As I type this, my friend Ben up from Arizona is snoring softly on the sofa. All three dogs are asleep. Amazingly, I’m NOT asleep … but I don’t seem to sleep much.
Not sleeping is not the same as energy. I have exactly as much as I need to get done what needs getting done. Shopping, a bit of cleaning, dogs, husband … and writing posts.
Okay, and taking a few pictures. Cooking.
But the energy and verve to go into Boston with all that TRAFFIC. Or take long drives. Traveling — airports and journeys? No energy. I get a headache thinking about airports and airplanes.
I might yet have another journey or two in me, but I was really hoping they’d have the transporter ready by now. Sadly, it has not arrived.
I remember having energy — even having a little to spare. Over time and a lot of surgeries and arthritis, it left home without me. I have good days when I get stuff done … and other days when I just can’t get myself in gear. I’m about to get myself in gear, but first, I have to wake up my sleeping friend. He doesn’t have quite as much energy as he used to either.
Marilyn and I took a day off from the news with all its angst, sound, and fury. Instead, we hit the trail with some of our favorite movie and tv westerns where justice is crisply set in black and white, with nary a shade of gray. None of the confusion and conflicts of reality.
These days, simple sounds like a really good idea.
Even though the truth is never like that, but it was always like that for Paladin.
He was honorable and good. He knew The Truth. Also, he enjoyed getting paid to “deal” with the truth — and its consequences. Considering his lavish lifestyle, getting paid for work accomplished must have been a significant part of his black and white world, but oddly, I never saw anyone hand him money. Did anyone ever see him get paid?
I wrote this post while back. I’m re-posting it because it’s back in the news again. Our Twittler-in-chief announced that he wanted to create a new branch of the military, the Space Force (pronounced SPAAACE FOOORCE!!! With reverb). It was just the latest gift for late night talk shows.
But recently Vice President and whitest human being on Earth, Mike Pence had a press conference with the Secretary of Defense announcing the creation of SPAACCE FOOORCE!!!
We must be prepared to fend off illegal aliens, or gay aliens, or something like that.
Here’s the original post. It’s supposed to be old news, but as usual, it isn’t. Look in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s SPAACCE FOORRCE!
Every week since our Fucking-Idiot-In-Chief got into the Oval Office, every news report starts with a version of “This is the worst week yet for the President.” And there’s a reason they say that. It’s true. What’s amazing is how he manages to make this week worse than the last.
There’s no floor. You can’t say, “he can’t get any worse than this” because he will just say, “Oh yeah? Hold my near-beer.” (El Presidente doesn’t drink so I had to modify the meme).
For a while, he was at least funny. He says stuff so stupid you just have to laugh. He writes all the late-night show’s monologues by himself (with a big assist by Fox News). But last month, he stooped to depths of depravity so low, so disgusting all the humor got pushed aside. Ripping children from their parents and putting them in baby/toddler jails.
In the midst of this unspeakable evil, he was still trying to give us some comic relief. We were just too appalled, disgusted and enraged to notice it.
Our Chuckle-Head-In-Chief announced that he was ordering the Pentagon to create SPACE FORCE!
A “separate but equal branch” of the military. Separate but equal? What the hell does that mean? The Air Force and the Space Force have separate drinking fountains?
Then he actually said, “There’s no place like space, there’s no place like space.”
That night, all the late show comedy writers went “Well, we can take an early lunch.”
Just one thing. There already is a Space Force! Really! It’s been around since 1958. It was a syndicated comic strip called “Sky Masters of the Space Force!” created by Wally Wood and the great comic book artist Jack Kirby.
Can they sue? Probably not because I’m pretty sure they’re both dead.
He said we need the Space Force because we not only need to be in space but we need to DOMINATE SPACE!
Now the question becomes, who do we draft into the Space Force? We can’t use all of our current astronauts. They’re all scientists and engineers who work at an international space station where people from different countries all get along and work together. We can’t dominate space with these wimps!
