We’re living in the Republican Party’s Altered States – REBLOG – Shinbone Star

A good summary with more facts than I can muster. I’m always glad when someone else writes these articles because I get depressed looking for facts. Here I am in the middle of the muck and mire. I was sure retirement would be easier than working!

These days, I think I’d rather work 10-hour days than deal with the stress of our current so-called government.


Greetings from Earth Two!

The Republican Party has gradually divorced itself from the real world and taken a not insignificant amount of the population with it. There will be no witnesses or evidence in the Senate Trial of Donald Trump because on Earth Two, we don’t need no stinking witness.

With the Senate impeachment trial in its second week the sight of Ken Starr decrying the politicization of the impeachment process is hilariously terrifying. Starr is the guy who worked to impeach a president who lied about being a sexist pig, but now defends a sexist pig who was elected president because he is a xenophobic, racist and sexist pig.

Alan Dershowitz declared anything done by the president is okay if It was done for . . . oh, bullshit.

Pat Cippolone is straight up LYING and Pam Bondi is still pushing a conspiracy theory about the Bidens and Burisma…

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IF IT AIN’T BROKE … Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #3

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You mean like our 31-year-old furnace that works but is guaranteed to give up the ghost any time now? Or the back deck that’s propped up in one corner because it was falling off the house?

Finishing the door

I think you could definitely say this about software because almost all their “upgrades” which supposedly fixes inevitably make the simple stuff more complicated and the complicated bits unusable.

On the other hand, when it comes to the things in your household? Replacement or repair before it blows up, burns down, or collapses leaving holes in ceilings and potentially causing life-threatening injuries to persons or pets? Maybe you really need to fix whatever it is sooner rather than later.

The room, well lit

Fixing that broken toilet for $900 was a lot cheaper than replacing the floor, ceiling, and burying whoever was sitting on it when the floor caved it!

So maybe this needs a minor wording change:



From A Little Hill, by Rich Paschall

Gonna build me a mountain
‘Least I hope I will.

Anthony Newley

One of the best-known songs from Act One of “Stop The World – I Want To Get Off” is Gonna Build a Mountain. Both Anthony Newley, the composer, and Sammy Davis Jr. starred in the show. They also both had success with the song by itself. Each has it in the cast album, of course, but also on their own individual albums.  So who sang it best?  You be the judge.

Gonna build a mountain
Gonna build it high

I don’t know how I’m gonna do it
I only know I’m gonna try (yeah yeah)

For an extended version, see Sammy Davis Jr. perform in a production of Stop The World here. As there is no performance video of Newley in the show, it seemed best to give their album versions above.

Many people have recorded the song. “Google” it or search YouTube and you will find various versions. Just for fun, here are The Monkees Live in 1967.

See Also: “STOP THE WORLD“, I Want To Get Off,  SERENDIPITY (teepee12.com), January 26, 2020.


I’ve struggled with my weight since I started peri-menapause in my mid-forties. I’m not sure why my metabolism went haywire so early, but it did. At that point I’d enjoyed around 25 years of being able to eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight. And when I did gain weight, say on a trip or over the holidays, all I had to do was cut out desserts for a week or so and the weight just melted off. It was heaven!

I did have a lot of experience with dieting though. I had a period during my adolescence when I gained weight and had to struggle to take it off. Also my mother lived on a roller coaster of weight gain and loss, often for medical reasons, so she was dieting on and off throughout my life. The only weight loss program my mom and I knew about was plain old calorie counting. We had little booklets with the caloric values of the most common food items and that was our bible. We were scrupulous about weighing and measuring our food and keeping track of our daily calories.

I found this online. It’s the exact same Calorie Counting booklet my mother and I used during the 1960s and 1970s!

When I gained weight in my forties, I tried the familiar calorie counting and then went on to try two fad diets of the day – a high protein, low carb diet and the opposite – a high carb low protein diet. I lost weight on both but I wasn’t happy with the unbalanced diet I was eating. I also regained most of the weight once I added back the ‘omitted’ foods into my diet. I ended up losing weight on Weight Watchers with their point system, which is similar to counting calories.

One of the many high protein, low carb diet plans out there

I managed to maintain my weight for many years and when I gained ten pounds in my sixties, I went back to Weight Watchers. I hated the forced obsession with food and the endless decisions about what to eat and how much. But it had worked before, so I went back. But this time I ran into a problem. They recommend a minimum diet of 1200 calories a day. I made the mistake of telling them that 1200 calories is maintenance for me and that I had to go below 1200 calories to lose weight. They said they could not condone such an ‘unhealthy’ program and refused to work with me!

My son had already switched from Weight Watcher’s to Jenny Craig and was loving it. He recommended that I try it too so I did. I was initially reluctant because Jenny Craig is one of those programs that provide you with most of your food for each day. You add fruits, vegetables, salad, and yogurt to what they give you, but basically everything you eat each day, and when you eat it, is prescribed by the program. I was afraid I’d hate the ‘frozen food’ entrees and was suspicious of eating mostly ‘manufactured’ food rather than fresh. I was also reluctant to give up my freedom of choice, which is part of the joy of eating – to have what you want when you want it.

From day one I realized how wrong I was about everything. It took me a while to weed out the food items I hated and zero in on the ones I liked. But I had an epiphany. For me, the best way to diet is to stop thinking about food altogether. Eating processed meals is a good way to do that. I have no problem eating their food and in fact, find some of it tasty, particularly their Mexican, Italian and Asian dishes.

