THE MASQUE OF THE RED MAR-A-LAGO – BY TOM CURLEY

I’ve been thinking about this blog for about a week now. It was going to be a very clever (well in my mind at least) parody of Edgar Alan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death.

It was going to be about an imaginary land called “Merika”. That wasn’t its original name, but the Prince who ruled over it and his followers could never pronounce it quite right. So, they just changed it.

The Prince’s name was Prospero. He wasn’t actually a prince even though he thought he was a king. And his name wasn’t Prospero. He had changed his original name to Prosperous because he constantly told his subjects he was a great and wealthy businessman. He never could spell it correctly in his royal tweets, so, everybody just started calling him that.

Why? Because you could never say the Prince did anything wrong. Ever. Ever. Ever.

So, of course, as in the book, a great plague overtook the land. In just a few short weeks millions were infected and thousands were dying. So, what did the Prince do? He said it was a hoax. Everything was fine. If it was real, it would only affect people who didn’t like him. He called them “The Never Prosperos”.

He asked his minister of Health, a very wise old doctor who had dealt with many plagues in the past, what he should do. Then he did the exact opposite. As the plague got worse, he gathered all his rich friends and he retreated to his beautiful luxury vacation palace. It was called Mar-A-Lago. The problem was that it wasn’t really that beautiful or that luxurious.

In fact, it was sort of a dump. It had garish fake gold decorations everywhere. The Prince even had a gold toilet. But nobody ever said anything. No one could ever give the Prince bad news. Ever.

To prove how great everything was for him and his followers he threw a great masquerade party at the vacation palace. His wife decorated all the rooms in different colors. But only one color for each room. Just like she did in the main palace during the Christmas holidays.

They were really sort of creepy and weird. But nobody said anything because the Prince said they were great. The greatest rooms in the history of rooms. Ever.

Every hour on the hour a band would play “Hail to the Prince”.  Very loudly and very badly. This was because the palace band had all come down with the plague and were dead. The only band the Prince could find was a band called “Three Doors Down”. They had never played the song before, so they did what all bad bands do. If you can’t play it well,  play it loud.

When they did all the guests would cover their ears and grimace. For some reason, people don’t like Three Doors Down.  When the last guest arrived, the Prince had the doors to the Palace locked and sealed so nobody who had the plague could get in.

The only problem was the last guest wasn’t wearing a mask. He was wearing a red hat that said: “Make Merika Great Again.” He wore it because it was sold by the Prince’s company and the Prince wanted all his followers to wear one.

The original hats were made in China, where the plague originated and it was on all the red hats. So, the plague made it into the palace and no one, not even the Prince could escape it because he had sealed all the doors.

 The End


All and all, I thought it was pretty clever. Then reality said, “Too late, already done!”  Our actual wanna-be King had a real party down in Mar-A-Lago where he invited all his sycophant followers like Lindsey Graham and the Ambassador from Brazil and they all laughed at the Democrats’ response to the Covid 19 virus.

They hugged and shook hands and all told the King what a great job he was doing. The only problem was the Ambassador and a few other folks there already had the virus.

Graham has dropped off the planet because he is in self-quarantine. Matt Gaetz, a congressman whose head is so far up Trump’s ass he can see Sean Hannity wore a gas mask to a House vote on an emergency bill to help fight the virus.

He wanted to show what a joke the whole thing was. That was until he found out he was exposed to the virus a week earlier at the CPAC convention. He had to sit all alone on Air Force One on the trip home and now he is in self-quarantine.

You just can’t make this shit up.

We’re at the beginning of an unimaginable catastrophe and we’re being forced to listen to a bunch of ass clowns hold press briefings each day where all they do is tell us how the King is doing a great job and everything is just fine.  Except for Doctor Anthony Fauci, the only sane voice in the room. I’m stunned he hasn’t been fired yet.

This is as serious as a heart attack. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Stay home if possible. Don’t shake hands. Practice social distancing.

And for Christ’s sake STOP BUYING TOILET PAPER!! I know our government is full of shit. But that’s not going to help.

The End? 

A NEW STRATEGY FOR LIFE – Marilyn Armstrong

The strategy and rhythm of life are different between your working years and retirement.


Garry reminded me that he’s busy. By this he means he’s reading two books — one audio, the other print. He’s trying to keep up with his email and stuff on Serendipity and occasionally write a few things, too. Which made me think about busyness.

So I said to him, but also to myself: “How did we have enough time to work full-time and then some?”

Garry worked insanely long hours, often 14 to 16 hours. Just as he was finally about to get some sleep, the station would call him back in. This is why he so treasures sleep. For most of his life, he barely got any. On top of this, he worked strange hours, so his body was always on its own odd schedule.

He remembers better than I do about work, even though he has been retired longer than me. “It was the schedule we lived on. We got up, we went to work, we came home. Then we did it again.”

