Pairing a Royal Crown Cola with a Moon Pie

So, over ten years ago, I had discovered a Southern delicacy of pairing a Royal Crown Cola with a Moon Pie.

I drank R. C. Cola now and then in early childhood because my Paternal Grandparents were very frugal and R. C. is indeed the cheapest name brand cola there is. My parents on the other hand, especially my Mom fervently drank Coca-Cola. On and off since the age of nine, I had been a fervent Pepsi drinker, and especially since the age of twenty when I discovered their Wild Cherry version, which still to this day is my favorite soft drink.

I only consumed Moon Pies during Mardi Gras and Saint Patrick’s Day parades when they were thrown from floats to parade watchers. Growing up, we ate Little Debbies, especially the Oatmeal Creme Pie variety, more than anything else.

It was some time in 2009 or early 2010 when I had discovered the pairing of a Moon Pie with an R. C. Cola. I was researching scanners (as in the device used to listen in on two-way radio communications) and was reading about the Radio Shack Patrolman Radio receivers of the 1960s. Yes, the Patrolman line eventually included scanners, but before scanners being invented, the Patrolman radios were tuneable radios that initially covered either the VHF High or VHF Low Band and the AM (Medium Wave) Broadcast Band. These were very popular in the 1960s due to the high degree of civil unrest of the decade and citizens desiring to listen in on law enforcement communications. By the way, these communications were [almost] totally in the clear in those days. There was no encryption and certainly no digital communications. In my research, I discovered a picture of a Radio Shack Patrolman radio in the background and an individually-sized bottle of R. C. Cola with a wrapped Moon Pie in the foreground. That was the first time I had seen this combination.

Now as many of you know, I was born and raised in Southeast Louisiana. And yes I still reside there. Louisiana is certainly part of the South, at least physically, but the culture of Louisiana located below the U. S. Highway 190 corridor (give or take) is quite different from the rest of The South. For example, the white people here are mostly of French Canadian descent (Cajun-I have some in me.) There are also a few people of Parisian French ancestry here (myself included, as my surname suggests, and on both sides of my family.) In the heavily industrialized area between New Orleans and Baton Rouge along the Mississippi River, there is a high concentration of people with German ancestry (it is a lot like The Midwest, actually.) Among others, in the New Orleans area, there are people descended from Irish and Italian immigrants (quite similar to Brooklyn New York.) In rural parts of Louisiana, there are the Islenos, who are of Spanish ancestry (the Canary Islands, to be exact.) So this part of Louisiana is much more culturally diverse than the rest of the mostly Anglo-Saxon South. Therefore, some of the customs and traditions that are common and dear to most of the South are unknown to this part of Louisiana.

In more recent years, I had discovered that I do indeed have some more typical Southern (Anglo Saxon) roots on my Maternal Grandpa’s side. His ancestry comes not only from Germans and Irish people residing in Louisiana but also his ancestry can also be traced back to Mississippi and Alabama. It made perfect sense to me and explains a lot because I act more Southern than those that surround me. For example, I am Protestant as opposed to Catholic, although I was raised Catholic, at least in name only. I’m told that my writing and speech patterns sound more Southern, than Cajun though, my accent is a unique combination of New Orleans Y’at (which sounds similar to Brooklyn) and Cajun (which has a sound all of its own.) I’ve only known one or two other people who sounded like me and they were raised in a similar environment. I was not raised on Country Music, but acquired a taste for it in 2004. However, I think Country Music has had a sharp decline in quality since about 2013. I thoroughly enjoy listening to Redneck comedians and can relate to their humor. I am very Pro Second Amendment (which is indeed common between Cajuns and Rednecks, alike.) I am indeed attracted to plus-sized and super-sized ladies, a trait that is stereotypical of Redneck men, but I’ve since learned that men from all walks of life carry this trait. I frequently listen to scanners, another hobby many times associated with Rednecks. The only sport I will watch is NASCAR. I’m quite proficient at do-it-yourself projects when I need to be. I strive to be polite and mind my manners, which is highly valued in The South, but sadly not always in my part of Louisiana. And if I do it right, I can fry chicken just like Colonel Sanders. Therefore, I tend to associate and espouse more with Southern Culture than extreme South Louisiana Culture.

I think you, the reader, now get my point on how South Louisiana is different from the rest of The South.

The reason why I wrote all of this, was to explain how, despite technically growing up in The South, it wasn’t until adulthood that I discovered the combination of R. C. Cola and Moon Pie and when I did, it was totally by accident. However, I do have some true Southern blood pumping through my veins and I do indeed espouse its culture much better than the culture that surrounds me.

Moon Pies and Royal Crown Cola were both invented in Southern States, Tennesee and Georgia, respectively.

Moon Pies were invented as the result of a Kentucky coal miner suggesting to a Chattanooga bakery salesman upon being asked what kind of snack would he like the company to make. Legend has it, the miner told the salesman for the snack to have two round Graham cookies with marshmallow creme in the middle. He then proceeded to hold his hand up to the sky as if he were cupping the Moon in his hands and then continued that the snack should be “as big as The Moon.” The salesman took the miner’s request to heart and began producing Moon Pies, which were outselling all of their other baked goods. Initially, Moon Pies were plain, but soon afterward they were dipped in Chocolate. In later years they were dipped in other flavors such as Banana, Vanilla, and others.

Royal Crown Cola was ultimately invented over a dispute between a Columbus, Georgia, grocer and a Coca Cola salesman. The grocer thought that Coca Cola ought to give him a discount given the high volume of Coca Cola syrup he purchased from the company. The salesman refused. The grocer refused to ever purchase from Coca Cola again and began to formulate his own cola, ultimately coming up with Royal Crown Cola.

In my personal opinion, Royal Crown tastes better than Coke and almost as good as Pepsi, but due to its more affordable price, I drink R. C. more frequently than Pepsi. I think if R. C. followed Pepsi’s practices and used Cane Sugar in their drink, it would taste indeed as good as Pepsi. Coke typically uses HFCS in their American formula although, this wasn’t always the case. Had Coke continued using Cane Sugar, my Paternal Granpa may have been employed well into his 80s. He was a foreman at a local sugar factory and Coca-Cola was in the process of buying the plant. However, the deal fell through, the factory subsequently shut down and he was forced into retirement at the age of 61. I believe he genuinely wanted to be employed because, after retiring, he continued aggressively raising cattle and produce until the ripe old age of 89. He passed away at the age of 94. My Maternal Grandpa, on the other hand, worked for South Central Bell (now part of AT&T) but died twenty-nine years before I was born at the young age of only 42. He is the one that I inherit my Southern traits from and I am told how I take after him in so many ways. Like me, he was into technology and I wish he would have lived to be an old man so I could have known him and so he could have witnessed all of the great inventions that would come into existence after his death.

…Moving on…

I would drink R. C. Cola sparingly as a child and hadn’t drunk it for years until about the age of 26, when I was purchased some at a convenience store in San Antonio, Texas. Immediately, I recognized that it tasted considerably better than Coke and almost as good as Pepsi. I would drink it from time to time for the next few years.

After a failed marriage, I moved into my own place in May of 2018. My residence is but a few feet from a Dollar General, so I do a considerable deal of shopping there. Dollar General is also a typically Southern entity, though probably not as glamorous. I may give that said retailer some business from my testimony of what can be purchased there and not at other stores (R. C. Cola being an example.) But I also find myself poking fun at The Dollar General, comparing the shopping experience there to that of shopping in the USSR and their satellite states. I even go as far as frequently referring to it as “The Ruble General”, but only in harmless jest.

But I frequently buy my soft drinks at The Dollar General. And R. C. Cola is sold at the rate of 2 Liters for $1.00+tax. There are other quantities at which it is sold there but I don’t immediately recall the price. Coke and Pepsi most of the time are sold there for $1.80+tax unless they are on sale. I’m on a disability pension, so I must needs make my money stretch. I also buy some snacks at The Dollar General. A box of six Miniature Moon Pies can be had for, I think, also $1.00+tax. I would say that is indeed a bargain, considering inflation!

It was some time in 2020, around the time when Coronavirus became an issue that, I finally decided to try a Moon Pie and an R. C. Cola together. I indeed purchased them at my local Dollar General. I instantly enjoyed the combination and have been purchasing them ever since. As of lately, I am even getting my neighbors hooked on them. The way I most prefer consuming them is microwaving a Moon Pie for exactly 6 seconds (my microwave oven is rated a 700 Watts, your time may vary) and then eating it and then washing it down with an ice-cold R. C. Cola.

