OUT ON THE DECK – Marilyn Armstrong

It was a busy day on the deck.

The first thing I do when I get up in the morning — even if it’s just to give a treat to the barking dogs — is to look at the feeders. At least one of the feeders usually has a tail, so I figure I’m feeding a squirrel. There’s usually a bird or three on the other feeder, one of which is a woodpecker … and these days, a Blue Jay.

I grew up in New York and Blue Jays were common birds. All garden birds were common and until I started to really look at the birds. Unless it was a hawk or a seagull, they were all “just birds.”

Our little chipmunk
A very common squirrel!
They get hungry too
Downy Woodpecker
Two birds
Wens and Titmouse

It’s funny how I’ve come to become a birdwatcher. I never intended it, but my first sister-in-law was a serious watcher. She used to drag me out of bed before dawn to hear the larks singing.

House Finch

Then, in Israel, I realized that for a week in April, every raptor in Africa flew through Jerusalem on their way to Europe or Asia. They used to come and sit on our windowsills. Some of them became quite tame … until it was time for them to fly on.

Goldfinch is back
Red-Bellied Woodpecker

It was a gradual thing. For a long time, I looked at the birds in the winter yard, yet it took years until I put up feeders. Why did it take me so long to put up those feeders?

The brightest Cardinal in our garden
Blue Jay

I don’t know. I really don’t. Maybe because I hadn’t absorbed how endangered this world was and how the beautiful birds were disappearing. I love those birds. They are beautiful, but they are also a symbol. We’ve lost 30 million birds in a decade and will lose another 30 million in five more — or less.

Big Red-bellied Woodpecker
Lady Cardinal

We all need to do the best we can to help where we can. Maybe pay a few cents more for clean energy. Buy some birdseed and feeders. Recycle. We can’t fix everything, but we can do what we can.

MISS MANNERS HERE – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Good Morning, Miss Manners

I am 72 years old and I still don’t know which side of the plate one puts forks versus spoons and knives. My son knows because his father taught him, but in my house, my mother — who hated cooking and refused to spend money on paper napkins (she used tissues which stuck to your fingers – yuk!) — basically threw eating implements on the table. We had no manners at all and whatever I’ve learned since childhood is at least good enough to get me through most dinners without everyone staring at me and giggling.

Manners tend to be species oriented. My dogs are very neat and always eat all the stuff they drop on the floor. Birds and squirrels too. None of them worry about where to put the forks and spoons.

On the other hand, I’m pretty persnickety about verbal manners, as in being polite, civil, and not shouting except with enthusiasm. Funny how different we can be about the same thing in different places, isn’t it?

It’s just that being a klutz at dinner will embarrass you, but being an uncivilized nasty asshole — you know, like our President — hurts a lot of other people. I’m not in favor of hurting people’s feelings unless they’ve really gotten under my skin. And it’s not easy to get that far under my skin. In the physical presence of others, I try really hard to be kind and polite. I even try to do it when writing, though I think I’m better in person. Wit can be hurtful and when I write, I too often go for “wit” when maybe I shouldn’t.

The trees are wearing their best manners today too. Our maple tree has a bunch of red leaves on it this afternoon which weren’t there yesterday. If not for the incoming storm, I think another week and the trees would be stunning and definitely better than civil. Downright glorious!

Tell me I’m not the only one who can’t set a table properly, please. I always feel like a total dunce when I’m trying to make the table look “fancy.”

SHARING MY WORLD AT HARVEST TIME – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World 10-14-19

QUESTIONS:

Why do we have such trouble telling our loved ones that we love them?  Do you have that kind of communication issue with your loved ones?

I did have that problem when I was younger, but I worked on fixing it and I don’t have it anymore. Probably proving that yes, some problems can be fixed.

Decorations for holidays?   Spirit lifters or pain in the butt?   Or a mix?  

It used to be a bit of both, but I’ve sort of streamlined the process and it’s so easy these days, it’s pretty much no trouble at all. I don’t decorate for all the holidays anyway. Just Christmas.

Do you donate to charities?  Of your time, do you feel money is the only true gift, or other?  

