AUTHENTIC MASCULINITY AT ITS MOST VALOROUS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Authentic

Last night I watched a show — Colbert I believe — with Kirsten Dunston as the guest. There were cuts from her first interview on Johnny Carson’s show, 25 years ago which was when “Interview With A Vampire” opened. Someone in the 25-year-old clip commented it was “like a young girl caught by R. Kelly.”

So that long ago all the bigwigs in show biz knew about Kelly. All this time, no one did anything. It was so well known that it was okay to joke about it on the Carson show.

This is an authentic piece of America so well-known no one even winced when it was mentioned. And they were showing cuts from Carson’s show when Kirsten was a girl and a child star.

Now, today, we have R. Kelly telling everyone “it never happened” and it’s all “racist lies.”

R Kelly explaining he can’t read and is broke, There’s no REAL evidence and the whole thing is pure racism. He didn’t do nothin’ while he tries to hire Michael Jackson’s lawyer. Photo: CNN

I loathe how people like him use racism as their excuse for their hideous behavior. That racism even exists is bad enough, but that it is used as an excuse — and believed by many — as an excuse for some of the most egregious male behavior ever displayed.

Make no mistake: it is men. You can argue with me until the cows come home, but in the #metoo discussion, men are the predators.

Why are men the predators?

Because:

      • They are bigger than most women
      • Physically more powerful than most women
      • They have all that rampant testosterone turning their brains to mush.

I understand men were “designed” by whoever did the original design for the two sexes (Note: I think it’s time to admit that a few mistakes were made in creating that design!) so men could be aggressive enough to bring down a mastodon while women could nurture the babies.

Nonetheless, I don’t think men need to be rapists and assaulters. They didn’t have to rape the mastodons, did they? They didn’t need to become the pigs that so many have become.

I understand many men are not pigs, rapists, or assaulters. Not all men beat up their women. Or other men, or children, for that matter. But an awful lot of them do and are proud of it, too.

For reasons that escape me, they feel very brave and authentically masculine because they can beat up a woman, man, or child less than half their size. They feel especially masculine when a group of them beat the crap out of someone. Let’s hear it for the stalwart men of our world and their willingness to take no risks as they prove how brave they are.

Isn’t it humorous when the law finally gets one of these brave lads and they whine and whimper about how it so unfair? Where did all that authenticity and masculine pride go?

What audacity! What courage, nerve, daring, and boldness they display with the cameras full on them! What a bunch of spineless bullies they become.

And now, of course, Kelly is in jail, where he should have been all these years and I don’t care how well he sings. He can sing his heart out from his cubby hole in the Supermax prison of his choice. He can wail about prison conditions and blame it all on racism. He can blame everything on someone else because that’s what those valorous ones do.

Yesiree! That is authentic masculinity at its finest!

YOU CAN’T BUILD A FUTURE ON HATE – Marilyn Armstrong

When I moved to Israel in 1979, I thought I knew something. After all, I read books, I knew the history.

After I had lived there for 9 years, I realized I knew nothing at all. There is SO much right and wrong on BOTH sides and everyone had a good reason for whatever they’ve done.

It’s about the past and ironically, not about the ancient past but about the past since the 1920s or thereabouts. Because in more ancient times, Jews and Arabs got along well — FAR better than Jews and Christians or Muslims and Christians. Christians only got along with their own KIND of Christians. They didn’t even get along with each other if they were slightly different sects. In fact, they still don’t.

The British got this mess started. It gave them a reason to plant their flag in the soil and say “We have to stay here to keep the peace” when the absence of peace was of their own making.

This is why I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it again.


THE ONLY WAY THERE WILL EVER BE PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST IS FOR EVERYONE — JEW AND ARAB OF EVERY KIND — TO LET GO OF THE PAST.


Terrible things happened and who did the more terrible thing? Does it really MATTER? They can’t go back and fix what broke. What happened, happened. What they need to understand is if they stay frozen in the past, they will NEVER find a future. Hatred breeds hatred from generation to generation and no one’s life is made better as a result. NO ONE has a better life because they hate.

I remember once sitting up in the Banias talking about how hopeless it seemed and realizing that as long as everyone believed that their version of the past was the only one which counted, there would be no progress now or ever. It’s the main reason I left and came back here. Who knew the same evil would follow me home?

According to Terry Pratchett

I’m sure these people have said hateful things and they should take them back. Hate is not the same as disagreement. You know it, I know it. Everyone knows it. We all have to stop hating and recognize that people — all people everywhere — have more in common than differences.

The irony is that most Israelis are NOT religious. Most Arabs are not orthodox, either. We could get along. Our kids get along until some adult tells them they can’t.

Jews need a homeland. They have nowhere else to go. Arabs have a lot of homelands and despite rumors to the contrary, many Arabs live in Israel and build a life there. Maybe imperfect, but my life isn’t perfect either. Israel may be a “newbie” in these centuries, but not always a newbie. And many of the Arab countries were created from existing nations.

