to herself, “Is ridiculous. How many of them ARE there?” She opened the window and yelled out the window, but the squirrels ignored her. They didn’t even twitch a tail.

So, barefoot and lacking eyeglasses, she trundled to the kitchen, opened the back door and yelled at the squirrels. There was a wild reaction as squirrels appeared from behind the rails, under the rails, under the deck, on and atop the feeders … and it turns out there were half a dozen chipmunks there, too.

One big one, the biggest, fattest, most hostile of the squirrel gang stood his ground. She finally opened the door and tried pushing him off the railing. That was when the cadre of apparently karate-trained squirrels came at her from every direction.

Only white bones were left on the deck, left for the sun to whiten and the heat of next summer to bleach. Alas, there will be no one to contract with the gutter installers on Friday.

The manager has been consumed by squirrels.

GREEN GREEN, IT’S GREEN THEY SAY – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Green

Memories of summertime along the river. And now that autumn is ending, the next color will be white!

Green trees and reflections of green in the river

Quietly afloat down the river – Photo: Garry Armstrong

Summer by the Blackstone

A bright green day for the grazing cattle

Green by the bridge

Za’atar!

NEWS ANCHORING: LOOKING INSIDE – Garry Armstrong

The handsome guy who sits at the main newsdesk on your television newscast is more than a guy who just sits and reads. He delivers the script, knows when to pass the baton to a reporter, live or on tape. In the old days, he was the “anchorman” because no one could imagine a woman doing the job. Given the recent discoveries about what a lot of anchors were doing in their “spare” time, there are suddenly a lot of women at the anchor desk.

Make no mistake: they aren’t “anchorwomen.” They are anchors. They pull the news broadcast into a coherent whole and make sure all the pieces show up in the right spot during the broadcast.

It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is. A very big deal. Most reporters would love to be anchors, but don’t have the talent. I was one of them.

Edward R. Murrow

The title of this piece perhaps should thus be News Anchoring. Doing the job. It may be something of a revelation for those who have no idea what it’s like working inside a newsroom. Maybe if you watched “Newsroom” (Jeff Daniels) you have a bit of an idea … but the real deal is a lot more intense.

Walter Cronkite

Plans go awry. News happens while you’re already in the middle of a broadcast and the crew and anchor need to be ready to ditch all the planned material and cover a live event. As in “it’s happening right now.”

Dianne Sawyer

News anchors were really the first television celebrities and stars, both nationally and locally.  You saw them every day and every evening. They were the voices of truth. They told you what was happening in the world, the nation, your state, and your neighborhood. The promotional blurbs assured you that they were giving you. “the straight truth.”

Chet Huntley and David Brinkley

Depending on your age, you may remember Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Frank Reynolds, Douglas Edwards, and Harry Reasoner, just to name a few of the many famous faces who held down the network anchor desks in TV’s early formative years.

Dan Rather

You probably have clear memories of the folks who anchored your favorite newscasts. They were smooth and believable. For years, Walter Cronkite was regarded as “The most believable person in the United States.” I think maybe the world.  Political leaders, even Presidents wanted Cronkite’s trust.

John Chancellor

As a young newsie, I thought anchoring was top of the hill in “the news biz.” It looked easy. You just sat there and read the news. A piece of cake, I thought.

Leslie Stahl

I didn’t have much TV experience at the time I made that evaluation of news anchoring. I was still a 20-something with a future of rapid advancement from college, to local news, to ABC Radio Network in 1967.

Norah O’Donnell

My first assignments at ABC were strictly low level, grunt stuff, even though my first day on the job was also the first day of the Middle East 6-day war. Talk about being thrown into the pit!

Peter Jennings

I had to receive incoming phone reports from correspondents around the world and transcribe them — verbatim — for our in-house reporters. Step two was producing and editing copy for those reporters. This gave me more of a hands-on look at the work of the “talent” as on-air reporters and anchors were known.

