Saturday, August 1, 2020

A Hot Mess

At last -- a photo of our stargazer lilies that I actually like!

We had a scorcher of a day yesterday, with the mercury at 97º F (36º C) at 3:45 p.m. It was not a day for a whole lot of physical activity. Aside from walking the dog twice, and watering the poor wilting garden, I sat around and thought idle thoughts.

For example: Do you know the song "Old Friends" by Simon & Garfunkel, from their "Bookends" album? It's about a couple of old guys sitting on a park bench together, and there's a line that says, "How terribly strange to be seventy." I was listening to the song and it occurred to me that Paul Simon, who was in his 20s when he wrote it, must be in his 70s by now. Sure enough, he's 78! Which seems so bizarre -- just as it's bizarre that I'm almost 54.

I wonder if Simon still finds aging terribly strange. I guess he should feel good he got there, because a lot of people don't.

Anyway, that's a micro-thought from my day. At least I didn't go to the beach, because British beaches were once again swamped by young people who all said they weren't afraid of coronavirus. One woman said she had a strong faith in God and felt certain that she would be protected. Oh, brother.

I had an exhausting Facebook exchange with a childhood friend -- someone I haven't seen in person for probably 40 years. I posted Paul Krugman's column from the New York Times about how the American right has become increasingly selfish in its pursuit of "freedom," an assertion I agree with in every respect. Well, this friend just went on and on with every talking point she could glean from Fox News and although I debated her a bit, I ultimately just said, "We're going to have to agree to disagree." I mean, how do you debate someone when you can't even settle on basic bedrock facts? She thinks violent "social warrior elitists" in America want to destroy the cities and overthrow the Constitution. I think BLM protesters are being goaded by invading federal troops sent by our feckless president, who wants to use the situation politically. We are never going to see eye-to-eye.

I considered de-friending her, but I think it's helpful for each of us to see how the other is thinking. I ultimately believe in maintaining friendships across political lines to understand another perspective. I have three or four pro-Trump Facebook friends, and I mostly just watch their posts to see what theories they're hawking on any given day. Direct confrontation sucks the life out of me, though, and if she's only going to engage with me on political issues and not in other areas of life then I may ultimately give her the boot.

Here's Nicole nicotiana, looking quite robust and blooming profusely. I put a chair next to her just for scale.

This woodpecker has come to our suet-ball feeder for the last few evenings. It always sits on the side of the feeder away from the house, hiding from us while it eats. It periodically peers around warily (and somewhat comically).

When Olga and I walked past the thrift shops on the high street yesterday morning, this is what we found -- piles of junk left outside while the store is closed. As you know, this is my pet peeve. I don't know why people can't wait until the shop is open before leaving their donations, which when unattended get plundered and rained on and strewn around and peed on by dogs. Fortunately, the shop opened later in the day and the mess was cleaned up. At least we're no longer in a situation (as we were under lockdown) where that stuff lingers for days on end.


  1. Is Nicole smokable? She looks mighty!

    One of the reasons why I gave Facebook the boot- is exactly that- exhaustion from idiotic Fox watchers. It is so obvious what the Orange Rump is doing with his little band of Borg. Not even worthy of dispute. I say, give HER the boot, stupid is difficult to fix or to relate to and their condition colors every encounter, even if it is about how cute Olga is-( commie dog...)I am most pleased with myself for dumping Facebook altogether- I am free!

    That is a shame about the "donations" to the shop. It looks like wrecked stuff now.

  2. The chair in the sun looks so inviting.
    I'm with you Steve, on the dumping of stuff outside op shops or whatever they are called in England. I think this same mentality applies to those who crowd beaches and pooh hoo the idea of Covid19 as threat to them.

  3. Time it was
    And what a time it was
    It was . . .
    A time of innocence
    A time of confidences

    Long ago . . . it must be . . .
    I have a photograph
    Preserve your memories
    They're all that's left you

  4. The same thing happens here at Opportunity Shops, dumped goods.

    It can be very hard to be friends with someone who is your political opposite. I've heard what Fox News in the US is like. Ours is a slightly tamed down version.

    It is a worrying situation in your country. Stay safe.

  5. I Shall Open With Humor, Wait Until You Hear The Beatles 'when i'm sixty-four' At 63 Years Old - As For The Fox Friend, You Kind Of Brought It On By Copy/Posting What You Saw - What You Did Is Exactly Why I "dumped" CrackBook - Backing Up Here, I Absolutely Love CrackBook When I First Joined Back In Say 2005ish - CrackBook Offered A Tab On The Left Side Labeled PHOTOS - By Clicking That, That Is All You Could Scroll Through, PHOTOS - It Was Brilliant - But Then, That Went Away, Slowly My "news" Feed Was Just My "friends" Reading Something And Posting For Everyone Else To Be Subjected To - Cant Stand That Sh*T - Hints, The Name Of My Blog, dumpngcrackbookblog - Please Do Not Take This Out Of Context - If You Had Posted The Beautiful Flower From You First Photo Or A Photo Of The Delightful Olga, Would She Have Commented?? Would You Be In This Self Debate Regarding "dumping" Her As A Friend?? CrackBook Is The Easiest Way For The True Definition Of A Troll To Comment And Move On Without Giving A Ratz A$$ - Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind - The Reader Is The One Who Mulls Their "opinion" Over For Hours - In This Case, Days - Its A Royal Drag - As For You, I Throughly Enjoy Your Blog!! Would Never Want To Be CrackBook Friends - Lastly, Please Do Not Take My Comments Above Personally - In Closing, Be Happy There Young Buck

