I can see clearly now – SHINBONE STAR – Reblog

Irony and satire, but beneath that is too much truth for my taste. If you take Dershowitz’s argument at face value, we do not have a Democracy and any crazed leader who thinks he or she is our best leader can do ANYTHING to win election or re-election. That sound pretty much like fascism to me.

THE SHINBONE STAR

It’s all so simple when it’s explained by a Harvard Law School professor.

I want to state at the outset that I’m not a former Harvard Law professor, nor am I an expert on constitutional law.

Maybe that’s why I’m unable to formulate a response to Alan Dershowitz, who stood before the U.S. Senate yesterday and claimed that if President Donald J. Trump believes his re-election is in the nation’s best interest, he can do anything he wants to make that happen, and whatever tactic he chooses would not be an impeachable offense.

In case you missed it, let me paraphrase the argument, though I sure can’t type it with the same eloquence that Dershowitz said it: Asking Ukraine to dig dirt on political opponent Joe Biden was justifiable because Trump felt it would help him win re-election, and since Trump believes that Trump is the best thing for the…

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LET’S PRETEND IT’S SPRING AND LOOK AT DAFFODILS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – January 29, 2020 – Daffodils


It’s winter and not even a really good winter. It’s a very warm winter. Not the warmest January ever, but the third warmest in 100 years, which is warm. We’ve had a bit of snow, a few days of cold, a fair bit of rain. It has been gray skies almost every day. Tomorrow they are promising us a day of sunshine. I guess we’ll see.

Meanwhile, daffodils sound great to me. Let’s pretend it’s spring again. Eventually, it really will be spring.

OUT THE WINDOW TO THE LIGHT – Marilyn Armstrong

INTO THE LIGHT THOUGH THE DAY WAS GRAY


I don’t have any space pictures. I wish I did. But I do have some pictures from today and this gray day as my orchid is getting ready to bloom.

Fat buds on my purple orchids. If the sun comes out (they promised tomorrow), they may bloom

I need to admit that I’d have more pictures if I hadn’t accidentally pressed a button somewhere on my newish camera. Now, I haven’t used this camera very much, probably because I haven’t been outside much. It hasn’t been very photogenic outside. We had one small snow at the beginning of December and nothing but a dusting since then. So mostly, I’ve been taking bird pictures and for that, I used my Olympus with a long lens.

Today, though, I wanted to take pictures of the fat buds on my orchid. I decided to use this camera and I took it into the dining room. Which is when I realized the Christmas cactus was back in bloom. The flowers were hidden under the leaves of the aloe vera and since I also have a red table covering, I hadn’t realized that some of that red was flowers.

I took out my camera to take pictures, but it wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t take a simple shot. Like most new cameras, the Panasonic DC ZS-80, it has a menu system with more choices for options I will never use — and couldn’t because I’m not even sure what they do.

I eventually found what I was looking for: the button that deletes all the settings that may have been set, including those you may have set by accident. It turns out that one of the things I had done was to set it on permanent movie mode and merely pressing the movie button didn’t unset it. And there were a few more settings that needed changing involving histograms and levels and red-eye settings. I never set them because I never used the menu. I just set it to Program or iAuto and took a few pictures. I don’t think I’ve taken as many as two dozen pictures with it.

Which is probably why I decided to use it today. Guilt.

I have this problem with almost all my cameras. Each one has its own super complicated menu that includes settings no one uses. After making the menu impossible to understand, they then charge additional money for the “upgrade.”

One more Goldfinch

Complexity is not an upgrade unless it gives you something you want and can use. I think these super complicated menus have led many of us to despair. It’s why many of us gave up all but basic settings. We use iAuto and make other changes with software.

All of this reminded me why Garry so loved my Leica. It is the only camera we own that has a menu written in simple English. And, if you set it in Auto it tells you “Just point the camera. I’ll take care of the rest.” No kidding. It reassures you!

What’s the point of a camera with a menu so absurdly complicated? Why do they add so many settings you have to hold the manual (assuming you have a manual) in one hand and the camera in the other while wearing your reading glasses?

