MISCELLANY OF ODDBALL PHOTOS FOR CEE’S CHALLENGE – Marilyn & Garry Armstrong

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge

With a mere hint of Narcissism

I was reading through Rich’s story of ye olde days of vinyl records and remembering when we had probably a thousand pounds of them — between all of mine and all of Garry through 30 or more years of collecting — and how getting rid of them was really easy after they were all soaked when the basement flooded.

As for narcissism? Regard this and ponder the word and its meaning:

As I was remember fancy sound systems with speakers all of the room so you’d get the sound “just right” — if you sat right in the middle of the room which was pretty much impossible because there was inevitably a table or something else already in the middle of the room.

While thinking about this, what should pop out of the bottom drawer of my night table, but …

One Sony Walkman

I was pondering whether I should call a  museum and see if I could get a few bucks for it … and whether or not it might work, assuming there wasn’t an exploded battery inside it. I had to take a picture of it anyway. I mean — who has an almost perfect Sony Walkman anymore? I remember when this was THE device to have. Before cell phones and a thousand versions of listening thingies, this was the one to have. Now, they are trash. So goes the world.

And then, Garry found this one. What is most interesting is the question: you mean, we have water slides in Uxbridge? Where?

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Waterslides?

I also took a picture of what has to be the very last cactus flower.

Finally, the very last Christmas Cactus flower

On one of the many long rainy days of the past couple of months, a wistful picture of the Duke, looking out the window into the gloppy, muddy yard.

Duke on a rainy day

And finally, a laboring gardener, optimistically assuming that we are going to have a summer … if it stops raining. Any day now …

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Happy Sunday. Since I started writing this, we have had rain and sun, rain and sun. Right now, sunny … but I see the clouds coming back so soon? Who knows?

WE HAVE TO GET AHEAD OF THIS GUY. NO REALLY — WE DO! BY TOM CURLEY

This post was originally written months ago.
It should have been topical and no longer relevant. 
Instead, it’s even more relevant.


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 half way 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, will find a tidbit of information which leads the good guys to finally capture or kill the bad guy. The end. Stay tuned after the break for scenes from next week’s episode.

After a year of 45’s rule … it seems impossible, but has it really been just a year? It feels like a lifetime!

countercurrentnews.com
countercurrentnews.com

We’ve learned a few things.

  1. As bad as we all thought 45 would be, it’s a hundred times worse.
  2. 45 is not going to “pivot” or become “Presidential.” He is actually doing every crazy thing he said he was going to do during the campaign. No matter how stupid, counter-productive, or dangerous.

We learned who the President really was. Steve Bannon. Or was. Now … I have no idea.

thevilliagesuntimes.com

Bannon was the one writing all these insane executive orders. For months, the guy running the country (until he either quit or was fired or some bizarre combination of both) was an avowed White Supremacist who stated he wanted to blow up the government. He wants a world-wide “Crusade” against Muslims and he considers himself “The Thomas Cromwell to the court of the Tudors.”

bbc.co.uk
bbc.co.uk

Yeah, he really said that. I’m surprised he knew who Thomas Cromwell was. I wonder if he also knew what happened to Mr. Cromwell.

tudors.wikia.com

The U.S. government has been turned into a very, very bad reality show.

The American press has been declared “The Opposition Party” and the enemy of the state. Fake news. Or as I believe they are going to be, “The Good Guys”.

In this new, very bad, Reality Show, we’re early in the first half of the show. The media are constantly playing catch up. They have to react to every insane tweet. Every blatant lie. Every horrific executive order. Before they can fully expose how crazy the last tweet or lie is, another one comes out.

This is not the way to handle these chuckle heads. The press has to get ahead of these guys. And we don’t need a brilliant but nerdy computer genius to do it. The press hasn’t caught on yet, but they are the people driving this administration.  It’s been reported extensively that 45 has the attention span of a puppy.

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 is how you get ahead of him. Don’t react to the latest tweet with hours of dissection.  Report it and keep going back to a single narrative, a single point. And that point is: “Is The President of the United States Mentally Ill?”

It’s a question being raised more and more all over the world.

“There’s something wrong with this guy.”

“This is not normal.”