“I don’t think I could do it … for any amount of money,” I pointed out. “I went out on disability … and that was three major surgeries ago. I don’t think I’m healthier now than I was then.”

“That,” said my husband, “Is the other thing. It doesn’t matter how much money they offered me. I don’t think I could do it.”

That’s the definition of retirement — when not only do you no longer work, but you can’t do it, not for any amount of money. You’re finished. It’s hard to remember exactly what working full-time was like.

These days, I watch — and photograph — birds.

I know I did it. I got up, commuted, sometimes ridiculously long distances which is how I got hooked on audiobooks. Worked. Came home. Cooked. Cleaned. I even occasionally saw friends or family. Then, I got up and did it again. We both did. Together, we worked for about 100 years.

These days, I write a piece or two, read other blogs and maybe fix some pictures and listen to a book. Then, I make dinner and collapse into the sofa, I feel I’ve worked a full day.

It’s 12:15 am and I’m writing this. It’s the second post I’ve written today. I also processed about a dozen pictures. I made shrimp for dinner and Garry cleaned up. I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s a full day.

I am thoroughly and completely retired.

MORE FLYING SQUIRRELS – Marilyn Armstrong

Last night, our trail camera took 781 pictures. That is a lot of pictures. It was windy, because about 500 pictures were nothing, just waving feeders. But after deleting the first few hundred, there were actual pictures on it. About half raccoons and half flying squirrels.

You can actually see some of their features. It’s a miracle!

This is the beginning of the eating frenzy that happens every night. By the time you get to the raccoons, a lot of seeds are gone.

And just look at the heft of those raccoons!

 

AN ODD ST. PATRICK’S DAY POST – GARRY ARMSTRONG

St. Patrick’s Day usually is a cause for upbeat feelings around here.  But the 2020 version brings no joy.

The Coronavirus aka “The Satan Bug” has thrown cold water on worldwide celebrations. Hell froze over in Ireland where all pubs were ordered closed as safety measures. It became clear the action was necessary when bleary-eyed celebrants seemed oblivious to the danger of public gatherings right now.

Irish Eyes are not smiling in Boston where the St. Patrick’s Day Parade has also been canceled. No parade. No boisterous parties with green beer spouting from spigots hither and yon. No one day Irishmen puking their guts on the streets of revelry.

Shamrocks

I usually covered St. Patrick’s Day for the Boston TV station where I toiled for 31 years.   Yes, I hauled out my green corduroy sports jacket, dark green dress shirt, plaid green tie, and loden green khakis. I topped it off with some awful green-tinged tobacco in my pipe which was constantly lit through the long, loud and off-key version of “Danny Boy,” “Galway Bay,” and “Wild, Colonial Boy” streaming out of myriad pubs I visited for stories.

Each stop required I share a pint or two with the regulars to confirm my Irish roots. The legend had become fact after our 1990 Irish Honeymoon where I learned, to my great surprise, that I indeed had Irish ancestors.  It made me something of a local hero in Southie (South Boston) where Irish Boyos are regarded with esteem.

Our news “live shots” were always a challenge on St. Patrick’s Day. No way of dispersing the lively crowds who surrounded our camera and equipment, serenading me as I delivered my reports with exuberance. I frequently was doused with “good stuff” as I wrapped up my reports. I’m proud to say it WAS good stuff, usually Guinness. Sometimes Guinness and Irish Whiskey, depending on the crowd’s affection for me. Ah, those were the days.

All the old school Irish Pols showed up, telling the same tales about the good old days with “himself,” James Michael Curley, the legendary Boston Mayor of “The Last Hurrah” fame. Crime usually took a partial day off. Lots of drunks and disorderlies but few hardcore, violent felonies. There was a line you didn’t cross on St. Patrick’s Day in Boston.

From “The Quiet Man”

Then – as now – I looked forward to the traditional viewings of “The Quiet Man”.  I remember one year, Marilyn and I watched the John Ford classic about the ‘old country’ on several stations running the film simultaneously. You could catch John Wayne courting Maureen O’Hara for several hours all over the TV channels. When we watch “The Quiet Man”, Marilyn and I exchange smiles, taking in the places we visited on our honeymoon, including young Sean Thornton’s cabin which was still in decent shape in 1990.  No, I never give Marilyn a whack on her backside. John  Wayne could do that to Maureen O’Hara but not Garry Armstrong to his Marilyn.

“The Quiet Man” will air tonight at 8pm our local time and I wonder how it will feel on another day of the Coronavirus, the political follies and our general sense of melancholy. I’m putting my money on Young Sean Thornton,  Red Will Danaher and all the rest of those folks from Innisfree to bolster our spirits on THIS St. Patrick’s Day.

Any question about who’s the best man in Innisfree?