IN THE STREAMING WORLD, EVERYONE OWNS A PIECE OF EVERYONE ELSE

So Garry wanted to get a show that’s a freebie if you sign up for a new installation of Starz. But we already have Starz, so while they might let you sign up, they won’t give you the teaser freebie because you’re on their list as a user.

The show is being shown on Hulu and if you have your Starz and Hulu linked, I think (but am not sure) that you can get the show. Maybe. Our two channels are not linked. I don’t think they can be, but this is a guess. I don’t know.

The thing is, I have no idea how this linking of streaming channels works.

For example, we got Hulu when it was an independent station, but since then, it was bought by Disney. It is partially owned (I think) by Google, too.

It seems that everything is owned by everyone. Co-owned or completely owned. We have a cheap version of Hulu, but you can’t get that version anymore. Along with the Disney buyout came a big rise in costs.

We have a cheap version of Starz too. It was a “special” thrown in when I got the Disney package. That’s why I think Disney did or does own at least a big piece of Starz. Also Google. Who knows who else has the other pieces? If you have the right version of all these streaming stations, you can link them together. So what ARE the right versions?

I don’t have the right versions because I bought them when they were independent station, but they aren’t anymore. I don’t care what they are offering on which station: we aren’t getting another streaming station. I don’t care what they are showing. No more TV stations. We barely have time to watch maybe 10% of what we already have and there are bookmarked movies and TV shows we will never watch.

Garry has bookmarked so many shows and movies, I look at his lists and just shake my head. Just looking at all that STUFF makes my head spin. I can’t find anything in my email. I can’t remember what posts I’ve written or who wrote them or where I stashed the pictures.

Since WordPress has a really awful database, I can find fewer than a quarter of my photos and posts. Nor did I imagine, having cut the cord with cable that I would find myself with more channels than I can count and access to almost everything ever made for the movies or television.



Garry firmly believes I understand this stuff, but I don’t. I don’t know anyone who fully understands it. There’s probably a very well-paid lawyer somewhere who understands it. All of this streaming stuff happened after I retired, so I didn’t learn it at work and haven’t even tried to keep up with the many changes, some of which are recent and I only find out about them by reading about it on Bloomberg. Next month, I’m going to start disconnecting from streaming services we never seem to watch. There are only so many hours in the day and we don’t spend most of it watching TV.

What does this mean? More to the point, what does it mean to us? How many people feel that have control over their televisions?

As all the stations buy pieces of each other, they should tell us what to do with the pieces we already own and bought before the recent mergers. Disney’s purchase of Hulu was a biggie. I’m not sure who owns Starz now. I thought it was Disney, but now I think part of it belongs to Google. HBO was always independent, but now I think Disney and Google own hunks of it.

Our television is considered “old” though it isn’t old and works perfectly — and the new version of it in the store looks exactly the same as this one and is the same price this was 7 years ago. But we keep being warned we have an old television.

Arrgh!!

YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT, BUT SOMETIMES, YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED

If you didn’t believe before, believe now. I was waiting. I knew. It had to be. I’m surprised it took this long, but finally, we’re here. Is this another media hoax? If 45 should die, would that be a SUPER media hoax? The ultimate media hoax? I know I’m should be praying for the welfare of the ill, but I don’t have it in me to get that “angelic” look you see on statues in the cemetery. I wish I could. I’m sure that would make me a better person, but I never claimed I was perfect.This definitely proves my imperfection. No matter how I look at it, this man deserves this disease. As does Melania. As do the remainder of his wretched crew. Those helpers in his horrific destruction of our environment, courts, political, and legal systems. He has stolen our money, allowed — ENCOURAGED — more than 200,000 people to die of COVID-19.

It didn’t have to be this bad. Whatever it is, however it goes, this man earned it.

Because of his last “rally,” all his big contributors are also in quarantine. You think these donors might possibly be reconsidering if they still feel like giving him a ton of their money? Or — any? The GOP doesn’t even have a “back-up” candidate — and I don’t think Ivanka or Jared are getting anyone’s nod. So who? Pence? Really? Would anyone vote for him even if he ran? The Big Orangeman’s cult followers are not Pence followers. Orangeman isn’t the GOP. It’s just this guy and he is sick. Even if he recovers, how long will he be sick? So far it’s mild, but it’s always mild at the beginning, often for a couple of weeks. Then it gets worse and sometimes, even worse than that. Which of his crazed followers is going to want to stand maskless by his bedside now? How far does their worship really go?

No one begged for this illness more than Trump. He has literally ranted to the heavens to “bring it on.” Somehow, when you beg the universe to “sock it to me,” you generally get socked. I don’t know who, what, or why the universe is how it is, but if I had anything to say about it, I would feel that those who beg for trouble should be allowed to experience it.

Now, we all wait and see how it develops. He’s old. He’s obese. Rumors of heart problems abound. He has the worse diet in the world. He has done much evil to many people and these folks are not rooting for his welfare. How could they? So perhaps the heavens are speaking. We are listening. We hope for the best and in this case, “the best” is what?

What is the best for me, for us, for those poor locked up immigrant children? For the earth and the seas and the water we drink and the air we breathe. And incidentally, for “the man who would be king.”

I’m not sure what “best” is giving all the individuals involved, from the poorest to the wealthiest. You don’t know either. His death could be best. His illness and recuperation might be best. The fear of the disease itself might in itself be best. I am so very, very glad I am not in charge of the “what’s best.” I bet you are equally glad. If there is a God, do your thing, whatever it may be. I’m just thrilled to not be the one making the decisions. No matter how much you believe in whatever you believe, it can be a hard to figure what a guy like “the man who would be king” deserves. As long as I am not in charge of dispensing this piece of karmic dogmatic justice, go Karma and all that this implies!

As “the man who would be king” said, keep your finger on the trigger. Stay locked and loaded. Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.

