ODD BALLS FROM THE MOB – CEE’S ODDBALL PHOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: April 22, 2018


A little light on the party

We went to a party. They aren’t my best pictures, but they were more fun than most.

A word about processing people pictures from parties. I use a lot of creative effects on people pictures because what I want to show is their faces, their laughter, the fun without making every look like they have the neck of a chicken or, as Garry puts it “the chrome dome.”

Everyone wants to look good. Most people our age don’t expect to look young and they don’t mind seeing character in their faces, but they also don’t want to look like they were just unearthed from a grave. Finding a balance is a bit of a trick. I put more time and energy into processing people — especially people in my age group — than I do for anything else.

Trees don’t care if the bark looks grungy, but people care a lot when their skin looks like tree bark.

GUN SENSE, GUNS, AND GUNSMOKE – Tom Curley

I can no longer count all the mass shootings in this country. We’re still into serious protesting about the February 14, 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and I’m rooting for the kids to finally get done what we have obviously failed to do.

Last November there was another mass shooting in Texas. Which was just weeks after really big mass shooting in Nevada. Which was a mere few weeks after the mass shooting in … Oh, I don’t know.

I don’t remember. Pick a state. Odds are, a mass shooting recently happened there, too.


Given the state of the state and since obviously “thoughts and prayers” don’t seem to be getting the job done, this seemed relevant. 


I can look through the posts on Serendipity over the months and years … and instead of becoming dated — because we fixed this or that — or at least moved on to a different issue, we are months and years later dealing with exactly the same stuff. Our “leaders” — such as they are — are spouting the same slogans and platitudes.

So … on the subject of guns …

I’ve been thinking about why this country is so gun crazy. The craziest of the crazies keep saying: “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” This is, of course, ridiculous. Now the right-wing is saying that in the case of the recent Texas shooting, apparently a good guy with a gun did chase the bad guy with a gun. The only thing they left out is he chased the guy AFTER HE KILLED 26 PEOPLE AND WOUNDED A LOT MORE!

Then it hit me. It’s our fault so many people believe this kind of thing. By “our fault,” I mean the fault of those of us who grew up in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Our heroes were cowboys. We grew up watching Westerns in which everybody, men and women alike, had guns strapped to their waists. (Dale Evans was a hell of shot. So was Annie Oakley.)

Everybody had a gun. Good guys. Bad guys. Grandma. But, the world was a lot safer in those westerns than it is now — and not because everyone had a gun. Or two. Or three.

First. The bad guys rarely — if ever — actually hit anybody at whom they shot.

Second. The good guys merely shot the guns out of the bad guys hands. They weren’t trying to kill them.

Third. Grandma just shot people in the ass. Usually with a shotgun filled with rock salt.

Okay, sometimes the good guy would need to be little more extreme, so he’d shoot the bad guy in the shoulder (or “wing em” as we used to say). But it was always just a flesh wound.

BAD GUY:OW! You shot me in the shoulder!”

GOOD GUY: “Oh stop whining. It’s just a flesh wound.”

BAD BUY: “Well if you shot me between the eyes wouldn’t that technically be a “flesh wound” too?”

GOOD GUY: “Hmm. Never thought of it that way. You know, you’re rather astute for a bad guy.”

BAD GUY: “Thank you.”

Another thing. When the bad guy used up his bullets shooting at the good guy, he’d throw the gun at him! I never understood this. Seriously. You just fired a few dozen bullets, each traveling at about 1000 feet per second, at a guy a couple of hundred feet away. You missed every shot.

What exactly do you hope to accomplish by throwing the gun at him? Bonk him on the head?

GOOD GUY: OW! What the hell?! Did you just throw your gun at me!?”

BAD GUY: “Uh, yeah.”

GOOD GUY: “Well that really hurt! Look! I’ve already got a lump! What’s wrong with you?? Why would you do that?”

BAD GUY: “I ran out of bullets.”

GOOD GUY: “And whose fault is that?! If you’re going to a gun fight, come more prepared.”

BAD GUY: “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

At this point, seeing that the bad guy doesn’t have a gun with to shoot anymore … and all the good guy was intending to do was shoot the gun out of his hand, both go home feeling oddly unfulfilled.

