BUT DON’T SHOOT THE DEPUTY – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Monday: BLAST


With a blast from his pistol, Blackie blew the bartender through the bottles behind him and left him in a bloody heap.

No problem really. What with open carry laws on the books, all he had to do was explain that he thought the bartender, who was Mexican, had been acting in a threatening manner and he had no choice except to blow him to pieces.

And the best part was that the rest of the people in the bar were so scared of him, they’d all back him up.

“Maybe,” thought Blackie, “I should get a shotgun. That would REALLY show’em.”

DRAW, YOU MANGY DOG – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Draw


“Draw, you mangy dog,” snarled Blackie. No one could face down Blackie. He had the fastest gun west of the Pecos and a really bad temper too. And a bit of a drinking problem, truth be told. When he said draw, you could run, but you could not hide.

“Blackie, I was just funnin’ with ya,” he assured him. “No, really, just messin’ around widya. Puleeze, Blackie. I got a wife. A kid. A farm. I’ll never fun witya agin. No way,” he assured him.

Blackie was having a difficult morning. Charbucks had overburned his coffee and his pumpkin spice donut was stale. His horse had bitten him and he had trouble starting the car, too.

He had a really bad headache (too much hooch?) and he was pretty sure he was already late for work. He really needed to shoot someone, but this guy was so lame.

So he shot the bartender.

Then he went to work — selling stocks and bonds. Some days are just rougher than others.

SHELTER FROM THE STORM – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Shelter


That’s kind of how I think of my house, these days. The roof doesn’t leak and the basement doesn’t flood. The heating system still works and I have a functional kitchen.

I even have some flowers in my wild garden.

I know it’s not going to be my personal mansion and I do not set forth from it thinking of it as the backstage area to the forestage of Life. This place is pretty much all of life and we could be doing a whole lot worse.

Today, it’s where we live, where we sleep and eat, and where we try endlessly to keep it from falling down faster than we can shore it up.

We have some lottery tickets. I could look them up, see if we got rich and I don’t know it yet. But when asked these days what we’d do with the money, I think ” A simple, bright house without steps and cleaning people to come in once a week and do the basic stuff.

And a cook.

I really want that cook!

NEW WORDS? WHAT ABOUT THE OLD ONES? – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Saturday – Fleek


A what? Or is it a which? Or perhaps a twitch? Maybe it’s the rhymer for the word “week” when you are babbling rhymes. I managed to get three definitions from various online dictionaries:

(1)   FLEEK: flēk/ adjective INFORMAL in the USA

Extremely good, attractive, or stylish. As in: “my hair is on fleek right now.”

Why do you need the “on”? How come this a word requires a proposition or possibly, a preposition? Who made up that rule?

If I grow up, I want to become a dictionary designer. I will make up new words as I go along and never offer any hints about what they mean. Hah! That will chill their tail-pipes!

(2)  From the “Urban” or perhaps “Urbane” Dictionary:

A shitty word made by shitty people with no fucking lives.
Dumbass: “My eyebrows are on fleek!”
Me: “Who the fuck cares?” — by wastetimechasingmemes

(3) On Fleek: Born (or maybe it just floated in from another reality) in a Vine video on June 21, 2014, the term fleek is a busy word. It was originally (and still is most commonly) applied to perfectly-groomed eyebrows, but the word has been used to describe everything from hash browns to skateboards.

Making sure your third eye is on fleek.

(4) Fleek or  “on fleek“:  A word used by people whose intent is set on decimating the English language, thus further depleting the ever-dwindling repository of individuals capable of intelligent conversation.

(5) Wiktionary – On fleek – Adjective. on fleek (comparative more on fleek, superlative most on fleek) (slang, of eyebrows or hair) Sleek and perfectly groomed or styled. quotations; (slang, of an article of clothing or outfit) Stylish and perfectly chosen or put together.

The next time I have my eyebrows waxed, I know the precise word to use. My Vietnamese eyebrow waxer doesn’t understand even basic English so this will be as meaningless to her as it is to me.

THREE GUYS WITH BEARDS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Beards


Happy Birthday – A great day for beards!

 

SEARS GOES DOWN IN FLAMES – Marilyn Armstrong

Last night on the news, they announced that Sears was going out of business. Destroyed, they said, by the likes of Amazon.

In the course of last night, I ordered two things I needed — a raised toilet seat because I’m finding it really hard to get up from the very low seats in our bathrooms and a raised seat is a lot less than a new toilet. Later, after the nurse called with the results of our blood tests, I learned I was anemic, so I went back to Amazon and ordered a couple of bottles of Vitamin D3. I didn’t have to get out of bed for either order.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

When I was a kid, everyone went to Sears. That’s where you shopped for the “big stuff.” Refrigerators, washing machines, shop tools. You always needed help because these are expensive items that you intend to keep for a long time. You want to be sure they will be what you want — within the limits of your budget, of course.

Meanwhile, sometime during the late 1980s, Sears decided to take a chip from the local department stores and eliminate human sales personnel. For love nor money, you couldn’t find anyone to talk to. At the same time, they substantially cut down on the items for which everyone had gone to Sears — large appliances — and loaded up on dorky kid’s clothing.

