A Crisis following an Argument-Confessions of an [un]Happily Married Blogger

So, it’s either the Summer of 2017, I honestly can’t remember which month or day, despite having a razor-sharp memory.

My wife and I are walking into our local big-box discount retailer (whose name needs no introduction) and for some reason or another, we’re angry at each other.

She is talking to me like a child and I am trying to tune her out.

I just agree so she will shut up.

Now and then, I stand up for myself, though.

Finally, she goes to purchase whatever items that she came to purchase.

I, on the other hand, decide to go look at the calculators, something of which I have been fascinated by almost as long as flashlights.

I’m not feeling loved at all and I certainly don’t feel any validation. I think my wife deliberately tries to deprive me of the latter and doesn’t know how to properly show me the former.

So besides my writing, I turn to flashlights and calculators to fill the void.

As I am making my way to the calculator aisle, which is near arts and crafts and office supplies, I see a beautiful young lady walking out of the housewares department.

She looks at me and warmly smiles.

When I say beautiful, she is my kind of beautiful:
Long thick blonde hair.
A sexy plus-sized body.
A flawless complexion.
And of course, she has everything in the right places!

She looks so cute in those Wayfarer eyeglasses. I’m glad that style has made a comeback!

A major part of me wants to smile back and I awkwardly do so.

But another part of me knows that I am a married man, albeit unhappily married and how I must needs honor my marriage or face the wrath of God.

I am already guilty of adultery in the heart and have been many times before, as this series brazenly suggests.

I wonder if this young lady is smiling at me because she just saw how awfully my wife just treated me?

I know this, she reminds me of a character in a story series I had recently begun.

I want this young lady so much, but I know I can’t have her, so maybe I’ll just write about her!

As each day passes, I regret my marriage more and more.

I know it is doomed to fail, but I need a catalyst to provoke me to divorce her.

I also need to know that my housing and financial needs shall be met whenever I do leave my wife.

Obviously, there are good women out there.

So, why does mine have to treat me so shabbily?

I don’t think it’s the fact that we moved too fast, rather I think her personality has changed and her toxic personality brings out some pretty ugly traits in me.

There are other factors as well, but for my safety, I won’t mention them.

At least I have my writing, and even though my wife resents it when I write, scores of others love my content.

Sometimes it is all I have to maintain my sanity.

I go back to the calculator aisle to see if any new ones are being sold.

There are none, so I make my way to the flashlight section in sporting goods.

I don’t have any money for a flashlight today, but just looking at them sends the endorphins pumping through my being and is a temporary remedy to the fact that I am an unhappily married blogger…

Back to “Confessions of an [un]Happily Married Blogger

My Idea for the Perfect EDC Weather Radio

Here is my idea for the perfect EDC Weather Radio:

Does anyone besides me remember the Motorola i530?

For those who don’t remember, it was a rugged clamshell phone used on the Nextel System and maybe other iDEN networks.

I’m just realizing that some might not remember Nextel or iDEN.

Just Google it, because I have bigger fish to fry.

All in all, the Motorola i530 was partially inspiring for me to come up with this idea.

Due to writing the description in a video I posted to Youtube, I was discussing how I should design the perfect weather radio that would be used for travel and EDC. It could also be used for monitoring the progress of severe weather from a safe room.

Such a weather radio that I am envisioning doesn’t currently exist, but maybe a product designer is reading this blog and could apply my idea. I would be super thrilled!

I would want a weather radio that could run on either 3 AAA Alkaline/Lithium Primary batteries or have a proprietary Lithium-Ion battery that could be internally charged. The proprietary battery pack should have a charging port that features a USB-C or Micro USB connector. The charging port should NOT be located on the radio

The radio should be around the height and width of the Motorola i530 times 1.5. However, it should be more in a rectangle instead of a rounded shape. it should be able to easily and solidly stand up on a flat surface. The radio should be waterproof and buoyant. It would probably need to be thicker. And just for the record, it would be in a candy bar form factor, not a clamshell, like the Motorola i530.