We need real Americans.
Americans who want to make the galaxy great again!
The only problem is, Trump only picks people for his administration who are on television. But don’t despair! We have those heroes. Heroes like the Sky Masters of Space Force!
Oh wait, that was just a comic strip, not TV. OK, what about Tom Corbett, Space Cadet! He’s an American hero! He was on TV.
But, wait, he’s dead.
OK, what about Colonel Ed McCauley, head of the American Space Program in the 1959 TV show “Men into Space!” He was only on the air for a year, but he was still the head of the American Space Program!
The only problem is, he’s also dead.
OK, how about Ed Norton from the Honeymooners? He was an official ranger of Captain Video and his Video Rangers.
And what about Captain Video himself?
Shit, both dead.
Captain Kirk and Captain Jean Luc Picard are both still alive, but they don’t strike me as Trump’s kind of guys.
And hell, Kirk kissed a black girl.
Wait! Darth Vader! He’s totally a Trump kind of guy.
Crap, he’s dead too.
This could be a problem. Because let’s face it, we know that aliens have already visited Earth. And what do they do? One word. Anal probes.
They’re sending rapists! We need to stop the infestation of real, actual illegal aliens! What can we do?
Build a wall. A wall in space! We’ll make the aliens pay for it!
We need real Americans to step up. How about the real American’s at Fox News? Hannity, Coulter, Ingram, Carlson and those three stooges who do Fox and Friends.
Send them into space to defend America! Defend Earth! Whatever. Just send them into space and make sure they stay there.
I want to start off — again — with the Garry cochlear implant update.
He is doing better. He is less wobbly, can usually get up and down the stairs, but I’m glad we have a handrail. His ear is still sore.
Not internally, but externally and I suspect it’s his addiction to wearing headphones for watching television that is preventing it from healing as fast as it otherwise would. In the end, he’s a big boy.
He has to make his own decisions. I don’t think the irritation he’s causing is serious. There’s no sign of infection or oozing or any of the things that would normally alarm me, but it is definitely redder and more sore-looking than it was earlier in the week. It might be better if he left it to heal, but hey, it’s his ear.
Overall, things are gradually getting more normal. Not “normal, normal,” but close to what I think normal might be — for us.
Finally, we are close to his getting all that fancy techno-headgear that should enable him to really hear. Pretty exciting!
Garry will get his own superpower.
A class you wish you would have taken?
I still wish I’d taken a few photography courses so I’d have a better grip on the terminology of photography. I know how to do most of the stuff, but I often have no idea what it’s called. I took one course, a long time ago on wedding photography, but that was more than 50 years ago.
I decided to take a webinar given by Topaz this week on how to use the filters to make the pictures better, but more natural. There are a lot of free webinars online and I usually skip them because I’m at a point where “going to school” is on the bottom of my to-do list.
But since I don’t have to travel and it’s free, why not? Maybe I’ll learn something useful! Can’t hurt, can it?
Are you scared of heights?
Not as much as I was when I was younger. I get dizzy on the edge of a drop and I have what I think is a healthy fear of falling. That includes falling individually or falling in a car or on a horse or any old way.
Falling off horses is what did my spine in the first time around. I hesitate to imagine what it would do to me now.
Are you a good cook? If so, do you consider yourself a chef?
I’m a good cook. I’m definitely not a chef because I’m simply not careful about measuring quantities and reproducing the same recipe the same way each time — and that is the difference between a cook and a chef. (An actual chef taught me that.)
Making sure the same recipe comes out the same way each time. I’m much more of a “what do I have in the fridge?” kind of cook. With a couple of exceptions, I doubt any two meals of mine have ever come out the same twice!
What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?
I was very happy with the Manhattan chowder. I should have cooked the bacon longer, but otherwise, it was as good as any red chowder I’ve ever tasted.
This story has been on the news for the past few days. Every time it has been on, Garry and I had a good laugh.
