Fandango’s Provocative Question #73

It’s time for a little creative thinking. Here’s the setup from Fandango:

You’ve heard of extra sensory perception, right? You know, ESP. There are three forms of ESP.

  1. Telepathy — the transfer of information from one person to another without the use of sensory communication.
  2. Clairvoyance — the acquisition of information about places, people, or events without the use of normal sensory contact.
  3. Precognition — the acquisition of information about a future event that could not be anticipated through any known processes of inference.

So my question to you this week is:

Having had several significant run-ins with things that aren’t supposed to happen, none of which are described in Fandango’s lead up. Because there’s also voices you hear that are from “somewhere else” — not someone else living in your head but messages from … where? 

Twice I was dying. The first time, I was offered the option of dying or continuing to live, even though living would be hard and painful. The second time, I was told that I was going to live, even though no one thought I could since I’d been dying for days with all the appropriate symptoms: massive sepsis, fever, and multiple surgeries all of which were supposed to repair me, but didn’t. But having been told I would live, the next morning, I was fine. Fever and infection gone and I went home that  same day.

That doesn’t happen. It really doesn’t. I have never been sure what to make of both of these incidents and a number of others which probably fall into the “precognition” grouping. I knew, for example, when my first husband died, even though I was 300 miles away. I just knew. And check around. Many people who are not religious in any way have had such experiences.

I woke up one morning knowing that a helicopter had exploded and there had been a crash in New Hampshire. About an hour later, the phone rang and Garry was on the case. How did I hear that news and more to the point, why? I didn’t know the pilot, the helicopter, or anything about it at all. For some obscure reason, the story came to me. The knowledge that someone I had loved had died made some kind of sense. There was a connection there and it happens to a lot of people.

But both of those visions gave me a life I was sure was ending. These were not dreams. Dreams float away when morning breaks. These are as alive and as sharp today as they were when they happened.

What — if anything — does this have to do with religion? I do not know. I’m not sure it has anything to do with an “official” dogma.

As to the picking up of subtle signals? Absolutely. It’s why, when I “read” for someone, I preferred to do the original assessment and reading without having met the individual. I didn’t want to be influenced by what I saw or felt. I also quit reading for people. I kept finding out stuff I didn’t want (or need) to know.

I think we are all intuitive. Some of us are more open to knowledge that isn’t written or broadcast? Dogs and cats are intuitive with their owners and each other. Why would we not be? Before there were words, I’m sure we knew about each other. I suspect that creating words was how we lost a lot of the intuition with which we were born.

Non-verbal creatures communicate surprisingly well. Watch them with each other. Put out birdseed and watch one bird make a single tweet that will tell every other feathered pal in the woods to come and get it. Ditto squirrels, flying and otherwise. They just know. .

Sometimes, I know, too.  I don’t know why or how, but I happens.

Finally, the morning of 9/11, one of my bosses had booked a flight out of Kennedy to LA. About an hour before he was due to go to the airport, he got a funny mental itch. He said: “I think I’m not getting on that plane. I’ll travel tomorrow maybe,” He canceled the flight and went on living because that was one of the two planes that hit the towers.

You are welcome to be as dismissive as you like, but stuff happens and you don’t always know why. You can’t box things up according to a predetermined set of rules. There are times when you gotta go with the flow, wherever it takes you.



Who would have thought George Floyd, a black man murdered by police in Minneapolis, would spark a revolt against Donald Trump by three generations of retired American generals who have honorably served our country since the Vietnam War.

The retired generals’ decisions to speak out against Trump is not without possible personal liability. Retired officers are not exempt from military court-martial, and demeaning the president by words or deeds remains a violation of military law.

Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) criminalizes “contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the Governor or legislature of any state . . .”

In older times, breaching the unwritten and well understood code of honor that marks military officers’ lives was paid for with a self-inflicted bullet to the brain, much preferred to the ignominy of being put against a wall and shot.

There are no such rash requirements today. In 21st Century America, outspoken officers can resign on principle, as former Secretary of Defense and Marine Gen. James N. Mattis did, or simply be sidelined, marked “unreliable, do not recall in case of war.”

In 2016, U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, opined, “Retired [officers] can . . . become part of the . . . political landscape,” though Dempsey strongly recommended against them doing so.

That was before Trump stood in the Rose Garden last week, posturing like a caricature of Italian fascist Benito Mussolini. During his remarks, Trump threatened to use federal troops in response to the demonstrations fueled by the death of Floyd.