THE JOY OF DUMPING IT

I have felt truly unwell for the past week or two. Really, it started with the abscess in my mouth and the two weeks on antibiotics waiting for the surgeon to pull the tooth. Then the dry-socketed tooth and the resurgence of the abscess and another run of different antibiotics for a sinus infection. All those antibiotics killed “the bad stuff” and the good stuff. My gut is most unhappy with me. My back’s none too happy either, but this is because the confluence of medications I take sometimes gets completely out of hand.

I take what is considered the maximum load of blood pressure medications. “The full load,” my cardiologist commented. Because of earlier surgery for stomach and upper intestinal ulcers, I also take a maximum amount of antacids. Sometimes, I can back off them for a while, but eventually, I get sick and have no choice. They aren’t good for you. I also take some medication for sleeping and some for pain. In total, it adds up to a lot of medication and sometimes, instead of helping me, it makes me sick.

Now is one of those times. I have to make decisions about what to stop taking. I’m afraid to stop taking the BP meds for obvious reasons. I can’t completely stop the sleep medications or I really don’t sleep at all and it’s bad enough as it is. So the pain medication goes first. To a point which is when I realize if I don’t take something, I’m going to stop functioning entirely. I cut down on the antacids. I switch to over-the-counter pain meds — which work very well except I’m not supposed to ever take anything with aspirin in it, but sometimes it’s the only thing that works. I apologize to my stomach for this and eat another yogurt. I also try to up the amount of “real” food I eat. It’s not that I’m on a diet because I’m not. I’m not supposed to diet — ever — but I don’t eat much. I’m surprisingly lumpy for someone who eats as little as I eat, but gravity has had its way with me, so I’m 12-pounds lighter than last year, but I look 10-pounds heavier. Oddly, my pants size dropped, but my waistline got bigger.

 

All of this explain that I don’t feel well, but in theory, there’s nothing wrong with me except what was wrong with me when I felt better. Today I got up the courage to take a really hot shower and wash my hair. I should have done it yesterday, but Garry beat me to the shower. He had previously cleaned the whole house, so he earned it.

By the time he emerged, I was too tired to try.

Thus dawns a new day. I decided to make fried eggs on English muffins with cheese to go with coffee. Usually, I just have coffee and maybe a muffin or a cookie, but my body has been screaming for food. Not snacks, not whatever I could grab from the fridge. After coffee, perhaps bolstered by having actually eaten breakfast — and while in the shower, I noticed that a device I bought more than a year ago which is supposed to catch one’s hair before it gurgles down the drain. It was sitting on a shelf in the shower. I have another one that works better, so I don’t use it. I turned it over and it was grimy on the bottom with a hint of mold.


I THREW IT IN THE TRASH!


I took that “good-fer” and DUMPED IT right into the old trash can. It was a magic moment. Every now and then, I get inspirational and realize I do not need to keep every item I own, even if I paid for it but never use it — and probably never will. I can throw it out! What a concept! Which I did. It did not cure my stomach or make my head stop hurting, but there was a certain triumph in that brief moment of disposal. I felt like a winner. I had thrown away an item I didn’t need and no one had to force me to do it. Usually it is my son saying: “Do you use it? Will you use it? THROW IT AWAY.” Garry is no help because he saves everything. He is the king of good-fers. At least he has stopped buying more things he won’t use to go with the collection.

Today, I triumphed over uselessness. On this special day, I disposed of a bathroom thingie all by myself. Maybe I can find one more item to throw away. Where there’s life, there’s hope.

LIFE, DEATH, CANCER, AND DIGNITY

I don’t talk much about the “reality” of having cancer. It’s not the same for everyone and my cases (two, one for each breast and each different from the other) were relatively mild. The lymph nodes were not attacked, the tumors were (relatively speaking) small. The bigger one in my right breast was the size of a small lemon and the other was half the size. I was assured they were slow-growing but at the same time, I was also warned that it only took a single wandering cell to make it grow somewhere else — probably my lungs.

I had a choice between two complete mastectomies or just having the tumors removed. But I had highly cystic breasts. Figuring out what might be cancer and what was “benign” was going to be very difficult for everyone, especially me. I went with the mastectomies.

To keep the hours of surgery down, I had two surgeons working, one on each side, then two plastic surgeons. A previous hospital had told me they couldn’t give me implants because I had so much scarring from earlier surgeries. I went to a better hospital with more experienced doctors. Seek out the best, most-experienced surgeons you can find. Try to find one who has done hundreds of surgeries like yours. This is not the time to give a newbie her first opportunity. And find a surgeon who listens.

Prefer women. They understand. They have the same parts you do.

Dana-Farber Cancer Hospital (local outlet)

The odds of my getting cancer in both breasts at the same time were staggeringly small. I pointed out that I probably didn’t get them at the same time. I had one and over the years when my doctor forgot to send me for a mammogram, I grew the second. Even though my mother had died from metastasized breast cancer, neither of the tumors was genetically linked. There are lots of genetic linkage involved, but they only know a few of them and insurance will only pay for one test. Pick your tumor. It’s the cancer lotto. Men don’t get our connection to breasts. They see them as a removable piece to get rid of a tumor, not our connection to our womanhood. Where we nursed our babies.

Breast cancer is frighteningly common. There’s a theory that if you live long enough and your were born female, you will get it. Men get it too, by the way and it often gets missed. They aren’t trained to feel for lumps.

When I woke up from surgery, I already had two breast implants in place. This was an act of extraordinary generosity by my plastic surgeon and her associate. Usually they wait for the original surgery to heal, but they felt I needed to be able to look at myself and know I was still a woman. I am deeply grateful. With all the other madness you are going through with cancer, it is good to have surgeons who are also concerned with how you feel about your body and are willing to help.

They don’t keep you long in American hospitals. There’s a rumor that it’s because insurance companies don’t want to pay the money, but the true reason is that there are so many diseases in hospitals that the moment they can get you out of there, they send you home. I’m not talking about poverty stricken hospitals out in the country, but top-notch research and surgical facilities. They want you to leave healthier than when you arrived — and that means getting you out as fast as possible. Also, the odds of your getting edible food are better at home — even if it comes out of a can.

Honestly, I don’t remember much. I know I was in pain, but I was taking so many drugs, my brain was very blunt.

