A Review of the [Incandescent] Mini Maglite

I have been a Mini Maglite owner since the evening of December 19, 2005. I was almost halfway through my senior year of high school when I purchased it.

I don’t think there is any other flashlight that I like more nor do I find more versatile.

Prior to that evening, I had been carrying small tactical flashlights on my person for the past seven months.

The school was about to let out for Christmas break so a friend and I were planning on a boating trip on Bayou Terrebonne the next day.

I was at the Wal Mart in Thibodaux, Louisiana, buying some supplies for that trip.

Hurricane Katrina was fresh in everyone’s mind and Maglite had partnered with the Red Cross to raise awareness for disaster preparedness.

Mini Maglites were on sale for less than $8. They came with batteries, extra bulbs, and a free Nylon holster.

I had assumed prior to this that Maglites were made in China, which was a very wrong assumption.

Still, something had caused me to take a closer look at the packaging and I had found out that it was American Made.

Right then and there, I decided to purchase it.

It would be my first of plenty of Mini Maglites.

After paying for the item, I drove home to Raceland, Louisiana and then set up my new flashlight.

Immediately, I was thoroughly impressed.

It was brighter than most LED flashlights of the time (remember this was 2005.) Not only was it brighter in terms of Lumens but also in Candlepower. Boy, could it throw a beam out! The beam travels very far at night in the marshlands of South Louisiana.

It was rugged, in fact, rugged enough to be considered tactical.

Truly this flashlight was and still is a pure genius design.

I had EDCed this flashlight for the rest of my senior year of high school and much into trade school.

I used to walk the halls during my off period, shining it in classrooms. Yes, I got written up for that and similar pranks during high school.

Since then I have purchased other Mini Maglites and the one I have had the longest was from August of 2006, it is in my Craftsman tool satchel.

I’ve had the Mini Maglite that I currently EDC with all of my computer tools since June of 2014.

The others that I have purchased are stored away in various locations, in case of an EMP attack on American soil. Simple incandescent flashlights will survive an EMP blast but I seriously think LED flashlights will perish.

Prior to me owning a Mini Maglite, my favorite flashlights from my childhood were the Garrity Mini Rugged Lite (R300G) and the Eveready Industrial 2AA model (IN-215.) Pocket-sized flashlights will always have a special place in my heart and have since I was seven years old.

What I like about the Mini Maglite:
It is definitely bright enough and its light beam gives excellent color rendition (great for medical professionals and tradespeople.)
It is delightfully rugged and durable-I’ve read stories of a Mini Maglite falling one hundred feet onto hard steel and still surviving.
It is remarkably simple to use, just a slight twist will turn it on or off.
It is surprisingly user serviceable-I’ve repaired mine several times but it is also covered by an extensive warranty.
It is totally waterproof to amazing depths->800 Feet-or so I’ve read.
It is refreshingly compact and could easily fit in a pants pocket and be forgotten about until needed.
It is highly collectible and truly an icon of American ingenuity.
It is completely affordable on almost any level of income (assuming one is buying the incandescent model.)

What I don’t like about the Mini Maglite:
The fact that the incandescent model is no longer widely available at many brick and mortar retailers as of 2018.

However, this is being done across the board with all incandescent flashlight and I am going to sound like a paranoid conspiracy theorist if I say it is being done on purpose.

A Mini Maglite is still widely available at smaller hardware stores and on sites like eBay.

It is one of the most popular flashlights in the world and I hope and pray that it never gets discontinued.

As I have stated before:
“This (the Mini Maglite) was probably the flashlight that revolutionized the industry and was a trailblazer in the subject of all things EDC.”

As I’ve also previously stated:
“While (the Mini Maglite is) not on the bleeding edge of today’s flashlight technology; it is still a tried and true favorite around the world. This is a flashlight that can be used in both the medical and custodial arts and anything in between! It can meet the needs of a surgeon but still be affordable on a janitor’s wages.”

I would guess many special forces operators carried one, at least for backup.

Go out or online and buy one for yourself while you still can.

You will not be disappointed at all and it will at least make a wonderful addition to your EDC items!

By the way, I give this product a 5 out of 5 Stars!

Back to “Product Reviews”

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My Addiction to Soft Drinks

There are two things I can honestly say that I have an addiction to:

Flashlights and Soft Drinks.

Because of these two addictions, I have become well versed on subjects pertaining to flashlights and soft drinks.

I have written numerous times about flashlights, but this will be the first time I ever write anything of length about soft drinks.

I have been addicted to soft drinks since about 2006 at the age of nineteen.