Trump warned America’s governors and mayors:

“If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”

It was more than Dempsey and a host of other senior military officers could accept without publicly commenting.

Dempsey, in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz, said:

“My generation of military leaders, who entered right after the Vietnam War, spent the majority of our careers, whether it was 20 years, 30 years or 40 years, in my case, trying to rebuild our relationship with the American people. I felt it important to try to keep that relationship sound and solid. Inflammatory language can be an impediment to that.”

The first officer to publicly break ranks with Trump was Mattis, the four-star Marine warrior and scholar of military history who led the way with damning comments in an October 2019 keynote speech at a fund-raising dinner.

At the time, the coronavirus pandemic was still in the future and the recorded murder of Floyd George by police was too horrible to even contemplate.

Mattis was speaking to a crowd of wealthy New Yorkers raising money on behalf of America’s neediest children. Mattis, called the “Warrior Monk” by enthralled young Marines, was at his wisecracking best at the swank New York affair. He told his audience he had finally “achieved greatness.”

A slim, fit man with a quiet, sure demeanor, Mattis is a figure far removed from the cheesy “Mad Dog” moniker Trump and his lowbrow cronies once used to characterize him. How they didn’t know that Mattis, as well as most Marines, consider the nickname demeaning is remarkable. More likely, Trump didn’t care. He has no boundaries.

In 2016, Mattis was Trump’s shining star, the crown jewel in his nascent Cabinet. The president-elect told an audience in Cincinnati during his post-election victory lap that Mattis is “the closest thing to Gen. George Patton that we have.”

Like everything else that drips from Trump’s mouth, his revisionist history is nonsense. Patton was a loud, profane man with a high, squeaky voice, an obsession for stars on his burlesque uniforms, and a penchant for talking like a bordello bouncer. He is best known in military history as a brilliant tactician who motivated his soldiers with stark terror.

Mattis, by contrast, is a quiet thinker who knows how to motivate generals and privates alike to do their best simply by being a man they don’t want to disappoint. His power to lead was burnished by his lifelong study of the military arts. He joined the Marine Corps in 1972 and stayed 44 years. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates praised Mattis as one of the most formidable “warrior-scholars” of his generation.

During Mattis’ keynote address in 2019 after Mattis had resigned as Secretary of Defense, he told his audience, “I’m not just an overrated general, I am the greatest, the world’s most overrated. I’m honored to be considered that by Donald Trump, because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress. So, I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals. Frankly that sounds pretty good to me.”

Then he delivered a knockout blow as powerful as the one he administered to the Iraqi Army in the opening weeks of the Iraq War, during the Marines brilliant and decisive drive to Baghdad.

“I earned my spurs on the battlefield,” Mattis explained, “. . .  and Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor.”

It took more than six months for the dam holding back the outrage that professional military officers feel for Trump to finally break. The apparent turning point was when the president threatened to deploy the elite 82nd Airborne Division, the nation’s battle-ready strategic reaction force, against American citizens.

The famed 82nd, the “All American,” constantly train to bash its enemies into dust whenever they get the chance. In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent the 82nd to Detroit when deadly riots broke out between police and black residents, and again in 1968 to put down rioters following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Trump wanted to unleash them against the George Floyd protestors: “We will end it now,” Trump declared last week in the Rose Garden, calling himself, “your president of law and order.”

Mattis, a true believer in the chain of command and his place in it, uncharacteristically went on the offensive in response to Trump’s irresponsible palaver.

“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis wrote. “The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand — one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values — our values as people and our values as a nation.”

Mattis goes on, “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”

Since his op-ed was published in The Atlantic magazine, a phalanx of senior generals and admirals joined the quiet coup of the retired officer corps by condemning Trump as a man of little vision, no empathy and, to draw on an ancient Army analogy, “without the sense to pour piss out of a boot.”

On Friday, Foreign Policy magazine published a piece from retired four-star Marine Gen. John Allen, who argued that Trump is putting “the American experiment” at risk:

“There is no precedent in modern U.S. history for a president to wield federal troops in a state or municipality over the objections of the respective governor. Right now, the last thing the country needs — and, frankly, the U.S. military needs — is the appearance of U.S. soldiers carrying out the president’s intent by descending on American citizens.”

Without military support, Trump jumped back into his newly fortified White House, safe and secure inside a prison of his own construction.

