BOSTON HARBOR FROM THE TOP – Marilyn Armstrong

BOSTON FROM THE TOP

It was a wedding and I was all dressed up so I was NOT carrying a camera. Thus I found myself using my cell phone, not at all my favorite camera — it isn’t a good telephone and it’s a worse camera. It was, however, the only one I could fit in my evening bag so I did the best I colud.

It was a breathless site from the 66th floor overlooking the harbors! I was shooting through glass, but all things considered, not too bad.

I spent hours last night — like three of them — searching the online world for birdseed that I thought our birds will eat. There is cheaper food, but the birds don’t eat it. They literally toss it aside to get to the better stuff. Everything is backed up for weeks and in a lot of cases, months. I finally found some things on Chewy, so assuming it arrives on a reasonable schedule, the buffet lives.

And here are today’s squares. They are flying and gliding squirrels in the light of the moon. In some, you can see their big shining eyes.

From the top of the Harbor

ABSOLUTELY NO ABSOLUTE RIGHTS

Stay at Home, Save Lives, by Rich Paschall

While we accept the precept of “freedom of speech,” we also understand that it does not apply to everything in all situations. As you probably have heard often, we are not allowed to shout “Fire” in a crowded theater when there is none. This could cause a stampede for the exits and put some people at risk of being hurt or killed in the panic.

Similarly, you can not shout out in a crowd that you see a gun when there is none. Due to the types of mass shootings we have seen in recent years, we know that there could be a panic that could cause harm.

Image: Mashable.com

You are also forbidden to engage in the type of speech that would incite a riot. Hate speech in gatherings could, in turn, result in attacks either at a rally, let say, or following in the days to come. There may be a politician or two who have gotten away with this, but that’s another matter.

There are laws against slander and libel as the defamation they bring may cause harm to groups or individuals. While we see misinformation spread often on social media, doing so as a respected news source could bring danger to others. A well known News network is being sued by a Washington State group for issuing false news in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Yes, the Constitution promised you freedom of speech, but that does not mean you can say whatever you like. Where there are dangerous consequences to what you say, you can be held liable for your remarks. Don’t you wish that also applied to Orange politicians, but I digress?

There is also “the right of the people peaceably to assemble,” but it doesn’t mean you can gather a large group wherever you want. Try to form a parade down State Street (that great street) without a permit and see how far you get.  You can not take over a baseball diamond in a public park if another group holds a permit. You can not have the pavilion at the local forest preserve if another group holds a permit. In fact, we have many regulations regarding the assembly of large crowds. It is not uncommon to post limits of assembly, many by fire codes that are enforced by the local government.

It’s a free country, or is it?

You have probably heard of people who do not want to shelter at home during the COVID-19 outbreak. They insist it is a free country and they can do what they like. The government is not going to tell them what to do. They have their constitutional rights. But do they have such rights?

The Constitutionality of the restrictions we have described above has been tested in courts and upheld. Local and national governments not only have the right to impose such restrictions on the public, but they also have a duty to do so.

Scientific evidence has told us that the only way to “flatten the curve,” in other words lessen the spread of the virus, is to keep a “social distance.” This has caused many at the state and local level to impose restrictions. Some do not want to abide.

You can find plenty of examples of people who did not want to social distance and observe the restrictions, who have died of the virus. They not only put themselves at risk, but they also put others at risk as well.  They do not have that right.

Social Contract

Many of the authors of The Constitution were certainly well aware of the philosophical writings of John Locke (The Second Treatise of Government), Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Du Contrat social). These works would have greatly influenced their thinking about forming a new national government. They knew that members of society must agree to give up certain rights for the good of society as a whole. It is a “contract” we have as a member of society, to act in a way that benefits all. It is the greatest good for the greatest number.

“That a man be willing, when others are so too (as farre-forth, as for Peace, and defense of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself.” – Thomas Hobbes

In other words, we must do what is right for all. For those who think they can assemble as they please, including religious services, they are misinformed and violating the laws of nature, science and the social contract. No one has the right to go out and spread the virus. They are not immune. They are not free to do as they like. Governors (Republicans all) who refuse to issue stay at home orders, or allow large exemptions (think Easter services), are not acting in the interest of the greatest good for the greatest number.