I don’t own a gun, but I took a gun safety course. I’ve done some target shooting. So I know guns are REUSABLE! That’s right! All you gotta do is find more bullets for Pete’s sake — and that gun’s back on the job.

FYI, don’t call them bullets. They’re cartridges. The bullet is the lead part you actually fire from the gun. (See? I told you. I took a course.)

One more thing we tend to forget about Westerns. If you went into a town that had a Sheriff, you had to leave your guns at the sheriff’s office. When you left town, you got your guns back. The Sheriff understood the only reason anyone came to town was to go to the saloon. Which, let’s face it, was a brothel with a liquor license. Letting a bunch of horny, drunken cowboys hang out in a confined space with booze, hookers, and guns is not a great idea.

Even if you were in a town where they let you keep your guns, there were rules.

1 – If two bad guys got in a fight, they at least gave everybody a few seconds to move their chairs out of the way, or jump behind the bar.

2 – If a good guy and a bad guy got into a disagreement, they would usually schedule the gunfight for the next day in the middle of town. That way, no one else got shot.

3 – They set it up for high noon.

Why high noon? Probably because it was the lunch hour. Everybody in town could come out to watch. It also made it easier for the combatants. It wasn’t always easy to get time off for a gunfight.

BAD GUY: “Hey boss? Can I get off early today? I have a gunfight at 2 o’clock.”

BAD GUY’S BOSS: “Okay, but I’ll have to dock your pay.”

BAD GUY: (Sighing) “Never mind. I’ll reschedule it for lunchtime.”

Besides, “Gunfight at Two-ish” doesn’t have the gravitas of “High Noon.” So yeah, everybody had guns in old Westerns, but they were more mature about using them. You could argue things were simpler back then. “Things were more black and white,” you say.

To this I reply: “So what? Westerns weren’t more black and white. They were completely black and white.” They didn’t go to color until the mid-sixties.

These days, everything contains infinitely more shades of gray. With a whole lot of color thrown in.

CONVERSATIONS WITH MY HUSBAND – BY ELLIN CURLEY

 

THE TOILET SEAT

ME Honey, you left the toilet seat up AND you didn’t flush!

TOM – I know. I did it on purpose.

ME – What? Why would you do that?

TOM – Easy. Because I knew I was going to have to blow my nose after I took my shower.

ME – What does that have to do with anything?

TOM – Because if I wait to flush until after I’ve blown my nose, I only have to flush once, instead of twice. I’m saving water.

ME – Why don’t you put the seat down and flush after you use the toilet. Then throw your used tissue into the wastebasket.

TOM – (SILENCE)


PAPER TOWELS

TOM – Why do you leave used paper towels lying around in the kitchen? Why don’t you throw them out?

ME – Because I can use them again. I’m saving paper.

TOM – You can’t use paper towels over again! That’s the whole point of DISPOSABLE paper towels. They’re disposable!

ME – That’s ridiculous! You can use regular towels again if they’re not too dirty. So why can’t you do the same with paper towels?

TOM – Because I don’t want to have to look at dirty paper towels on the kitchen counter.

ME – Okay. I’ll hide them so you don’t have to look at them.

TOM – I guess that works.

ME – (Sigh) Now I just have to remember where I put them.


TRASH TALK

ME – Tom, please take the garbage out. The bag is overflowing, as usual.

TOM – Damn it! I hate dealing with these overstuffed garbage bags! Garbage is falling out everywhere! This is ridiculous.

ME – Then why don’t you just empty the garbage one of the first three times I ask you to. BEFORE it starts to overflow.

TOM – Where’s the challenge in that?

WORLD SHARING COMES AGAIN … Marilyn Armstrong

SHARING THE WORLD

List things or events that changed your life?

This is a strange question. I’ve lived 71 years. The number of events that have changed my world are … literally … countless. From learning to stand, to learning to read. To learning to love furry creatures, to discovering the woods and the sky.

Moving along and learning that I want to know everything. Discovering I’ll never be a math genius, but knowing I can write. Painting. Photography. What’s wrong with one marriage and what’s right with another.

Discovering quiet and being alone.

Recognizing that I can’t do the things I did, but I can do other things I never thought I could do. Life is a long pattern of discoveries and each changes your life. From tiny changes, like a new way to lace your shoes or brush your teeth, to realizing that you never will know “the meaning of life” unless you agree that 42 will do it for you.