There are several theories on how Royal Crown Cola became paired with Moon Pies, but the one I’ll accept most is that during the Great Depression they were a cheap but energy-dense source of food and drink. They offered the most calories per unit of currency in a time when money was extremely tight. Not only that, they were very palatable and could hold up most men performing work that was many times physically demanding. An original Moon Pie which was four inches and diameter and a 12 ounce R. C. Cola paired together, sold for a total of one Dime. So it became an instant hit with the working class throughout the South.

But, nowadays, they are popular throughout the South and with more than just the working class.

Now I am indeed disabled. But, even with inflation adjustments, an R. C. Cola paired with a Moon Pie is a cheap thrill that can be afforded to me even though I am on a fixed income. I think of the pictured that I mentioned earlier in this piece and many times I too eat a Moon Pie and drink an R. C. Cola whilst listening to my scanner. This is a frugal way to have a good time. Some of my neighbors have also picked up on this habit.

Before I became totally disabled, I always wanted to have a son so he and I could hang out in the kitchen and listen to our scanners, especially at night. I’m 34 at the time of writing this and have no children, as of yet. God has shown me what my true future spouse will be like and He equally told me to be patient in finding her. If I ever do have children, I’ve always wondered if instead of singing songs they hear on the radio, as most kids do, they will repeat track bulletins and vessel names along with their positions that they hear on my scanners. I would get a kick out of that as would all my friends that also listen to scanners. I’ll have to be careful with the marine traffic, though, especially if I ever have a daughter, because of the foul language sometimes used on those marine channels. Just the other morning, I heard the Mother F word uttered on Channel 13 by an angry boat captain. Such a phrase is completely uncalled for in any circumstance and can get someone killed if he or she utters it to the wrong person. Enough about that, let’s focus on more pleasant things. Maybe one day, God will bless me with children and we will be hanging out in my kitchen listening to scanners, eating Moon Pies, and drinking R. C. Cola.

Because this blog is read worldwide, I’m not sure if you, the reader, have ever heard of combining a Moon Pie with an R. C. Cola much less if these products are available near you. My suggestion is if you live in The States, check out your local Ruble, I mean Dollar General.

If you’re able to purchase these, please do so. I don’t think you will be disappointed! After all, it is a tried and true favorite.

So, I guess this concludes my article on R. C. Cola and Moon Pies.

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

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Articles I have Written”

A Review of The Uniden BC144XL Programmable Desktop Scanner

Just so everyone knows, I am not the owner of this featured image; it is from a picture that I Googled and cropped.

I had first discovered scanner radios in the Summer of 2001 at the age of fourteen and a half.

However, I had little to no income due to my age and my parents aren’t big on technology to appreciate such a device. It angered them that I could potentially eavesdrop on other’s communications, especially law enforcement and government operations. In fact, they were appalled when they found out that such an item existed.

And, at the time, even an entry-level scanner cost at least $100, brand new.

So, I had no hopes of getting one.

Well, until September of 2002, that is.

My local Wal*Mart had a Uniden BC144XL on clearance for $30.00+tax.

I borrowed the money and purchased it at once.

That was the first scanner I ever owned and what this piece will be a review of.

At first, I had a slight amount of consumer’s remorse when I took it home and set it up.

There was only a two-digit LED display, that didn’t show the full frequency readout.

There were no search functions, which meant I could only program the frequencies I knew-this resulted in a lot of trial and error.

I later found out that at the time, local law enforcement in my Parish was on the Louisiana 800 MHz Motorola Smartzone Trunked System, so I could not pick them up whatsoever with this scanner-and boy I was ticked off at that fact!

While it was capable of picking up The Feds, there were no Federal Government operations within range.

However, I did find some use for it and I ended up enjoying it.

For example, I frequently listened to my local fire department and eventually neighboring fire departments. I discovered 2 Meter local Amateur Radio operations in my area. I listened in on analog cordless phones that operated in the VHF Low Band. There were some local businesses and utilities with wide-area repeater coverage that I would listen to. And I would eventually use it for listening to marine communications and even railroads, some months later.

In December of 2002, with the money I was gifted for Christmas, I upgraded to a Uniden BC80XLT, which had more channels, covered 800 MHz, had search functions, and was portable. I had that newer until the Fall of 2005 when someone sabotaged it. I may write a review of it someday.

I sold my first scanner approximately a year later because I needed the money for other things.

For years, I regretted selling it, especially in more recent years when the bulk of my scanner listening transitioned from law enforcement to railroad and marine traffic.

On this day, January 3, 2021, I purchased a duplicate Uniden BC144XL in fairly decent condition for roughly the same price I paid back in September 2002. It was a late birthday present to me from myself. Thank God for eBay! I plan to use it in conjunction with my Realistic Pro-59, which I shall compare it to.

In these ways it is better than the Realistic Pro-59:
It has double the channel memory with sixteen channels as opposed to eight.
It also covers 29-54 MHz in addition to 137-174 MHz and 406-512 MHz.

The Realistic Pro-59, has better antenna connections, though, at least in my humble but honest opinion.

The user interface between the Uniden BC144XL and the Realistic Pro-59 is very similar, with the Uniden BC144XL being more advanced.

Well, they are both Unidens though one is a true Uniden and the other is a rebadged Uniden made for Radio Shack under the Realistic name.

I don’t have the receiver sensitivity ratings for this scanner, but I am durn sure that it is more sensitive than any of its modern-day counterparts and that is a crying shame. I was amazed at how far away it could pull in signals from, even with just the stock antenna. I cannot wait for my duplicate to come in the mail!

I already have a general idea of what I am going to program in it:

The first few channels will be for local and neighboring fire departments (almost all on VHF High Band.)

Then I will store my local utilities (Electrical on VHF Low Band, Waterworks on UHF Band.)

Then a few amateur radio frequencies (2 Meter and 70 Centimeter Bands. Might even program some 6 Meter and 10 Meter FM frequencies since a new sunspot cycle is beginning!)

Then railroad and marine, that is a must (VHF High Band.)

Finally maybe a few local businesses (Mostly UHF Band.)

I haven’t decided where in my residence that I want to use it, since I already have a tabletop scanner in each room.

I will admit that I bought it for the sentimental value but also for the powerful sensitivity because I’m convinced that it pulls in signals clearly that my newer scanners won’t even stop on.

In my teens, I would have given it a low rating, maybe 1 or 2 out of 5 stars, because of all it lacked

However, at the age of thirty-four and with totally different listening habits I can give this scanner a rating of 4 out of 5 stars, only because it lacks a full frequency display and a search function. However, it does make up for it in being well-built, long-lasting, and extra sensitive.

I mean many scanners that were made 25-35 years ago still work perfectly even though they may be partially or even mostly obsolete. Well, they are still perfectly fine for most of my listening tastes!

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again:

Will any scanner made today or even within the last decade still be functioning 25-35 years in the future?

Somehow, I don’t think so.

All in all, I guess this concludes my review of Uniden BC144XL.

I cannot wait for my duplicate to come in the mail and I hope that you, the reader, have been informed and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!0

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the SwissGear 3906 Backpack

Just so we can be clear, I do not own the featured image on this page. Rather, I downloaded it from SwissGear’s company website and it is their property, not mine.

Now, I had thoroughly enjoyed my SwissGear 3918 Backpack which I owned from July of 2020 until some time in October of 2020 when an integral part of it cracked.

I had spent the night at a friend’s house and there is a woman who sponges off of him. She is constantly bringing shady characters into his house and I am sometimes afraid that they will steal my belongings. So, I had kept my SwissGear backpack underneath the seat of the car I owned at the time. The next morning I retrieved it and the plastic piece that regulates the suspension straps had cracked. I could no longer use that strap. To say the least, I was ticked off.

So, later that day, I exchanged it at my local Target for store credit loaded on a gift card. I bought another SwissGear backpack but, I didn’t fancy it much. I’m not sure of the exact model number but I intend to sell it when I can.

So, then on November 3, 2020, I had a little money left over after paying all my monthly expenses. Therefore, on that day, after voting, of course, I purchased a SwissGear 3906 Backpack and that is what this piece will be a review of. Honestly, I hope this is the last backpack I will need for at least a few years.

Let me first say that as many of you know, I have a compulsive need to EDC or everyday carry. I’ve been engaging in this behavior positively since the age of seven (early 1994.) So I’ve been doing this long before it was cool and I have caught some considerable degrees of flak over the years for being this way. After all, it wasn’t until my mid to late twenties that EDC became accepted as a norm. I’m not sure about catholic churches but definitely in Protestant churches many of the faithful bring their EDC items to church services. I mean, I have been doing so since about 2017.

