Addressing the Offensive Language used on VHF Marine Communications

There are two types of traffic that I listen to on my scanners more than anything else and they are:

Railroad

AND

Marine…

I get it, the majority of scanner listeners use their equipment to listen in on law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical traffic.

That’s also what the general public associates with scanners and those who use them.

Of the two, I listen to marine traffic much more often due to my geographic location.

Usually, I can only hear the dispatch towers of railroads on most days and nights unless the other associated signals are being propagated further.

However, I am only a few miles from several navigable waterways and can hear a good bit of marine traffic occurring on there.

Listening to marine traffic helps me know what passes through my area on boats and barges, and also gives me a heads up of when such watercraft are approaching in the case of me wanting to photograph or record their passage. When I am alone in my residence, these voices on my scanner keep me company. So listening to marine traffic is good clean fun for me and keeps me out of trouble. To a degree, it even helps me maintain my sanity.

I do have only one complaint about listening to marine traffic and it is:

I wish the personnel of these boat and barge crews would be mindful of the language they use over the radio.

Many times, it confirms the very intensity of the phrase “cuss like a sailor.”

Technically, it is illegal to use such vulgarity over the radio, but seldom enforced and actually, I’ve never seen this law enforced first hand.

I don’t see such filthy language used in railroad communications, or at least not first hand. That’s likely because the majority of railroad traffic is recorded.

The only other times I heard vulgar language used over the radio was in my teen years when a Houma City Policeman who was in a foot pursuit of a suspect and of course I’ve heard it all the time on CB and FRS.

The current racial tension going on in America right now is what prompted me to write this piece, though it has been on my mind for nearly four years.

And I will explain why too:

One day, in the Summer of 2016, my then-wife, now ex-wife, was working on an arts and crafts project at the Bayou Blue, Louisiana Library. I would usually sit on the computers there and either write or do my research. On that day, I had completed whatever writing or research projects I had wanted to accomplish, so I went for a walk at the track which is situated behind the library. I walked beyond the track and onto the levee of The Hollywood Canal. That location is in proximity to The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, so I had my portable scanner, a Uniden BC72XLT, and was scanning several VHF Marine channels with it. Standing on the levee about one hundred feet from me was a black lady, who was fishing in The Hollywood Canal. She was focused on catching fish, maybe for her Sunday dinner, and didn’t even notice me. About that time either a captain or a deckhand came over the radio and was repeatedly saying the n-word. My scanner picked it up loud and clear and I had it at full volume. Hurriedly, though, I shut it off. I don’t know whether or not that black lady heard my scanner or not. If she did, she didn’t make any trouble with me about it. My biggest fear was that she would see that the radio I was carrying was indeed a scanner and then assume that I was listening to law enforcement. I was ready to explain to her that this particular scanner I am using is not capable of picking up any law enforcement traffic in this area, save a few private security firms. Afterward, I went walk on the levee of The Hollywood Canal in the opposite direction of that lady. I don’t remember if I turned my scanner back on or not. In the following days, I remember telling everyone I know who works in marine logistics to watch their language that they use over the radio because they never know who is listening or in earshot. Imagine if that black lady would have raised ten kinds of hell and said how she had heard what she assumed was the cops using the n-word over their radios. Thank God, she likely didn’t even hear my scanner, but if I was any nearer she would have indeed heard it. God only knows what would have happened then because racial tension was pretty high in 2016. Of course, racial tension is once again at its boiling point here in 2020.

I can think of numerous other occasions where maritime workers use other filthy or offensive words over the radio.

One of my hobbies, as I’ve said before is to watch marine traffic as it passes by on waterways. My scanners greatly enhance that hobby.

But when I am in a public area, such as the Houma City Docks, I have to be constantly on alert if certain people are nearby because of the language that some of these maritime workers use. I wish these workers would watch their mouths when talking over the radio for that very reason.

I strive to be a gentleman and one of the things about being a gentleman is to not use foul language in the presence of women.

I try my best not to use it at all, but I slip up either when I am by myself or around worldly men. Another time I fail to preserve my prim and proper speech is when I have work or research that needs to be done and I have to fight with a slow Internet connection.

So, technically, it is none of my business what is being said on those radios, because I do not work in the maritime transportation industry at all.

However, it is a federal crime to use vulgar language over any radio channel, and also in many jurisdictions, it is considered a crime to use vulgar language in the presence of women or children. And calling a person a slur word denoting or connoting their racial or ethnic heritage is sometimes an arrestable offense as well. There are plenty of women children and people from very diverse backgrounds that frequent the city docks either for fishing, exercise or to play on the nearby playground equipment. It SHOULD be pleasant, but if any inappropriate language is heard, it can get very unpleasant and very fast.

I get it, by this point I probably seem like a prude with too much time on his hands.

Call me that if you wish, I don’t care. I’ve been called much worse.

I just wish those in the maritime industry would keep the filth off the radio because they never know who is within listening range.

I stand by my belief that a gentleman ought not to use any crude language in the presence of a woman.

It’s also wrong to use vulgar language in the presence of a child, even though most children will likely giggle a whole lot when exposed to such language.

Before 2018, I used all sorts of bad language. But then the Good Lord got a hold of me and told me how I needed to clean up that area of my life.

I’ll probably just be told to shut my scanner off if I don’t want to expose myself or others to such filth and that is likely what I will do.

But wouldn’t it be nice if I could have the scanner radio on and not have to worry about offending or upsetting those around me?

Let me make it very clear right now that I don’t want to get anyone in trouble because I know that those people who work in marine logistics are very hard-working individuals who have to be away from their loved ones for days, sometimes weeks on end, just to pay their bills and support their families. I greatly appreciate what they do. I think what they do is also very cool. I would love to do it myself if it weren’t for several medical conditions of which I am afflicted. If my words are properly heeded, trouble will be prevented, not caused.

I am not trying to start any sort of fight, but rather just give a friendly but firm reminder that offensive language ought not to occupy the airwaves.

Picture if you will you are speaking in front of a group of school children Kindergarten through High School from every different background there is, but not only that how about some church ladies as well and not just them your mother and your grandmothers and your pastor’s wife and if that’s not enough, imagine you will be meeting the family of your spouse or significant other for the first time. Think of how you ought to speak for that very situation with all those aforementioned people and then you would realize that is how you ought to speak on the airwaves.

How you talk to your coworkers amongst yourselves is none of my business and I frankly don’t care.

But those radios you talk on have a transmission range much further than you think and what you say on them is heard by many more than just the other party, so please, be very mindful of what you say on there.

Again, my motives behind this are very clean. I don’t want anyone to get in trouble for any reason and it’s not my job to report any of you, nor do I have any desire to. However, I would like to be able to have my scanner turned on in a public place and not have to worry about what will be heard by those in earshot.

Thank you all for what you do and I hope this post will be peacefully considered.

Back to “Articles I Have Written”

Dave Matthews’ Impact on my [Young] Life

Just to set the record straight, I do not own the featured image on this page and I humbly give credit to all whom credit is rightly due.

I think just about any teenager has a singer or band that he or she idolizes.

For me, the singer I idolized when I was a teen was Dave Matthews and his band, The Dave Matthews Band.

I was fifteen going on sixteen when I discovered them.

I remember where I was the first time I knowingly heard one of his songs.

