The American Experiment is on life support. Someone please care. Reblog via THE SHINBONE STAR

I feel personally wounded that so many would care so little about this nation.


 

THE SHINBONE STAR

It’s worse than gunning down an innocent bystander on 5th Avenue in New York City and getting away with it. Donald J. Trump and his Republican Party sycophants are about to deal a death blow to the American Experiment of government, built for the people of our country, held accountable by a checks-and-balances system, and defended by patriotic men and women on battlefields at home and abroad for more than 240 years.

The heartbeat of our once great republic is on life support today, thanks in large part to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who announced last night that he does not want to hear from witnesses with first-hand knowledge of Trump’s abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Alexander attempted to justify his lack of courage to stand up to Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bullying tactics. His spineless reasoning should haunt him and his constituents for…

View original post 633 more words

THE CHANGING SEASONS, JANUARY 2020 – Marilyn Armstrong

The Changing Seasons, January 2020


This hasn’t been a normal January. We had no measurable snow and only 4 out of 31 days have been lower than average January temperature. Every other day was higher than average bringing this month in as the third warmest recorded.

Most of my pictures this month were birds. Without snow to make the landscape interesting, there hasn’t been much to photograph. Glad I have the birds!

At the very end, I realized my Christmas cactus is blooming again and my big purple orchid is about to bloom too.

Orchid ready to bloom

I almost missed it!

Icy small canal off the Mumford Dam

Wide view of mid-winter on the Mumford


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 1 (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 2 (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 original post, she can update it with links to all of yours.

DAMS AND ICE AS JANUARY SQUARES ENDS – Marilyn Armstong

DAMS AND ICE – JANUARY AT ITS END


It has been a warm January, the warmest since 1932 and the third warmest since the beginning of the 20th century. Today was the first day that was colder than average in a couple of weeks. Tomorrow? Who knows?

We had a dental appointment and that office is right next to the Mumford River dam, so on the way out of the office, I stopped for a few pictures. There was ice in the small canal, but the big waterfall was as full as I’ve ever seen it for this time of year.

This is a thinly iced small canal that ran from the Mumford  River to Bernat Mills across the road. The mill burned down 9 years ago, but the remnants — chimney and front section — have been saved for the memories.

Chilly Mumford Dam with the sign for our Christmas events still waiting to be removed.

And so on a cold but not bitter day at the very end of January, here is the river and it runs to the Blackstone and then down to Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

TIMING, TIME TRAVEL, AND THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT – ELLIN CURLEY

I am fascinated with the concepts of time travel, parallel universes and the Butterfly Effect. Fortunately for me, there are several TV shows today that deal with these things. One is Timeless and another is The Flash. The Flash is a Marvel comic based series in which the hero can run so fast that he can bend time. He can move both forward and backwards in time. Timeless follows a government team of time travelers who have to keep going back in time to prevent the ‘bad guy’ from messing with major past events and drastically changing the timeline.

In both of these shows, each trip back in time results in an altered present. In each, a seemingly random individual who is important to one of the main characters, is either dead in the present or was never born and no longer exists in the present timeline.

This brings up the Butterfly Effect, a theory popular with time travel enthusiasts. The theory, mostly used in science, states that a small change can result in a large, unrelated change down the road. In everyday life, this means that unimportant decisions, like whether to go out to dinner or eat in, can lead to very different ‘storylines’ in your life.

There is both a movie and a play that depicts the parallel universes created by a minor life decision. The movie is “Sliding Doors” from 1998 and stars Gwyneth Paltrow.

It tracks the different careers and love lives that the heroine would have if she a) catches a particular subway train or b) misses the train. For example, if she catches the train, she also gets home in time to catch her boyfriend in bed with another woman. If she misses the train, she also misses this tryst. Her life takes very different paths depending on that fluke of timing.

butterfly-effect-cartoon

The play was a musical called “If/Then,” starring Idina Menzel. The show follows the heroine’s parallel lives if she either chooses to go to lunch with friend ‘A’ or if she chooses to go to a play with friend ‘B’ instead.