On some level, most countries are “new” at some point. The world didn’t come into existence with national-lines drawn with various placenames so we could live nearby and fight all the time.

Hitler managed to do a pretty good job killing off most of the Jews in Europe and many Jew-hating countries helped finish the job even after WW2 was over. Israel is a tiny piece of land. No oil, no aquifer, not rich. Maybe two peoples could share it? Why not give it a try? There’s little to lose and much to gain.


Donald Trump believes in hate. It’s his thing. He really must have had a terrible childhood to be so totally centered on hate. Does he have any love in him? That he has worked so hard to fill the United States with people who hate others without a single reason — except they had the misfortune to listen to their so-called president. 

Hate never makes the world better. Never in history has hatred spawned a better world, neighborhood, nation, or faith. Never does hate make better, only uglier and eviler.

That Trump has managed to take his hatred and spread it around is appalling. If you know anything about the 20th century, this is how we got the world wars into gear. World War 1 was a tinderbox, waiting for the first match to blow it up into the biggest butcher bill our world ever saw. The next butcher bill could conceivably be worse.

It could be total annihilation.

I keep thinking we are better than this. All of us. Humankind is better than this. Why do we let the worst of us force the march? What’s the matter with us?

I’ve been blogging for seven years. More than seven years if you want to count the little blogs that preceded this one and I’ve been a writer since I was old enough to grab a pencil and form letters. These days, I’m tired. My heart and I are not doing well and I’m not looking at a long road ahead.

I desperately want to see a better world while I’m still alive. In the United States. And in the U.K, Israel, Russia, China, Korea … everywhere where hate appears to be winning and the rest of us are being flattened by racism and despair.

We cannot hate our way to a better world. I am living in a world I never wanted, surrounded by people I thought knew better. Was my life a total waste? Was yours?

You can’t build a future on hate, but you can build an end. Hate will not make America great. It will tear it to shreds.

“They Hate All Jews” – Fandango

FOWC with Fandango — Newbie

THEY TELL YOU WHAT TO DO, BUT WHO ARE THEY? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Authority

When I was a kid, I was always hearing, “They say you can’t do that.” I always assumed that “they” meant grown-ups. Then I grew up.

I still don’t know who “they” are. Clearly not ‘the adults’ since I’m way past maturity. None of my friends — well, at least not most of my friends — say “that’s not how it’s done,” implying a right and wrong way. There are right and wrong ways — for some things. But not for everything.

If I had to follow rules for everything, I’d totally lose it.

So here I am, senior citizen and all. I still don’t know who they are, Who are the people in our world who have the authority to tell us how to do it? Hardly anything is done the way it used to be done, but “they” are still telling us how we have to do it.

One of the really good things about being older is that you don’t have to listen to what “they say,” especially since they have never said it to me. Wherever and to whomever “they” are saying it — I must have missed it.

How come half the world eats without changing the fork from hand to hand and the rest of the world (really, American in the U.S.) still swap.

LAYERS IN PICTURES – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Layer

A layer of chairs and some snow
Layers of raw wood piled up for further woodworking
Layers of little dolls

We are going to be away for a couple of days, but Owen will be here taking care of the dogs. I don’t know if I’ll be doing much writing. I’m guessing — not much. I’m a bit overwritten and a few days off will do me some good.

I’ve got stuff ready to go up, but I may or may not get around to answering comments tomorrow, but I’ll get to it when I get home for sure. Have fun, you guys.

I BEG TO DIFFER … Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Differ

Garry casually dropped into the kitchen and said, “Jeffrey Epstein is dead.”

“Seriously?” I said.

“Really?” said Ben, who is visiting from Arizona.

“Well, that’s what the headline said” Garry reiterated.

Jeffrey Epstein, Probably Dead

When I finished making coffee and muffins and finally made it to the computer, I had to go through most of my email until I finally found the headline. Frankly, Fandango’s “How convenient,” seemed a better explanation.

Not like we are all getting paranoid, but it is awfully convenient. Frankly, I was looking forward to a long, involved trial that would really improve the quality of late-night television comedy.

I had a list of possible people who would stand up, take oaths on the bible, then lie like crazy in court, all of which would be followed by a  multi-part television serial.

CBS? Fox? Netflix? HBO? Originally I thought a two-parter, but when I added up the witnesses — for both the prosecution and the defense — I realized at least a three-parter and who knows? Four? Two complete seasons?

It had serious television potential.

Now the show will be authored at attempts to unravel the paranoia of his “death.” I mean … is he dead? Was he spirited away to a secret paradisical island?  Lifted away by rogue CIA agents who are water-boarding him in a black room in Guantanamo?

How about carried away by enraged women and lord only knows what THEY are doing to him. Secret cameras anywhere? Oh, this could be really too hot even for our media to handle.

