IN THE SPIRIT OF DOING WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING … Marilyn Armstrong

These are the top 20 posts from this past year. Ironically most of them were written in other years, much earlier. As I said in comment to Fandango, popularity does not make it a “best” post. The problem is trying to remember the names of what I think were my best posts. Some of these posts weren’t written by me, either … and a few of them are photographs, not even posts.

My highest numbers were for a day of posts, rarely for one single post. I’ve gotten as many as 1400 hits on a single post in the past and it was a stupid post … AND it shows up here, again, even though I wrote it six or seven years ago.

Popularity is an odd thing and rarely seems to have much to do with what you view as your finest efforts. That’s not just true for blogging. It’s true for people who make movies, do the news, write books, take pictures. What others love is what they love.

THE TOP TWENTY FOR 2019

Title Views
Home page / Archives More stats 24,726
DESCENDING FROM THE GOLDEN HORDE – B+ AND ME More stats 1,763
GAZING THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE: HOLLYWOOD & MORAL CHARACTER More stats 1,107
THE MEANING OF EVERYTHING AND NOTHING More stats 701
MY BROTHER ESAU WAS A HAIRY MAN, BUT I AM A SMOOTH MAN – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 605
REMEMBERING “FAST AL” McNAUGHTON: A NEW ENGLAND TV NEWS LEGEND – Garry Armstrong More stats 440
STRAINS? NO BIG DEAL, RIGHT? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 360
DON’T DRINK THE KOOL-AID – THE JONESTOWN MASSACRE More stats 358
Destructive Gypsy Moth caterpillars More stats 346
Uncle sam political cartoon 1899 More stats 345
Those Old Catskill Comedians … More stats 326
LIMNAL VS. LIMINAL: “I” MAKE A DIFFERENCE More stats 295
DON’T DRINK THE KOOLAID: THE JONESTOWN MASSACRE More stats 280
How did your doctor’s appointment go? More stats 264
WHERE DO THE SWANS GO? More stats 242
THERE’S GOTTA BE A PONY IN HERE SOMEWHERE – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 203
A PRAYER FOR NOTRE DAME – Guest Blogger: KARIN LAINE McMILLEN More stats 181
TOM ELLIS: A TRIBUTE by George K. Regan, Jr. More stats 177
IF WISHES WERE HORSES More stats 150

As usual, the Jonestown massacre is permanently popular and should be as a reminder of what hate and cults can become.

The Gypsy Moth caterpillars is a photograph taken four years ago and the Uncle Sam political cartoon’s origins were in 1899 when despite my age, I wasn’t born.

“Where do the Swans Go?” was originally published in 2013 and I haven’t republished it. It just keeps getting hits.

“Those Old Catskill Comedians” was written and published (and never reblogged, either) in 2014.

“Gazing through to the Other Side” was published in 2014, took me less than 10 minutes to write during a television commercial break, got 1400 hits in one day and every year gets another thousand or so. Why? I didn’t understand the first time it happened and I don’t understand it now.

I wrote “Descending from The Golden Horde – B+ and Me” in 2015 and still gets hits … a lot of them … every year. I think there isn’t much information about blood types available. Either that or Google has it near the top of lists.

“A Prayer for Notre Dame” written by guest blogger Karin Laine McMillen was a beautiful piece as was the piece about Tom Ellis by guest blogger George Regan Jr.

“The Meaning of Everything and Nothing” is one of the pieces I’ve always had fun with. I wrote it in 2013, have rewritten in a couple of times. It has been longer, shorter, with and without pictures. I guess you could call it a summary of my college education in one post.

And then, this bunch also made the list. Most of these were at least written this year! The ones in red are favorites of mine.

THE REST OF THE BEST?

