Early Morning Thoughts

So, I am not diabetic.

Not yet, anyway.

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

The Hemoglobin A1C numbers do not lie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet Nestle` Crunch!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This, therefore, concludes my piece, for now.

Have a blessed day!

Back to “Personal Reflections”

Post Modernism’s Influence on my Thinking and Writing

Post Modernism has heavily influenced my later writings, I think that is obvious. It was since my late teen years that I was first exposed to it and at least on the subconscious level, it began to inspire me and take root. It wouldn’t be until my early twenties that it had begun to shape my writing.

In this piece, I will try and describe, how Post Modernism has influenced and inspired my writing. I will try to explore in greater detail than before how I was inspired to write these two stories. I think you, the reader, will be shocked when you find out how far back the inspirations go. I will also touch on the fact that Post Modernism is indeed very much in conflict with my Christian faith.

However, when I allow them to coexist within my heart and mind, I can write some beautiful things. However, Post Modernism is dangerous in all matters concerning the soul and I will admit that until the cows come home. The reason why I find Post Modernism so dangerous to the soul is because it strongly teaches that there is no absolute truth. In fact, I often joke how the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate was the world’s first adherent of Post Modernism, when he asked Christ, “What is truth?” As referenced in the Bible, John 18:38. Pilate eventually went crazy and likely never got saved.

The stories I have written under the influence of postmodern thought were inspired by many external factors that occurred on both my conscious and subconscious levels. Some of these inspirations can be traced back to the Spring of 2005. While there were others, I think the one that stands out the most is my infamous “Grocer and Writer” stories, though I didn’t begin the actual writing of them until the evening of June 30, 2014, and I began writing its replacement, “A Disabled Electrician Turned Writer” in February of 2017.

In a high school Psychology class, back in the Spring of 2005, we were working on an assignment to describe a house and to exchange it with a classmate, but if I remember correctly not to identify yourself. I immediately thought of an older house in the suburbs of New Orleans and in that house is a young man cuddling in bed with his girlfriend. I don’t exactly remember how I wrote it, but I know it was in better detail than the simple mentioning of it in this piece. I know exactly what inspired me to write that, but I am not going to reveal it, because a lot of people in my immediate circle will be angered if I do. When I witnessed what I wrote, almost a year prior, you, the reader, could say I had been exposed to Post Modernism for the first time since an unmarried couple that was cuddling in bed was and likely having relations as well was considered a sin, but here I was exposed to it. The person whom I exchanged it with seemed irritated in her answer to what I wrote and while I remember her name well, I will not mention it. Even though I was on a terrible medication and not very creative at that point in my life, I could still think of stuff like this from time to time. However, the little I was writing at this point in my life was totally different and even old fashioned, compared to the very urbane nature of my stories that reflect postmodern American society, especially those in this piece.

Fast forward to December of 2005, I began writing an anti-Christian Cult story, known as “The Textfile.” I’m not knocking Christians except for a few sects that teach how one must speak in tongues to be saved. That very teaching caused great distress in me. However, I now know that it isn’t Biblical and is borderline blaspheming in my book. I was initially inspired to write it whilst walking around the Houma suburb of Bayou Cane, Louisiana, but also, I had recently watched, “The Notebook” on DVD. I completed it in May of 2006, but then erased it sometime in 2013. In 2017, I began rewriting it strictly from memory, though it too is much more urbane than the original. I completed the newer version in 2019. Throughout the Summer of 2006, I would exchange this story with plenty of people whom I either met in chat rooms or through Myspace. I got some differing reactions, some enjoyed it, some loathed it.

In August or September of 2006, someone read the original version of “The Textfile” then sent me a copy of his or her story known as “Perplexed Existence.” It was a Christian story, written in first person about an emo high schooler who works at a convenience store and has an alcoholic and pill addicted mother. He meets a young lady who leads him to Christ. I read it in one sitting with my undivided attention with no idea how it would inspire my own writing in the future both consciously and subconsciously. I don’t know if it was a true story or a work of pure fiction, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Whomever the author was and I wish I could remember, but he or she was successfully able to combine Post Modernism with Christianity and did so better than I ever could.

In September of 2006, I was inspired to write a story about a young grocer and his relationship goals but didn’t write the first pieces of it until March of 2018. Throughout the rest of 2006 I was working quite a bit and didn’t have much time for writing, but still managed to do it now and then.

On January 7, 2007, I had met a girl and on that same day entered what seemed like a wonderful and very stable relationship with her, but years later it became quite toxic and finally terminated in 2018. I believe this relationship is also what made my writing more urbane and I quit writing with the old fashioned values my work initially possessed. Some of the people in her family could be seen as poster children of Post Modernism, but I won’t go into detail why because I am trying to make peace with the situation. Her family is influenced by Post Modernism and spreads that influence, in the way they carry themselves.

My writing was probably at its most filthy in the Summer of 2008 when I wrote something that was borderline pornographic about a couple that had met online. Let me say that I was a severely backslidden Christian who was not only writing such filthy literature but I was also fornicating and cohabitating. It was a young studly warehouse worker in Phoenix, Arizona who met a rich, lonely, slightly older but still young woman that lived in Salt Lake City Utah. They had cybersex, but then she invited him over to which he drove all night in his vintage Chevy Blazer and upon arrival, they did many kinky things both in her master bed/bathroom but also near the Great Salt Lake. At some point, after this, I promised The Lord and myself that I would never write anything pornographic again if I were to ever reference sexual intimacy in my writing, I would do so with taste and leave almost everything to the imagination from then on. I’d like to believe that I pretty much kept this promise, although I messed up a time or two. It was the Financial Collapse of 2008, that brought me out of my backslidden state. I started listening to shortwave to hear the rest of the world’s opinion on America and began to hear some Christian preaching as well. Ironically even a false Christian prophet played a role in getting me out of my severely backslidden state, as bizarre as that may sound. There was even a villain in one of my stories based on him.

I started attending church regularly in January of 2009 and attended that church until January of 2018. It was at this church where the ills of Post Modernism were first pointed out to me. I didn’t even know what Post Modernism was until I had attended there but then began to see it everywhere. This was both good and bad because it allowed me to get lots of inspiration for my writing, but also, I realized how bad a shape society is in and how far it fell from grace.

I finished trade school in November 2008 and went to work full time. In some of my free time, I would write. I purchased a small netbook in February of 2009, so I could write whenever I was on the go. I lost my job in September of 2009, due to a still crumbling economy. In October of 2009, I had taken a trip to the Esplanade Mall with my soon to be wife now ex-wife and was inspired to write a story about a teenaged couple at a strict and corrupt catholic high school. I stopped at a now-closed restaurant in Paradis, LA, where her family members were working and began writing some of it. They are suspended for public displays of affection. I called the story, iAffection. The boy comes from a well off family, but the girl and her mother are poor and she attends school on a voucher. I completed it some time in late 2009 or early 2010 and had revised it, but then did a little more work on it around 2009. However, this was my first story with the postmodern qualities and drew some inspiration from that story “Perplexed Existence”, but also the soap opera, “As the World Turns.”

On January 11, 2010, I started working for a God awful grocer and remained working there until September 23, 2011. This place inspired a good bit of my “Grocer and Writer” stories, that is for sure. Several characters were based on managers and coworkers from there, though I would write any of it until well after quitting. Also, around this time I had visited a young couple who was struggling financially and living in Paradis, LA. This moment would inspire a scene in “A Disabled Electrician Turned Writer.”