It started when I worked for my local Winn Dixie and would haul buggies and groceries for the customers.

Many times I would get tips, which I would use to buy a can of Chek soft drink from the vending machine outside.

These drinks were only 25 Cents a can and I must say that Chek Soft drinks are better than some of the national brands, especially their Creme Soda.

Chek is also much better than Best Choice/Always Save, Shur Fine, Sam’s Choice, Clover Valley, and Faygo soft drinks. I cannot think of a store brand or budget brand of soft drink that is better than Chek. I really cannot understand why Winn Dixie does so poorly, maybe they should just specialize in their Chek soft drinks and become a full-time soda company. I really miss Winn Dixie and eschew the fact that there aren’t anymore immediately around here.

So at the age of nineteen is when my addiction to soft drinks began.

It’s strange that it didn’t start sooner because there were almost always soft drinks in the house growing up, mostly Coke, Cherry 7Up and a few Shur Fine sodas.

My soon to be ex-in-laws and my soon to be ex-wife all drink Coke like it is going out of style because they claim Pepsi is “too sweet.”

There is a basis behind that claim and it is that Pepsi, both American and Mexican is made with cane sugar, whereas American Coke is made with high fructose corn syrup. Mexican Coke is indeed made with cane sugar, but I find Mexican Pepsi has the superior taste over Mexican Coke. However, Pepsi’s sweetness is one of the attributes that give it the superior taste.

The Cola Wars have had some impact on me and I can now say with total confidence that I find Pepsi to be the superior cola, although there were times when I did drink Coke more frequently (I’ll elaborate on that in a bit.)

In my very early childhood, we were only allowed to drink soft drinks on the weekends.

My first favorite soft drink, from early childhood to age nine was Sprite.

My dad also frequently drank either Sprite or 7UP.

Then I had briefly preferred Dr. Pepper.

In August of 1996, at the age of nine and almost three quarters, I had discovered that Pepsi was the best tasting Cola because, at the time, it was indeed made with “Raw Louisiana Sugar.” Some of the raw sugar used in sweetening Pepsi was produced at the sugar factory in my own hometown of Raceland, Louisiana. American Coke since 1985 or so has been sweetened with HFCS. That’s two years before I was born. If American Coke would have continued using Cane Sugar, my Paw Paw could have very well not lost his foreman job at the sugar factory in Mathews, Louisiana, because Coke was planning to buy that factory, but the deal went south and the factory shut down. I’m not saying he’d still be employed at the age of ninety-three going on ninety-four, but he probably would have worked into his late eighties. He did indeed raise cattle and produce until the age of eighty-nine.

The Cola Wars were and are still responsible for some great moments in stupidity.

And in the Cola Wars, Royal Crown Cola is totally left out.

I find R.C. tastes definitely better than Coke and almost as good as Pepsi.

It’s also usually the cheapest of all name brand Colas, yet it isn’t widely available like Coke or Pepsi.

An example of great stupidity in the Cola Wars is at certain schools only Pepsi or Coke products can be sold on the campus. In schools with no uniforms, I’ve heard of a student getting suspended for wearing a shirt bearing the Pepsi logo at a school where only Coke products were allowed.

This could almost also be an example of capitalism turning into communism in my book.

Both the high school and community college I graduated from were only allowed to carry Coke products.

I was and am not happy about this.

I visited my high school in March of 2017 and purposely brought two twenty ounce bottles of Diet Pepsi on campus. Aside from a few laughs, I didn’t really spark any controversy.

This is why:
In my humble honest opinion, Pepsi Cola tastes better than Coca-Cola the same thing goes for both their Cherry and Vanilla variants, Tropicana Orange Juice tastes better than Minute Maid Orange Juice, Gatorade tastes much better than Powerade, Mug Root Beer tastes slightly better than Barqs Root Beer, although A&W Root Beer beats both of them.

The only time I prefer a Coke product over a Pepsi product is I prefer Diet Coke over Diet Pepsi, but diet soft drinks are even more detrimental to one’s health than regular soft drinks. However, Diet Coke is extremely addictive and it is my go to soft drink when I am trying to cut out the sugar. I had one high school teacher refer to it as “liquid crack.”

Coke is, unfortunately, more prevalent in my area, because of it’s better marketing campaign strategy, as I have stated before I find Pepsi products of a higher quality than Coke.

Believe it or not, in the Fall of 2006, I became a Coke drinker. This is because a 20 ounce Coke was available for only $1 in the vending machines at the community college I was attending.

Then in January of 2007, I met my soon to be ex-wife and her family, all Coke drinkers as I stated before.

