SUPER SQUIRRELS – Marilyn Armstrong

I bought a new feeder to replace the one which broke. I knew I needed a different feeder anyway because that small feeder went completely empty every 24 hours. It held 2 pounds of feed and I was a bit baffled as to how that feeder was emptying out so much faster than the other two.

Up in the air I go flying again! Up in the air, and down.

We put up the new feeder last night. It’s huge and holds a full 10-pounds of seeds. You can put in two different kinds of feed because the feeder is divided into two sections. It’s rather heavy, so over the weekend Owen is going to install two new, braced wrought-iron brackets.

Right before bed last night, I turned on the light on the deck, just to see if the new feeder was still on its hook and hadn’t pulled the bracket off the post.

No one was more surprised than I to see lots of furry white animals leaving the feeders. There had to be a dozen of them at least. First, I thought they were squirrels because they didn’t look feathery. They looked fluffy. And very light gray. Almost white.

But then some of them seemed to fly away, so I said “Birds? Big white birds? At night? Birds don’t feed at night unless they are insect eaters like owls. But owls won’t go near the feeders. Not their kind of food — and none of the seed-eating birds will eat at night. As far as I knew, neither do squirrels.

I was right. And I was wrong. It turns out, they were squirrels. Flying squirrels. I had no idea we had flying squirrels in New England. Apparently, we have not one, but two different kinds of flying squirrels here and most people never see them and don’t know they exist in this region. I certainly had no idea.

Not only do we have them, but we have a lot of them, both the northern and southern types. Both these species are small. There are a few (who don’t live here) that are the size of normal gray squirrels, but these are about 6 to 7 inches long and very light grey to nearly white.

On a bird feeder

They live in big nests of up to 50 at a time, are entirely nocturnal, and love birdseed — especially (yummy!) sunflower seeds which comprise about 1/2 of the feed we put out. They aren’t picky and will eat any of the seeds, including nyjer.

We had a flock (are a bunch of flying squirrels a flock?) all over the feeders. Obviously, I didn’t get pictures. It was dark and I wasn’t expecting to see anything. It was a real shock. Especially when they flew off the feeders. We don’t have flying squirrels, do we?

Gliding on the waves of air

Nothing will keep them out of the feeders, either, because baffles people put up to keep out gray squirrels? The flyers just glide in under the baffles. They were all over my three feeders. Of course, as soon as I turned the light on, they fled. In any case, we don’t have baffles. What seems to have happened is that the gray squirrels eat early in the morning and the birds get the rest of the day … and the flying squirrels chow down at night.

Hot pink flying squirrel in ultra-violet light!

Flying squirrels have been around for longer than humans. Their big eyes make seeing at night easier and for some unknown reason, they also glow a fluorescent pink at night. No one knows why.

LOUDER THAN WORDS – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s February Expressions #23

Oh let us speak first of love. When a man says he loves you, that’s nice. When a man shows you he loves you, that matters. Men, after they get over the huge masculine hurdle of saying “I love you” seem to have an even more powerful resistance to displaying love.

What does showing love mean? An unasked-for hug. The kiss that isn’t pre-sex. A bouquet of flowers that wasn’t bought at the gas station … and for which there is no special occasion. Just loving. A gift for no reason. All these speak of love.

In the world of “other things,” the senator who stands up for what he believes no matter how badly it affects his personal political agenda. The military man who goes in after a civilian caught in a cross-fire, even though it won’t win him a medal. The judge who recognizes a youngster with potential who needs help and offers it instead of prison.

Even small things. Holding doors for older people who are having trouble navigating an entryway. Waiting patiently in line even when the elderly woman ahead of you is having trouble making sense of her money and the clerk ho kindly waits for her to finish, even when the line is stopped and people are griping.

There are many actions that display an understanding of right and wrong which no words can show. These actions speak ever so much louder than words.


There was an interesting article in the news concerning a porn site called I don’t know why it’s called that and I really don’t want to know. They’re in the news because they closed off their website to anybody living in the state of North Carolina.

Why? Because of the harsh, horrible anti-LGBT law they passed. If you log onto their website from anywhere in that state, you would get a blank screen.

blank screen
Blank screen for you!

The tone of all the news reports and nightly talk shows was that this was a funny but useless protest. There are thousands of other porn sites where North Carolinians can … well, you know. As usual, the mainstream media and the nightly talk shows missed the real story. I am not offering an opinion on the virtues or evils of porn.

There is a larger truth. It is widely known but rarely talked about regarding the porn industry. Porn is not just dirty pictures. Porn has been a major driver, financial backer, and early adopter of technological innovation since the beginning of our technological revolution. That is to say, forever.

When mankind started drawing on cave walls, I guarantee you some of the first things depicted were people getting some Neanderthal Nookie.

Porn was very popular in the Middle Ages. Moreover, it utilized some of the earliest encryption technologies. I saw an exhibit in a museum once that showcased one of them. The exhibit consisted of huge tapestries painted with very strange distorted images. You couldn’t tell what they were.

What were they? Porn. The artist would draw the original naughty painting on a regular canvas. He would then look at the painting’s reflection in a cylindrical mirror. The image in the mirror would be distorted. He would then paint that distorted image onto the tapestry so if you looked at the tapestry, the painting made no sense.

anamorphic art

But. If you looked at the tapestry’s reflection in the same cylindrical mirror the artist used, the image would be reconstructed back to its original form. — “Naughty Knights 5.”

When photography was invented in the 1800s one of the earliest subjects was, of course, naked women. Having sex. When the telegraph was invented, telegraph operators were known to spend their off-hours “telegraph sexting”.

I didn’t believe it either.

OPERATOR ONE: Who you talking to?

OPERATOR TWO: I don’t know, but she sure can dit my dot!