Playing the piano. Struggling with guitar. Falling in love with computers.

Piano lessons

All the books you read, all the thoughts they put in your head. All the things you write and the pictures you take. I don’t think there’s one single thing that changed my world. There were millions of things that changed it. And, with a little luck, there will be millions more yet to come.

Complete this sentence: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s… 

Mom? How did you get up there?

What genre of music do you like?

I like music with melody, rhythm, and when possible, words I can remember. I don’t like rap or “hard rock” which to me just sounds like noise. To be fair, this isn’t recent. I always felt like that about it, even when I was a whole lot younger.

My favorite piece of music is Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, The Pastoral.

Second favorite (at the moment): Pancho and Lefty.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? 

Finally getting antibiotics and discovering this morning I can breathe without making that hideous bubbling sound. This is a better morning!

THE BEST WAY TO CATCH SOMETHING – Marilyn Armstrong

In my many long years of getting sick, sicker, even sicker, and under the wings of hovering Death, I have concluded there are four ways uniquely suited to get you sick, sicker, then sickest.

I do not count sitting in a doctor’s office full of people NOT wearing masks who claim their cough is “just an allergy.”

No, I mean “out in the real world” where shit happens.

These are the four best ways to catch whatever is going around.

1 – Be an elementary school teacher. You will be sick ALL the time. Just keep the Tamaflu handy and the tissues and throat lozenges nearby.

2 – Work in a mall. You will earn very little money and you are doomed to endless disease. A single sneeze can infect everyone in half the mall. Two sneezes? Total collapse of all immune systems.

3 – Be a working reporter. You will meet everyone everywhere and at least 75% of them will have something lurking, just waiting for you and your cameraman to show up. When Garry was working, he had a cold, the flu, bronchitis, sore throats, ear infections. You name it, he had it. Four days later? I had it too. We believe in sharing.

This probably applies to politicians on the stump and performers on tour. Which is probably why they won’t shake hands. All they see are germs.

4 – Take an airplane anywhere. The recycled air is putrid. I swear this is true — takes whatever diseases every passenger has on the plane and pumps it up. I have never taken a flight anywhere and not gotten sick within 10 days.

Except Arizona. Maybe it’s that lovely, hot, dry air or something. We survived both trips to Arizona and we felt actually better after a week in the warm, dry air.

I should add one more: life in the cold north of America where it’s always damp and the air is full of allergens. And never, ever go to see the doctor if you aren’t already diseased unless you know for sure nobody sick will be there. Those allergic coughs  are not allergies.

BREAKING NEWS! BOLD, NEW OPTIONS TO PREVENT SCHOOL SHOOTINGS – Garry Armstrong

School shootings with multiple victims have become an everyday news story in the United States. It’s become a boiler-plate political issue with second amendment activists led by the NRA holding fast to their rights.

Fighting to keep the right to own guns, even as bullets from assault weapons are taking the toll on the lives of our young people.

Gun activists are seemingly oblivious to the availability of assault weapons through illegal purchases.

Gun rights trump young lives in harm’s way. It’s a deadly serious issue but the solutions offered by some of our elected officials are anything but serious. Do you think Jimmy Stewart’s Senator Jefferson Smith would be okay with arming teachers to shoot it out with offenders in crowded classrooms?

Can you imagine the late Speaker of the House, “Tip” O’Neill,  the consummate politician, agreeing to arm the real life “Mr. Peepers” with magnum 44’s to blast invaders as students scatter to avoid gun fire?  O’Neil’s reply would minimally question the sanity of his colleagues in the House and the Senate. Sadly, we have no Tip O’Neill to step up with rational solutions to our national nightmare.

Pilgrims, it’s time to deal with the miscreants who surely don’t value human life.  Time to answer those whose inner demons enable them to spray bullets with deadly intent into classrooms to assuage their problems.

Time to lock ‘n load but with some creative thing.

SUGGESTION #1  IMPLODING LONG GUNS:   Picture the iconic Red Ryder Rifles of our youthful dreams. Long, gleaming barrels with the burnished red stocks, topped by an autographed picture of our 45th President. The sentiment would be clear:  “Bad hombres die hard!”.   If the school shootist fires this weapon,  it’ll blow up in his face.  Crisis averted.