In the Summer of 2011, I began work on a dystopian story. It was about a teen couple in a forbidden romance because of the Nazi styled government in power. I had a dream back in February of 2003 which was the inspiration behind it. It was completed in the Summer of 2012. There are some postmodern elements to it. This story came to me in a dream I had quite possibly in the early morning hours of February 9, 2003, though it would take me another eight years to get it into text.

In February of 2012, I began writing “Radiant Affection”, which was initially supposed to be a form of repentance for writing “The Textfile.” I worked on it on and off until 2014, but I still contribute to it from time to time at the time of writing this piece. I know where to go with it, I just need to fill the gaps in between. This story doesn’t have the Post Modern element that the others do.

On June 30, 2014, after taking a trip with my parents and then-wife now ex-wife to the New Orleans area, I came home and was inspired to write what would be the beginning of my “Grocer and Writer” stories. As I’ve mentioned before, the New Orleans area has always been inspirational for my writing and it is inspirational to others in their respective forms of art. There is just something about it. Well, it takes place in New Orleans though not specifically mentioned in the stories themselves but little hints are left. The sins of fornication and cohabitation are committed in these stories, but my characters do repent and begin to plan marriage until one is murdered and the other dies of a broken heart. I wrote it initially from that day in 2014 until early 2016, when I felt as if I should write something that would make the racial tension worse than it currently already was. While it reeks of Post Modernism, it also teaches that we all deserve to love and be loved, even despite appearance or disability.

So, in March of 2016, I began to write something that taught those similar values, but without all the racial and ethnic tension that was going on during the Obama years. It was about a train conductor and an aspiring writer who meet online in a writing forum. I didn’t get too far off the ground with it and eventually moved on to other things. Something else I wrote in 2015 and continued in 2016 was a teen drama known as “Those Years.” Both of these try to teach how everyone deserves to love and be loved. I didn’t get far enough with either story to have my characters commit any serious sins.

I had also taken quite a few trips to the New Orleans area throughout 2016, and just about every time, I drew at least some inspirations.

In February of 2017, I began writing another story, A Disabled Electrician turned Writer. It too takes place in the New Orleans area, though not exactly mentioned. I was inspired to write it by witnessing the lifestyles of those connected to my then in-laws now ex-in-laws. However, I wasn’t able to get that far with it. There are some sins of cohabitation and fornication that occur, but my characters do plan to repent. Like the others, it teaches that everyone deserves to love and be loved. I wrote it from 2017 to 2019, then went on hiatus.

In the Summer of 2017, I wrote, “Two Foamers in Love” but didn’t get very far with it. It is one of the least sinful stories influenced by Post Modernism; all sex occurs within wedlock and it is done discreetly. But you know what they say, right? Sex sells. Well, controversy in general sells. It is easier for me to write a sinful story than a wholesome one, a lot easier. God is dealing with me about this and has been for some time. Also, for whatever reason life seems more romantic before marriage than after. I don’t know if that is Post Modernism or just the human condition in general. Actually, there are some scriptures I could reference that deal with this subject and explain why married life isn’t as romantic as pre-married life and it is due to a curse put on humanity by God, to remind us that we are sinners in a fallen world.

In the early Spring of 2018, I began writing my “Relationship Goals of a Young Grocer” stories but didn’t get all that far with it. There is indeed some sin occurring, but still, I guess I was too distracted to focus on it. Well, I was going through a divorce and also trying to secure my own place of residence. Later in the Spring of 2018, April 16, to be exact, I wrote “An Autumn Squall Line” about an impoverished couple riding out a severe thunderstorm in a shotgun house in Uptown New Orleans. In the original version, they were cohabitating, but on August 11, 2018, I changed it to a married couple, though still quite impoverished. Around this time was when God began to deal with me about writing such sinful literature.

In the Fall of 2018, I wrote “Love Among Terrorism” which was dedicated to me and my then-girlfriend, now ex-girlfriend. There was no cohabitation nor fornication, just a terrorist attack and a couple worried about each other.

Throughout 2019, I had added pieces to many of the aforementioned series of stories. I also completed the new version of “The Textfile.”

In the last days of 2019, I went through a breakup, but then began writing a new Post Modern influenced story, with equal Christian influence known as “Second Chances.” I am going to try my durn well best not to let my characters sin, though they do spend an innocent Christmas Eve together and cuddle all night long. Like the others, it takes place in the New Orleans area. By this point, even my Post Modern influenced writing had evolved.

In early 2020, before this Coronavirus was an issue in The States, I began writing a new series known as “Bohemian America.” It takes place in New York City and the surrounding area, but there are references to Louisiana. Yes, there are some sexual sins, but only by a couple who is in love and does desire marriage, one of the members of that couple are triracial, and I wrote that to atone for previous works I had done that likely contributed to the racial tension in America. Again I was just inspired by all that I was observing, so can you, the reader, blame me? I sure hope not! I’ve only publically displayed a piece of it that doesn’t show the sinning.

While I have written plenty of factual works during this Coronavirus pandemic, I haven’t written any fiction to say fiction. It’s like a partial writer’s block has set in. Of course, I hadn’t been drinking my Wild Cherry Pepsi like I usually do, something which usually fuels my creativity. When life gets back to normal, hopefully, I’ll start writing fiction again and resume my “Second Chances” stories as well as “Bohemian America.”

Yes, intimacy is referenced in much of my Post Modern influenced writing but it is overwhelmingly done with taste and not in a pornographic fashion as was the case in 2008.

So, yes, Post Modernism has influenced my thinking since about 2004/2005 but didn’t start showing up in my writing until 2009 and not realized until 2014.

Yes, it makes good writing, but is in conflict with Christianity and certainly does not honor God, so likewise if I am going to continue writing with Post Modern influence, I’ll need God’s help to not allow it to be sinful.

Of course, if you, the reader, are a Christian, then I covet your prayers.

I guess this, therefore, concludes the piece on how Post Modernism has influenced my writing over the years and I hope you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened and maybe even entertained…

Back to “Personal Reflections”

Ideas for Dating on a Budget

Valentine’s Day came and went and I had no one. However, I have had significant others in the past and I derived some of these ideas from previous relationships.

I also was suffering a considerable amount of writer’s block, for over a week, but now it appears to have left me.

Therefore, I’ve been inspired to write a piece about Ideas for Dating on a Budget.

Being disabled and living on a pension gives me a sharp edge of expertise on this very subject and I hope it will give inspiration and be a source of hope and happiness to all who are struggling financially.

This piece will contain a list of ideas for you to have fun while getting to know someone of your romantic interest and yet not draining your bank account or tying up too much of your credit line.

I will say that if someone only wants you for just your money and not your heart, then try to make yourself a better person, which ultimately can only be done through The Blood of Christ. All that money can be taken away quickly but it is very difficult to ruin a good heart!

If you are seeing someone and that person likes you because of your heart, then congratulations, this piece will be of great benefit.

I will say that if more people were attracted to hearts instead of finances, social statuses and even to some degree appearances, then this wretched world would be far less wretched!