It was in August of 2002 and I was with my Dad and my Brother. We were driving to Metairie, Louisiana (a suburb directly west of New Orleans), to have our family computer serviced.

We were passing somewhere in Saint Charles Parish, Louisiana, either Boutte or Paradis, on U. S. Highway 90 when the song, “The Space Between” came on the car radio.

I listened very intently and took in every lyric.

The melody was also had my undivided attention.

It was pure genius or at least to me it was pure genius!

Prior to this, I listened to the music of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eminem, Limp Bizkit, some Rappers and a few Punk Rock artists.

This would be a life changing event as far as my taste in music and my outlook on life.

I would begin to become more tolerant of others and eventually adopted an attitude of “live and let live” or “to each his own” and the bulk of developing this train of thought was the result of listening to Dave Matthews. Not only that, listening to their music would also trigger several dreams I have had and still remember!

Within a year, I would be a completely different person.

The computer would be getting serviced for a week or two, but when we got it back, I began to listen to several of Dave Matthews Band songs.

Each song I heard had influenced me in a very positive way. The music would make me want to be my best human self, at least prior to coming to Christ.

Listening to these songs made me a more kind, tolerant and romantic person and would eventually cause me to become a writer (keep reading and you will find out more about that.)

In November of 2002, I had caught a severe respiratory infection and missed a week of school.

I did spend a good portion of that week listening to Dave Matthews Band songs on my boom box.

I also discovered the song, “Where are you Going?” This could have been the beginning of me wanting to be more romantic.

Fast forward to January 5, 2003, I first saw the video to the song, “The Space Between” and was totally mesmerized! It was everything I expected it to be and even more!

Later on in January 2003, I had to go under for a procedure and I remember listening to a Dave Matthews Band CD while in the waiting room. I remember songs like “Crush” and “Crash into Me.”

At another point in early 2003 I had heard, “When the World Ends” and was totally satisfied by the lyrics.

In the early morning hours of February 9, 2003, I had a dream that I was living in a dystopian version of New Orleans where a girl and I were in love and on the run. We are eventually detained but the jail cell collapses then I break off my handcuffs as well as hers then tell her, “Take my hand, Cause we’re walking out of here!” That line is directly from the song, “The Space Between.” We escape but she later dies from internal injuries caused by recent police brutality. I end up blowing my brains out and waking up. That dream by the way was made into two stories that I wrote and probably was one of the catalysts that would cause me to become a writer in the first place!

For the rest of February and March of 2003, if I was listening to music, it was probably The Dave Matthews Band.

I still have a copy of Dave Matthews statement about the 2003 U. S. invasion of Iraq!

On the evening of April 10, 2003, I wrote my first story, a love story, and was listening to several Dave Matthews Band songs while writing it! I was absolutely filled, flooded and overflowing with raw emotions. His lyrics always seem to have that affect on me.

Fast forward to that wonderful Summer of 2003 and I had discovered more songs such as “Grace is Gone” and “I’ll Back You Up.”

In October of 2003, I was at a party getting plastered and I remember attempting to sing, “Grace is Gone.”

My school uniform shirt had also become partially unbuttoned and one of the others at the party commented about my hairy chest, to which I replied in a totally drunken stupor, “Oh yeah, I have a hairy chest like Dave Matthews!” I’m still reminded of this well into my thirties!

Fast forward to June of 2004, I suffered a mental breakdown.

Then in July of 2004, I converted to Christianity.

When I found out that Dave Matthews was/is Agnostic, I gradually began to listen to his music less and less.

Years later I found out he did the song, “I Did It” and felt totally vindicated.

Some more years later, I heard, “Ants Marching” and looking back, I totally get the lyrics.

I’ve always been able to relate to his lyrics somehow, like more than any other secular artist.

And the solos that his band members play must take an incredibly high degree of talent to compose and perform.

Then, this year, 2020, I started listening to him again, and just for the record, my Christian faith is stronger than ever.

I recently discovered the song, “Don’t Drink the Water.” What is amazing is that I was watching barge traffic while listening and paying attention to that song for the first time. It definitely could strike some emotions in the year 2020, consider all that is going on.

I am, however, careful about what I listen to and no I don’t idolize Dave Matthews or his band anymore, because that is a violation of God’s law, but I sure do enjoy some of the lyrics and music.  Not only do I reminisce about the past but I look to the future and take in the present all at the same time, while listening. The music and lyrics are just that powerful!

Back to “Personal Reflections”

 

 

 

Early Morning Thoughts

So, I am not diabetic.

Not yet, anyway.

My blood work that was done on May 25, 2020, told me so.

The Hemoglobin A1C numbers do not lie.

That means, at least for now, I can still consume energy-dense and highly palatable food and drink.

But I am careful about it, just for the record. I don’t want to abuse this grace that has been so liberally imparted to me.

At some point before this post, I had written about An Awesome Junk Food Combination, that I used to frequently partake in.

It was a Mister Goodbar and a Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino in a glass bottle.

I would frequent a certain truck stop not too far from my residence just to buy this treat and I would make an outing out of it.

Well, I can still drink almost any sort of coffee I want.

I’m not one to drink Starbucks on the regular.

I much prefer Cafe` Du Monde Coffee and Chickory with Half ‘N’ Half and no sugar.

I’ll also settle for the Clover Valley Doughnut Shop Blend in a similar configuration.

Clover Valley is the in house food products brand for The Ruble, I mean, The Dollar General, for those of you who didn’t know.

So, while I may have had lunch at Starbucks a time or two in my early twenties when I was working, I probably wouldn’t be caught dead in a Starbucks at this point in my life.

The only time I now consume a Starbucks product is the Frappucinos sold in individual glass bottles at trucks stops.

And since I cannot pair it with a Mister Goodbar anymore, I don’t drink Starbucks at all.

I did, however, find a new candy bar, that I can enjoy.

Meet Nestle` Crunch!

It is a little similar to a Mister Goodbar except it is made with Nestle` Chocolate (and I am a huge fan of anything Swiss) as opposed to Hershey’s Chocolate and instead of having peanuts suspended in the chocolate bar, it’s puffed up rice particles suspended in chocolate.

Since I’ve been living alone, my love affair with rice has abounded.

I find myself buying and eating a lot of rice because it goes well with so many entrees.

There’s even a meal originating from East Houma where one takes fried fish, white rice and ketchup and eats them all together. Believe it or not, this seemingly odd combination is quite tasty.

I’m not from East Houma, nor have I ever established residence there, at least not as of writing this piece, but I have a definite appreciation for that side of town.

I could go on to compare Houma to New Orleans and point out the numerous striking similarities. I’ve realized this, by the way, since about April of 2018 and I know I would get a lot of laughs but I would probably also offend quite a lot of people, so I probably won’t write it publically for the foreseeable future. I have told it via text messaging or verbally to friends and neighbors and I indeed got a lot of laughs.

All right, let’s focus on the task at hand. I’m all over the place right now. I hope you, the reader, are amused!

What is the task at hand, though? There’s a lot on my mind at the moment!

So, since I am allergic to peanuts now, albeit only slightly, but enough to cause discomfort, much to my displeasure I, therefore, quit eating all peanuts. But, I can still have all the rice I want.

I guess it would then make sense that I enjoy Nestle` Crunch so much.