Source: General consensus: Why America’s real warriors are turning on Trump – THE SHINBONE STAR

FUCHSIA IN THE MORNING – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – June 11 – Fuchsia in the morning

I still haven’t put the feeder back up. I have to admit, I’m enjoying a couple of weeks without the mess on the deck. And I’ve been busy.

Summer is a busy time in New England.  It’s not really about vacations, though many of us used to try to fit a couple of weeks in somewhere during the warm months. It’s more about getting stuff done. Fixing the doors, getting rid of rotting wood and big black ants. Trimming the trees. All things that need fixing need to be done before the snow flies.

You never know when the snow will fly. It could be as early as November, or not at all. These days, the weather is strange and unpredictable. From having endless rain earlier in the spring, suddenly, we have only had one serious rain this month. But I think that’s about to change. Or not. The weather these days is the best guess by the best meteorologist, but the winds have changed. The ocean has changed.

Everything has changed but the fuchsias are doing well.


It was a bad week in a lot of ways. Non-deliveries, late deliveries, missing parts, and a lot of increasingly aggravating conversations with Amazon. I spent more time on the telephone with Amazon’s customer service than I have writing posts or taking pictures. I was beginning to feel like that was my new profession — arguing with customer service.

Today, things suddenly looked better. Although the delivery of shampoo and conditioner to my friend didn’t happen, she did call the post office and they said they would straighten it out. Apparently, it didn’t go to their PO Box because it was delivered to the wrong post office, a problem they have had before. So she should get the package tomorrow. And I refinanced a very bad loan with a much better loan that will leave us a bit of money to repair the back door, put a storm door on the front and back — and if we are very lucky, repair (I’d rather replace, but that’s not in the cards) the deck. If we can salvage the steps and the substructure and just put in a new deck and rail. The steps are the most expensive part.

To top it all off, we got an actual apology from Amazon, saying that they are not in the business of making life difficult for customers and gave me a private number to call should I need to discuss anything with anybody. I never expected that — which made this a pretty good day.

We also managed to swing a loan in less than four hours, It replaces a very bad loan i should never have signed and am very grateful to be free of it.

That made me wonder whatever happened to the application I put in for the loan for a new boiler. I hadn’t even gotten a note for the application I sent to them and it had been a week since I sent it.

So I went into  National Grid to look for a copy of the sent document. There was no document. No copy. On stuff like this, I always CC myself. I finally managed to dig through my gazillion emails and found … are you ready?


Seriously. Even now, they asked if I really wanted to send a note that had a variety of grammatical errors and vague sentence structures. Did I want to send it? it was a loan application and they hadn’t even sent a note telling me that rather than sending it, they had dumped it into drafts. Is that legal? I’m glad I suddenly realized that I hadn’t heard from National Grid!

How dare they do that! I deleted Grammarly — and you should too.  It’s like a worm and gets into every piece of your computer where there is any text, including picture captions.

The amount of harm they could have done me — and I hope have not yet done — is ugly. I was one of the people that years ago Grammarly selected to “test drive” the application when they were planning to charge everyone $12/month, but I could have it for free for three months. I turned them down, said that was much more money than anyone writing a free blog would ever pay and that frankly, I didn’t like a lot of their writing rules either. It was inappropriate for a casual writer or any fiction writer. Or anyone using a local dialect or using words of which Grammarly doesn’t approve.

Until WordPress decided we didn’t need a spell checker anymore — and recommended the free version of Grammarly — I never expected to encounter them again. Lately, they have become very aggressive. They are at the beginning of every YouTube video. and they turn themselves off when they please, on when they feel like it. Undependable at best, but this was way over the top. How dare they?

If you are using Grammarly, be very careful. I have been saying for a while that I’ve been losing emails. Having them vanish and apparently, Grammarly is why. If you are running it, maybe you don’t want to use it after all. If they decide you aren’t using the right wording, important business documents can and possibly already have, disappeared.

So it was a bad week, a good week, a better week — and a really bad application that has (I hope) finally been expelled. It wasn’t easy getting rid of it. I found that it had embedded in every possible part of the computer.

I deleted it from my hard drive, deleted it from Chrome, but it was still in there and I had to expel it from WordPress using their special code. There were versions of it all over my computer, like a worm or trojan virus.

It’s a devious and intrusive — and potentially DANGEROUS application. Be careful.