It still looked easy although some of the scripts needed work. That was my job. I absorbed the good and bad of news-writing quickly. Network reporters were under tremendous pressure to collect the information, write their scripts, then dash into the studio for their broadcasts.

Lester Holt

From my “outside” view, it still looked easy. The movie “Broadcast News” shows more of this.

My few network TV jobs didn’t test me. I was the grunt, filling in for the veteran reporters. These jobs were filmed and I made no live appearances.  Taped was a whole different experience from doing the same material live. It still looked easy.

My brief tenure with a small Hartford TV station provided experience with cameras. I wrote half-hour news scripts and co-anchored with my boss — the other guy in the small newsroom.

This was late 1969. We had teleprompters. They seemed easy to use. Just read the script as it appears. Look at the prompter, read and only rarely look down at the script. No one said anything except “Good work, kid.”  Piece of cake, right?

Fast forward to Channel 7 in Boston, my first “major market” television gig. It was 1970 and I was one of a very few minorities (nonwhite) faces on Boston’s TV stations.

For many years, channel 7 was regarded as the “also-ran” station among the “big 3” TV stations network affiliates in Boston. The others were channel 4 (WBZ) and channel 5 (WCVB today,  but back then, it was WHDH — which later became the letters for channel 7). It’s easier to remember the numbers!

Channel 5 was the most prominent local affiliate and had the best-known news personalities working there.  Channel 7, an RKO-General affiliate was mostly known for running old movies in prime time.

Channel 7 wanted to get into the battle for news viewership and gain some critical respect. Talk about opportunity and timing. I came through the door at exactly the right time. A reporter of color who looked okay and spoke well. Almost immediately, I was given good assignments and received a lot of air time. I loved it. Like the Edward G. Robinson movie villain, “Johnny Rocco,” I wanted more.

I wanted to become an anchor.

No problem. Channels 4 and 5 already had morning newscasts. It was the dawning of popularity for morning news shows while Channel 7 had “Sunrise Semester” reruns.

After some huddling, channel 7 decided to join in the morning news fray with “Daybreak.”  They needed two young, strong personalities to counter the established anchors at the other stations. I don’t recall if there was much newsroom politicking for channel 7’s new show. The veteran reporters, as I recall, turned their noses up at the project. The hours were ghastly. Moreover, it seemed unlikely to have a chance against the other well-established morning news shows.

Garry Armstrong

I don’t think there was any celebration when channel 7 announced that “Daybreak” would be co-anchored by two of it’s new “exciting young talents,” Steve Sheppard and Garry Armstrong.  There was some newsroom jabber about “ebony and ivory,” which was not complimentary.

There was a divide in those days between veteran reporters and “the kids.” as we were known.  We were hungry for success. The vets didn’t want anyone to stir their soup with new ingredients.

Steve and I were excited about “Daybreak” and what it might mean for us. Yes, we were bright-eyed and bubbling with enthusiasm as we did our first shows. Steve had a nervous habit of tapping his toes throughout the newscast. I used to fiddle with the contact lenses I was wearing for the first time.

It wasn’t a pleasant experience. The contacts would slip. Everything would go blurry as I read. I’d squint, tear up and plod on. The contacts would invariably fall out and I’d frantically hunt for them during commercial breaks. Steve Sheppard, covering for me, would move on with the script as we came out of commercials.

After I got the contact lenses under control, I had a new, unexpected problem. We finally got teleprompters. At first, we were enthusiastic. We could finally look like real network anchors.

We could just stare into the camera and, occasionally, look down at our copy and back up to the camera. Steve did it very well. I didn’t. I kept getting lost. Almost every time I looked down at my copy, I would lose my place when I returned to the teleprompter.

I was awkward and clumsy. Not smooth.

I was angry with myself. It had always looked so easy. A piece of cake. I used to practice with the teleprompter between shows. Techs would set me up, give me suggestions and I’d practice. Nope. An assistant director who became a director and later a long-time friend tried his best to guide me through the nuances of the prompter schtick. I had a few decent shows but in the end, I welcomed being “reassigned” to field reporting.