So my new favorite candy bar is Nestle` Crunch. I have been eating it now and then since early childhood, but as of recently, I find myself purchasing a bar or two every time I go make groceries.

By the way, making groceries is an outing for me and has been since about the age of twenty-five. Making groceries as a divorcee is more peaceful and fun than doing so as a henpecked husband

And if you, the reader, are wondering what do I mean when I use the phrase “making groceries”, it simply means grocery shopping. It’s a saying from the New Orleans English dialect known affectionately as “Y’at.” Some of my characters, especially in my Post Modern stories, frequently use this phrase as well.

And if I am going to be away from home, for any time I stock up on a few bars and store them in my EDC backpack, either as comfort food, a quick energy boost while not home or just so my evening medication can be better absorbed. I am currently looking for a sweetened milk and coffee based drink to pair with it. Might I add that I am open to suggestions!

Speaking of all this, I have yet to figure out whether or not chocolate and/or coffee enhances my writing potential as Wild Cherry Pepsi does.

Since I have absolutely no commitments other than going to church on Sunday and Wednesday and of course, my blog, I am trying to spend more time hanging out at the Houma City Docks and watching barge traffic. I feel so happy when I am at the docks. It’s peaceful. The people there are friendly. I have my scanner tuned to all the VHF Marine Channels so I can be informed as to when a vessel will come by and what direction is it coming from. And it sure is interesting to see all that travels by water and where it all comes from. It’s truly good clean fun and it is a pretty cheap hobby. And while I am engaged in it, I get all caught up in the moment and usually get some inspiration to write that is on par with a trip to New Orleans. Did I not say Houma was like New Orleans? My comparisons are both flattering and pejorative. By the way, I was hanging out at the docks several hours ago and just look at how it has caused me to write three pieces in just a short amount of time. Might I add that I hadn’t contributed to this blog for a couple of weeks? I hope all of my followers can forgive me and bear with me. My inspiration waxes and wanes, but I’m learning that during times of little or no inspiration, I must needs to make or at least find inspiration.

By the way, I was initially interested in watching trains, until I had a dream in October of 2015, that caused me to realize marine traffic. Not only that, but the days of railroad communications being in the clear are also severely numbered, whereas marine communications will be in the clear for decades to come. Watching barge traffic is almost as fun as watching trains and in some ways, it is even more rewarding and less risky, on every level.

I wish I could go on amusing you, the reader, with my thoughts, but my back is starting to hurt.

Who would have thought that a simple fall on some wet stairs six years ago would do so much damage to my back?

I thank God though, that my back injury isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.

All in all, I hope this post has been worth the read and I thank you for sticking with it until the end.

Hopefully, I can live up to my personal standard of posting new material at least a few times a week from now on.

This, therefore, concludes my piece, for now.

Have a blessed day!

Back to “Personal Reflections”

A Review of the Wenger Origins 9550-43 Backpack

By the way, I don’t own the featured image on this page and I give all credit to whomever credit is due.

I have been carrying my most frequently used possessions in a bag since about the age of five.

I’m thirty-three and almost thirty-three-and-a-half at the time of writing this piece.

So that means, I have been employing a bag in some way shape or form to carry my stuff, on the regular for about twenty-eight years.

I have been through quite a few bags over the years. Most were either backpacks or duffel bags.

Since the age of twenty-one or twenty-two, I have converted to strictly a backpack and always one made for one of the Swiss companies.

From October of 2019 until June of 2020, I had used a SwissGear City Backpack, which was wonderful don’t get me wrong.

However, I eventually wanted a backpack with more storage space, like for carrying extra clothing

Then, for most of May of 2020, I was almost sure that I had developed Type 2 Diabetes. I mean I was showing multiple symptoms. So, in my mind, I knew I would need a bigger backpack and possibly also a small cooler to carry my medical supplies associated with diabetes in addition to what I take for other conditions of which I am afflicted.

Finally, I wanted a backpack that I could deliberately show off as being Swiss. My SwissGear City Backpack has the Swiss Cross but it is transparent black on black instead of white on red. Pardon me for being so gosh durn vain, but I really do admire the Swiss people and I guess I like to show off when I have a Swiss item.

So, in late May, I began doing extensive research for the perfect backpack.

I read about hundreds of different models in my research.

Then I got on good old eBay.

It was there that I found a Wenger Origins 9550-43 Laptop Backpack and that is what this piece will be a review thereof.

I discovered it on eBay in the latter parts of May 2020.

It was selling brand new with tags but had a base price of $15.99 and $8.49 for shipping. That is a steal considering this backpack previously sold for ~$70!

I was broke in the latter parts of May 2020, but I shot a message to the seller asking if she could reserve it for me and I would gladly pay her on June 3.

She gladly did! She even unlisted it!

Usually, I complain about shipping charges, but I did not in this particular situation. This seller got the highest feedback rating possible!

So I ordered it first thing in the morning on June 3, 2020.

Despite Tropical Storm Cristobal, it arrived at my residence on June 8, 2020.

I was tremendously pleased!

Let’s rewind to May 25, 2020. I saw my doctor for my six month checkup and blood work.

My blood is monitored routinely because of the medications I take.

One of the variables that is monitored in my twice yearly blood work is my Hemoglobin A1C.

When my medical app alerted me to the results, I was shocked but relieved that my A1C was still in the normal range.

I wasn’t diabetic after all, but gosh durnit, I still show many symptoms.

I still wanted a new backpack though and I am glad I have this one!

Here are some specifications on my backpack.

The physical dimensions are 12.6 inches wide X 18.1 inches high X 9.1 inches deep (32 cm wide X 46 cm high X 23 cd deep)-Yes it is considerably more space consuming than my SwissGear City backpack but it can also carry more.

The tare weight is 1.89 pounds or 0.86 kilograms-Shouldn’t weigh a adult down too much.

The storage capacity is 1,281 cubic inches or 21 liters-Very generous.

There is a padded laptop compartment and a dedicated tablet pocket-Perfect for a traveling blogger.

There is a Pass-Thru trolley sleeve which allows this backpack to be carried on the handle of wheeled luggage-Ideal for airline or railroad travel.

Finally there is an Essentials organizer-Makes EDC more efficient.

In the front most compartment is a pocket on the outer wall which is perfect for carrying medication, then there is a deep storage space and on the back wall there is the essentials organizer with a wide pocket, three slots, a mesh pocket and a smartphone pocket with silky screen protective material. On the exterior of the front most compartment is a D-Ring for hooking keys on.

In the middle compartment is a large space which would be ideal for carrying clothing and/or personal hygiene items. This is more than just a day pack or a commuter backpack like the SwissGear City.

Finally in the main compartment there is a laptop sleeve which will accommodate up to a 15.6 inch laptop. There is also a tablet pocket which should fit most tablets. And there is even more generous storage space for books (such as my personal Bible) or anything else within reason to be carried, I also have two scanner radios in there. Also in the main compartment is a large mesh zipper compartment of which I carry my computer repair tools.

I definitely can see why this backpack would normally cost upwards of $70, but God blessed me immensely when I only had to pay a total of $24.48 for it and the seller was willing to wait for me.

This is just a tip of the iceberg on how God is constantly showering me with blessings!

By the way, I think I will still keep the SwissGear City backpack, but not as my main EDC backpack.

