DIRT – Marilyn Armstrong

My cleaning person was here yesterday.

It was floor and shower day and right now, the house looks as good as it gets. I’ve been explaining to the dogs that they can’t be messy. If I’m going to pay for cleaning, they need to be a lot tidier.

So all the floors are clean. Kitchen, dining room, living room, and bathroom. AND she got all the dirt that gets into the corner under the seat in the shower. I can clean it, but afterward, I can’t get back up.

While she was working, I commented that my husband does not see dirt. She laughed.

“No,” she said. “You show them the house and it’s a mess and they say, ‘It looks fine to me.'” I laughed. Because it’s true. Garry has improved over the years, though he will never be a natural homemaker. The baseball game will always be more important than the rug.

Now, when I point out the dirt, he squints, puts on his bifocals and nods. He has acknowledged dirt. This is a valiant change on his part and I acknowledged it by finding someone to come and clean every few weeks. This works out for both of us. She is very busy and has another part-time (5-day-a-week) job in the afternoon, so she calls me when she has a free morning, which seems to be about every three weeks.

We aren’t messy these days. The dogs are messy. We (the people) are quite tidy. We just can’t bend or lift much and finally, I realized no matter how I looked at it, we needed help. If Garry were 20 years younger, I could enlist his help — except he’d still be working and so would I, so it still wouldn’t get done.

This leads me to realize that when we were both working, I didn’t notice the dirt as much because I wasn’t home. Retirement leaves one in the house many more hours. I have much more time to contemplate the dust and grimy floors.

I still haven’t figured out whether men don’t SEE dirt. Do they really not see it or are they not alarmed by it? I guess they didn’t grow up with toy vacuum cleaners and pretend kitchens.

“SAN ANDREAS FAULT” ALL THE AWFUL IN ONE MOVIE! – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — December 7


Last night, tired of the endless depressing, appalling, horrible news, Garry played a movie he had previously recorded.

San Andreas Fault is not merely a disaster film. It is every disaster film you have ever seen in one film. It’s earthquakes that will turn Kansas into the Pacific beach capital of the nation. It’s crashing buildings, towering infernos, the hugest OMG tsunami. We get to see the bravest heroes and most craven cowardice.

It’s all there.

The crashing bridge

Every cliché from every disaster movie made in this and the previous century includes a lot of movies.  Worse, I’m pretty sure we’ve seen all of them, but we’d never seen this one before.

I think it was originally filmed in 3D. Everyone said it was drivel, but it made more than $300,000 million at the box office, so clearly drivel sells well.

Crashing cruise ship

It certainly sold well at our house. When the intended second husband of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson‘s wife (Carla Gugino)  played by Ian Gruffudd (aka “The Asshole”) abandons Rock’s daughter to her fate, trapped under fallen cement in a parking garage, it’s no less than you expect from the cowardly CEO of a major corporation.

Hollywood crashing

We know they are cowards because … well …that’s what they always do in the movies, right? Have you ever seen a brave, manly CEO stand up to anyone or anything outside a boardroom? Especially when they are trying to marry the hero’s ex-wife who we all know should be with the hero.

Even though The Hero can’t utter a coherent sentence (and probably hasn’t since he came back from The War (insert name of war here), he’s a hero (with medals to prove it) and would never run, not even when a million tons of water and a complete cruise ship is about to fall on his head.

The Rock watching everything crash

Finally, the family reconnects. The entire west coast is smoldering ruins covered by about half the Pacific Ocean. There isn’t a bridge, a building … nothing. Total, absolute devastation everywhere.

Garry is giggling to himself.  Because he knows. I know. We both know. It’s coming.

The Rock, arm around his wife, his daughter saved, is gazing over the wreckage of the world and Garry murmurs … “Now, we rebuild.”

Beat. Beat. Beat. Pause.

And THEN The Rock says: “Now, we rebuild.”

Garry collapsed into laughter. The last time he laughed that much was when Trevor Noah had Ben Carson on the show and Trevor did a better Ben Carson than Ben Carson. Garry was still howling while the credits rolled.

A perfect ending.

san-andreas-fault-with-dwayne-the-rock-johnson-000

We’d seen the world end. We’d see the best, the bravest. The worst. We’d seen the most depraved cowardice imaginable and in HD wide-screen.

But now, we rebuild. We have to rebuild … because … SAN ANDREAS 2 is coming! As the headline says, this will finally allow The Rock (who no longer calls himself “the Rock”, so you have to call him Dwayne) to punch an earthquake.


This is everything that we fear will result from climate change, but it all happens in one movie. I need to see this again. Especially how they rebuild a world that has been totally wiped out.


LET’S BAN PENNIES – Marilyn Armstrong

I got an email from AT&T. It was alarming. I was overdue on my bill! They were going to report me to collection agencies, send it to all those companies that decide whether or not you deserve to have a credit card or a mortgage.

I was surprised because I paid the bill. On-time. Online. I know I did.

Obverse side of a 1990 issued US Penny. Pictur...

So, after resetting my password — it doesn’t matter how many times I set my password … the next time I go to AT&T’s website, I will have to do it again — I looked at my bill. Somehow, I had underpaid the bill by a penny.

