MONTAGES OF THE MIND AND EYES – Garry Armstrong

A long, long time ago, a professor startled our history of film class with an epiphany.


The juxtaposition of montages is
equal to pure cinema.


Huh?  It sounded rich and obtuse. Something I would always remember in the ensuing decades when I was trying to impress people with my film savvy.

I got it! I really got it!

My old professor’s epiphany rang through my head as I shaved today, prompting me to set up a photo array on our back porch.

Is it pure cinematic thought in your mind?

Bob Shiefer’s Autobiography

“The New Yorker” covers rarely need words. You look at them once, twice, maybe several times. Usually, they provoke smiles, laughter and, often, nods of approval. They are juxtapositions of images for your mind.

The cartoon icon and our backyard froggy are internalizing our pictorial montage for discreet conversation between keeping watch over the bird feeders,  the birds, and other poachers — namely the cadre of squirrels who themselves should be in the magazine cover montages.

If you’re a film maven, you know montages are important parts of films,  especially classic films.  They advance storylines with quick flips of scenes. No dialogue is needed if the montage is done well. A classic example is the beginning of Casablanca. Those montages set the scene, the people, and the political mood of the iconic film.

Just a free “Juji” trivia nugget.  The “Casablanca” montages were directed by Don Siegel who later would become the respected director of action and westerns films. He mentored Clint Eastwood at the start of Dirty Harry’s directorial career. You can see the full circle of montages from Casablanca to Play Misty For Me to Unforgiven.

The Mueller Story from The New Yorker, remix

So, take another look at our montages for the mind. Relaxing on our back porch and, yes, upstaging our time to feed the birds. “Tuppence, tuppence a bag.”

THEY DON’T CALL THEM FILTHY RICH FOR NOTHING – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Guileless but white

For all the right-wing evangelists, have any of you noticed that at no point in the Torah or the Gospels is there any mention of race or skin color? Nor any mention of superiority based on color, either.

It’s not that there was no such thing as color. Some people were dark, others much lighter. Especially in the Mediterranean area, colors vary quite a lot and no one seems to care.

Why do we care? What makes us so special? What makes white people superior? We aren’t better farmers or better people. We are cruel, vicious, and willing to destroy the world while guilelessly sitting on a fence saying “who me?”

Why is it important to be “white?” Were the Sphinxes built by “white people?” Not unless the Eqyptians have done some serious color shifting. How about the great Mayan and Aztec pyramids? They weren’t white either.  All the palaces and temples in India were built by brown people as were those in Tibet and other areas of Asia. No white folks there, either.

How about the Great Wall of China? A lot of white people building that one?

So other than our greed and cruelty to those who are different than us, what makes white people special? As far as I can tell, nothing. We invented a lot of technology which hasn’t done the world any good and is in the process of doing it permanent harm.

So as we sit around, guilelessly acting as if we are the world’s great innocents, ponder who has done the worst things to most people. Who has done the most slaughtering? Who has the biggest butcher bill to pay?

You guessed it. White people. Now we want to take over the world because we haven’t done enough damage.

Why not? We’ve been trying to do that for hundreds of years. We might get there yet. I’m not sure what kind of world we will be taking over or if there will even be a part of it that remains safe for humans to live.

We can be proudly white in a world of horror.

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM LIKE A MAGAT? – AGAIN! – BY TOM CURLEY

Here is another in my unintentional series of re-posting blogs I wrote a year or so ago because they are more relevant today. This happened last week.

Ellin and I have a boat. We’ve been at the same Marina for over 19 years. This is our happy place. We love it. We don’t come here to discuss politics or religion. We come here to relax and have fun.

Here’s a picture of my neighbor to my right. He flies an American flag.

Lots of boats do. It’s a thing with boaters.  Why not? This is my neighbor two boats over to my left.

A little more nautical, but still cool. And then there’s the chucklehead next to me.

I was down below when he came in. I went upstairs to say Hi and he say “Hey did you see my flags?” I looked up and before my normal filter could kick in all I could say was

“WHAT THE FUCK?!! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???!!!”

He laughs and says “Oh, you don’t like the guy? I think it’s funny.”