“This guy is nuts.”

brietbart.com
brietbart.com

This is a valid question, the kind of thing cable news is really good at. Cable news spends much more time putting pundits and “experts” on the air to blather over the latest tweet or the last lie than actually doing investigative reporting. Let’s start getting experts and pundits talking about this for real.

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).

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?

Now, when the press starts asking these questions, the blowback from the administration will be intense. Which is great. Why are they so defensive? Does the President have something to hide? I personally don’t know, but I hear lots of people saying  that the President is loony as a tick. (See, we can do that trick too). But in this case

IT’S A VALID QUESTION!!

The President has to have an annual physical exam — which he never did, by the way — so. why not a psychological exam?  This needs to become the narrative of the day. Every day. From now on. No matter what “President Bannon” orders. Whatever Cheesy McCheese Head tweets, we have to keep coming back to this topic.

IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES MENTALLY ILL?

It’ll work.

We gotta get ahead of this guy.

NUTS, NUT-JOBS, AND NUTTER BUTTER – BY TOM CURLEY

Back in August I posted a blog called Normal, Normalizing And Normalizing Nuts. It was about how we all have to start recognizing that our “Nut-Ball In Chief” is well, nuts.

I pointed out that it was really important the press and the media focus on this fact like a laser beam. Every story about our NBIC (I’m too lazy to keep typing Nut-Ball In Chief), or coverage of his latest NBIC Tweet should always go back to the same topic. “THIS GUY IS MENTALLY ILL!!”

I’ve said this before and I will keep saying it. When Grandpa’s mind starts to slip and he  shows signs of dementia, we take away his car keys. We hire nurses to come into his home to help him. Or we put him in a nursing home. But what is the one thing we don’t do? WE DON’T PUT GRANDPA IN THE OVAL OFFICE!!!

On the plus side, the media has been doing this more and more. There is a large group of psychiatrists and psychologist called “Duty To Warn” that are writing letters and screaming at the top of their lungs. THIS GUY IS BAT-SHIT CRAZY! They just use more medically correct language.

But I didn’t start this particular post to talk about our NBIC. I want to talk about a larger group of nut-jobs. Specifically, the nut-jobs who voted for this nut-job. Trump supporters.

Let me be even more specific. Trump supporters who still support this NBIC. I understand that on election day lots of former Obama supporters voted for him and lots of other people who felt he might “shake things up” voted for him. As far as the latter group goes, I would say an earthquake also shakes things up. That doesn’t mean I want to be around when one happens.

I get it. You had your reasons. That was then. This is now.

We know how crazy this guy is. We know how incompetent this guy is. We know how clueless this guy is. We know this guy is “A fucking moron.”  And still, 28 to 33 percent of Americans still support this train wreck??

The media has been doing something since this guy got elected which drives me crazy. No matter what he does, no matter how stupid it is, no matter how mind-boggling and horrific it is, the media always tags the story with this. “But his base still supports him.”

To this I say “SO WHAT!!!”  Because those assholes still support this jerk, everything he does is OK? Well, they say Republicans won’t do anything because they are “afraid of his base.” They are afraid of being “primaried“ by a more right-wing Republican.

Really? Has anybody noticed that most of the Republicans in office are folks who “primaried” a more moderate Republican. Most are Tea Party whack jobs. They’re all white supremacists. They defend NAZIs! Who the hell is out there who is more right-wing than the crazy bastards who are currently there???

The only thing we can do is to vote them out next year.

The other thing that drives me nuts are the constant stories about “How do we reach the Trump voter? What will it take to turn them against Trump?


I have the answer.


NOTHING. These whack jobs are lost. They believe every stupid conspiracy theory put out by the alt-right. They will never wake up. Even after they don’t get new jobs. Even after their taxes go up when rich billionaires’ taxes go down. Even when they get poorer and poorer. Even when they lose their health care.

They are lost. Forget them. Ignore them.

Try to remember this very, very important fact. THEY ARE A MINORITY!! Our NBIC lost the popular vote by more than three million votes. Almost three-quarters of the population of the U.S. DON’T LIKE THIS IDIOT. Focus on the other half of the country, the folks who didn’t vote at all. At least there’ s hope for them.

As for “the base?” You are never going to change their minds.

What a lovely couple

Or this guy.

Or this one.