Here are a few of my ideas:

For any given weeknight or a Sunday night watch and discuss the late local news together. This will give you and your partner a chance to know each others’ position on a number of issues and concern and it may help you or your partner form a position and be better informed in general. While doing so, both of you can eat a Hunt’s Snack Pack pudding of your choice. I mean a pack of four cups usually sells for ~$1+tax or just $1 if on SNAP. I know I frequently poke fun at The Ruble, I mean, The Dollar General, but this is a wonderful place to stock up on the aforementioned pudding and other similar snacks such as Vanilla Wafers (which go great with pudding) or Chips and Salsa. Since it is local news, there is no need for cable subscription although you will need a digital-ready television or a converter box for that older television set. You will also need a decent antenna. You can usually get a good enough and sometimes even a digital-ready television set for under $10 at Good Will and a wall-mounted indoor antenna can be had at again, The Dollar General or even cheaper on eBay.

For a Saturday lunch, let me caution you that this has a little bit of prep work, but: Go to Wal Mart and buy a loaf of Great Value sliced white bread an eight-piece fried chicken meal, the condiment of your choice, though I highly recommend Sandwich Spread and a small jar of pickles. Invest in a decent thermal mug for you and your significant other, if you are careful you can get each one at Five Below, but make sure it isn’t lacking any parts before buying. Also, buy the 2 Liter Sam’s Choice Soft Drink of yours or your significant others’ fancy. You can get the disposable utensils for free from the deli in larger Wal Marts. Then walk or drive to your nearest park, find a picnic table or spread out a blanket in a nice place to sit. Debone the chicken thoroughly and I mean make durn sure all the bones are out! Place it on two slices of bread, add the pickles and spread the condiment with the utensils you picked up from the deli. Then pour your soft drinks into a thermal mug and voila, you have several chicken sandwiches and drinks. Minus the thermal mugs this meal can be had for under $10! Sit and eat together then maybe cuddle on the blanket and look up at the sky while talking! If there are children nearby, some parents might get angry at public displays of affection, so just be mindful.

If there is a Circle K near you and it has a place to sit, another thrifty date idea would be to each get a microwaveable sandwich or biscuit or burrito which starts at $1.99+tax. The Jalapeno Cheeseburgers sold there are one of my favorites. But here’s the best part a Polar Pop Fountain drink of any size and some sizes are close to a Liter only costs 79 Cents+tax! Some Circle K stores have a dining counter and some have a picnic table outside and they are usually open around the clock. This is especially great if you and your bae are out late at night and hungry or thirsty. Be a little careful with public displays of affection while there because some of the workers may think it’s sweet, but others might be irritated by it.

For weekday mornings if both of you are available, an excellent idea is to go thrifting. Some of these thrift stores sell an article of clothing for 25 Cents! Yes, you read that right! You and your bae could potentially get an entire wardrobe for next to nothing! And while you and your bae are at it, choose clothes that make you highly attracted to each other, but as a Christian, I must add, please keep it modest. There are also some useful household and entertainment items that can be had sometimes for about 5%-10% of what they cost brand new at retail price. Many times these items are still in mint condition. And if thrifting in and of itself isn’t incentivized enough for you, just know that many times your money pays workers who are disabled and gives them a purpose!

For a stormy day, a decent idea would be to stay at one of your places and read together. Guys’ you should drive to your lady’s place instead of having her drive and put her in danger. You and your bae could even cuddle while reading. And I would be even more thrilled if you and your bae decided to read some of the stories I have written, but be cautious some of my fiction work can put the readers in the mood for intimacy, and as a Christian, I must state clearly that intimacy should only occur within wedlock. With that being said, I know very well that we are in a wretched fallen world and many times the flesh’s desires overpower the spirit’s desires. However, if intimacy occurs out of wedlock, the wedlock ought to follow!

For a Friday night date or a payday evening date first, take your bae to either Wendy’s or Taco Bell. There are several cheap and delicious meal deals that can be had here. If your bae likes Pepsi, Taco Bell. If your bae likes Coke, Wendy’s. Might I add there are some awesome Creme Sodas at Wendy’s! Although after eating at the establishments you and your bae might be embarrassed to be around each other. That’s why both of you go shopping immediately afterward, maybe get each other something small but nice and personable at Target or Wal Mart or even Academy. And while shopping for gifts for your bae, make use of the restroom facilities to purge all of that unpleasantness. If the night is still young then maybe go out for a drive and spend a few hours talking or listening to music or both!

This would be a great daytime outing any day of the week if you and your bae are near a navigable waterway: both of you could go for a walk along that said waterway and watch boats and barges pass by. Now I myself would love to have my scanner on and listen so I know when a vessel would be coming. However, the language that the maritime workers use over the radio even though they are legally not supposed to is filthy and highly offensive. So I would not turn my scanner on in that situation. Any young lady whom I would date, I would have a vast amount of reverence for her and therefore I would certainly not use filthy language in her presence nor would I want to expose her to it, but that is just me. I don’t curse in the presence of ladies, period no ifs ands or buts. The only times I find myself slipping up with bad language is if I am by myself or around worldly men. However, I noticed that even some worldly men clean up their language when talking to me! Anyway, this would be a cheap form of exercise and entertainment. There are usually parks or at least walking paths near most waterways.

And that’s all I can think of at the moment, but if others come to mind I will update this piece.

Furthermore, if you and your bae ever get married and/or if your financial situation ever improves, still do these every at least now and then. Not only will it be a budget-friendly getaway but it will also bring back very fond and pleasant memories!

These are very good ideas and if anyone were to turn his or her nose up to all of them, then they aren’t worth dating.

However, if someone would jump at the opportunity to spend time with you, these are very good ideas and you need to marry that person anyway!

That’s all I have. I hope you, the reader, have been well informed.

Thank you for reading. And yes, my writer’s block is gone for now!

Praise God!

Back to “Articles I have Written”

Hope for the Terminally Ill

This message is from a bondservant of Jesus Christ. You may be a family member or friend or spouse of a terminally ill person. If you are I state a warning: Do not hinder the work of enlarging God’s kingdom. If you know someone in such a wretched condition, give or read this to him or her immediately. Time may be wearing thin. Again I say Do not hinder the work of adding to God’s kingdom. You too can greatly benefit from the words this message gives.

You must know by now that you may be staring at death in the face. I cannot imagine the fear that could consume you. I worry about you, a lot. My biggest fear is where will you spend eternity? What you do with the message contained here can affect your eternal position.

What if I were to tell you that though you die, you do not have to go to hell? It is true, you do not have to go to hell. What is equally important is that you cannot earn your way into Heaven by being good or refraining from pleasure. You cannot earn your way into heaven at all, despite what many teach. Now maybe you know this already or not, but I just want to make sure you do.

God loves you. God does not want you to go to hell. The Bible says in Ezekiel 33:11 that God takes no pleasure in the death of a wicked person.   And yes we are all wicked, just some are forgiven. The Bible further says in Romans 3:10 that no human being is good, no not one. There may be people in your life who try to discredit the bible. I can explain that by saying that they are lost and perishing because the Bible itself says in First Corinthians 1:18 that the Gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing. Do not listen to them. Though they might have good intentions; they are ignorant.