If a teacher or defending student fires the weapon,  it’s a senseless tragedy — but we must look at the big picture.  A Presidential eulogy will ease the pain of more innocent lives lost.

The imploding long guns should be mass-advertised to draw the attention of would be assassins.  The rifle’s Presidential sentiment should entice those who are on the edge of committing bloody massacres.  They will be nudged by the Commander-In-Chief’s passion for thoughtless, narcissistic behavior.  The shooter is sure to take selfies with his presidential embossed rifle and post it on Twitter and Facebook, with pride gleaming in is orange eyeballs.

Gary Busey could do television ads for the imploding long guns.  Busey’s colorful style would make the guns an easy sell,  especially for those who want to make their mark in the world.

SUGGESTION #2 – IMPLODING TRUMP BOBBLE-HEADS.  These terrific replicas of our President have all the verve and sexually traumatic attraction of DJT.  They’ll be personally autographed in that familiar, illegible scrawl used to sign faux bills. The bobble-heads have a floating toupee that easily separates from the rest of the bobble-head on implosion.  School security would locate the bobble-heads at strategic positions on campus likely to be invaded by would be shooters.

Psychologists believe the invaders will be disoriented by the bobble-heads, pick up the miniature DJTs and blow themselves into a parallel universe occupied by ORANGE-haired robot women, all named “Stormy”.

Roseanne Barr will do all advertising for the Bobble-heads, emphasizing her belief in MacCheesehead’s legacy as emperor of the world.

These are just the top of our R&D campaign for alternatives to avert School Shootings. We’re working on DJT dart boards that will explode when a dart hits the spot.  THE spot.

Let’s stand strong against idiotic suggestions to avert school shootings. You can voice your opinion in the mid-term elections that, hopefully, sweep out more of the corrupt and mentally challenged officials who are pigging out at the public trough.

YESTERDAY I SAID I WAS TOO SICK TO DO ANYTHING – Marilyn Armstrong

Glow little glow worm — glimmer — glimmer —

We are off to the doctor. Garry is deep into sore throat country and I’m just coughing. I had the sore throat earlier. It’s still sore, but I no longer feel like someone cut my throat. The microbes have moved to my chest.

Finally, the doctor comes around.

Meanwhile, since my contractor — the one who was supposed to fix the window and the front wall — has vanished, I’m looking for another one.

I bet they are sick, too. We probably GOT sick at the mall.

What IS it with these guys? They want work. They advertise for work. They complain online about how poor they are — but they don’t show up for work or even estimates. The don’t return emails or phone calls and they are NEVER in the office. Maybe they would be LESS POOR if they actually showed up to do the jobs for which they contract? And answered the calls for work? And gave estimates and then — dates to work?

At least I didn’t pay this one up front. It’s nice to be merely frustrated as opposed to out of money.

I’ve got another guy coming Monday. When I said I was sick and said “Um, I would prefer to NOT get a cold … so … like … how about Monday?”

I said Monday would be excellent, especially since I still thought today was Thursday and the doctor was tomorrow. I’ll either be better by Monday or in the hospital working on breathing without machinery. I’m expecting to be better though. I really hate when I breathe and I get that crackly bubbling noise. It sounds like I’m breathing through suds.

Glimmer. Glimmer.

More mall. People still come, but it’s not crowded . Maybe on Black Friday? To be fair, this mall has NEVER been crowded. It’s always empty yet it’s been here for a couple of dozen years.

Is that bubbling noise in my bronchial tubes anything like actual glimmering? Do people glimmer? Are my lungs glimmering? My throat is store, my head hurts and I don’t feel smart, capable, creative, or anything other than tired, tired, tired. There isn’t a pill on earth that will make me feel better.

Today we were supposed to get weather in the 70s with bright sunshine. The temperatures are really in the 40s. It’s grey, dark and probably going to rain. I believe we skipped right past “the nice day” and moved into nasty weekend weather.

I have more than 500 pictures I took over the weekend, mostly of the Curley’s show, but a few others. I’ve processed a bunch, but there are so many it will take a while. Lots of duplicates, too.

Mostly what I’ve got is a fierce headache. It’s going around, which is why the doctors are slammed with patients. If it’s going around, we’ve probably got “it.” I often think we should never leave home at all. It’s safer that way.