DOOMED AGAIN? – Marilyn Armstrong

We are doomed. If the climate doesn’t get us, some newly arisen germ will get us. My son is sure the oncoming Coronavirus is a reiteration of Stephen King’s “The Stand.” To be fair, I read “The Stand” such a long time ago, I don’t remember much about it. I have his updated (edited material restored) version in my audiobook library, but it’s a 46-hour listen. The book was long, but now it’s a couple of hundred pages longer.

I’m not sure I have the strength to reread it, but I feel I should. Because, you know, it’s Stephen King and he’s a local guy.

It was October when we got our super flu shots. These are hyped up uber-potent shots they give to older folks — like us — because we are more likely to get sick than younger people. Sicker, because we also have asthma, high blood pressure, heart problems,  chronic sinus problems. Stomach problems. IBS. Fibromyalgia. MS. Cancer. And, of course, arthritis because you can’t avoid it. It comes with age and being mammalian.

How are your allergies? Allergies are just like being sick, but you never recover.

In fact, I don’t know why we don’t just die and give the world a break. Sheesh.

Discovering that in addition to the usual distributors of disease — other people, especially very young people, we can worry about everything we touch including supermarket carts and ATMs.

As if the handles on the shopping cart and whatever my granddaughter is carrying (she doesn’t get sick — at 23 you carry germs, but you’re fine) isn’t bad enough, now I have to stress over ATM machines? Not that I actually use them. I won’t make a deposit without going to a living person in the bank. I want a paper receipt. Signed and dated.


We are doomed. Something will get us.

How about that creeping, unexplained virus eating China or maybe the super-flu which the vaccine can’t control? Or the climate will continue changing and it will rain until the rivers overflow. We will all drown in boiling water because it has gotten too hot to live in what was humorously called “the temperate zone.”

We don’t go out much. When we do, one of us gets sick, followed the other one of us. There’s an inevitability to it, like the slow cars that pull out in front of us while we are traveling. I’m sure these cars are told when to appear by drones from the Super-Slow Drivers’ Department.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the air, there’s a germ-laden drone.


“Look! It’s the Armstrongs! Prepare to disperse germs!”


When we went for our flu shots, they asked if we thought either of us might be sick. At our age, that’s not an easy question to answer. Maybe we are fine. Or not. Is my stomach the usual “upset” or is it a bug? Am I exhausted from last week’s major house cleaning or from trying to find (unsuccessfully) a handicapped space in Worcester the other night? Does this mean I’m coming down with something? If so, what?

Am I worn out because the dogs are more passionate about squeaky balls than I have ever been about anything? Don’t you wish you could get that enthusiastic about a big green tennis ball that squeaks? Don’t you wish you could bite something hard enough to make it squeak?

EXPRESSIONS #8: A WATCHED POT WILL BOIL – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #8


A watched pot never boils?

Did the speaker of this statement not cook? Because I  guarantee that if there is a fire — electric or gas — under the pot, it will boil. Not only will it boil, but it will also burn, stick, and if you forget about it long enough, be ruined for further use. After this, you can make a terminal decision: Is this pot salvageable or officially trash?

I have forgotten pots long enough to have them burst into flames. I’ve ruined enough pots to make up a set. I didn’t even have to leave the room. Moreover, a husband being IN the room didn’t guarantee that the pot that was in the process of being cooked to death would be seen, stirred, or have the heat reduced or turned off. Of, for that matter, have water added.

Use low heat, but don’t count on it saving your food. Distractions are the death of dinners around the world.

Also, don’t get involved in writing a post, taking a long phone call, feeding the dogs, refilling bird feeders, or vacuuming the living room carpet. It not only will boil, but all the other end-of-the-line events will occur faster than you can imagine. Really, no kidding.

I’ll bet that expression was written by someone who doesn’t cook!

IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR – RICH PASCHALL

She Wants More, More, More, by Rich Paschall


Perhaps that’s the Rebel Yell you hear in the midnight hour when the music picks up and the time to dance is at hand.  I had been wondering what to suggest as my top Midnight songs but the Midnight Memories kicked in and It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.  I observed that Midnight’s Another Day and the Top 10 list was revealed.  While you may think of many Midnight songs in The Shadows, I will be your Midnight Cowboy and give you my Top 10.

I go out walkin’ after midnight
Out in the moonlight
Just like we used to do

10. I’m A Midnight Mover, Bobby Womack.  Whether you hear the Womack version or Wilson Pickett’s growl infused version, you will think they are channeling James Brown.  Both recorded the song and it is a rhythm and blues special either way you go.  They have co-writing credit for the hit.

9.  Walkin’ After Midnight, Patsy Cline.  The country classic was originally offered by the writers to pop singer Kay Starr, but her record label rejected it.  Reportedly, Cline was not immediately impressed with the song but ended up with a mega-hit in 1957.

8.  Midnight Blue, Melissa Manchester.  This was the first song on which Manchester collaborated with famed songwriter Carole Bayer Sager. The 1973 composition was pitched to a producer for Dionne Warwick and later Manchester pitched it to Dusty Springfield who turned it down.  In 1975 it was the first single off Manchester’s first album for Arista records.

7.  Midnight Confessions, The Grass Roots.  The biggest hit for the band was released in 1968.  Recorded with a large group of studio musicians, reports are that the group did not actually play on the record but only did the vocals.  They did perform it live themselves.  I played in a band for a few years that performed this song regularly.

6.  Midnight Rider, The Allman Brothers.  The song first appeared on the Allman Brothers 1970 album, Idlewild South, and was released as a single in March 1971 without much success.  Composer Gregg Allman released it as a solo effort in 1973 and broke the top 20.  Versions by other artists have also found some success.

5.  Midnight Rambler, The Rolling Stones.  Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the song was released in 1969.  Mick provided lead vocals, of course, and harmonica, while Keith Richards recorded all of the various guitars heard on the original recording.  The song continues to appear in Stones’ concert and was recently on the playlist for the historic performance in Havana.  Here they play for just a million and a half people in Rio, the largest concert ever held.

4.  Midnight at the Oasis, Maria Muldaur.  Released in February of 1974 the song is certainly the best-known effort by Muldaur.  The soft-rock hit with its sexy lyric was made even more popular by the tease in her unique voice.  I absolutely loved this song at the time, still do.

3.  Midnight Train to Georgia, Gladys Knight, and the Pips.  The song was written and recorded by Jim Weatherly as Midnight Plane to Houston.  It was then passed on to Cissy Houston who recorded it as Midnight Train to Georgia.  Then Weatherly’s publisher passed it on to Gladys Knight and the Pips.  They won a performance Grammy with it.  Here the Pips are really workin’ it!

2.  Midnight Special, Johnny Rivers.  Creedence Clearwater Revival had a hit with the song, but it is hard for me to hear a CCR song and not think about the lead singer, John Fogerty.  Apparently, there is no arena big enough for his ego.  The Johnny Rivers version was used as the intro to the Midnight Special television programs featuring musical performances.  In my time zone, the train came through right on time, and Wolfman Jack was the conductor.  This performance is from Hullabaloo.

Eric Clapton

1. After Midnight, J.J. Cale or Eric Clapton.  Cale wrote the song and recorded it in 1966.  When Clapton covered it in 1970, Cale did not know about it until it was a hit on the radio.  At the time, he was broke and grateful for the song’s success.  He subsequently included it in a 1972 album.  Since they both have great versions out there, the only fair thing to do is show them playing it together, Cale on vocals.

To hear any of these Midnight songs, just click on the song title above.