So I have had this backpack for a little over a month and a half at the time of writing this and so far I enjoy it even more so than my 3918. I think the reason why I like it even more because there is more carrying space for items that I specifically carry.

As mentioned in a previous review of SwissGear backpacks, I have high regard for the Swiss. So, naturally, I like to show off an item that represents them. Furthermore, the emblem of the cross against the red background is also one of my ways I make a statement for Jesus Christ and my faith in Him. That is why I use Swiss themed backpacks and other travel gear whenever I can.

What stands out most about why I like this particular model so much is in addition to a laptop sleeve as well as a tablet sleeve, there is also a sleeve for files and folders. I also appreciate the fact that there is a place for books where I can place my Bible and Bible study materials.

There is a place for my medication and medical supplies.

There is a compartment for my glasses

There are spaces for the small items I carry with me.

There are pockets where I can carry drinks.

And there is even a spot for me to put my computer repair tools!

This is what the company website had to say about the SwissGear 3906:

“Pack your essentials for school, work, or your next adventure with the Swissgear 3906 Laptop Backpack. Made of a durable polyester fabric, this bag has all the features you are looking for in an everyday backpack and is the ideal companion for those that are always on the go.

Built around an ergonomically sound shoulder strap and back panel carrying system, this backpack features a large main compartment perfectly suited for carrying bulkier items such as binders and books. Also featured is an electronics-only compartment for better laptop protection as well as a full-featured organizer compartment for pens, notepads, and ID cards. Remain hydrated by putting that water bottle or cold drink in either of the two stretch mesh side pockets. And for those frequently needed items, there is even a spot for them in the top compact zip pocket and the well-disguised front vertical zippered pocket.”

SwissGear is indeed telling the truth here!

I think this company makes the perfect everyday carry and travel accessories for any civilian!

SwissGear’s website also lists these additional features (and I shall add my commentary on them):

Electronics compartment with padded tablet pocket and padded laptop sleeve with built-in corner hold-down strap designed to carry most 15″ portable computers-I don’t currently own a laptop but I hope to in the future. However, I do carry my tablet and Bluetooth keyboard here.

Large capacity main compartments with built-in file/folder pocket-Perfect for carrying my Bible and related materials.

Organizer compartment with key/clip fob, slip pocket, and multiple divider pockets-I carry my tactical flashlights and radios here.

Front quick access pocket and vertical-zip pocket and for more frequently needed items-This is where I carry my medicine and medical supplies.

Ergonomically contoured, padded shoulder straps with built-in suspension and breathable mesh fabric for hours of carrying comfort Padded, Airflow back panel with mesh fabric for superior back ventilation and support-As mentioned before, this makes carrying comfortable even in hot climates. This also is a more comfortable carrying method considering my lower back pain.

Add-a-bag trolley strap on back panel to easily glide over carry-on’s telescopic handle-This makes rail, air, or bus travel easier, at least when carrying multiple pieces of luggage.

Twin-compartment side mesh pockets for two water bottles and more-Perfect for staying hydrated whilst on the go.

Padded top carry handle with side metal carabiner-style D-ring to attach gear to-This is where I attach my keys.

Mini loop for hanging-I guess this would be useful for schoolchildren when they hang up their backpacks.

The physical specifications according to the company website are as follows:
Dimensions: 18 x 12 x 6.5 inches or 45.72 X 30.48 X 16.51 centimeters.
Tare Weight: 1.1 pounds or .0498951607 kilograms.
Volume: 23.7 Liters or 6.260877641 American Gallons or 5.213271185 British Gallons.

…And, yes, I did indeed use my Texas Instruments TI-36 X Pro to carry out the conversion of these measuring units!…

…Furthermore, that said calculator does indeed have a place in this backpack!…

So, yes I do enjoy this backpack probably more than the others I have owned. I just hope this one will actually last me for at least a few years. I said that already but it definitely bears repeating.

I will probably continue to purchase SwissGear products to meet my carrying and travels needs as long as they are available.

I cannot think of a better travel gear company for the money.

Therefore I give this backpack a rating of five out of five stars!

And this concludes my review of the SwissGear 3906 Backpack.

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

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the NiteCore i4000R Tactical Flashlight

Just so you, the reader, know, I do not own the featured image on this page. Rather it is the property of NiteCore, a Chinese manufacturer of tactical grade flashlights.

I have stated it several times before and I will gladly state it again:

Flashlights made by NiteCore are the best flashlights to come out of Mainland China and quite possibly, the best products to come out of Mainland China period.

I have been a fan of NiteCore flashlights since mid-2017 when I purchased the MT06 tactical penlight.

In January of 2018, I subsequently purchased a NiteCore MT20A and in the latter parts of that year, wrote a review of it.

Then in April of 2020, I purchased a NiteCore i4000R from the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong on eBay and it took over a month to arrive in my mailbox. That said tactical flashlight is what this piece will be a review thereof.

In the time it took for this flashlight to traverse its warehouse in Hong Kong to my mailbox on the outskirts of Houma, Louisiana, I was getting quite annoyed and anxious. I was also paranoid about it being contaminated with the Novel 2019 SARS Coronavirus. Still, I was quite excited when it finally arrived. Immediately, I charged up the battery and when it was full, I began carrying it in my backpack.

The NiteCore i4000R boasts a maximum light output of 4,400 Lumens-that is over four times brighter than a standard household 60 Watt bulb!

It is top-heavy and also features a crenelated strike bezel, which can be deployed in defending oneself.

If that weren’t enough, the tactical strobe feature has a constantly changing strobe pattern, making it even more effective as a self-defense weapon.

This flashlight is primarily marketed to law enforcement, but can also give peace of mind to any civilian who knows how to use a flashlight for self-defense. Furthermore, it can be carried in places where “true” weapons (such as guns and knives) are downright forbidden because legally it is not a weapon!

On an ordinary day, I will usually carry my Streamlight Junior LED flashlight.

However, if I expect any sort of trouble, I will carry my NiteCore i4000R.

I have never had to use it as a weapon, but I know it will give me at least some degree of peace.

I have used my Streamlight Junior halfway as a weapon, when confronting someone knocking on my door or my neighbor’s door at a strange hour. I must admit that both times, the person knocking was harmless and someone we knew, but they were disoriented and stepped back at least a few feet. My Paw Paw, God rest his soul, taught me the tactic of shining a bright flashlight into the eyes of someone at the door, to disorient him or her. Of course, his flashlights of choice were those budget friendly 6 Volt lanterns and, if you, the reader, haven’t figured it out by now, my flashlights of choice are lightweight, compact tactical models. His flashlights put out 60-75 Lumens but in their defense, they had the Candlepower to back those Lumens up. My flashlights, on the other hand, put out hundreds and, in this case, a few thousand Lumens, but overall, don’t have the Candlepower to back those Lumens up. However, his flashlights likely would fail in a truly tactical situation, whereas mine would still be going strong.

Except for self-defense applications, this flashlight would likely be overkill for most civilians. However, to a flashaholic such as myself, this is one of the best flashlights I own. It was even used by me as a self-defense instrument in a dream I recently had.

By the way, this is on par with the best flashlights made here in The States and even those made in Germany!

I will go over some of the features and specifications, as listed by the company website:

As I stated before, the maximum output is 4,400 Lumens, provided by four independently controlled Cree XP-L2 V6 LED circuits.

…Bare with me, my back is starting to hurt tremendously. I’m about to take a Baclofen and chase it with some orange juice. Be right back…

…All right, I am back. It’s my ex-wife’s fault that I have this back injury because she insisted we make groceries on a rainy day, and of course, trying to be a good husband, I gave in to her request, but then I slipped and fell down some wet stairs and though I didn’t know it at the time, I ruined my lower back muscles from the impact of the fall. Now I cannot even write at length, much less almost any other form of work that which I was qualified to do, because of this injury. Of course, she likely feels no guilt about this because she hated the overwhelming majority of my written content…

So with that 4,400 Lumens is a throw of 230 Meters or ~755 Feet and beam intensity of 13,300 Candlepower. According to the company website, this amount of light given off by this illumination instrument is “ideal for law enforcement, assault operations, self defense, search and patrols.”

Also, according to the company website, further elaborating on the four independently controlled LED circuits, which are, “Powered by a constant current circuit to provide durable usage with guaranteed safety.”

The featured rechargeable battery is a NiteCore patented 21700i Lithium-Ion battery.