In early 2008, I had a strong fascination with military technology. Also, my local video store was going out of business and they were selling off movies at bargain prices. I had purchased “Behind Enemy Lines” on DVD and it became one of my favorite movies. Well, it was one of my favorites, I still like the movie, but now I don’t care for the attempt to generate Islamic sympathy, especially since it was released just a few weeks after 9/11, and I definitely don’t like Owen Wilson’s brazenly excessive taking of God’s Name in vain. However, I am very fascinated by military technology, especially that from the 1980s and 1990s and that movie showed it very accurately and in great detail. There was the part when the Muslim refugees gave Owen Wilson’s character a twenty-ounce bottle of Coke because he was dehydrated from being on the run, to which he sipped it and said, “It’s good…it’s good.” Every time I drank Coke out of a twenty-ounce bottle, I would reenact that scene

I would remain a Coke drinker until about April of 2010 when I ate at a Kentucky Fried Chicken for the first time in about fifteen years and thoroughly enjoyed their Colonel’s Original Recipe Chicken. I washed it down with a Pepsi from their soda fountain tap.

What makes me angry is that now in order to eat at a KFC, I have to drive or get a ride and travel about 55 miles away to eat at the closest one.

Almost everyone around me prefers Coke over Pepsi and they do not care for KFC. I cannot understand why.

I know I am a Louisiana native and resident plus Louisiana definitely has a place in my heart, but durn it, sometimes I feel so out of place and it is more than just my food and drink preference.

Pepsi is carried at KFC, Pizza Hut, Applebee’s and other restaurants that I cannot think of right now. I prefer these places not only because they carry Pepsi but the food is better. KFC makes the best-fried chicken hands down, Pizza Hut is by far and definitely Superior to Dominio’s, Applebees is mostly better than Chili’s, except for a few dishes.

I will admit that while Pepsi goes well with KFC chicken, at the same time, Coke goes well with Popeye’s Chicken.

There is a local fried chicken establishment in my area known as Sunrise Fried Chicken and Seafood. I absolutely enjoy their chicken even though people look at me like I am crazy when I say so. Their chicken pieces are so big, tender and juicy, the breading is perfectly crispy and even though they aren’t spiced heavily as other fried chicken establishments the chicken still has a pretty good flavor. It really hits the spot, at least for me. Sunrise had historically carried Pepsi products for years but now, unfortunately, they carry Coke products. This is a huge mistake in my opinion, but no one [important enough] will listen to me. Sunrise Chicken tastes great with a Pepsi, not so much with a Coke. Sunrise also used to make fairly decent white beans and they even sold Jalapeno peppers, but now they no longer sell the white beans. They still sell red beans, though. I think the company was in dire financial straits and whoever bought them out made those changes. I plan to write a piece exclusively about Sunrise Fried Chicken and Seafood but only those from my area would fully appreciate it, even though some would still look at me like I am crazy. What would really be nice is if there would be a fried chicken that was the size of Sunrise pieces and had the blend of herbs and spices Colonel Sanders used.

Eleven years prior to me writing this piece, which I am writing in July of 2018, I had drunk a Wild Cherry Pepsi for the first time. I had no idea it would become my favorite soft drink, years later. I was a Coke drinker at the time in July 2007, but for whatever reason, I had some change on me and was shopping on foot on MLK Boulevard in Bayou Cane (Houma), Louisiana. I was at Wal Mart and purchased a can of Wild Cherry Pepsi from the vending machine. I guess I was impressed by the taste because I remember getting angry at the Radio Shack employees for making me get rid of my drink while shopping in their store. I didn’t show my anger towards them, because I was a loyal Radio Shack customer, however, I definitely vented to my then girlfriend and later my family members.

I cannot remember when I started to drink it on the regular, but now in 2018 and since about 2016, I cannot go more than a few days without drinking Wild Cherry Pepsi and be in any comfort or ease. Not only that, I find that drinking it can cure my writer’s block and it has several times. I drank a good bit of it prior to writing this piece, actually.

If there is no Wild Cherry Pepsi immediately available, I will drink other soft drinks. Usually, it begins with me muttering to myself “I need a [soft] drink.” “Soft” is in brackets because I usually just say, “I need a drink.” However, people have assumed and still do assume that I want alcohol when they overhear me mutter that statement. I do have the potential to become addicted to alcohol, but right now I am just addicted to soft drinks and aside from hindering my total weight loss, the addiction is beneficial such as helping me write and slightly boosting my mood, without the motor function impairment and other problems that consumption of alcohol ultimately causes.