I’m not at all sure he was spirited away to a lovely little tropical island. I beg to differ. I think he might have been taken away by parties who intend to show him the real meaning of suffering, thus to go through a far better punishment than any court could arrange.

I just wish I’d been invited to the party.

NO CRYING IN THE NEST – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Nest

A woman, younger than me, has no children and asks: “What is ’empty nest syndrome?’ What does it mean?”

I gave it a bit of thought. After all, my nest is empty except for two terriers and the handsome husband.

The empty nest is one in which the children have grown up and moved out. They have independent lives. These newly made adults have left the family nest and assumed the mantle of adult responsibility.  Isn’t that what we wanted all along?

Swan family all lined up

My mother’s life did not revolve around me, though I kept her pretty busy for a long time. She was a dutiful mother insofar as she did the right stuff. She fed us, though this was her least shining achievement. She clothed us … and to this day I wish I’d better appreciated the clothing she made for me. I was just too young, awkward, and afraid someone might notice I was dressed “differently” from the other kids. Big mistake.

The whole family!

She talked to me about adult things in an adult way. She gave me tons of books and if I look around, I probably still own more than half of them. These weren’t the books my friends and schoolmates read. They were grown-up literature. Sometimes, I had to ask her what it meant because if anything, she overestimated my understanding of the larger world. When I was ready to go, she was proud of me for taking the leap.

It freed her to paint and sculpt and travel. To read, go to the theater, spend time with her sisters. Not cook and clean all the time. Make her own clothing instead of mine. She was glad my brother and I were independent and built lives.

I doubt she suffered from any kind of empty nest issues.

Nor did I. Of course, my son and his family kept coming back. For years, I yearned for an empty nest. Having finally achieved it, do I miss the patter of little feet? Or, for that matter, the thunder of big ones?

Flocks of Goldfinch

I miss the thunder more. Is there something wrong with enjoying the company of adult children more than little kids? I really enjoy having real conversations with grownups who look like me. Even if we disagree, I’m delighted they have opinions. That they are part of a bigger world and standing on their own feet.

Maybe the difference is that so many women seem to prefer babies to adults. They don’t want independent children who don’t need them. Some parents urgently need to be needed.

Children need nurturing, but they don’t need it all the time and they definitely don’t need it for their entire lives. After some point, their drive for separateness should overwhelm the need for nurturing. The drive to be independent should become dominant. I have always thought it’s our obligation as parents to help our kids achieve adulthood because we won’t be here forever. They will need to go on without us.

An empty nest is when you don’t need to do a load of laundry every day. Where the sink isn’t always full. You can park your car where you want it.

Photo: Ben Taylor

Extra rooms revert to your use, even if you use them as closets for all the stuff you collected. If you have a life of your own, interests of your own. There’s no such thing as an empty nest. It’s a time when your kids have achieved maturity. It’s when the work you did to raise them right pays off.

Adult children are great. If you still need to nurture, get pets. Adopt dogs and cats and ferrets and parrots. They will always need you.

If you do it right, your kids will always love you, but not always need you.

THE LONG DARK TEA-TIME OF THE SOUL – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Surreal

This is the second of the two Dirk Gently books written by Douglas Adams, my time-twin except he’s dead and I’m not. Yet.  It’s an audiobook and it was written by Douglas Adams and is narrated by him, too.

There are not many of these original books written and narrated by the late, great Douglas Adams. There were original versions of all of his “Hitchhiker” books with him as the narrator, but no one has them anymore. It’s a pity because no one narrated Douglas Adams as well as Douglas Adams. He was, among other things, one of the Goon Show people and did a lot of work for the BBC. He also tended to do at least a small amount of editing and moving about of characters when he read. After all, who knew his books better than he did?

Of the many books Adams’ wrote, this is my all-time favorite. I start to cackle at the opening lines:

By Douglas Adams

I keep chortling, cackling, laughing all the way through. It’s not merely funny. It’s surreal and funny. It’s outlandish and funny. It’s bizarrely and weirdly true — and still funny.

Garry has never read the books, or rather he took a pass at “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” but he didn’t get it. But he is definitely getting this. I did have to slow it down to 75% because Douglas Adams talks very fast and Garry doesn’t hear very fast.

Yes, you can read this in words and it is still funny, surreal, witty, and wonderful. To hear the author read it himself is special. The thing is, Adams wrote for radio.

This is part two of a series (it might be a series of three since “A Salmon of Doubt” was supposed to be Part I but somehow isn’t, exactly). It stands by itself and you don’t need to read the books in order.

Author: Douglas Adams

He worked with sound. Most of his material sounds beautiful to one’s ears. It’s an almost perfect counterpoint for the dreariness of current reality.

If by some chance you haven’t really read or listened to Douglas Adams — and especially if the world is getting to you (it certainly is getting to me!) — this will lighten the load. A little bit. A tingle.

A touch of the joy of a world we need to recover.