It has been ten years since the original surgery. I have no sign of regrowth, but that doesn’t really mean much. Because of the heart surgery and my metal pacemaker, I can’t have another MRI, so it could have spread. My grandparents, on my mother’s side, both died of pancreatic cancer as did my brother. Just because you’ve had one kind of cancer doesn’t mean you can’t get another. My first husband had kidney cancer, but died of heart disease. It’s all a game of craps. Some of us get everything yet we live on for many years. Others seem completely healthy, get one bout of pneumonia and die.

Moral? Be nice to everyone. You just don’t know what’s coming around the next corner.

So for anyone struggling with cancer or heart disease now, do the best you can. Within the realm of reason, follow your doctor’s orders, but if you don’t feel that the treatment you are on is working for you, speak up. Sometimes medications make you so sick, you have to stop taking them. If you don’t tell them, they may not realize things aren’t going well. When they ask how you feel, tell them. Icky and unpleasant as it is, they need to know and sometimes, small things that don’t seem important to you may be much more important than you realize.

None of us want pity, but all of us want support, sympathy, and kindness. If you don’t know what to say to a sick friend, you aren’t alone. Potentially lethal disease tends to leave us speechless.

YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP

I had that kind of day. My old HDX 10 inch Kindle finally refused to work with any of the newer stuff they were sending down from Audible — AND my Blue-Tooth speaker started beeping when it was fully charged. It’s like a decade old, so its internal battery probably died. The company that made it was bought by Apple and now the same speaker — which cost me $25 cost $200 — the same speaker, really and they aren’t going to send me a battery. I tried to use my 8 inch much newer Kindle, but it had been sitting unused for too long and it wouldn’t work. It didn’t work all that well when it was new and it turns out, my eyes need a bigger screen.

Mine is considered “plum.” More like peach, but okay, I’ll take plum.

So I gave in and bought a newly recertified yet somehow brand new 10″ Kindle and everything was going fine until the download of all 1476 of my audiobooks. It was a mess. I couldn’t delete anything and it had lumped all the downloaded and non-downloaded books together and most of the things in the “downloaded” pile were never actually downloaded and wouldn’t play anyway. I thought I got it fixed this morning, but then I went to listen to a book and it punked out in the middle.

I was then disconnected who knows how many times from Audible’s tech department and when I tried to explain the problem, they had NO idea what I was talking about. To make things worse, most of them spoke with a heavy non-American accent which didn’t make explaining the problem any easier — for me OR them. The day wore on and I was cut off, hung up on, disconnected, put on hold (and no one came back) and all I wanted to do was listen to a book.

Finally, I got someone who actually figured out what a godawful mess my account really was. It turns out that I had three accounts under three different user names. One name I knew about. I wanted to merge those books with my other books, but was told they couldn’t because of some issue involving paying publishers something. Then there was a third account under an email address I have never used which included another 456 books, so between the three accounts, I actually got back books I didn’t know I still had … from like 2001. That was the good part. But It was a long, long day on the telephone. I was hungry and I had a headache. All I wanted was a Kindle that worked so I could listen to books. Is that too much to ask?

Eventually, we got all my accounts merged — a major miracle — and in theory, the problem is fixed. But when you have that many books, the problem is never really fixed. The Kindle was not designed to store that many books, so it’s pretty easy for the storage thing to go wacko. I’m adding an extra 64 GB mini-CD card which should help, but still, I have to be careful how many books I download.

They also sent me instructions on how to fix the storage if and probably when, it breaks again.

He was a really nice guy. Very tech savvy (and how grateful I was!) — and even through his Spanish accent, I could easily understand him. I think by the end he was having trouble understanding me. The more tired I got, the more incoherent I became. I know we have a world to save and a nation to salvage, but sometimes, these little things can stop us in our tracks. I need books. I can cope with almost anything as long as I can read and listen.

IF YOU WANT TO KEEP BLOGGING, AFFORDABLE PLATFORMS EXIST

I really don’t want to stop blogging. Even if I have to use a different computer — like the Mac rather than the PC — or get an iPad or something else. I need to write. It’s not merely what I do. It’s what I am. I’m not a novelist. I’m not an author. I write because I need to write. I can’t remember when I didn’t need to write, even when I was a kid using a pencil.

It might not be WordPress. I may have to somehow find a different forum, but there will be something. I can’t believe there’s no platform anywhere I can afford and use. There has GOT to be a way to do this.

Maybe by some bizarre stroke of luck WordPress will let those of us who prefer a simpler style keep doing what we do. If you can get it by paying for it as a “business,” surely they can let those of us who have been paying them for years to access it too. That would, I think, make many people happier and cost WordPress nothing since they already have the extensions available. Did you know that the WordPress Spell Checker we got for free is available only as part of their “business” plan? That’s also true of their original “Text Customize” function that were originally part of my package? All the explanations about how we don’t need them were actually more simply explained by “we don’t feel like letting you have them at the price you are paying, so now you have to pay at least triple the price”.

“Disable Block Editor” and “WordPress Simple Style” are both available — for a pretty hefty fee. We don’t need them (according to WordPress) but if you have the bucks, well, then you might need them after all. Just follow the money.

So I started started hunting around today and I found that although you can get many things for “free,” your options in a free format are quite limited and usually include advertisements. Also, no one accepts downloads from WordPress. To put it more strongly, at this point no one accepts downloads from any other platform. Whatever you have already done on some other product, from WordPress to Facebook, you will not be able to move it to a new platform.

The highest rated blogging tool is WIX. There are many great things about it including super good service and very classy templates — and very easy setup, There are limitations too, including one major one. After you choose your format, you are stuck with it. Text doesn’t necessarily flow from one style to another. Probably you could solve that by writing your posts in Word or Google Doc and inserting it as needed in any format. It’s just an extra step — and more work.

You might want to take a look at WIX. It was the only one that appealed to me. Also, on WIX, you own your content. On other “free sites,” they own your content. I don’t want my content owned by anyone but me. You might want to start by reading this review: Wix.com Review – The Flexible Website Builder. 