I hope my Wenger Origins backpack will last me for years to come.

Mine does have a very discreet MasterCard logo embroidered on the very front, but I am willing to ignore that.

Actually, I think the Wenger Origins backpack line was meant to be corporate gifts with logos on it, but I am not totally sure.

All in all this is a great backpack!

I give it a five out of five stars!

This therefore concludes my review of the Wenger Origins 9550-43 Backpack.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed, entertained and enlightened.

Thank you for reading and may God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

 

An Excerpt from “An Online Romance”

On a muggy late October night in South Louisiana, Ezra Lee Toussaint was sitting on his sofa scrolling past profiles of ladies on a dating site. He lived outside of New Orleans, Louisiana, and couldn’t seem to find any ladies that interested him nearby. So he increased the distance parameter on the app and continued searching.

Ezra was a disabled thirty-seven-year-old. He stayed in a one-bedroom apartment and of course lived off of a government pension from Social Security Disability. The reasons for his disability were that he was schizophrenic and later became diabetic, due to side effects from his medication.

Around the age of thirty-four he had lost a lot of weight, but still needed to take his schizophrenic medication as well as monitor his blood sugar and take insulin shots for the rest of his life.

Because of the cost of his medications and supplies as well as their side effects in addition to the debilitating mental effects of Schizophrenia, he decided it would be much more practical to draw disability and keep his medical benefits instead of being at the mercy of employer-sponsored health insurance.

He spent his waking hours working on his 1985 Jeep Comanche pickup truck, riding around at night, listening to his scanners, watching videos, or reading online.

He had all the time to do whatever he chose, whenever he chose, but his life was incomplete. He was missing the love of a good woman.

There was a good woman in his life about five years prior, but she called it quits on him out of the blue.

He spent a good while getting over that relationship, but then he decided to get on several dating sites and put himself on the market.

On this night he wasn’t having much success with the app.

It seemed that the only women who wanted him were well below his standards and the ones that met his standards all eventually ghosted him.

Ezra was getting ready to give up on these apps and find an alternative way to meet women when he saw her profile.

Her name was Sadie, she was 31 years old and from rural Marshall County, Alabama.

He studied her profile extensively and realized that she fit his standards exactly.

She was an SSBBW with a very pretty face, long flowing reddish-blonde hair, sparkling blue eyes, and the most beautiful curves.

On her profile she stated how she is indeed a big lady and if any potential mate of hers cannot deal with that, then just not waste their time and don’t even contact her. She stated how she wanted a man that would treat her like a queen, hold her by her waist, kiss her just because, and love her for her. She also stated how she is an excellent cook and despite her size, she’s the one to take and meet your family. Her profile then stated how she never smokes, or uses drugs and only drinks alcohol on special occasions. As her interests, she posted that they include hanging out with her family, riding around at night, swimming, playing games on her phone or tablet, and cuddling but only with the right man. She finally said how she is on disability because of her weight, but that means she can take care of herself financially and doesn’t want any man’s money, but rather his time, loyalty, affection, and love. Her height was listed as five feet.

Even though he wasn’t actually in her presence, Ezra felt immensely giddy as his heart skipped several beats.

For a few minutes he simply stared with great admiration at her pictures.

During those minutes, Ezra was going through in his head how he would write the perfect message for her, “Hey. I don’t know how to begin this, but let me first say that I am very picky about whom I would date. However, you seem to exceed my standards by far, and not only that I think you are beautiful and sweet. I want to get to know you more and if you are the right one for me, I would indeed treat you like a queen, hold you by that sexy waist of yours, shower your beautiful face with kisses just because and yes I could love you for you and let me say that you are indeed very lovable. I’m already crazy about you and if you would only know how giddy I feel just by looking at your profile, maybe you would somehow like me too. I know I am in Louisiana and you’re in Alabama, but gosh durn it, it wouldn’t matter to me how close or far you were, for you I would find a way to make it work. There aren’t any worthwhile women where I am, but you, well…you are more than worthwhile, you seem so perfect for me! I look forward to corresponding with you, so please give me a chance!”

Ezra sighed as he tapped the send button.

He then set his phone down and walked into the kitchen and took his medication.

Afterwards, he tested his blood sugar and saw that it was low, so he drank a cold can of Wild Cherry Pepsi.

He then turned on his scanner and listened as two towboat captains were coordinating their movements on the Intracoastal Waterway. He listened intently until he heard his phone go off.

A chat head appeared with Sadie’s picture.

Ezra took a deep breath then began to read the message.

“Hey. I’m really touched by what you told me. I also read your profile and you seem like a decent guy and yes I would be open to you getting to know me. I want to get to know you as well. I also think you’re really cute! It’s quite okay that you’re all the way in Louisiana because there are no worthwhile young men around here who are willing to pay attention to me, but I’m glad you are. You made me blush a whole lot when you told me that my waist is sexy. And yes, I am really happy that you are that you’re willing to make this work. Maybe you are the young man of whom I have been praying about. I hope you are serious about loving me for me because I am bigger than I appear in my pictures. I do weigh a little over four hundred pounds. When most guys find out exactly how big I am they ghost me. You seem really sweet, so I hope you are somehow different. I hope you would still want me now that you know my true weight and I promise you that I have an even bigger heart. Please write me back and let me know how you feel.”

Ezra’s heart swelled with joy that the young lady whom he was already catching feelings for was mutually interested in him. He knew he had to make it clear to Sadie exactly how much he was attracted to her. So, carefully, he typed back, “I’m so sorry all those other guys ghosted you but it’s their loss not yours. I hope it is also my gain and I apologize if that sounded wrong. There is something I want you to know and I pray you don’t think I am a pervert, but here goes: I am exclusively attracted to bigger women. There is just something about them that drives me wild but in a very good way. And if she has a pretty face like yours, I’m even more attracted. A skinny woman doesn’t have that effect on me. And a skinny woman wouldn’t ever make me happy but someone your size would make me the happiest man there is! I meant what I said when I told you how I think you’re beautiful and sweet. I won’t ever ghost you, but I will honor you and cherish you if you indeed let me! Please don’t ever ghost me either though. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen and you have such a sweet and pure heart, that I want you even more now. I just hope this continues.”

A minute passed, then Ezra’s phone alerted him to another incoming message from Sadie. It read, “Oh, I don’t think you’re a pervert because you’re attracted to bigger women. Actually, I’m glad you are because you’re really cute and sweet and if you didn’t like bigger women you probably wouldn’t be talking to me right now, so it’s quite all right. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I know you’re falling for me and I will admit that I am falling for you as well, but I have to make sure you are right for me. I am indeed attracted to you physically and I think you are really sweet as well, but I need to know most of all that you are a Christian and that you are a humble gentleman. I’m almost sure that you are are the latter, but I need to make sure that you are also the former. If you indeed are, then you will have the keys to my heart. But I must know. Let me close by saying that I hope you are because I really do like you and I could see you making me happy. Please let me know.”

“Why don’t I call you and explain it to you? It would be easier to say it verbally than to write it all down.”

“Sure. I bet you have a cute voice.”

They then exchanged phone numbers.

Ezra then called Sadie.

“Hey you!” She answered.

“Hi,” Ezra said.

“Well tell me all you need to say.”