The radio’s cabinet should be constructed of that same or very similar plastic that Glock pistols are constructed of. It should be all yellow except for the speaker, volume knob, channel selector knob and, power/listen/standby alert knob (more on those details in a bit.)

The battery door should be sealed, slide on, held on by a flat non-removable screw and, locked tightly.

The speaker should be front-firing and occupy the entire front side of the radio. The loudness should be comparable to other weather radios of a similar size and power source.

Another USB-C or Mirco USB port could be placed behind the battery for listening on line current or vehicle power.

The antenna design should also be proprietary and maybe feature two different antennas:
A removable stubby antenna for ease of carrying and durability. It should be properly tuned to quarter-wave in a coil to the weather band and housed in a hard plastic casing.

A removable telescopic antenna for extended range. It should be the same height as the stubby antenna when retracted but maybe ideally to a height of 18 inches when extended (quarter-wave on the weather band.)

The antenna connection to the radio should be female SMA with all appropriate gaskets to keep moisture and dust out.

All control knobs must be situated at the top of the radio and sealed, especially the volume knob.

There would be a knob to select between”Off” “Listen” and “Standby”

Off would of course be to save power when not in use.
Listen would be to hear whichever channel the radio is tuned to.
Standby would be to keep the radio silent until the 1050 Hz tone is broadcast, to which the user would turn the Listen setting.

The channel selector knob should be able to turn to all 7 channels, plus have an 8th position to scan automatically for the strongest signal available (perfect for traveling.) The name of the function maybe could be known as “Travel.”

To pay homage to the history of weather radios, I believe it should use the channel plan of:
1. 162.550
2. 162.400
3. 162.475
4. 162.425
5. 162.450
6. 162.500
7. 162.525
8. Travel Scan

There should be a loud click any time the channel selector knob is turned or the power/listen/standby knob is turned.

The channel numbers and their corresponding frequencies should be stamped or molded on the back of the radio, quite possibly on the battery door.

All other marks and labels on the radio should also be stamped or molded in, not painted. This includes the serial number and date of manufacture, which should be on the back of the radio, possibly behind the battery door.

The brand logo, model number, and NOAA logo could also be stamped on the front by the speaker

The alert sound should feature something like an air raid siren or a series of loud piercing and shrill beeps to get the user’s attention.

As far as the circuitry of the radio, to save space, it should be PLL tuned instead of crystal controlled. There should be some type of amplifier to allow decent reception at 40-50 miles from a transmitter. There should also be either an atmospheric noise limiter circuit or a noise blanker circuit.

This could be marketed to people from all walks of life.

It would be especially popular with those employed in the transportation sector.

I could also see coaches, farmers, teachers, hunters, fishers, campers, or anyone who commutes a considerable distance to work getting some serious use out of this.

Finally, it could be a perfect solution for anyone going on vacation within The US, Canada, Mexico, or Bermuda.

I would be thrilled to see this device come to fruition.

Back to “Articles I have Written”

A Review of the Sony ICF-24 AM/FM Portable Radio

Just so we’re all clear:  I do not own the featured image on this page.  I must and will give all credit to whomever credit is due…

I had been fascinated by all electronics since about the age of one or two.

Definitely, at age two, I developed a fascination with radios.

There was a hand-me-down Sears transistor radio that belonged to my parents. I played with it from the ages of two until four when it was suddenly misplaced.

At the age of eight is when I became even more interested in radios because my morning bus driver would play a station that was popular with kids, teens, and even young adults. That station was Mix 104.1 with the call letters KHOM, later KUMX. It kept this format from 1994 until June 29, 2001. I listened to it very frequently from late 1995 until the format changed and was pretty angry when it did.

My paternal grandparents helped raise me when my parents were working or running errands. And if I was sick on a school day, I stayed at their house. This means I saw them a lot.

