SHAME ON #METOO – Marilyn Armstrong

The Daily Post: GENIE!

Of all the genies in all the world, why is my brain totally stuck on “I Dream of Jeannie?” I could be obsessing on “the Djinn of the Desert” or the many Djinn of the worlds of poetry and mythology. Instead, I’m stuck on a 1960 TV series which I rarely watched. The problem was, I found it insulting.

I was a pre-menstrual girl child. No breasts. I just intensely hated the concept, it made me want to spit.

My father once commented that he didn’t really like children because he found them dull. I pointed out that he never found me dull (when he wasn’t being crazy, he was interesting) and he said “Yes, but you weren’t a child. You were a person.” That is probably the only compliment he ever gave me and I think I was 50 at the time.

I felt belittled by it the show. Embarrassed. Humiliated. The idea of wanting a beautiful personal female slave — never mind that the show often didn’t go in that direction regardless. As a note, I think Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman were offended by it too. Larry’s mom was a strong woman in her own right, so they intentionally took it off the rails.

Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden

I was a child, but I already knew it was a bad idea whose time would never come. Besides — I wasn’t blond.

My mother didn’t act like that. She was so very far from that place you could not even mention the concept without a gigantic blast of angry energy. I did not have a penis of my own and thus the concept of having a “beautiful slave girl” wasn’t rattling around my genitalia as it does for so many male persons of the penile persuasion.

I’m probably too much #metoo to be the right genie gal writer. I was #metoo before #metoo was #metoo. I’m betting so were millions and millions of women throughout the world.

We didn’t have a hashtag because “hash” was ground up potatoes and corned beef so you didn’t tag it on anything except your scrambled eggs, but we were pissed off with men long, long decades (possibly centuries) before the “official” movement drifted into view. And we fought back within the limits of physical abilities and the realism of needing to have a professional job in a world dominated by men, many of whom didn’t like women.

So you may have dreamed of Jeannie, but I didn’t.

Still, that little nose wiggle Elizabeth Montgomery did — I could have lived with that. Anything to not have to ever clean — or repair — the house.


If you watch enough cop shows on television, you will be convinced there is no such thing as a coincidence. This is probably because in cop shows, they are looking for clues. Also, there’s the matter of the script in which everyone always says “there’s no such thing as a coincidence.”

Except there is. It may be a freakish coincidence. It may be downright weird and closer to home than you want, but it’s not a clue. Why isn’t it a clue? Because you aren’t trying to track down the bad guy. You aren’t looking for a serial killer (at least I hope not and if you are, I hope you are well armed and not trying to do it on Facebook). You are just tralala-ing your life away, so what kind of a clue would make a meaningful difference?

When I was living in Israel, someone posted that he was giving away his entire record collection. He had “gone religious” and decided he didn’t need such frivolity. I called him up and he came over with crates of vinyl records. This was before CDs took over and a few years later, records were stuff you didn’t need anymore.

I’m highly amused that they are back in fashion. Mom was right: hang on to anything long enough and it will be back in style. She meant clothing, but apparently it’s true for many things. I’m still awaiting eight-track tapes.

Sorry for the digression.

I look at the guy and he looked at me. We stared at each other for a really long time and finally, I said “Where did you go to high school?”

“Jamaica High School,” he said.

Turns out we were in the same show in our junior year. I don’t remember anything about him except that there was something in his eyes that was familiar. Freaky? Weird? Yup. A clue? A clue to exactly what? It wasn’t like we dated or anything. At best, we barely knew one another.

About 10 years later, Garry and I were in Dublin. Looking for the Stag’s Head Pub, which is one of the older pubs in Dublin. The only way you can find it is to see the old stag’s head mosaic in the sidewalk because it’s down an unmarked alley.

So Garry and I — eternally lost, but this time, lost in Dublin — were staring at the sidewalk. A total stranger walked up and Garry accosted him.

“Excuse me,” said Garry, “But do you happen to know where we could find the Stag’s Head?”

“You’re Garry Armstrong,” said the nice man who it turns out was a professor at Harvard taking a year off to teach in Dublin. Cabal? No, but he knew how to find the pub.

A few years later, Garry and I are visiting my cousins in Baltimore and we’ve gone out for dinner. Crabs legs. They do a great job with crabs in Maryland. The waiter came over, dumps a heap of crab legs on the table and says “Hey, you’re Garry Armstrong.”

We went to Disney World and people kept asking for his autograph. There was Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck … and Garry. Ah, the memories. Okay Garry was a little bit famous. Still … what are the odds?


Garry bumped into a viewer while in a castle in the highlands of Scotland. I encountered relatives while choosing veggies at the shuk in Jerusalem. A guy I knew well in Jerusalem  (he was my hairdresser) showed up at my doctor’s office in Newton, Massachusetts.