I give a little when I have a little to give. I used to offer services, but it never seemed to work out the right way, so I gave up. I offer people posts if they think they can use them, editing if they need it. But if it gets complicated, I jump overboard. Mostly, I do what I can within the limits of financial means. It isn’t much, but it also isn’t nothing.

Are you too superstitious or have you ever played with an Ouija Board?

Yes, but I was maybe 10? I don’t believe they work so it’s just a game.


halloween-clipart-vintage-5

HARVEST GRATITUDE:

This week please share a photo or image of what ‘harvest’ and “Autumn” mean to you!   Thanks! 

LINES AND SQUARES FOR DAY FIFTEEN! – Marilyn Armstrong

LINES AND SQUARES FOR DAY FIFTEEN

Autumn is here for a very brief period, so I suppose I had best make the most of it.

The square wood and stone footbridge at River Bend

THE INCREASING STUPIDITY OF THEIR ARGUMENTS TELLS ME ALL I NEED TO KNOW – THE SHINBONE STAR

One thing I learned back in my college days* was if your enemies are walking into an L-shaped ambush, let them walk all the way into the kill zone before firing. They then have two choices: run and die, or stand and die.

The Trump Administration is running headlong into an L shaped ambush formed by the Democrat-led House of Representatives and public opinion, and it is done.

Donald Trump can stonewall, whine, accuse, demand, plead, and threaten …  and then what? Only his truly hard-core cult members refuse to see that this guy isn’t fit for the office. He could light himself afire before he is impeached and those people would cheer him for owning the libs.

The MAGA folks love it when Trump does some nasty shit that owns the libs, but when they see him sell out our Kurdish “allies” to our Turkish allies, those folks have to wonder in which of these allied camps do they stand. If they have half a brain they’ll finally realize they ain’t in the Right camp because they ain’t J.P. Gotrocks and they’re right there with the rest of the people Trump considers to be losers. Unfortunately, most of his non-wealthy supporters aren’t that smart.

It was inevitable that America would end up in this situation because white America selected a stupid and venal asshole (whose only accomplishment in life was being born rich) to replace Barack Obama, who is the embodiment of the American Dream … except he is black.

Trump is the poor man’s idea of what wealth looks like and the loser’s view of winning. And he isn’t black.

Trump has bullied, bought and bankrupted his way through life, but for the first time ever, his modus operandi isn’t gonna work and he is panicked. You know the shit is deep by how excruciatingly stupid are the excuses from the few remaining GOP sycophants unashamed to lie in public.

In a September 23, 2016 article for The Atlantic, Salena Zito wrote:

“It’s a familiar split. When he makes claims like this, the press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

Peter Thiel, tech billionaire and Trump supporter said in October 2016:

“I think one thing that should be distinguished here is that the media is always taking Trump literally. It never takes him seriously, but it always takes him literally. . . . I think a lot of voters who vote for Trump take Trump seriously but not literally . . . their question is not, ‘Are you going to build a wall like the Great Wall of China?’ . . . What they hear is we’re going to have a saner, more sensible immigration policy.”

Last week Jim Jordan said Trump was joking when he asked China to investigate the Biden boys. “You really thank he was serious?” During the 2016 campaign we were told to take Trump seriously but not literally. Now we’re being told not to take him seriously … he’s a bad joke … got it?

Stick a fork in this bastard, he’s done. This “strategy” of putting his fingers in his ears and yelling incoherent bullshit while his sycophants stonewall in court with stupid process arguments is coming to a close. One charge in one jurisdiction or another is going to crack the dam and the flood of provable crimes will wash away America’s Trump Error.

The GOP donor class has used him and the complicit Republican Party to squeeze the last petro buck out of the earth. In the process, they have destroyed traditional alliances and caused worldwide chaos. Trump didn’t quite get them everything they wanted (worldwide authoritarian plutocracy) but he got them enough (massive redistribution of wealth upward and a stacked federal judiciary) for now.

The GOP and Trump have hit the point of diminishing returns, and so they are no longer viable. This is going to be Watergate, ABSCAM and Iran-Contra all rolled into one, and the GOP as a party should not survive.