God cannot stand sin. His holiness commands and demands that He be separated from it for eternity. satan, in the form of an evil serpent, tempted Adam and Eve to fall into sin. They rebelled against God and were given the curse of sin on them. So have all of their offspring. This is why we die. The Bible says in Romans 6:23 “for the wages of sin is death.” Immediately after, though it says “but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Still, there needs to be a sacrifice, or punishment, for all the sins that were ever committed. Every human must be killed in order for the payment of sin to be met. The payment also consists of burning in hell for eternity. God, loves humanity, we are made in His image and likeness and He does not want that to happen. But, there still needs to be a payment on behalf of humanity. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to deal with the sins of humanity. The Bible clearly says in John 3:16 that “God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten son, that whosoever believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus became one of us. He died an agonizing death on the cross, by His own will, because He loves us that much. But He could not die, even from all the injuries until God the Father placed the sins of the world on Him. Then He died. This was the punishment for all of mankind placed on Jesus Christ. He went into hell for us. What would have taken us an eternity to pay for took Jesus only three days. He also rescued the Old Testament Saints from paradise and brought them to Heaven. Paradise is a part of hell that is empty now. It was for those who lived righteous lives and sought after God before Christ came into the world. No human being entered Heaven until Jesus rose from the dead. Now however the gates of Heaven will open to anyone who accepts Christ.

What I want to say is that, though there is a law, a very stringent law that everyone is upheld to; no one can fulfill it. No human being can live completely conformed to God’s law. No one will ever reach those standards. No one ever has. This is where the Bible may sound like it contradicts itself. One example stands out in my mind, and maybe sticks out in the minds of your family members:

In the story of the rich young ruler which appears three times in the Bible (Matthew 19:16–30, Mark 10:17–31 and Luke 18:18–30.) A young man asks Jesus how he might obtain eternal life. Jesus answers him to keep the commandments. The young man insists that he had done that since youth. Jesus tells him to sell everything he owns, give the money to the poor and follow Him.

Now, what Jesus actually meant by this (and if you get saved, the Holy Ghost will teach you) is no human being can earn his way into Heaven, no matter how hard he tries. Jesus was telling the young man that though he thought he obeyed the law, he wasn’t honest with Jesus and therefore still in sin and couldn’t save himself as he thought he could.

This is the real way to be saved and go to Heaven:

First, you must realize that you are a sinner that has offended a Holy God and therefore destined for an eternity in hell.
BUT
God loves you and wants to spare you that. In fact, God wants you to live with Him for eternity in Heaven.

The debt for sin must still be paid.

So; Jesus lovingly and faithfully dealt with that once and for all on the cross. He paid it all. There is no need for purgatory.

To be saved you must believe what I am trying to present to you. But not because I have said it but because the Bible says it and God will tell you it as well.

Then you must fervently and sincerely invite Jesus Christ into your life and save you. All you have to do is ask. Ask Him in your own words. Talk to him as if you would talk to a dear friend. Jesus greatly desires for you to be His dearest friend. God passionately wants to adopt you as His child, so ask Him to. And The Holy Ghost strongly desires to dwell within you. You will be the next of kin to Jesus Christ and will inherit the Kingdom. All you must do is believe what is presented here and ask God for it.

After you have done all of this, stay in a loving relationship with Jesus Christ. He will never leave you nor forsake you Deuteronomy 31:6.

What is also important is to repent of your sins. I do not know how much sin in your life, but ask God to search your heart. Ask the Holy Ghost to convict you of any sins. When he convicts you, humbly ask for forgiveness and pray for the grace to be able to repent.

Religion has profited no one, ever. True Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you wish, you may be baptized by immersion in water. This would only be to publicly announce that you have been saved. Baptism in and of itself will never save you nor will it wash away your sins. Also, share this with others if you have indeed believed.

Please deeply and thoughtfully consider this message.

If you know someone who is terminally ill, then make it your utmost business to deliver this to him or her. If you deliberately keep this from that person; you will have much to answer to God for.

…Jesus loves you…

About Fornication

So, yes, I am a Christian.

I also am a writer and plenty of my stories contain pre-marital sex.

Other Christians sometimes have moral objections to that and I have been confronted at least a few times.

I will also say that The Holy Ghost got a hold of me and convicted the daylights out of me.

Therefore, I try not to publicly display these offending stories anymore, unless I think I can teach a good enough lesson with such a story.

I know the Bible condemns and prohibits fornication at least to a degree.

But I also know that fornication is and always was prevalent throughout the ages of humanity. Maybe it was frowned upon more during certain periods the American 1950s or the Victorian Era but I am well aware that it still happened, even during those very prudish times. The difference was that it was kept quiet and made shameful not a normal thing like it is today. I do indeed believe that waiting for marriage to have sexual relations is a very reverent, pure and godly idea and I wish I would have. I just wanted to be loved and to make sure I would be loved I gave in to my then girlfriend’s now ex wife’s desire.

I do not believe in having multiple sex partners and I do indeed condemn that behavior. Such a lifestyle always seemed so empty to me. I know this belief of mine will make me unpopular with some, maybe many, but I also know that we all sin and that promiscuous people can take their judgment to the Foot of the Cross and be totally forgiven. Forgiveness is available to all who believe and repent.

There is one verse in scripture that doesn’t necessarily approve of fornication, but gives a remedy: marriage! Paul writes to the church at Corinth in First Corinthians Chapter 7 Verse 9 “But if they cannot contain themselves, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

What I get from that is if you and your partner are going to bed with each other, you durn well better get married. Also before you lie down with someone make sure you love him or her and that their feelings are mutual. I do not know the exact formula for proving that, because every situation is different.

So, I know that plenty (most) of the stories I have written from 2007 until very late 2019 have characters that fornicate. I also will make durn sure well that these characters stay monogamously committed to each other and eventually get married. That is one thing I can virtually control.

Just because I write such stories does not mean I approve of fornication. Most of it is me being inspired by what I observe happening in Post Modern society. However I will not judge or condemn it either, because it has always happened and unfortunately is a significant part of the fallen human flesh. Flesh is rebellious towards God and His laws. But that is why Jesus went to the cross-to purchase forgiveness for all Born Again Believers. This offer stands to all humanity, but will only be given to those who repent and believe.

However, one should make the utmost effort to not sin. As for fornication and not sinning, I believe and I am convicted that if a couple truly loves each other and is willing to commit, then they should get married as soon as possible. This is the best way to repent of that sin.

What is horribly wrong in my honest opinion is people (or one person) who fornicate out of lust (just pure lust) and not love. This is a very selfish act and will do plenty of spiritual, physical and emotional damage to at least one party immediately and eventually both parties. I believe that at least committed, genuine and honest love, preferably within the confines of wedlock, must needs be a prerequisite to any sexual act.

Anyway, that is the conviction of my heart. It is also my explanation of why my characters in the past sometimes fornicated.

One of these days, I will write about cohabitation…

Works Salvation is a Damnable Heresy

I am a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ and this was written to a family member but never got delivered. The family member has since passed on, so I modified it to fit a more general audience.

As many people, unfortunately, tend to believe: being good is the way to get into Heaven. That is not true. That has to be the most damnable heresy in existence! The only way to get into Heaven is to acknowledge that you are a sinner that has offended The Holy God and that you deserve eternal punishment. BUT, then, equally, acknowledge what Jesus did for you at Calvary, and trust Him as your personal Lord and Savior and therefore enter into a personal relationship with Him. And know this truth: When Jesus died for you, He paid for the sins you have already committed and ever will commit, in full. The instant you accept and believe, this truth you will be saved and should be filled with comfort and assurance of your salvation. Now; this is where the doing good part comes in: When you are truly saved and know you are going to Heaven you should want to do good out of love for God and the desire to do His will. You will be motivated to do right out of love for God and not fear! As I have been told, “Good works are the fruit of salvation and not the root of salvation.”

Many organizations will try to discredit this clear and plain truth. Some of these organizations claim to be Christian, but they are simply not. They are liars.

