DON’T THINK TOO HARD. IT’LL RUIN YOUR DAY — Marilyn Armstrong

THINKING TOO HARD CAN DECIMATE YOUR EQUILIBRIUM

There’s a reason why I don’t always want to write about the things that make me crazy. First of, they are things that make me crazy and I figure I’m crazy enough without working at it. Also, there is so  much wrong with this world. Just thinking about the environment is enough to send me into spirals of despair.

Chris Britt / Illinois Times

Thinking about the Orangeman makes my acid reflux go into overdrive. Thinking about this epidemic that seems unlikely to go away anytime in my lifetime. Or, for that matter, trying to figure out how to replace our boiler and repair the rotting back door … and somehow figure out how to pay my mortgage too. Because the money has to come from somewhere, so it looks like it’s coming out of my mortgage. I don’t have any other choice.

As it stands, I can get a boiler OR I can fix the rotting door, but not both.Really, there is no choice. You can’t live through a winter here without heat, at least not at our ages. I’m not sure anyone could live in New England in the winter without heat.

I spent all day answering calls from plumbers who might be willing to install a boiler or heating unit for us. We don’t have natural gas in this area. It has never been piped in and considering that one of the gas companies blew up a pretty large town in the north of this state a couple of years ago, I’m not sure I want natural gas anyway. But we could get a propane. Propane was standard in Israel for heat. You had big canisters alongside the house and got them changed as needed.

Then I think of Trump. I think of Lindsey Graham. I think of politicians. I get depressed and try to think of anything else. Something humorous although some days, humor is hard to find. Then i worry about voting and to top it off, I worry that even if we win, maybe we won’t really win. Who knows? This isn’t the world in which i grew up.

I read an article this morning that said that unless more people vote (as they did in 2018) we might get you-know-who back. That idea totally ruined my day which had barely started.

WHAT ABOUT THE ELECTION? – Marilyn Armstrong

Georgia’s primary the other night was a warning to all of us of what may be coming. In the course of writing this blog, I’ve had direct communications with several real-life historians and all of them have said exactly the same thing:


DONALD TRUMP WILL NEVER VOLUNTARILY LEAVE THE WHITE HOUSE.


When I first heard this, I pooh-poohed it. That can’t happen. It can’t. But since then, I’ve realized that many things that can’t happen have happened, are happening, will happen. Why do we think Trump wants to ditch the post office? You think it might have something to do with preventing people from mailing in votes?

Gerrymandering as been around for a long time. More than a hundred years and for all I know, longer than that. The Democrats have done it too … but they haven’t turned it into the science as has the GOP.

Why not?

I don’t think it’s out of a higher form of political beliefs. More like if everyone voted, there wouldn’t be a Republican party, or at least not the current one. Most Americans are in favor of universal health care, a more controlled police force, fewer guns on the streets, a greater degree of honesty and transparency in government,  good education for everyone based on truth, facts, and science and not being gouged by pharmaceutical companies.

These past three and a half years have been a nightmare. Aside from Trump, who is a nightmare all by himself, there has been a plague and now, finally, one murder over the line, a broader recognition that killing dark-skinned people for being different than you is not okay. Nor is giving these same people substantially harder sentences for relatively minor crimes or making sure they have the worst paying, most insecure jobs in our so-to-speak economy. It’s NOT right. It was never right.

Dr. Seuss Cartoon from 1941 on antisemitism. The old story, just updated with a red hat.

The way we underpay women is wrong. They fact that we have allowed women to be brutalized in and out of the workplace is not even remotely acceptable.

We can disagree about how our national taxes should be spent but on principle, we all believe in honor and justice for everyone. Yes, there are bigots too, but I think they are a small minority. If they didn’t have access to powerful military guns, they would also be mostly harmless.

The press may not always be correct, but the fourth estate is the only thing that stands between us and a Stalinesque dictatorship. In all the years that Garry worked as a reporter — and all the people with whom he worked — never did any of them drag themselves out of bed so they could lie to you.

Errors are made by everyone, but the only news outlet that makes lying a fundamental premise of their news production is Fox News. If they aren’t ashamed, they should be. And maybe, one of these days, they will be. I would not like to tell my grandchildren that my career was  a series of well-produced lies. Would you?

Things are beginning to turn around. But what about the election? Will we be in the middle of a massive resurgence of COVID-19 as November rolls around? If the election is not held on time, will it be held at all? Ever? It’s a lot easier to keep a democracy than rebuild one.

We are standing on treacherous ground. We should be grateful for the changes and potential changes we see, but until we get this worst of all presidents out of the White House, we aren’t safe.  Rebuilding America isn’t going to happen overnight, either. There’s a LOT of work to be done and we will all have to do some of it.

