An Impeached President

My thoughts exactly.

This, That, and The Other

624C6C04-5D7C-40CE-963A-2F770EB554CCThe Republican majority in the U.S. Senate represents a minority of American Citizens. These Republican senators represent less than 44% of the American population. And yet, these Republican senators can block the conviction of an impeached president.

An impeached president who has committed crimes much more serious than those of Richard Nixon during Watergate, which led to Nixon’s resignation in 1974.

An impeached president who was impeached for acts a lot worse than lying about a blow job, which led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998.

An impeached president who lost the popular vote in 2016 by almost 3 million votes.

An impeached president who suffered the largest midterm election defeat in U.S. history in 2018.

And an impeached president who abused the power of the presidency and obstructed Congress’ investigation into that abuse.

This is the American democracy in 2020. What a shame.


Political cartoon: Matt Wuerker, Politico.

View original post

GETTING NOSY AGAIN – Marilyn Armstrong

Judy Dykstra Brown popped up with these questions and I found them kind of interesting. Also, I haven’t done this in quite a while, so why not? Right now, the shower installers are back removing ALL the grout and replacing it with the right stuff. I knew something was wrong. It just took a while to convince them that something was amiss.

Meanwhile, we can’t use the shower until tomorrow, but it is fixed.

Does anyone know the odds of getting a contractor to come back and fix something? I think approaching zero would be pretty accurate. Kudos that they came and did it properly this time.

1.  Do you like mustard? No, though honey mustard is an exception.
2. Choice of carbonated drink? Black Cherry ICE. It’s a lightly carbonated water and fruit juice with no sweetener.
3. Do you own a gun? No!
4. Whiskey, Tequilla, Rum or Vodka? We don’t drink.
5. Hot dogs or Cheeseburgers? Cheeseburgers. Garry, though, heavily favors hot dogs.
6. Favorite Type Of Food? Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Mexican (GOOD Mexican which is almost impossible to find in New England)
7. Do you believe in ghosts? Sort of.
8. What do you drink in the mornings? Coffee!
9. Can you do 100 pushups? Not even one.
10. Summer, Winter, spring or fall? Fall. If we had Spring, I’m sure I’d like it.
11. Favorite hobby? Photography, writing, reading. I still miss horses.
12. Tattoos? One which is uniquely mine.
13. Do you wear glasses? Yes. Two kinds. One is for using the computer and another for distance. I don’t wear glasses to read.
14. Phobia? Spiders.
15. Nickname? Hey, YOU! Also, Owen’s mommy, and Garry’s wife.
16. Three drinks you drink? Coffee, ginger ale, ICE, fruit juice (especially orange and grapefruit).
17. Biggest downfall? Unable to travel and can’t walk very far — OR do stairs. My sporting life is over and I will never pitch for the Sox.
18. Rain or Snow? Rain!
19. Piercings? Just ears.
21. Kids? One 50-year-old son and a 23-year-old granddaughter.
22. Favorite colors? Cobalt blue,  hot dark pink, wine red, and racing green accented with black.
23. Favorite age? 40 was good. 43 was even better.
24. Can you whistle? No.
25. Where were you born? Brooklyn, New York
26. Brothers or Sisters? 1 older brother, 1 younger sister. I’m in the middle.
28. Surgeries? When I exceeded 20, I stopped counting. Now, I can’t remember.
29. Shower or Bath? Shower. Last time I tried a bath, I couldn’t get out of the tub. Now, we don’t have a tub, just a big shower.
30. Like gambling? Not for real money. I love games, but I don’t want to lose my money and I don’t want to take someone else’s.
32. Broken bones? No. I specialize in torn ligaments and tendons.
33. How many TVs in your house? 3 – Living room, bedroom; Owen has his own.
34. Worst pain in your life? Having my spine fused. Emotionally? Losing my brother.
35. Do you like to dance? Yes, but I can’t anymore
36. Are your parents still alive? No.
37. Do you like to go camping? No. We used to “cabin camp” in Maine. That was okay except for the outhouse. Too many crawly things.

Please play along! These are fun to do and fun to read.
Copy, paste, change the answer!!

GREAT LIGHT FOR AN ALL BLACK DOG – Marilyn Armstrong

Great light for an all-black dog 


With two black Scotties in the house, getting a good picture of them is really difficult. If there’s too much sun, the sunlit parts look like white patches. If there isn’t enough light, all you see is a fuzzy lump. We recently got Gibbs groomed and he looks very dapper. They trimmed him tightly — not like a show dog but like a dog you are trying to keep clean during a long, muddy winter.