There was a zesty little scuffle between Bill Murray, actor, and Peter Simon, a photographer who is, incidentally, Carly’s brother. And it was at “the restaurant” to which everybody who is anybody goes so that everybody knows they were there.
We used to go there once every vacation. It was wildly expensive, so not the sort of place you visited often. Or at least, not a place we visited often. Mostly, I prepared our meals at the house.
The Simon’s are permanent Martha’s Vineyard residents (and you should see their house — it’s amazing) which means something on the Vineyard. They do a lot to try to help feed the people who get hungry in the winter when all the tourists are gone and there’s no work.
The Taylor family (James, et al) are also Vineyard residents, so even though Carly and James are no longer married, they sometimes get together and do a show that will raise money to feed and house the hungry.
Thus, when Bill Murray asked Peter Simon “Do you know who I am?” and Peter answered with “Do you know who I am?” it was like a Vineyard joke.
The thing is if you’ve spent any amount of time on the Vineyard — not as a two-day visitor but weeks at a time — you realize that everybody on the Vineyard is somebody, or is related to somebody, married to somebody, used to be somebody or is about to become somebody.
It’s a very somebody kind of place.
I remember when Garry spotted Patricia Neal at a store in Edgartown. He whispered to me to wander over and find out if that was really Patricia Neal.
It is considered uncool on the Vineyard to ask for autographs or anything like that. People come to the Vineyard to get away from that … but they do want to make sure you know who they are. This can be difficult if they are on the naked beach in Aquinnah, by the way. Naked people just don’t look like their picture in the newspaper.
So as I was sashaying over to see if I can overhear relevant conversation (yes, she was), someone else was pointing at Garry because that was when he was somebody, too.
Lucky for me, I wasn’t anybody. Pat did give me some good advice which was “The most important thing for a woman is to have someone who’s good with hair and great with makeup.” Not that I have anyone, but if I had become a star, I would have taken that to heart because I’m sure she was right.
There’s no point to this story except that if you are going to vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, be careful about assuming you are more important than that other guy. His face may not be familiar, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t own a movie studio. Or his father does.
With an announcement that sent asteroids off predicted trajectories, space cadet and great interstellar explorer Donald “Captain Bone Spurs” Trump added another dimension to the largest and most powerful military force on the planet. As of today the United States of America has a nascent sixth branch of the military – the U.S. Space Force.
Several sources confirmed to the Shinbone Star that Trump conceived his stellar idea while reading the back of a box of Lucky Stars cereal. He told them he had reached his brilliant decision after seeing clear evidence that the Russkies and pesky Chinese want to monopolize outer space in his cereal bowl. To prove it he laid out two soggy bits of cereal that looked like dreaded Communist red stars. He reportedly changed his story after hearing chief of staff John Kelly snickering in the next room.
Secret Tralfamadorian outer space envoy and special counselor…
This is a favorite story of Big Guy, the best cat ever, with pardon asked of every other best cat in the world. Because there are so many best cats!
Several years before the priest scandal destroyed Cardinal Law’s career, Garry was friends with him. Not close pals, but more than acquaintances. Garry thought I would enjoy Bishop Cardinal Law’s company, so when the opportunity came up, he did a very Garry thing.
He was working weekends for several decades that decade, so if anything happened on Sunday, Garry was on it. This Sunday, the old Catholic cathedral near our condo in Roxbury, was going to host Cardinal Bishop Bernard Law. It was a big deal for the neighborhood’s shrinking Catholic population.
For a Prince of the Church to say Mass anywhere in Boston is an event, even if you aren’t Catholic. We lived one block from the lovely old cathedral. The neighborhood was buzzing.
The cathedral was a grand dame amongst local churches. You could see her former grandeur, though she was currently in desperate need of restoration and repairs to just about everything. Roxbury was almost entirely Black and the Catholic population was small. It had previously been a Jewish neighborhood, red-lined by greedy real estate brigands. We were among the first two or three middle-class mixed-race couples to move back to Roxbury. We hoped we’d be the start of a positive move for the neighborhood, including how it would be reported by media and perceived by Bostonians — and that turned out to be true, though it took some years for the area to finally turn around.