    P.S. Please Wake Up Olga And Give Her An Uncle T Biscuit

  6. Here’s what I’ve done with the few Trump supporters in my FB friend group- I unfollow them. I can still go look at their posts anytime I want but I’m not presented with them on a daily basis. I did unfriend one girl because she suggested that perhaps I should. Why she didn’t unfriend me is a bit of a mystery. Passive-aggressive? Didn’t bother me in the least. Life is too short, etc.
    That stargazer is a thing of wonder.
    I sure hope it cools off for you soon. That’s horrible!

  7. 97˚? welcome to my world, at least before all this rain. couldn't water the gardens enough. and having turned 70 this year I can agree, how terribly strange it is to be 70 and feel like 50.

    what Ms Moon said, that's what I do, just unfollow, then I don't see their posts. I ignore my better judgement off and on and try to engage those people but not for long and often I don't even read their last reply. but you are a better man than I, trying to keep friends who support Trump. that's just a deal killer with me especially after what he's done the past 3 ½ years. there is something morally wrong with people who still support him and even if you take Trump out of the picture I still would not want to be friends with someone so morally deficient.

  8. Sure hope the temps cool off there soon. 97 degrees is way too hot. Ugh.
    I never engage in political talk on Facebook. I don't think any of my friends are pro-Trump, and if one was I'd probably un-follow them. My psyche doesn't need to be reminded of the insanity going on here. We can't really hide from it or pretend it doesn't exist, but I can control how much of it I will let into my suffering soul.

  9. I bet when the employees arrived at the thrift shop they uttered a few expletives. 97 degrees in London has to be pretty darn miserable. Probably just as miserable 116 is here. The stargazer shot is gorgeous. I love those blooms.
    As I've said before, I deleted my Facebook account because it bothered me way too much to see people I had always liked tout conspiracy theories and Fox News drivel.

  10. I love that Simon & Garfunkel song, Old Friends. Now it's going to be in my head all day. Maybe I'll just listen to the whole album.

    "Social warrior elitists." Well, that's a new term. The truth is, I can't stand to listen to Trump supporters. The fact that they support such a vile being immediately discredits anything they have to say in support of him or his henchmen. I realize this is my own form of myopia, and I'm okay with that.

  11. I wonder if they use the donations are take them directly to a bin out back and discard them. And, yes, I was wondering about that tobacco(?) plant too. 'Course you don't live on High Street, do you?

  12. You know I read your blog but try not to comment because sometimes you make a comment and instead of your readers commenting on your blog. They begin to comment on your comment with avengers. (lol) I gave up all social media contacts. Yes, including facebook. I have enough going on in my real life and don't need more bullshit poured into it from the internet. I had women sending me bad messages if their man was on my friend list. They are blessed I couldn't get to them. It anger you because you are human. Oh boy, that orange shit in the white house need to be put in a tie up sack and thrown in the Rio Grande. (lol) I really don't know if he did an executive order on this because I changed channels. He is trying to stop low income people from living in the surburbs. He is also not taking application on the DACA program. I say what's next. I live in the surburbs of Houston and we homeowners know what house is on the section 8 rent subsidies from the federal government. They keep the property up better than some of these homeowners. I am always turning some homeowners into the HOA. Because people don't have money they are not trash. He is steadily picking on the Mexican people and now he has added China to his list. I hate that dumb bastard. He make me have to repent to God. If there is anyone out there supporting this dead head, they are just as bad as he is. The Republicans are beginning to go against his butt now. They should have let the impeachment go through. We are going to have to clean up the Senate, a few in congress along with the orange idiot. Now he also want to change the voting date. he's trying to steal his position again. I know hate is very strong but I only use it for his butt. Every time I see him on tv I want to reach through that screen and beat the living hell out of him.

  13. Wow that’s really hot for you guys! I think nicotania is such an interesting plant. I should see how my dad’s is doing.

    You will be relieved to hear that the yarn I ordered two months ago finally arrived today! There’s hope for your t-shirt yet!

  14. You're certainly more patient than I. For me, the current "politics" in America goes so far beyond politics to basic human decency. I just don't know how to even relate to this thinking and find it easier to simply unfriend. It probably serves no purpose other than to give me piece of mind (temporarily) but I haven't felt like arguing or listening to these trump-like voices has served any purpose either. Barnie Frank once finally told an audience member who insisted Barack Obama was Muslim and not American, "I can't argue with a table."