I accepted the “too bad” consolation from co-workers but knew I was not going to be an anchor. It was not a piece of cake after all.

The late Tom Ellis was one of the best TV News Anchors Boston has ever had. Tom was almost a cult figure during Boston’s golden age of broadcasting. The native Texan had a fresh, engaging way of anchoring.  He didn’t seem to be reading. It was more as if he was talking to viewers, sharing the grim “if it bleeds it leads” stories as well as the feel-good features.

“Texas Tom” as he was known, riveted your attention and held you as he delivered the news. I always admired his style and understood he was doing what I couldn’t do — and doing it very well.

Years later, Tom and I became colleagues when he joined Channel 7 as its prime time anchor. He brought that same “Texas Tom” expertise to our floundering newscasts as he had for the competing stations. Tom was even nicer off-camera than on camera. Ironically, he sought my advice on reporting which I gladly shared.

In retirement, our friendship deepened. Tom laughed when I told him about my anchor aspirations, as well as my opportunity, and ultimate demise.  He chuckled, “Garry, it ain’t as easy as it looks.   I sighed and smiled.

These days, I look at the current generation of TV news anchors. I have my likes and dislikes. However, I have a deep appreciation for their job.  It is even more complex with the addition of new software applications they have to smoothly blend into their delivery along with the teleprompter and script.

No, pilgrim, it’s not a piece of cake.

ALMOST THE END OF THE LINE – Marilyn Armstrong

ALMOST THE END OF THE LINE

Hard to imagine October is done. Finito. My favorite month. The only thing about it I don’t like is that winter is right behind it.

The cold is closing in quickly. I don’t have a good feeling about this winter. Last year, we had basically “late Autumn” until March. Then it snowed like mad for a few weeks. The rest of the season was not snowy. We had a lot of rain and mud and ice, but hardly any snow until my birthday.

Woods and fence blizzard

Welcome to my 72 birthday. It was a 15-inch blizzard. And there I was, thinking we were going to get through winter without snow. One year (during the past 20) we had a snow-free winter, but the following year we had so much snow we had to have our roof shoveled three times to keep it from caving in.

That’s the really bad part of really good attic insulation. The heat from the house never gets to your roof, so the tons of snow never melts. Each subsequent snow piles on top of earlier blizzards.

Farewell, October

The winters of 2015 and 2016 were both like living in Mongolia or maybe Antarctica. One of our cars (we had two back then) was literally buried. You literally could not see it. Driving down our narrow roads was like driving in a tunnel with the snow 10 feet high on both sides from the plowing. I remember when Kaity was very young and she asked if the giant piles of snow and ice were going to become glaciers which they were studying in school.

I explained that I didn’t think so, but who could tell anymore?

Nonetheless, this is still nominally October, so let’s think orange and pumpkin-flavored donuts.

TRUMP STILL IN OBAMA’S SHADOW AFTER ISIS HEAD KILLED – THE SHINBONE STAR

President Barack Obama got Osama bin Laden, the meanest of the mean.

Oval Office Occupant The Donald got Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

WHO?

Oh, yeah, head of the Islamic State (ISIS), “the world’s No. 1 terrorist leader,” according to Donald.

Donald, is under threat of impeachment for abuse of power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate his domestic political rivals. He’s sooo grasping at any straw to deflect.

Ever the “showman,” Don described in gory detail Abu’s ending, in a tunnel along with his family, where Abu apparently detonated a suicide vest rather than surrender.

“Osama bin Laden was very big, but Osama bin Laden became big with the World Trade Center (bombing),” Trump said, stating this kill by the U.S. Special Forces was the biggest there is. “This is a man who built a whole, as he would like to call it a country – a caliphate and was trying to do it again.”

Poor Donnie was upstaged in the dreaded media last night when the “fake news” broadcast the event.