I have Biblical evidence to back up what I am teaching is true. Let me state now that what the Bible says is the ultimate authority for any matter of the human condition. There are some organizations that will claim that the Bible is not sufficient enough. They are lying through their teeth. The Bible is the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God Incarnate, read the first chapter of John’s gospel. If the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are the same; one will not go against the other. Therefore, if these organizations truly had the Holy Ghost; he would be promoting the Bible and not their own authority or traditions! Of course in order for Scripture to make sense to the reader anyway, one needs to be a Born Again believer enlightened by The Holy Ghost! The Bible will make absolutely no sense to a stiff-necked heathen! Maybe that is why these institutions try to discredit the Bible so much?!…

Speaking of The Bible, it warned of organizations like these: 1 Timothy 4:1-3 warns of a false religious system coming into existence: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” This was written by Paul to the young pastor Timothy in the First Century A.D. It was warning of the organized religious systems that appeared since and have successfully gotten their adherents away from The Bible and into false religion.

Some of these systems emphasis on tradition and make it equal to or greater than Scripture. As far as traditions are concerned Jesus warns against it in Mark 7:7-8 “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.”

If you are not willing to accept the fact of the Bible as the ultimate and sufficient authority then this letter will not help you. Please don’t let that happen. Believe what I am writing to you and realize the truth. I have some scripture that will back up the fact of good works will not save you.

Works Salvation is, as I’ve said before, the most damnable heresy there is!

Doing good WILL NOT get you or me or anyone else into Heaven!

Saving Faith in Jesus is the only way to get you into Heaven!

The Bible clearly states this “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” -Ephesians 2:8-9

Mankind is truly depraved. If we were able to save ourselves and go into Heaven like that; I could truly see everyone bragging about what they did. However, no matter how much mankind tries; he cannot save himself. Jesus paid that price. Believe and accept that!

Look at it this way: God is a good God, there is no doubt. God is a loving God, there is no doubt. God wants mankind to live with Him forever and always has. This is why He sacrificed His own Son to make sure every human being would have that opportunity to live in fellowship with Him. If we had to earn our way into Heaven either on our own, be it completely or partially, we would never make it. Remember God is a good and loving God. God is so good that He would not let any believer’s salvation to chance being ruined. This is why He paid the full price. He makes sure that EVERY believer gets to Heaven and lives with Him forever no matter what! Would God pay the full price at such a tremendous cost but then let us do the rest, with the chance that we would fail? Perish the thought! The only way I could see a true believer losing his or her salvation would be if they flat out rejected it themselves. But even then God would go to extreme lengths to gather that person back in!

With all this in my remember that even Born Again Believers are still in the flesh, at least on this side of Glory. The flesh is rebellious towards God and even if you are saved you will still sin and slip up.

However; the Holy Ghost will convict and guide any truly Born Again Believer.

If you know the truth of being born again; teach it to everyone that is willing to hear!

Let’s try to repair some of the damage that works salvation has done!

I will thus conclude this with one final reference to Scripture:
Isaiah 45:22: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”

Why would I EDC a Weather Radio?

I get different reactions when I show off the items I EDC.

While, like most, I usually carry a tactical flashlight and some sort of metal tool or knife along with my keys, wallet, smartphone, and a wristwatch. My psychiatrist refuses to clear me for a concealed weapon carrying permit, but one day I might open carry my Ruger LCP. Without getting too political, I am absolutely 100% opposed to any and all forms of gun control!

As a Christian, I also carry a copy of God’s Holy Word, namely, the Bible. For doing so I get kudos from fellow believers and mockery or even hostility from worldly or lost people, but that is totally expected.

I frequently carry a scanner radio, but no one really bats an eye about that. In public, I am frequently mistook for a firefighter when I carry it.

There are two items I carry that frequently raise questions from others in the EDC community.

One item is a calculator which I can easily explain and most will accept the answer. After all, I’ve been fascinated by calculators almost as long as I have been fascinated by flashlights and that is since infancy. As a high school math teacher, my Mom EDCs a calculator or two for work, though in reality, she eschews them. However, she is the reason why I became fascinated by calculators. My Dad was a banking executive when I was born and I don’t know if he ever carried a calculator or not, because he was laid off from the bank a few months after my birth. He then switched careers and eventually became a special education teacher. Even though my Dad was a sporting goods salesman for a couple years during the career change, he isn’t into EDC at all. His Dad, my Paw Paw, was into EDC at least to some degree, although he only owned extremely budget-friendly items. My Maw Maw also carried a flashlight in her purse for as long as I knew her, until she became a shut in and passed on December 28, 2019. At one point I’m almost sure she had an old school Pelican MityLite 1900! There were always calculators around though while I was growing up and I had been carrying one on and off since the age of eight. So, even though I am fascinated by calculators, when asked why I carry them, I can quickly justify and have done so.

Another item that I continuously EDC is a pocket-sized weather radio. While no one has directly questioned my motives as to why I do so, I’m sure I at least get eye rolls when I post pictures of mine or pull it out and listen.

In this piece, I am going to give a testimony on why I personally carry a weather radio and while I don’t expect you, the reader, to follow suit, maybe my reasons for doing so will be better understood.

Let’s go back to the Summer of 1990. I was three and a half and my brother and sister were a few months old. My Mom was off from teaching school, but my Dad was at work, working as a sporting goods salesman. There had been some storms going on all day. My Mom had baked home-made biscuits earlier in the day. It’s something, I can fry chicken almost identical to Colonel Sanders Original Recipe and my Mom can bake biscuits almost identical to Popeye’s Buttermilk Biscuits. I taught myself how to fry chicken that way, mostly through trial and error but also by God’s Grace. However, my Mom got her biscuit recipe from an old Catholic monk. The storms had gotten progressively worse during the day, then our electricity was disrupted. At some point, it became dark as night though it was only midday. My Mom gathered us into the center of the house and we sat there by the light of an Eveready Commander 6 Volt Lantern. The model number was 5122.

Though I was always afraid of the weather, I don’t remember being too frightened. I think it was because I was holding a flashlight and even back then I was fascinated by flashlights. I stood in the hall eating a biscuit.

We had no idea if there was actually a tornado present because we had no weather radio.

There was a Sears transistorized AM/FM radio that was put away, but I guess my Mom was probably more focused on getting all of us to safety rather than looking for that radio.

Even if my Mom would have been able to locate that transistor radio, the battery could have very well been dead. There was no way of us to know when the Tornado Warning, if any, had expired.

At some point, the sky lightened up and the electricity came back on and I guess we took this as the all-clear.

Looking back, this probably had an impact on me and is most likely was caused me to have a compelling desire to be accurately informed.

As I am writing this, I am reminded that back in the day, weather radios were somewhat of a status symbol, associated only with the affluent. I mean they were heavily marketed to golfers, of which playing golf during a thunderstorm is quite risky, so a golfer would desperately need one. I wonder if Donald Trump ever carried a weather radio in his younger days whilst playing golf. To further back up my claim that weather radios once were and maybe still are a status symbol now, at least to some degree is that, I’ve only seen upper-middle-class and wealthy people in possession of one. I’ve never once seen anyone from the lower socio-economic positions to ever be in possession of a weather radio. I have even read an article or two about how the white upper class are almost the only ones who purchase weather radios and that poorer whites, as well as most minorities, don’t even bother purchasing one.

While at the time, my family was lower middle class and stayed there until between 1997 and 2000. Now they are almost upper-middle class.

I didn’t know there was such a device as a weather radio until the summer of 1997 when I was reading some hurricane preparedness literature.