REMEMBER HOW WE USED TO LIKE FASHION? – Marilyn Armstong

Remember when it mattered if your jeans really fit? Hey, remember makeup? Remember getting your hair styled? Remember when the days of the week meant something?

Remember when you didn’t start drinking until around sundown (slightly earlier on a holiday)?

Those days are gone forever. Now, there’s Quarantine Life where we wear the same clothing every day because what’s the point? Our pets are all over us anyway, so regardless, we are hairy and what IS that stuck to my shirt? Oh, right. Maple syrup. Maybe a hint of coffee or jam?

Definitely not neat and it’s sticky.

Life in quarantine

THE BATHING OF BONNIE AS THE APOCALYPSE RIDES BY – Marilyn Armstrong

There comes a moment in time when your beloved dog smells like a pile of indescribable offal. Bonnie had reached an intolerable stage and finally, all the stuff I ordered — shampoo, detangler, steel combs, brushes arrived. I told Garry last night we were going to bathe her today. He agreed, but I don’t think he was actually listening.

Clean!

So when I paused the morning coffee and said “We are going to bathe Bonnie,” he looked like I’d struck him with lightning. You can’t pause the coffee. It’s just not done. But it was today. It was already two in the afternoon. We’d slept through most of the rainy day. It was cold and wet and miserable. I didn’t see any point in getting up anyway. Yesterday, Garry got his first best home haircut.

Today, Bonnie got her very unprofessional kitchen grooming. She doesn’t look groomed. Mostly, she looks cleaner and smells better. I know she smells better because Duke gets very excited by floral scents and the moment we had her out of the bath, he was hot and horny.

At 13, nothing makes Bonnie hot and horny except food.

That was our day, more or less. Our money finally showed up, so I spent a lot of it paying down credit cards, buying grow lights for the plants, and calling doctors for prescription refills. I ordered masks because you can’t go into town without them, though who knows when they will get here.

By the time I was done, there was surprisingly little money remaining.

On another topic, four figures in the Book of Revelation symbolize the evils to come at the end of the world. The figure representing conquest rides a white horse. War sits on a red mount. Famine rides a black horse. Plague sits on a pale horse. They are often called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

We are always at war and conquest never seems to come out of it. We are living through Plague and it seems that Famine is just around the bend. Death has been having a high old time for the past three months.

Also, I think our really bad government deserves a place on the team. Total incompetence should ride in a big black Humvee, don’t you think?

A BIZARRO REBLOG – CLEVER CARTOONS FOR THE CRAZY DAYS OF NOW – DIEGO PIRARO FINE ART

Bizarro Blog

EMBEDDED

Bizarro 04-26-20 hdrWB.jpg
Bizarro 04-26-20 WEB.jpg

It’s been a sci-fi-strange week in a sci-fi-strange time. We’ve actually seen a president of the United States muse during a televised press conference about the effectiveness of using disinfectants internally to kill the COVID 19 virus, and many thousands of grown-ups rushing to dissuade his more intellectually-challenged followers from trying it. Who would have guessed even ten years ago that the world would be living out a Simpson’s episode in real-time? But this one has had all the jokes removed.

If you’re not familiar with the Dunning-Kruger effect, look it up. In short, it is a reasonably rare, extreme cognitive bias in which a person of very low ability thinks they are an expert at everything. The “very low ability” part is of paramount importance here because a normal person of almost any ability will quickly realize how much they have yet to learn. A true genius at anything will almost always report that the more they learn, the more they realize they don’t know. Only a fool thinks they know everything.

Enter Donald J. Trump, who has for his entire not-very-successful life thought he was an expert at everything. And it’s not just a political ploy because he knows there are plenty of rubes who will believe him—he actually believes it. This is why he eschews the company of experts; they only serve to remind him of how inept he actually is. This is why he muses aloud about various magical cures for the current pandemic; he actually thinks he’s so special he can accidentally come up with a cure for a complex epidemiological conundrum without passing a single class in biology. “I have a knack for science,” he has said, as though that makes him an equal colleague to people who’ve actually read and studied things.

Imagine a person with “a knack for music” being handed a violin for the first time. Would they be ready to play alongside Yo-Yo Ma? Now imagine this person has been handed a baton and placed in front of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He waves his hands around like a maniac (but his hair doesn’t move!) and thinks he is conducting highly-trained professionals to play beautiful music.

In fact, he’s making a fool of himself and the musicians are confused and scrambling, using every ounce of their skill and talent to not make a mess of the symphony they thought they were supposed to be playing. In an attempt to save face and their job, they cover for the delusional conductor. To the sort of person who would drink bleach if the president said to, the orchestra sounds pretty good. But to anyone who knows anything about music or the dangers of ingesting household cleaners, it’s a cacophony.