At some point in probably late 1996, my Great Aunt gave my Maw Maw a radio. It was a Sony ICF-24.

I think it was so she could listen to the Thibodaux, Louisiana, station, KTIB on 640 AM. At the time, that station was playing music that older people would have listened to. My Maw Maw sewed safety hats for welders as a side hustle well into her 80s and my Paw Paw raised cattle and produce until the age of 89.

The only time I remember my grandparents listening to it was if the electricity was out, such as after Hurricane Katrina.

They were much more fixated on watching cable news channels, especially CNN and later MS-NBC.

I think they subscribed to cable just to watch those channels.

However, I frequently listened to that Sony as a child, teenager, and even into my adult years whenever I was at their house. While waiting to catch the bus for school, if I wasn’t watching television, I was probably sleeping or listening to that radio.

My Paw Paw died on September 4, 2018, and my Maw Maw died on December 28, 2019. They were both 94.

My family began to clean out their house in January of 2020.

They gave me that Sony ICF-24, to which I gladly took it.

And that radio is what this piece will be a review thereof.

Sony always made quality radios and they were a coveted item when I was growing up

Fun fact, I didn’t shop at Radio Shack on the regular until I was 14 going on 15. I didn’t know what a scanner radio was until I was 14 and a half. My family didn’t have Internet access until I was 13 and a half. There were no video game consoles in the house until I was 10 going on 11. So the bulk of my entertainment aside from watching television was listening to the radio. It was boring sometimes and I often believe that I should have been born 10 years later. What is weird is when I look at pictures of myself as a child, the hairstyle I had looks more like the hairstyles kids had in the 2010s and this decade as well. I think a time or two my classmates in grade school commented on how I was probably from the future, but I digress. Seriously I would have done better on so many levels had I been born 10 years later, but maybe my life would have been so good that I would have never realized my desperate need for Christ.

Most people in my age group appreciated radio in their childhood but have since gotten away from it and similar technologies. It seems to me that all they want to do is eat out and watch Netflix. However, it seems that younger people, as in those in their teens and early-to-mid-twenties are indeed interested in radio technologies. Because of them, it is making a strong comeback. See why I say I should have been born 10 years later?! And if you don’t believe me, just look around on YouTube. I will say that people my age watch more broadcast television than their GI, Silent, Boomer, and GenX counterparts. Millennials and Zoomers are either using a streaming service or watching broadcast television. This is because we realize cable is a ripoff and many of us couldn’t afford it anyway. However, I was watching broadcast television since my teens, mostly as an experiment. I was doing it before it was cool to do so. In my childhood and up until my very early twenties, even a basic cable package could deliver some pretty superb programming, but some time around 2010, things started to change. By the way, my Paw Paw was from the GI Generation and my Maw Maw was on the cusp between GI and Silent and as I said before, they were hooked on cable news, especially my Maw Maw. I can see why though, they were old enough to have witnessed plenty of history and they lived in an area that was not quite rural but not quite the suburbs either. So watching television with an antenna proved quite troublesome and I’m guessing they figured it was easier just to subscribe to cable.

Look at me I am very off track and way out of focus, but at least I said things that needed to be said.

Sometimes, more like many times, this blog is quite therapeutic for me.

…Back to the piece at hand…

I was always impressed by the tuning accuracy this radio provides, especially on AM. I am equally impressed by its AM DXing capabilities. That is what I used it for most these days.

And here is why:

It lacks an Automatic Frequency Control circuit for FM.

…And…

I happen to reside near an FM transmitter tower.

So, unless I want to listen to the signal that is provided by that said nearby tower, this radio is useless for FM because I cannot listen to any other FM station on this radio.

I do have other FM-capable radios with AFC and other signal filtering capabilities, but it would be nice if I could pretend I am Carlisle Snowden and use it to listen to NPR.