I wouldn’t actually own a weather radio of my own until late December 2001. It was an Oregon Scientific WR-8000. Unfortunately, it killed on me in less than two years, but I did EDC it when I could.

I myself as an individual would be considered impoverished by most standards.

Yes, I’ll admit that fully.

The only reason I am able to afford a weather radio (and I do own several) is that I either purchase them on clearance as new old stock, a friend gives one to me or I buy one in gently used condition for a fraction of the cost.

Between December of 2001 and April of 2015, I had gone through a few portable weather radios, many of which killed on me, unfortunately.

I guess it is poor quality control because I did not abuse these radios by any means.

Since the Spring of 2006, I had wanted a Midland HH50B, but it would be over nine more years before I would actually purchase one.

I had some desktop models that were on constant standby as well as a Radio Shack Weather Cube as a backup.

Then one day in late April of 2015, my area was experiencing some severe weather. This weather resulted in the one and only train derailment on the Huey Pierce Long Bridge near New Orleans. The said bridge was about eighty years old at the time.

My standby models had alerted me to a Tornado Watch in advance.

Then there were quite a few Severe Thunderstorm Warnings issued.

My then-wife, now ex-wife, as usual, was watching television.

However, I told her to get dressed in case we would need to move quickly.

The amazing thing is, she actually listened to me, though this was one of the very few times she did listen to me.

A few minutes later we received a Tornado Warning for our Parish.

The sky, though again around midday, became dark as night.

My apartment manager invited the second-floor tenants to her unit which was downstairs.

My now ex wife and I left with the clothes on our back, though I had a Mini Maglite LED in my pants pocket and I also had an Energizer Weatheready 6 Volt LED Lantern in my hand.

We made our way down the stairs and across the parking lot as lightning fiercely flashed.

The sky was still dark as night.

Several of us stood in the manager’s downstairs unit, anxiously waiting for the weather to pass.

Minutes crawled by, but, then, finally, conditions began improving.

The cell service was in and out that day, so none of us could rely on our phones, for weather data though at the time I didn’t even own a smartphone. I would though, a couple days later.

Several young women were wondering when the Tornado Warning would expire.

Eventually, I walked back up to my apartment and retrieved my Weather Cube, which while battery-powered, is still basically impossible to EDC.

I stood and listened to the weather report then when the Tornado Warning expired, I let everyone know and we all went back to our units and resumed our daily activities.

That day made me realize that I should own a weather radio that I could EDC in my backpack and even in my pocket if necessary.

I knew I was going to bite the bullet and soon purchase a Midland HH50B.

A little over a month later, I was able to score one brand new with batteries for ~$10 and free shipping. Thank God for eBay! I had been wanting one for years, so I gladly purchased it with my spending money.

At the time, I was also a new smartphone user and when my new weather radio came in, there was some literature enclosed in the packaging about downloading Midland Weather Center for Apple and Android devices.

I did just that and subsequently downloaded it on almost every smartphone I have owned since.

Granted this app is unfortunately no longer available on Google Play, but it can still be downloaded and installed on Android devices if you know what you are doing.

As for the Midland HH50B, I EDCed it from June of 2015 until December of 2017 when my then-wife now ex-wife broke it in a fit of anger.

However, I liked it so much that I quickly ordered a new one and it arrived on my doorstep a few days later.

I still EDC it in my backpack everywhere I go. And if I can’t have my backpack with me but I know I will be away from home or outdoors for any given time, I will have it in my right pants pocket next to my EDC flashlight.

It has come in handy numerous times either for stand by alerts for severe weather when I am not home or for sheltering in place during severe weather and monitoring the progress thereof.

The times it has been most handy is when I go on road trips and I am the passenger. I use it in conjunction with my Midland Weather Center app and use the weather intelligence gained to assist the driver in avoiding severe storms. I’ve even used it to confirm that there were no tornadoes nearby when my Dad called and thought there were. That was on January 20, 2017 and I was traveling with a friend between Shreveport and Dallas. A day later, though, while heading back home I used my weather radio to keep track of tornado near Nacitoches, Louisiana.

EDCing a weather radio has been very beneficial and never once detrimental, so I plan to do it indefinitely

I don’t know if these reasons will convince you, the reader, whether to also EDC a weather radio or not, but I hope this piece at least validates my reason to do so.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my piece and I hope you, the reader, have been informed and maybe even a little entertained.

Thank you for reading!

A Synchronous Dream

This is a true story that begins with a dream in progress.  The actual dialogue may have been slightly altered, but other than that it is a true story.  It is about a synchronous dream I had in June of 2006 and it is told from my perspective.  This dream predates some of my more current writing styles and I assumed, at the time, it contained supernatural instructions.  My assumption was further validated when I found out this was indeed a synchronous dream!

Without further ado, here is the true story:

A global conflict has broken out and being an able-bodied nineteen-year-old, I have been drafted. I stand on the curb waiting for the bus to take me to the basic training camp, but there she is, the girl I’ve been conversing with, standing beneath the glow of the streetlamp.  She is dressed in olive green capri pants and a white tank top.  Her reddish-blonde hair flows down to her breasts in a single braid.

The bus is approaching and my best friend is urging me to get ready, but I can’t stop looking at her.

I approach her and she runs up to me. She jumps into my arms and I lift her up. She wraps her legs around me. We share a kiss. She feels so wonderful in my arms. The driver sounds his horn.

“I wish you didn’t have to go!”  She tells me in distress.

“Neither do I.  I’m a lover, not a fighter.”

“Just, please, write to me every day.”

“I will I promise!”

My best friend yells, “Forget about her and get on the bus. We need to fight in Vietnam like my dad did many years ago.  And this time, we’ll show those gooks that we mean business!”

I let her down gently and her eyes swell up with tears as we share one final kiss.

The bus driver announces over the PA, “Board now or you will be court-martialed.”

“Get on the bus [blank] damn it.” My best friend shouts.

Reluctantly, I board the bus…

Suddenly, I wake up.

It was all a dream.

I collect myself.

Thoughts are racing through my head:

“Is this a sign from God that I should enter in a relationship with this girl I’ve been talking to online?”

“I guess I really do have feelings for her after all.”

“But she wrapped her legs around me. In real life, I wouldn’t dare let her do that because I revere her so much.”

“Of course, I’ve never been in her physical presence, so I don’t know what I would allow happening. I know well that the flesh’s weakness is, unfortunately, greater than the soul’s willingness.”

I keep all these thoughts to myself for now.

I’m off today, so I go ride in my boat, then later, I visit my grandparents. I don’t tell them about her though.

When I arrive back home that night, I log into the family computer and begin to converse with the girl.

Over the course of our conversation, she randomly mentions, “I could feel you holding me last night!”

I am in shock and awe.

Apparently, we had a synchronous dream. My feelings for her are now beginning to multiply.

I feel dizzy and am in a euphoric confusion.

“I dreamed about you last night.” I finally reply, then explain the dream.

She too seems shocked, but happy.

We don’t talk much longer and then I go to sleep as I have work in the morning.

I’ll see if I can pull a double…

A Brief Proposal to Improve the Health of Truckers

I wrote the bulk of this yesterday evening (November 8, 2019) while going through some pretty bad back pain…

 

In my early teens, I had wanted very badly to be a long haul truck driver when I grew up.

It would have been a dream job for me.