HAPPY NATIONAL ASSHOLE AWARENESS DAY! More stats 146
CONTACT More stats 143
THE FORTUNE TELLER WHO RUINED MY GRANDFATHER’S LIFE – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 140
THE RAINBOW BRIDGE – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 132
NEWS ANCHORING: LOOKING INSIDE – Garry Armstrong More stats 131
HURRAH FOR NUMBER 26! More stats 128
Violets, Dandelions, and Little Purple Flowers More stats 126
MACAVITY – THE MYSTERY CAT BY T.S. ELIOT More stats 125
The Bible Cyst on My Wrist More stats 124
SITUATIONAL FRIENDS – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 122
ONLY OLD PEOPLE WATCH CABLE NEWS – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 121
AND, THE OSCAR GOES TO … BUT, DO YOU CARE? – Garry Armstrong More stats 118
MARILYN ARMSTRONG More stats 116
Leather, explicit sex, immortals with magic powers — The Dark Hunter Series More stats 114
TWAS BRILLIG! JABBERWOCKY, LEWIS CARROLL More stats 109
THE RACIST BONE’S CONNECTED TO THE … HIP BONE? – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 107
BLOGGING – IT’S A NEW YET SOMEHOW OLD WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 106
CLYTEMNESTRA’S LAMENT – GUEST POST By KARIN LAINE MCMILLEN More stats 105
DAD WAS *MORE* THAN A CONTENDER – Garry Armstrong More stats 104
OLD MOVIES, NEW EYES – Garry Armstrong More stats 104
ROMANTIC ME – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 102
OUR CLIMATE CHANGE DIDN’T HAPPEN SINCE TRUMP TOOK OFFICE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 102
OLD ACQUAINTANCES – Garry Armstrong More stats 102
GAFFES OF AN ICONIC NAME DROPPER – Garry Armstrong More stats 102
THE LEISURE SUIT: THE LOST JOY OF POLYESTER – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 101
BEING AGAINST FORCED BUSING DOESN’T MEAN YOU OPPOSE INTEGRATION – Garry Armstrong More stats 101
THE REST OF THE STORY – Garry Armstrong More stats 98
GARRY ARMSTRONG More stats 98
LOSING YOUR JOB WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 96
MEDICARE TO SENIORS: WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE? More stats 95
ABOUT THAT PAIN IN MY RIGHT ARM? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 94
HANGING OUT WITH ROBERT “MITCH” MITCHUM – Garry Armstrong More stats 93
FAMILY PHOTOS – Marilyn & Garry Armstrong More stats 93
REDACTED READING – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 93
BOYS STILL PLAY, AT LEAST IN THE COUNTRY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 93
NATIONAL ASSHOLE AWARENESS DAY More stats 92
TOO EARLY TO BE DRINKING? – Garry Armstrong More stats 92
A SUMMER AFTERNOON WITH JIMMY CAGNEY – Garry Armstrong More stats 91
PANCHO AND LEFTY: EMMY LOU HARRIS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 90
GARBAGE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 90
DORIEN SHOULD REALLY BE DARWIN – By TOM CURLEY More stats 90
LET’S BAN PENNIES – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 90
LIVING WITH ANTI-SEMITISM – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 88
A BIPOLAR LIFE – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 87
REMEMBERING MY MENTOR – JEFF KRAUS – Garry Armstrong More stats 86
TIME OFF AND RETIREMENT – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 86
BE HOME BEFORE THE LIGHTS COME ON – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 85
WHERE IS STEVE McQUEEN WHEN I REALLY NEED HIM? – Garry Armstrong More stats 84
WALLOWING IN THE PAST – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 84
PLEASE REGISTER TO VOTE TODAY! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 84
QUESTIONS WITHOUT ANSWERS More stats 82
bludgeon More stats 82
I BEG TO DIFFER … Marilyn Armstrong More stats 81
NO ONE IS LISTENING – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 81
THE DAY WE GAVE UP PIZZA DELIVERY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 81
FATE IS IRREFUTABLE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 81
IMPEACHMENT FOLLIES – Garry Armstrong More stats 81
ONLINE SHOPPING REVOLUTION OR CONSUMER REBELLION? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 81
I DON’T KNOW WHY HE HATES ME SO MUCH. I NEVER DID HIM A FAVOR! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 80
OUTLIVING THE BITCHES More stats 80
IT’S THE THEATER More stats 80
CHANGE IS ALWAYS ON THE WAY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 79
A NOSE JOB FOR MOM – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 79
A SUDDEN JOLT OF OPTIMISM – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 79
I WILL WORK FOR FOOD BUT NOT PIZZA – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 79
HOW GO YOUR YEARS? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 79
I THINK I’M TIRED – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 79
HACKING, OPERATING SYSTEMS, AND THE END OF THE WORLD – TOM CURLEY More stats 78
FLAT EARTH VS. ROUND EARTH – Reblog More stats 77
movie-set-boston More stats 77
IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 77
BRAIN DEATH AND FIBROMYALGIA – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 77
DINNER TABLE CONVERSATION – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 77
THE RISING OF THE PHOENIX – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 77
FANATICISM AND IGNORANCE IS FOREVER BUSY AND NEEDS FEEDING – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 77
NOSTALGIA IN PHOTOGRAPHY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 77
WELCOME TO MY HUMBLE HOME – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 77
WHY DID YOU TAKE THAT PICTURE? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 76
THE CHANGING SEASONS NOVEMBER 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 76
Victorian-Gingerbread-House-Template-Models More stats 76
BATHROOM REDO AND THE BUSYNESS OF LIFE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 76
THEY TELL YOU WHAT TO DO, BUT WHO ARE THEY? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 76
DON’T YOU HATE WHEN THAT HAPPENS? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 76
TEETH WITH AN HILARIOUS SPECIAL COMMENT FOLLOWUP — Marilyn Armstrong More stats 75
REALLY, MY MOTHER – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 75
WIFED OUT – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 75
MAO, A CAT – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 75
EVALUATING ART – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
WORDPRESS AND REGENERATION – OH NO! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
WHY SERENDIPITY? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
INSTALLING A PRINTER AND WHY I HATE THEM – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
INFURIATION, RAGE, ANGER, AND OTHER BLOOD PRESSURE-RAISING MOODS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
GOLDFINCH OR WARBLER? Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
NO REFEREE? A NEW CONCEPT – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
AHOY AND AHEAD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
NOT QUITE THIRTY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 74
Human-Body-Muscles More stats 73
THE CHANGING SEASONS: MAY 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 73
THIS MAGIC MOMENT- Rich Paschall More stats 73
TO IMPEACH OR NOT? IS THAT EVEN A QUESTION? – By TOM CURLEY More stats 73
THE WALRUS AND THE CARPENTER More stats 73
Toilet Paper More stats 73
SHADES OF DIFFERENCE -MONOTONE AND MONOCHROME More stats 73
IT’S CALLED STRESS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 72
ONE THING I DID NOT WANT TO BE – Rich Paschall More stats 72
(unknown or deleted) More stats 72
GIFTS, DREAMS, AND MAKING IT HAPPEN – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 72
THE SUMMER OF ’69 – Rich Paschall More stats 72
I AM THE APPLE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 72
GOOD MORNING FRIENDS, BIRDS, AND A SQUIRREL – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 72
SELFIES AND AUTOGRAPHS – Garry Armstrong More stats 72
ENVY OF WORCESTER COUNTY – CAROLINE’S CANNABIS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 72
NO ESCAPE AND NOWHERE TO RUN – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 72
MY DAY: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE RIDICULOUS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 72
THERE ISN’T MUCH SNOWFALL #writephoto – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 71
JULY BLUES AND SUNRISE ON THE VERNAL EQUINOX – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 71
ESPECIALLY BAD WAYS TO DIE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 71
R&R WITH OLD FRIENDS – Garry Armstrong More stats 71
FINEST DAY OF THE WEEK, DEPENDING ON HOW YOU LOOK AT IT – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 71
THE PELLET WITH THE POISON IS IN THE VESSEL WITH THE PESTLE, I THINK – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 71
MY REMEMBERER IS BROKE More stats 71
CLOWNS ARE RUNNING THE WORLD – Garry Armstrong More stats 71
BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 71
SIZE MATTERS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE GODZILLA – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 71
EVEN SQUIRRELS GET HUNGRY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 70
(unknown or deleted) More stats 70
WHAT’S FOR DINNER? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 70
A VINTAGE FARM TRACTOR AS GARDEN ORNAMENT – Garry and Marilyn Armstrong More stats 70
AMBITION AND THE LACK THEREOF – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 70
NATURE VS. NURTURE – DOES HARDSHIP MAKE YOU STRONGER? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 70
A Public Service Announcement – An important reblogged announcement for everyone afflicted by universal stupidity More stats 70
B+ AND ME: BLOOD TYPES AROUND THE WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 70
YOU CAN’T BUILD A FUTURE ON HATE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 70
CASH NOT ACCEPTED HERE! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 69
WHEN NOTHING MEANS ANYTHING More stats 69
MyHeritage DNA – THE LEAST EXCITING DISCOVERY OF 2017 More stats 69
THE MOST NIMBLE OF ALL SQUIRRELS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 69
IS IT REALLY THAT BAD? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 69
WINDOWS ON MY WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 69
THE BOBCAT’S BACK – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 69
BLUE BIRDS OF HAPPINESS – Marilyn Armstong More stats 69
THERE’S NO GOOD TIME TO CALL AT&T – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 69
DIETING WITHOUT DIGNITY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 69
GOOD FRIENDS – BOSTON’S TV NEWS PERSONALITIES – GARRY ARMSTRONG WITH MARK SHANAHAN More stats 69
JACK WARNER, NAZIS, AND HOLLYWOOD – By Garry Armstrong, with a bit of inspiration from Marilyn Armstrong More stats 68
KINDNESS OF STRANGERS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 68
AN EARLY VISIT – Garry Armstrong More stats 68
OFFICIAL MINUTES FROM THE FIRST “COUNCIL OF THE TOMS” – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 68
ONE OF THE DAYS DURING ONE OF THOSE WEEKS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 68
NO SPENDTHRIFTING THIS YEAR – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 68
A DANCE IN A GRAVEYARD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 68
EVERYTHING NEW IS OLD AGAIN – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 68
INGENUITY: PLANNING A TRIP WITH THREE DOGS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 68
AND AFTER ALL THE TESTS … Marilyn Armstrong More stats 68
THE LAST OF THE SILVER SCREEN COWBOYS – Garry Armstrong More stats 68
SO HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT LINES? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
LONG, RAMBLING POLITICAL & ECOLOGICAL POST – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
GOOD, BAD, AND UGLY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
THE LONG DELAY ENDS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
NO SPELLCHECKER – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
A GOOD NEWS-BAD NEWS KIND OF DAY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
SO HERE’S MY DEAL – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
Fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding: A Reminder from “Inherit the Wind” More stats 67
THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD: KUDOS TO MARTHA KENNEDY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO LIVE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
THE LAST TIMES SQUARE UNTIL NEXT TIME – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
FLOWER OF THE DAY PLUS SQUARE AND SPIKY MARCH DAY 3 – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
WHAT COMPUTER TO BUY IF YOU DON’T HAVE MONEY? Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
THE GARDENER’S RESPITE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 67
THE STUPID IS STRONG IN THIS COUNTRY – By TOM CURLEY More stats 67
WE ARE FINITE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
ALL I WANT TO DO IS ENTER MY HOUSE JUSTIFIED – Garry Armstrong More stats 66
THE SUPER BOWL OF GROCERY SHOPPING – Garry Armstrong More stats 66
WOODPECKERS: NAME THAT BIRD! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
(unknown or deleted) More stats 66
NOT THE BUCKET LIST – Rich Paschall More stats 66
OPTIONAL SUNDAY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
A BLOGGING DIARY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
EVENTUALLY MAKES A LONG LIST – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
BUCOLIC CREATURES AND THE FEEDERS ON THE DECK … Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
A SOGGY AUTUMN THURSDAY – Garry Armstrong More stats 66
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM LIKE A MAGAT? – AGAIN! – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 66
(unknown or deleted) More stats 66
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! – Marilyn Armstrong, with Photos by Garry Armstrong More stats 66
KEEPING THE WATCH – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
UP UP AND AWAY: WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 66
SOME STUFF NEEDS INVENTING – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
THE CANAL FLOWS PAST US – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM LIKE A MAGAT? – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 65
WHY I WAS BUYING A LAMP AT 3 AM – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
ARE WE THERE YET? SHORT FICTION FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
IF IT WASN’T ABOUT SLAVERY, WHAT WAS IT ABOUT? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
UNEXPECTED WINDOWS: A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
Deutsche Bank Executive Found Dead More stats 65
LEARNING TO GROW THINGS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
WITH GOD ON MY SIDE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
FLYPAPER (2011): A PLEASANT SURPRISE More stats 65
POPULARITY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
NOW, IT’S THE NEW YEAR’S CACTUS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 65
THE DAWN BREAK IN – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
PERFUNCTORY AFFECTION – A NEW NOVEL By KIM HARRISON – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
TOO MANY BIRDS! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
SO TELL ME … WHY DO WE PAY FOR HOME INSURANCE? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
A PAIR OF LADY BIRDS IN THE AFTERNOON – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
DRAWING AND QUARTERING – MY FAVORITE NIGHTMARE More stats 64
EASTER AND PASSOVER: JOINED AT THE HIP – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
ALL LINED UP? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
THE CHANGING SEASONS – AUGUST 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
AHAB THE WANDERER – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
BRING ON THE ANGRY MOBS! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
IF IMITATION IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF FLATTERY More stats 64
I ALMOST HAD IT – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
A COLLAPSING WORLD IN “SAN ANDREAS FAULT” – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
IT’S BEEN ONE OF THOSE MONTHS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
EYEBROWS? Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
ARE WE READY FOR A GAY PRESIDENT? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
IS THIS THE END OF DAYS? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
A WILD RUSHING OF HUNGRY BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 64
NOT FEELING WELL – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
A TEMPORARY FINISH LINE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE DOG-HUMAN BOND – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 63
THE RESTORATION OF ANA McGUFFEY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
HOW DO THEY DO IT? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
THE OTHER SIDE OF IMMIGRATION – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
AUTHENTIC MASCULINITY AT ITS MOST VALOROUS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
RAW OR JPG? WHAT’S YOUR FORMAT? Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
FENCES: A WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – Garry Armstrong More stats 63
UXBRIDGE ON THE RITZ! – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
SQUIRREL DU JOUR – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY, JEFF – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
RETURNING WEDGEWOOD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
A NEW BIRD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 63
‘THE LATE, LATE SHOW’ – “GUILTY PLEASURES” (MA-XXX) – Garry Armstrong More stats 62
BLUE LIKE THE JAYS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
AFTER SEVEN YEARS OF BLOGGING … Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
THE MYSTERY OF THE SOCKS THAT DISAPPEAR IN THE DRYER – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 62
ASSISTED SUICIDE: YAY OR NAY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
CAR-MA AND COPS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
AN OPEN LETTER TO HUMANITY FROM PLANET EARTH – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 62
BIRDS AND THE FIRST SNOW WITH ONE SQUIRREL — Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
“LES MISERABLE” VERSUS “LESS MISERABLE” — Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
WHY ARE WE SO STUPID? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
A VISITOR TO THE DECK – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
A ROCK IS A ROCK IS A ROCK – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
AN AMERICAN CARAVAN STOPPED BY THE WALL – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
FLOWERS AND GETTING LOST – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
THE FOOL – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
TWAS THE NIGHT ‘FORE IMPEACHMENT – NOT BY TOM CURLEY More stats 62
HOUDINI DOG – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 62
SPIKY PINK CACTUS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
FAME: TO BE THE GREATEST EVER – Garry Armstrong More stats 62
SKULKING IN THE SHADOWS — Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
INDULGE AND INDULGENCES – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
MOVIE NIGHT STARRING GARRY “THE LEGEND” ARMSTRONG – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 62
PEDIATRIC RELIGION – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
HUMANS RIGHTS — Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
IT TOLLS FOR THEE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
NOT A PENNY FROM ME OR MINE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
MASSED SQUIRRELS ATTACK RURAL HOME SLAUGHTERING RETIREE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
A PET GOAT? – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 61
MY HOME TOWN – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
PROVOCATIVE QUESTION – CONTROLLING OUR LIVES – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
TERM LIMITS ARE A REALLY BAD IDEA – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
ORGANIZING THE PAST – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 61
WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
ANYWAY ANYWAY ANYWAY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLE BLUE EYES – GARRY ARMSTRONG More stats 61
VICTIMS OR PERPETRATORS? TAKE YOUR BEST GUESS! – Garry Armstrong More stats 61
google-search-screen More stats 61
VARIETY IS MY SPICE FOR LIFE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
IT’S JUST A MATTER OF BALANCE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
A FEW PICTURES OF BIRD USING NEW VERSIONS OF TOPAZ STUDIO 2 – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
GOBLINS AND PUMPKINS BY THE ROAD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE HAPPY TO GET A PHONE CALL? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
YEARS OF BRASS, YEARS OF GOLD – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
IS ANYONE LISTENING? — Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
IT’S THE LITTLE STUFF THAT GETS ME – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
FUN WITH FAKE NEWS — TOM CURLEY More stats 61
THE CHANGING SEASONS – SEPTEMBER 2019 – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 61
NEVER AGAIN? – BY ELLIN CURLEY More stats 61
selling soul to the devil More stats 60
IMMORTALITY AND AGING – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
RASPY FOR THAT FIRST ANNOYING CALL OF THE MORNING – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
YOU KNOW HOW TO WHISTLE, DON’T YOU? – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
BLOGGING BETWEEN MADNESS AND SANITY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
STICKS AND STONES by Garry Armstrong More stats 60
INHERIT THE WIND (1960) – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
WHEN THEY CANCEL YOUR MEDICATIONS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
YESTERDAY WHEN MY WORLD WAS YOUNG – Garry Armstrong More stats 60
YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO LISTEN TO THE FIFTH DENTIST! – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 60
PASS ME THE MEGAPHONE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
OF ALL THE GIN JOINTS IN TOWN … — Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
MODERN CAPITALISM AND CORPORATE CORRUPTION IN ONE MEME – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
GREEN GREEN, IT’S GREEN THEY SAY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
BLACK & WHITE GEOMETRIC PHOTOGRAPHY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
BUSY, SNOWY DAY AROUND THE BIRD FEEDER – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
BENCHES BY THE RIVERS – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
ASK A SILLY QUESTION – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
A MOST UNUSUAL HOBBY – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
HE’S NOT A MAN, HE’S A CHICKEN, BOO – BY TOM CURLEY More stats 60
RURAL LIFE AND THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
BLUE JULY AND UP IN THE AIR! – Garry Armstrong More stats 60
ESAU WAS A HAIRY MAN … Presented by Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
EARLY RISER – A NEW NOVEL BY JASPER FFORDE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
WHEN YOU GET TOO OLD TO BE COST-EFFECTIVE – Marilyn Armstrong More stats 60
THAT GOOD OLD RULE OF THIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong 60
ROMANTIC BLUE IN JULY – Marilyn Armstrong