For now, my addiction to soft drinks is generally harmless, but I’ve been told by a competent physician that sugar is equally addictive as Cocaine. Should I become diabetic, I’ll have to quit drinking soft drinks altogether.

On a side note:
I’ve only smoked once in my life and I didn’t finish the one cigarette I smoked. However, I do have dreams that I am smoking and thoroughly enjoying it.

There was a guy I worked with who rolled his own smokes. He would carry his tobacco and papers on him and whenever he had a chance would roll one up and smoke it.

I began to want a cigarette while seeing him do that.

However, I learned to keep a bag of orange slices or cherry slices candies on me and every time I see him roll and light up, I would grab a piece of candy from my pocket and eat one.

Earlier today, I discovered another one of those cheap candies and that is Cherry Sours. I’m going to start carrying those on me as well.

Now this concludes my piece because I need a [soft] drink.

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

I am an Avid Radio Listener

Though not as much as flashlights or calculators, I am also fascinated by any and all types of radio devices.

This piece will explain my history of being a radio listener.

I am on the older end of the Millenial Generation and can say that we are probably the last generation to appreciate terrestrial radio.

Ever since the age of two until the age of four, when I misplaced it, I had a hand me down Sears transistor radio.

I wish I knew the exact model number, but it had a blue and black cabinet, slide rule tuner with a log scale, ran on a 9 Volt battery and was on the market either in the 1970s or 1980s.

It’s pretty rare nowadays, though. In fact, I’ve only seen another one on eBay back in 2005. I would have purchased it back then but didn’t know I could use a debit card on the said website. I had no credit cards at the time either.

From ages four to seven, my interest in radio devices somewhat faded.

Then at age seven, I was in school learning about the letter “R” and one of our words was “Radio.” The flash card had a picture of a transistor radio and that reignited my interest.

I wanted one really badly, but couldn’t get a ride to Radio Shack or Sears like I wanted to.

I remember back in the Summer of 1994, at the age of seven and a half, fantasizing about how I could be in my parents’ kitchen late at night, listening to Bob Seger’s songs on my very own transistor radio.

By the way, it was a MEME about Bob Seger’s songs that prompted me to write this piece so kudos to the poster!

That fantasy never came true.

However, at the age of fifteen, I began to fantasize about having my own place and listening to a scanner in my kitchen with my future son Eric Jude “Little Eric” Monier. That fantasy has come true, at least partially. I mean I don’t have any children yet, but I do frequently listen to a scanner in my kitchen and I listen to it at night.

For Christmas of 1995, at the age of eight going on nine, one of the gifts I got was an AM/FM radio and cassette player, made by Lennox Sound. It could be run on four D Cells or grid current. I listened to it almost every night while sleeping.

There was also a station I basically kept this radio locked on. The callsign was KHOM and the frequency was 104.1 on the FM dial. It played the Top 40 songs of the day and branded itself as “…The VH1 and MTV of radio…”

I had discovered that station because that was what the morning bus driver played on her radio. She also had a CB radio of some sort in her bus, but that is another story.

In 1998 or so, KHOM played the same music but switched callsigns to KUMX and I also listened to Baton Rouge station WFMF which was at 102.5 on the FM dial.

Fast forward to October of 2000. I was in Wal Mart and saw a portable, almost pocket-sized AM/FM radio also made by Lennox Sound that ran on 3 AA batteries, half the voltage of a “real” transistor radio.

It was built in the same form factor and interface as a transistor radio, but instead used an integrated circuit.

In April of 2001, I purchased a small stereo system that had a Phase Lock Loop synthesized tuner for AM and FM reception in addition to a double tape deck and CD player.

In the Summer of 2001, KUMX changed format and callsigns, which really disappointed me, so I began listening to then KBZZ which was at 96.7 on the FM dial.

I listened to this station until about 2003, when rap overtook the mainstream music.

Also in the Summer of 2003, I purchased a Radio Shack 12-756. It was a multi-band radio with a slide rule tuner, that in addition to AM and FM could also pull in VHF TV Sound, VHF High Band, and the Civilian Airband. This radio indeed kept me amused for hours on end.

I had discovered AM radio also in 2003 and had become a talk radio listener by this point. I would listen to then WTIX, which was at 690 on the AM dial.

There were lots of interesting talk shows on this station.

One Saturday Night in the Fall of 2003, I discovered the Libertarian Party while listening to Harry Browne’s show which was carried on WTIX.

Me being a potential alcoholic even back then eschewed the drinking age laws and was an immediate convert to the Libertarian Party when Harry Browne said how he would abolish the drinking age.