And then take a look at Wix itself (WIX.com):

There’s a lot of material to look at and I’m mostly liking what I see. From my point of view, the biggest problems are inability to flow text from one templates to another — and of course not being able to move parts of my WordPress site to a new one platform. I could go through it and copy my best pieces into a document format — which given how big the site is, it would be a lot of work. Easier would be to keep the WordPress site and dip and delve as needed. It would cost me an extra $100/year. but might be worth it.

For all practical purposes, this would be starting from scratch. I wonder if I have the energy to do it again. At least there are choices. They aren’t free even though free options exist, but they also aren’t insanely expensive either. There are, as we say, possibilities. Pity I don’t have something to sell!

WHAT’S THERE TO BE HAPPY ABOUT?

Fandango’s Dog Days of August #12


So, Fandango would like to know what is “something that brings me joy.” Brings me joy? Well, I was briefly very happy that our appraisal came back at $10.000 more that what we needed and learned at the same time, that houses like ours are in high demand. You coulda fooled me!

These houses were all built by a single builder and he was minimally competent. At best. For example, he put a piece of our house on the neighbor’s land and it had to be later addressed by a property swap. Why did he do it? He didn’t believe in measurement. There was a big rock on the right side of the property, so he couldn’t put the house there. He could have moved the house forward on the property … or deeper on the property, but that would have been too complicated. So he moved it to the left and a quarter of it was then on someone else’s land. He also dug the well in the middle of the front sidewalk. But let’s not be fussy.

Most of them are on this road, but there are a few nearby. They aren’t beautiful to look at and in fact look rather like a big breadboxes. But they are easy to live in, easy to maintain. Big enough — and easy to redesign, exterior and interior. They have no style at all, so whatever you want them to look like, that’s what they look like. Modern or colonial or eclectic. Anything goes. Most of the single family homes in the area are much older than this one. They are more elegant to look at, but they have all the issues of 200-year old houses including seepage, crumbling foundations … and a design where absolutely nothing is anything resembling a standard size. This may not sound like a big deal until you try to buy new windows or doors. Or anything, really.

So that was a good thing. But we still don’t have the paperwork OR the money. Nonetheless, the guys were here early this morning and built the new boiler. Tomorrow morning, they will be here to remove the old boiler and install the new one. So, by tomorrow night, we’ll have a new boiler. I’ve put down the downpayment and the August payment, but by September, I sure do hope this refi is won and done.

The problem is largely that no one is in his or her own office. Not only the company with whom we are working (Mutual of Omaha, who really ARE familiar with the process). Not the appraisers. Not the underwriters. No two people are in the same office space at the same time, so everything take at least twice as long and my agent took his family on vacation last week. I took it personally. He should have stayed home and taken care of my refinance.

I’m told not to worry because as long as we get this done by the end of the month, we’re good. I sure hope so. So that’s the good part.

The bad part? Everything else. I’m good with Kamala Harris, though I really wanted Elizabeth Warren, but I get it. Biden was under a lot of pressure to pick a Black woman and that’s not unreasonable, but I still like Warren better. But I’m not unhappy with Kamala and the combination of Biden-Harris is pretty good. He’s a softie and she’s an attack dog. That could work out well. Also, I’m really looking forward to Pence V. Harris. That could be … well … something special.

And tucked in the back of my mind is the hope that in the end, Trump will be out on his big, fat butt and we will have our country back.

DOOMSDAY BOOK BY CONNIE WILLIS

I read this for the first time when it was first published in 2008. It wasn’t available as an audible book yet, though it would be soon. So my first reading was words on paper.

It’s the story of the plague, the Bubonic Plague in England. In addition to the many light-hearted stores Ms. Willis has written, she has written a four book series about Time Travel and this was the first of the series. She’s not very technical. Her idea of time travel is to take a modern person and move them in time back to a part of history when something unusual was happening and then watch this “modern” human interact with the real inhabitants of that period.

This is either the best or worst time in history to read about Bubonic Plague. On one level, it makes COVID-19 sound like a walk in the park. Bubonic Plague is a powerful disease, borne of a bacteria rather than a virus. Which means you can’t create a vaccine against it and in all these years while Plague has been coming and going around the world, there is no vaccine. These days, it usually can be beaten back with heavy doses of antibiotics, but not always. It still kills people and it pops up all over the world, including in the United States.

In 1348 when the plague hit England and killed at least half the entire population and in some areas, killed everybody leaving towns deserted, everyone knew what we know:


WEAR A MASK. DON’T GET CLOSE TO OTHER PEOPLE.
AVOID “THE HOT SPOTS.” 


The wealthy who had homes far out in the country went there and locked the gates. Those who had no recourse — peasants and merchants — did the best they could. Everyone wore masks until people started to get crazy and say “I’m going to die anyway, so I might as well have fun in the meantime.”

Just like now.

Basically, the Black Death rampaged through England, Europe, and Asia for a few hundred years The 14th century was the biggest hit, but not the only hit. It lurked, so when a new generation was growing up, it struck again. Which is why you see remnants of the plague hitting in the Gobi Desert in prehistoric times, the Justinian Plague in Roman times, then the big one that came in with infected rats to Italian ports and ultimately, everywhere in Europe and England..

This book deals exclusively with 1348 to 1349, the years that the Plague arrived and did its best to kill everyone. It did a pretty good job. No one really knows what proportion of the human population was killed during the plague years, but it was no less than 50% and might have been as high as 75% — and in some areas, as I said, It involved the complete elimination of the entire human population and entire towns and regions. Areas that are regarded as having not been hit by plague were indeed hit, but they only lost 15 to 20% of the population — not enough deaths to even put them on the map.

Ponder that.

Today, we have a problem with freight and moving goods in the world as the Pandemic wreaks havoc. They didn’t have freight or shipping. They barely had roads. Instead, they lost so many peasants there was no one left to grow crops. So in addition to dying of plague, many died of starvation.

I found it more relaxing to read than watching the numbers of new COVID cases on the news every night. This is history. It happened. It’s over. COVID is right now. We are not free from it and we do not know when or if we will be free of it. Although it isn’t as fast a killer as Bubonic Plague, it’s still killing a lot of people and beginning to take a toll on younger people who were supposedly “immune” to it.