The strobe featured can be instantly accessed by a dedicated button, even while the flashlight is off! I think this, aside from the tremendous amount of brightness if the best selling point of this flashlight.

And of course, there is the Advanced, Randomly Changing Strobe, which I think is the second best selling point! Human eyes are unable to adapt to the strobe.

There is an anti-impact reverse polarity protection system, which makes this ideal to be used mounted on a firearm!

The flashlight has a built-in charging port that uses a standard USB-C connection and is covered by a metal ring.

Also featured is an advanced temperature regulation system that adapts to the ambient temperature.

Furthermore, there is a last used mode memory, power indicator light which is accurate down to one-tenth of a volt IP-68 water resistance and a 1-meter drop impact resistance.

Finally, the lens is crystal-coated and scratch resistant and the Aerospace Aluminum body is has a military-grade HA-III hard-anodized finish!

The physical specifications are:
Tube Diameter: 25.4 millimeters or 1 inch.
Head Diameter: 32.6 millimeters or 1.28 inches-this makes the flashlight top-heavy and therefore excellent for striking in self-defense tactics.
Tail Diameter: 28 millimeters or 1.1 inches.
Overall Length: 159 millimeters or 6.26 inches-short enough to carry concealed in most hip pockets.
Total Weight: 135 grams or 4.76 ounces or just over a quarter of a pound-will not weigh the end-user down, even for a long period on foot.

The brightness levels are as follows:
Turbo Mode: 4,400 Lumens, 13,300 Candlepower, 230 Meters or ~755 Feet Beam Distance and 30 Minute Runtime.
High Mode: 1,100 Lumens, 3,300 Candlepower, 115 Meters or ~377.3 Feet Beam Distance and 2 Hour, Fifteen Minute Runtime.
…My back is starting to hurt again, but if I take another Baclofen it will be the third one in a twenty-four-hour period…
…I will try and press on but I am in a great deal of pain!…
Mid Mode: 330 Lumens, 930 Candlepower, 61 Meters or ~200.13 Feet Beam Distance and 7 Hour, 45 Minute Runtime.
Low Mode: 50 Lumens, 160 Candlepower, 25 Meters or ~82 Feet Beam Distance and 40 Hour Runtime.
Ultra-Low Mode: 2 Lumens, 4 Candlepower, 4 Meters or~13.12 Feet Beam Distance and 380 Hour Runtime.

By the way, I used the previously reviewed Texas Instruments TI-36 X Pro to convert some of these Metric Units into English Units!

I typically use it whenever I need to express any such measurement in both English and Metric units for my product reviews!

Included Accessories:
NTH20 Tactical Holster-designed specifically for law enforcement and also compatible with MOLLE systems.
CR123 Battery Magazine-in case the rechargeable battery is depleted and there is no charging source nearby.

While I do carry this flashlight in my EDC backpack, I have only carried it on my person for any given amount of time quite sparingly. The last time I carried it was because I had spotted a shady young man walking around my church at night. We were finishing up our evening Bible Study and Prayer Meeting and it does get dark this time of year, but I was escorting two ladies (a mother and daughter) home on foot and did not trust this fellow as far as I could throw him. Thank God, while I was holding the flashlight and ready to deploy it as a defensive weapon, I did not have to. My God is more effective than any weapon ever created! I could think of a handful of other times I was ready to deploy this flashlight but didn’t have to.

All in all, I definitely like this flashlight and I wish American companies could make something of this caliber but at an affordable price.

I give this product a 4.95 out of 5 stars only because I wish the tactical tail switch was better recessed to prevent accidental activation.

Other than that keep up the good work, NiteCore! As much as I hate to admit it, your company is beginning to put American and even German-made flashlights to shame!

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the NiteCore i4000R Tactical Flashlight. I hope you, the reader, have been informed, illuminated and maybe even entertained. May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the Texas Instruments TI-36 X Pro Calculator

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page. I must need give credit whereupon credit is due and the featured image is property of Texas Instruments, inc.

For almost as long as I had been fascinated by flashlights, I too have been fascinated by calculators. Similar to my fascination with flashlights, my fascination with calculators has waxed and waned throughout my childhood and adolescence, but they are both very strong in my adult years.

My two favorite brands of calculators are Casio and Texas Instruments and I like the latter a little more than the former.

I had begun permanently carrying a calculator in the latter parts of 2012, namely a TI-12 Math Explorer (the 1997 version.) In the following months afterward, I also had begun to carry with it a TI-30XA (the current version.)

In March of 2014, my writing had started to evolve, as did my experience in repairing or souping up computers had increased. I had also begun to start doing research more extensively on calculators. Soon, I had realized there was a Texas Instruments TI-36 X Pro that was put on the market some three years before that. It wasn’t long before I wanted one. In June of 2014, I had spent my spending money on a flashlight that I still carry to this day. However, a family member had gifted me $20 from a sum of money he had won at a casino. I didn’t split that money with my then-wife, now ex-wife, because after all, she has a major hang-up about gambling. So, I was free to use that money however I had pleased. We were babysitting two of her nephews that following day and I took them to ride with me to the Houma suburb of Bayou Cane, so I could secretly purchase that said calculator. They kept the secret safe with me and goofed off with me for the entire ride. I stopped at an Office Depot because I knew that was the only store that stocked it locally year-round. Sadly it was out of stock. However, after talking to the sales associate and later the manager, I had learned that I could have it shipped to my residence at no extra charge. Happily, I went with that option, paying the first $20 in cash and the remaining amount after sales tax with my debit card. A brand new TI-36 X Pro arrived on my doorstep a few days later, via UPS. And that said calculator is what this piece will be a review thereof.

As soon as it arrived on my doorstep, I opened it up, then used it to convert one unit used to measure barometric pressure into another unit used to measure barometric pressure. The weather was changing that day, as in quite frequent in Louisiana. I was amazed at the accuracy and precision with which it carried out the conversion. I began carrying it in a dedicated pouch of my EDC backpack along with the Mini Maglite I had purchased earlier that month.

Yes, I will admit that there are plenty of features on this calculator that I will probably never need, nor do I understand what they represent. While I am pretty proficient at arithmetic, I am terrible at almost all other higher level Mathematics. Still, there are certain features on this machine that I frequently use, especially when doing unit conversions or even just simply writing out my monthly budget. There are even base-n calculations such as converting between decimal, hexadecimal and octal, which come in handy with programming higher level scanner radios or if I ever needed to assist a computer programmer or coder.

And not only that, I believe this is the best looking scientific calculator that is currently on the [common] market. Change my mind!

In the days and weeks after purchasing this calculator, I went on to write some pretty wonderful stories and the one that stands out most is my “Grocer and Writer” stories. Maybe the tremendous pleasure I associated with finally owning this calculator created the ideal mental state and electrochemistry to be creative? Of course in the hours before beginning those stories, I took a trip to the New Orleans area.

I have since purchased spare units, but I keep my original TI-36 X Pro in a safe undisclosed location because it does have sentimental value.  It has sentimental value because certain items of mine cause me to have a connection with someone whom I had known in my childhood (January-July of 1991) but since lost all contact with. This calculator and flashlight somehow have that connection. I now think that this girl I had briefly known in my childhood may have been an angel because I spent years searching for her but with no success. She would now be in her mid-to-late thirties, assuming she was born between 1984 and 1987. During most of the year of 2014, which was the beginning of the end of my faulty former marriage, I had begun to desire to find this now young lady again, so I strongly associate the year 2014 in general with her. Before I met my ex-wife and even after to an extent, this girl from my childhood was the inspiration for my writing and was the unknown driving force to cause me to pursue writing. In the latter parts of 2018 until December 4/5 2019, I was in a very loving relationship with a young lady, who in many ways reminded me of the girl from my childhood and was even born in the year in which she and I were, for lack of a better word, together. If you, the reader, poke around in the fiction section of this blog, you will see some of the stories where I have derived my inspiration from this girl I once knew.

My first one came off the assembly line somewhere in China in February of 2014. My current unit, which I still EDC, came of the assembly line somewhere in The Philippines in April of 2017. I’m wondering if the updated units in the Philippines have corrected the software bug that plagued the earlier models?…

All in all, I will now list some of the features and specifications that the TI-36 X Pro has to offer:

By the way, I’ve obtained this information from the company website, but I also added my commentary…

Four-line display-very clear too!

One- and two-variable statistics-I would likely never use this feature, but who knows.

MultiView™ display shows multiple calculations at the same time on screen-Excellent for writing a budget or balancing a checking account!