I would shun this food when not dieting, but for me, not ‘craving’ food is essential for a successful diet. A major reason this plan works for me is that I don’t have to think about choosing or preparing food at all. Jenny Craig suggests recipes to enhance their dishes, but for me, it’s great that I don’t have to do anything but heat up, defrost or unwrap my meals and snacks. Looking forward to food and seeing it as a major ‘activity’ of the day, is the real problem for me.

A Jenny Craig entree for lunch or dinner

To be fair to Weight Watchers, they now have a cornucopia of frozen foods on sale at most supermarkets, complete with point values for each item. My son is using some of their foods to help him stay on track with his calorie/point goals. But for me, there’s still too much choice and too many food decisions to be made every day. I want my eating to be mindless and mostly uninteresting when I’m dieting (though I love the yogurt and the energy bars I have to eat every day and the desserts are pretty good too.)

Some Weight Watchers products

On Jenny Craig, I have to eat something every few hours so I don’t ever get truly hungry. The food is also designed so that smaller than my usual portions are satisfying (extra fiber?), so I never feel like I’m suffering. Portion control has always been one of my biggest eating issues.

I eat healthy food but I generally tend to eat too much of it. If I like something, I want to eat lots of it. And I find it very hard to resist food that’s right in front of me, so, for example, I usually end up eating large quantities of appetizers that are left out on the counter. I seem to have a unique stomach – I rarely feel full, so I usually don’t feel a physical need to stop eating. I tend to stop when I intellectually decide that I’ve eaten enough. With Jenny Craig, this is not an issue. When the meal or snack is gone, you’re done. No more temptation.

One of my weekly menu plans. The handwriting is substituting dishes I like for ones I don’t like.

I should add that in both Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, the plan includes weekly meetings with a diet consultant, complete with a weigh-in. I found that useful when I started the program, but once I was acclimated to it, I skipped the sessions and just went in to buy my food and get weighed (this is for their records. I weigh myself at home and use my home scale as the measure of weight loss.)

Once I lost the desired weight on Jenny Craig, I had no trouble maintaining it, even after I went back to eating ‘real’ food. First, I initiated a transition program for myself – mixing Jenny Craig food with ‘regular’ food for several weeks before phasing out of Jenny Craig food altogether. I may keep some of the energy and dessert bars as part of my usual routine since they are quick, easy and satisfying and keep me from winging it on desserts and snacks, my weakness.

Some Jenny food products

I’m hoping that my extended time on Prednisone didn’t permanently affect my metabolism. I’m still dealing with high interocular pressure which was also caused by the Prednisone. I only want to lose 8-10 pounds, which isn’t a huge amount, but it’s enough to make a difference in how I feel and how I think I look. So, we’ll see how this diet works for me this time around.

I’m sure it won’t be the last time I have to go through this!

MORE BRIGHT BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

Let me start off by saying that this morning, Owen and I were treated to seeing a relatively rare Pileated Woodpecker. They are the largest of our living woodpeckers and while I knew we had one or more of them in our woods, I never saw them from close up. They would just fly by and stop far away, well beyond my camera’s ability to take a picture.

And this is exactly what he looked like. This is NOT my picture. My camera was in the other room and if I’d gone to get it, he’d have been gone by the time I got back. But at least two of us saw him!

This time, he landed on a tree right on the front of the house! I called Owen and said “Look, look! It’s that big woodpecker!” Big he was. The size of a medium-sized hawk with that unmistakable hammer-shaped scarlet head. The bird after whom Woody Woodpecker was designed.

Pileated-Woodpecker – Head shot (I didn’t take this picture, either).

It was inspiring, so I went and developed some more “artistic” pictures of birds. I don’t know why seeing that big red-headed bird was inspiring, but it was. They are becoming increasingly rare. There was an even bigger one — the Ivory Woodpecker, but they are believed to be extinct now.

These guys are disappearing too. They need deep woods in which to live and there’s precious little remaining. New England still has a lot of trees, but every day, they chop up another woods to built cheesy houses for which they are asking way too much money … and this is not a hot property area. Many of them take a long time to become occupied, but the woods is gone forever.

Pileated Woodpeckers don’t like people and cars and dogs. They like forest and I fear they will go extinct too.

Wings and a prayer? Goldfinch feeding up.
More wings and prayers – one Goldfinch in the air and a Nuthatch on the feeder.

I hope next time the big woodpecker comes by, I hope he stops to pose for me!

WHEN THEY GO LOW … Reblog from Fandango

What a pity we don’t seem to be able to just tell the truth. This isn’t digging up dirt. Trump has dug up plenty of his own dirt. There’s no need for someone else to go digging.

His obvious lapses into either dementia or maybe mini-strokes is no minor issue. Ronald Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer’s and his wife, Nancy, ran the last years of his presidency. We didn’t find out until after he left office. Woodrow Wilson suffered a massive stroke and his wife ran the country for a couple of years.

This is not the first time this problem has arisen and both other times it was covered up. His mental health — or lack thereof — is terrifying. This man has the nuclear codes and a brain full of marshmallows. Do we want Melania running the country?


This, That, and The Other

Bill Maher has suggested that the Democrats need to fight as dirty as the Republicans do. The Dems are too nice, he says. They follow all the traditional rules of politics. The Republicans, on the other hand, lie and cheat and make their own rules. And they play by their own dirty rules.

So Maher and his Real Time with Bill Maher staff put together this commercial that they think the Dems should air. And you know what? I couldn’t agree more! It’s time for the Dems to start playing by their own rules too. Otherwise, America is fucked!

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