For those who don’t know, Carlisle Snowden is a character I created a little over a year ago. He is a tortured artist who listens to NPR to inspire his creativity. He lives in a cheap condominium because of his poverty and can only afford vintage or second-hand electronics. Therefore, he uses a Sony ICF-24 to receive NPR’s programming. The name of the story series is “Bohemian America” for those who are interested and I have a post containing excerpts from that series.

Let’s get down to the details of the radio:

It features a sturdy handle for carrying.

A telescoping rod antenna for FM listening that can be set in very diverse positions.

There is a very well-engineered internal ferrite bar antenna for AM listening.

The ample-sized speaker is excellent with the voice and even music reproduction.

There is also a headphone jack, but I don’t recall ever using it.

The power cord is hard-wired into the radio, but there is a space to place it behind the battery cover whilst using it on the go.

The alternative power source is 4 AA Alkaline batteries and the run time is highly generous. I mean, while I was growing up it had the same batteries for years, but still performed perfectly.

The power switch is independent of the volume knob.

And speaking of the volume knob, despite being in a house that could be tremendously dusty at the times, there is no static when turning it. That should speak volumes, no pun intended, in and of itself given the radio is about 25 years old at the time of me writing this!

There is a red LED tuning indicator to show when the radio is locked onto a signal.

The dial is clear and detailed, there is even a log scale for both AM and FM!

The cabinet is very sturdy and maybe even rugged, at least for home or office use.

So yes, even without an AFC circuit, this radio is still a fine piece of work, as are most Sony products!

I’m just wondering though if any radios made today, will still function flawlessly 25 years later?

I didn’t listen to AM on the regular until I was 16, but FM reception on this radio was nice as a child and early teenager since my grandparents’ house was not too close to an FM transmitter. When I play it now, I usually use it for nighttime AM Dxing experiments. It’s after midnight at the time of me writing this piece and if I wasn’t up to monitor the severe weather that is due in my area, I might be doing some AM DXing with this radio.

As I mentioned before, my one gripe about this radio is the lack of an AFC circuit as does my more modern Sony ICF-P26.

One would think a company like Sony could put an AFC circuit in their most entry-level FM radio receivers.

For that shortcoming, I will take off three-quarters of a point.

So that means I give this product a 4.25 out of 5 stars.

On a slightly related note, I am 34 at the time of writing this piece and I couldn’t tell you, the reader, a single hit song of this year or decade (aside from the Christian singers) without consulting Google. That makes me feel quite old because when my parents were in their mid-thirties they knew all of the popular music. My Dad kept up with the current music into his early 60s, maybe he still does. I mean he knew who Billie Eilish is. In my defense music at that time was awesome whereas I don’t think I would like the music of today. When I do listen to terrestrial radio, unless I am trying to receive distant AM stations it is either tuned to a Christian station or NPR. I would like to see [secular] music get good again, but I won’t hold my breath. If you, the reader, want my honest opinion: Country music became stupid at some point in early 2013. Before that, in fact, in 2012, it was still wonderful. As for mainstream music, it became stupid sometime after 2018, but before then it was pretty nice too. Rap became stupid some time in either 2004 or 2005. Christian Contemporary Music has become much better in the last few years though. I’ll be honest, I didn’t care for it, even after getting saved at the age of 17, but some time in my early thirties, I began to enjoy it thoroughly! Last Sunday at church, the sound system operator was playing a track while waiting for the service to begin. The melody sounded like something from the Post-Grunge era of the late 1990s and early 2000s, but the lyrics were all about praising God. I was thoroughly impressed! Never once did I think I could see Grunge music and Christian music fused like that but it was beautiful!

All in all, I guess this, therefore, concludes my review of the Sony ICF-24.

I know I had deviated from the main subject quite a bit, but I sincerely hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

Excerpts from Bohemian America

I was inspired to write this story after hours of listening to NPR back in February of 2020.  The inspiration came to me late at night whilst bathing.

In a nutshell it is a love story between a tortured visual artist named Carlisle Snowden and a violinist with a troubled past named Alexandra Barbu.

