ME AND DOUGLAS ADAMS – Marilyn Armstrong

First of all, I missed International Towel Day, which was on May 25th. It was the day of Douglas Adams’ far too early passing. Towel Day is celebrated every year on 25 May as a tribute to the author Douglas Adams by his fans. On this day, fans openly carry a towel with them, as described in Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, to demonstrate their appreciation for the books and the author.

The commemoration was first held on 25 May 2001, two weeks after Adams’ death on 11 May of that year.

My friend Cherrie still has a newspaper article about his passing on her refrigerator.

For me, the big day is March 11th which was Douglas Adams’ birthday (March 11, 1950). Mine was March 11, 1947, but I like to think of us as — on some level — time twins even if I never wrote some of the best, most entertaining and thoughtful science fiction.

Author: Douglas Adams

My husband’s birthday is insanely populated with famous people, mostly movie stars. There’s something about April 7th and movies.

For example:

Famous People Born on April 7

From the Who2 database of 4,587 musicians, actors, historical figures, and other celebrities were born on this date, including :

Brown, Jerry (1938) – Governor of California. 1975-83 and 2011-present
Chan, Jackie (1954) – Hong Kong action superstar from Rumble in the Bronx
Coppola, Francis Ford (1939) – The director of The Godfather films
Crowe, Russell (1964) – The Oscar-winning star of Gladiator
Frost, Sir David (1939) – British TV host who interviewed Richard Nixon
Garner, James (1928) – Star of the TV show The Rockford Files
Holiday, Billie (1915) – Popular Blues singer, known as “Lady Day”
Pakula, Alan J. (1928) – Director of All the President’s Men
Shankar, Ravi (1920) – Sitar virtuoso who influenced The Beatles
Wordsworth, William (1770) – Author of the poem “Tintern Abbey”
Ian Richardson – Classical actor and founding member (1960) of the Royal Shakespeare Company
Michael Bellisario – Known for his work on Grandma’s Boy (2006), NCIS (2003) and JAG (1995)
Percy Faith – Child piano prodigy, but his hands were burned. Switched to conducting and arranging …and literally thousands more.

How about March 11?

There are 229 “famous” (mostly not very famous) including:

Lawrence Welk – 1903, TV’s “singalong” king
Antonin Scalia – 1936, Supreme Court Judge
Rupert Murdoch – 1931, Oy vay
Robert Treat Paine – 1731, Judge and signer of the Declaration of Independence
Dorothy Schiff – 1903, Owner/ publisher NY Post
Ralph Abernathy – 1926, American civil rights leader
Harold Wilson – 1916, British Prime MinisterAfter that, there are a lot of people I never heard of, Douglas Adams – 1950, most brilliant science fiction author … and me. I would not normally make the list, but it’s my list.

I apologize for Rupert Murdoch, but I feel that Douglas Adams makes up for him. Heaven knows I’m trying my best.

Douglas Adams inspired “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” and many others

If you haven’t heard of Douglas Adams, bow your head in shame. Find his books and start reading, laughing, and seeing the universe in a brand, new way.

And to all you Douglas Adams lovers? 

THE GOOD AND BAD OF HELP AT HOME – Marilyn Armstrong

The good news? About half a ton of dust and dirt left the house today. Though I know it will return, it is nice to know that at least the living room is clean.

The bad news?

“Please,” I said, “Don’t disconnect anything. I don’t know how it was put together because I didn’t put it together.”

Crash. Wires everywhere. Television is on, the sound system is on. There’s no sound. Worse, my back is so bad today I can barely move. I’ve been doing too much lifting and hauling. The spine doesn’t like it. But Garry needs sound. Okay, I need sound too, but this is not a good day for me to be hauling, twisting, and lifting.

Although I did not connect the sound system, I’m pragmatic about putting things together. First, I found the plug that attaches the soundbar to the TV and also, incidentally, the electricity.

I plug it in, and the three little dots that mean “It’s ON!” light up. Sadly, there is still no sound. I find one plug hanging off the back of the TV and the second end is lit up in red. The one on the TV says “TV/Audio Out.” It lives in a square hole and it’s the only plug on the TV that shape. The rest are standard cable connections. Sometimes you have to count them. One hanging plug goes into the one the looks like as if it is the right size. I find the plug for the bass speaker and I realize that all the plugs are loose, so I stick them firmly in their holes. I find two connectors — cable connectors — and I’m pretty sure that at least one of them should be connected to the DVD player. Probably both of them: one for visual to the TV and the other to the electricity so it will play.

Do we need the DVD player right this moment? I figure we can get through the day without a DVD. Garry is holding the flashlight and is beginning to look a bit bored. I’m sincerely considering beating him with the DVD cables, but cables are expensive. If you damage them, you have to find the right cables which, since the DVD player isn’t new, can be difficult. Sometimes, impossible.

My back is killing me. So instead of standing up on my own — it took me ten minutes the last time — I have Garry hand me the soundbar. Since I have determined that there is no plug on the TV where that audio plug can fit, it has to fit in the soundbar.

Yay! I found where it goes. Now I have to figure out which way it fits. It looks square, but actually, two sides have little flanges and they need to fit into their slots.

Where things go and what lies behind

“Is the television on?” I ask Garry. He tells me the TV is on, but not the Roku. I point out that I need something on with sound or I won’t know if I’ve fixed it. He turns on the Major League TV channel. I plug the little square plug with the red light into the hole with the flanges and suddenly — there is SOUND!

I then walk around the room picking up fallen items (Robbie the Robot was down), plucked the dogs’ balls from everywhere and throw them into the crate where they will eventually find them. Remarkably, I manage to get up and I’m still clean.

That’s the good part. The back corner behind the TV is usually a huge mass of dust, old oak leaves, dog toys, and all the pens you’ve been missing.

The DVD is going to wait at least until Owen shows up and I just hand him the cables and let him figure it out.

I can’t let her anywhere near my computer because everything is connected in this area and if she knocks those cable around, my chair won’t lift, my external hard drive won’t work and probably both Garry and my computers will be down. It will be clean, but life will not commence until I make it all work.

I can make it all work (I set most of it up myself), but all that bending and twisting and lifting will make me crabby. I think I need to get some crime scene tape to keep her out of the electrical corners!

BIRDS AND AN EARLY SNOW – Marilyn Armstrong

It was very cold and it was not supposed to snow, at least not here. It snowed all over the northern part of New England and Canada. In Chicago and Minnesota. Then, it snowed — just a little bit — here. Although I am a firm believer in climate change, New England has always had an erratic weather pattern.

We have winters so snowy we have nowhere to push it. Warm winters with no snow. Winters when it’s just like fall until spring … and that’s when the blizzards hit.

The biggest blizzard to ever hit New York was in 1888 on my birthday, March 11th. In fact, I was born the day after a blizzard so maybe it was my fate to wind up living where the snow can be relentless and the snow is so high that driving is like being in a tunnel.

A pair of hungry birds

So even though today’s storm was not even an inch deep, it was the warning. It’s going to be a long, cold winter. Snow in November isn’t common, but it isn’t rare, either. It almost always means a hard winter is on the way.

After the squirrels got through eating half the food we put out yesterday (and we have none left until the next delivery), the birds attacked the feeders with energy and fervor. I sure hope they deliver the food tomorrow.

Our squirrels need a diet and you can see the snow falling.