The White House released a photograph of Trump surrounded by top advisers on Saturday in the Situation Room where he monitored the raid on al-Baghdadi’s hide-out in Syria — much like the famed image of President Barack Obama watching the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011. An obviously envious Trump even seemed to suggest that killing al-Baghdadi was a bigger deal than killing Bin Laden.

Nowhere close Delusional Don. Even though he is/was a mean mother, he is/was no where as infamous as bin Laden. Don, you got a guppie.

Abu, 48, the son of an Iraqi sheepherder, was hiding deep inside a part of northwestern Syria controlled by archrival al Qaeda groups according to the Times. Hiding among your enemies. Brilliant.

Or, was he there to broker an alliance? Time will tell.

Abu al-Baghdadi has been incorrectly reported killed before, and American military officials were concerned that Trump, who posted a cryptic message on Twitter on Saturday night teasing his Sunday announcement, was so eager to announce the development that he was getting ahead of the forensics, wrote the New York Times.

“A Defense Department official said before The Donald’s announcement that there was a strong belief — “near certainty” — that al-Baghdadi was dead, but that a full DNA analysis was not complete,” wrote the Times.

Trump claimed that “American troops did “an on-site test” of DNA to confirm Mr. al-Baghdadi’s identity and that they brought back “body parts” when leaving the scene.

“The official said that with any other president, the Pentagon would wait for absolute certainty before announcing victory,” continued the story.

During his morning appearance, Trump put himself in the center of the action, describing himself as personally hunting al-Baghdadi since the early days of his administration. The only thing Delusional Donnie has hunted is glory and profits from his numerous visits to his own estates to play golf and bilk taxpayers.

He crowed that as he watched the action on Saturday with Mike Pence and others in the Situation Room (Not the CNN one with Wolf Blitzer.) it was “like watching a movie.” Wonder if he got to see all the blood and gore from the explosion?

Even more astounding, Trump trundled along Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R -S.C.), usually a strong ally who has been the most outspoken critic of his Syria decision, to join him for the speech on Sunday morning. Then, amazingly he sent cock sock Graham to brief reporters from the lectern in the White House briefing room. an unusual spectacle for a lawmaker, to say the least.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D – Ca.) called on the White House, to brief lawmakers about the raid, pointing out the Trump had informed the Russians of the military operation before telling congressional leadership.

Well, he had to tell his Master, Vlad “Puty” Putin first Nancy. Besides, you’re a woman AND a Democrat and he is apparently employed by Russia.

U.S. Oval Office Occupants typically follow the protocol of contacting congressional leaders, regardless of their political party, when a high-level military operation is conducted. As we know, nothing is typical about Trump except his lying and love for Russia.

“The House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top congressional leadership were notified of in advance, and on the administration’s overall strategy in the region,” Pelosi said.

Trump told reporters at the lengthy news conference that he did not inform the House speaker of the raid because he “wanted to make sure this kept secret.” In other words, we can trust a liar, but not a woman to keep a secret, eh Donald?

Asked whether he had informed Pelosi, Trump replied, “No, I didn’t. I didn’t do that. I wanted to make sure this kept secret. I don’t want to have men lost, and women. I don’t want to have people lost.”

Trump continued, that he was “going to notify [congressional leaders] last night, but we decided not to do that because Washington leaks like I’ve never seen before.”

No amount of grandstanding attempted deflections or grandiose self-congratulatory rallies will change the fact that The Donald, a narcissistic lying crook, is facing impeachment.

Abu al-Baghdadi may be gone, but there are others who will soon fill the void and the blood bath in Syria will continue as American troops flee.

As Pelosi so succinctly told Trump last week, as she stood to leave after he called her “a third-grade politician,” “Why (with you) do “all roads lead to Putin”?

Donald still hasn’t come up with an answer.