Both characters do indeed live a Bohemian lifestyle, hence the title of the story.

I takes place in the early 2020 in what I imagine to be New York City, but I began writing this just before Coronavirus became an issue.

NYC is obviously now a very different place as are many other population centers around the world.

Maybe it could reflect a rebirth of arts and humanities once this pandemic is over.

Like me, my main character, Carlisle Snowden, also frequently listens to NPR and like me, does so to inspire creativity.

Without further ado, here are the excerpts:

EXCERPT ONE:

Alexandra’s abusive uncle was waiting in the front to pick her up, when he witnessed pianist and most experienced member Davis Istre giving her a handful of cash, saying, “You earned it girl, with those mad violin skills! You bring our group to a whole new dimension, and you were awesome at our last gig, so go buy yourself something nice!”

She hugged him and thanked him, then saw her uncle.

“Let’s go!” He said impatiently, “I want us to get out of this part of the city before the sun goes down and all the riff-raff come out!”

Saxophonist Leroy James answered him, “Chill out man! And don’t be so full of hate!”

“Spoken like a true blue dope head,” Her uncle replied with disgust, “I’m surprised you don’t use your saxophone as a bong pipe.”

He then looked at Alexandra and said, “Now you come with me right now young lady!”

Alexandra rolled her eyes and then left with her uncle.

They walked out of the abandoned building and into his single cab older GMC truck.

“I know that those in your band smoke that dope. I better not find out that you smoke dope or I will kick you out of my house.”

“No, I don’t smoke dope. I’m already fat and if I smoke dope, I’ll likely get fatter and have wrinkles as well.”

“Well, the fact that you are fat means you will never make it in the music industry. So you should go back to school or get a real job like everyone else.”

Alexandra was now getting angry, but kept calm and concealed it, saying, “I don’t know, what about Meghan Trainor?”

“I never heard of her,” Her uncle replied.

“That figures, otherwise you wouldn’t have made that ignorant statement.”

“Watch that attitude young lady, you will never be too old for me to backhand you.”

“That’s where you are wrong. If you lay a single finger on me, I will press charges.”

“How dare you! You are riding in my vehicle and staying under my roof and you would press charges on me after all your aunt and I did for you.” There was a tense silence but then he continued, “You know what, give me your money, you owe me for food and rent!”

“I need that money to keep my phone turned on so I can keep in touch with my band,” Alexandra protested.

“Well, that’s too bad. Now give me your money or you can find somewhere else to stay.”

“You’re such a jerk!”

“No, you just need a dose of reality, big time! Now give me your money…”

“I’ll speak to my aunt first,” Alexandra said, pulling out her phone.

“If you call her you can get out right now.”

“Then put me down right here. I’ve had enough of you anyway.”

“Fine, have it your way. Now get out!”

Alexandra unbuckled her seat belt, opened the door and stepped out onto the sidewalk.

Her uncle then flung her violin in its case out the door then said, “And take that stupid instrument with you!”

EXCERPT TWO:

An elderly black lady came outside and said, “Carlisle, I heard you shouting what happened, baby?”

Alexandra spoke up and told her, “It’s partially my fault, ma’am. My uncle was driving me to his house but we had an argument and he kicked me out of his truck. He then threw my violin out as well and it knocked this young man’s easel down and ruined his painting.”

“Well, I’m going to have to call the police then, people can’t just be abandoning minors on a city street.”

“But, I’m not a minor. I’m actually twenty-going-on-twenty-one,” Alexandra said, then continued, “But I do, however, have no place to go.”

The artist spoke, “Wow, I thought I had issues. I’m very blessed compared to you! My name is Carlisle Snowden by the way.”

“You are blessed, Carlisle and your blessings will continue as long as you be a blessing to others. Just remember to keep taking that medicine, keep letting your light of kindness shine to others around you and keep painting those beautiful pictures!” The elderly black lady said.