The one post that, with the help of Judy Dykstra-Brown (lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown) was actually published. But it didn’t make the popularity list. It was probably my best writing of the year and it was really nice to see an article in print again! Like print, as in “paper”!

The post was “BE HOME BEFORE THE LIGHTS COME ON” and if we are going by “well-written” rather than “most popular,” I think this one wins the cup. Thank you Judy, for ALL your help! I literally could not have done it without you!

Some of my personal favorites (and I didn’t write all of them) are bold and in red, but there are other pretty good pieces, especially in the not as popular section. I’m glad I did this. Now, if ONLY I could remember the titles of other really good ones. Pathetic, isn’t it?

SO HERE’S MY DEAL – Marilyn Armstrong

I’ve been trying to figure out why blogging is so much more stressful now than it was a few years ago. I actually came up with an answer that seems to make sense, at least to me.

As a start, I didn’t feel obligated to read everyone’s blogs. I read those that looked interesting and I didn’t sign up for so many. I have more than 70 blogs listed in which I am interested. I can’t read that much stuff in a day or even in a week. Especially if I also leave comments.

I don’t know when I started to feel obligated to read everyone’s blog, but at some point, it made me feel bad that people were reading me, but I wasn’t reading them. Then, new stuff came up and I subscribed, but a lot of the time it turned out that it was a one-time thing and I couldn’t establish a sustained interest in their material. Even those I read almost every day, there are just days when other stuff happens. Days when I want to read the news. Or a book. Or … gasp … do nothing in particular.

I don’t like unsubscribing to someone’s blog. It’s taken as a rebuke when often, it’s more a matter of finding time in my life to do something other than blogging. Between writing, photography, processing, putting posts together, and organizing … and having a life … it becomes more burdensome than joyful.

Not feeling I have the time to read books has made me crabby. I love reading — and listening. Not having time to get into a story bothers me. Reading has always been my escape.

