THERE WAS A FIRE AT THE HEART AND IT WILL BURN FOREVER – Marilyn Armstrong

Sioux teepee

Sioux teepee

My teepee had a firepit. I lined it with fireplace tiles, then added a surround of old red brick. It was a big pit for a small teepee, but logs come in a lot of different shapes and it was easier to leave extra space to accommodate the bigger and odder-shaped pieces than try to figure out how to fit them into a smaller pit.

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It gets very cold in winter in New England. In the deepest part of the winter, with the temperature well below freezing and several feet of snow on the ground, I liked going out to my teepee to spend a few hours by a fire. It was the most peaceful, private place in the world, one of the few places I felt really relaxed and at peace.

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I learned to build a fire very fast. In fact, I got so I could get that fire going in less than a minute. Of course, that’s not counting however much time it took to bring in the logs and stack the fire properly so it would catch and burn properly.

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A teepee fire needs to be bright and hot so the smoke will go straight up the smoke hole. In essence, a teepee is a chimney with room for other stuff. If you build the pit and the fire correctly, there is very little smoke and a lot of heat.

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Once the fire was going, the teepee, which had a lining to help insulate it, got very warm. I often had to open the door and sit half in and half out because it was so warm inside. And no, despite crackling and sparks, the teepee doesn’t catch on fire. It looks like it will, but it doesn’t, though I wouldn’t leave a fire unattended. Then again, I won’t leave any fire unattended.

A fire in a teepee on a snowy night is magic and it keeps the fire burning.

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnnie Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio
Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe
Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, “The King and I” and “The Catcher in the Rye”
Eisenhower, vaccine, England’s got a new queen
Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye
💢
We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it 

💢

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc
Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron
Dien Bien Phu falls, “Rock Around the Clock”
Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland
Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev
Princess Grace, “Peyton Place”, trouble in the Suez

💢

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

💢

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, “Bridge on the River Kwai”
Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide
Buddy Holly, “Ben Hur”, space monkey, Mafia
Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go
U2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, “Psycho,” Belgians in the Congo

💢

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

💢

Hemingway, Eichmann, “Stranger in a Strange Land”
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion
“Lawrence of Arabia”, British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson
Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex
JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say 

💢

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it 

💢
Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline
Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan
“Wheel of Fortune”, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China’s under martial law
Rock and roller cola wars, I can’t take it anymore 

💢

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on 

💢

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it
We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire 

💢

No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it …

Songwriters: Billy Joel
We Didn’t Start the Fire lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

THEN SHE SUMMED UP FAITH IN ONE SENTENCE – Marilyn Arnstrong

I had a very dear friend who was going through a terrible time of her life, yet her Christian faith never wavered. She once told me you could sum up Christianity in a sentence.

“What is that?” I asked.

Marilyn Baker

“Christ died,” she answered, “so we would be nice to each other, even before morning coffee.” Then she smiled and took a sip from her cup.

Be kind to everyone. Even when you don’t feel like it. Maybe especially then.

She has since passed on and I still miss her every day. She was the gateway to my understanding that religious people could be honorable and courageous, not merely plotting hypocrites. She was pure gold.

 

THE BATTLE FOR LIGHT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Battle


“But your honor,” he whined, “I had no idea the lamppost would fall on his head. It never fell down before.” Of course, he pondered, no one else had weighed three hundred pounds and leaned on it before, either.

The judge banged his gavel on the desk twice to emphasize his point. “Son,” he exclaimed, “You can’t just go putting up stuff without properly setting them in the ground. We have laws about such things.”

“What laws? I didn’t know there were any laws. There were no lights on the street. I wanted a light so I’d know where to turn into my driveway. All you can see are shadows and darkness. Besides, all my neighbors told me I couldn’t set my mailbox in cement because when the snowplows come, they would knock it over … and  if it’s just standing in the dirt, you just put it upright and that’s it.”

“The lamppost was electrified,” the judge reminded him.

“No wires. Just one of those bulbs that collect daylight so it shines in the dark … or at least until it runs out.”

“It hit him on the head. He’s in a coma. In the hospital.”

“No one told him to lean on it. Who hangs around the street at night, learning on lampposts? Who does he think he is, Bogey?” As he made this comment, a mist rolled through the courtroom and the lights dimmed.

“My word,” thought the judge. “I think it IS Bogey!” And who was that fat guy? Sidney Greenstreet? Or maybe … Orson Wells? Was this a courtroom or a television set for Law & Order? When he heard the background music, he began to worry. He didn’t have a union card … and there were laws about that.

Night in Boston

It turned out there was no law against putting up a lamppost, properly or otherwise. In fact, the city charter was singularly free of laws regarding lights and posts and implementation of said devices.

“Well,” commented the judge, trying to see the plaintiff through the rolling mist, “There oughtta be a law.”

