HOLLIDAY, EARP, AND MASTERSON – Marilyn Armstrong

Everyone knows the story of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the OK Corral. It’s possibly the most iconic story out of the “wild west.” But there are many more stories yet untold. I’ve been following the trail of this one for a while. Doc Holliday. Wyatt Earp. Bat Masterson.

Afternoon walk - Tombstone

Where did they meet? How did Doc Holliday — legitimately a D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and apparently a good one — wound up best friends with Wyatt Earp and his brothers? How did this polite, educated gentleman become a gunfighter and a gambler? When did Bat Masterson get into the mix?

The "Dodge City Peace Commission", June 1888. (L to R) standing: W.H. Harris, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, W.F. Petillon. Seated: Charlie Bassett, Wyatt Earp, Frank McLain and Neal Brown.
The “Dodge City Peace Commission”, June 1888. (L to R) standing: W.H. Harris, Luke Short, Bat Masterson, W.F. Petillon. Seated: Charlie Bassett, Wyatt Earp, Frank McLain and Neal Brown.

John Henry “Doc” Holliday (August 14, 1851 – November 8, 1887) became a gambler and gunman out of necessity.

Not quite the killer his reputation made him out to be, Doc’s reputation was part truth, mixed with a lot of rumor and publicity. Often credited with killing people he never met, the rumors were fueled by Holliday’s own publicity.

He wasn’t fond of killing people. Being a notorious gunman made it less likely he’d be challenged. He was famous for shooting opponents in the hand or foot, thus ending a duel without killing anyone.

Stagecoach in Tombstone

Doc Holliday was otherwise known as a mild-mannered, well-bred southerner who would have rather been a dentist. Except for being tubercular. Tuberculosis is a career-ender for a dentist.

Exactly how he met the Earp brothers and with which of the many Earps did he connect first? Lots of speculation, but no evidence that can stand up to scrutiny. When and where did Bat Masterson come into the mix?

Bat Masterson is a great character. He pops in and out of the story, shows up in the nick of time to pull someone’s iron out of the fire, then disappears back to his own story. Sounds like a supporting actor Oscar to me.

copy-75-vintage-tombstonenk-005.jpg

The OK Corral has been done to death. Can I convince someone to write this story? No zombies, no werewolves, no vampires. Let’s keep it all human, in the just-before-the-turn-of-the-century west.


Interesting Factoid: Doc Holliday was a cousin by marriage to Margaret Mitchell, author of “Gone With the Wind.”

There is a history for which the facts are known, but we don’t know who said what or when, What we know are the players, dates, and locations. Documentation exists about that, but not about what they really did. Or how they behaved together. Whether they were really friends, or lovers … or casual friends when they happened to meet.

You might as well print the legend.

On the other hand, once you realize the facts don’t form a solid story, you can pick your favorite version of the tale. Or write your own. At some point, when you get into Western mythology, your version might be as good (and as true) as any other.

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES – Marilyn Armstrong

Xfinity has an advertisement. They assure viewers that their wi-fi is so fast, you will definitely be able to keep up with the Joneses.

I didn’t know it was a race. I didn’t know I was supposed to be keeping up with anyone.

If you use Xfinity, you will be able to keep up with the Joneses, whoever they may be.

“Garry,” I asked. “Are we keeping up with the Joneses?”

“The who?”

“Joneses.”

“I don’t think so. We don’t know anyone named Jones. I actually can’t remember ever knowing anyone named Jones. Lots of Smiths and many of them named Mike. No Joneses. Of any name. So probably we aren’t keeping up with them.”

On the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever worried about keeping up with anything that didn’t have a dollar sign attached. I certainly don’t worry whether or not I’ve got faster wi-fi than my neighbors, especially not in Uxbridge. This just isn’t a “keeping up with the Joneses” kind of town. We all use Charter. We don’t have any choice. That’s what the town decided for us.

We have enough trouble keeping up with the mortgage, bills, and taxes.

EVENTUALLY MAKES A LONG LIST – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP SATURDAY : Eventually

Be there anyone amongst us who doth not make lists.