WHEN IT’S TOO LATE, IS IT STILL PROCRASTINATING? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango:
Procrastinating Until Time Runs Out

PHOTOGRAPHS: OWEN KRAUS

And who amongst us does not procrastinate? I used to do everything ahead of time because I figured if I did whatever I didn’t want to do EARLY, then I could stop fretting about it. This concept died instantly the day I retired. Now, I do everything as late as I can … except when I procrastinate for so long, it’s too late to do it at all.

But then there is Planet Earth and I live in sheer terror that we have been plundering our world for so long that it is already too late. I don’t know why I was sure that the full weight of climate change would wait until finally, we were ready to tackle it. It was a stupid idea, but the full power of this change was more than I was ready to confront. Especially because — other than trying to recycle (pointless in a town that has no dump for “clean” trash — and no recycling facilities of any kind — not even a place to take stuff for recycling elsewhere).

Poisonous swamp near an old factory

Massachusetts, overall, has tried pretty hard to do its best to clean up its own mess. And there has been a pretty huge mess to clean up. As one of the oldest states, it is here that “The Industrial Revolution” began.

The Blackstone River was its power. It’s tight, twisting design and rapid drops were perfect for building mills. And of course, the leftover products of those mills went right back into the rivers.

Never think that “modern” poisons are worse than “natural” poisons. By the mid-1970s, the Blackstone River was one of the top 3 most polluted rivers on this continent. Today, after almost 100 years of fighting the pollution, you can fish in the river and there are even places where it is safe to swim — if you don’t mind getting your toes nipped off by some really gigantic Common Snapping Turtles!

The poisonous earth is, so far, not repairable. Behind each of those dams on the river (there were 46 of them, but I think they managed to remove two of them recently) are tons and tons of poisoned earth. If they take away the dam, all the hazardous soil will pour into the river. Far too dangerous.

You can’t build on it. You can’t cover it with clean earth because the poisons leach upward. Every time they try to build atop one of those deadly areas, everyone in the building gets sick and they have to close it down. This happened relatively recently in Boston when they built the new PP1 station on a hazardous site and in weeks, they had to abandon it. I think, in the end, they imploded the building, dug down as far as the bedrock and took the earth somewhere else.

Where? Is there somewhere that has a use for poisoned earth?

As soon as they moved the foul factories down south to be closer to where the cotton grew, they decided on another terrific idea: “Let’s build some Nuclear Generators!”

Sometimes I wonder why all of us don’t just glow in the dark.

Having had a personal one-on-one tour of the Seabrook Generator, I’m still wondering what they are going to do with those “spent nuclear rods” that run the generators. No one wants them. They hid the nukes behind 30-foot barbed-wire fences and barren green hills. In our lovely green parks. You know there’s a nuke there because of the warning signs telling you to STAY OUT OF THAT AREA. Are we so stupid we don’t know what’s going on? Except when they suggested maybe “Just one more generator?” and angry mobs form in the streets.

We are not quite that stupid, it seems.

Meanwhile, up in Millbury and Worcester, they STILL dump raw sewage into the Blackstone because (are you ready? really really ready?), it would cost every household $1 a month more in taxes to build a water cleaning facility. We may not be that stupid, but a lot of the people who run our towns seem to be.

Massachusetts is really trying hard to clean itself up. We are the Good Guys! Can you imagine the horrors you are going to find down in Texas and Oklahoma, not to mention all those areas in the deep south where they took our factories and mills and installed them there?  They thought they were lucky to get the work. We thought we were lucky to lose the pollution. But some work would be nice, too. CLEAN work, however.

I have no answers because these are questions too big for me. I can change to green power. I can send my paltry earnings to the National Parks Foundation. I can support zoos and other areas where they breed animals who are going extinct. But overall, I feel helpless. The problems are huge and my abilities to deal with so small.

BUILT ON THE ROCK ~ OCTOBER 28, 2019 ~ MELANIE B CEE

Garry is forever telling me that I do make a difference even though I usually can’t see how. But this is actual evidence that I have made a difference to at least one person and hopefully, a few others. The diagnosis that we are killing the world we need to live in is incontrovertible. It’s not a rumor, it’s not fake anything. It’s real and it is happening now. 