This is our Dunning-Kruger presidency.

Read the original post and see more great cartoons by clicking this LINK.

WHAT IT ALL MEANS – Marilyn Armstrong

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

We spend too much time trying to figure out what life means and too little time doing stuff we enjoy. I suppose it’s normal to wonder if the reason you are sick, broke, or miserable is the result of something you did or failed to do. Normal, but a waste of time and energy because I’m going to explain everything and you’ll never have to wonder again.

Meaning of life

Learning to accept the total randomness of stuff that happens is difficult. We want it to make sense. We want orderliness. We want the mess we call life to mean something important.

I’ve put a good bit of thought into why my life keeps falling apart. I know I’m not perfect, but whatever I’ve done wrong, it’s pretty small potatoes in the scheme of things. It’s hard for me to believe, even in my darkest hours that I’m so wicked The Big Guy has in for me.

One day, I had an epiphany. I saw The Truth.

I considered founding a church to spread my word. A church with no faith in anything. No deity to get pissed off if you disobey some arbitrary rule. Contributions would be welcome since we all need to pay the rent.

This would suit our modern lifestyle, don’t you think?

Faith is opinion in fancy clothing.

You can believe what you want, but you can’t know the answers. You take the exact same leap of faith believing in God or declaring yourself an atheist. Both positions require you to accept as absolute a thing for which you have no proof and for which you will never have proof.

Thus if believing in a loving God makes you feel good, believe it. It could be true. If it turns out you’re right, you’ll have backed a winner.

If believing there is no God, and science is the only path and is therefore antithetical to God and Truth (a position with which I completely disagree), go with that. Regardless, you are making a faith-based choice. There’s no proof God exists or doesn’t exist. Take your best guess. I hope it works out.

As for me, I don’t know. Really. I don’t.

 I know nothing. Neither do you.

Accepting you know nothing is a big step, so take a deep breath. Your next challenge will be figuring out how you can cash in on this new knowledge. What’s the point unless you can awe people with your brilliance — and make a few bucks?

It’s all in the wording.

You need the right lingo to dazzle your audience. Big words (4 or more syllables) used in the right context can showcase your education and intelligence. People will make little cooing sounds to show their admiration.

meaning-of-life3

Big words enhance your likelihood of getting a management position. You can write important books. Have a blog like me and I know you want to be just like me. Big words can take you far if you’re skilled at deploying them.

Note: Make sure you know how to pronounce these words. Mispronouncing big words can cause unexpected laughter. That’s not good unless you want to be a stand-up comedienne.

Phenomenology

Ah. phenomenology. When I was studying religion in college, phenomenology was a way to prove the existence of God. Phenomenologically speaking, all human experience is proof of God. You can use the same reasoning to prove there is no God.

Phenomenology can help you prove all things are one thing, all things are God. You are God. I am God. I am a warm cup of tea and you are a daffodil. If this doesn’t clarify it for you, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy offers further elucidation:

Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view. The central structure of an experience is its intentionality, its being directed toward something, as it is an experience of or about some object.

In other words, you can use any and all human experience, yours and anyone else’s to prove whatever you want. Phenomenology is fundamental to all belief systems: religion, politics, and Fox News. Lots of people believe in religion, politics and Fox News, so maybe they will believe in you too.

Fount of Wisdom

You can now explain anything. Everything. You can prove things based on something a couple of friends said years ago while under the influence of powerful hallucinogenic drugs. Although others may fault your logic, in the world of academics, everyone disbelieves everyone else unless they are citing them as a source, so you might as well stick your oar in the water.

meanin-of-life-snoopy

There are people who will attack you using faith. Faith is based on itself which makes it hard to dispute. The only person who is ever convinced by faith is the he/she who holds it. Nor does it really matter how many other people believe or disbelieve it.

Having more believers or followers doesn’t transform faith into fact.

If it did, we could achieve some really nifty things. Like, say we all believe in magic and therefore, it exists.

Cool.

GOOGLY EYES – Marilyn Armstrong

I know I’ve posted this before, but I really like it so I’m doing it again! It makes me laugh every time I read it.

I woke up this morning with an earworm. Not your normal earworm. Mine was a 1920s earworm. It was a song my mother sang often and for once, she actually got the words right. Ask any member of my family and they will assure you: my mother never ever remembered the words to any song — except this one. She would sing words from other songs to whatever melody was bouncing around in her head. But she knew all the words to this one. It’s SUCH an earworm, once you listen to it, it just sort of sits in your head and goes around and around and around.