Not all my lists are written, mind you. Some are mental. I have a wedding coming up. It’s a very big piece of my “eventually” list and includes:

      • Can we afford reservations anywhere?
      • Am I physically up to a long drive from Massachusetts to Virginia?
      • Is Garry up to a long drive from New England to down there?

These lists used to be smaller and I used to be better at approaching them. I always did things quickly — just to get done with them and not have to worry. Reservations are probably manageable — one way or the other. Probably the other. I really want to go to this wedding.

When I first knew it was happening, I promised myself I would find a way to make it happen. Which automatically put it on my primary “eventually” list. I did not count on how hard I would find just getting through a normal day. Or how exhausted I would be after even a minimal effort.

Why am I so tired? My back is badly broken and my heart is tired. The back is both broken and arthritic. It hurts. I have better medication than I used to, so that’s a good thing, but the heart is a whole other issue.

The heart is genetic and I never knew I had. Most people who have the problem are unaware of it until it kills them. I was lucky I discovered it before it killed me. I was born with it. Probably so was my father and for all I know, my mother too. I’ve already had major surgery to repair it which involved installing two replacement valves, an electronic (metal) Pacemaker, and surgery which remodeled the entire left ventricle and a bypass.

The problem was my heart walls continue to thicken. The walls become inflexible. It’s harder for the valves to work – which means my red blood cell count drops which probably explains why I’ve had problems with minimal anemia since I was a kid. So far, though, it has never dropped dangerously low.

Can I get there and enjoy it? Can Garry make it? He isn’t good with long drives anymore. He used to love driving. For that matter, I used to love driving!

There are a lot other eventually lists. I’m not sure I can take a long walk to take pictures. I finally use the chair lift because hauling myself up and down the stairs isn’t going to improve my spine or my heart. The heart will get worse until it stops working.  No one will redo the surgery. I figure I’ve got another five years if I’m careful and a little bit lucky. Maybe longer. They keep improving the technology, so maybe they’ll come up with a miracle drug — and it will even be affordable.

The way we were – September 15, 1990

But that’s not so bad, right? I’ve had a full life. Not a super long one, but not cut excessively short either. Eventually is the rest of my life. There is so much eventually waiting for me to get to it.

Sometimes, I think, “What if I win the lottery? Could I somehow manage to travel to Europe and see Paris?” When we hit our 25th-anniversary and I wanted to go to Paris because I always wanted to see Paris (though I think I wanted to see the Paris that disappeared 100 years ago), we didn’t go. If you can’t walk, what do you do in Paris? If you can’t walk through Versailles or the Louvre — or walk those cobblestone streets — what else is there to do?

We went to visit Ben in Arizona and that was actually fantastic. The dry heat improved my ability to breathe and my spine hurt a lot less. I don’t know if I could live in that kind of heat all the time, but winter in Arizona is heavenly.

All my eventually lists are waiting for me. Sometimes, I forget what’s on the lists and by the time I remember, it’s too late. This time, though, I have to deal with it. One way or the other, it’s on top.

ARE THE ANTICHRISTS RULING OUR WORLD? – Marilyn Armstrong

In the course of visiting Tom and Ellin, Tom and I decided one night that Donald Trump is the antichrist. Now since neither of us is religious or even tangentially Christian, this might be considered a rather odd conclusion for two effective atheists to reach.

But the thing is, if there is an antichrist, Trump has to be it. I spent some time looking up who and what the antichrist is and it has to be him. Because this is his time. He is alive and busy destroying the world, just like he is supposed to.

In Christian eschatology, the antichrist is someone recognized as fulfilling the Biblical prophecies about one who will oppose Christ and substitute himself in Christ’s place. The term is found five times in the New Testament, solely in the First and Second Epistle of John. Or anyway, that’s what Wikipedia has to say, but biblical study groups have a lot more to say and none of it is good.

This is the man who will bring the end-times. He is definitely working on it. Full time, too. I don’t even think he takes out time to sleep. He’s too busy wrecking the world.

Revelation in the New Testament and the books Daniel, Ezekiel, and Isaiah in the Torah — provide ample fodder for end-time speculation.