It would have been a dream job because I was frequently studying and memorizing road maps to the point where my classmates referred to me as a “human GPS”, whenever we went on a field trip. I was just as eager to ride out the routes of which I had memorized on the maps I was studying. Around the age of fourteen, I was beginning to discover my interest in radio communications. I knew for some time that truckers used Citizen’s Band Radios or “CB” to communicate with each other. Around ages sixteen and seventeen my interest in railroads was starting to come back and I was also gaining an interest in marine logistics. Both railroad and marine workers also used their own dedicated radios to communicate with. At age seventeen I just knew I would have some sort of job in the transportation and logistics industries.

But then at seventeen and a half, I suffered a mental breakdown and would have to be medicated for the rest of my life.

These medications automatically disqualify me from all transportation jobs.

I never thought to use my writing as a way to earn money and I have yet to earn a single red cent from writing, by the way.

I eventually earned a diploma in HVAC, which is very hard to do with the medications I took and I also sustained a back injury in 2014, which made everything worse. The best I could possibly do is work at an HVAC or Electrical Supply company if I were to go back to work in the HVAC field.

Here is something I’ve noticed though:
Just about every truck driver I came across wound up on disability anyway.

Usually, it is because they have developed severe back pain, metabolic or cardiovascular diseases.

Truckers get severe back pain from sitting in the same position for hours to days on end. That also causes them to develop metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, because of the lack of physical activity, but also from having an energy-rich but nutrient poor diet due to constantly eating out.

My own back is hurting me as I type this and actually it was the back pain that inspired this piece.

The trucking industry is a very important aspect of the American and global economies, and that its personnel are very much needed to sustain life as we know it.

However, with many truckers ending up on disability before retirement age (and also having a poor quality of life after retirement), this puts a great strain on the already ailing healthcare system. And it will hinder the path to solvency for Social Security. I will go as far as to say that it is a heavy contributor to the already severe opioid crisis.

There is no easy nor comprehensive solution to this issue.

However, there is something, I think, that can reduce the problem at least a little.

What if, there was a national chain of truck stops that offered healthy meals buffet style?

The food offered could be fresh and steamed vegetables, grilled or baked lean meat and seafood, legumes and fresh fruits for both juice drinks and desserts.

No soft drinks, no fried food, no excessive use of salt, not an overabundance of animal fat and no overly sugary desserts would be available, though.

And the one dining could pay a flat rate for all you can eat.

Basically, I am expanding on the idea of Subway.

It could also be a nice place for those on disability who go eat out when they get their pension payments. It could be like a combination of Cracker Barrel, Ryan’s, Shoney’s and The Golden Corral, but with only healthy food comparable to that of Subway, but actual plate entree`s instead of just sandwiches. I myself am disabled due to several mental issues and, guess what: a back injury!  Anyway, I would love to eat at such a place! I know I would probably eat more than my fair share of green beans there though if such a place actually existed.

But then to further help the situation, there could be exercise rooms with gym memberships, possibly paid for on the company dime. This could save the company a lot of money in the long term and would allow for a healthier workforce.

Durn it, my back is killing me!

I hope to further elaborate on this in the near future, at least on my blog…

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All of the Industrial Grade Flashlights I’ve Owned-Written from 2013 a Conversation on CPF

Back in February of 2013, I was consulted on Candle Power Forums because I had frequently talked about industrial grade flashlights on there. So I sent a private message detailing all of the industrial grade flashlights I had owned up to that point. I had recently added to the list since it was dated. At some point in 2015 or 2016, I had switched to more tactical models, but I still have extensive experience with the industrial models and they will always have a place in my heart.

Without further ado, here is the piece:

“…Well, I like the explosion proof models most. I don’t know why except for the fact that they are common in my area (South Louisiana.) We have plenty of sugar refining, oil production, grain storage, chemical processing and people working on boats. Incandescent explosion proof flashlights are significantly dimmer than a flaslight with a Krypton bulb. This is because the surface temparature of a bulb filled with a noble gas is much hotter than a vacuum bulb. This keeps the flashlight’s temparature below the ignition point of the hazardous dust or vapor that it is approved to be used in. I try to buy only American Made lights, but I have experience with both. IMHO I find smooth reflectors out preform faceted ones. I don’t know who brilliant idea (sarcastic) was it to start making those durn things. I will attempt to list, describe and review every industrial flashlight I have ever owned or used.

Rayovac Industrial 2D (1990’s version.) I have had mine since February or March of 2000. It is actually the flashlight that I have had the second longest. It has always preformed wonderfully and has a uniform beam. It came with a powerful, high quality PR Krypton bulb. It is American Made. Bought it from Wal-Mart when I was 13. Faceted reflector.

Eveready Industrial IN-251 (1990’s version.) Made in Macau. Incandescent. I had one for over a year from 1994-1995. From what I remember, it was VERY bright for its time. I remember one night I was playing in the backyard at dusk and my neighbor [and uncle by marriage] was coming in from working in the shipyards and I shined it at him from about 200+ feet away. He acknowledged it by shining his bigger and brighter flashlight at me. He also likes flashlights, in fact it was him who gave me my first flashlight. (Playskool 2c lantern.) This was probably the flashlight that made me interested in industrial flashlights. The bulb blew finally and instead of buying a new bulb, my mom bought me an Eveready Value flashlight (the good 1980s-90’s version.) Came with a high quality PR bulb. Smooth reflector.

Eveready Industrial 1151 (very similar to previous model, 2000’s version) Made in China and no where near as good as the 1990s version. Bought several around 2007-2008. Unless I got used to brighter lights, this one seemed dimmer. Faceted reflector.

Rayovac Industrial MSHA (1990’s/2000’s version.) I bought one at an aviation supplier and hangar in 2006. It preformed just like my original Rayovac 2D, just not as bright. This is because it uses a standard PR bulb and not a Krypton bulb. I lent it to my aunt during Hurricane Gustav and never got it back. Smooth reflector.

Eveready 1251 (2000’s version.) I’ve had several of these and I plan to buy another. It is American Made. Almost as good as the Rayovac Industrial 2D from the 1990s. It also uses a high quality Krypton PR bulb, but is slightly dimmer. This is because of the contact point at the bottom of the bulb socket. It easily gets oxide on it and that comprimises the connection. Produces a uniform beam. Bought it from my local NAPA auto parts store. I gave the damn thing away. Faceted reflector. UPDATE: I also have a few of the 1990’s versions of the Eveready 1251 and I must say that they are brighter somehow and just look cooler in general.

Eveready 1259 2D and 1359 3D (1990s versions.) I currently have each. They are not as bright as their Krypton counterparts, but they have a much better connection system at the base of the bulb socket. Instead of a Copper or Bronze contact at the base of the bulb socket, it has a stainless steel wire coil. This makes a very solid connection and with fresh bulbs and batteries, it produces a decent amount of light for its class. They are both American Made. It does not produce an even beam and that is about the only drawback for a light in its class. Got the 1359 off ebay and the 1259 from Motion Industries. Smooth reflector.

Bright Star 2618 2D Incandescent (2000’s version) and 2618 LED (2010s version.) American Made (shame.) At first they seem like very good flashlights, especially for their price. BUT stear clear of them! Their switch mechanism, though replaceable, lasts only a few weeks with regular use. I bought the LED version a few weeks ago. Very bright and efficient (40 lumens for 200 hours,) however it also has a failing switch system and gave out within about a week. The good news is that Koehler-Bright Star stands by their products. They sent me a 2217 LED as a replacement. This one has a much better switch and also the LED engine that gives off 40 lumens for 200 hours. The Incandescent came with a high quality PR bulb. The LED produced a perfect beam. Got the 2618 LED from Bright Guy and the 2618 Incandescent fro Motion Industries. Faceted reflector.