One cent. $00.01

In retribution for my oversight, AT&T said they would sic the collection agencies on me. I deserve to pay heavily for this lapse in fiscal responsibility. Though I think it was their error, not mine, but let’s not quibble.

There are many battles to fight in life. One must pick amongst them lest one be overwhelmed. This giant corporation is going to destroy my credit for want of a penny. This is what happens when computers run the world and no people monitor what they are doing. I’m sure this was all automatically generated.

I am sure if I’d called them, they would have canceled the bill. but that would take even more time and effort. I fondly believe my time, even retired, is worth more than a penny.

So I paid the bill. I wasn’t actually sure my bank would let me pay a one-cent bill, but they did.

One cent. Just one cent. Mind-boggling.

LET’S BE TWELVE AGAIN — Marilyn Armstrong

Someone asked me what I would do if I were twelve again. Twelve. A little too young to be a teenager, too old to be a ‘child.’ It’s the middle-age of childhood. There might be a few things I could do — or, more to the point — NOT do that might make old age feel less old. I could avoid those events where I broke my back, for example. Or maybe not. We all know that changing the past doesn’t usually work. Somehow, you either don’t exist at all, or whatever happens lands you back in the same place you were in anyway.

But I’m up for a try, as long as I don’t have to go back to school. Ever.

96-Marilyn1964

I’ve got all the diplomas I’ll ever need. I’m an adult. I get Social Security. Pensions. And never to be forgotten, Senior discounts. At 12 I had my full height and was a smart as I would ever be. I looked old for my age anyway.

Smarter. We reach our maximum intelligence in our early teens. It seems like a waste, but it isn’t really. That’s when we are collecting the knowledge that will enable us to decide what want to do with the rest of our lives. In this case, I already know.

I know what I want and I know how to get there.  I know what to avoid, which may be the most important part. It’s a perfect second life. With all the body parts still working and foreknowledge of what may come.

To the good part. A 12-year-old body you say? Before I broke my back. I get the chance to protect my spine and avoid the big issues I’m facing now.

There are some issues to be worked out. Young, growing bodies have needs. But in my head, I’m old and wily, so I know what to do. I have the body of a youngster, the brain of a senior. Oh, joy. This is the best of both worlds! Garry would be 17 — just about to go into the Marines. This wouldn’t be fun without him.

We will have legs that can run and minds that remember everything. But this time, without dysfunctional parents and all those stupid rules?

Bring it ON! I am so ready.

MOSES, MEL, AND ME – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Before I put a finger on the keyboard, I admit this is probably heresy, at least to some people. One simply doesn’t make fun of religious movies. It is simply not done. Especially not these days.

But I do.

Every Passover or Easter (usually, it’s both together), Marilyn and I watch “The Ten Commandments.” We don’t watch it for its high level of religious sentimentality. While Cecil B was going for life-altering moments, he gave us some much-needed laughter.

It isn’t a movie that has stood up well to the years. Time tested it — and found it wanting.

Heston-Charlton-Ten-Commandments

Every year when some big religious holiday rolls around, the lineup of movies on our favorite cable stations includes all the familiar biblical movies. Few are watchable even a few years past their shelf date, much less stand ye olde test of time.

Most are obviously well-intended, like George Stevens’, “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. But the man who gave us classics like “Shane”, “A Place In The Sun” and “Giant”, wound up with a ponderous and static film in “The Greatest Story.”

Its biggest sin? Boring. Truly dull.

As I write, we are watching Mel Brooks’, “History of the World-Part One.” This movie is the perfect antidote to historical films that have become parodies or which were not really all that good in the first place. We probably have a greater appreciation of history because of Mel’s equal opportunity insults rather than the cardboard epics which play fast and loose with facts.

Mel Brooks last supper

I must admit I love watching gladiator movies. It’s a guy thing, like war films.  I also enjoy seeing semi-clad (or even lesser clad) young women engaging us in erotic dances before evil monarchs who are not playing with a full deck. We’re not talking about great cinema here.

Charlton “Call me Chuck” Heston was really honest when he talked about playing Moses. He told me it was a good gig. Working with Cecil B. DeMille (for a second time) was good for his résumé. It gave him a boost for the religious epic he really wanted to do — “Ben Hur.”

“Ben Hur” is one of the few good religious films to come out of Hollywood. William Wyler’s fine direction and brilliantly done stunts using real live (and one who died) human being — were spectacular. No computer generation. It hadn’t been invented. The chariot race alone is worth the price of admission.

history-of-the-world--part-1

This is obviously subjective stuff. If you love Cecil B’s heavy-handed narration of his version of the Old Testament, so let it be written. So let it be done. Meanwhile, we’re back with Mel. It’s the French Revolution and those generously endowed girls are displaying their charms.

It’s good to be the king!

WHAT A DAY FOR NEWS JUNKIES! — Marilyn Armstrong

I admit it. By the end of about six hours of impeachment testimony, I knew I’d never survive the Democratic debate. Also, Garry said he’d leave home if I didn’t change the channel — which I was intending to do anyway — but he supplied the final push. I just handed him the remote and said: “Go at it!”