Since Trump was elected, the world has been particularly treacherous. The news is terrifying.

I don’t know what I can do. I can’t solve any of the stuff that worries me. I feel helpless. Not a good feeling, especially because I need to feel a modicum of control over my life.

So for all of you who are my friends, I love you, but I can’t keep pushing myself to be everything to everyone. I wish I could, but I can’t. My writing suffers, I get too tired to take pictures and blogging stops being fun.

There are so many great blogs, I wish I could read them all.

LOVING WORDS AND KNOWING HOW TO USE THEM – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #51


If people find typos or grammatical, punctuation, spelling, or usage errors in your posts, do you welcome having them pointed out to you, or do you resent it.

As a blogger do you let people know about such mistakes or do you just let them go?


There was a time when I was the aggravated editor at large. However, in recent months, my typo count has risen so high that there are often more typos, missed words, wrong parts of sentences which belong elsewhere, I do not feel I have any authority to speak on the subject.

I was never a good proofreader, even when I was much younger, but now it’s wildly out of control. If I change keyboards? I go from bad to “What IS that word?” I make typos so bad the spellchecker doesn’t recognize the word at all.

I admit that I go and change really badly typoed words in comments because WordPress doesn’t even give us 10 seconds to go back and change it. I read through typos. Of course, I do. I am the typo queen.

I do NOT have the same attitude towards poor grammar, though. The inability of even adults to recognize the difference between shorthand for Facebook or whatever they are using these days and language. Or, for that matter, the difference between an adjective and an adverb because they don’t know the difference between a verb and a noun. If you listen to sportscasters, you’ll know why. They don’t use adverbs. Ever. It isn’t stylistic. It’s pure ignorance.

It isn’t necessarily their fault. Our educational system is sorely lacking. They don’t teach grammar in public schools. If you don’t pick it up by reading book, how COULD you learn it?

And oh lord, PUNCTUATION. I swear everyone makes it up as they go along. My personal favorite is the    ,,,.    between what might be clauses, but isn’t a clause the guy who drops down the chimney with toys? No? 

People our age often leave out the subject of the sentence because we forgot to type it. But the younger ones? What’s their excuse? A good friend is (actually, now WAS) a college English professor. Every once in awhile, he’d show us what students turn in as essays. They truly do not know the difference between LOLWFOMA, TY, BRB, and what we used to call English. I don’t think we are setting a good example, either.

The other thing is that many young people have never read a book. Personally, I listen to audiobooks rather than reading, but I did read thousands of books before I moved to audio. So if my eyes are tired, they earned it.

One busy wall

Neither parents nor teachers forced them to read. Anyway, what with owning every electronic device ever made, what motivation do they have to read? You have to get them reading when they are young before they get hooked in electronics.

We spend millions on electronic devices that are outdated in six months — and don’t put any effort into convincing kids to read. Owen’s deal (from ME) when he was young was before he got an allowance or his bicycle, he had to turn in a book report — to me — every week. I didn’t care what he read, whether it was easy or difficult, but it had to be a BOOK.

Vineyard art – the second painting is the one from the book I gave to Owen.

Thus he fell in love with Stephen King, a love that still lingers, TinTin, Hardy Boys, and all of Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventures. He also loved anything with great illustrations and can take very excellent pictures when he remembers to have a camera — which is rare and rather frustrating. He has talent, but he works 50 hours a week or more, so I suppose that’s a bit limiting.

“How to Live With a Conniving Cat” was a favorite. When we summered on the Vineyard, we bought one of the original paintings done for that book. It was a piece of luck because the painter died while the exhibit was up. His family came and took all his paintings home. They refused to sell any of them. We have the only one that isn’t family-owned.

That was back “in the day” when we went to galleries and bought stuff! You know. Two salaries? Those WERE the days.

I gave the painting to Owen for his birthday. He really, really wanted it. Turns out, he also likes art. Kids like what they learn to like. If you don’t teach them, they don’t get it. Schools are only a piece of education. The rest comes from their home environment.

And yes, there still ARE libraries and they are still FREE. What’s more, there are art galleries in all kinds of places. You don’t have to buy things to go and look. And, oh yes. Museums!


P.S. I don’t have a problem with typos being pointed out, or for that matter, entirely missing words or pieces of paragraphs, or duplicated words. I have always worked best with an editor! I’d correct them myself if I noticed them.

IS ANYONE LISTENING? — Marilyn Armstrong

I feel like I need to keep blogging on the off-chance that whatever I’m writing, someone is reading it and thinks a little differently because of what I wrote.

In the cave

The politics of the country are also getting painful. I can’t detach from them, but they give me a permanent headache. I wonder if this really IS the end of the country I’ve loved.

I don’t know whose country this is. I don’t understand the meanness, the hatred, the lack of kindness by those who are rich enough to really make a difference. Or, for that matter, how hard we tried to do the right things and seem to have failed on every possible level.


The weather is changing, my birds are dying — and regardless of whether or not our government believes it, it’s hard to not notice that many things about our climate have altered, with a lot more to come. It’s hard to be funny when everything seems so negative. Upbeat is a bumpy road.


Meanwhile, our littlest dog has a  lot of old dog problems. She, Gibbs, Garry, me, and this house are all suffering from aging. I’m also not convinced that trying to fix each problem is necessarily the right thing to do. Should Bonnie’s last days be full of surgery and pulled teeth? Is that how I would like to pass?

I don’t think she has a lot more time. I have been watching her decline as I have watched so many other pets. Do we want to put her through massive dental work — even if we could afford it — and eye surgery — which might or might not actually help? I have had many dogs move on from this world and every time we’ve tried to do something drastic to try and stop that clock, it has not only not improved the life of the pet we loved, but rather made their last months miserable and painful. We swore to each other to never do that again, but we always want to fix it. As if somehow, we can make time stop.

Maybe it’s more sane and kind to recognize that this bell is tolling for us.


So what’s the right thing to do? My current thought is that as long as Bonnie seems to be okay with life, that’s good.  I won’t put her through surgeries or procedures. She is 13, deaf, rather blind, and a wee bit into doggie dementia. Not deep into it. And despite all of this, she is quite spritely.

Meanwhile, do I have an obligation to keep on keeping on? To try to speak up about what I believe is right? To try to fight what I know is wrong? Does anyone care what I say? Is anyone listening? Do our voices matter?

The older I get, the more I realize no one is listening to their “elders” anymore — not counting the AARP crowd who are running for President. They appear to believe they will live forever.

The political reality that has gripped this country feels unreal. The only “real things” are solid. The house, Garry, the birds, and squirrels. Friends, family, and flowers are real. Everything else is … weird.

I’m going to write, so I might as well write here. What would I do with all the photographs no one will ever see unless I post them?

I also finally realized I am living in an American version of tyranny. I hardly know HOW to feel about it. How did this happen? I wonder how many people have felt like this for a long time? We became the Banana Republic, minus the bananas. What’s strangest of all — to me — is that it life is the same as ever. We have the same problems we’ve had for years. We hope for better days … or at least better days for our son and granddaughter. The young ones deserve a world they can live in.

What a peculiar and dangerous world we are leaving to our children and grandchildren. I hope we get to fix at least some of it before it goes totally out of control. That the one thing we most need to do. Politics be damned, we need to make our world a safe and healthy place to live.

Or, as the Wicked Witch of the West (or is it East?) say: “WHAT A WORLD. WHAT A WORLD.”

A BLOGGING DIARY – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Diary

Since I started seriously blogging, it has become a diary. It wasn’t meant to be, but because of it, I know when major and minor events occurred in my life. I can call up the time  — at least if it happened during the past 7 years — in my blog.

So much of the blog is made up of the things that have happened day to day in my world. Big things, little thing, barely anything — they all wind up on the pages of the blog. That’s why I’ve refused to let myself be locked into a particular style of blogging or a particular theme. It’s a big world and there’s a lot going on.

Two little titmice sitting in a feeder

In any case, I’ve never appreciated the idea or concept of being “locked-in” to anything. Ever. Even now, when physical movements are limited, at least my brain (such as it is) can roam free … and blogging has enabled me to do a lot more mental roaming than I ever thought possible!

A rather menacing Blue Jay!

I also feel I should mention that I’ve learned a lot. Not only by writing, but from the comments and conversations I’ve had. My world is bigger and I know so many more details of things that were previously just broad swathes of knowledge.