Good light for solid black fur is bright, but not sunny. A day with a flat gray sky with the pictures taken just before the sun came around to the western side of the house. I think this is as good as it gets from the point of view of light for this picture.

Gibbs really looks like the Wolfman. Poor Larry Talbot!

Gibbs has the most soulful eyes.

With the snow and rain coming in waves and the temperature going from bitterly cold to almost spring in as little as three hours — it jumped 40 degrees today between 8 in the morning and noon — gooey mud is a big issue. So are ticks and fleas because we haven’t had weather consistently cold enough to put them into cold storage.

I figured I’d better take pictures while he still looked good. In another week, he’ll look all grubby again.

OUT MY BACK DOOR – Marilyn Armstrong

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Out My Backdoor


I look out my backdoor a lot. It’s a small deck leading to a rather small lawned area that when we were younger and more socially active, was the scene of many summertime barbecues, the building of a tepee, and just handing out. The tepee is gone. The idea of feeding a hoard of people — assuming we knew enough people to create a hoard — is exhausting. Nonetheless, our deck is a big piece of the territory to which we pay most attention.

The birds and squirrels believe it belongs to them and resent our presence, so we tread gently when we are out there.

A winter Goldfinch at the finch feeder

Junco keeping company with our stone Toad

The three birdfeeders which have replaced the hanging fuchsia that used to grace the hooks have greatly changed the deck from a human place to a wildlife feeding station. I believe it’s far more socially useful feeding squirrels, the occasional chipmunk, and wild birds than it was as a place for morning coffee.

Cardinal on board

Times change. Since the arrival of mosquitoes carrying diseases previously unknown in this region, it’s hard to get really thrilled about being that close to where they breed.

One of our most frequent visitors, a Tufted Titmouse

Two feeders on a very cold morning

Even though the woods have been sprayed, the spraying reduces the mosquito population. It doesn’t remove it. I’m pretty sure it also killed a few hundred birds and other small critters too. Whenever humans decide to fix something, some creature pays the price.

Mist in a January woods

WINTER BLUES – SWO8 BLUES JAZZ AND WINTER IN NEW ENGLAND – Marilyn Armstrong

JANUARY! WE’VE GOT THE WINTER BLUES!


First published Feb 15, 2015 – YouTube

My collaborator, Leslie Martel of swo8 Blues Jazz did the work. She composed the music and wrote the words. She also put the video together. Posted it to YouTube. I think that’s all the work. I merely supplied photographs.

It hasn’t been a memorable winter except for it being mostly warmer than usual with sudden patches of very cold weather. A little snow, a lot of rain. One day it’s springtime warm and the next? Zero and a lot lower than that. You think the climate is changing? Nah.

This video is called Winter Blues, a unique, fun collaboration between me and composer-musician swo8 Blues Jazz.

Cardinal in the snowy branches

Up to the rail having jumped from the tree

Before this longest yet, ironically, shortest (by the length of day) month is finished, I hope to have more winter photographs. It’s not that I love snow. I just want my seasons back where they belong.

Since Leslie ran her copy of this today, I thought I’d run this tomorrow. Wait, this IS tomorrow!

USING A GPS IN NEW ENGLAND – Marilyn Armstrong

When the GPS’s first came out and the prices dropped from ridiculously high to more-or-less normal, I was an immediate consumer. I was working in Groton, Connecticut which was more than 140 miles from my home.

Even though I didn’t have to go in every day, three days a week of driving 280 miles round trip with a 9 hour day in-between was a killer schedule. A lot of the roads I took were unmarked — no signs telling you what road you were on or which road you were crossing — and very small, so maps didn’t show them. I needed a GPS just to get home at night.

One night, on my way home, I got turned around in Rhode Island. I went around in circles for nearly an hour and finally called home and told them I was lost, had no idea what road I was on. What was worse, I was in the middle of nowhere, so short of calling the police — and since I couldn’t tell them where I was, I was not sure that would actually help — I might never see them again. Eventually, I found my way out of the loop and promptly bought a GPS. It was a small Tom-Tom, but with a little help from my electronic friend, I got home most nights.Since then — about 10 years ago — they have greatly improved the GPS to the point where you can’t be sure they can get you from point A to point C without taking you through golf courses, tiny, snow-filled back roads, swamps, vineyards, collapsed bridges, and roads that may have been real roads100 years ago, but clearly haven’t been used since. I know this because in the center of the road is a full-grown oak tree. It’s a dead giveaway.