Movie Trivia, once a parlor game among friends, has grown into a worldwide, billion-dollar industry including databases, online fan clubs, and television stations like Turner Classic Movies, The Movie Channel, and American Classic Movies.

Gene Freese

People, like me, fancied themselves as experts on classic movies. Over the decades, I’ve devoured dozens of books on films, the stars, the old studios, the Hollywood power brokers, and, yes, the juicy gossip about legendary actors, actresses, and directors.

During my TV News career, as many of you know, I had the good fortune of meeting many of the old Hollywood legends who shared stories with me. Inside stories. Stuff that prompted me to proclaim myself as the movie maven. My knowledge has often been tested over the years by prominent public figures. movie stars and friends.  The queries sometimes included dead of night phone calls for trivia that had stumped someone.

The Superstitions

Social media and online fan clubs have recently dimmed the luster of my maven title.  Lots of folks know their movie trivia and are quick to share. A little humility — this know-it-all doesn’t go down easily.

Gene’s dad Marty Freese in Old Tuscon

One of the traits of a genuine movie maven is knowledge of character actors, the names way below the title in a movie. You’ve seen them often but can’t remember their names. I always could, dating back to the first movie I saw as a 4-year-old in a first-run theater.  It was “The Best Years Of Our Lives” from 1946.  I quickly picked up names like Steve Cochran, Ray Teal, Gladys George, and Roman Bohman. They played small but vital roles and I looked for them in future films.

Sedona from Schnebly Hill

Three years ago, I wrote a piece about Richard Jaeckel, a character actor whose face you probably recall if not his name. Jaeckel played “the kid” in numerous war and western films, he was perpetually young for almost four decades in films like “Sands Of Iwo Jima”, The Gunfighter” and “Comeback Little Sheba” which was an “against typecasting” role.

I met Jaeckel in Boston in the early ’70s during a film promotion tour. The interview turned into a long afternoon of social chit chat which was the basis of my piece.

One of the online responses came from a gentleman very familiar with Richard Jaeckel. It turns out Mr. Freese was writing a book about Jaeckel.  I easily shared anecdotes about Jaeckel with Gene who, in turn, shared some of his stories.  It turned out Gene, an Arizona native is a prolific author with a keen knowledge of many of the character and stunt actors whose faces are familiar — if not their names.

Many of you, of a certain age, recall TV series like “Yancey Derringer” and “Laredo”. The former starred Jack (Jock) Mahoney as a gambler and upholder of the law. The Latter,  William Smith as one of a quartet of happy go lucky Texas Rangers.

I was thrilled to be the recipient of numerous anecdotes from Gene Freese about the likes of Mahoney, Smith, L.Q. Jones, Leo Gordon (remember the bad guy in the mudslide fight with Duke Wayne in “McLintock”?  Leo V. Gordon was the dean of bad guys in many films over four decades. He was a scary dude.

As was the previously mentioned William Smith who often played vicious psychopaths — you may recall him as the sailor thug in “Rich Man, Poor Man.”  Gene Freese floored me with tales of the real William Smith, a gentle poet, and a folk singer.

If you love old westerns, you’ll find Gene’s books take you to the locations of films like “Winchester 73,” “Pat Garrett And Billy the Kid,” and “The Last Hard Men,” as well as TV series like “The High Chaparral” and “Have Gun, Will Travel.”  Gene has walked the desert trails and climbed the mountains of films like “3 Godfathers,” “3:10 To Yuma,” and “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon.”

Gene Freese is an avid outdoorsman. He and his family share a love of hiking and mountain climbing.  Gene is an “always there Dad” for his children’s sports and social activities. His dad set the tone for movie stunt and character work. They are familiar figures at Arizona’s old west venues that draw many fans.  Freese has the sensitivity to give fan besieged western actors space and garners many wonderful anecdotes from movie people who are normally reticent. Stunt actors are especially wary of “Pilgrims.”

I just finished “The Western Films of Robert Mitchum,” Freese’s latest book.  It gives you a fresh look at “Mitch,” an actor with whom I spent time and whose professional legend is too often reduced to tawdry gossip and an over-hyped drug arrest early in his career.  You’ll appreciate Mitchum’s work ethic as well as his varied talents which included writing poetry and composing music.

Gene Freese got to the heart and soul of Robert Mitchum as no else has.  It’s a tribute to Gene’s ability. Yes, there will be a review of the Mitch book — coming soon at this address.

Thanks, Gene. I look forward to our next share.