It’s a diary of what has been and it is also a diary of what I’ve learned.

WALLOWING IN THE PAST – Marilyn Armstrong

An endless recitation of woes are giving me migraines. It’s not that I lack sympathy. More like I’m emotionally exhausted. So many people are stuck in a pit of youthful misery. Bad childhoods, terrifying ex-marriages or other horrible relationships. Or worse, they want to write. They need to write, but they can’t. The words won’t come.

So don’t write. It’s not as if you are legally obligated to be a writer. If it isn’t working out, give it up. Do something else. Anything else.

Don’t they want to move on?

Apparently not. The quagmire of despair has become a comfortable, homey place. So they set up a desk, computer, and light and there they stay. Some of these bloggers continue exploring the depths of their suffering for hundreds — thousands? — of posts. Many are closing in on Social Security yet are still suffering from childhood trauma. So much for time casting a rosy haze over the past. Even if you haven’t solved your problems, it doesn’t mean you can’t just let them go. There will be new tragedies down the road and plenty more misery to come. I can pretty much guarantee it.

There ought to be an official cutoff date at which point you are required to close the book on whatever dreadful experience life dealt you during your wretched childhood and ghastly former relationships. Or at least after the passage of one full lifetime, you should be required to find some other subject about which to write.

we are not our mistakes

Sometimes I think it’s because they’ve found an audience for their posts about suffering and it’s their fallback position. Can they really be enmeshed in the same memories after thirty or forty years have passed?

I know lots of people who were abused as children. Hell, I wrote a book about it and because of that, I had total strangers telling me their stories. I suppose I deserved it. If you write a book on the subject and people read it, you can’t blame them for thinking you might be interested.

Now, let’s add in all those who had abusive relationships as adults. Isn’t that everyone? Who hasn’t had a terrible relationship or three? I plead guilty on all charges, your honor.

It was my first husband (before you ask, he died) who strongly suggested I might want to move in a different direction.  Of course, this was before my second marriage, the one in which I managed to step in front of the same bullet I’d previously dodged.


NOTE TO SELF: No one is ever too old to behave like a moron.

You have to want to move on.

It takes time and work, but I’m glad I (finally) did it. There have been plenty of new traumas to cope with. I doubt I’d have survived if I hadn’t cleared the decks. I’m overloaded. I cannot read another angst-laden tale of abuse and trauma. I’m know how awful it can be. Been there. I support all efforts to free oneself from the lingering effects of the past — but I’ve got a few problems and plenty of personal angst. If I can, I’d rather make you laugh than cry.

Cardinal, well-fed!

For all of us, it’s time to stop defining ourselves as the worst things that happened to us. We are not what others did to us. We aren’t our mistakes. As much as we have suffered, surely we’ve also found at least a little bit of fun, joy, friends, and love.

Misery is like a piano falling on your head; happiness just creeps up on you. The result? Long after the people who hurt us have disappeared from our lives, they are still beating us up and the only one getting hurt is us.

Got any good jokes?

ONCE UPON A TIME, WE WROTE LETTERS – Marilyn Armstrong

Garry was saying he was taping an old movie, “A Letter to Three Wives.” He thought the whole concept of writing letters was kaput. No one writes letters anymore. We may dash off a note on a card, but a whole letter?

“When,” I asked Garry, “Was the last time you wrote a real letter.”

“When I wrote to you, in Israel?”

“Yup,” I said. “And the letters I wrote to you from Israel were the last personal letters I ever wrote.”

“Funny about that,” he said.

“Sure is,” I answered.

That was 1987.

POPULARITY – Marilyn Armstrong

We bloggers are endlessly in search of answers. All kinds of answers. I am, in particular, forever seeking an answer to the ultimate blogger query.

What makes people follow me? Why are some posts popular while others — which I think are better — are not?

I think I’ve got it part of the answer. Not the whole one. There are just some posts that, for reasons I cannot fathom, become wildly popular and I never figure out why.

The more typical answer became obvious while I was reading someone else’s post titled “Excellent Demo.” It was about a software presentation to a prospective client that goes horribly wrong. The WiFi connection doesn’t work. The hot spot tool doesn’t help.

It’s humiliating and the kind of experience we have all had. It’s painfully universal. I can remember at least two horrible professional moments, both involving cameras. After more than 30 years, they remain cringe-worthy and painful to the touch.

His company got the contract anyhow. He wondered why?

I realized the answer was probably simple. Everyone in that room — at some time or another — had a similar experience. That the demo went badly generated a visceral empathy with the audience. The disaster didn’t sell the product, but it didn’t unsell it, either.

Back on Serendipity, I noticed the two posts that did better than usual were both about the kind of stuff that happens to everyone. What was the common thread? I looked at other popular posts.

I looked at the list of my all-time most popular posts. Not including camera, movie, television, and technology reviews which have an evergreen cycle, all Serendipity’s most popular posts have a universal theme, something to which anyone and everyone can relate.

I don’t write this way on purpose. I’m betting most of you don’t design your style. It comes out of you. It is you. I can control my subject matter, but I have little control over my style. When anyone asks about my “process,” I come up blank. What’s a process?

I don’t have a process. I get an idea. I write about it. It may leap out of a conversation with Garry, a comment I make on someone else’s blog, a book I’m reading, a TV show I’ve watched. A dream I had or what the dogs did. Many are anecdotes … things that happened here and elsewhere. Often, the interesting part of the story isn’t the event, but how it affected me or others.

There are blogs that deal with issues. Some special interest web sites which talk about current events, news, politics, religion, archaeology, history, the power structure, education. Some are all about history or literature. Or talk only about movies. They have their audiences, people who are interested in the things these bloggers write about. I and many of you reading this have special interests too, but mostly, we are interested in life.

That’s what we write about it. Sometimes, it’s a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Nice and tidy. As often as not, it’s a memory, a string of thoughts wrapped around something that happened. A wish, a wisp, a wistful moment. And strangely, other people enjoy reading it.

Go figure, right?

A LONG LIST OF QUESTIONS THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH ME – Marilyn Armstrong

Not sure of where these came from other than Melanie. Does it really matter? So, for Melanie, answers to questions that have to do with someone else’s life, but very little to do with mine.


QUESTIONS:
This is a list of 72 questions. Number 15 was missing, so I renumbered the list.

1. What’s your usual Starbucks order?

Never been to Starbucks, but I don’t like their coffee. It isn’t “dark roasted.” It’s burned.

2. What does your workstation look like? 

What workstation?

3. Favorite food? 

Japanese.

4. Favorite author? 

Too tough to call.

5. What do you think of open relationships? 

Been there. Done that. It has good points and bad ones. This is much too complicated for a simple answer.

6. What is your favorite video game? 

Bridge.

7. Guilty pleasure treat? 

Fresh fruit.

8. Favorite movie? 

The Lion in Winter (the original)

9. Favorite book? 

Too many.

10. Twitter or Instagram? 

Neither.

11. Desktop or laptop? 

Laptop.

12. Best advice you’ve ever received? 

Take care of yourself. If you don’t do it, no one will (Author: My mother)

13. What project are you working on right now? 

I’m not. Unless you count blogging.

14. Favorite color? 

Lapis blue.

15. Dream job?

Did that already. Retired and planning to stay that way.

16. Play any sports?

Not any more.

17. Do you have a degree?

B.A. in something. I used to want to frame it and put it up over the sink so I could look at it while I washed dishes. But I lost it, so now, I can’t even prove I went to college. Not that anyone cares. Even I don’t care.

18. Nationality? 

American.

19. What is your favorite kind of blog post?

Something with an idea in it. Or great pictures. Or makes me laugh. Historical too.

20. What do you like to collect?

Nothing. I’m over-collected.

21. Describe yourself in three words?

Busy yet retired.

22. If you were a rapper what would your stage name be?

I would not be a rapper. By any name.

23. Who was the last person you DMed? 

What’s a DM?

24. What’s on top of your wishlist right now?

Winning a lot of money. I probably should cash in my lottery ticket, but I think I lost it.

25. Sorting house? 

What?

26. How many tattoos do you have? 

One. A big one. On my left calf.

27. What are you most grateful for this year? 

Being here. For another year.

28. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month? 

Owen fixed the hole in the back door.

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today? 

I remembered to give the dogs their heartworm medicine. Now I have to ORDER medicine.