So despite having a reasonably “up-to-date” GPS — a Garmin this time — I always print out a set of directions on paper. It’s why so many packages from Amazon don’t show up. Whatever GPS they are using, it seems to send the trucks down unpaved roads which when they aren’t buried in snowdrifts are socked in by mud, sometimes quick-mud (quicksand, but a lot gooier).

To make things just that much more complicated, most of New England is phobic about road signs. When we were in San Francisco, we could find our way around because not only were there street signs on every corner, but they would have a sign two streets ahead to warn you of an upcoming street.

In New England, they refuse to tell you what road you are on and often, what town you are in. You find yourself in the humiliating position of having to ask passing strangers what the name of the town is and what road you are on.

As often as not, the person you ask can’t give you an answer because they themselves don’t know anything. They just work there. The only route they know is the one that gets them to work. On top of that, most people are clueless about giving directions.

When they try, they are wrong. They say left when they mean right and have no idea of the distances between one place and another … AND they don’t know the name of the road (not that this would be much help since there are no signs to tell you the name) or route numbers. Even if they did, the absence of signs makes it hard to know what to do.

Even using a GPS as a map without chatter, many roads supposedly have names that no one ever uses. One of our nearest roads is Route 146A. That’s what everyone calls it because its official name changes every half mile or so. Each town or area calls it something different — and a GPS doesn’t EVER use route numbers except for limited access interstate highways, probably because these don’t have names. But if they do (such as the Massachusetts Turnpike aka “the Pike” and the Merrit Parkway (aka Route 15), they will use it and when that name is not in use in a particular town, change the name to South Main Street and you will have to deduce that it’s actually the same road.

And finally, there is the issue of “go straight on the main road.” New England has no straight roads. Between hills, mini-mountains, waterways, and inconveniently placed towns, everything loops, and swings. Worse, the GPS tells you to “make a right,” but what you see is a fork and both seem to be going in the same direction — sort of rightish. There’s no sign, so take your best guess. My best guess is inevitably wrong. You’d think all you need to do to fix the error is turn around and go back, but much of the time, you can’t do that. Either the road is too narrow or you’ve stumbled onto a highway and you have to find an exit that will let you reverse directions. There are parts of the state where that is impossible. Like anywhere near Quincy (pronounced for you out-of-towners) as Quinzy. So was it John Quinzy Adams? Just asking.

Why don’t they have street signs in New England? We have all had this conversation, usually after we’ve calmed down and had something to eat and drink. Our best guess is the Yankee belief “if you don’t know where you are, why are you here?” The area isn’t set up for tourists, which is funny because tourism is one of our major industries.

This isn’t as much of a problem for people who have a sense of direction, but neither Garry nor I ever know where we are unless it’s close to home. You can’t get seriously lost in the Blackstone Valley unless you use a GPS. We don’t have a lot of roads. Maybe all told, we have a dozen “real” roads. The rest are trails, suitable for ATVs, horses … and walking your dog. They certainly aren’t intended for cars or trucks. Many of them are bordered by what looks like the ground but is really swamp mud.

Recently, Garry has been doing a lot of traveling around Massachusetts and remarkably, probably due to printed directions from Google or Mapquest, has managed to get where he is going. It’s no small miracle. Also, for reasons I don’t fully understand, when we travel together, Garry is always sure I know the way. Or at least know it better than he does.

When I point out that we are equally lost, he thinks I’m hiding something. He never believes I’m as ignorant as I am. Is that a compliment?

I need to buy a new GPS, but I’ve been putting it off. The more they “fix” the GPS maps, the harder it gets to actually find the location to which you are trying to go. GPS’s are great for long, interstate drives and arriving in a neat suburb. On the other hand, when we used to drive up to Jackman, Maine, at some point the GPS would say “no directions are available for this area.” You’re on your own and good luck. Watch out for moose.

I suppose it’s like all other software,  upgrades usually don’t improve the product. After you’ve bought a new one, you wish you’d kept the old one, even if it is inaccurate. They now have so many traffic cams in cities and suburbs so a GPS can (and does) read the wrong input. Sometimes, it shows us driving down the Charles River.

Also, for reasons best known to their designers, no matter what settings you input, they will try to send you by their idea of “the shortest route” as opposed to the route that will get you there safely and quickly.

In other words, upgrades aren’t. Moral? If the old one works, keep it until it dies. Then buy a cheap one without all the frills. It’s the maps you need, not the radio.