Also, the Libertarian desire for getting rid of Gun Control was another factor in making me an immediate convert to the said party.

I also frequently used this Radio Shack Multiband model for AM DXing, which the furthest station I ever received was KFGO out of Fargo, North Dakota and I was in Southeast Louisiana.

In the Spring of 2004, I discovered Country Music, something I wasn’t raised on because my parents mostly despised it.

In the Summer of 2004, I converted to Christianity, the best decision I would and will ever make.

In late November of 2004, I was shopping at Goodwill and saw one of those Life Long branded Baby Boom Boxes selling for only 84 Cents!

I had a $5 bill on me so I gladly purchased it.

That was probably my best deal ever I ever had at Goodwill.

This gently used radio could only pull in the stronger or closer AM and FM stations.

I spent many afternoons after school while waiting to go home listening to KCIL which at the time was at 107.5 on the FM dial. That station played “Today’s Best Country.”

I didn’t mind listening to country music, because especially during that period of time (2004-2006), the said genre was secular, no doubt, but most conformed to Christian lifestyles.

I would carry that radio in my backpack or school pants pocket.

On my Radio Shack model, I would frequently listen to the talk shows which aired on WSMB, at 1350 on the AM dial, mostly on weekends and evenings.

Unfortunately, the Baby Boom Box died on me in June of 2005 and I was sure disappointed.

Hurricane Katrina happened in August 2005 which ruined, among other things, radio broadcasting in New Orleans. It still yet to fully recover from this horrible disaster in my opinion.

To evacuate from Katrina, my family and I went up to Bossier City, Louisiana and I demonstrated how AM signals can travel further distances at night and was able to tune in WWL on 870 AM. We could hear what was going on in New Orleans from a local perspective.

Everyone was briefly impressed. The radio, by the way, was an older Hitachi model which was given to me by Mister Earl Smith, God rest his soul. It killed on me in the Summer of 2007.

In the time after Katrina, as I have previously stated, radio broadcasting in New Orleans was really messed up.

Many awesome stations with both awesome talk and music were destroyed and never came back, or at least never came back to those wonderful formats.

In March 2006, I defected from the Libertarian Party, but still retained many of their values and tendencies. In May of 2006, I became Independent, sometimes leaning to the Left and sometimes leaning to the Right. As of 2016 or so, I became my own one-man political party known as The Ethical Party.

In the Summer of 2007, I purchased a Sangean pocket-sized radio that had a built-in speaker as well as a PLL tuner. This kept me entertained for a good while both for listening to music and talk.

It could pull in distant AM stations fairly well at night and had a wire antenna for FM listening.

My soon to be ex-wife has that radio now, but she liked it more than I did eventually.

In late 2012, I purchased a vintage entry level Realistic (Radio Shack) transistor radio a 12-636 that was made in June of 1986. It arrived in early 2013 and features both AM and FM.

In 2016, I purchased another vintage Realistic transistor radio, this time a Blueberry Flavoradio, 12-721, that features both AM and FM. It was made in August of 1992.

Both of these are powered by 9 Volt batteries.

Fast forward to March of 2017, I purchased a Sony ICF-P26 online, which has the look and feel of a transistor radio, but uses an integrated circuit and a third of the voltage.

This is still my go-to radio as of June 2018 when I am writing this piece. It runs on 2 AA batteries, has a slide rule tuner, with nearly pinpoint accuracy, there is also an LED indicator light for both tuning (red) and battery power (green.) AM DXing is fairly decent for a radio of this size, in Southeast Louisiana it is possible to here many higher powered AM broadcasters from the Midwest on any given night.

It is a very good radio especially for power outages, but I wish there was a better selection of radio stations in my area to hear on it.

I hope radio broadcasting makes a full comeback in my area, at least someday, to where I can be entertained for hours on end at little to no cost like in my teen years prior to Hurricane Katrina…

I also hope that you, the reader, find this piece entertaining and informing.

I Hate Sports

Even though I am a guy; I can say this with total confidence:

I hate almost all sports with a passion.

I think they are terribly boring and I just don’t see how scores of people find it entertaining to watch people fight over a ball.

I just don’t get it.

I never did like sports, either, though in my younger (late childhood and preteen) days I tried to, I earnestly did.

In this piece, I will try to explain why I don’t care for and even hate most sports.

I think it can stem back to my early to mid-childhood when there were only two televisions in the house and only one of them was cable ready.

My siblings and I wanted to watch kids shows, whereas my dad wanted to watch whatever sporting event was on.