30. What’s the best thing ever? 

For who? Me? Garry? Dogs? Friends? Seriously EVER?

31. Favorite season?

Fall.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

32. Favorite holiday?

Christmas. I like the music.

33. What fictional character do you relate to most? 

Rachel Morgan.

And in the mid-October, we have autumn on the Canal

34. Do you like surprises?

It depends. What KIND of surprise?

35. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had? 

Garry wanted to get married.

36. Which surprise made you cry? 

If it made me cry, it wasn’t a surprise. It was something else.

37. What’s the best surprise you’ve given somebody else? 

Getting Garry a subscription to the Baseball channel.

38. Do you like muffins? 

Real muffins or the kind they sell at Dunkin Donuts? Because those are cupcakes, not muffins.

39. Do you cook often? 

Every fucking day.

40. What’s your favorite dessert? 

Ice-cream and fresh strawberries.

41. Is there a dessert you don’t like? 

Anything excessively sweet.

42. Cake or pie? 

Pie.

43. What’s your least favorite food? 

Snails.

44. What’s your favorite condiment? 

Za’atar.

45. It’s 4am on a random Saturday. What are you eating? 

I’m not eating. I’m sleeping.

46. If you could teach a college class what would it be called? 

How to survive all the things nobody warns you are going to happen.

47. Best animated film? 

Fantasia 1 and 2.

48. What has a guy done or said to impress you? 

Garry married me. I was impressed.

49. The best thing to do on a first date? 

First date? Do you realize my first day was 56 years ago?

50. The worst thing to do on a first date? 

That was also 56 years ago.

51. What’s the best pick-up line?

I love you. Let’s get married.

52. Best comic book character?

Superman.

53. Name three things which can always be found in your wallet.

Credit cards.

54. Favorite drink? 

Coke or Ginger Ale. It’s a mood thing.

55. If you could play a historical character in a movie who would it be?

Eleanor of Aquitaine.

56. Kittens or puppies?

Neither. I like cats and dogs.

57. Favorite sushi roll?

Wanakura’s special roll. it has EVERYTHING I love on it, from crab to tuna and then it’s cooked like tempura.

58. What lipstick do you use?

I don’t.

59. What foundation do you use?

Skin.

60. Blow-dry or air dry?

Air unless it’s really cold and I’m going out. I don’t want my wet hair to freeze on my head, so then I’ll blow-dry it.

61. Who is your fashion icon?

A fashion what?

62. Favorite Disney Character?

Minny Mouse. She doesn’t get any respect.

63. What are you doing tomorrow?

Nothing.

64. Movie you laughed the hardest through? 

Young Frankenstein.

65. A movie that made you cry?

Something with animals. I cry at all of them.

66. If you could sing a duet with anybody, who would you choose? 

Myself. Alone. In the shower.

67. If your life was a song what would the title be?

We Didn’t Start the Fire

68. What’s your favorite animal?

Horses. Dogs. Cats. Parrots. Ferrets.

69. Favorite illustrator?

John Tenniel

70. The person you’d like to have coffee with?

Anyone I like

71. What country would you like to visit?

England, New Zealand, and Japan

72. Best way to decompress?

Read a book! Or write one.

HACKED AND HATING IT – Marilyn Armstrong

We Did It! — Maybe?        RDP Monday: PRINCE

I’m sorry. Didn’t use the “word of the day” because this needed to go out to everyone I could send it to. No matter how little you pay attention to what’s going on in your technical department, you should read this because it really does matter to you and all of us.


So, for the moment, Tyngpress.com is closed, but despite that everyone says “it was closed down,” they closed THEMSELVES down and were NOT forced to close. I got this note this morning from “Web.Informer.com”:


Hello,
Thanks for your message. Could you please send us a direct link to this info on website.informer.com? We will remove it asap.
Best Regards, 
Website.Informer Project Team

On Fri, 2 Aug at 11:28 PM , MARILYN ARMSTRONG <fivedawgz@gmail.com> wrote:

This is a full spammer website stealing other people’s material without authorization or permission. Does not create any of his/her own material but steals it, largely from WordPress but probably from others, too. Remove him. Dangerous.

79011:414394


 But the message on the actual website (Tygpress.com) was this:


Tygpress.com is temporarily out of service due to technical issues. will be back soon…

Tygpress.com was created with an intention to create a blog search site, but due to some techical issues, full contents of respective sites were being displayed instead of just excerpts as intended. We thank the complainants for bringing this issue to our notice and We are extremely sorry to the content owners.

This is a literal paste-down, so the misspellings are (for once) not mine.

This comment does NOT indicate they were closed down but are obviously getting hit by a lot of complaints. Duh.

And this site is one of the thousands, maybe millions of such sites. They are all over the world. We have no control over them. This particular one actually had a platform on another server, but many of them have their own servers and work for governments who not only do not care about “us,” but are intentionally out to get us.

Be careful what you post, especially if you have any intention of publishing it. Do NOT publish original artwork if it is something you intend to sell or simply is very dear to you.

These pieces of scum are everywhere and they are targeting every single one of us. I’ve been hacked. Fandango has been hacked. I’m sure many more of us have been hacked. Some of us got off lightly, others had to pay for it. I was also locked out of my own computer, but I spent two full days UNlocking.


PLEASE BACK UP YOUR MATERIAL AND DO IT REGULARLY, EVEN THOUGH IT IS BORING.
MORE IS BETTER.


When you clean off your computer, you clean off EVERYTHING THAT WAS ON IT. You are effectively wiping your hard drive which is fine if your material was backed up onto at least TWO SEPARATE EXTERNAL DRIVES and the rest of it lives on external drives belonging to companies like Amazon and Dell and other major cloud providers.

Google is useless. They won’t do anything and we won’t even discuss Facebook.

WordPress is equally useless. You can enter into their “blocked” functions anything you like, but it doesn’t accomplish anything. They have no effective security arrangements.

No matter WHAT they say, they are lying.

They have also made it (by the way), nearly impossible to get material from new folders in graphics (photographs, in essence).

All you get now is a list. You can’t see any of the images in the folder.

For those of us that are serious photographers and artists, that means you have to carefully name each item in every new folder– or any older folder you haven’t yet opened.

This is going to require endless hours of additional work for everyone who uses a lot of graphics content. I haven’t even bothered to complain to them, though I suppose I should. From previous experience, when they’ve decided to do something exceptionally stupid, pointless, and counter-productive, they never go back and make it work the way it used to. But this is worse than usual. This is AWFUL.

I’m getting close to giving up. It’s not that I don’t love you all, but I’m paying for the privilege of being virtually completely hackable. I’m running some of the world’s worst software and being talked down to like an infant by the baby morons running their “technical” division — our glorious “happiness engineers.”

All they want is more money when they can’t even deliver what we are already paying for.


NOTE: Adjacent to the “select” section from which you need to pull up a picture, there’s a small icon (I can’t copy it, my snap-catch function won’t work on that screen), but if you click on it, it offers you some choices about how to see images. Anyone who recently got a Microsoft “upgrade” will probably have this problem. Select one of the images!


 

THE BELLS ARE TROLLING – Marilyn Armstrong

There are subjects I avoid writing about because no matter where I go, there’s a troll lurking and waiting for an opportunity.

Gun control and “right to life,” or more to the point, the right of the unborn as opposed to the rights of the already alive are big troll-gatherers. They have always been two of the hot topics on the Internet and the trolls follow them like moths to flames in the dark of night. At least I have some control over them here on Serendipity. It’s the big advantage of blogging rather than being part of an “open” bulletin board — or heaven forbid Facebook.

How do you know you are being trolled?


I’m usually pretty good at spotting trolls, but sometimes, they creep in. They make a normal comment and as far as you can ascertain, they seem okay. There aren’t many ways to figure out if someone new is a follower or a troll other than whether or not they have a valid blog. But not all followers have a blog. Some people simply enjoy following other people’s writings.

So you have a new follower. They start a conversation, but they never quit. By the time the second day of conversation arrives, they have stood on every side of a “discussion” … and are getting aggressive.

I have been trolled on places like Amazon. You would think a biography about Alexander Hamilton would be essentially troll-free, but you’d be amazed at the damage they can do. I think Amazon has done something to control these jerks, but not enough. If they want reviewers, they will have to end the trolling.

Places like Facebook are obvious trolling sites. If you are fool enough to open yourself to that sort of thing, you will get what you deserve.