Interestingly, in both the movie and the play, the heroine ends up with the same ‘love of her life,’ just at different times in her life. Her career paths diverge but I think most people like to believe that some people are ‘destined’ to be together.

The Jewish concept of ‘Beshert’ says that every soul is a half soul and that there is another person in the world who is their perfect ‘other half’. So in time travel shows, many aspects of life are allowed to be affected by chance. But we don’t seem to want to accept that chance can also change the big things in life, like true love.

TimeTravelSome time travel writers have a different theory. They talk about the fact that the past ‘resists’ change. Rather than believing in the Butterfly Effect as it relates to time travel, many believe that at least the major events in history are more predestined and less susceptible to change.

It might seem easy to keep a major past event from happening, especially if small changes in the timeline can eventually result in big ones. But time travel writers feel events, like WWI, the assassination of JFK, or the sinking of the Titanic, will always find a way to happen, no matter how hard you try to prevent it.

You might want to read Stephen King’s brilliant book “11/22/63” about attempting to go back in time to prevent the JFK assassination. It was also made into a mini series, but the book is much better.

I guess it is easier to accept the idea that relatively small things, like the details of an individual’s life, are changeable and not ‘meant to be.’ Maybe this is because on a small-scale, cause and effect is more linear and knowable. On the other hand, historians are still arguing about the multiple and interrelated causes of the Civil War.

delorean time machineMy grandfather was hit by a truck and killed when he stepped off a curb too soon at the age of 88. I used to obsess about what led him to that exact spot at that exact time. I used to imagine the tiny things he could have done differently that would have gotten him to that spot even a second earlier or later.

For about a year after that, I would imagine each time I reached a curb, that it could be my last moment on earth — if the stars were so aligned. Maybe this is the root of my love for some of these theories.

THE BEST BOOK I’VE READ ABOUT CANCER – FICTION FOR REAL LIFE – Marilyn Armstrong

Anyone who had cancer, no matter how many years have passed, knows you are never “cured.” The best anyone can say is “so far, so good.” Cancer isn’t one disease nor is there a test to tell you whether or not your body is free of cancer cells.

As this life crisis was ongoing, I did a lot of reading. Most of the books were escapist and rather lackluster, but one is worth mentioning. It spoke to me. It is not a book about cancer. It’s fiction and more about getting through life crises and the strange ways we deal with them.

Life and Other Near-Death Experiences: A Novel by Camille Pagan grabbed me from the first page and kept me engaged to the end of the book. I wished it had gone on a little longer, to find out the end of the story — if there is an end.

This is surprising. I usually avoid books that remind me of difficult times I’ve been through. I gravitate towards books that take me to other worlds and other realities.

The book features a young woman who discovers — in one day — that she has a very rare, aggressive form of cancer and her husband is leaving her.

life-and-other-near-death-experiences-coverWhat makes this book unusual is how well it handles crises, life, and death.

The author never takes the easy way out. There are no cheap or easy solutions. It confronts real-life decisions that people who experience major life crises are forced to make. It does so with humor, wit, and realism. It never gets grim and it also never gets silly. It manages to find that edge of reality that eludes so many books.

The main character of the story freaks out when her life falls apart. She can’t deal with any of it. No matter how urgent her situation is, she needs time plus substantial family support to face her new reality. It’s the most realistic story about dealing with cancer I’ve read and it wasn’t depressing. It reminded me how regular people react to appalling news. We all react even though exactly how is highly variable. Everyone is changed by facing death especially when you know there’s no guarantee you’ll beat the odds, no matter what you do.

Once you’ve had any medical crisis that will kill you if left untreated and might kill you anyway, even with treatment, you never look at life the same way. You don’t take life as a given. None of us should take life for granted, but most of us do until we come face to face with the dark angel and he’s got our number.

This is a good book. A surprisingly good book. I hope it will get some attention. It is lumped into the category of “humor” where it doesn’t exactly fit … but I’m not sure where it would fit. Maybe humor is as good as any other placement.

Regardless, any book that can make you laugh in the face of death is worth a read.