“Okay, here goes: I am indeed a Christian and have been since my teen years. There is something else you must know about me and that is I get disability. First I got it for being schizophrenic, which I got saved while I was recovering from my first mental breakdown. A family member presented The Gospel to me and I surrendered to it. Most of my family is Catholic, except for this family member, and I always noticed how he was closer to God than the rest of them, so I hung on to his every word. It was the best choice I ever made when I got saved! The medication I take for schizophrenia caused me to eventually become diabetic. I was heavy from my twenties until my early thirties then at age thirty-four, I lost the weight, mostly from strict dieting because of my diabetes. I allow the Lord to direct my paths and I acknowledge Him every step of the way. I would also be in a lot of trouble without Him. If you ever meet me, you will see that I carry a SwissGear backpack and a small Igloo cooler everywhere I go. I carry my medication and diabetic supplies, as well as a few cool personal gadgets in my backpack, and I have a few cans of soft drink as well as my insulin in the cooler.”

“I can tell that for sure that you are a Christian and I am immensely happy about that fact! I’m so sorry about your disabilities, but maybe they make you humble, or at least I think they do. Could you tell me about the other stuff you carry in your backpack? I hope it is all legal stuff.”

Ezra replied, “Well, some of the stuff I carry may not be legal in New York or California, but it is perfectly legal in the rural South. I have my tablet with its charger, a scanner radio also with its charger, a Leatherman multi-tool, a Swiss Army Knife, three different tactical flashlights one of them has a USB-C charger the other two run on disposable batteries, my Bible, two flash drives, a power bank, and a scientific calculator.”

“That’s neat. But why do you have three flashlights?”

“Well one is for general purpose lighting. The other has a regular white light but also a red light for use at night such as fishing or looking for worms or just looking around in a car while riding and not disturb the driver. The third one is for self-defense, it is very bright and has a strobe feature that can disorient an attacker then I can hit him in the head with the flashlight while he is disoriented. There’s a lot of crime in Louisiana and my psychiatrist won’t clear me for a concealed weapon permit, so I had to improvise. As you can see I like to be prepared.”

“My Daddy carried a Leatherman on him everywhere he went, but he willed it to me when he passed away.”

“What did he die of?”

“He was big like me and couldn’t get his blood pressure under control, so four, almost five years ago, the Sunday just after Black Friday, he was out hunting with the new rifle he had just purchased and had a stroke out in the woods. We have a scanner too and heard EMT’s talking about him on it. He died hours later at the hospital.”

“I’m so sorry and he seems like he would have been a good man.”

“Oh he was. Maybe he would have liked you.”

“What was he hunting for?”

“Wild hogs. He wanted to roast one for Christmas Dinner but had to work up until Christmas, so this was his only time off, until Christmas Eve.”

“Oh, that sounds delicious. What was his job?”

“He worked at a gun store and he loved to hunt in his free time.”

“If scanners upset you, I won’t play mine in front of you. I know it must be traumatic to hear one go off.”

“Well, that’s very sweet and thoughtful of you, but it doesn’t bother me.”

“What do you listen to on yours, anyway?”

“Mostly boat traffic. If that isn’t too active, I listen to the fire departments.”

“And why do you carry that Leatherman and Swiss Army Knife?”

“Just so I can help myself or others should the need arrive. It seems I am always using them to fix something at my church. I see them more as tools than weapons, and I do enjoy helping others.”

“Now you sound like my Daddy, but I like it.”

“I know you know that I am a Christian. I hope you think I am also a humble gentleman.”

“Yes. I do, but I just had to make sure you were first.”

“Yay.”

“You seem happy.”

“Well, the young lady of my dreams thinks I am a gentleman I would say that makes me happy!”

“So, since I am the young lady of your dreams, why don’t you make me yours?”

“How do you want me to do that?”

“Ask me, silly.”

“Okay, I need to know your full name first, so I can do this right.”

“It is Sadie Claire MacBride. What’s yours?”

“Ezra Lee Toussaint.”

“That’s a neat name.”

“Thanks.”

“Okay, are you going to ask me?”

“Yes: Sadie Claire MacBride, will you be my girlfriend? I don’t have much to offer you, but I do promise to give you my time, my loyalty, and my affections!”

“Of course I will, and you’ve just made me a very happy lady, Ezra Lee Toussaint! I hope and pray that this is just the beginning!”

“It is just the beginning and I hope and pray that you are the one because I cannot picture anyone better!”

“I hope you are the one as well and I cannot wait to meet you in person!”

“How about we try to Thanksgiving week. I’ll save some money from when I paid on November 3rd.”

“Sure. But I’m too fat to drive myself so you’re going to have to come to me.”

“That’s fine. And don’t be so hard on yourself because I think you’re the most beautiful lady ever! Anyway, I have a 1985 Jeep Comanche, but it runs just as well as any truck made today. And I will gladly come to see you.”

“You’re so sweet and I think you’re the cutest man I’ve ever seen!”

“Thank you!”

“Hey, what time is it?”

Ezra looked at his G-Shock, then answered, “10:44.”

“I have a doctor’s appointment in the morning, so I need to get some sleep. I too have high blood pressure because of my weight. It’s under control, thanks to the medications, but I need routine monitoring.”

“You do get disability as well, or at least your profile says so.”

“Yes, I get my Daddy’s survivor’s benefits. I use them to pay me and my Momma’s bills and the utilities. The trailer and the land are paid for, thank God!”

“Yes. Thank God indeed.” Ezra paused then continued, “There is something I want to tell you tonight, and every night before we go to sleep.”

“What is it?”

“Good Night Tidings.”

“Okay.”

“Here goes: I wish I was in your presence to lovingly give you good night hugs and a kisses goodnight, then gently tuck you into your bed. But I also pray that The Good Lord watches over both of us tonight and every night as we sleep. Finally I pray that we are together forever, because I only want you and no one else. Now, you get you some rest and I will take my medication.”

“That was very sweet and just know that I desire and pray for those very things as well!” Sadie paused then continued, “I will text you good morning and I will call you when I am out of my appointment. If you want we can spend some time then.”

“Okay. I will be waiting. I’ll probably be doing laundry tomorrow, but I’ll make time for you.”

“I know you will.”

“Okay, good night.”

“Good night.”

Ezra took his medicine then went to bed happier than ever.

Likewise Sadie went to bed filled with more joy than ever.

They dreamed about each other all night long…

Contact Me

Back to “Works of Fiction”

 

 

 

 

A Review of the Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-59 Programmable Scanner Radio

For the record, I do not own the featured image on this page.

I must give credit where credit is due and I cropped it out of the 1992 Radio Shack Catalog.

Since the age of fifteen going on sixteen (September 2002) I had been listening to scanners.

I didn’t know such a device existed until the Summer of 2001 when I first read about them on

https://howstuffworks.com

Specifically:

https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/radio-scanner.htm

I had wanted one ever since, but at the time I was a no income fourteen-year-old with fiscally conservative and technology ignorant parents.

There was no way I could own one, not even an entry-level model.

Without getting too political, I believe that the prices of firearms and scanners are deliberately jacked up in order to discourage ownership of them.

Governments likely demand this but it also represents pure profit for the manufacturers of these ever so controversial instruments.

I will stand by this belief until I am unequivocally proven otherwise.