“It’s nice to meet both of you, I’m Alexandra Barbu.”

The elderly black lady answered her, “You can call me Mother Nellie. I look out for the whole neighborhood and I pray for everybody.” She paused and then said, “Something tells me there was a reason that both of you met.”

Carlisle’s face grew very serious as he looked at her and said, “Mother Nellie, if you’re suggesting what I think you’re suggesting, I believe Alexandra is a bit too young for me.”

“Child, age is just a number. Besides, I know how lonely you are and how you’ve been praying that the Lord send you someone special. She just might be the answer to your prayers! I know you’re one of the few white men in the neighborhood and she is also white. I’m very aware of the racial tension that exists, so I think you and her would be perfect together! While I think mixed babies are beautiful, I know they receive a lot of ill-treatment in this cruel, hateful world.”

“You don’t look that old anyway,” Alexandra said.

“I just made thirty-four,” Carlisle replied.

“Wow. I thought you would have been twenty-two or twenty-three, twenty-five, tops. I mean, you are very cute!”

“Well, thanks. I get that a lot. But, see, I’m probably too old for you.”

“What if I told you that I’m very mature for an twenty-going-on-twenty-one-year old and I do like older guys?!”

“I don’t know. You are very pretty and you seem sweet, but I have a lot of reverence for you and…”

“You’re making me blush! It’s a good thing though if you have reverence for me, that means you would treat me well.”

“Yes, that’s true, I suppose.”

“We also have a lot in common, I mean we’re both artists in our respects. I bet I could play my violin while you paint and inspire you to create some beautiful portraits or I could study your previous paintings and be inspired to play some beautiful music.”

“Come to think of that, as Mother Nellie said, I have been praying that the Lord send me a significant other, and I would want my relationship with her to have exactly those attributes. Maybe age is just a number after all.”

“Well, duh, silly!” Alexandra replied, then continued soberly, “But am I too fat for you, though?”

“As I said before, I think you’re very pretty, weight included! And more importantly, you have a beautiful heart and a brilliant mind!”

“You’re making me blush even more, but I feel so giddy!”

“I can see you blushing and I think it’s adorable! I’d like to kiss you where you are blushing, but I don’t want to overstep my bounds.”

“Aw, that is so sweet. By the way, you wouldn’t be overstepping your bounds. I’d want you to kiss me. In fact, come here and kiss me right now!”

Carlisle walked off the steps and onto the sidewalk.

Mother Nellie said, “I’ll leave you two alone.” She then went inside.

EXCERPT THREE:

I would like to be in on their jam sessions and paint while they make music.”

“They would be flattered, I’m sure.”

“When is the next time you practice with them?”

“Not tomorrow but the next day.”

“Do you think I could come and paint?”

“Sure!”

“Where does your band meet to practice?”

“There’s an abandoned building a few blocks away.”

“Wow! Just from what you describe your band seems very genuine. I bet they make the most awesome music. What is their name?”

“A Litte Bit of Everything (And Not Too Much of Nothing.)”

“That is so original! I now cannot wait to hear you play with them!”

“I would like to see some of your paintings, if that’s all right.”

“Of course! I’d be honored to show you!”

Carlisle walked to his closet and pulled out several painted canvases.

“There’s this blogger who’s work I love to read,” He said, “I typically read the fiction page of his blog and then meditate on his stories, once my heart and mind are full of inspiration I try to bring those stories to life in my paintings.”

He began to show them to Alexandra one by one:

“This first one,” He said, “Is a portrait of a young couple sitting in an urban park. He is reading his stories to her and she is hanging on to his every word. Look, you can almost feel what they are feeling!”

“It’s kind of like us, but in a parallel universe,” Alexandra replied.

“Here’s another one, two teenage runaways hiding under an overpass on a cold night. It’s them against the world but look how much in love they are!”

“Yes! Yes! I can feel it! Show me some more!”

“Very well: Here is a teenage couple laying together in the fields on a dreary day. He is cradled in her lap, but look how he stares up at her with so much love!”