So I get up this morning and this is what I’m hearing, but without the scratches:

And by golly, the words I had in my head were dead on. Next, the obvious question arises:

How did Google get its name? – Mobilis In Mobile

The mysterious mysteries of the Internet

How did Google get its name?You may have read this kind of “official answer”: Google derived its name from the word “googol”, a term coined by then nine-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew of the American mathematician Edward Kasner. The story goes, Kasner would have asked his nephew to invent a name for a very large number – ten to the power of one hundred, and Milton called it a googol. Blah-blah-blah!

Whatever say GSpecialists, Wikipedia or Google corporate itself, last Friday I discovered the secret when I was twittering with Orli. Google was named after Barney Google.*

Just listen to Barney Google’s song. No more to say!

One of you might write an essay on how, when and why granny Brin and/or Page was singing this song.


You may have read this kind of “official” answer: “Google derived its name from the word “googol”, a term coined by then nine-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew of the American mathematician Edward Kasner but I’d bet money (and I never bet money!) that Google was named after Barney Google.” The most popular comic strip in the U.S. for dozens of years … and still around even today.

Barney Google – The History

Now you know the truth about Google and somehow, it makes a lot more sense than
any other explanation I’ve heard!

OLD WEST TIME TRAVEL: NON-WHITE VERSION – GARRY ARMSTRONG

I’ve always loved time travel stories, especially when they have happy endings. I used to think I’d love to be back in the Old West.

Ya know where I’m going with this. A man of color rides into town riding a handsome horse, wearing fine clothing — and two guns. You can see the women, kids, and cattle running for their lives.

All the alkies are lined up outside the town saloon staring at the stranger, whispering to one another as they gulp their cheap hooch. The saloon gals stare in fascination, their big boobs rising in anticipation over their wonder bras.

The sheriff dashes in to check his wanted posters, the colored section. The town bully sullenly sniffs his glue for some extra courage. The prim school teacher smiles, a warm inviting smile, suggesting that all are welcome in her classroom.

Meanwhile, the Choir in the old church is singing “Nearer My God To Thee”.

The colored gunslinger just keeps riding down Main Street, past the Chinese laundry and chop suey joint without stopping. Ever so slowly, he rides out of town. A small boy runs after the stranger, yelling “Come back, Stranger! Come back! We want you! We need you! Come back, please! We’re all ready for a lynching! Come back, Mister!”

The stranger keeps riding, softling humming “Kumbaya” as his profile disappears in the dust that rises over the horizon.

LOOK FOR THE GOO GOO GOOGLY EYES – Marilyn Armstrong

I woke up this morning with an earworm. Not your normal earworm. Mine was a 1920s earworm. It was a song my mother sang often and for once, she actually got the words right. Ask any member of my family and they will assure you: my mother never ever remembered the words to any song — except this one. She would sing words from other songs to whatever melody was bouncing around in her head. But she knew all the words to this one. It’s SUCH an earworm, once you listen to it, it just sort of sits in your head and goes around and around and around.

So I get up this morning and this is what I’m hearing, but without the scratches:

And by golly, the words I had in my head were dead on.

How did Google get its name? – Mobilis In Mobile

The mysterious mysteries of the Internet

How did Google get its name?You may have read this kind of “official answer”: Google derived its name from the word “googol”, a term coined by then nine-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew of the American mathematician Edward Kasner. The story goes, Kasner would have asked his nephew to invent a name for a very large number – ten to the power of one hundred, and Milton called it a googol. Blah-blah-blah!

Whatever say GSpecialists, Wikipedia or Google corporate itself, last Friday I discovered the secret when I was twittering with Orli. Google was named after Barney Google.*

Just listen to Barney Google’s song. No more to say!


You may have read the “official” answer that “Google derived its name from the word “googol,” a term coined by then nine-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew of the American mathematician Edward Kasner. But I’d bet money (and I never bet money!) that Google was named after Barney Google.” It was the most popular comic strip in the U.S. for dozens of years … and is still around today.

Barney Google – The History

Now you know the truth about Google and somehow, it makes a lot more sense than
any other explanation I’ve heard!

OUR MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE – BIZARRO REBLOG – Marilyn Armstrong

I don’t suppose anyone is surprised anymore by the behavior of the GOP under their Manchurian candidate. But just a few years ago it was unthinkable that a politician, particularly one representing the Republican party and who skipped out of serving by having a rich dad, could get away with trashing war heroes, pardoning convicted war criminals, ridiculing our intelligence services and our allies, and sucking up to our most long-standing and authoritarian enemies, but here we are. Thanks, Facebook. (And Fox News Propaganda Channel.)