Stuff happens all the time. You meet someone who lives in the house you grew up in, or was the best friend of your best friend in fifth grade. It goes around and comes around. If you are firm believer in fate, is there some spiritual element in this?

For me, the truly oddest thing is when I meet someone who knows me. Says we were on the swimming team together (where I was a bench sitter — I never actually swam). Were in the same classes. Hung out. And I don’t recognize her or him at all. Nothing. Blank. Is it me or them? Which one of us is clueless?

If it is “something,” I’m pretty sure it’s not a cabal, clue, or collusion. It’s coincidence with memories. Synchronicity, if you like. The rhyming of our personal histories.

We know thousands of people, yet we bump into the same ones. Repeatedly.

So, are we destined to meet and then meet again people we knew in our world or maybe in another world? Even when they weren’t important and we can barely remember how we knew them or a single event or conversation which binds us together?

I’m sure someone more spiritual than I can make something more of this. Let me know when you know.

SYNCHRONICITY: 42 AND 42 – Marilyn Armstrong

Today was Jackie Robinson day in baseball and everyone wore a shirt with the number “42” emblazoned on it. Now, I’m enough of a baseball nerd to know that Jack Robinson’s entry into Major League Baseball was a big deal. A huge deal. It was the true beginning of the break from segregation to whatever we are doing these days.

We watched the movie “42” again. And loved it. Again. You can read the review here and it is one of the best reviews I’ve ever written, along with Garry, the total complete baseball nerd.

The thing is, I’m also a total science fiction nerd — and, speaking of freaky coincidence — Douglas Adams shares my birthday. And we ALL know what he thought of forty-two. It was the number that made the world … well … the world. 42 is the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.” It is the answer.

Sadly, the question remains unknown.

So how could Jackie Robinson and the answer to the question “what is the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything” be the same number?

Synchronicity of course. History rhymes and so do numbers. Phone numbers and house numbers and the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. I’m absolutely sure that Douglas Adams knew exactly what he was doing when he picked that number. He knew.

Jackie Robinson and his number, 42, IS the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. It is. Think about it. He broke the world open and it will never, ever go back to the way it was before he did it. 



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.


Depletion is our current financial state. This is because this is the time when we pay the mortgage.

It’s The Big Bill of the Month and it pretty much sucks us completely dry until the next fly by of Social Security. We get through the month, but there is usually more month than money. They would have to take away at least a week of month (and probably add one more check) to make it come out even.

I am also contemplating whether or not having taken — as of this morning — THREE antibiotics and a good deal of Flovent — if I am improved from yesterday. I thought when I could get up from the john without a sky hook and grabbing onto the sink, I must be better. But I don’t feel better right now and going back to bed sounds way too yummy.

Regardless, I need to sit up for a while. Drainage. Garry’s sore throat is gone. Now he feels bad everywhere. Welcome to my world.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I actually had to put the drugs from the doctor on a credit card yesterday. I hate that. The clouds are piling up, the temperature is dropping and we are getting sleet for the weekend.

How is this fair? I ask you? Okay, don’t make me rich. Just make me warmer. Make a few flowers bloom.

Is that too much to ask?

COINCIDENTALLY – Marilyn Armstrong

A good friend of mine had a crisis today. She inadvertently dialed a very out-of-date phone number. It had — a long, long time ago (more than 25 years) — had been Garry and my number. Back when we lived in Boston. I think before we were even yet married.

When she called the number, she got (on that number) a high school boyfriend from whom she had not heard since high school.

How do those ancient phone numbers somehow creep back into our files? It was originally a secondary phone number belonging to Garry, back when he had two phones — one for the office and the other for personal friends. Before cell phones. Before even the giant old brick of a cell phone.

She was convinced there was some cabal behind it. How could that ancient boyfriend from high school somehow wind up with her college best friends’ out-of-date telephone number? There had to be collusion of the most heinous kind.

Maybe it’s the times we live in. Or maybe the problem is that we read too many books and watch too much television and old movies where “there’s no such thing as a coincidence.”

Except, really, there is. Not just one, but many coincidences. Reality is full of things that just happen. Entirely by chance. No collusion or planning.

It took a delightful hour of chatting for me to almost convince her there was no cabal or conspiracy — and the Russians had nothing to do with it. It was just “one of those things.” Stuff happens. For no reason.

I don’t think she really believed me.


Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – April 13, 2018

We took a long drive through sleet and snow and rain and traffic jams. Considering it was April and not January, this was an awful lot of weather for such a relatively short journey.

These are some of the pictures. Are you impressed? You should be. It was a hell of a drive!