Even though, way back in 1348, everyone knew there was no immunity unless you just got lucky, they were as stupid about caring for themselves and each other as we are today. Supposedly they were so much less knowledgeable … but in the end, the answer was exactly the same then as now.


Social distancing and masks.


People were stupid in 1348. They are equally stupid in 2020. Times change. People don’t.

MY BAD NEWS BUNKER IS OUT OF SPACE – Marilyn Armstrong

Every morning, I get up and hope that there is something positive in the news today. Something that will give me hope. Not another soppy story of all the great people helping other people because those stories are true, but have little to do with us and our lives. I admire the carers and wish I were one of them. Maybe then I could feel as if I was doing something useful in this terrible world.

I want to hear about something that — to put it bluntly — might help us. Help get our lives functioning again. Offer to deliver groceries, lower fuel rates.  or car insurance. Someone in this town offering to help people who are physically unable to do it all for themselves anymore.


I have yet to see anything positive. Maybe there are heroes elsewhere, but none of them seem to live in Worcester County. It’s just bad news, start to finish and frankly, it’s depressing. I really want to see something positive. I want to see our government do ONE GOOD THING. Together. As if we are all “One nation, with or without God.”


Is it possible the Trump really is the antiChrist? It’s as if he took office and ever since, every day since, has been working day and night to take whatever was part of the American dream, stomp it flat, shoot it dead, and finally, flush it down the toilet.


Why does he not care about this country he is leading? Why is so unconcerned with how many of us have died or are likely to die? Is power THAT important to any living soul? Was he truly born without a soul or even a basic understanding of right and wrong? I think Stalin had warmer feelings for his people than Trump has for his.

I only read one article and I didn’t finish it. It was the 202, the daily summary of events from The Washington Post. Here are some bullet points from it.


  • More than 40 million Americans have filed claims for jobless benefits in the past 10 weeks, including 2.1 million new claims last week, according to Labor Department data released this morning.
  • Trump tweeted this morning to acknowledge the grim milestone, but his public schedule this week contains no special commemoration, no moment of silence and no collective sharing of grief.
  • Trump is poised to sign an executive order today that could roll back the immunity that tech giants have for the content on their sites.
  • With no evidence, Trump has suggested five times – this month alone – that individuals and entities may have committed treason against the United States.
  • Attorney General Bill Barr, who career prosecutors say has politicized the Justice Department for Trump’s benefit, continues his push to investigate the president’s investigators.
  • Meanwhile, another Trump tweet plunged Congress into chaos – and thwarted the renewal of vital authorities needed by law enforcement to keep tabs on potential spies and terrorists. 
  • Trump has also, almost single-handedly, transformed the simple act of wearing a facial covering into the latest battle in the culture wars, dividing his own party in the process.
  • Some businesses around the country are now kicking out customers who wear face masks.
  • Quote of the day: “There’s no stigma attached to wearing a mask,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a polio survivor who is up for reelection. (Politico)
  • Civil unrest is a real danger. The second night of protests over the death of George Floyd turned deadly.
  • Police chiefs around the nation responded with disgust to the news of Floyd’s death, seeking to reassure their cities.
  • There’s a good chance the coronavirus will never go away.
  • Trump could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people by delaying citizenship ceremonies until after November.
  • The FDA temporarily loosened food labeling rules for the fifth time during the pandemic.
  • Millennials are the unluckiest generation.
  • Public schools face a fall with a lot more costs and a lot less funding.
  • Meanwhile, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she will force public schools to share their pandemic aid with private ones.

This is just about half the bullet points. There were too many more and I couldn’t finish the article. There was no room in my heart or brain for everything. No more room. So if you ask me “how old do you feel?” I think my answer is older than history, older than the planet, older than any person should ever feel. My bad-news-bunker is out of space.

It really is difficult to “have a good day” with the world’s catastrophes looming over you.

For me, the worst part of our ongoing catastrophe is that there is so little I can do about it … and how awful the world will be for our younger citizens.

HOLLYWOOD, JACK WARNER, AND NAZIS – By GARRY ARMSTRONG

I was usually able to get candid comments from “old Hollywood” people because I didn’t ask the typical questions about favorite co-stars, celebrity perks, or favorite roles. I frequently shared my disdain for the “suits” in my business who tried to interfere with my work.

This attitude, along with being a minority,  got me some sympathetic responses from people who normally just gave standard sound bites. It also helped that I was a movie “maven,”  more knowledgable than many so-called ‘entertainment reporters’ famous for fluff questions.

Jack L Warner, 1970. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

The topic of Jack Warner came up this morning. Marilyn is reading his biography, a book called “We’ll Always Have Casablanca: The Legend and Afterlife of Hollywood’s Most Beloved Film” by Noah Isenberg. Do NOT buy the book, by the way. It’s written well — and completely wrong about pretty much everything.

Marilyn said the author apparently believes that Jack Warner was a man with a conscience who claimed to go the “extra mile,” slipping anti-Nazi stuff into Warner Brothers films in the late 1930s and early 1940s when it was “dangerous” to speak out against the Nazis.

Much of this country’s population was essentially isolationist.  Businessmen didn’t want to rock the boat,  including many Hollywood moguls more concerned about their overseas markets, especially Germany where American movies were big sellers. As always,  it was about money. Greed is forever with us.

So, here’s a list of a couple of Hollywood legends from Tinseltown’s golden years and their takes on Jack Warner and his “anti-Nazi” stance.

JAMES CAGNEY

Probably Warner Brothers’ most bankable star from 1930 to 1950. In a 1971 conversation with James Cagney (an informal afternoon chat on Martha’s Vineyard),  the star gave full credit to Warner Brothers for giving him his breakthrough roles. Cagney got his “Public Enemy” role when the director switched Cagney’s supporting role with the star,  favoring Cagney’s energy.  Despite his “gangster” popularity, Cagney had to fight the Warners for diversity in roles.