Let’s put it in a way that may drive the point home. There is a post going around social media which may illustrate the problem of some states practicing social distancing, and others ignoring the advice.  We must “ lay down this right to all things; and be contented” because it is the only reasonable course of action.

Sources: “Leviathan,” Thomas Hobbes, sparknotes.com
Washington State Group Is 1st to Sue Fox News for Calling Coronavirus a ‘Hoax’,” by ken Stone, timesofsandiego.com April 2, 2020.
The Social Contract,” Jean-Jacques Rousseau, coursehero.com
Social Contract,” en.wikipedia.org

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE AND WHAT ARE YOU NOW? – Marilyn Armstrong

#Openbloghop: What did you want to be when you grew up versus what you are today?

I always wanted to be a writer though before I got the idea of writing, I wanted to be The Lone Ranger and be a horseback-riding crime fighter in the  Old West. Briefly, I though may a ballet dancer, but an utter lack of talent ended that in a hurry. Once I got a camera in my hands, I knew I would be a photographer … but always I wanted to be a writer, musician, and artist. Photography became my art and I played the piano reasonably well. Mostly though, I knew I would be a writer. I didn’t know what kind of writer. Maybe a great author? Nope.  My forte was not novels, but non-fiction.

I was a professional writer for all my professional life. Sometimes I was an editor and frequently, I did both at the same time. Photography was my hobby and remains so. For many years, I was also a pretty good pianist. I was not a professional-grade, but I was good at Scott Joplin and always ready to bang out carols at Christmas parties.

Now? I’m retired.

These days, staying alive is my primary goal. I write for this blog and take a lot of pictures. Top of the list? Birds and flowers.

I no longer play an instrument. Arthritis in my hands has made performing impossible and painful, but that isn’t especially unusual for a pianist. Playing piano is hard on hands. I started playing when I was only four, so my hands took a beating through the years. Add to that typing and eventually, the computer, my hands have lasted longer than I expected. If I’m careful, I can still use them.

Funny how retirement makes future plans and ambition pointless. My plans are no more than five years long. I don’t know if I’ll be around that long, but I live in hope. I’m pretty happy where I am, except for the government (they make me grind my teeth) and the roaming virus that would like to kill me.

So effectively, other than music, my life has been what I wanted it to be and probably will continue more or less — assuming I stay alive — the same. I’m satisfied. I did what I wanted to do and did it well enough to be proud of my work.

I didn’t become a great author, but that’s okay. I was good at what I did and I think I’m even better now.


April 8, 2020

What did you want to be when you grew up vs. what you are today?

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FLYING GLIDING UP IN THE AIR SQUIRRELS – Marilyn Armstrong

SQUARING THE FLYING GLIDERS

Sorry. I just wasn’t feeling inspired today. So I’m posting my favorites and most popular from the past few weeks. I’ve been writing a lot and every now and then, it’s hard to find something to say I haven’t already said.

I spent hours last night — like three of them — searching the online world for birdseed that I thought our birds will eat. There is cheaper food, but the birds don’t eat it. They literally toss it aside to get to the better stuff. Everything is backed up for weeks and in a lot of cases, months. I finally found some things on Chewy, so assuming it arrives on a reasonable schedule, the buffet lives.

And here are today’s squares. They are flying and gliding squirrels in the light of the moon. In some, you can see their big shining eyes.

Past lives and the full moon

You can see how tiny the squirrel really is when his wings are folded … and those shining eyes

A glider and a feeder by the light of the full moon

Sketching the squirrel

Duochrome flyer on the feeder

BE JOYFUL! IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY!

When you’ve been married for a long time, there’s nothing new you can say that you haven’t said on all those other birthdays. I know this isn’t a great time for celebrations, … but we are alive and so far, so good.

Whenever this siege ends, we will celebrate your birthday, probably Owen’s too. We’ll celebrate surviving, on managing to have sufficient toilet paper and with a little luck, not having you-know-who in charge.