Now, those that know me would be thinking I was about to explode. And they’d be right. I knew if I did this, the guy would never know what hit him.

I didn’t want to do that. The marina is my safe place. It’s where I go every day to sit in the sun and relax. I know that some people on our dock are Republicans and some are Democrats. But we are all friends and we keep it to our selves. We can agree to disagree. I’ve grown to know them enough that we can put aside our differences by simply not talking about them. This is the dock. Mellow out. Have a beer. Go to the pool.

We are all here to relax and have fun. Then yesterday another one shows up on the dock next to us with the same God Damn flag. The vast majority of the dock was appalled. Angry. Livid. WTF?!!!

My problem is I believe in the First Amendment. I will defend your right to say stupid racist shit, but I get to also say I think you are a racist piece of shit.

There are limits to the First Amendment. You can’t shout “FIRE” in a theater. You can stand on a street corner and be as much of an asshole as you want but you can’t do it everywhere. Like our marina! The manager of  our marina, god bless him, went to both of these morons and explained the marina is a “politics-free zone.” Please take the flags down. Other people on the dock, almost all of them, were upset.

Well, chucklehead number two got all mad and outraged, but finally took the flags down. Chucklehead number one took them down but kept putting them back up until another boat owner got into a huge shouting match with him. He took the flags down.

Here’s the point. The First Amendment doesn’t mean you get to spew your racist hateful shit anywhere. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all private entities. They can make their own rules and regulations about what you can and cannot do in their app and on their property. The Trumpers have decided that you have to listen to them.  If I had put a flag up that violated the marina’s rules, I would have felt terrible and immediately taken it down. I would have been embarrassed.

They don’t. They have no respect for anybody else’s feelings or rules.  They feel they have the right to shove their opinions down your throat.

THEY DON’T!  They have the right to shout racist crap and you have the right not listen to them and call them a bunch of fucking morons. Oddly the upshot of this is that my neighbor is being shunned.  Revealed to be the moron he is.

Really, he is not the sharpest pencil in the box and has no idea how to drive his 37-foot boat — which scares the shit out of all of us on the dock.

He seems to be stunned that he’s being treated like a minority. Like someone who is different from all the people around him. Like, even though we all believe in the First Amendment, we don’t want his kind around here. Karma’s a bitch. Here’s the original post. Making the same point.


Nazis are bad.

This isn’t an opinion. It’s a fact. We seem to live in a world where facts are considered by many to be identical to opinions. That still doesn’t make them any less ‘factual.’

The fact is, NAZIS ARE BAD! White supremacists are bad. White nationalists are bad. A Nazi by any other name is STILL A NAZI!

Despite this, there has been a huge rise in Nazism, white supremacy, hate crimes, and massacres, the latest being the horrific massacre in New Zealand. Which, by the way, was live-streamed on Facebook. That was bad enough. What was worse was it was re-posted over a million times on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

How many sick fucks are out there?

Turns out, way, way more than I ever imagined.

They always were out there, but up until two years ago, they had the decency to stay hidden beneath the rocks under which they lived.

What changed?

What made them come out from under their slimy rocks to proudly proclaim their hatred, their racism, and misogyny? Duh! The White Nationalist in chief, Adolf Twittler got elected president.

Since then, a Nazi nut job living in a van covered with alt-right posters and pictures of Herr Twittler sent pipe bombs to two former living presidents and all sorts of media folk. Another shot up a concert in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, another bunch of right-wing nut-jobs committed mass murder.

What a fine crew they are. Yup. Good people on both sides.

There are so many hideous crimes after a while the details blur together. No matter how horrible Cheesy McCheese Face behaves — like refusing to condemn Nazis who commit murder in Charlottesville and dumping on John McCain even though he has been DEAD for months  — Republicans and “his base” continue to support him.

Well, there goes the neighborhood.

 

Although his base is a minority in the U.S., they comprise a lot of people. Too many people. So, the question remains, how do we (relatively sane) people deal with these assholes?

I disagreed when Hillary Clinton famously called these folks “deplorables.” Why? Because they owned it and started wearing tee-shirts that said “Proud Deplorable.”