From the “beasts” in Daniel and Revelation to the epic battle in Ezekiel, the use of symbolism and metaphor has made practicing prophecy a struggle yet also, a bizarre form of entertainment for some of the more demented among us.

Why not? Every time I watch the news, I feel slightly more demented than I did before. Sometimes I also feel nauseated, but mostly, insane.

The following is a quote, but I honestly couldn’t figure out where it came from. I think it’s a blog, but I couldn’t find a title for it. This is its link and if you are into this stuff, you probably will enjoy reading more of it. It’s not long, but I don’t know who wrote it. If you recognize it as yours, please let me know!

“Trump does fit several of the criteria attached to popular perceptions of the Antichrist. Many earnest sources of apocalyptic speculation, including the best-selling Left Behind series by the late Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, imagine the Antichrist as a truly modern figure. Although the wildly popular 17-book series, which was published between 1995 and 2007 and has sold over 65 million copies, is fictional, the vision embraced by LaHaye and Jenkins portrays the coming apocalypse as an event where non-believers are forced to reckon with the damage wrought by the Antichrist. Here, the Antichrist is a worldly, charismatic man, often of Eastern European and Jewish heritage, who embraces modern technology and institutions for his own sinister ends. This interpretation, which is common among a large subset of American Evangelicals, believes the Antichrist’s reign — a period known as the “tribulation” — will follow the rapture of true followers of Christ.

It’s easy to extrapolate this to Trump. He’s vainglorious, charismatic (at least in the eyes of some Americans), and obsessed with wealth.


Kushner Companies, a real estate company jointly owned by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and Trump, is headquartered at 666 5th Avenue.

Trump, while not Eastern European himself, has a proclivity for Eastern European women and promises better relations with Russia, a country that figures prominently in 20th and 21st-century apocalyptic tales. And while Trump says that his favorite book is the Bible, he did once note that he’s “not sure” as to whether he’s asked God for forgiveness of his sins.”

If he starts asking for forgiveness now, he might never finish the request. There’s so much for which he needs to apologize and ask forgiveness. Since he keeps doing more and more terrible things, he’ll never run out of sins.

There’s a lot of antichrist stuff on the Internet and all you have to do it type “antichrist” into Google and the world of end-times will open up to you.

It doesn’t matter what you believe. Something, nothing, something else, even something no one has yet heard of. It’s pretty easy to fit our prez into the antichrist format. You could actually as easily add Putin or Boris Johnson. They could, in fact, all be in it together. Why not? How bad does it have to get before we believe the real Satan from Hell is running our world? I swear I’ve seen his hoof prints wherever I look. How about you?

I have always been a bit dubious about God … but the King of Evil? He’s easy peasy. About every 50 years, some evil bastard rises up and decides to destroy as much of the world as he can before he is eventually quashed by the rest of the world. But this time, he and they have weapons that literally can end the world and if they don’t do it with weaponry, they can do it by allowing climate change to take the planet and make it unliveable.

One way or the other, it’s not looking good for humans. Oh please, give me a ray of hope. I need one!

PARKS BY A RIVER – Marilyn Armstrong

Weekly Word Prompt: Parks

We live in the Blackstone Valley Historic Corridor, so basically, we live in a park. It’s one level below a national park, but without the funding (such as it is these days). The good news is that we have parks. Everywhere.

As the Blackstone winds its way down from the Worcester Hills, there are parks in every town and at every curve along the river.

The Dam on the Mumford

From Worcester, about 20 miles north of here, all the way through Rhode Island, the Blackstone has parks with areas designed for walking, fishing, swimming, and kayaking.

Marilyn on a bench by the river
The big Canal locks and a couple of bloggers with cameras!
Garry and me – Thank you, Rich Paschall!

There are picnic tables and barbecues. Best of all, there are places to safely walk and park the car. All of them are open all year round, though when the snow is heavy, it’s difficult to get into the park. The small parks don’t always plow, but the larger ones do plow. Then all you need to do is find a way to get through the drifts.