What’s next will be a test of the American people across all demographics for “do we continue on the path the Founders set us upon to create a more perfect union,” or “will we take the road towards Steve Bannon’s vision of a Fourth Reich?”

I’m betting on the USA.

BTW, I never served, was never an official member of ROTC but I am a proud member of the National Honorary Society of Pershing Rifles. Don’t ask me how that happened, but one of my fraternity brothers is Gen. Colin Powell.

(Note from Marilyn on Colin Powell: He grew up just a few blocks from me and we went to the same elementary school!)

HOME FOLIAGE AT AUTUMN’S PEAK – Marilyn Armstrong

Foliage At Home – October 15, 2019

Today was another lovely day. Did get to go anywhere and half the time I was intending to spend taking pictures, I spent cutting down wild grape vine. That stuff is STRONG! It’s like the heavy rope you use on boats. Fortunately, it snaps when you double it up, so you can get it pulled off. It was trying to choke our Japanese Maple tree and I couldn’t have that!

Sassafras in Autumn
Woods by the road
Autumn at home
Vines on the wires
Aldrich Street

 

EYEWITNESS TO HISTORY – BY ELLIN CURLEY

The time I was in college combined with the place where I went to college made my college experience truly unique. The time was 1967-1971, a dramatic period in national history. The place was Barnard College, the all-female school affiliated with Columbia University in New York City. I was at the epicenter of a major student movement that swept the country and ultimately affected university structure as well as government policy.

If you Goggle “Columbia University Riots of 1968, 1970 and 1971”, you’ll find tons of material documenting the world-famous, world-changing events that I experienced first hand – sort of. I was away on the sidelines of this epic battle between the campus Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the university administration.

I was a commuter student – I lived at home in New York City with my parents, a subway ride away, not in the dorms on campus. So the minute the SDS took over the Administration Building in April of 1968, I stopped going to the campus and stayed at home. I learned what was happening from the news and from my friends who lived on campus.

This protest had two major goals. One was to end the university’s academic support for the Vietnam War. The other was to stop the construction of a segregated gymnasium and swimming pool on university-owned property near the campus. As the protests continued, the protesters took over other buildings on campus and the Acting College Dean was taken hostage for twenty-four hours. The protest grew in numbers and intensity and attracted the attention and support of the national radical movement of the time, led by Tom Hayden, who was then married to Jane Fonda.

After a week of lead stories on every national newscast and in every newspaper, the police were called in to quash the protests once and for all. Which they did with a vengeance. I got a call from a friend saying that police on horseback were riding around campus clubbing students. They also used teargas and stormed the occupied buildings. 132 students, four faculty and twelve police were injured and 700 protesters were arrested after a day-long battle with the police. More protests occurred in May with more arrests and more students beaten.

I was incensed when I heard that the protesters had occupied a history professor’s office and burned years of his research in the days before we had computers and backups to everything. I was strongly against the Vietnam War but I hated the protestor’s methods and extreme ideology. I felt that the movement was intent on tearing down everything without any ideas for what to put in its place. And I’d seen the leader of the SDS, Mark Rudd, around campus and thought he was an arrogant asshole.

Mark Rudd on campus (far right)

My grandmother was a socialist who had fought against the Tzar in Russia in the early 1900s and she was mad at me for not joining the protesters on the barricades. She felt that if I didn’t try to change things for the better when I was young, when would I? I saw her point but didn’t feel that this was the right way to effect meaningful change or the right people to do it.

Police on campus

The protests of 1968 paralyzed the university and were considered the most powerful and effective student protests in American history to date. What was my personal takeaway from this iconic experience?

Classes were canceled for more than a week and final exams were also canceled. We got whatever grade we had earned up to that point in each class. So I didn’t have to take finals in my first year at college. I considered that a win!

A newly famous and influential SDS mounted strikes against the university again in 1970 and 1971 to protest the Vietnam War and the presence of ROTC and military recruiters on campus. I still objected to their radical rhetoric and violent tactics and took no part in their activities. However I did benefit, yet again, from another university-wide shut down around final exam time.

Another year without finals! I’m probably part of the only class in American College history that only had to take two sets of final exams out of four years in college. And, oh yes, had a front seat to history in the making.