She should have called them “Assholes.”

Why? Because how cool would it have been to see hundreds of thousands of these morons parading around in public wearing tee-shirts saying  “I’m a Proud Asshole.”

Lately, an odd thing has started happening. The MAGA hat-wearing public is complaining they are being discriminated against. They are being publicly shamed. They are victims. They’re being picked on because they’re MAGATs.

There are even websites and apps out there that tell them what restaurants they can go to. Where they can be sure nobody will make fun of them. Sort of a “Green Book for Red Hats.”

This shaming is a good thing. If we’ve learned anything in the last two years, we’ve learned you can’t talk to these folks. No matter how many facts you present to these morons, they only believe what the Hater-In-Chief says.

They’re a cult. You can’t have a rational conversation with a cultist. All cults are essentially the same. They only believe their “leader.” Everybody outside the cult is “the enemy.”

Everybody not in the cult is out to get them. The cult leader has secret information that only he possesses. That information almost always is the same:


The leader was anointed by God to be their leader.


As often as not, the hidden information is that the leader actually is God.  Everyone tends to forget that in most cults, the end comes when the leader goes stark raving mad, has sex with all female members, regardless of age, and decides everybody needs to kill him or herself.

The problem is this cult has more than 50-million members. That’s an awful lot of Kool-aid.

Shit, we’re gonna need more Kool-Aid.

So, what do we do with these MAGATs? These Nazis?

I say let’s treat them the way they treat other minorities:

*   If you see them on the street, cross the street. You never know if they will become violent.

*   If you see them in a store, follow them around to make sure they don’t steal anything.

*   Don’t argue with them. It’s like teaching a pig to fly. You just frustrate yourself and annoy the pig.

*   Shun them. Turn your back on them and walk away.

Give them all a message in the one language they understand:


Your kind is not welcome here.


A.B. NORMAL – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Abnormal

What is normal? It there such a thing? Does anyone lead a “normal life”?

This has been a week when it feels like I should not have gotten out of bed. Or, for that matter, gained consciousness. Every time a hint of consciousness appeared, I should have taken something that would put me back in a chemical coma.

Between the news about Bonnie and discovering one wall of my house is about to fall off (and there is no money with which to fix it) and the critical invasion of lethal Eastern Equine Encephalitis Mosquitoes — it has not been a good week. It hasn’t even been a bad week. It has been an atrocious, abnormal, messed up, disgusting, horror of a week.

Wolf spiders vary greatly in size. The smallest may measure only 3 millimeters in body length, while most lycosids are larger, reaching up to 30 millimeters. Many species live in burrows in the ground, and most are nocturnal. Most lycosids are brown, gray, black, pale orange, or cream. They often have stripes or speckles. The head region of the cephalothorax usually narrows. The legs, particularly the first two pairs, are often spiny to help the spiders hold their prey. And this is exactly what it looked like.

A coma seems my best possible choice. Or a long leap off a very tall bridge. My primary problem with long leaps off tall bridges is that I might not die. I might just get broken into many pieces and have to live with that, which probably would make things worse — although I figure at that point the powers-that-be might consider that we need to have a place to live. Or, who knows? Maybe they will just drop me by the side of the road and drive away.

Who needs all these “old people” cluttering up our world?

It’s all about climate change. The climate change we don’t have has been battering this house with endlessly pouring rain and raging wind storms. Apparently on at least one side of the house (the short side) has had the vinyl siding so ripped apart that not only is the wood beneath it soaked, but the actual vinyl is soaked. The door which the vinyl surrounds is black with mold from the endless wetness and for reasons that I cannot fathom, hordes of yellow jackets seem to be trying to make a nest on our deck.

There is nothing ON our deck. We removed everything when we repainted it. The only remaining things there are broken pieces of branches from the trees and one of the most enormous wolf spiders I’ve ever seen.

Mind you, I knew they lived in the woods, but this one wanted to climb in through our screen and I finally pulled out the really poisonous spider stuff and sprayed him to death. The first couple of time he sat on the screen and leered at me, I just knocked him off to (I assume) the deck below. The fourth time, I decided it was war.