Take a walk along the banks of the Blackstone
The stone bridge in the rain

My favorite three parks are the one in the middle of town around the Mumford (one of the larger tributaries of the Blackstone), another behind the medical building in North Uxbridge. That one has two connected parts: the Canal and its locks — as well as its lovely stone bridge — and River Bend which has turned a farmhouse from the 1600s into a small museum.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Blackstone River

You can walk from one park to the other along the route that was once used by horses to haul the barges in the canal.

And in the water …
Together forever, swans mate for life

Finally, there’s a lovely park in Smithfield, Rhode Island which is literally on the same road on which we live. It’s set up for fishing and loaded with trout. People come there to kayak, fish, and swim. We come to take pictures, enjoy their smiles and their dogs and little kayaks. And of course, the fish!

Photo: Garry Armstrong

It’s nice living in a park. For at least three seasons every year, the parks welcome us and we are always glad to visit them.

BLACK AND WHITE – NAME YOUR TOPIC! – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: New Photos, Any topic

I’m not always sure where black and white — also known as monochrome — ends and color begins. There are a lot of choices now that bring back some part of the original color, but not all the color or its intensity.

Four of these pictures are classic monochrome. The final one is “transparent,” tonality which uses part of the original colors but unsaturated.

Not sepia exactly. Peaches in a color closer to chocolate
The bridge over the canal in traditional black & white
Garry in classic black & white
Detailed sepia — the bench on the lawn by the river at River Bend
Transparent monochrome: Flowers along the edge of the river

Cee's Black-White

 

AUTHENTIC MASCULINITY AT ITS MOST VALOROUS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Authentic

Last night I watched a show — Colbert I believe — with Kirsten Dunston as the guest. There were cuts from her first interview on Johnny Carson’s show, 25 years ago which was when “Interview With A Vampire” opened. Someone in the 25-year-old clip commented it was “like a young girl caught by R. Kelly.”

So that long ago all the bigwigs in show biz knew about Kelly. All this time, no one did anything. It was so well known that it was okay to joke about it on the Carson show.

This is an authentic piece of America so well-known no one even winced when it was mentioned. And they were showing cuts from Carson’s show when Kirsten was a girl and a child star.

Now, today, we have R. Kelly telling everyone “it never happened” and it’s all “racist lies.”

R Kelly explaining he can’t read and is broke, There’s no REAL evidence and the whole thing is pure racism. He didn’t do nothin’ while he tries to hire Michael Jackson’s lawyer. Photo: CNN

I loathe how people like him use racism as their excuse for their hideous behavior. That racism even exists is bad enough, but that it is used as an excuse — and believed by many — as an excuse for some of the most egregious male behavior ever displayed.

Make no mistake: it is men. You can argue with me until the cows come home, but in the #metoo discussion, men are the predators.

Why are men the predators?

Because:

      • They are bigger than most women
      • Physically more powerful than most women
      • They have all that rampant testosterone turning their brains to mush.

I understand men were “designed” by whoever did the original design for the two sexes (Note: I think it’s time to admit that a few mistakes were made in creating that design!) so men could be aggressive enough to bring down a mastodon while women could nurture the babies.

Nonetheless, I don’t think men need to be rapists and assaulters. They didn’t have to rape the mastodons, did they? They didn’t need to become the pigs that so many have become.

I understand many men are not pigs, rapists, or assaulters. Not all men beat up their women. Or other men, or children, for that matter. But an awful lot of them do and are proud of it, too.

For reasons that escape me, they feel very brave and authentically masculine because they can beat up a woman, man, or child less than half their size. They feel especially masculine when a group of them beat the crap out of someone. Let’s hear it for the stalwart men of our world and their willingness to take no risks as they prove how brave they are.

Isn’t it humorous when the law finally gets one of these brave lads and they whine and whimper about how it so unfair? Where did all that authenticity and masculine pride go?

What audacity! What courage, nerve, daring, and boldness they display with the cameras full on them! What a bunch of spineless bullies they become.

And now, of course, Kelly is in jail, where he should have been all these years and I don’t care how well he sings. He can sing his heart out from his cubby hole in the Supermax prison of his choice. He can wail about prison conditions and blame it all on racism. He can blame everything on someone else because that’s what those valorous ones do.

Yesiree! That is authentic masculinity at its finest!