And by the way, if I can be proven totally incorrect; I will be more than happy to recant this statement.

…Anyway, enough of that…

Scanners are expensive there is no doubt about that.

And since I am living on a disability pension, I cannot afford the latest and greatest scanner really not even an entry-level scanner.

Then why do I own so many of them?

Well, it’s simple, I either buy older models at a very significant discount or people who no longer use them due to their obsolescence or perceived obsolescence give them to me and I always find a use for them.

In the late Summer of 2019, a friend of mine, gave me a Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-59 and is what this piece will be a review of.

It is not the oldest scanner that I own.

However, it is indeed the oldest scanner that I use.

This particular unit came off the assembly line in July of 1991 and while it may not pick up what most scanner owners want to hear (police traffic) it still picks up almost everything I want to hear. I believe it is an aftermarket rebadged Uniden made for Radio Shack, but I’m not totally sure.

It may be totally obsolete for the overwhelming majority of scanner users.

While I don’t have a very detailed list of the technical specs, I know most of them right off the bat and will give them:

Frequency Range:
137-174 MHz FM
406-512 MHz FM

So, it does not Aircraft or 700/800/900 MHz and that’s understandable. But it doesn’t get VHF Low Band either and that seems like a mistake on the designers’ parts, especially since there were a lot more VHF Low Band users in the early 1990s then there are now. But I get it, this was a budget-friendly entry-level model that had a price tag of $99.95 in the 1992 Radio Shack Catalog. By the way that is $184.45 in 2019 Dollars! The only users on VHF Low Band in my immediate area anyway are some cheaper baby monitors and my local electric utility cooperative. I have other scanners to listen to those transmissions, anyway.

There are only eight memory channels and it does not have a full frequency display. However, it can recall the frequency assigned to any channel but will do it one digit at a time. But since there are only eight available channel memories, it shouldn’t be too hard to remember what frequency was programmed on each channel.

However, it has a dedicated Weather Band Search at the push of a button and it does indeed get all seven Weather frequencies. That is a pretty big deal since not all stand-alone weather radios made in 1991-1992 actually received all seven weather frequencies!

You, the reader, may think that this scanner is a piece of junk by today’s standards, but I am about to tell you why that is not the case.

It may indeed seem very limited both in 2020 as well as 1992 but the receiver sensitivity is where this model beats all of my other scanners. I have a ~12 Inch aftermarket telescoping antenna connected to the BNC terminal on the back, but it pulls in signals loud and clear that all of my newer scanners don’t even stop on. And some of my newer scanners have better antennas as well!

I cannot seem to get a listing of this receiver’s sensitivity as rated in microvolts, but it must be very sensitive.

And that makes this perfect for what I listen to most namely, railroad and marine traffic.

I keep this scanner on my kitchen counter and run it most of my waking hours.

It is running as I speak, but I am in my bedroom at the moment.

There are several navigable waterways within a few miles of my residence and this wonderful scanner pulls in all nearby transmissions on VHF Marine Inland Waterway Channel (156.650 MHz.) It also pulls in the Coast Guard transmissions on the International VHF Marine Distress Channel (156.800 MHz), some fifty miles away in New Orleans. There is a railroad line about ten miles away and it pulls in the dispatcher clear as day and sometimes the engineer’s side as well. I have a local amateur radio repeater that I listen to programmed in there and it works fine as usual. Finally, I have the Fire Dispatch Channel for all of Terrebonne Parish, the Fire Dispatch Channel for Lafourche Parish Fire District 1 (where a good bit of my family resides) and I have two Fire Tactical channels, one for my local fire department and the other for a neighboring fire department. Almost everything this radio picks up, comes in clear as day. And the other times, the signal is still intelligible. One advantage I have is that I live on the second floor. I specifically asked for a second-floor unit so I could get better television and scanner reception!

So, yes, to most this scanner would be a dust collector, given to a thrift store or perish the thought recycled for parts.

However, I have given it a new purpose and I use it daily.

Despite its age of almost twenty-nine years at the time of writing this, it still keeps me informed and entertained on a daily basis.

It even has helped me maintain my sanity during this quarantine!

Most people my age that have to stay home are likely watching various streaming services.

I, on the other hand, listen to scanners, which may have a considerable startup cost, but are free to use. Well aside from the electric bill and the cost of batteries.

My biggest question is:
Will any of the scanners made in 2020 still be operating without issue twenty-nine years in the future?

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of The Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-59.

And yes, I give this product a rating of 5 out of 5 stars because it performs so well and does everything it is supposed to do!

Hopefully, you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Datexx DRC-604 Atomic Clock Receiver

 

For the record, I do not own the featured image.  I give credit to whoever credit is due…

In some (but not all) aspects of my life, I carry myself with fervent precision.

Case in point, I always wear a watch and I strive to keep that watch synchronized with The American Atomic Time.

To do this, I synchronize it with an Atomic Clock receiver at the beginning of every month.

I have been doing this since 2008 when I would synchronize my watch with the time on my GPS device.

I do this usually on the first over every month, but sometimes I am late with it.

I was late this month with all that is going on.

I synchronized my watches and clocks in the wee hours of the morning on May 7, 2020.

When I was thinking about that, I was prompted to write this piece.

My now ex-wife always had an alarm clock of some sort and always heeded that alarm, mostly to wake everyone else up in her family.

She still pretty much got up at a set time every morning when she and I lived together.

She probably still does to this day, though I am not sure.

Because of this, in August of 2010, I wanted to get her an Atomic Clock receiver for her twenty-third birthday.

There was one being sold at my local grocer, Rouse’s, and for only ~$10.

It was a Datexx DRC-604.

Money was so tight in those days though that I couldn’t afford it for her.

Well all of my disability pension and then some went towards rent and I was working part-time, maybe 15 hours a week at $8 an hour which almost all went towards groceries and utilities.

Our financial situation improved in December of 2010 when my disability pension got bumped up and in January of 2011 for our first anniversary, I bought her a different Atomic Clock receiver, from Wal*Mart, a Westclox, though I’m not sure of the exact model number.

I know I frequently talk ill of that marriage but there were some good times, believe it or not.

And I think what was the ultimate ruination of it was brain damage from my then wife’s chronic hydrocephalus that altered her personality and made her so gosh durn mean, so it’s not entirely her fault either, just a very messed up circumstance.

I tried, for years in fact, but there’s only so much a human being can take.

She did indeed enjoy it, though whenever she got angry at me she would give it back to me, but then take it back when she was no longer angry at me.

I used it as well to synchronize my watch and any other clocks that didn’t automatically synchronize itself.

I left her in January of 2018. And I made sure that she kept that clock.

I also gave back to her almost everything she ever gave me, yes even a Weather Radio, which hopefully she still uses.

I moved into my current residence in May of 2018 but for about one hundred days, I stayed with a friend.

On a stormy day in the Summer of 2018, I was shopping with my Dad at Rouse’s and discovered that the Atomic Clock receiver that I initially wanted to give my then-wife as a birthday present almost eight years prior was now on clearance.

I know Rouse’s is primarily a grocer, but they used to sell some pretty neat housewares, electronics, and even flashlights.

Anyway, instead of ~$10, it was now ~$5.

I had a little bit of cash on me, so I happily purchased it.