Ultimately, the judge ruled the lamppost an “attractive obstruction” and told the gentleman to please stop putting up lampposts.

It was too late. He had already lit most of the town and it had cost a pretty penny at that. However, in line with safety regulations, each post had a sign stapled to it that said:


“Beware! Leaning on this lamppost can
result in serious injury and crushing.”

A small victory in the battle for personal freedom in a world with too many stupid laws.

SUNRISE ON A COLD WINTER’S MORNING – Marilyn Armstrong

We seem to get our best sunrises on the quarter of the year. Sometimes glorious during the Vernal Equinox in March and just around Christmas, if the sky is clear, the eastern horizon lights up. Sometimes, it looks as if the house is on fire when the sky is that deep scarlet.

This morning, I woke up and realized I had nothing to drink. The dogs were barking anyway and Garry was sleeping like the veritable log, so I got up and made my way into the kitchen.

I poured myself something wet and cold … and looked out the window. The sun was just coming up and it was beautiful.

I can’t see the sky in the summer or fall. When the trees are full of leaves, all I see are leaves. But when the trees are bare, I can’t see the sky unbroken, but I can see it. Since I now have cameras ready and waiting for the shots, I just grabbed one and took half a dozen shots. I gave each dog a couple of little biscuits and headed to bed for a few more hours.

It’s almost the winter solstice and the sunrises are bright with the glory of the turning of the earth. And I have cameras!

TRIAL WITH LAMPPOST – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango: Trial With Lamppost


“But your honor,” he whined, “I had no idea the lamppost would fall on his head. It never fell down before.” Of course, he pondered, no one else had weighed three hundred pounds and leaned on it before, either.

The judge banged his gavel on the desk twice to emphasize his point. “Son,” he exclaimed, “You can’t just go putting up stuff without properly setting them in the ground. We have laws about such things.”

“What laws? I didn’t know there were any laws. There were no lights on the street. I wanted a light so I’d know where to turn into my driveway. From the street, all you can see are trees and darkness. Besides, all my neighbors told me I couldn’t set my mailbox in cement because when the snowplows come, they would knock it over … and  if it’s just standing in the dirt, you just put it upright and that’s it.”

“The lamppost was electrified,” the judge reminded him.

“No wires. Just one of those bulbs that collect daylight so it shines in the dark … or at least until it runs out of saved light.”

“It hit him on the head. He’s in a coma. In the hospital.”

“No one told him to lean on it. Who hangs around the street at night, learning on lampposts? Who does he think he is, Bogey?” As he made this comment, a mist rolled through the courtroom and the lights dimmed.

“My word,” thought the judge. “I think it IS Bogey!” And who was that fat guy? Sidney Greenstreet? Or maybe … Orson Wells? Was this a courtroom or a television set for Law & Order? When he heard the background music, he began to worry. He didn’t have a union card … and there were laws about that.

Night in Boston

It turned out there was no law against putting up a lamppost, properly or otherwise. In fact, the city charter was singularly free of laws regarding lights and posts and implementation of said devices. “Well,” commented the judge, trying to see the plaintiff through the rolling mist, “There oughtta be a law.”

Ultimately, the judge ruled the lamppost an “attractive obstruction” and told the gentleman to please stop putting up lampposts.

But it was too late. He had already lit most of the town and it had cost a pretty penny at that. However, in line with safety regulations, each post had a sign stapled to it that said:


“Beware! Leaning on this lamppost can result in serious injury and crushing incidents.”

It was a small victory in an endless battle for personal freedom in a world which already had too many stupid laws. And you just knew, there’d be a brand new lamppost law as soon as the mist rolled out of the courthouse.


See also:  FOWC with Fandango — Lamppost

CANDLELIGHT AT HANUKKAH PLUS CHRISTMAS TREE

THURSDAY’S SPECIAL: TRADITION — OR HAVE A MULTI-CULTURAL HOLIDAY SEASON


It’s Hanukkah. Finding the right candles for my Menorah has proved nearly impossible, so I simply light candles, murmur the prayer and that’s fine. There’s actually no law that says you have to use a specific type of candle holder. Any candles can do the job, celebrating brightness against the darkness.

jupiter najnajnoviji

GOD MAY WORK IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS OR MAYBE NOT – BY TOM CURLEY

I’ve been watching the coverage of Hurricane Harvey and the unbelievable flooding it is causing. I can’t help but think that God really, REALLY hates Texas. I’m 66 years old and I’ve never seen a hurricane hit land, turn into a tropical storm, go back to sea, hit land again, go back to sea again, and hit land a third time.

The statistics are hard to wrap your head around. As I am writing this, the storm is still going strong and will be for maybe two or three more days. To date, this storm has dropped over 20 TRILLION GALLONS OF WATER ON TEXAS AND LOUISIANA!