Cagney and his horses on Martha’s Vineyard.

In Hollywood back then it was not uncommon for big studios to keep a tight rein on their stars.

James Cagney with chickens

Cagney was still doing gangster films in 1939 as the Nazis flexed their muscles. In Hollywood, big and small studios were nervous about doing films that might jeopardize their lucrative overseas market. The inside word was: “Don’t antagonize the Nazis in your films.” After all, Germany was the largest market for American films.

There was a film waiting to be ‘greenlighted called “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” at Warner Brothers. The director, European expatriate Anatole Litvak, was eager to get started. The project sat for months. The behind-the-scenes arguments between the Brothers Warner could be heard throughout Hollywood. They were the butt of jokes, concern. and anxiety by other studios who wanted to tackle Nazi Germany on film. Someone had to be the first to do it.

Sam and Harry Warner were decidedly in favor of taking it to Adolph Hitler.  They held the keys to the studio’s financial and legal coffers.  Jack was the smiling front in Hollywood, dealing with actors, directors, and writers.  He was the public face. With his big, broad smile, pearly whites who some people likened to those of a great white shark, Jack was regularly bashed by actors and actresses as gross, a sexual predator, a philanderer, and a fraud — which was typical stuff for Hollywood suits.

When “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” came across his desk, Jack Warner blanched and balked. He didn’t want to touch it. The first-generation immigrant mogul didn’t want to risk losing his studio and power to Nazi pressure.  His brothers disagreed saying it was their duty to do the film.

Jack disagreed until a lackey suggested they could do it as a gangster film with underworld bad guys subbing for Nazis.  His brothers refused to do it that way. Jack started leaning on his stable of stars — James Cagney, George Raft, Paul Muni, Edward G. Robinson and others. They surely could pull off the film as a Tommy-gun melodrama.

No one wanted to do that film.

Jack Warner fumed! Meanwhile, Edward G. Robinson, widely admired in Hollywood as a Rennaissance Man of courage way beyond his screen image, lobbied for the film as an out and out warning against Nazism.  He even put up some of his personal earnings to back the script while agreeing to take on the lead role as a Federal Agent ferreting out Nazi spies in the U.S.

Edward G. Robinson

Jack Warner winced. Other prominent actors including George Sanders and Paul Lukas, encouraged by Robinson, agreed to join the film, playing unsympathetic Nazi spy roles. They didn’t care if it jeopardized their careers.  If “Eddie G.” was doing it, that was good enough for them.

Over Jack Warners’ private arguments, “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” was made in 1939.  Surprising many insiders, it was a box-office success and nominated for several Oscars.  During the Oscar Ceremony, Jack Warner leaped past the winner to embrace the award and give a big patriotic speech about the courage of fighting Nazis at a dire historic time.

Warner talked humbly about ‘tuning up’ the script to bash the Nazis without endangering the film.  Insiders just smiled.  The cast and crew of the film fumed silently. Thirty years later, James Cagney recalled Jack Warner’s antics. Cagney had a strange smile on his face as he talked about Jack Warner.

“The man had chutzpah,  I’ll give him that. He certainly gave me my chance. But, young fella, he was the epitome of a two-faced, hypocritical ‘suit’.  You think you have worked for bad guys?  Give yourself a few more years.

“Jack Warner took credit for everything he rejected. He loved getting awards. I remember attending award ceremonies. I had to do them.  Part of my job.  The VFW, DAR, Sons Of American Freedom. You name the award ceremony and Jack Warner was there, big teeth and phony smile, to accept the honor.

“He was always ‘umble.  Young fella, I had to hold my stomach and breath around the guy. He loved garlic bread and used to sit close to me.  I was his pet or so he thought.  Jack Warner a hero and anti-Nazi fighter?  No!  He was even a bigger problem when we did “Yankee Doodle Dandy”.  He didn’t want any strong anti-Nazi bias in the film. He said it was just a song and dance film,  nothing more.

“George M. Cohan was around one day and wanted to deck smilin’ Jack. Sorry to drift on about Jack Warner but even in my so call mellow years, the man still angers me.”

That’s an unfiltered remembrance of my conversation with James Cagney.  It was a wide-ranging talk that included his not so fond memories of Jack Warner — years after his final film for the studio.

CHARLTON HESTON

 In 6 or 7 meetings, ranging over a similar number of years, Charlton “Call me Chuck” Heston gave me wide-ranging inside looks at Hollywood. Once he talked about Edward G. Robinson who was one of “Chuck’s” heroes. They made “Soylent Green” together which turned out to be Robinson’s last film.  He died a short time after the film was completed.

The movie “Soylent Green”

Heston talked warmly about Robinson and his gentle “man of the world” presence.  Heston volunteered the information about “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” and Edward G. Robinson’s pivotal part in getting the movie made with its strong anti-Nazi message.

Heston relayed stories Robinson shared with him about Jack Warner.  They weren’t flattering. Heston had a few encounters with Warner as a young and rising Hollywood star.

I gave him a look and Heston just smiled, shaking his head.  No words needed.

RUTH DONNELLY

She was a contract player at Warners in the 1930s.  She usually played ditzy friends of lead actresses like Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, Olivia DeHavilland, Barbara Stanwyck, and other stars.  Often Donnelly was paired with Eve Arden as a comedy foil in melodramas and romantic comedies.

“A Slight Case of Murder” starring Ruth Donnelly

Donnelly was on the Warners lot when “Confessions of A Nazi Spy” was in production. She remembered, in a 1970 interview,  how Jack Warner used to interrupt scenes being shot. This is a big NO-NO unless you held the money for the film. Warner, Donnelly recalled, was boorish and intimidating. He tried to bully writers on the “Confessions” film, demanding they change their scripts and then feigning ignorance when asked by Anatole Litvak, the director if it was true.  Warner even tried to get the writers fired for the controversy he created.

Ruth Donnelly smiled when I asked what she would say to Jack Warner in 1970. She didn’t have to answer the question. The smile was enough.


Also see: What Charlie Chaplin Got Right

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? – BY TOM CURLEY

This was the cover of the March 5th, 2017 “New York Daily News.”