Meanwhile, tons of love from everyone because you are just such a lovable guy!

Happy very big birthday!

DARWIN AWARDS IN DANGER OF BEING CANCELLED DUE TO OVERWHELMING NUMBER OF CANDIDATES – BY TOM CURLEY

4/1/2020  “Darwin Awards in Danger”

“The Darwin Awards are in danger of being canceled this year due to the unprecedented number of applicants and a severe lack of Darwin Award trophies. ‘In any normal year we might have a few hundred nominations, but this year it’s quickly moving into the thousands. Maybe soon it will be tens of thousands,’ said the president of the Darwin Awards Committee.

If you don’t know already, the Darwin Awards are given to those special people who lose their lives by doing something unbelievably stupid, thereby weeding out unbelievably stupid people from the gene pool. Past winners have included

A hunter who shot an Elk on a ledge directly above him. The Elk died and fell on the hunter, killing him instantly.

A poacher in Africa who shot a Rhinoceros, whereupon he was trampled to death by an elephant and then was eaten by a lion.

A man who attached a jet rocket booster to his car. He fired it off and instantly reached a speed of over 300 miles an hour. Until he hit a small bump in the road which launched his car into the air. He was found by police smashed into a cliff, 300 feet above the ground.

A man who found the fuse in his car that lit the dashboard lights had blown. He didn’t have a replacement fuse. But he noticed the fuse was the same size as a 22-caliber bullet. He, of course, had one of those, so he used it to replace the blown fuse. The bullet heated up, fired and shot his nuts off.

(Editor’s note: All of these are true)

The problem now, according to the President of the Darwin Awards is that we are in unprecedented territory. Hundreds of thousands of nominees spent Spring Break flooding Florida beaches and bars and clubs even though states like New York were experiencing more and more deaths at an exponential rate.

Those people have already gone home to places all over the country and are spreading the disease at an incredible rate. Hundreds of thousands of people jammed into the French Quarter in New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras. Then they left to go back to their homes all across the nation.

Pastors at a megachurch in Florida and pastors in other states have held giant church services where hundreds of people show up even though they have been ordered to stay home. The pastors in some cases have been arrested. In response, they say they are going to continue the practice with even bigger services.

People are holding Coronavirus parties. Right-wing militias are holding and planning large rallies because ‘nobody can tell us what to do! And this is all a hoax!”

“I mean, this is a level of stupidity that we have never seen in the history of the awards,’” said the Darwin Award President.

“‘Do we give each person an award? Or just the Governor of Florida who refused to close the state down? Or the Governor of Mississippi who overrode local mayors who told their towns to lock down and practice social distancing? Normally we give the award to people who died from being that stupid. But what about all the people who died because these incredibly stupid people infected them?”

The other problem is a severe shortage of Darwin Award trophies.

According to the Darwin  Award President

‘We just don’t have enough trophies. We have a stockpile of a few hundred. But we’re going to need thousands. Maybe hundreds of thousands. Where are we going to get them? I’ve personally reached out to President Trump about this. His response was that he has done a great job sending out trophies. The best job in the history of trophies. If there is a shortage of trophies maybe those trophies are “going out the back door”.  He said we should investigate that. State governors are now competing with each other over the ever-dwindling stockpile of trophies.

According to the Darwin Award President. ‘We are beginning to notice a pattern of distribution from the White House. The red states seem to be getting all their requests for trophies within days. But the blue states are getting few to none at all. Of course, this could be simply because the demand in the red states is exponentially higher than in the blue states.’

The biggest problem, according to the Darwin Award President is ‘We haven’t reached the peak of stupidity. The next few weeks are going to see an unbelievable uptick in the number of stupid things being done by stupid people that is going to get themselves killed.’

But one thing we do know. No matter how bad it gets. And even if he doesn’t die from being arguably the stupidest president in the history of Presidents, an honorary Darwin Award of the Century will go to the person who truly deserves it.”

Donald J. Trump.

Party on, assholes.

P.S This isn’t an actual news report. It doesn’t make it any less true.