This isn’t Facebook, so it’s simple. I’ll put up with a conversation as long as that’s what it is. The minute it starts to edge into trolling, I will end it. One warning from me — and if there is another murmur from the aforementioned troll — he or she is blocked.

I tell them why and they say I’ve misunderstood them. They were merely trying to “liven up” the conversation. There was a time when I actually believed that line. I don’t believe it anymore.

These trolls actually think their viciousness is funny. They think they are being “cute.” Or anyway, that’s what they say. I still don’t believe it. Cute and funny isn’t nasty, angry, and mean. Sometimes, you get an apology. “Oh, I was just trying to make conversation.”

Don’t believe it. Trolls know exactly what they are doing. They do it wherever they go. They aren’t stupid. They think getting you angry and upset is hilarious. For them, anyway.

If it makes you unhappy, they don’t care. They are doing it for their own amusement, not yours. Their idea of livening up the conversation is to get a lot of people upset and if possible, feeling bad about themselves. When you ask them they will say they like “stirring the conversation” by which they mean insulting and harassing people they don’t even know. It’s their version of “getting the conversation moving.”

It’s trolling. If it is making your nervous system jangle, you can bet it’s trolling. Unless it is someone you know who has just gone a little over the edge, it’s trolling. Do not let them turn your site into a battleground. Spam them, block them, get rid of them. They will drive your real readers away and inflict a lot of damage — to you and others. Trolls are ugly people and their idea of humor has nothing to do with how anyone else feels. The more upset they can make you, the more they enjoy it.

I sometimes wait a while to see if the commentary is going that way, but when it’s a “new reader” with a flurry of nasty, sharp things to say? It’s a troll. Bet on it.

There are things we need to say and sometimes they are controversial. People argue, sometimes with considerable fervor, but I think you will know the trolls from regular readers with strong opinions who have maybe gone a little bit overboard. You’ll know the difference.

Shut down the trolls. Don’t let them back on your site, no matter what they tell you. Once a troll, always a troll.

BLOGGING – IT’S A NEW YET SOMEHOW OLD WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

I’M NEW. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

It’s interesting, looking at an earlier post and realizing how many “givens” have changed since you wrote it. It was just a few years ago. But oh my, how times have changed.

Maybe I’m just getting a bit beat up from having hung around the blog world too long … or maybe it’s the endless pressure of political reality that is making me crazy and mentally exhausted. Maybe it’s everything.

I think it’s harder to blog now than it was. We used to be able to have fun –without feeling the responsibilities of the world. Funny, light, and airy have become harder to find. Some elements of humor have gone out the window. It’s not that I wanted them to go away, but it has been hard to let go of the awful developments going on around us.

That being said, I can’t talk about the “issues” all the time. I can’t even think about them all the time. In that direction lies madness.

Everyone knows that there are dangerous developments in the world, but we can’t think about them every minute of every day. The world is undergoing a bad turn. We are atop that evil pile. I often wonder if I’m still living in the same country. Is this America?

And it’s international too. Is this my world or have slipped into a parallel reality?

Nonetheless, the basic rules still apply — with a few caveats. WordPress is no longer providing any kind of support to bloggers. No prompts, no awards, no nothing. They ply you with endless advertisements to join up with their “business plan” even if you don’t have a business. They pay no attention to what we ask for. Instead, they give us what they feel like giving us … IF they feel like giving us anything. And they do not believe in beta testing their software.

Don’t count on WordPress to give you a hand. They won’t. Do count on fellow bloggers to give you a hand because we will if we can.

So:

    • Do what you love. If it’s writing, write. Photography? Take pictures. Excuses are boring. A lot of people spend more time explaining why they can’t write or take a sharp picture than actually writing or focusing the camera.
    • Don’t whine. We all have problems. (Remind me I said this.) If you are going to whine, try to be funny too.
    • We are all entitled to a good online rant. Just not every day.
    • Funny is good.
    • Keep posts short or at least as concise as you can — given the subject. Some things need more words than others, but when you’re running over a thousand words, put the post away and read it again later or better yet, the next day. I bet you’ll find at least 500 (or more )words you can cut.
    • Don’t post blurry, bad pictures. Learn to look at your work and appraise it as if it were someone else’s.
    • Work on improving your craft(s). Write better. Take better pictures.
    • Proofread! If, like me, you’re a terrible proofreader, use whatever free proofing device you can find. I’m using the free version of Grammarly. I hate to admit it, but it has helped.
    • Follow your gut. If your gut isn’t telling you anything, try your brain and imagination. If that’s not working, read a book.
    • STICK WITH IT. You don’t build a following in a week or two.
    • PERSEVERE! You need to post regularly and often. If you don’t post regularly and often, your readers will wander away.
    • Many followers will wander no matter what you do. They have their own lives and their own reasons. It isn’t about you. Every two or three years, with some important exceptions, you’ll find you have a new group of followers.
    • You never know who is reading you. Many folks read, but many fewer comment. Most won’t even drop a “like.” I’ve been shocked at who reads my blog.
    • Don’t let other people’s stats make you envious. If you stick with it, you’ll get there too. 
    • Check your facts if you are writing anything that contains facts. It’s called credibility. You need it no matter what your government is doing.

NO SPELLCHECKER – Marilyn Armstrong

There will be no spellchecker. I asked and they answered. This was WordPress’s response:


A. Jay (Automattic)

Jun 22, 07:25 UTC

Hi there,

Thank you for contacting us.

The spellchecker was a part of the publication process. I don’t like Grammarly and it interferes with other apps — and Google’s isn’t very good. What was the problem with including it? Was it in someone’s way? Was it harming someone? I do not understand.

Spell checkers are a specialty product, and it’s not something we specialize in. The WordPress.com spell checker was developed years ago when there didn’t exist any alternatives yet. Since then things have changed and a lot of other companies have started specializing in this, which led to the decision on our end to step back from the field and focus instead on the things we do specialize in.

Modern browsers now provide built-in spell-checking tools, so we have removed this feature from our product to avoid maintaining unnecessary dependencies. I read that you do not like Grammarly or Google’s spell checker, however, following are our recommendations as an alternative option:

        • the spell-checking built into most browsers
        • a browser extension that offers additional grammar checks
        • a third-party service that offers additional grammar checks

You can read more about some of these options here – https://en.support.wordpress.com/proofreading/

Please let us know if you have any questions or if we can help with anything else.

Best,

A. Jay | Happiness Engineer
WordPress.com | Automattic Inc.


I’d be interested to find out in exactly what WordPress does specialize. Certainly not in helping bloggers do whatever bloggers do … or creating functional software for bloggers to use. They have been forging ahead with their preconceived notion of what we are supposed to want for years.

None of us were ever consulted. No user surveys were ever taken among users. So with each “update,” they make the software harder to use. More awkward, slower. Essentially, dumber.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. It certainly didn’t surprise me.

SPAM! – Marilyn Armstrong

For a long time, I got two spam messages for every real hit on my site. I was getting almost a thousand spam messages on heavy days. WordPress finally fixed the bug, but it was overwhelming for a while. Was this a record?

I have many questions about spam. The big one is simple. How did a slimy, over-salted canned meat come to be synonymous with electronic junk mail?

Even more puzzling is that people some people still actually eat Spam. You may take that any way you like. In case you didn’t know, it now comes in a variety of flavors. Yum!

Most of my spam comes from a Spanish list server (lista de emails … anything you get from this address is spam) or outlook.com — and 80% of these were porn. The rest are bots and scams. Legitimate companies do not send thousands of illiterate, nonsensical messages to random blogs.

Then, there are those who ask for advice. They use some version of this message as a comment to a randomly selected post.


“These are in fact fantastic ideas in concerning blogging. You have touched some good things here. Any way keep up wrinting.


Huh? What? It gets better. For completely incoherent, this is one of my favorites. I receive several dozen of these every day:


“Fine way of explaining, and fastidious paragraph to take information concerning my presentation focus, which i am going to convey in academy. Watch Elementary Season 1 Episode 5 Online”


I couldn’t have said it better myself.

A few of my best friends and followers always get mixed in with the spam, so I can’t delete it without looking at it. I have to read through it. Sometimes there are 10 to 15 pages or more, but since there are usually a few real comments mixed in, I have to at least look through all the pages.