Select degrees/radians, floating/fix, number format modes-Very useful with navigating with a GPS or several different GPS units!

Choose from three solvers: numeric equation, polynomial and system of linear equations-This would have been nice in high school, but probably would have landed me in trouble! This particular model came on the market five years after I graduated high school anyway.

Display a defined function in a tabular form-The best way to show a function without an actual graph!

Determine the numeric derivative and integral for real functions.
Perform vectors and matrices using a vector and matrix entry window.

The last two features involve high-level mathematics that goes way above my head, but maybe one day, I’ll try to learn it.

The TI-36 X Pro is recommended for the following STEM-related courses:
Algebra I and II-Probably forbidden or at least frowned upon because of its built-in equation solver.
Geometry-Overkill and again probably frowned upon.
Trigonometry-A Graphing model would be of more use.
Statistics-Never took this course, but I can imagine its usefulness.
Calculus-There are features that would come in handy for this course, though I never took it.
Biology-Probably overkill.
Chemistry-Probably is forbidden or at the very least frowned upon because of the permanently stored constants.
Physics-As with chemistry, it’s probably forbidden or frowned upon, for the same reasons, though I never took physics.
Computer science-Could be very useful, especially with those learning programming.
College math-Actually we were required a TI-84.
College science-Never took these courses, but I see where the store constants may be of great use.
College engineering-Never took any of these courses either, but I know this calculator is popular with all engineering.

According to the company website, here is a more detailed list of the functions, some of which I had already commented on:
Review and edit previous entries via a scrollable home screen
Paste inputs or outputs into new calculations
MathPrint™ feature entry and output mode for viewing calculations in math notation, including answers in terms of pi, square roots and fraction
Three solvers: numeric equation, polynomial and system of linear equations
Numeric derivative and integral for real functions
Vectors and Matrices
Symbolic notation of π
Toggle key to change the form of answers between exact and decimal approximation
Stacked Fractions and Fraction functions
Fraction/decimal/percent conversions
Change between improper fractions and mixed numbers
Automatic simplification of fractions
Random number and random integer generator
Central MODE menu for selecting calculator mode settings
Menu settings
Functions accessed directly through keys or through pull-down menus
Negation key
One constant operator feature
Combinations and permutations
Trigonometry
Hyperbolics
Logs and antilogs
Convert angles from degrees to radians to grads
%, x², ¹/x, yˆx, π, x!
Fixed decimal capability
(x,y) Table feature with Auto and Ask-x options
Basic Data/List Editor with three lists
List Formulas
One- and two-variable statistics with permanent stat variable input storage
EOS (Equation Operating System)
Nine physical constants
Eighteen metric/English conversions
Up to eight pending operations
Up to 23 levels of parentheses
Error recovery capability
Quick/easy reset of calculator via two-key press or menu for exam purposes
Eight memory variables (x, y, z, t, a, b, c, d)
Scientific and engineering notation

And here are some of the physical characteristics:
Four-line × 16-character, easier-to-read LCD display
Battery powered with solar cell assistance to lengthen battery life
Auto Power Off
Hard plastic, color-coded keys
Non-skid rubber feet
Impact-resistant cover with quick-reference card
Snap-on protective hard case

Even though, as I had mentioned before, there are some features on this calculator that go way above my head, it is still one of my favorites if not my favorite calculators ever made.

I carry it in a dedicated compartment of my EDC backpack where I store the rest of my tool that which I use to repair or soup up computers. Like most other Texas Instruments devices, it is built very ruggedly and will last, likely way past its obsolescence where it will then be a cool collector’s item.

While I have owned one of these is some way shape or form since June of 2014 and it is December of 2020 at the time I am writing this, I still thoroughly enjoy this device and give it a 4.85 out of 5 stars, only because of the software bug concerning fractions involving Pi.

This, therefore, concludes my review of the Texas Instruments TI-36 X Pro. I hope you, the reader, have been informed, entertained, and maybe even enlightened!

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of THE MINI MAGLITE LED PRO 2-CELL AA COMBO PACK

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page. It is the property of Mag Instrument of Ontario, California.

I have been fascinated by trains and railroading since infancy but didn’t have the time to take up a strong interest in it until I was twenty-four going on twenty-five.

Likewise, I had been fascinated by all sorts of watercraft and marine logistics since my early teen years but didn’t get seriously interested until I was twenty-eight going on twenty-nine.

AND

I have had a waxing and waning fascination in aircraft and other subjects aviation-related (especially avionics) since childhood, but I’ve never been able to flesh out this interest as I wanted to.

…So…

What does railroading, marine logistics, and, aviation all have in common?

If you, the reader, guessed something along the lines of transportation, you are technically correct.

Why just technically correct?

Well, there is something else that brings these hobbies into a common thread, at least here in The States.

What is it, then?

It’s simple, really: Their communications can all be heard on a scanner and on an entry-level budget-friendly model at that.

And I’ve been fascinated by scanners since I learned of their existence at the age of fourteen.

Well, for now at least, all of these communications can be heard on just about every scanner. Sadly, American railroads are slowly upgrading their communications to a system that could only be heard on a premium or deluxe model of scanner. Also, Positive Train Control when fully implemented might make listening to railroad traffic on a scanner a thing of the past. Railroads in Europe and Asia already use a sophisticated communications system similar to cellular phones. Its very technology and backbone are based on GSM. Scanners are at best frowned upon and at worst downright illegal in most of Europe and Asia, anyway. For those who wish to know, scanners are perfectly legal in Oceania and the railroad communications there are still in the clear, but they operate on UHF as opposed to VHF, which strikes me as odd, but apparently, it works for them. As for Africa, I’m not sure at all, but if I had to make an educated guess, railroad communications probably are considerably variable from one location to another. The laws concerning scanners in Africa are likely just as variable.

BUT…

VHF Airband and VHF Marine Band are implemented Internationally so their communications on even the most basic scanners will be in the clear for some time to come. Like, maybe even decades.

For the first thirty-one years of my life, I pretty much lived within scanning distance of busy mainline railroad and even a branch line. Therefore, I could hear both the train crew as well as the dispatcher clearly on my scanner. Fun fact, I didn’t own a scanner until I was fifteen and didn’t hear railroad communications on my scanner until I was sixteen and I didn’t truly understand them until I was twenty-four.

Then, I moved to the Northern outskirts of Houma, Louisiana.

At this new location, I usually can only hear the train dispatcher’s side of the conversation but not the train crew side. When conditions are just right, I’ll hear both sides, but this is not too common.

Anyway, I don’t ever see myself having the funds to afford one of these deluxe or premium scanners that will intercept these future railroad communications even if I was located in closer proximity to a railroad line. So, I am slowly getting out of my railroad hobby and will continue to do so unless something drastic happens.

In my new location on the outskirts of Houma, I am just a few air miles from several navigable waterways and likewise just a few air miles from a moderately busy airport (KHUM.)

So, since age twenty-eight-going-on-twenty-nine, I have begun listening to marine communications much more often. I pretty much understand the communications about movements on waterways and I am trying to understand the communications that pertain to all the supporting operations heard on VHF Marine.

I also have some VHF Airband channels programmed in my scanner, mostly to give me something to hear while my scanner is not picking up traffic on other channels. Because of my relative proximity to the airport, I hear the tower with great ease and I also hear incoming aircraft contacting the tower. Most of the traffic that goes through this airport is small personal planes, some commuter and charter flights, corporate jets flying petroleum executives around, and, maybe even some cargo planes carrying petroleum-related equipment. This airport is big enough to be strategically important but small enough to be charming and friendly. Also, several heliports near me are used for helicopters bringing personnel to and from drilling platforms in The Gulf of Mexico. It would help me tremendously if I could learn to understand what is being said on these channels. I’ve watched a few videos on YouTube that explain aviation communications, but to no avail. The controllers and pilots talk way to fast and my hearing is slightly damaged as it is. Still, it seems fun to listen to and also looks cool to have that chatter in the background. It even makes me look important while I am out shopping in East Houma (the location of the airport KHUM) and I have aviation chatter coming from a radio on my person. I do a great deal of my shopping in East Houma because my residence is a shorter drive to the stores there. For example, I get my prescriptions filled at a pharmacy in East Houma. I also frequently make my groceries at the Wal*Mart in East Houma, because it is closer to my residence and there is less traffic to fight.