I also forgot that this camera is slower than the one I normally use and by the time I got through figuring out how to reset the camera to default, it wasn’t afternoon. It was getting dark.

PROVOCATIVE QUESTION 2 REDUX: WISDOM V. INTELLIGENCE – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #2


Is there a difference between these two things? Isn’t wisdom an elderly version of intelligence, fired by time and hard knocks? I read a bunch of definitions of the difference between intelligence and wisdom and basically, it boiled down to intelligence is using wisdom intelligently or alternatively, wisdom is a wise use of intelligence. They are bound together.

You can’t be wise until you turn 70. Certainly not before 60.

Can a child be wise? A child can say something that we interpret as wise, but wisdom from children isn’t wise because it isn’t intelligently thought out and it comes without any experience that makes it real. We can act like it’s wise, but the kid didn’t think it was wise and probably doesn’t understand the concept of wisdom.

I don’t think anyone is wiser than his or her years. You can be very smart for your age, but wisdom — the real deal — requires experience. You have to live a little to get your first hint of wisdom. Being old doesn’t guarantee wisdom. There are plenty of dumb old people.

No matter how smart that kid is, he isn’t wise. He may be a very quick thinker, he may have, within his limits, a better understanding of what wisdom might be, but wisdom itself is connected with time and real-life experiences.


This reminds me of a movie, Peter Sellers in “Being There.” He’s actually simple-minded, but everyone is convinced he’s very wise. They misinterpret everything he says and they are, by the end of the movie, ready to elect him president. If you haven’t seen the movie, see it. It’s eerily relevant and not in a good way.

I am not wise, but I’ve got a very smart ass. I think it’s possible Garry is wise. I’ll have to ask him when the next commercial break comes on.

BYE BYE GAME OF THRONES. THE PARTY’S OVER – Marilyn Armstrong

Again, I tried reading “A Dance With Dragons” by George R.R. Martin. It is book five of an interminable series called “A Game of Thrones,” the most violent, grim, and repetitive — and long — series ever written. It makes “Lord of the Rings” look like a short story.

Originally, I gave it three stars, but I’m dropping it one. I disliked the books and hated what little I saw of the television show. The books are dark, long, and monotonous interspersed with periods of horror.  The series may go on forever, but I will not be there for its conclusion.

The first time I encountered a 40-page description of the food at a royal banquet and drifted into a coma, I thought “Hmm. Filler.” Shortly thereafter,  Mr. Martin began to knock off any character to whom I felt anything resembling affection or empathy, leaving only the characters I would have happily killed on my own. That didn’t give me any warm fuzzies either.

To enjoy a story, I need to feel some kind of positive relationship with at least one character. In these books, I dislike everyone and relate to no one, I lose interest through boredom, but the distaste comes first. Reading a very long series when there’s no character I like or respect is like going to a  big party that goes on forever … but you have no one to talk to. I don’t usually go to parties for exactly that reason.

Science fiction/paranormal/fantasy/alternative reality fiction is my favorite reading arena, the one in which I spend most of my literary hours. The problem is not a lack of familiarity with the genre. I just don’t like this series.

It is long and slow. The plot never seems to advance. The situation never changes in any substantial way. Just one set of machinations replaced by another in an endless cycle of nastiness, back-stabbing, murder, and intrigue. I guess I need more than plotting and murder to hold my interest.

Does its placement in an alternate reality improve the story? Not for me. These days reality is alternate enough.

This is a popular series. I own a bunch of volumes because I optimistically assumed I would like it. Big mistake. I was glad the series ended although I was part of a very small minority who was relived it finished. Apparently, people enjoyed it. Why? I do not know. Good acting doesn’t improve and the storyline. Ironically, this was a series that apparently followed the original books pretty well.

Garry and I watched the first quarter of the first show. It was enough. The rest I learned about on talk shows. And of course, by reading a couple of the books hoping that I’d discover I like them.

I didn’t happen and I’m pretty sure it never will. Oh well.