“I want to cradle you in my lap if that’s all right with you. There’s so much more I want to do with you as well!”

“I desire those things as well, Alexandra, but you do command a lot of reverence!”

“Then if you revere me so much, give in to my desires!”

EXCERPT FOUR:

Carlisle hugged Alexandra then they share a few kisses once again.

“I would like to cradle you in my lap, that is if you would want that as well.”

“Sounds wonderful to me. Let me pull out the mattress on my futon.”

“Yay!”

“I have a Sony portable radio that’s probably older than you and I use it to listen to NPR. However, I’m probably the only resident of this building who listens to that network. There’s some fine music on at this hour if you want to listen.”

“Wow! I too would try to listen to NPR, but then my uncle broke my radio in a fit of anger when he caught me doing so. He took a sledge hammer and crushed it to pieces. Of course, he did that also to my computer, which I lost so many of my recordings.”

Carlisle said, “He sounds like a terrible person and how I saw him act today further backs that assumption I have about him,”

“You assume correctly though!” Alexandra answered.

“I don’t have it in me to act like that, unless I’m severely provoked,”

“Well I think someone would have to do something extremely wrong to provoke you.”

“You’re right.”

Alexandra smiled at Carlisle and he plugged his radio into the electrical socket, then extended out the FM antenna and turned it on, placing it on the window sill as he said to her, “Well, for the record, in my place, you may listen to NPR or anything else you wish to hear until your heart is content!”

Alexandra then sat on the mattress of the futon and Carlisle rested the back of his head in her lap and looked up at her face with admiration.

She played with his curly hair and spoke as they listened to classical music, “I’ve never met a man like you, but I must confess I am falling for you quickly!”

“The feeling is mutual! I’m so sorry I misjudged you about your age because you do seem so perfect for me!”

“It’s quite all right. All that tells me is what a decent guy you are!”

“Thank you. That means a whole lot coming from someone like you!”

“Well, I mean every word of it,” Alexandra said as she continued to play with Carlisle’s hair and rubbed his face with her soft hands.

They rested on the futon and listened to the radio until Carlisle heard Alexandra’s stomach growling. The noise became increasingly loud.

“Are you hungry?” He asked her.

“Yes. I haven’t eaten since Noon. All my band and I had were doughnuts and coffee.”

Carlisle looked at his SwissGear wristwatch. The hands pointed to 10:17.

“Good Lord, you need to eat, as do I,” He said, then continued, “I made a pot spaghetti around lunchtime, but I can heat it up.”

“That sounds good, I’m not picky. Of course, I’m not picky, look how fat I am!”

“With all reverence due, I think you’re very sexy!”

“Aw. Thank you! Just so you know, there’s a lot of sexy things I want to do with you!”

“As do I but let’s eat first. We both need some nourishment.”

Carlisle and Alexandra walked to the kitchen and he began to heat the pot of sauce and the pot of noodles on his stove.

In time the noodles were steaming and the sauce was bubbling.

He grabbed himself and Alexandra a plate and served both of them a generous portion of noodles and sauce.

He then took a two Liter bottle of Cherry Coke from his refrigerator and poured them each a tall glass as he said, “I don’t know if you prefer Wild Cherry Pepsi or Cherry Coke, but I buy whichever one is on sale.”

“Either one is fine like I said, I’m not picky.”

They then sat down at Carlisle’s coffee table and ate quickly.

EXCERPT FIVE:

To put the thought out of his head, he turned his radio on. The final hour of “Morning Edition” was playing. He listened intently.

As he was getting particularly interested in a news piece, he heard Alexandra flush the toilet then turn on the sink to wash her hands.

She stepped out of the bathroom and kissed him.

“Now I have to use it as well. I’ll make us breakfast afterward,” Carlisle said.

“Good deal,” Alexandra replied.

Carlisle went into the bathroom and relieved himself.