As previously stated the Atomic Clock receiver is a Datexx DRC-604 and is what this piece will be a review of.

Between January 2018 and the following Summer, I was unable to synchronize my watches or my other clocks with the Atomic time and that did irritate me tremendously. But somehow I managed.

So, I was super happy to have an accurate clock once again.

It’s not the best of Atomic Clock receivers, but I’d like to think it gets the job done.

There are three major strikes against it:

This clock only works in the Continental United States.

It is difficult to properly set.

AND

It has a difficult time acquiring the signal, even when placed by a window.

Still, it manages to accurately keep time and it synchronizes every morning with the Atomic Clock in Fort Collins, Colorado.

I especially like how it is efficient on batteries, which it runs on two AAA Alkalines and will run for at least a year before needing them to be changed.

Other features are:
Time Zone Setting.
Month, Date, and Day of the Week.
Two Separate Alarms that can be independently turned on or off.
Moon Phase.
Indoor Thermometer.
Bold Faced Clock indicating Hour, Minute, Second, and AM or PM.
Green LED Backlight activated by pressing the Snooze Button.

My biggest complaint is that I wish it could update more often and that it didn’t have such a hard time acquiring the signal but maybe it has a hard time because of all the electrical noise associated with modern technology and apartment dwelling.

Other than that, it has a plethora of nice features and it eventually does get the right time.

My main reason for owning this is so I can properly synchronize my watch and other non-automatic clocks to the most accurate time possible.

By the way, I give this product a 4.45 out of 5 stars, because of the issues with settings, frequency of synchronization, and reception issues.

I suppose this, therefore, concludes my review of the Datexx DRC-604.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Radio Shack 12-248 Sports Weather Radio

Just for the record, I don’t own the featured image.  It is the property of Radio Shack.

I have been fascinated and intimidated by the weather since I was a toddler.

Likewise, I have been interested in electronics and gadgets since I was a toddler as well.

The overwhelming majority of my childhood took place in the 1990s, so I do have a fondness for certain electronic devices that were made during that time.

Now, the first time I ever set foot inside a Radio Shack was on December 26, 1994, and all I did was look at a few computers.

I wouldn’t shop at Radio Shack again until November of 2001 and I wouldn’t shop at Radio Shack on the regular until some point in 2002.

After that, I was in Radio Shack all the time, until most of them closed down in the mid to late 2010s.

When I was in my 20s, I discovered that there was a website that archived almost every Radio Shack Catalog ever printed.

That website is http://radioshackcatalogs.com/

I have since frequently used it as reference material in my research.

When I was in either my late 20s or early 30s, I was looking at the 1998 Radio Shack catalog on that aforementioned website and noticed a neat portable Weather Radio, The Radio Shack 12-248, of which this piece will be a review.

For the next few years, I had wanted one and frequently checked eBay for it.

However, either the price was too high or it was too beat up to be used.

Then in late April of 2020, there was one that appeared to be in very decent condition and selling only for $15 even.

I couldn’t pass this up.

So, on the evening of April 30, 2020, I made my purchase and it came in the mail on May 7, 2020.

The transit times with the Postal Service are agonizingly slow right now, but I think we can all chalk it up to this wretched Coronavirus.

…Anyway…

While I have only had this radio for a few hours, I am still thoroughly impressed.

Some of the features are:
Rugged, Water Resistant Design-This makes it ideal for outdoor use, especially boating in stormy weather.
Bright Yellow Cabinet-This allows it to be easily located.
Standby Alert Feature-Allows the radio to stay quiet until a Weather Alert is broadcast.
Alert Lock-Allows the end-user to know there was an Alert issued even if he/she wasn’t near the radio when it occurred.
Receives All 7 Channels-Will provide Weather Radio coverage almost anywhere in The United States but also parts of Canada and Mexico.

I read the instructions and learned that while it is water-resistant, it is not waterproof. This means that it would probably be ruined if it went overboard. However, it could probably stand up to light rainfall, which I mean it was designed for keeping track of severe weather while outside.

Speaking of that, the rod antenna is considerably long, so maybe that would be a lightning strike hazard if used outside during an electrical storm.

The price was a bit high, especially for 1998 ($49.99) but a lot of Radio Shack products in the 1990s were overpriced. However, they were built very well!

I’m not sure if the channel selector is a PLL tuner or if it’s crystal-controlled, but it pulls in station KIH23 loud and clear from about forty miles away. Even with the antenna retracted, the signal is still intelligible. Granted I am on the second floor, but most of my other weather radios don’t perform this well. The station even bleeds over into adjacent channels, even from about forty miles away.

I tested the alert feature and it is very oud and will get the end user’s attention.

All in all, it seems to be a good weather radio.

I cannot understand why Radio Shack only sold it for a year.

Maybe it was the high price?

One could go make a week or two worth of groceries in 1998 for that price.

As I stated on social media while talking about this weather radio:
“While I don’t think the Gorton’s Fisherman is a real person, however, if he was, I wouldn’t be surprised if he EDCed one of these [a Radio Shack 12-248] in his raincoat pocket while sailing in US or Canadian waters.”

Gorton’s Fish, especially the Beer Battered variety, has been on my mind a lot lately, and now I can eat it as I please. Both my ex-wife and my ex-girlfriend didn’t like to eat it. Now that I am single I can eat it all I want and not hear anything.

I could picture any fisherman carrying this radio though, and what would be cool is if another company would reboot this design but make it truly waterproof and maybe have a more compact rubber duck antenna tuned to the Weather Band. Another idea that I could change it to have a scan feature that automatically pulls in the strongest weather station, instead of a channel selector knob. Other than that it is a great radio and for its time it was excellent.

Nowadays one can get a portable and waterproof VHF Marine Radio with Weather Band and Standby Alert built it for around what this costed in 1998, maybe even cheaper if inflation is considered.

For those that can get one second hand and want to go fishing either inland or in the coastal waters, this seems to be great, if one can get it in decent condition. There have been quite a few Special Marine Warning issued in my area within days around the time of writing this piece.

I imagine that this radio would be great for those with a budget in mind, especially for other outdoor activities as well such as golfing, farming, or hunting.

I’m glad that God finally blessed me with one.

I give this product a 4.7 out of 5 stars because it isn’t truly waterproof and the antenna looks quite flimsy. Other than that, it’s awesome.

This, therefore, concludes my review of The Radio Shack 12-248 Sport Weather Radio.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.

Thank you for reading and may God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

 

I’ve been Carrying a Flashlight Permanently for Fifteen Years

I have been fascinated by flashlights since infancy. Almost everyone in my immediate circle and probably most of my readers is well aware of this. Because I am fascinated by flashlights, I want to always have one with me. I had been carrying flashlights on me on and off throughout my childhood and teen years.

…But…

On May 5, 2005, I decided to carry a flashlight on me everywhere I could.

That was fifteen years ago today.

I have pretty much held to that decision and there have been very few times that I have not carried a flashlight on me since.

I can probably count those times on one hand.

I would have carried a flashlight permanently on me much sooner in life but while I was in the upper levels of grade school, I was mocked and harassed for liking flashlights by other kids.

By my late teen years, I didn’t give a durn.

So, what made me decide to start carrying a flashlight on me?

We can go back to the Autumn of 2003 to answer that.