To be fair, we had chosen it less out of altruism and more because it was a great location — and we could afford it. Convenient to everything with lots of green space, lovely neighbors, and compared to almost any other place in Boston, more or less within our budget. “Affordable” in Boston — any neighborhood, no matter how “bad” — is really expensive. For the price of a condo in one of Boston’s most problematic areas, you could buy a big house with land out past Metrowest. In fact, that’s what we eventually did.
But I digress.
Rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, Roxbury was not crime central. You could leave your car unlocked on the street and no one would touch it. I know because my neighbor tried desperately to have his cars stolen, going so far as to leave the keys in the ignition for weeks. Not a chance. People watched out for each other in Roxbury. I never had better neighbors or felt safer.
The morning when Cardinal Law was due to visit, Garry called.
“I was telling Bernie (Cardinal Law) that you used to live in Israel and are really interested in religion and stuff.”
“So he’ll be dropping by for a visit.”
“I think he’s on the front steps. Yup, there he is. Gotta run. Love you. Have a great day.”
BING BONG said the doorbell.
I looked at me. At least I was dressed. The house was almost acceptable. Thanks for all the warning, Gar, I thought. Showtime! And in swept His Grace, His Eminence, wearing his red skull-cap and clothed in a long, black wool cloak. Impressive.
Big Guy stretched. Our Somali cat — the best cat in the world and certainly the smartest, sweetest, and gentlest — was our meeter greeter.
I offered the Cardinal the best seat in the house, the blue velvet wing chair by the bay window. Big Guy promptly joined him. We chatted for almost an hour. Israel, the church, whether there was any hope St. Mary’s would get funds to repair and upgrade before it was too late.
The neighborhood. A bit of church politics. Although Bernard Cardinal Law was ultimately (rightfully and so sadly) blamed for the long-standing policy of the Church in hiding the misdeeds of child-molesting clerics, this was years before that story came to light. The man I met was wonderfully intelligent, friendly, witty, and a pleasure to spend time around. Which was probably why Garry was so fond of him and considered him a friend.
When it was time for the Cardinal to depart, he stood up. Big Guy left his cozy spot on the warm lap of the region’s reigning Catholic cleric. And that was when I saw the Cardinal was coated in cat hair.
Exactly what does one say in this odd circumstance?
“Wait a minute, your Eminence. Let me get the pet hair sticky roller and see if I can get some of that hair off your long black cape?” I was pretty sure the cloak needed more oomph than a lint roller anyway. It was going to need some serious dry-cleaning.
I took the less valorous road and shut up. Wincing with foreknowledge, we parted company. As he and his retinue swept out my door, I pondered how life’s journey takes strange side roads, unexpected twists, and turns. This was one.
“Meow?” questioned Big Guy. Clearly, he liked the Cardinal and it had been mutual. I believe Big Guy came away from the experience with some special, secret understanding of Truth. I, on the other hand, felt obliged to call my husband and warn him that Cardinal Law was dressed in more than he realized.
“Oops,” said Garry, master of understatement.
“Yup,” said I, equally downplaying the difficulties that would arise from the incident. I had wrangled with Big Guy’s fur. I knew how bad it would be.
Some weeks later, when Garry, in the course of work, again encountered the good Cardinal, he called my husband to the side for a private word. The other reporters were stunned! What scoop was Garry Armstrong getting? Rumors ran rampant. Armstrong was getting the goods and they were out in the cold. Mumble, mumble, grouse, complain, grr.
“Armstrong,” murmured the Cardinal.
“You owe me. That was one gigantic dry cleaning bill!”
“Yes sir, Your Eminence,” Garry agreed. “Been there myself.”
“I bet you have!” said Bernard Cardinal Law. And the two men shook hands.
When the other reporters gathered around and wanted to know what private, inside information Garry had, he just smiled.
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