Well in all fairness he paid for the television and the cable service.

It wasn’t just that though when he was watching sports, we had to be quiet.

Children are not quiet though, children make a lot of noise and if they don’t, something is wrong.

But we were commanded to be quiet, even though we were only children.

If we weren’t quiet we were either whipped or put in the corner indefinitely. Sometimes our toys were also destroyed if my parents got angry enough.

If we were to play outside, we were not allowed to leave our yard.

Just going next door to our cousins took an act of Congress worth of permission from our parents.

Going to a friend’s house took even more permission and red tape.

Also, there were no video games until I was almost eleven and no Internet until I was thirteen and a half.

This meant that when sports were on, home life was terribly boring

So not only did I have to stay home and be quiet but if my dad thought the referee made a bad call or his team was doing poorly, he would yell and curse at the top of his lungs. It was not pleasant at all.

If I were to guess the reason why I hate sports, what I just mentioned would be that reason.

I can remember being at school and other kids my age wanted to play football during recess, but I showed no interest. Do you, the reader, honestly wonder why?

I would play on the swings or jungle gym until our underfunded Catholic school’s insurance made them get rid of all playground equipment due to liability issues.

After that happened, I would walk around the school grounds, as I was fascinated by the drainage system and watching the water travel.

Around fifth grade and up to the beginning of seventh grade, I would play sports with my classmates during recess and slightly enjoyed it. At some point in seventh grade, I quit playing sports and would sometimes read magazines in the library during recess. Other times I would just walk around.

I could slightly tolerate playing sports but was still bored to tears watching them.

By seventh grade, we had Internet access, so while my dad watched sports on television, I was on the computer doing research, talking to friends and later writing. My brother was playing video games and my sister was playing next door with my cousins, though she was timed how long she could stay there.

This went on until the end of high school.

After I got into trade school, for the first semester, I would work on weekends, a lot. By that time, I also had a car, so I would go places when not working.

By the second semester, and even after graduation, I was staying with my girlfriend’s (now soon to be ex-wife’s) family.

My soon to be ex-wife loves sports and knows I hate them. While that did cause a lot of tension in our marriage but wasn’t what broke us up. I could be a contributing factor though, especially when she had compulsive desire to watch every single football game there is while leaving me starving for attention and affection. I turned to other sources for attention and affection to fill the void that my wife had caused to open, mostly writing and getting kudos for writing from others.

I don’t think I can ever like sports and I am one of the few straight guys who are like that.

Thank you for taking the time to read this piece. I hope you have been informed and can maybe understand me better…

Reminiscing my Reactions to the Government Shutdown of 2013

It was October 1, 2013. A government shut down had begun. I was temporarily staying with my parents, waiting for an apartment to become available. I had lost my house that previous April.

I had gone to bed that previous night knowing that the shut down would likely happen.

That morning I had woke up and turned on the television. Talk about the shut down was on virtually every news channel.

The first thing I did after hearing confirmation that the government was indeed shut down was turn on my weather radio.

I was relieved to hear that the government funded weather broadcasts were still being transmitted.

Then I prepared for my day. I had bills to pay and errands to run.

Because of the shutdown, I was in a bad mood that neither Obama nor the members of Congress could get their act together.

This probably was also a catalyst moment in me wanting to create The Ethical Party, at least on my subconscious level.

I will stand by my belief that the two main parties have failed us for long enough.

I was angry for that period of time, though I kept it concealed very well.

The way I managed my anger in that whole situation, and quite successfully was cracking controversial jokes throughout the days of the shutdown.

I took to Facebook and those around me in the businesses I had to visit with my jokes, getting reactions of shock and laughter.

One of the places I went was the AT&T store to keep my Go Phone service on. There were few workers, so I said something along the lines of how the place is short staffed like the U. S. Government is going to be.

Afterward, I was driving with my wife, soon to be ex-wife now, and there was a radio station out of Baton Rouge that played a lot of Gordon Lightfoot’s songs. We both frequently listened to that station. I was parking my car at a grocery store in Houma as “Sundown” by Gordon Lightfoot was ending on my car radio. I remember telling my now soon to be ex-wife that I thought I looked like a younger, shorter and chubbier version of Gordon Lightfoot. The main reason is the curly blonde hair and certain facial features. We stepped out of my car and walked through the parking lot. At the exact same time, there was a ship passing through Houma on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway or the Houma Navigation Canal and for whatever reason, the ship sounded its horn. I immediately thought about the song about the Edmund Fitzgerald, sung by Gordon Lightfoot, because I had just mentioned him. That’s how my mind works many times. I even posted about that to Facebook, but then felt paranoid and guilty about my controversial humor and even went as far as to worry about the crew of that ship that was going through Houma at the time. I think I might have even prayed for the crew of that ship and that they have a safe voyage wherever they may go. If I prayed, my prayers were answered because I don’t think there were any maritime accidents in Louisiana during that time, even though Tropical Storm Karen was threatening the Gulf Coast. Praise God. I also felt terrible about what was going through my mind, because of what happened to the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald back in 1975.