It was late September 2020 and I was making groceries one evening at the Wal*Mart in East Houma. Months before this, my interest in aviation had started to wax again. Since it is closer to the airport than my residence is and also considerably closer to a major waterway, I listen to aviation and marine traffic while I shop there. It makes me look important and it entertains me. Virtually every time I shop at any Wal*Mart, I visit the flashlight section. So on that evening in late September of 2020, I was looking at the flashlights before I began to make my groceries. I saw a Mini Maglite Pro (which is probably the only American made flashlight sold at this Wal*Mart) in the glass case. But this wasn’t the usual Mini Maglite Pro with batteries and a free nylon holster. No, while this one did also have batteries, it instead came with a lanyard, pocket clip, anti-roll lens retainer, and three lenses, Red, Blue, and Clear. But the price was about the same for a Mini Maglite Pro with just the holster. I knew that I would set aside some money when my monthly disability pension came in and purchase it. I did just that on the day my last check was deposited, after paying my rent, utilities, and other bills, of course. I hurriedly purchased it, then made a beeline home so I could register the serial number to my name. By the way, that aforementioned flashlight with those said accessories is actually what this piece will be a review of.

The Mini Maglite Pro flashlight has evolved slightly since its inception in 2012. I still have my first Mini Maglite Pro that I bought in September of 2012, actually but this new one is somewhat brighter.

When the Mini Maglite Pro came on the market in 2012, it boasted a whopping 226 lumens for about two hours. That was a huge advancement considering it ran on two AA batteries. But the color tint was too blue or cold, even though it was very bright for its time.

Fast forward to about 2019, the light engine in the Mini Maglite Pro was upgraded. It now boasts a whole 332 lumens and the color tint is now much more neutral white but maybe still a slight hint of blue. The run time is still the same, which means LEDs are getting more and more efficient as time goes on.

Here is a list of specifications according to Maglite’s website:
An Overall Length of 6.607 Inches or 167.8 Millimeters-Short enough to EDC in most pockets.

A Barrel Diameter of 0.709 Inches or 18 Millimeters/A Head Diameter of 1 Inch or 25.4 Millimeters-Narrow enough to EDC without being noticed until needed but wide enough to not be misplaced easily.

A Total Weight of 4.15 ounces 117.75 grams (including batteries)-Definitely light enough to keep the end-user mobile even on foot for an extended period.

A Beam Distance of 172 Meters or ~564 Feet-Ample range to see and be seen in the dark.

A General Light Output of 332 Lumens-More than enough light for most applications.

A Peak Beam Intensity of 7399 Candelas-Could be better, but, hey, it’s an LED.

A Drop Impact Rating of 1 Meter or ~3.28 Feet-Unless the LED engine is more fragile than we all think, this rating is probably listed for CYB purposes.

A Water Resistance Rating of IPX4-Again, this rating too is probably an underestimate but is officially listed for CYB purposes.

What does this have to do with my interest in aviation?

That is what I assume, you the reader, are asking, right?

Quite a bit!

I shall explain:

From my research I’ve done on aviators, they make decent money, so they can afford quality products. I’ve only seen them with high-quality flashlights many times, much more expensive than a Maglite. They want a product that is durable and therefore more reliable because all aviation is life or death critical. From what I read and seen in real life too, many pilots frequently carry some sort of Mini Maglite or another pocket-sized tactical flashlight on their person even when they’re not flying. Aviators appreciate a flashlight that can have varying degrees of brightness and light color options. Well, this flashlight offers those features, albeit in a very primitive way. Instead of multiple color LEDs or different brightness modes, lens filters came bundled. Without a lens filter, the LED puts out a whole 332 lumens of light. This comes in handy for pre-flight inspections of the aircraft. However, once in the cockpit and especially during a nighttime flight, only a slight amount of brightness is needed and excessive amounts of brightness can be harmful. I’ve read conflicting sources of information that Red is the preferred color for night time aviation because it doesn’t degrade night vision, and from other sources, I’ve heard Blue is better because it shows certain features on maps and charts better. Yet another source says Green, for similar reasons as Red. I’m not exactly sure why this didn’t have a Green lens filter bundled as well. After all, there is another Maglite that comes bundled with a Green lens, so why can’t this one? I was pretty disappointed when there was no Green lens but instead an extra Clear lens. Like what the heck-a-rooney were they thinking? I think I will stick with Red for night vision because I’ve seen other cockpit lights and they are always Red. As far as the pocket clip, this design has been around probably as long as the original Mini Maglite. Not sure how effective it is though. I’m sure it could clip quite well to a pen holder in a flight bag, but I wouldn’t trust it clipped to a pants pocket because of the flashlight’s top-heaviness. The lanyard is probably Maglite’s dumbest design there is! Countless Mini Maglites and even more Maglite Solitaires or Marquis have been lost forever because of this dumb lanyard design. Maybe instead there could be a ring with a loophole that fits under the head assembly, but what do I know? But with the current design, the body of the flashlight gets unintentionally unscrewed from the tail cap and falls only God knows where!

So, the fact that I purchased this flashlight at a Wal*Mart that is fairly close to an airport (sentimental, I know) and the fact that my interest in aviation is coming back to me are two factors that made me purchase this flashlight.

And yes, I am EDCing it with the Red lens in use.

But, I don’t think I will ever fly any type of aircraft.

I might be a passenger again. Regardless of what type of transport, this will come in handy for reading at night and not disturbing those around me.

But I don’t even have to think that high.

I frequently go on road trips with a friend and I do assist my friend while he drives.

I’m almost sure he is on the Autism Spectrum and a sudden bright light while he is driving in the dark would likely cause him to have a meltdown. However, since I am assisting him, I need to see to retrieve whatever item he needs. This is perfect so long as I have that Red lens filter installed.

And anyone who works in the transportation and logistics industry at night would appreciate this flashlight.

Locomotive Engineers, Captains in the wheelhouse of a waterborne vessel, and even long haul truck drivers could all appreciate this flashlight with its accessories.

I do, however, have some points to take off:

-0.25 points for the short run-time-Maglite can do better than this even if some brightness is sacrificed.
-0.50 points for lack of a Green lens filter-seriously, why Maglite?
-0.25 points for the lanyard design that plagues all Mini Maglites and Maglite Solitaire/Marquis.

Therefore, I give this product a rating of four out of five stars.

I know this was a long piece but I thank you, the reader, for bearing with me until the very end and I hope you have been informed and entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the LifeLong Baby BoomBox 2225

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon on November 28, 2004.

I was out shopping in the Houma area with my Dad and my brother.

My Dad had gone for a haircut, and then I drove with my brother and we went shopping.

I don’t recall if my brother bought anything or not, but I went to GoodWill and saw something I just had to have.

It was a LifeLong Baby Boom Box, model number 2225, and that will be the item that this piece is a review of.

This neat little radio was selling for 84 Cents + tax at my local GoodWill and I had a five-dollar bill on my person, so happily I purchased it.

We then drove back and picked my Dad up and eventually went home.

This may seem like a wonderful time of my life, but it wasn’t.

I had broken down with schizophrenia that previous summer and had since stabilized, but was on a medication that did treat my positive symptoms quite well but made my negative symptoms worse.

Therefore, my ability to feel pleasure was severely hindered at best and non-existant at worst.

During this time of my life, there were only two activities I engaged in that caused me to feel any pleasure at all.

They were:

Watching soap operas.

AND

Listening to the radio.

So, a good bit of my free time entailed one of these two activities.

This was pre-Katrina, so there were a lot more radio broadcasts in my area to choose from then there are in 2020.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Hurricane Katrina ruined radio broadcasting in New Orleans and it has yet to recover some fifteen years later.

By the way, my condition would not improve until late January of 2006 when I was prescribed a different medicine.

So, this radio became a constant companion of mine for the next several months.

I had quickly realized that it was just compact enough to fit in my school uniform pants pocket.

Therefore, I took it to school every day and it would entertain me while waiting for after school activities.

I would usually keep it tuned to KCIL which at the time was on 107.5 MHz.

Country music was very good at this point, but it also kept me updated on the weather.

This may come as a shock to you, the reader, but during this time of my life, I didn’t EDC a dedicated Weather Radio.

However, I did frequently carry a higher-end Motorola Talkabout two way radio that also had weather built-in.

I remember one evening in early December of 2004, doing some volunteer work for Key Club at a local catholic church. Well, that radio, which was in my pocket, informed me of some stormy weather that was due in my area later that evening.

I spent many afternoons waiting for Key Club meetings listening to that radio sitting or standing on the stairwells.

On the evening of my eighteenth birthday, it was with this radio that I caught WSM out of Nashville.

Unfortunately, it killed on me in May or June of 2005. All I remember was sitting outside at night listening to it and then it broke.