Without the Electoral College, these cowards and their Führer would be out on their asses in the next election but since Zuckerberg doesn’t mind politicians openly lying on Facebook and using FB’s sophisticated algorithms to know exactly which “patriots” are most like to fall for their predictable, transparent lies, they have an excellent chance of sneaking into the back door again.

Oh well. Human history has always been a cycle of dumpster fires and accidental peace. It’s long been a planet dominated by mutant apes, it’s just that sometimes we manage to hide it a little bit better than we are now. Like a bad head cold, we humans will be on our way soon enough and the earth can relax again.


If you are not already a Bizarro fan, you’re missing one of the best cartoonists of our generation. I have loved his stuff since we lived in Boston, back in the 1980s. This post is located at:

https://www.bizarro.com/blog/2020/1/5/ai-and-ai/

The main site is:

https://www.bizarro.com/blog

He has a shop full of cool t-shirts and other stuff as well as his own paintings. And, he takes donations because, as he so well put it, there aren’t enough newspapers anymore to support a cartoonist.

THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT GOOGLE! – Marilyn Armstrong

I woke up this morning with an earworm. Not your normal earworm. Mine was a 1920s earworm. It was a song my mother sang often and for once, she actually got the words right. Ask any member of my family and they will assure you: my mother never ever remembered the words to any song — except this one. She would sing words from other songs to whatever melody was bouncing around in her head. But she knew all the words to this one. It’s SUCH an earworm, once you listen to it, it just sort of sits in your head and goes around and around and around.

So I get up this morning and this is what I’m hearing, but without the scratches:

And by golly, the words I had in my head were dead on. Next, the obvious question arises:

How did Google get its name? – Mobilis In Mobile

The mysterious mysteries of the Internet

How did Google get its name?You may have read this kind of “official answer”: Google derived its name from the word “googol”, a term coined by then nine-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew of the American mathematician Edward Kasner. The story goes, Kasner would have asked his nephew to invent a name for a very large number – ten to the power of one hundred, and Milton called it a googol. Blah-blah-blah!

Whatever say GSpecialists, Wikipedia or Google corporate itself, last Friday I discovered the secret when I was twittering with Orli. Google was named after Barney Google.*

Just listen to Barney Google’s song. No more to say!

One of you might write an essay on how, when and why granny Brin and/or Page was singing this song.


You may have read this kind of “official” answer: “Google derived its name from the word “googol”, a term coined by then nine-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew of the American mathematician Edward Kasner but I’d bet money (and I never bet money!) that Google was named after Barney Google.” The most popular comic strip in the U.S. for dozens of years … and still around even today.

Barney Google – The History

Now you know the truth about Google and somehow, it makes a lot more sense than
any other explanation I’ve heard!

ALL WRAPPED UP IN IMPEACHMENT — Marilyn Armstrong

I have to admit that we are hooked. We are both news junkies and though Garry tried denying it, one day he just broke down and it’s been news ever since. He is particularly incensed at the way the press is getting beat up.

The news was his life. This isn’t casual chatter to him. He has three Emmy’s and dozens of other awards for his work in the business. To Garry, this is personal. Very. Personal.


So, that’s what we are doing. We are watching. The last time I was this enthralled politically was Watergate. I was working as a writer and editor at Doubleday Publishing in New York. I carried a little radio and earplug with me so I wouldn’t miss a moment of testimony. Then, when I got home, on went the television.

I was thrilled when Nixon resigned, but I missed the hearings. It was as if they had canceled a favorite drama.


I think this is probably what I’m going to be doing as long as these hearings last. I thought we were the rare Americans watching this, but these hearings are getting huge ratings. Apparently, everyone is glued to their televisions.

Things that have gotten to me: McCaine’s daughter saying how deeply shocked and horrified she is by the spineless Republican party and how ashamed she is of people she believed were family friends … interviews on the street and on the late-night comedy shows of people who were Republicans and now say they don’t even understand what has happened to their party and how humiliating it is.

I’ve never been a Republican, but I never thought that being a Republican meant being a traitor. We disagreed, sometimes angrily, sometimes with humor, but they were Americans. They believed in this country as I did, but their ideas of how to manage this country were different.

Now, they don’t even act like Americans. They don’t care about the  American people. They have lost touch with what has made this country great. Now it’s entirely about money and greed.

Shame on them, and shame on anyone who voted for them. They are everything we have deplored through our years on this earth.

Aside from having a bloated moron as our president, this is the most shocking part of this entire process. That all these supposed honorable men have become spineless jellyfish, unwilling to stand up to this idiot president or their own beliefs, is nauseating.