Stop now and try to wrap your head around that number.  And it isn’t over yet. There will be more. Estimates are for over 25 TRILLION gallons when this is all over. The weather channel has had to add two more colors to their rain fall charts to adjust to these levels of rain fall.

We need more purple!

The endless scenes of people being rescued reminds me of an old, old joke. There is a great flood and a man who is a devout Christian is trapped on the roof of his house.  The local police come by in a canoe and shout out to him to jump off the roof onto the canoe.

“Jump in the canoe!”

He replies: “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” The police argue with him for a while but he will not relent. Eventually they give up and move on. They have other people to save.

A few hours later, the water is up to his thighs when the State Police come by in another canoe and they tell him to jump in. Again, he states, “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” After arguing with him for a while they give up and move on.

Another hour goes by and now the water is up to his waist. A Coast Guard Helicopter arrives over his house and a bullhorn shouts out, “We are lowering a basket. Climb in and you will be saved.

Again, he replies, “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” So, the helicopter leaves because they have other people to save.

Another hour goes by and the water sweeps the man away and he dies. Suddenly he is in heaven at the feet of God. And he is livid. He is furious. He shouts, “GOD! I was a man of faith! I believed in YOU! HOW COULD YOU HAVE FORSAKEN ME???!”

And God looks down at him for a second and says: “Forsaken you?? What the Hell are you talking about?? I sent you TWO CANOES AND A HELICOPTER!!!”

I’m not the first person to notice that what may turn out to be the worst storm in history is hitting an area where a lot of folks there don’t believe in climate change.

I used to do a stand-up comedy routine (shameless plug):

where I talked about working in the news.

My point was that the news was always the same. Every week, somewhere in the world, there was an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or flood. And no matter where it happened, we would send a news crew to gather a poor family who had just lost all their worldly belongings, set them up in front of their recently destroyed mobile home and ask them THREE STUPID QUESTIONS.

The first was “How do you feel?”

The answer was never the one you would think …

“How do I feel? I just lost all my worldly belongings. How the hell do you think I feel? How do I feel? I feel great!!! I haven’t had this much fun since my last hemorrhoid operation!

The second was “Will you re-build?”

To this question the answer was always, “Oh yes, this is the third time in ten years we’ve been flooded out. We will rebuild.”

And the reporter would say “But why? You’ve been flooded out three times in ten years?”

And they would say “But this is Paradise! This is God’s country!”

And I would reply, “Don’t you think God is sending you a message??? GET THE FUCK OFF MY PROPERTY!! I’VE FLOODED YOU OUT THREE TIMES IN THE LAST TEN YEARS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! CAN’T YOU IDIOTS TAKE A FRIGGING HINT???”

I’m telling these jokes because it helps me deal with the horror of what’s going on right now.

What’s happening in Texas now is horrific. Millions of people’s lives are being thrown into unimaginable chaos and despair. Global warming, global climate change is real. The NOAA and the weather channel label these storms as storms of the century, the floods are 100-year floods, 500-year floods. Harvey is being called a 1000-year flood. But it’s not. Hurricane Sandy was a Super Storm that was a 500-year event. And that was FIVE YEARS AGO!

Hurricane Harvey’s flooding is not a 1000-year event. It’s next year’s event. Maybe next month’s. The hurricane season isn’t over yet.


AND NOW — It’s a week later. Irma, the most powerful hurricane to ever be born in the Atlantic, is hustling towards Cuba … and probably, Florida … with 185 mph winds. After that … well … who knows, right? It looks like whatever parts of the U.S. aren’t underwater are on fire. 


Do you think that maybe God is, in fact, sending us a message?

PS: In case you’re curious, what was the Third Stupid Question?

“What did the tornado sound like?” And you all know the answer.“ It sounded just like a freight train going right through our living room.”

That’s a whole other blog.

GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS, OR MAYBE HE DOESN’T – BY TOM CURLEY

I’ve been watching the coverage of Hurricane Harvey and the unbelievable flooding it is causing. I can’t help but think that God really, REALLY hates Texas. I’m 66 years old and I’ve never seen a hurricane hit land, turn into a tropical storm, go back to sea, hit land again, go back to sea again, and hit land a third time.

The statistics are hard to wrap your head around. As I am writing this, the storm is still going strong and will be for maybe two or three more days. To date, this storm has dropped over 20 TRILLION GALLONS OF WATER ON TEXAS AND LOUISIANA!

Stop now and try to wrap your head around that number.  And it isn’t over yet. There will be more. Estimates are for over 25 TRILLION gallons when this is all over. The weather channel has had to add two more colors to their rain fall charts to adjust to these levels of rain fall.

We need more purple!

The endless scenes of people being rescued reminds me of an old old joke. There is a great flood and a man who is a devout Christian is trapped on the roof of his house.  The local police come by in a canoe and shout out to him to jump off the roof onto the canoe.