Though it sounds very well, it’s not exactly the most rugged radio there is.

I don’t have a complete list of all the technical specs, but I’ll list what I know:

It has a Frequency Range of 540-1700 KHz on AM and 88-108 MHz on FM.

It is powered by 4 AA batteries.

Since it is a boom box, there are two front-firing speakers with very adequate maybe even stereo sound.

The tuner is not very selective and it usually only picks up the stronger, nearby stations.

Still, for 84 Cents plus tax, this was not a bad find.

They go for much more on eBay nowadays.

I will still deduct a whole point for the tuner being so poor and the design not being rugged enough, so all in all, I give it a radio of 4 out of 5 stars.

This was good for me while I was in high school, and yes, helped me maintain my sanity, literally, but I’ve since upgraded to better radios to listen to.

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

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

A Review of the SwissGear 3918 Backpack

So, just to be clear, I do not own the image that is featured on this page. I retrieved it from Target’s website and am giving all credit to whomever credit is due.

So, as anyone who reads this blog on the regular knows, I do firmly believe in EDC. I have been this way since childhood.

I have employed a backpack as a means to EDC what I want and need to have with me since my early twenties. The brands of backpacks I have owned over the years were either Wenger, Victorinox, or later SwissGear (which is very similar to Wenger.) I am very prejudiced in favor of the Swiss for so many reasons. I just truly admire the people, the government, the products, and the culture of The Swiss Confederation. I am not Swiss myself, at least not that I know of, but I do have mostly French and a considerable amount of German blood flowing through my veins.

I am disappointed to report that my Wenger Origins backpack of which I had recently purchased and wrote a review on a few weeks ago has sustained some damage. When I can locate a competent tailor, I will try to have it repaired. What I think had happened was, a while back, I spent a few nights at a friend’s house and packed too much clothing in the main compartment, which tore the inner lining fabric. This is not the first time a backpack has torn on me, by the way. I was disappointed and slightly ticked because I now needed a new EDC backpack. I was only slightly ticked because of the low price I paid for it. I’ve also learned not to write reviews of products so soon after purchasing them.

In the meantime, on July 13, 2020, I borrowed some cash and took a drive to my local Target to purchase a replacement backpack.

I didn’t go to the luggage section as I usually do, but rather the back to school section, where there were more Swiss backpacks.

I considered a few different SwissGear models but eventually settled on the SA3918 18.5 (or 19) Inch Backpack.

I paid $54.99+tax for it, which ultimately came out to $60 and some change.

Afterward, I ran some other errands, then went home and did some research on my newly purchased backpack.

Not long after, I found out that Target’s Website was selling it for $49.99 but the local store sold it to me for $54.99.

The next day I went back with my receipt and explained this to them. Promptly, the lady at customer service refunded me $5.50 in cash. Kudos to her!

So, at the time of writing this piece, I have owned my new backpack for ten days.

For the most part, I like it.

I say for the most part because, while it is indeed sturdy and fashionable and it does boldly show the Swiss emblem, there are two features it lacks that I wish it had:

I wish there was a dedicated tablet sleeve in addition to the laptop pocket.
AND
I wish there was an extra zipper pouch to store my computer repair tools, as my previous backpacks have had.

But other than that I truly enjoy this backpack and those are just minor flaws.

Speaking of showing off the Swiss emblem which is a white cross against a red background, I see it as a dual purpose:
Not only am I making a statement on how much I admire the Swiss, but since it features a cross, I am also publically identifying myself as a Christian when I carry this backpack with me. If you, the reader, think I am highly prejudiced in favor of the Swiss, let me make it clear that I am infinitely much more prejudiced in favor of Jesus Christ and my fellow brothers and sisters in Him! By the way, my brothers and sisters in Christ come from every nation, color, ethnicity, and race, but we are all purchased by That Precious Blood of Jesus Christ Who is God come in the flesh! I just pray that God will give me the grace and courage to always name the Name of Christ no matter the consequences!

If that wasn’t enough, I do find that this backpack appears to be tactical and fashionable at the same time! That is truly rare to be both, although it is becoming less rare. As an American, I truly appreciate tactical-grade products. I’m not very keen on fashion, I mean I wore a Casio G-Shock to my sister’s wedding, but I know just about anything Swiss will automatically be fashionable. I had previously also written about the comparisons and contrasts of tactical and fashionable a time or two.

By the way, don’t take my word for all of this, here is what Target’s website has to say, “Searching for a modern spin on a classic tactical looking design, this SWISSGEAR 3918 Laptop backpack has exactly what it takes. Fully equipped to take on the battle of the day, this everyday carry backpack has the features you’re looking for.”

Here are some of the features, taken from Target’s website with my added commentary after the hyphen:
Padded laptop compartment with built-in corner hold-down strap designed to carry most 15″ portable computers-I currently keep my tablet in there but hopefully will buy another laptop soon. In front of the laptop is where I keep my Bible and Bible study materials…

Large capacity main compartments designed to carry folders, binders, and books-I carry my scanners, chargers, and reading glasses here.

Organizer compartment with key/clip fob, slip pocket, and multiple divider pockets-I keep my flashlights, multi-tools, USB drives, calculator and weather radio in this section.

Front zippered quick access pocket for more frequently needed items-This is where I keep my masks and medical supplies, and dual exterior side water bottle pockets with reflective pull tabs-I have an insulated bottle which I plan to store in these pockets for hydrating on the go.

Ergonomically contoured, padded shoulder straps with breathable mesh fabric and reflective accent material for added safety-This will keep me cool and visible if ever walking around at night (such as commuting to and from evening church services in the dark.)

Padded, Airflow back panel with mesh fabric for superior back ventilation and support-keeps the electronics reasonably cool even in hot climates., and an integrated add-a-bag trolley strap on back panel to easily glide over carry-on’s telescopic handle-This makes airline, bus, and railroad travel slightly easier.

Not mentioned on Target’s Website but this backpack also features a metal D-ring on the upper side near the top handle. I use this to attach my key lanyard.

Here are some of the physical specifications, also taken from Target’s website:

Dimensions: 18.5 Inches (46.99 Centimeters) High by 14.1 Inches (35.814 Centimeters) Wide by 6.9 Inches (17.526 Centimeters) Deep.
Tare Weight: 1.54 Pounds (0.69853225 Kilograms).
Capacity: 25 Liters (6.604301306 US Gallons or 5.499231207 British Gallons).
It is constructed of what appears to be a durable Polyester.

The recommended user age for this product is 10 years old and up and it comes with a 5 Year Limited Warranty.

Target’s website went on to say this, “At the heart of this bag is an electronics-only compartment complete with a built-in laptop sleeve for superior protection for your portable computer. Featuring a large capacity main compartment large enough to carry books and binders, side water bottle pockets, a breathable ergonomic suspension system and an organizer compartment up front, this bag has what it takes to get your through your day.”

Target seems to be correct on this.

I just hope this backpack will last me at least a couple of years.

All in all, I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. I took off half a star for lack of a tablet pocket and internal small zipper compartment

I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the SwissGear 3918 Backpack.

Praise God, my back doesn’t hurt as much as usual!

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

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

 

 

A Review of the Realistic (Radio Shack®) 12-719 Deluxe AM/FM Radio

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

Rather, I cropped it out of the 1987 Radio Shack Catalog.

The two books of which I have the most knowledge are of course The Bible and [most of] The Radio Shack Catalogs.

Unfortunately, I know the latter much better than the former.

Well, from 2001 until most of their stores were shut down, I was a very loyal patron to Radio Shack.

I witnessed their very last days of true glory before they became just a glorified mobile phone store and therefore put all other electronics on the back burner.

That, I believe, is what killed them, honestly.

Well, using cheaper components in their products was also a factor.

In 2014, there was an attempt to restore Radio Shack to its 1980s glory, but it never was fully realized. Too little, too late.

So, as of the past several years, eBay is my go-to “retailer” for just about any vintage or discontinued product my heart may desire.

eBay, by the way, is amazing because I can usually find what I am looking for and many times in fairly decent condition, sometimes even mint!

I own several AM/FM receivers that came off the assembly line from the 1980s to the present. I also own quite a few Weather Radios with production dates ranging from the 1970s to the 2010s. And I have some scanners dating from the late 1980s to the mid to late 2010s.

This piece will be about a pocket-sized AM/FM radio, sold at Radio Shack from the latter parts of 1986 until some point in 1992. It was first seen in the 1987 Radio Shack catalog. The model number is 12-719.

Mine is not exactly the same as the one pictured in this featured image.