My anger about government incompetence had put me in a bitter mood and the only way I could deal with it in a healthy way was to crack controversial, distasteful and borderline sick jokes.

It was probably wrong of me to do that, but I was younger than I am now and therefore probably more foolish than I am now.

Later that day I had cracked a joke in a Facebook post, questioning the accuracy of my then wife’s Atomic clock receiver. That was much more tasteful than the previous jokes, I guess.

Two days later, I had posted to Facebook how my Weather Radio alerted me of a Tropical Storm Watch, then later Warning, but the storm actually went elsewhere eventually. I was thankful that the weather broadcasts were still occurring.

Another two days later, the Tropical Storm Warnings were canceled.

Yet a week later I had posted a joke, questioning whether the Voice of America service was still being broadcast. Yes, they were, I tuned them in on shortwave moments after posting. Was that really necessary to keep the sovereign and secure status of the USA? I mean it is mostly a propaganda arm anyway.

I was on YouTube on October 16, 2013, and found a video that played the Jeopardy Think Music for an hour straight. I shared that video to Facebook and included, “Now if only someone could hook this up to loudspeakers and play it on Capitol Hill!!” in the post.

Sometime later that day, the shut down ended.

In January of 2018, there was another government shut down, but I was in the process of leaving my wife and moving out that I didn’t have the time nor the mental energy to be so opinionated nor was I in a joke-cracking mood. Also, I was almost five years older and wiser, so I had learned to still my tongue or my fingers more frequently.

I hope this piece has been informative and enlightening.

Forgive me for the politically charged content.

A Royal #101 Scientific Calculator

Since infancy, I have always been fascinated by flashlights and calculators. These interests have waxed and waned throughout my childhood and teens, but are very much present in my adult years. In December of 1997, when I was ten going on eleven, and many other times throughout my childhood, teens and even into my adult life, my mom gave me some of the calculators that her students had discarded, despite them still being fully functional. My mom teaches high school math courses at a private school and many of her students are very well off. Therefore, it’s not an issue for them to discard certain material items of value such as a calculator. Most people at that age only use calculators because they are a required academic item and not something of amusement. To me however, in my childhood, as well as my teen and still in my adult years, a discarded calculator was not only a cool collector’s item, but a relatively cheap form of amusement. My parents didn’t have a computer in the house until 1998 and didn’t subscribe to Internet until 2000. I was always into technology, even before my parents had an Internet subscription and once they did, I was glued to the computer for hours sometimes days on end. Well I couldn’t drive yet and even after I could, I didn’t have my own car until I was nineteen, so I was a homebody on the computer for most of my teen years. Anyway, this particular calculator that was given to me in December of 1997 was made for or by an electronics company known as “Royal.” I’ve seen personal organizers also of this brand. I cannot remember the model number to save my life. All I know is that it had a single line segmented LCD and performed many of the common scientific and trigonometric functions. It was probably made around the 1980’s or very early 1990’s. Anyway, the next morning I was standing on the western side side of my paternal grandparents’ house waiting to catch the school bus, with that calculator in my pocket. Yes, I was everyday carrying before doing so was cool. It was very sunny but cold enough that morning and when I exhaled, it looked like steam was coming out of my mouth and nostrils. I always liked to hang around that side of my grandparents’ house because that is where the electric meter, cable hookup and, telephone junction box all were located and I was always fascinated by stuff like that too. Those of you who know me well enough are by no means surprised by that at all. Anyway, at that moment a plane was flying over, because that part of the neighborhood I grew up in is under a flight route. I was thinking how it would have been cool if I was on that plane using that calculator in my pocket to aid the pilot in figuring out certain variables pertaining to navigation and fuel consumption of that aircraft. I was also thinking about if the people on that plane, since it was flying kind of low, could see the “steam” coming out of me when I exhaled. Because of that, I was also thinking how it must have looked like I was smoking a cigarette despite being only ten years old and how smoking was forbidden when fueling up that aircraft. Unfortunately, the bus came a few minutes later and I stopped thinking about the aircraft and using the calculator to assist the pilots flying it. I probably was more concerned about what songs were playing on the bus radio and also the fact that Christmas was just around the corner.