Every once in a while, something looks like it might be the real deal … a true comment, but I can’t always tell. When in doubt, I spam it.

If you’ve been trying to comment and aren’t showing up, probably you’re getting dumped into the spam and because I don’t recognize you, you’re getting deleted. If you are a real person, please say something that identifies you as a human and not a machine generated message.

I apologize in advance if I have over-zealously deleted you.

I know that I am by no means alone in getting tons of this garbage. And with all the “spam bots” all over the world, it’s only going to get worse.

So, what do these spammers hope to accomplish by sending me this stuff? The messages never have anything to do with my posts. All are repetitive and obviously generated on a computer programmed by someone whose native language is not English. Most of it is gibberish.

Then again so are many posts on Facebook, so maybe that’s not a good example.

There are the spams that warn me my blog doesn’t display properly on the sender’s computer in Internet Explorer. Why would I care?

There’s are three or four versions assuring me I am brilliant, they love my post about (insert post title) and promise they will tell everyone how useful the information is on my web blog. They always call it a web blog like they just learned the term.

The thing is, while there are many ways you could describe my site, no one could honestly say (not even me) that it’s full of useful information. My stuff may be interesting, thought-provoking, occasionally funny, off-beat and apocryphal, but useful?

I don’t consider it useful and I write it.

There are those that request I exchange links with them and those that would love an invitation to write for my blog, those who suggest I come to their site to see huge penises, hot lesbian sex, hot gay sex, hot sexy sex, huge breasts, gigantic butts, and attractive ladies doing disgusting things with inanimate objects. If not, they would like to sell me some Viagra.

Does anyone actually believe this will generate business?

Make money?

If they believe this, why do they believe it? Does anyone ever respond to these “messages”?

So many questions, so few answers. If anyone has an answer, let me know. I’m baffled. It’s not the only thing about which I’m baffled, mind you, but most of the others are more serious.

Meanwhile, feel free to visit the Spam website. You’ll be glad to know that Spam comes in a wide variety of flavors, including a low sodium version that dodges the question of all that fat but it does lower the salt level. The site includes recipes, a Spam Museum and an online shop where you can buy Spam gear, such as caps, tee shirts, and other strange and wonderful things.

So maybe I do include useful information. I guess it depends on how you feel about Spam.

NO SPORTS, POLITICS, OR RELIGION – Rich Paschall

Some Old World Wisdom, by Rich Paschall

When thinking of blog topics, there is no shortage of subject matter. Some general areas offer a lot of topics.  With a bit of extra thought, there’s an endless supply. Consider well how many areas you can pursue if you are willing to delve into sports, politics, or religion. Each is bound to set some readers ablaze.  They would surely bring lots of comments. You do want lively discussion, don’t you?

How lively do you want it?

conversation1

Venture into a sports bar well into the evening and you are likely to find plenty of spirited discussions regarding sports.  These ideas should help you out:  Will the Cubs win another pennant?  Will the White Sox ever get the love the Cubs get?  Will the Blackhawks win another Stanley Cup?  Will the Bears get back to the Super Bowl?  Will the Bulls beat the hated ____________ (fill in New York team here)?  There is little reason get into crosstown rivalries. Dissing out-of-town teams works, but only locally.

DeflatedBallsThumb2

We could always take off after the Bronx Bombers, the Patriots and _______ (name your alleged scandal here), or Jerry Jones and the Cowboys. But why alienate readers in New York, Boston or Dallas? Perhaps we should just write about the ridiculous BCS Bowl series or the commissioner of _________ (name your least favorite here).

A good informational, yet rather neutral article might find favor. Others might conclude that you are trying to make a point, like promoting someone’s stats for the hall of fame.

A discussion of gays in sports or an Olympic diver coming out of the closet might get you into politics so we may have to think carefully about those.  Yes, we will leave the political area of sports alone.

politics-1800s

Speaking of your politics (or mine), perhaps we can find common ground. I could write short stories with a political theme, or write about a run for office that brings victory, but no win for the candidate. Too improbable?

How about the death of democracy through campaign spending?

Imagine buying an election. Maybe this hits too close to home … or do you think it merely fiction or satire?

Political satire is sure to get people discussing or fighting, especially if you throw in climate change as the kicker. Then again, maybe no one will bother to read this stuff. Maybe not such a great idea after all?

How about hitting the topics head-on in a nice well-researched article? We can talk about Democrats, Republicans, capitalists, or socialists. On second thought, that could split the audience from the get-go. Better to look at the subjects of the debates and write a well-reasoned essay.

women's suffrage-2

Where to begin?

Abortion? Immigration? Gay Rights? Civil Rights? Gun Control? Campaign reform? Welfare Reform?  Any reform?

National defense?

Can we all consider any of that without alienating people? There’s always alienating the aliens. Can’t go wrong with that, right?

Well, maybe not.

If politics is too risky, how about the world’s great religions? They’re all rooted in love, are they not? We could discuss the philosophies that ignite the passions behind our beliefs and thus find common ground. Peace and harmony at last.

Except that so many people believe their god is the only one. Some believe their god is telling them to kill others — which sets religion against religion. Alas, there’s nothing new about that. Belief is supposed to bring hope and joy, not war. Yet religion has been the cause of many wars. They are all about religion or land. Check it out.

God is on every side of every war, or so they say. Who goes into battle without the blessing of their particular deity? How can I expect to have a civil discussion in such an emotionally-charged arena?  I have innocently had to extract my foot from my mouth before. Maybe I should let the Dalai Lama write on this topic.

Soon, there won’t be a Dalai Lama because the Chinese won’t allow one. Oops.

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.

Years ago, when one of my favorite innkeepers was alive, we used to drop by his establishment.  It was a great place for lively discussions. If anyone got a little over-heated, the owner walked over with a wink to say, “No sports, no politics, no religion!”

Seemingly a strange thing to say when a sports channel was almost always playing nearby, but he meant “No arguments, no heated discussions.” If arguments got out of hand, he’d say “No sports, no politics, no religion — or you’re out of here!”

That seemed a good approach to barroom politics because these were the areas of discussion that often ended with unpleasantness. Especially when dialogue was fueled by alcohol. Maybe his attitude probably short-circuited a few lively discussions, but he definitely cut off some brawls, too.

Let’s avoid them in the blog-o-sphere and cyberspace too. If Facebook is any indicator, that sounds like a plan!

I WILL WORK FOR FOOD BUT NOT PIZZA – Marilyn Armstrong

I’ve had enough pizza. I like it, mind you, but I’ve had an awful lot of it. Especially since we discovered frozen pizza we can throw in the counter oven. DiGiorno’s sausage made with marinara sauce is my favorite. It tastes pretty good. The dogs appreciate the crusts, too.

There is a rumor, perpetuated by television shows, that bloggers earn a living. Someone in Hollywood thinks people like me make money doing this. I am depressed to admit it, but not one cent have I ever made from this site — not counting the occasional free book for review.

I don’t advertise on this site. In fact, I pay WordPress to not put their advertisements here. My dream is not to monetize my site, but be such an incredible writer that the world will shower me with money — just because I’m me. I won’t have to ask, and I will owe nothing to anybody. And I could pay the bills! Yes!

Money for nothing. It brings tears to my eyes.

Somewhere, some blogger must be making money on his or her site, but I don’t know them. I’ve been around the world, blog-wise. I have yet to see a single blogger bringing in the big bucks. A few people have tried to at least keep even by putting advertisements on their sites, but the amount of money this earns them wouldn’t add up to a good meal in a mediocre restaurant. Moreover, advertising annoys readers. Sites with spammy ads and weird pop-ups make me want to go somewhere else.

Since the Internet remains one of the last, free places on earth, that’s what I do. I go elsewhere.

I don’t do this for money. I don’t even do it in the hopes that someday it might make money.

I don’t run advertisements, have no connections to any organization who will pay me for anything. I get offers for free applications for an “honest review,” but between the lines I read “positive, glowing review.”

I turn them down. “Money for nothing” is a delightful dream and that is all it is.

If for some obscure reason, you want to buy me off? You’ll have to do a lot better than any offer I’ve yet gotten. I’m sure everyone has a price, so I probably have one too, but no one has come close to meeting it.

Please, feel free to keep trying!

Meanwhile, there will be no big money coming from this blog. Not without a humongous payoff. That life of luxury? Waiting in the wings.