How do I know this?

Well, the unit featured in the 1987 Radio Shack catalog features an AM frequency range of 53*10 KHz to 160*10 KHz.

However, my particular unit which according to the sticker behind the battery door was made in January of 1991 and it features an AM frequency range of 53*10 KHz to 171*10 KHz.

What strikes me as odd, though, is that I thought the AM (or Medium Wave) band in the United States was not expanded to 171*10 KHz AKA 1710 KHz AKA 1.71 MHz until 1993. At the time, I was too young to know the difference nor did anyone around me care about such a thing anyway. My family on both sides is very technology ignorant, unfortunately. Some family members of mine are even downright hostile to technology. The only immediate family member of mine that was as keen on technology as I am was my Maternal Grandpa, Hughie Gauslin, but he died almost 29 years before I was born. I’ll just say that he would have seen some wonderful things had he lived to be an old man. So, if anyone is willing to inform me about this AM broadcast Band Expansion of the early 1990s, I am well open for correction and/or enlightenment…

All in all, I had purchased this particular radio on eBay in the latter parts of 2019, mostly as a sentimental collector’s item.

However, I have found an everyday use for it, hence my desire to write this review.

I’ll explain:

I moved to my current residence in May of 2018.

Since the Spring of 2017, I had been listening to NPR on and off, usually tuning in All Things Considered while doing laundry. I would go to an ex-in-law of my now ex-in-laws’ house where my now ex-wife and I would use his equipment to wash and dry our laundry. In turn, we would cook a meal for him and, also, I would do shopping for stuff he needed. There was a Dollar General near his house, of which I would frequent to purchase groceries and supplies. It was on one of these laundry days in 2017, that I thought about my joke in which I started referring to Dollar General is “Ruble General.” My basis for that statement was that shopping at Dollar General must have been what shopping in the Soviet Union was like. Multiple sources present in detail the product shortages, long lines, and sub par merchandise. The official currency of the USSR was the Soviet Ruble. When not operating the laundry appliances or cooking, my now ex wife would watch television with his kids or play on her phone. I, on the other hand, when not shopping or folding the laundry was sitting on the back porch, listening to NPR on a small Sylvania boom box that had previously belonged to his recently deceased daughter. She was, in fact, the fellow aspiring writer whose untimely death provoked my desire to launch this very blog! While I do watch broadcast television now and then, I detest what subscription-based television has devolved into. Therefore, I neither subscribe to any television service or streaming service (mostly because of my low-speed home Internet connection) and therefore, only use an antenna. Usually, though, I am either listening to a scanner of some sort or NPR. Even NPR irritates me when they become biased in their reporting and especially their editorials and commentary. NPR is supposed to serve the entire US population, not just certain political factions, whichever they may be. Maybe, if they were more neutral, they could attract more listeners and therefore could have more revenue to budget with. Yes, I do listen to NPR for the news, sometimes at least, but I take it with a grain of salt. As a Christian, I am convicted when they start with their dissenting of the current administration and I continue listening. So much so, that one Wednesday Evening in February of 2020, I was listening to “All Things Considered” afterward I had walked to my church and was sitting outside waiting for the Pastor to arrive for the evening’s prayer meeting and Bible study. I was reading my Bible and came across Proverbs 31:3 which clearly states, “Don’t spend your energy on women or your efforts on those who destroy kings.” The Bible was written during a time when the only heads of state were indeed royalty, namely kings or queens. However, NPR like many other media entities is trying to destroy the current American head of state, even though he’s a president, not a king. I will go as far as to say that God has even the most oppressive rulers in power for a reason unbeknownst to me and that all government was designed by God to deter wickedness. If the private media wants to dissent, that’s their choice but public radio which is supposed to serve every American ought not to do it and God’s Word commands me to avoid them because of that. This can be a difficult command at times because I appreciate NPR much more for their content which covers the disciplines of technology, culture (especially the culinary aspect), and medicine rather than their political dissent or sometimes biased reporting. It is definitely of a much higher caliber than most of what is available on pay television, yet it’s free. And not only that, if I listen to NPR enough, my writing will be enhanced. Well, I was listening to it a few hours ago and I’d like to think this piece is well written.

So, yes NPR is heard primarily on the lower portion of the FM broadcast band, but you, the reader are probably asking, “What does it have to do with the review of a vintage radio receiver other than the fact that it can receive FM broadcasts?”

I’m glad you, the reader, asked, or at least, I assume you’re asking.

Remember how I briefly mentioned that I moved to my current residence in May of 2018?

I do enjoy living there for the most part.

I get along fine with the overwhelming majority of my neighbors, it’s relatively peaceful and safe, I am within walking distance to my church and a few retailers, just a short drive away from other retailers, medical care and family members. My one complaint is that my FM radio reception is terrible due to my residence being located in close proximity to an FM broadcast transmitter facility. This means that the signal from that transmitter bleeds all across the dials on most of my FM radio receivers.

Listening to NPR is impossible, even though the NPR transmitter tower I of which I receive the signal from is only a few more miles away as the crow flies.

There are, however, the radios in my possession which are pretty much immune to these ill-effects:

My car radio.
My kitchen radio, of which I had written a review of almost two years ago.
And the one I am currently reviewing in this piece.

The first two have high-quality frequency synthesizers that can filter out the overbearing nearby transmissions.

However, this radio I am reviewing features an AFC or Automatic Frequency Control circuit which enables it to lock on the desired frequency and reject all other frequencies no matter how close the offending transmitter is.

Therefore, because of its portability and rugged enough design, I can take this radio, a Realistic 12-719, anywhere in my residence and even outside and still hear most FM broadcasts within reason. I don’t have to be tied to my kitchen or my car. I also can sit in my bedroom and listen without needing the kitchen radio to be on so gosh durn loud and disturbing my neighbors.

I forget exactly how much I paid for it in late 2019, but it retailed for $19.95 throughout its run. That would be the equivalent of $36.66 (1992)-$46.93 (1986) in terms of 2020 Dollars.

This product was a success for Radio Shack, being in production as long as it was. Furthermore, there are plenty of them that show up on eBay still in good condition both cosmetically and performance-wise. Mine works better than just about all of my modern radios in a similar, modern equivalent form factor.

It was considered the deluxe model of all pocket portable AM/FM radios sold by Radio Shack during the time.

Some of the features include:
Aluminum Trim-Makes the cabinet reasonably rugged.
Built-in AFC-FM-This feature alone is why I am still using it in 2020!
Hi/Lo Tone Selector Switch-Lo for News and Talk, Hi for Music.
Rotary Tuning and Volume Controls-Self explanatory, but the Rotary Tuner is considerably accurate. The volume control needs to be dusted out, but that can be chalked up to its age of almost 30 years at the time of writing this!
Telescoping FM Antenna-I would rather a wire antenna because such an antenna is miserably flimsy, but it does pull in the FM signals generously!
A Monoaural Earphone Jack-Good enough for everyone except a die-hard audiophile.
2.25 Inch Speaker-Large enough to provide decent audio, yet small enough to be compact, at least to some degree I mean it was the 1980s and early 1990s.
The physical dimensions are: 5.1875 Inches High by 3.5 Inches Wide by 1.25 Inches Deep-Not as carrying friendly as modern standards dictate but semiconductors and other components weren’t as discrete as they are now.
Its power supply was a standard 9 Volt Battery-Most pocket portable radios of today are powered by AA or AAA batteries, but from the late 1950s until the very early 1990s 9 Volt batteries were the power supply of choice for many pocket-portable radios.
The frequency coverage was roughly 88 MHz to 108 MHz on FM and, depending on the year it was manufactured, 530 KHz to either 1600 KHz or 1710 KHz on AM.
For those of you who are curious, it was manufactured in The Phillippines to Radio Shack’s custom standards-As of the late 2010s there seems to have been a resurgence of manufacturing in that country but I don’t think it is up to what it was in the 1980s, 1990s, and very early 2000s.

Unless I want to receive broadcasts in stereo or high definition, this radio is still useful in 2020 and hopefully will still be useful for decades to come.

The audio quality is superb, especially considering that it is a mere pocket portable.

It beats most of my other radios because I can get NPR and any other FM broadcast without interference. AM performance is fairly decent as well. Before discovering NPR in 2017, I was more of an AM DXer. Talk radio, particularly on the AM band was wonderful in New Orleans until a very wicked woman named Katrina did her wicked works.

I have to quit now because my back hurts.

So this, therefore, concludes my review of the Radio Shack 12-719 Deluxe AM/FM Radio.

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

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

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”