A year ago, I had dozens of birds. This year, I have half the species of last year. We have southern Eastern Equine Mosquitoes killing people and mindless spraying of poison over our woods. Which quite probably explains why the birds are gone. We’ve lost 30 million birds over the past 10 years and stand to lose at least that many in the next few.

There is a mass extinction in progress — and we are as much on the bloc as the now-defunct Black Rhinoceros. If this scares you, terrifies you, haunts you? Find out more. Tell others. Do everything you can to help save the world we know and love.


CONTROVERSIALBADGE

This post will contain two subjects that tend to get people riled.   The first is religion and the second is climate change or whatever trendy name they’ve slapped on that today.

If either really irritates you to the point of stroking out, please feel free to read no further.  It’s okay.


I follow an “LDS” (formerly the Mormons) blog entitled “By Common Consent.” I like it because the hosts allow a variety of opinions and invite some interesting people to write about their experiences.  Not all of them could be counted among the ‘faithful’ and some apparently have had negative experiences with the Church. All that is required of the reader of that blog is to be respectful. Regardless of the content of the piece that’s shared.   They don’t accept writers who are really far out there, extremists and any kind of hate or bigotry writing (speech). It pays to remember that the blog is LDS based though.  Because most of the content is about the LDS Church and beliefs and rites.  

The content today was about the testimony. Now I admit that I naively believed that only Mormons bore their testimonies.  That it might be an odd concept to the person who isn’t a member. I’ve since revised my thinking to include the fact that everyone (religiously-inclined anyhow) has a testimony and that each religion deals with that idea in its own way.   A testimony, in case you don’t know, is (my interpretation, which probably is flawed) the relationship, based in faith, that a person has with God and to a lesser degree, their preferred religion.   

In the LDS Church, one gets up (or has the opportunity to do so) once a month in “Fast and Testimony” Meeting and share their testimony.   To me personally, it’s an opportunity to talk about how one’s life is blessed by having God in their life or influencing their actions and decisions. A chance to humbly thank God for all the bounty He may have provided to the individual. It’s not about who got married, or had a kid, or went to Bura-Bura on vacation.  It’s not for bragging or being entitled or any other close-minded crap that such people tend to think is interesting.

Too often though it is about the latter and not the former. God isn’t thanked at all if He’s thought of. That kind of testimony is one reason **Koff-koff excuse koff-koff ** that I’m not very active in the church currently.   I find the sometimes smug attitude sickening and distracting from why I personally go to church – to improve my relationship with God.

God reminds man though, that we’re not to judge others. We have enough things of our own to worry about (i.e. our own business) without thinking snide things about other people. I sometimes find that hard to do.  

Today the woman writing the BCC post asked the rhetorical question: “So tell me – do you think voicing criticism has the potential to damage testimony, and if so, do we have a responsibility toward each other to take care with how we share it?”   

I have a huge problem with idiots. I think that’s well documented.  And my viewpoint about the question had nothing to do with the author being an idiot. The idiot part comes in from the idea of having politically correct (touchy-feely) censorship of one’s most intimate inner thoughts. Which are what the testimony IS (in my opinion).   

But I get why she asked the question too. There are people in the LDS Church who view testimony meeting as a chance to air every slight and grievance they ever had, real or imagined. To be acid-tongued and sharp with those in alleged authority with whom they take exception. To belittle others. To me?  That’s not a testimony, that’s bile – regurgitated. So sit down and shut up and don’t blast a spiritual event with garbage.

I asked a question today on SYW about where the line is drawn between honest debate and hate speech (verbal bullying).   I’m interested to see what people say about that too.   Where do we stop being overly sensitive and start with real disagreement with someone’s harsh words?   Is that censorship too?