I killed him. Through the screen. With spider poison spray. So his carcass — his rather enormous carcass — is stuck between the boards on the deck and between the huge dead spider and the hundreds of yellow jackets, I’m staying home.

And still trying to figure out how we can repair the house — it really looks like we should completely redo the vinyl siding and the gutters which have been battered by falling tree limbs so they don’t do anything useful.

But we have no more money. Any money we had has gone to fixing the well, replacing doors, replacing half the front of the house and putting in a new window. The deck is falling off the house.

I’ve been running through my possible ways “out” of this life, not because I expect to see heaven, but because this life just isn’t working out for me. People say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but these don’t seem particularly temporary. The house really needs work and we can’t do it. I’ve been trying every way I know and just winding up in enough debt to wonder if either Garry OR I will live to see the end of it.

He’s trying to find some work. I just want to leave all the details to anyone who wants them and slide into oblivion. NOT because I think oblivion would be nicer, but because I’m not going to try to live on the street. As a simple start, I’d last about three minutes and they wouldn’t be nice minutes and the other because frankly, I’ve had enough.

Every time I think I’ve found some solution that MIGHT work, I discover that there’s oh so much more that needs to be done.

I’ve looked for solutions, but there don’t seem to be any solutions. It may look like a solution but it’s really just another trap. A tar pit. Maybe we should go back to the caves, but I’m pretty sure it would be full of big spiders too.

INSTINCT OR THE GIBB’S THEORY OF “GOING WITH THE GUT” – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Instinct


Without getting all Leroy Jethro Gibbs here … is there any other way to make a decision when you have no hard facts with which to work? It sounds right, doesn’t it?

Except when Gibbs does it, the entire agency agrees. When I do it, no one ever agrees.

If you’re a mother and you know your kid is “off,” you take him or her to the doctor. You don’t wait until the strep throat or whatever it shows up with full symptoms. The doctor promptly tells you he can’t see any problem. You go home. The kid is a mess the next day.

Let’s hear it for instinct!

pinterest.com

You hear a noise in your car’s engine. A funny little squeaky noise which comes and goes. Do you wait for the serpentine belt to snap or take it to a mechanic? You take it in. They look. They shrug.A few days later, the transmission falls out. Instinct! Gotta love it.The meteorologists on the television are predicting a few inches of snow, but your bones are screaming “it’s a big one on the way.”

Do you ignore your instinct and believe the guy on TV? Or lay in some supplies, fill the car with gasoline, and bring the candles out … just in case. I mean, what the hell. A few extra items in the house won’t hurt, right?If I have data to work with (better yet, if I had Data to work with), I’ll work with it or him. But through most of real life, we have no facts. We have instinct, experience, “gut feelings.” Plus, we have a sort of prescience that comes with years of making judgment calls, dealing with emergencies … a kind of “know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em” sort of thing.

Unfortunately, the doctors, mechanics, bosses, friends, colleagues et al? They don’t share that with uw. They merely think we are a bit strange. Remarkably, no matter how many times we are proved right? They still won’t believe us.

The next time you just know what’s going to happen? Everyone will completely ignore you. Totally.

So, when you get that deep, gut feeling, the one which tells you a catastrophe is on the way? Run around. Tell everyone. They will ignore you. BUT later — you can enjoy the rare opportunity to tell everyone: “SEE? I TOLD YOU SO!” and they will say, “Yeah, yeah. Right. Uh huh.”Most major decisions in my life have been gut decisions and they usually turned out better than the “rational” ones based on whatever evidence I had. Instinct on the hoof.

I think it’s how we contact the basic, hard-wired knowledge in our brains.

If only someone would occasionally agree with us.

FINEST DAY OF THE WEEK, DEPENDING ON HOW YOU LOOK AT IT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Finest

Duke did not steal it. I blamed him, although he was noticeably unruffled by being blamed since he does not consider stealing small plastic objects he can chew as something shameful. It’s just delightfully crunchy. Pill bottles (empty), DVD covers, other miscellaneous containers — and two pairs of kitchen scissors plus Garry’s red mouse. I knew it was him. It had fang marks. Garry may chew, but he has no fangs, at least that I know about.