I’m pretty sure that even the anchors were exhausted by then. There’s only so much bombshell testimony (Was it bombshell testimony? I no longer know what that means) anybody can take. And I missed the beginning — what I gather was the really hot testimony, but they talked about it constantly, so I really didn’t miss anything.

Is this enough?

But now, it was post-dinner and the idea of watching however many people are running for president on the Democratic ticket snipe at each other was over the top. I need a very long night’s sleep before I reconnect.

And since they delayed the debate, bet we’ll catch the last hour of it anyway.

I do not know how anyone remembers anything on these shows. I can’t even remember the names of the senators or testifiers. Moreover, when someone is going to drop a bombshell, that is when I have to go to the bathroom.

Carry on, America!

FUN WITH FAKE NEWS — TOM CURLEY

There’s a book out by the person who wrote an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times a few years ago.  He or she is still anonymous. In the book he/she states that after Boss Tweet fired James Comey the entire White House staff was considering quitting all at the same time.

Sadly, they chickened out.  Believe it or not, I was writing this blog at the same time this event took place. Weird.

Here it is with updates to the staff when it was possible to find out who is holding which position. In many cases, no one seemed to know if there is, was, or will be a staff member in that post. For that matter, no one is sure who is or is not in jail. It was and is titled “Fun With Fake News.” Fake news never gets old, even when it turns out it was true!


This story just in from AP, UPI, Reuters, CBS, NBC, ABC,
the Onion and other major news outlets.


Mass Resignations at White House.

In a stunning development today, the entire White House staff has resigned including all senior and junior aides, as well as the entire domestic and administrative staff. A letter was sent to the President and released to the press stating, “We the undersigned employees, aides and staff of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue hereby resign, effective immediately. Our reasons, which are diverse, basically come down to, we just can’t take it anymore.”

Reporters immediately got statements from many staff members, who, in breaking from normal procedure, did not ask to be quoted anonymously. According to one staffer, “Who the hell cares? It’s not as if any of us work there anymore.”

The White House switchboard is closed. Reporters are trying to call but receive the following message: “You’ve reached the White House. Don’t bother to leave a message. We’re all out and we ain’t coming back.”

The resignations include most of the President’s cabinet. Former EPA Secretary Scott Pruit was quoted as saying, “If I can’t fly first class, I quit.”

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters, “I actually stopped doing anything months ago. I spend the day watching Judge Judy and reruns of Madame Secretary.”

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was unable to be reached for comment. According to his spokesperson, “He’s gone back to his tree to make cookies”.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and Secretary of Housing Dr. Ben Carson could also not be reached for comment. Mr. Perry can’t remember for which department he works or where his office is located while Dr. Carson continues to sleep.

Patrick Michael Shanahan, acting U.S. Secretary of Defense is staying on the job, mostly to: “Keep that fucking moron away from the nuclear codes.”

The one-time White House counsel Don McGahn was heard to say, “Hell, Perry Mason couldn’t have kept this clown out of jail. I’m so glad to be gone.”

The staff is reported to have done several things before they departed. According to one source, “We took the labels off the light switches. The guy who handles the nuclear football replaced it with a suitcase containing a Remco Radar Rocket Cannon. He’ll never know the difference.”

The housekeeping staff is reported to have short-sheeted Trump’s bed, put shaving cream on the earpiece of the phone in the Oval Office, and nailed all the furniture in the Lincoln bedroom to the ceiling.

The head White House Chef was quoted as saying, “I’ve had it. I give up. I mean, I’m a 4-Star Michelin chef for Christ’s sake! All I do is pour ketchup over burnt steaks! I once served him a gourmet hamburger that won a James Beard award. And do you know what he did? He threw it away and asked me to send out for McDonald’s! McDonald’s! Are you kidding me?? Fuck him! I’m out.”

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump could not be reached for comment. They’re skiing in Colorado. Neither Donald Jr. or Eric Trump were asked for comments. None of the press outlets were interested in anything they had to say.

The formal resignation letters were delivered to the President’s desk at 9 AM. By noon, all the West Wing offices were vacant. The only remaining hangers-on are Steve Miller, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Hope Hicks. According to Hicks, “Somebody has to steam the President’s pants.”

Miller was reportedly seen behind the White House pulling the wings off small helpless insects. At 2 pm Sanders gave a press briefing to an empty White House press room.

According to a senior White House correspondent, “Quite frankly, everything that comes out of her mouth is bullshit. So why bother? We don’t care anymore.”

It has not been confirmed whether or not the President has read (or even seen) the actual letter. It was reported on Fox News during one of the President’s “Executive Time-outs.”  So far the President has only released a single tweet: “Failing fake news says my whole staff quit! FAKE NEWS! SAD! All Hillary’s fault. Lock her up! NO COLLUSION! No quid pro quo.”

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is enjoying his well-earned retirement.

This is an ongoing story. Updates will follow.

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Hey, it could happen.  Hell, it almost did. Feel free to pass this along on all social media outlets.

Fake news. It’s not just for Russians anymore!