Unfortunately, that calculator began falling apart sometime later, but my sister still played with it, until it was lost or just gave up the ghost entirely.

There was a time, mostly in my childhood and then in my teens, when I was obsessed with calculators and other handheld devices even more than flashlights, believe it or not. In the Facebook post pertaining to this story, I had stated how I hadn’t found any calculator like it since then and how I had checked on eBay from time to time.

Well, earlier tonight, I had gone out for a drive and stopped at a Rite Aid several towns to the west of me, in Bayou Vista, Louisiana, hoping to talk to the workers about how my favorite cousin had worked for Rite Aid in his retirement and almost until the day he died. As I was browsing the aisles I had seen a calculator that was branded both “Royal” and “Rite Aid” hanging in a blister package on the shelf and selling for $9.99. I picked it up of the shelf then looked closely at the specs and keys. My eyes have been behaving themselves as of lately so I didn’t need my glasses. There are good days and bad days with my vision, I guess. I do plan on seeing an eye doctor as soon as school lets out for the summer and I can get a ride, from my mom since it is difficult to drive myself after an eye exam. After reading thoroughly, I had realized that this is a modern, but possibly better version of the calculator aforementioned in this piece and had remembered my Facebook post five days prior. The model number is 101 for those who wish to do any research on it.

I took it to the cashier and decided to pull out my credit card and purchase it. As the transaction was being processed I told her about how the post I made on Facebook and how I collect calculators. When the transaction was approved I told her where I was from and where I was currently living, but was shocked that she actually knew the location of both towns.

The case and cabinet of this model is blue, but in a few days, I am going back to one of the Rite Aid stores in my area and will try to see if I can purchase one with a black cabinet and case. If I find a black one, I will probably even carry it in my pocket and/or backpack on the regular. That is how impressed I am with the specs! It really does have some high end features, especially for a $10 calculator, by the way.

Nowadays, at almost 31 and a half, I don’t think I myself will ever use it or my more expensive and sophisticated Texas Instruments 36 X Pro calculator to help pilots fly an aircraft, but I could sure write some cool fantasies that entail the very thing.

My Own Zombie Apocalypse

I stand on the carport of what used to be the house of my paternal grandparents in Louisiana. Suddenly, I am surrounded by a swarm of living dead human beings, all of who are demanding my brain. They are advancing on me. I reach into my pockets for any object to fight them off with. Thankfully, I still have my Streamlight Pro Tac Flashlight. They advance on me, but as each one comes, I activate the strobe feature. They shield their eyes and I strike their temples or their windpipes with the scalloped bezel of my flashlight. Five zombies engage me. Five zombies fall to their deaths. I am still outnumbered though and realize I can’t keep on fighting them. My Dr. Scholls walking shoes and Swiss Gear backpack which contains my LG smartphone, my glasses, my house key and, my medication are all inside my grandparents’ house which is surrounded by a whole army of zombies. More and more are also walking out of their graves. They wish to rule this otherwise peaceful neighborhood for whatever reason. Reluctantly, I leave these items behind and decide to evacuate on foot, even barefoot. I walk to the house I am renting from an elderly lady. She lets me in, but I tell her how I have to leave. She demands my key. It’s in my backpack. She then falls asleep, so I grab as many tee shirts and undergarments as I can stuff in my pants pockets, then continue running out of the neighborhood and onto the main highway. I walk along the main highway and hold my thumb out. I hear Florida is a safe haven from the zombies, so I try to flag down a truck driver that’s headed there or at least in that direction. Suddenly an old fisherman drives by on a golf cart and holds a pistol to my head. I keep calm then remember an old Israeli martial arts technique then take the pistol from him. I then aim for his back and fire several shots. However, only BBs come out of the gun’s muzzle and they bounce off his back. He then pulls out a crossbow and shoots me in my left thigh. The extra shirts and drawers in my pocket keep the arrow from going in too deep, so I pull it out and bleed only slightly in my leg. I take the arrow and prepare to plunge it in that old man’s jugular vein, but then he offers me a fish hook, some line, bait and some cleaned Redfish flesh, claiming that it was all a test and that I passed. I still don’t trust him in the least. I have an overwhelming suspicion that the fish he gave me is laced with poison. I depart from him and start walking towards the Interstate when I wake up…I look at my G-Shock wristwatch. It’s 3:50 in the morning. I realize I have church in a few hours, so I soon fall back asleep.

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