Considering that every store carried kid’s clothing but almost no one carried appliances, it was a baffling decision by The Suits who ran the place.

Since then, I’ve never had any reason to go to Sears. Not only do they not have what I’m looking for, but they have hardly any people working with customers and they’ve closed down most of their checkout counters. So did most of the other brick and mortar stores.

There was a time when you could go into a department store and someone would be stuck to you like glue, showing you where your size was on the rack and helping you find the shoe or the dress or the jeans you wanted. Then, one day, all these stores decided we could all fend for ourselves, like a herd of sheep without a shepherd, a dog, or even a fence to keep us from falling off the mountain.

From that point on, which by then was the early 1990s, shopping at a mall became a chore. They would have one frazzled worker supposedly managing multiple departments and you had to wait, often for as long as an hour for him or her to have time to answer a simple question, sometimes as little as “Where’s the changing room?”

Amazon didn’t kill these stores. They committed suicide. They thought that they owned us and we’d keep coming because what else could we do, right?

Along came Amazon. They might not have someone to help you find the item you were looking for, but you had all the time in the world to read the reviews, compare prices … and if something didn’t work out, they were (gasp) NICE to you! That’s right. Nice. Polite. Helpful. And they sent the item right to your door. No battling for a parking space and hauling heavy boxes through the lots.

Our little grocery store — Hannaford — is the smallest store of its type in town. They aren’t fancy. They don’t have a lot of variety, but they also don’t have extremely high prices. Often, their actual prices are lower than Walmart and much lower than “Stop n’ Shop.” If you want help, there’s always someone around to show you where the item is … and they will wait for you to make sure you’re all set before they go back to whatever they were doing before. They never seem to be cross about it, either.

Hannaford

Not only are the nice to the customers, but they are also nice to the workers, many of whom have worked there for years. This has a side benefit of employing people who know something about their products and the store.

Amazon didn’t just join the market and destroy the competition. They found a big hole in the market — department stores who overcharged and acted as if customers were trivial. They made it increasingly difficult to find items and harder to pay for them. Parking lots got smaller to make room for more mall and around the holidays, they were a nightmare.

By the time Amazon loomed on my horizon, I had already made a big shift to buying more from catalogs and less from shops. It wasn’t even a big deal.

Parked cars

Today I bought my toilet raiser for $35 and two bottles of chewable D3 vitamins for $17.00. I wouldn’t have even known where to look for the raised toilet seat … and just one of those bottles of vitamins would have cost me the same price at CVS as I paid for two of them on Amazon.

I’m sorry that Sears is going out of business, but I’m not surprised. They stopped providing customer service years ago. Actually, it’s amazing it took them this long to crash and burn.

The irony is that I didn’t mind paying a little more to shop in a “real” store where I could get help and assistance, but I really minded paying more to get no assistance or help and a general attitude of surly indifference from employees.

I know working retail is hard. My son has worked his whole life (mostly) in retail. It’s hard work and many customers are not nice people. But then again, many of the workers aren’t nice either, so I guess it sorted itself out.

It all started because the shops decided to save a few bucks and get rid of their own workers and now, they are SHOCKED that the shoppers have gone elsewhere.

Parked cars

Our little local grocery store is always busy. The parking lot is constantly full and the checkout lanes are filled with people chatting with each other while waiting to pay. No one gets crazy when a line is slow because a new employee is learning the ropes.

They are nice, we are nice. Even though “Stop n’ Shop” offers delivery, we go to Hannaford because they offer human beings.

RDP THURSDAY – HERD
FOWC with Fandango — Fence

COLOR IN OCTOBER – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Wednesday – COLOR


Autumn is languidly considering the possibility of dropping by any day now. The rhododendrons are blooming again … simultaneously with the ones in Sydney, Australia. How weird is that? And my roses are still very much in bloom.

Our own maple tree and it’s one red branch.

The trees? Except for some older maples, meh. Lots of yellow and a bit of orange, but mostly, green. Lighter green than August or September, but still undeniably green.

Douglas

I don’t think we’re going to have much of an autumn. Maybe we’ll get a few great days before it rains again and they all fall off overnight — which is what happened last year.

Bright yellow maple – Douglas
River Bend

It’s the extra month of summer we’re getting. Summer used to be finishing up by late August and quite crisp by the end of September. It’s the nighttime cold snap that brings the leaves into full color and we haven’t had that. We’ve had a few chilly nights, but all of them have been raining.

And rain is the other thing the ruins autumn foliage.

We had to get to the medical lab this morning for bloodwork — me and Garry. Which meant no coffee or English muffins. I took a camera anyway.

I figured there might be a bright tree somewhere and sure enough, right across from the medical building, one huge — old and beginning to die — maple. An interesting mix of brilliant color and naked dead branches. I like the way these half-dead trees look. Good juxtaposition of color and nothingness.

At River Bend

So as of October 10, 2018, these are the colors. This should be full peak autumn. Typically, Columbus Day is peak foliage season. I’m not sure we will actually have a peak foliage season or even a couple of days of it, but here are the bright trees to date.

From New England to you. Color.