Trying to reason with a current Trump supporter is like trying to teach a pig to fly. You just frustrate yourself and annoy the pig.

PS:  What does any of this have to do with Nutter Butter? Actually, nothing. I just like to write alliterative titles in threes. And I like Nutter Butter.

THE PRICE OF NARCISSISM – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I found out late in life, in my 50’s, that my mother was a serious narcissist. As with many narcissists, she got worse as she got older. Her illness escalated dramatically after the death of my father, in 1981, and again when she got diagnosed with cancer in 1998.

I have read books and articles about narcissists and their children. My mother was a textbook case. And so was I.

I was brought up to be a satellite planet revolving around and dedicated to her sun. I was an extension of her. I used to think we were totally alike, that I was a clone of her. Until my first husband told me that if I were anything like my mother, he wouldn’t have dated me, let alone married me.

At one point in my life, I really needed her. And she wasn’t there for me – for selfish/narcissistic reasons. I had been in a sporadically abusive marriage to Larry, who was bipolar, for about 18 years. My mother told me she’d do anything to help me leave the marriage. She was there for me. That was apparently only true until it might cost her something.

Mom in around 1991

I had an opportunity to leave in 1991 but I couldn’t afford to. I needed help financially. I asked my rather well-off mother if she would put some money into expanding a one bedroom cottage on her CT property so I could move in with my kids. I couldn’t afford to buy a smaller place of my own because the mortgage on my big house was too high.

My mother had money to spare. But she claimed that she didn’t have the ‘cash flow’ to part with enough money to remodel the cottage. It wasn’t a good time for her. I then asked if my kids and I could move into her summer-house, which she used only part of the year. She said no because it wouldn’t be convenient for her. She wouldn’t be able to have sleepover guests, like she usually did, if we were using both extra bedrooms.

So I stayed with my husband for another seven years – a long time in the life of a child. When I finally could afford to leave, in 1998, my mother wasn’t especially supportive. She told me that she was sure I would go back to Larry, as I had twice before. Thanks, Mom, for the vote of confidence.

She was wrong.

Mom, me and Sarah at her Bat Mitzvah in 1998

Five months after Larry left, I met a wonderful man online, Tom. Tom and I hit it off immediately and quickly became a couple. He is a sweet, easy-going, smart, funny and very supportive person. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He was the perfect antidote to Larry. Tom loved me, respected me, treated me like a queen and gave me the space to be me. My kids and all my friends loved him and saw that he was perfect for me.

Everyone saw it — except my mom. She couldn’t be happy for me. From the start, she didn’t think Tom was high-brow enough for me. He didn’t make enough money. She felt he didn’t have an ‘important’ enough job. He was a director at CBS television news. Everyone else thought he was a rock star. He met every politician and celebrity who was interviewed on TV for twenty years. He put the news on TV every night. But he wasn’t a ‘professional,’ so he wasn’t good enough.

His other major shortcoming, in my mother’s eyes, was that he wasn’t that into her. She actually said that he wasn’t right for me because he didn’t make enough effort to get to know her — and ingratiate her! She wanted him to call her. To have a separate relationship with her. She wanted him to praise her effusively and ‘pick her brain’. He was polite to her, but wasn’t all that impressed.

Even if he had been, he’s not an effusive person. My mom wanted him to be devoted to her as well as to me. That wasn’t going to happen.

Tom and me in 2001

My friends and I tried to point out to her how good Tom was for and to me. But she couldn’t see it. She kept comparing his behavior to her with her own close friends’ behavior to her and finding him lacking. But he wasn’t her good friend. She missed the point that he was my boyfriend, not hers. She should have judged him on his behavior to me, not to her.

She started trying to turn my friends against Tom. She’d tell me that someone had agreed with her and didn’t like him either. But when I confronted the friend, they would swear to me that they had defended Tom but that they hadn’t been able to get through to her.

When Mom died, in July of 2002, Tom and I were planning our wedding for that November. We didn’t tell her and hadn’t planned to invite her to the wedding. After she died, we found out that she had asked a friend of hers to say something against Tom at her memorial service – which she provided for, in detail, in her will. I almost canceled the Memorial entirely. However, I talked to the friend in question and everything went fine. He had no intention of saying anything. Everyone understood that Mom was removed from reality.