  15. That's quite the pile of stuff in front of the charity store. In AZ and other places, they have drop off boxes for clothes. They're for clothes! People leave ancient TVs, furniture and trash in front of them. It's one of the (many) things that just infuriates me. I have FB, but no one I know is a trumper and I only have a few friends so I am spared the political discussions. Hope you cool off soon, it will be over 100 for a week or so, actually probably most of August. It's wearing on us.

  16. Your lily is beautiful. It must be a real pleasure to sit out in your backyard and be surrounded by so much beauty. It's sad that folks couldn't at least protect what they are donating by putting it in plastic bags. I agree though, it would be best to hang on to it until the store opens. Ah well, it takes all kinds. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  17. The charity shop I have been taking stuff to also has piles outside, which they won't pick up and which they said is fly tipping. They have a big metal cage you can put your donations into which they then leave for 72 hours. I have seen people walking away with some quite nice bits from the pile though!
    Love the lily and the woodpecker!

  18. At least your FB "friends" are not relatives. I nearly added a close aunt to my very small group of FB friends, but after reading a few of her posts I decided I will just continue to talk by phone instead. I think she must know our beliefs differ because she never speaks to me about politics. I suspect there are Trump supporters who may be the same: a strange mixture of okay and very questionable. But others seem to have no redeeming features I can see, and you're right, it's exhausting to try to debate without an agreed-upon set of basic facts.

    That is a stunning photo of the lily. And the only nicotiana I've seen in these parts is a much smaller plant, perhaps 18 inches high at the max. It has delicate, pretty blossoms.

  19. is turning into a huge politicized nightmare. I am like you...I have some friends who are pro Trump (adamantly so) and I just look to see what in types of "facts" they are reposting. I don't comment, though I am tempted.

  20. It is becoming more and more difficult to have a meaningful discussion which is based on facts and logic.

  21. Linda Sue: I think Nicole is purely ornamental, sadly. :)

    Alphie: Such carelessness is frustrating, isn't it?

    YP: That's the album -- different song, obviously. :)

    Andrew: It's interesting that yours is tamed down, given that Murdoch is Australian. Maybe he has more respect for his home government than he does for the US or Britain.

    Padre: You're absolutely right -- by posting the column I invited a challenge. I actually still like Facebook for staying in touch with people, but I'm not on it nearly as much as I used to be. Besides all of Facebook's dubious policies and whatnot, I think the appeal diminishes naturally as we get older.

    Ms Moon: Fortunately, this particular friend doesn't post much -- at least not that I see. I can handle a few pro-Trump posts, just to see what people are thinking. But direct challenges can be exhausting.

    Ellen: I must say, I am completely perplexed by people who support Trump even now. In some cases, in all honesty, they're just not very tuned in to what's going on.

    Robin: Yeah, that's kind of how I felt about the conversation with my friend. I was like, "Do I NEED to do this to myself?!"

    Sharon: Yeah, I bet the charity shop employees are fit to be tied! They must find stuff every morning. (Though this was a particularly bad morning.)

    37P: I'm always curious to hear what they're thinking, because it's SO FAR from my experience of reality! But generally they're either not very informed or they just parrot the Fox News talking points.

    Catalyst: I think the stuff left outside often does go straight in the bin. I don't think they can spend their time cleaning up stuff that's been wrecked by rain or dogs.

    Angelicastar: You crack me up! "I hate that dumb bastard." LOL! And yes, he is demonizing low-income people and non-whites in an effort to win suburban white voters. He's trying to turn us all against each other, and we have to not let him.

    Bug: It's a great plant -- so big and vigorous! It's a really nice presence in the garden.

    Mitchell: That Barney Frank comment made me laugh out loud. I miss ol' Barney.

    Allison: We have drop-off boxes for clothes here too, and I can't tell you how often I see plain old household garbage in them. People are unbelievable.

    Edna: I love sitting out in the garden -- it's my favorite place to be on a nice day.

    Sarah: Well I'm glad people are retrieving some of it. It's a shame to see it all just get thrown out. I've been known to pick up a bunch of clothes from the sidewalk, run them through the wash and re-donate them properly -- but I can't do that every time I see a sight like this.

    Jenny-O: Actually, I have some Trump supporting relatives, too, but they don't generally use Facebook much. WHEW!

    Michael: I think it's going to become especially difficult with the upcoming election. Partisan passions are inflamed!

    Red: I know! No one knows what "facts" are anymore!

  22. Your response to Andrew re
    Murdoch pressed my buttons and I want to address that here, even
    at this late stage.
    Rupert Murdoch is only interested in power and money and treats the Australian govt. just the same as others. Using it to promote his right wing agenda, his acolytes spread the word and he has staunch followers including people who are my friends (groan).
    One of his sons, James, has quit the board and refused to peddle his right wing agenda. I'd like to think James has some of the ethics and morality his grandmother held. A woman who believed that wealth can be used for charitable works and to make real difference in the lives of people.
    I'll get off my soap box now.

  23. Alphie: OK, thanks for the feedback! I know nothing about Murdoch's media empire and influence in Australia, but I guess I'm not surprised that he's just as nefarious there as he is everywhere else. I saw the news about James stepping down. He's always seemed like the one Murdoch with integrity.