It wasn’t newsworthy when it became the cover of the Daily News. Everyone knew our ”Commander In Chief“ was nuts and most of us had known it for as long as he had been in office. Many of us knew before the election, which is probably why we never believed he would be elected.

His nuttiness didn’t matter when he was on “reality TV,” but when he somehow got elected, it mattered. A lot. So what was newsworthy was that the story was on the front page. The incident that caused everybody to notice he was nuts wasn’t the story.  The story was that the President of the United States is wingding wacko.

I wrote a post pointing out that this ought to be the story on which the media focuses. Since I wrote that post, exactly what I expected has happened.  The press is covering his insanity more and more. They can’t stop. Even if they wanted to stop, the news business would never let them stop. Trump’s craziness sells the news.

quickmeme.com

Whether you like him or hate him, he is suffering from a severe mental illness. The diagnoses vary, but he is ill.  You can be as sympathetic as you like about people who have a mental illness, but that doesn’t mean you want one running our country.

We all have family and friends who suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s, narcissism, and much more. When they reach a certain point, someone with a clearer mind needs to take control of the situation.

You might have to put them in a safe place and make sure they get help.
You might have to take away the car keys.
You need to make sure they take their medication.
You might need to turn off the household gas.
You may have to put special locks on the door so they can’t wander off.
Or you may just need to keep an eye out to make sure they don’t do something dangerous.

But there’s one thing you don’t do.

YOU DON’T MAKE HIM OR HER THE FRIGGING PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!

reddit.com

In almost all TV cop shows and movies, the bad guy, usually a mad psychotic, a mad genius or a mad psychotic genius, is always one step ahead of the good guys.

sdsouthard.com
sdsouthard.com

For at least the first half of the show, the good guys keep getting caught in the bad guy’s traps.

fantendo.wikia.com
fantendo.wikia.com

Or (and?) the bad guy keeps escaping at the last minute.

imgur.com
imgur.com

Inevitably, at some point (usually about halfway through the show) the chief good guy says: “We’re constantly playing catch up. We gotta get ahead of this guy.”

This is when someone on the team, usually the brilliant but nerdy computer expert, finds a tidbit of information that enables the good guys to capture or kill the bad guy. The end. Stay tuned after the break for scenes from next week’s episode.

countercurrentnews.com
countercurrentnews.com

Three years after his inauguration, we’ve learned a few things:

  • As bad as we all thought 45 would be, it’s a thousand times worse.
  • His “illness” is contagious. We should have known that from all the other deranged leaders who’ve led their followers to suicide. Somehow, we forgot when it went national.

He is the one writing all these insane executive orders even when every sane member of his cabinet (are there any sane ones left?) screams “NO NO, don’t DO that!”  Naturally, he has dumped all the nay-sayers as soon as they said nay. You just don’t say “NO” to El Gigantico Egotistico.

tudors.wikia.com
tudors.wikia.com

We are living in a very bad Reality Show and are in the final quarter of what is either the final quarter of the show or the closing of the first half. The media are constantly playing catch up. They continue to react to every insane tweet and blatant lie. Every horrific executive order. This is not going to work. The press has to get ahead of him. We don’t need a brilliant but nerdy computer genius to do it.

dogtime.com
dogtime.com

He obsessively watches cable news.  He then goes off on a twitter rant over whatever it is that he sees. This includes his own impeachment. Rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, I doubt he even understands what it’s all about having never read the constitution or anything else.

The point: “Is The President of the United States Mentally Ill?”

That by itself should be sufficient to take him out of office. Crimes and lies aside, he is not capable of running this country.

brietbart.com
brietbart.com

The current resident of the Oval Office is a textbook case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder (yes, you can have multiple personality disorders at the same time). He might well also be a socio (or psycho) path. Who can tell?

kathyescobar.com
kathyescobar.com

This is something both my wife and I are intimately familiar with. Both of our exes suffered from the former. Here is a test sample question from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The DSM-V.

DSM-V

Any of that sound familiar?

If THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS MENTALLY ILL, he should be removed from office. Going under the assumption that impeachment won’t work, whoever is nominated needs to make it very clear that this insane man should not be president of this or anything else.

We gotta get ahead of this guy.

JACK WARNER, NAZIS, AND HOLLYWOOD – By Garry Armstrong, with a bit of inspiration from Marilyn Armstrong

I was usually able to get candid comments from “old Hollywood” people because I didn’t ask the typical questions about favorite co-stars, celebrity perks, or favorite roles. I frequently shared my disdain for the “suits” in my business who tried to interfere with my work. This attitude, along with being a minority,  got me some sympathetic responses from people who normally just gave standard sound bites. It also helped that I was a movie “maven,”  more knowledgable than many so-called ‘entertainment reporters’ famous for fluff questions.

Jack L Warner, 1970. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

The topic of Jack Warner came up this morning. Marilyn is reading his biography, a book called “We’ll Always Have Casablanca: The Legend and Afterlife of Hollywood’s Most Beloved Film” by Noah Isenberg. Do NOT buy the book, by the way. It’s written well — and completely wrong about pretty much everything.

Marilyn said the author apparently believes that Jack Warner was a man with a conscience who claimed to go the “extra mile,” slipping anti-Nazi stuff into Warner Brothers films in the late 1930s and early 1940s when it was “dangerous” to speak out against the Nazis.

Much of this country’s population was essentially isolationist.  Businessmen didn’t want to rock the boat,  including many Hollywood moguls concerned more about their overseas markets, especially Germany.

As always,  it was all about the money.

So, here’s a list of a couple of Hollywood legends from Tinseltown’s golden years and their takes on Jack Warner and his “anti-Nazi” stance.

JAMES CAGNEY

Probably Warner Brothers’ most bankable star from 1930 to 1950. In a 1971 conversation with James Cagney (an informal afternoon chat on Martha’s Vineyard),  the star gave full credit to Warner Brothers for giving him his breakthrough roles. Cagney got his “Public Enemy” role when the director switched Cagney’s supporting role with the star,  favoring Cagney’s energy.  Despite his “gangster” popularity, Cagney had to fight the Warners for diversity in roles.