I was a sophomore in high school and some thunderstorms had gone through the area, knocking off the power.

We had to sit in class in the pitch-black classroom.

My Mom teaches at the same high school I attend and my EDC bag was definitely in her vehicle. I had an Energizer SuperCharge rechargeable LED flashlight in there.

I had offered to go to my Mom’s vehicle and get my flashlight but due to security reasons, the teacher refused.

It drove me crazy that I was in total darkness and couldn’t do anything about it.

This would be the catalyst for me to get interested in flashlights again.

A few months prior, I had a 4 D Cell Maglite that was ruined by leaking batteries so I was hesitant to sink too much money into an expensive flashlight.

This is why I didn’t own tactical flashlights right away.

I even helped with parking for football games and the cops that were working security details laughed at me for not having a tactical flashlight.

I either had a very cheap Rayovac Value Lite or my Energizer Supercharge.

I had known about SureFire since February of 2003 while reading a Gall’s catalog, but I knew I could never afford one.

In January of 2004, I had my first of many ear infections and while waiting to get some medicine filled, I was looking at the flashlights in Wal Mart.

I wanted a small pocket-sized model to carry discreetly but wouldn’t get a Mini Maglite because of what happened to my first Maglite flashlight.

I bought a 2 AA Lumilite Industrial flashlight which I would have until 2007 when the switch gave out. I did indeed carry it, but not religiously.

Fast forward to June of 2004, I bought one of my favorite flashlights of which I would own several, a Garrity Mini Rugged Lite, on clearance at K-Mart. Unfortunately, while I was hospitalized in the late Spring and early Summer of 2004, it was ruined by leaking batteries.

I was more interested in buying radio equipment than flashlights at this point in my life anyway, so that is why I only bought cheaper flashlights.

On October 24, 2004, I shopped at Academy Sports and Outdoors for the first time and was amazed by the wide selection of tactical flashlights sold there.

However, I could never afford them as an unemployed seventeen-year-old.

…Fast forward to May 1, 2005…

My Mom wanted to go shopping at the Wal*Mart in Galliano, Louisiana, and she wanted me to come with her.

I wanted to come anyway, so I could listen to boat traffic on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway with my scanners while on our way down there.

I think my Mom wanted to buy some craft supplies, so I went looking in the sporting goods and eventually at the flashlights.

It was there that I first saw a tactical style Garrity LED flashlight with red and blue lens filters and a Nylon pouch.

And it was under $15!

I didn’t have any cash on me that day, but I knew I would be buying one soon.

For the next few days, I hustled, doing whatever chores I could to come up with the $15 or so.

Finally, on May 5, 2005, I had enough cash and I went to the West Houma Wal*Mart and purchased one.

A friend also gave me cash to purchase one for him.

Ever since then, I have been carrying a flashlight on my person.

It came in handy after Hurricane Katrina and I subsequently upgraded to other flashlights since.

During other power failures at school and on jobs I previously held, I was always one to pull out my flashlight.

More recently, it has helped me in church whilst trying to locate switches for the light and sound systems.

Almost no one harasses me about carrying a flashlight anymore, and those that did aren’t in my life anyway.

I don’t know why people would want to harass me for liking flashlights. Have they not heard of ‘to each his own’?

No one is harmed because of my flashlight fascination, but quite a few are helped.

Currently, I alternate between carrying a Streamlight Jr. and a Wowtac A1, but I have tried a plethora of other models.

I don’t care anymore if someone harasses me for liking flashlights and as long as The Good Lord wills it, I will carry a flashlight on me for the rest of my life.

I look forward to seeing advances in LED and battery technology and I’m sure will be amazed at what the next fifteen years will bring.

This, therefore, concludes my piece on how I’ve been carrying a flashlight on me for the past fifteen years.

I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained!

Back to “Personal Reflections”

 

How God Stopped Me from Converting to Wicca

This piece is a testimony of a saving work that God my Savior did in my life.

He didn’t have to do it, but He did and today I am exceedingly thankful that He did.

In this piece, I will share the story of how God prevented me from forsaking Christianity and converting to Wicca.

At the time I was a severely backslidden Christian. I got saved not even two years before this so, therefore, I was an immature believer, and several people caused me to stumble in the months between getting saved and this event.

It was in late January of 2006.

I was nineteen years old and a senior in high school.

I slept on the sofa in my parents’ living room every night and this night was no different.

A few months before this I had decided to keep a flashlight on me at all times, to the point of even sleeping with one in my pants pocket.

During my late teen years, before and after getting saved, I had an increasing interest in Wicca.

It seemed like a fun, peaceful, romantic and tolerant way of life, whereas Christianity still appeared abusive and controlling to me.

The enemy of my soul put those delusions in my head with great craftiness and malice.

If that wasn’t enough, I also had the assumption that there were lots of ample-sized women and girls who were practitioners of Wicca and this was a chance for me to meet some. Everyone who knows anything about me knows how I strongly gravitate towards bigger females and back then was no different.

Earlier, that very day, I had announced to my immediate family about how I was considering becoming a Wiccan.

My Dad was the most upset, but the others didn’t have much reaction.

I went to sleep excited about my decision.

As I slept on that sofa, a severe thunderstorm developed during the night.

Lightning or wind had damaged some grid infrastructure and knocked off the current.

I was woken up by wind, lightning, and thunder.

The house was pitch black, I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.

So, I reached in my pants pocket for my flashlight, but it wasn’t there.

I knew it had fallen into the sofa, so I began to feel for it in the total darkness.

At that exact moment, a freight train was passing on the outskirts of my community.

My location was 3-4 miles south of the railroad line and normally the only way to hear a train was to be outside.

However, a North wind was blowing which carried and amplified the rumbling sound of the freight train.

As much as I am obsessed with trains, I didn’t think it was a train.

I sincerely thought it was a tornado and headed straight for me.

Think about it, there was a severe thunderstorm going on which was powerful enough to knock out the electricity. I always knew that severe thunderstorms can spawn tornadoes and late January is a frequent time for tornadoes in Louisiana. And not only that, I was always told that a tornado sounds like a freight train.

I was utterly terrified, probably more than I had ever been in my life.

The thoughts of how just hours ago I was planning on abandoning my Christian faith for Wicca haunted my heart and mind.

In the pitch darkness, I tried in vain to get to my parents’ bedroom and warn them of what I thought was a tornado but bumped and tripped all over the furniture.

In complete desperation, I called on God.

A split second later, the engineer of that train sounded the whistle.

I still panicked at first, because I thought it was warning sirens, not realizing that the Parish I was living in doesn’t have warning sirens.

God then sternly told me it was just a train and afterward, He asked me if I still wanted to become a Wiccan.

About that time my Mom and Dad woke up and saw that I was up as well.

I don’t remember the words we all exchanged but we soon went back to sleep.

At daybreak, the electricity was back on.

I also located my flashlight that was deep in the sofa and even thanked God for helping me find it.

I then got ready for school.

I still would take me a few years to completely return to God, but I pretty much gave up on converting to Wicca after what had happened that night.

If you are running from God, stop this instant and do a total 180 Degree turn. He will lovingly take you back into His arms, no questions asked.

Please, don’t run from God as long as I did, because if you do, the enemy of your soul will rob you of everything good and pure…

Back to “Matters of Faith”