As a good blogging buddy used to write:  “No answers here…”


The second part of this post is about a personal terror.   The very idea scares the crap out of me and keeps me awake nights.  Wakes me up in a cold sweat. I’ve heard a huge variety of opinion on climate change and what that is going to mean to the world I once knew (because she’s a’changin’ and she ain’t gonna be the same).   

The video clip I shared is about 5 minutes and the fellow speaking is a sensible person (IMHO) who has a realistic manner and speech.   What he said in this video clip scared me silly.   He wasn’t even trying to frighten.  He was stating facts, backed up by scientists and really incredibly smart people (well, presumably).   I don’t know who Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even is, never heard of her before today. Another benefit (I suspect) of living a largely mushroom life.  I don’t CARE who she is just to be clear. Don’t let the title of the video mislead you. But be prepared for a shock.

Judy Dykstra-Brown is the one who brought the blog and video clip to my attention.  I’m not sure whether to be grateful or horrified that what I’ve thought for a lot of years now is coming true. And that right soon. Dang.

One of the points made in the video has been supported (unwittingly) by Marilyn of Serendipity and her blogs over the summer about the mosquito problems in her area.  

The things talked about in that video are real. As Beau says “It’s not fake science and it’s not fake news.  It simply IS.”   

How these two subjects overlap in one sense is that the LDS Church has cautioned its members for YEARS (longer than I’ve been alive) to start saving at least seven years’ worth of food, and obviously water.  Mormons have been ridiculed and poked fun at for being “dooms-dayers” and weird because they allegedly stockpile that way. Well, who is laughing NOW?  

This ought to cover my posts on Pet Peeve Monday – even though it’s not a pet peeve, it’s quickly becoming part of my social phobia/anxiety disorder.

Also, this post might fit into the 31 Days of October Challenge.   If the material shared isn’t a horror story, I don’t know what might be.   

Can we stop the world long enough for me to get off?   I think I’ve had enough of this particular Tunnel of Terror ride. 


https://bycommonconsent.com/2019/10/28/testimony-and-its-opposite/

https://judydykstrabrown.com/2019/10/28/beau-of-the-fifth-column-and-climate-change/

https://beckiesmentalmess.blog/2019/10/28/the-monday-peeve-7/

https://lavent69.blog/2019/09/30/the-31-days-of-october-challenge/

BRITISH WRITER PENS THE BEST DESCRIPTION OF TRUMP I’VE EVER READ – A REBLOG

Just in case you think it’s only we lib-tard snowflakes think that guy is a total ass hat, I do believe that the rest of the world agrees with us. And why not?

The HOBBLEDEHOY


Someone on Quora asked “Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?” Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England wrote the following response:
 
A few things spring to mind.
 
Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem.
For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed.
So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.
 
Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever.
I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact…

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BLUE JAYS! – Marilyn Armstrong

Who says the squirrels don’t remember where they ate last year? We have dozens of them. I come out on the deck in the morning. Mind you the squirrels have been sucking the seeds out of the feeders since dawn, so they’ve had a good four hours. I figure it’s time for them to move on.

I yell at them. They don’t move. I finally open the door and walk out on the deck and the big one eyeballs me: is she serious? Finally he decides to move to the other end of the deck and all his little friends follow him.

I think there were a full dozen of them this morning. We know longer have some squirrels. We have ALL the squirrels.

Big Blue Jay

Hungry bird

Beautiful feather design!

After I got them to move, the birds came back and I finally got some pictures of the Blue Jays. Last year, we had maybe two or three. This year, they have decided we have better food. Still no finches and no doves. Will they return? Your guess is as good as mine.

Tufted Titmouse

Why Do Corgi Mixes Always Look Like Corgis?

So do you like weiner dogs or Corgis? How about a Basset Hound? Humans have a real passion for short-legged dogs … and there are a lot of them just about everywhere. Here’s some science behind it!

ScienceSwitch

Because corgis carry a dominant mutant gene called retrogene. It forms when the usual system for building proteins doesn’t go as intended.

Via – SciShow

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