We had errands to run today. It’s May 2nd or (depending on the day) late winter. I put on my sweat pants, turtleneck sweater, wool socks, shoes, and my peacoat. I should have also worn a hat because — yes — it was raining.

How unusual.

Garry asked if I was ready to go, so I closed my computer, grabbed my little camera and tucked it into my bag and off we went. We had to sign papers at the insurance company, mail some stuff to the Town of Uxbridge (to prove we still live here), and go grocery shopping.

All of which we did. When we got home and I unpacked the groceries and put everything where it belonged, I called Owen to tell him to pick up his mail — and by then it was past the dog’s dinner time and a little past ours, too, I took out my computer and turned it on. I had a few bills to pay. Nothing big, which is why I had to pay them. It’s the little ones I forget.

But I couldn’t do anything because my mouse had vanished. Both Garry and I stared at The Duke who appeared to wonder what the problem was. He has previously stolen two pairs of kitchen scissors and had eaten Garry’s mouse. So who wouldn’t assume he’d also eaten mine? Any dog owner would have assumed the same thing, right?

With a flashlight, we examined the underside of all the furniture (dirt, all that dirt), the dog crate (where we had previously found both pairs of scissors and Garry’s mouse). Nothing.

The Duke

And then, looked at my end table where I keep the computer, my big external drive and about a dozen chargers for miscellaneous camera batteries. My little camera was sitting there, in its case.

But. I put my camera in my bag, lest there be a picture to take. IF my little camera was on the end table — what did I put in my bag?

Suddenly, I knew. It was my mouse.

Totally humiliated, I extracted my mouse, mumbled about getting REALLY old and moved on with life.

Out of the whole week — and it was one hell of a week — this was my finest day. It was perfect.  This was possibly the finest hour of my finest day. I had both of us crawling around the floor looking for the mouse that I’d put in my bag because I thought it was my camera. It looks nothing like my camera. It’s not in a case, for one thing. It weighs a few ounces while the camera is almost a pound.

Camera and mouse

My body did something completely different than my brain was perceiving. This worries me. How many other things am I doing that I don’t know I’m doing? Until they call me and tell me I didn’t pay the bill, I really don’t know.

You can’t make this stuff up. Even if you try. (And why would you try?)

My doctor says I am not sinking into dementia. I know because I asked him. I believe he replied by saying, “Not a chance!” As if I had was hoping for a cure from life and he was giving me the bad news with which I would have to cope.

The dog really did not do it. I done it. Myself.

Sorry, Duke. You did eat Garry’s mouse. You left DNA with the fang marks.

THE OLD WEST AND THE WAGONS AS THEY ROLLED – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Wagon

It was the first thing that came into my head when I saw the word “wagon.” That’s right. Westerns! Wagon trains and buckboard wagons with teams of horses.

Wagon Train brought us Ward Bond, Robert Horton, and others. Randolph Scott was offered the role originally but turned it down. It worked out to be a good deal for Ward Bond and it got Robert Horton acting as well as singing.

My favorite individual theme was “Rawhide” as sung by The Blues Brothers with all the whips at the bar in the south. Remember? I tend to get Wagon Train and Rawhide confused. They were entirely different shows, but they “felt” very similar. Maybe it was the costumes.

I think the happiest day of our two trips to Arizona was the day we spent in Tombstone.

Here’s a little special something for all of us who watched and loved those Western shows. It’s funny that I can’t remember any of the plots or stories, but I can sing ALL of the songs!

I was a Western movie addict as was Garry. I loved the men, but really, I loved the horses and those old dusty towns. Mostly, though, the horses. I think if you just showed me an hour of horses, I’d have been a very happy camper. Wasn’t it amazing how the streets were not full of mud and horseshit? And after they drove the cattle through … who cleaned up that mess?

And finally, I found this little treasure on YouTube. I’m sure there’s more and some of these aren’t in very good condition … but if those were the days when Westerns were the name of the game … roll ’em out, head ’em in …

And all because of wagons. Yee haw!