Bright Star 2217 2D Incandescent (2000’s version) and 2224 3D (2000’s version.) They have a much better switch system than the 2618. It is more rugged and doesn’t move as much. I have had the 2D for almost 3 years and the 3D for almost 2 years. They are starting to flicker, but ONLY because I tampered with them and shouldn’t have. If I would have left them alone, they would still be working wonderfully. American made and came with high quality PR bulbs. Got them from Motion Industries. Faceted reflector.

Bright Star 1618 2D (1950’s version.) This is the ancestor of the 2618 and works almost infinitely better. It has a similar, but much better switch system than the modern 2618. It also has better contacts at the base of the bulb and metal rings pressed into both ends. I gave mine away because there was something on my shelf that ate the lens. These are getting harder and harder to find and many times they cost much more than what they were worth when they first came out. I personally call it the “Kel Lite of Industrial Flashlights.” It was American made and produced a very uniform beam. Also came with a high quality PR bulbs. Got it off ebay. Smooth reflector.

Eveready 330 2D (1970’s version.) This is American made and produced a decent beam. It worked fine in lieu of its age and came with a high quality PR bulb. Got it off ebay. Smooth reflector.

Railtek 992-321-AG Trainman’s Lantern 6 Volt 908 (2000s or 2010s version. Both LED and incandescent. Has a screw base Krypton bulb which has a specific model number. I am trying to look it up but the site seems to be down or slow. I have no idea what is the country of origin. It was given to me by a railroad dispatcher whom I initially heard on my scanner than looked up online. I have it as a shelf queen, so I don’t know how it would preform under harsh conditions. Supposedly they are very rugged since they are used by conductors and brakemen which are exposed to some of the roughest conditions a job can present. Faceted reflector.

Duracell Industrial-I was given this by some BNSF Railway maintenance of way workers. I seriously don’t know what the issue with this light is. It comes with a decent quality Krypton PR Bulb. The connection is very stable, but there has to be some kind of loss of current in circuitry. But it only gives off 6 lumens on a fresh set of batteries. It is made in Thailand. Beam is dim and ringy. Faceted reflector.

Garrity R300G 2AA Mini Rugged Lite (1990’s version.) It looks like an industrial flashlight and it could be used as an industrial flashlight. It is, however, also marketed to consumers and even children. This was my favorite flashlight growing up. It was made in 1994 and I got my first one in the summer of 1998 (age 11.) I’ve had several of them over the years. They were made in Macau. Garrity is now back in business and I will strongly petition them to bring back this flashlight again. It came with a VERY high quality Krypton PR bulb. Had a ringy, but very focused and uniform beam. The rings were produced by the Fresnel lens. These are now EXTREMELY rare and a fellow CPFer mailed me one. May God immensely bless him. Smooth reflector.

Energizer Hardcase 6 Volt 908 lantern (2006.) Made in China and built like a tank. It floats too. IIRC, it came with a Xenon PR bulb. Could have also made a good self defense weapon. Got one in the summer of 2006, but lent it to my now ex in laws and never got it back. Smooth reflector.

Energizer 4 AA Hardcase swivel flashlight (2000’s.) Made in China. Decent brightness. smooth reflector. Built like a tank.

Rayovac Workhorse 2 AA (1990s version.) Made in Malaysia. Focused, neatly ringed beam. Bright, Krypton PR bulb. I bought one when I was 12 and had it for years until I lost the spring. I even EDCed it on and off as a child and teenager. Smooth reflector.

Garrity G600G G-Tech Floating Lantern. Made in Thailand. This is not as rugged as an industrial flashlight, but it still rugged enough for the outdoors. It has plenty of features to brag about. High quality Krypton PR bulb. Strong, decent beam. I personally called my “fisherman’s lanterns.” I had two of them, [my now ex-]wife bought them for me at West Marine, two of the last three on the shelf. Faceted reflector. UPDATE: My divorce was semi-nasty and I gave back just about everything she gave me, including these lanterns. I told her to give them to her nephews.

Bright Star 575 2D made in USA, shame. (been around for a long time.) Do NOT buy one of these, unless only for shelf display. One of the flimsiest flashlights I have ever laid my hands upon. smooth reflector. I honestly don’t know how these railroad journeymen put up with such a flimsy flashlight, but it is very common among railroad electricians.

Lumilite Industrial 5451 with push button switch 2 AA. Made in China. Bought one in the late winter of 2004. It lasted until about 2007, then began to flicker. Don’t remember too many details. Faceted reflector. How do these railroad journeymen put up with such a flimsy flashlight?”

UPDATES (not in orginal text):
Eveready Commander Lantern (1970s version.) Made in Hong Kong. This was probably the flashlight that sparked my interest in flashlights. My Paternal Grandpa (God rest his soul) carried one on his job and also used it into retirement and there is a picture of him showing it to me as an infant. It produces a sharp beam, especially when the PR-13 is upgraded to a KPR-113. It is reasonably rugged, constructed of HDPE. It has a white riveted sliding switch.

Rayovac Industrial 2 D flashlight (1970s version.) Made in USA. I am not sure of the model number, but have one in near mint condition that was supposed to be company issue for the Kansas City Southern Railway. I could see it being rugged enough for an engineer, but not for a journeyman or conductor. However, it does cast a sharp beam and it is bright enough with fresh batteries. It has a smooth refelector and a Fresnel lens. Constructed of rugged enough PP.

Star 292 Conductor’s Lantern (current version): Made in USA. It seems to be built rugged enough, but the internal circuitry is very delicate, so don’t tamper with it. It runs on a 6 Volt 908 lantern battery and has a light for both signalling and car inspection (both KPR113 bulbs.) I’ve had mine since May or June of 2017.

Star 2012 Conductor’s LED Lantern (2012 to present version): Made in USA. It also seems to be rugged enough and the internal circuitry is all electronic, which adds to the ruggedness. It too runs on a 6 Volt 908 lantern battery, but is all LED. There are dedicated LEDs for both signalling and inspection or they could all be turned on. This is probably the most expensive industrial flashlight I own and I keep it as a shelf queen.

Energizer HardCase LED 2AA and 2AAA (mid 2010s to present version): Made in China, but built very well. Bought in December of 2015 and July of 2017, respectively. I use these for working on computers and other electronics. I must admit the they are rugged (constructed of ABS.) They are also very bright and give off a pure white light. These are one of my favorite Energizer products.

Garrity Tuff Lite 2D and 2AA (1980s and 1990s versions): Made in Thailand. These are built very well and come with high quality Krypton bulbs. I’ve had my 2D model since Christmas of 1998 and it is the flashlight that I’ve had longest! Many men in my neighborhood also had these. The newer Garrity Tuff Lites (starting in 2004, or so) don’t hold a candle to these.

Garrity Power Lite 2AA (1990s version): I’m not sure the country of origin, but I bought a four pack of them in late 2017. They seem to be built fairly decent and cast a sharp pin point beam. They are fitted with Krypton bulbs and have a slide switch system in addition to a monentary on off button. I’m not sure though how much abuse they can withstand, and I imagaine they are on the fence between industrial and consumer grade. They do come with a Fresnel lens and a smooth refelector.
I hope I have been helpful. I hope you, the reader, have been informed and entertained.