The VCR became popular because porn producers started switching to videotape, abandoning film. Finally, you didn’t have to go to a movie theater for porn. You could “bring it home.”

VHS beat out Betamax because the porn industry chose VHS. Really. No kidding. That’s the way it really happened.

Porn money propelled other technologies, too. Online payments, DVDs, streaming video, and two-way internet chat rooms. Virtual Reality headsets were only been available for a few months before there was Virtual Reality Porn.

(I wouldn’t know this personally, but I read a lot).

So here’s the real story that everybody has missed.  One porn site blocked off an entire state. It has been viewed as a symbolic, but mostly useless protest.

What if they all did it?  What if all the porn sites got together and said to North Carolina: “NO PORN FOR YOU!”

no porn for you

I’ll bet you that anti-LGBT law would be overturned in about an hour and a half! Maybe less. Then, the porn industry would realize it’s true power! Imagine, Lysistrata on a national, even a global, scale!

“You won’t do what we want? NO PORN FOR YOU!” All the porn industry needs to do is come together. Organize.

Organize into a cartel.

A conglomerate

 A Ring.

“One ring to rule them all. One ring to find them.

One ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them.”

Pray they use their power for good.

A GAY PRESIDENT – Rich Paschall

Is America ready? by Rich Paschall

Let’s just say that you have a candidate for president that appears very likable, as political candidates go. He’s young and charming and smiles a lot. In this age of coarse political discourse, that would seem a big enough plus to give him some serious consideration. When you look further into his background, he seems even better.

Let’s just say that your candidate was the valedictorian of his high school class. As a high school senior, he won first prize in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum‘s Profiles in Courage essay contest. The subject of his writing was the courage and integrity of the independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. From there your candidate went on to graduate magnum cum laude from Harvard University and was elected into Phi Betta Kappa, a prestigious academic honor society.  Following this, he earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University and graduated with first honors having studied politics, philosophy, and economics.  Also, he racked up an impressive list of academic accomplishments along the way. You may be proud of your candidate, but there’s more.

The candidate you are considering joined the Navy Reserve as an ensign in naval intelligence. He served a tour in Afghanistan and his work involved disrupting terrorist networks. He learned a local Dari language to aid in his job. He earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal for heroism and meritorious service.

During and after the college years he spent time on political campaigns and community organizing. He even spent time in Chicago as an investigative intern at Channel 5, the local NBC affiliate. With his illustrious credentials, he was elected at a young age to be mayor of his home town. In fact, he was the youngest mayor of a city of over 100,000 people. He won his second term with over 80 percent of the vote.  He is active in his church, knows seven foreign languages, has a long list of awards and was a guest piano soloist with the local Symphony Orchestra.  At 38 years old, he has a list of accomplishments that are too long for our normal space here.

Now that you have a candidate with a remarkable background, there is one more thing you should know. Some will question all of the above when I tell you this. For some, it will be as if this fact in some way diminishes the achievements above. He will be slandered by people who are not as intelligent, and who will never accomplish the feats he has done. Will this fact matter to you?  He’s gay.

Despite the list of achievements, of which we have only mentioned a few, some will feel him disqualified because of his sexual orientation. Pete Buttigieg, or “Mayor Pete” as he is often called, came out as gay in 2015. He is married and his husband has been seen with him on the campaign trail. This has drawn the ire of the “religious right,” which is an odd term since they do not seem to be religious at all, but I digress.

Candidates for president

At the Iowa caucus, a woman who voted for Mayor Pete asked for her vote back when she learned he is gay. She liked his message and voted for him, but his sexual orientation was a deal-breaker for her. You may have seen the video of her asking for the vote back. It went viral the next day.

The concern for one person wanting to change her vote is that she will not be the only one. Many who learn that Mayor Pete is gay and object on religious grounds will also find that the candidate they object to is active in his church.  He can talk about the important religious values that should guide leadership.

The better he does in the primaries, the more the haters will come out of the woodwork, so to speak, to attack him. Rush Limbaugh, the broadcast bigot who was given the highest civilian honor by a president of questionable morals, has already taken to the airwaves to attack Mayor Pete. He has offered the opinion that America is not ready to elect a gay guy, but is it?

Recently I was listening to WLS-AM in Chicago, a rare time indeed. I wanted to hear the comments of someone from Politico talking about the Iowa caucus. The conservative host made a point to emphasize that Mayor Pete is gay as if it was a crime. I am sure the conservative pundits who back the president, will increase the attacks if Buttigieg continues to do well   Will this slow the Buttigieg campaign? We may know as soon as “Super Tuesday.”

Being gay should not be a disqualifying characteristic for one being a national leader. In fact, several countries have LGBTQ leaders. A past Prime Minister of Iceland is a Lesbian, so is the current Prime Minister of Serbia. The Prime Ministers of Luxembourg and Ireland are gay, and so is a past Prime Minister of Belgium. Many national and regional leaders of other countries are LGBTQ. We lag behind the world in this equality and will continue to do so while we have leaders who work at dividing the country, and commentators who repeat their bigoted words.

Sources: “Iowa voter asks to change vote after learning Pete Buttigieg is gay,” Independent,, Feb 4, 2020.
Pete Buttigieg,”
Buttigieg hits back at Trump, Limbaugh over homophobic attacks,” by Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post, the, February 18, 2020.
List of openly LGBT heads of government,”

A FEW MORE BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

I was going to post this earlier and I got distracted. I get distracted easily these days. It’s an old-person thing. On the positive side of easy distraction, I don’t worry much because I forget what I was worried about. This would have been a really useful trait when I was younger and much more serious worrier.

A Purple Finch and a Chickadee
A very Purple Finch
More Goldfinches