“Jump in the canoe!”

He replies: “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” The police argue with him for a while but he will not relent. Eventually they give up and move on. They have other people to save.

A few hours later, the water is up to his thighs when the State Police come by in another canoe and they tell him to jump in. Again, he states, “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” After arguing with him for a while they give up and move on.

Another hour goes by and now the water is up to his waist. A Coast Guard Helicopter arrives over his house and a bullhorn shouts out, “We are lowering a basket. Climb in and you will be saved.

Again, he replies, “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” So, the helicopter leaves because they have other people to save.

Another hour goes by and the water sweeps the man away and he dies. Suddenly he is in heaven at the feet of God. And he is livid. He is furious. He shouts, “GOD! I was a man of faith! I believed in YOU! HOW COULD YOU HAVE FORSAKEN ME???!”

And God looks down at him for a second and says: “Forsaken you?? What the Hell are you talking about?? I sent you TWO CANOES AND A HELICOPTER!!!”

I’m not the first person to notice that what may turn out to be the worst storm in history is hitting an area where a lot of folks there don’t believe in climate change.

I used to do a stand-up comedy routine (shameless plug):

where I talked about working in the news.

My point was that the news was always the same. Every week, somewhere in the world, there was an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or flood. And no matter where it happened, we would send a news crew to gather a poor family who had just lost all their worldly belongings, set them up in front of their recently destroyed mobile home and ask them THREE STUPID QUESTIONS.

The first was “How do you feel?”

The answer was never the one you would think …

“How do I feel? I just lost all my worldly belongings. How the hell do you think I feel? How do I feel? I feel great!!! I haven’t had this much fun since my last hemorrhoid operation!

The second was “Will you re-build?”

To this question the answer was always, “Oh yes, this is the third time in ten years we’ve been flooded out. We will rebuild.”

And the reporter would say “But why? You’ve been flooded out three times in ten years?”

And they would say “But this is Paradise! This is God’s country!”

And I would reply, “Don’t you think God is sending you a message??? GET THE FUCK OFF MY PROPERTY!! I’VE FLOODED YOU OUT THREE TIMES IN THE LAST TEN YEARS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! CAN’T YOU IDIOTS TAKE A FRIGGING HINT???”

I’m telling these jokes because it helps me me deal with the horror of what is going on right now.

What’s happening in Texas now is horrific. Millions of people’s lives are being thrown into unimaginable chaos and despair. Global warming, global climate change is real. The NOAA and the weather channel label these storms as storms of the century, the floods are 100-year floods, 500-year floods. Harvey is being called a 1000-year flood. But it’s not. Hurricane Sandy was a Super Storm that was a 500-year event. And that was FIVE YEARS AGO!

Hurricane Harvey’s flooding is not a 1000-year event. It’s next year’s event. Maybe next month’s. The hurricane season isn’t over yet. Do you think that maybe God is, in fact, sending us a message?

PS: In case you’re curious, what was the Third Stupid Question?

“What did the tornado sound like?” And you all know the answer.“ It sounded just like a freight train going right through our living room.”

That’s a whole other blog.

A SEASON OF LIGHTS: A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE

A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE: LIGHTS

From Nancy Merrill:

“With the Christmas season upon us, lights have become an important part of most people’s homes and cubicles at work. At the Draper City Park, this tree is the center point of their light display. To get this shot, I placed my tripod on the hill overlooking the tree and asked people to let me get a clear shot.”

From the archives, a few pictures full of lights. And very seasonal. They are among my all-time favorite pictures.

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: A GRAND SUNRISE

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There are monuments and mountains, deserts and oceans, but the daily regular rising of our sun is true glory and grandeur, available to all of us,

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STEEDS SPINNING

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spinning carousel 14

At the Heritage Museum and Gardens lighting the other night, among many beautiful, fun things was their winter carousel. In a heated building (yay because it was too cold for comfort!) where the painted ponies went up and down, round and round …

spinning carousel 11

The carousel no longer has its own calliope, so the music was piped in on speakers. The riders, ranging in age from toddlers to very senior citizens, were undaunted and rode with joy.

spinning carousel 7

BRAVE STEEDS ON THE WINTER CAROUSEL

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Carousel steed 33

The winter carousel at the Heritage Museum and Gardens lighting had some magnificent steeds.

Carousel steeds 38

Being well-bred and properly trained mounts, they were perfectly safe for riders of all ages and skill levels … and were indeed enjoyed by all.

Carousel steeds 45

DAILY PROMPT: TO BOLDLY GO INTO THE LIGHT

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There is a clear, bright light at the end of the tunnel. I will reach out to it. I will make it mine.

light at the end of the hallway

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: SATURATED – WET LEAVES ON GLASS

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