Cagney and his horses on Martha’s Vineyard.

In Hollywood back then it was not uncommon for big studios to keep a tight rein on their stars.

James Cagney with chickens

Cagney was still doing gangster films in 1939 as the Nazis flexed their muscles. In Hollywood, big and small studios were nervous about doing films that might jeopardize their lucrative overseas market. The inside word was: “Don’t antagonize the Nazis in your films.” Germany was a large market for American films.

There was a film waiting to be ‘greenlighted called “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” at Warner Brothers. The director, European expatriate Anatole Litvak, was eager to get started. The project sat for months. The behind-the-scenes arguments between the Brothers Warner could be heard throughout Hollywood. They were the butt of jokes, concern. and anxiety by other studios who wanted to tackle Nazi Germany on film. Someone had to be the first to do it.

Sam and Harry Warner were decidedly in favor of taking it to Adolph Hitler.  They held the keys to the studio’s financial and legal coffers.  Jack was the smiling front in Hollywood, dealing with actors, directors, and writers.  He was the public face. With his big, broad smile, pearly whites who some people likened to those of a great white shark, Jack was regularly bashed by actors and actresses as gross, a sexual predator, a philanderer, and a fraud — which was typical stuff for Hollywood suits.

When “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” came across his desk, Jack Warner blanched and balked. He didn’t want to touch it. The first-generation immigrant mogul didn’t want to risk losing his studio and power to Nazi pressure.  His brothers disagreed saying it was their duty to do the film.

Jack disagreed until a lackey suggested they could do it as a gangster film with underworld bad guys subbing for Nazis.  His brothers refused to do it that way. Jack started leaning on his stable of stars — James Cagney, George Raft, Paul Muni, Edward G. Robinson and others. They surely could pull off the film as a Tommy-gun melodrama.

No one wanted to do that film.

Jack Warner fumed! Meanwhile, Edward G. Robinson, widely admired in Hollywood as a Rennaissance Man of courage way beyond his screen image, lobbied for the film as an out and out warning against Nazism.  He even put up some of his personal earnings to back the script while agreeing to take on the lead role as a Federal Agent ferreting out Nazi spies in the U.S.

Edward G. Robinson

Jack Warner winced. Other prominent actors including George Sanders and Paul Lukas, encouraged by Robinson, agreed to join the film, playing unsympathetic Nazi spy roles. They didn’t care if it jeopardized their careers.  If “Eddie G.” was doing it, that was good enough for them.

Over Jack Warners’ private arguments, “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” was made in 1939.  Surprising many insiders, it was a box-office success and nominated for several Oscars.  During the Oscar Ceremony, Jack Warner leapt past the winner to embrace the award and give a big patriotic speech about the courage of fighting Nazis at a dire historic time.

Warner talked humbly about ‘tuning up’ the script to bash the Nazis without endangering the film.  Insiders just smiled.  The cast and crew of the film fumed silently. Thirty years later, James Cagney recalled Jack Warner’s antics. Cagney had a strange smile on his face as he talked about Jack Warner.

“The man had chutzpah,  I’ll give him that. He certainly gave me my chance. But, young fella, he was the epitome of a two-faced, hypocritical ‘suit’.  You think you have worked for bad guys.  Give yourself a few more years.

“Jack Warner took credit for everything he rejected. He loved getting awards. I remember attending award ceremonies. I had to do them.  Part of my job.  The VFW, DAR, Sons Of American Freedom. You name the award ceremony and Jack Warner was there, big teeth and phony smile, to accept the honor.

“He was always ‘umble.  Young fella, I had to hold my stomach and breath around the guy. He loved garlic bread and used to sit close to me.  I was his pet or so he thought.  Jack Warner a hero and anti-Nazi fighter?  No!  He was even a bigger problem when we did “Yankee Doodle Dandy”.  He didn’t want any strong anti-Nazi bias in the film. He said it was just a song and dance film,  nothing more.

“George M. Cohan was around one day and wanted to deck smilin’ Jack. Sorry to drift on about Jack Warner but even in my so call mellow years, the man still angers me.”

That’s an unfiltered remembrance of my conversation with James Cagney.  It was a wide-ranging talk that included his not so fond memories of Jack Warner — years after his final film for the studio.

CHARLTON HESTON

 In 6 or 7 meetings, ranging over a similar number of years, Charlton “Call me Chuck” Heston gave me wide-ranging inside looks at Hollywood. Once he talked about Edward G. Robinson who was one of “Chuck’s” heroes. They made “Soylent Green” together which turned out to be Robinson’s last film.  He died a short time after the film was completed.

The movie “Soylent Green”

Heston talked warmly about Robinson and his gentle “man of the world” presence.  Heston volunteered the information about “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” and Edward G. Robinson’s pivotal part in getting the movie made with its strong anti-Nazi message.

Heston relayed stories Robinson shared with him about Jack Warner.  They weren’t flattering. Heston had a few encounters with Warner as a young and rising Hollywood star.

I gave him a look and Heston just smiled, shaking his head.  No words needed.

RUTH DONNELLY

She was a contract player at Warners in the 1930s.  She usually played ditzy friends of lead actresses like Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, Olivia DeHavilland, Barbara Stanwyck, and other stars.  Often Donnelly was paired with Eve Arden as a comedy foil in melodramas and romantic comedies.

“A Slight Case of Murder” starring Ruth Donnelly

Donnelly was on the Warners lot when “Confessions of A Nazi Spy” was in production. She remembered, in a 1970 interview,  how Jack Warner used to interrupt scenes being shot. This is a big NO-NO unless you held the money for the film. Warner, Donnelly recalled, was boorish and intimidating. He tried to bully writers on the “Confessions” film, demanding they change their scripts and then feigning ignorance when asked by Anatole Litvak, the director if it was true.  Warner even tried to get the writers fired for the controversy he created.

Ruth Donnelly smiled when I asked what she would say to Jack Warner in 1970.


Also see: What Charlie Chaplin Got Right