Toward the end of her life, I avoided talking to her about Tom at all. Right before she died, she wanted to ‘clear the air’ about Tom and explain her position one last time. I didn’t want one of our last conversations to be bitter and antagonistic. She was on heavy drugs. So I told her that we had already had the conversation and that everything was fine between us. She believed me and was relieved.

Mom and me a few months before she died in 2002

I’m so glad I did that. She died at peace and I wasn’t in a fuming rage after her death. However, it took me a long time to get over my anger and resentment over our last few years together. It was more than a year before I could start to mourn the woman I had loved so much in earlier years.

Looking back, Mom’s behavior can easily be explained as classic narcissism. The problem is, putting a label on someone doesn’t help you deal with them. There are no treatments or cures for narcissism, in part because the narcissist will never believe they have a problem. Everyone else is the problem, not them.

I wish I could erase those last three and a half years with Mom from my memory. I can’t. The best I can do, is attempt to put things in perspective. To understand her illness and forgive its victim.

I WAS BROUGHT UP ON A LIE – BY ELLIN CURLEY

My mother was very clear about the kind of person she wanted me to grow up to be. She wanted me to have all the ‘good’ qualities she felt she possessed. The list is long.

I was to be kind, caring, considerate and giving; compassionate, empathetic and loyal; a good listener and good friend; sensitive to the needs of others, ‘there’ for family and friends and generous with affection, praise and support of any kind. Also honest, trustworthy, down to earth and non-judgmental.

Quite a tall order. But my mother believed she had all those traits so why couldn’t I have them too? A noble goal in life. This is the description of a wonderful person, the person I have always tried to be.

My mother often told me that she would always love me, but she would only want me as a friend as well if I became “her kind of person”. That put fear in my very soul. I wanted nothing more than the love and approbation from and lifelong friendship with this amazing person.

It wasn’t until my late 40’s that I fully realized the sham I had grown up with. My mom was a narcissist, possibly with borderline personality issues. As with most narcissists, she got worse as she got older. She ended up being self-absorbed, controlling and selfish. Everything had to revolve around her but everyone had to think that she was the virtuous person I described above. Her primary goal in relationships, including with me, was self promotion.

Mom gave endless advice to friends (she was a psychologist) but never talked about her own problems because she didn’t want people to know she had any. She was judgmental about everyone and everything but herself. Her life had to be perfect. She had to be perfect. I had to be perfect since I was a reflection of her. (She used to say that I was a clone of her and I was thrilled!)

When it came down to it, she gave very little to anyone that wasn’t comfortable, convenient and self-serving. Here is a graphic example. When I was 40, I had a 5-year-old and a 10-year-old. I needed her help to leave an abusive, bi-polar husband, who was also abusive to the children. Mom had repeatedly encouraged me to leave and had said that she would do anything to help get me out of my destructive marriage. When the time came, she refused to help me. She said she couldn’t help financially because it would put a strain on her cash flow. Alternatively, she couldn’t let me and the kids live with her in her SUMMER HOUSE in CT. because it would inconvenience her cook (we would be using the kitchen) and cramp her social life (we would be using her guest rooms).

She expected me to accept these as totally valid reasons for her ‘inability’ to help me. I stayed with my ex for another eight years.

The literature on narcissism says that most children of narcissists either become narcissists or become subservient enablers to narcissists. I didn’t realize it but I was groomed to be the perfect narcissist’s side kick — in my mom’s shadow and at her service. I became a satellite. A small planet revolving around her sun. Unsurprisingly, my first husband, though bi-polar, was also a narcissist. For 25 years, my mother and husband fought with each other — constantly — over who would control me and get my ultimate loyalty and devotion. Each devoted themselves to trying to get me to push the other out of my life. I was a human wish bone.

The silver lining in all this is that I became the ‘good’ person I was brought up to believe my mother was. On the down side, I’ve had to learn to be less selfless and stand up for myself. I’ve had to develop self-esteem and self-confidence. I’m just learning how to be there for other people while staying true to myself as well.

I can be proud of who I turned out to be, so I guess that’s my happy ending. I just have to learn to forgive my Mother for not being the person she claimed to be and who I grew up admiring and emulating.