Alexandra listened to the radio and was reminded of the radio that her uncle smashed. She realized that she needed to get what was hers but that he probably wouldn’t let her. She had left him with little more than the clothes on her back and now those clothes were dirty as she had worn them now for over twenty-four hours.

Carlisle finished up in the bathroom. He flushed then washed his hands and stepped out.

“Would you like some off-brand Pop-Tarts?” He asked.

“Sure,” Alexandra replied with slight distress.

“Is everything okay?”

Alexandra began to shudder.

“Are we okay? Maybe it is what I should ask,” Carlisle said.

Alexandra hugged him then kissed him as she replied, “We’re fine, but I’m just realizing I need my clothes and to get them I have to confront my uncle. God only knows what he would do to me or you for that matter.”

Carlisle hugged her tightly then kissed her forehead in return and told her, “Don’t worry about that. There’s a thrift store a block away that sells articles of clothing for twenty-five cents apiece.”

“Also my phone is turned off right now and I cannot keep in touch with my band members. It was shut off at midnight,” Alexandra said with worry.

“Is it a prepaid phone or are you on your uncle’s contract?”

“No, it’s a prepaid phone. I was on my uncle’s plan but he was forever holding it over me, so when I started making money with my band, I got a prepaid phone.”

“Well I have $60 still in my banking account and I get my disability check in just a few days, so, how about I pay for your phone service right now, then I can withdraw the money from the ATM on the corner and we can walk to the thrift store and I can buy you a sexy new wardrobe!”

“That sounds like a wonderful idea, and is very sweet of you but you don’t have to pay. I have some on me that I earned from my band’s last gig. My uncle and I were arguing over that money when he kicked me out of his truck.”

“Wow! I hope I’m not too poor for someone like you,”

“You may be poor financially, but you are cute as can be and you are so sweet. I know a good thing when I see it!”

Alexandra then planted a kiss on Carlisle’s lips.

“You’re beautiful yourself, you know!” Carlisle said as he gently rubbed Alexandra’s love handles, then continued, “And more importantly you have a heart of gold along with a brilliant mind!”

… …

… …

That’s all I am willing to share at the moment.

I hope you, the reader, have enjoyed!

Back to “Works of Fiction”

A Stormy Louisiana Monday

The alarm clock rings. A forty-five-year-old gentleman slowly wakes up.

He kisses his thirty-nine-year-old disabled wife good morning then gets ready for the day.

He brews some Community Breakfast Blend Coffee and drinks it mixed with half milk and half cream.

He also fries four eggs sunny side up and also toasts two slices of Evangeline Maid Wite Bread on his natural gas-powered range.

He slides his four eggs onto a plate and spreads some Clover Valley Strawberry Preserves on his two slices of toast.

Finally, he pours a tall glass of V8 juice and, says Grace sits down for breakfast.

He enjoys his breakfast then goes into the bathroom and freshens up in his washbasin, scrubbing his body with a bar of Dial soap.

He then shaves his face and splashes on some Aqua Velva.

Finally, he puts on RightGuard deodorant then gets dressed.

He dons a white Hane’s tee shirt with a left breast pocket, some Navy Blue Dickie’s work pants, a brown Dickie’s leather belt some white Fruit of the Loom crew socks and some brown Brahma work boots.

From his bedroom night table, he retrieves a SwissGear RFID shielded wallet, which he places in his left-back pants pocket, a Leatherman Surge multi-tool which he places in his right pocket and a Streamlight SL-20 LED flashlight which he secures in its belt holster. And he takes his Motorola smartphone secured in an Otterbox and places it in his left pants pocket. He places a bag of Clover Valley Cherry Sours in his breast pocket.

His wife prepares him two Creole tomato sandwiches with Rouse’s Mayonaise and Mustard and black pepper, then a Yeti Mug filled with Black Cherry Kool-Aid and places them in his Igloo Playmate Cooler and hands it to him.

They share a sweet hug and kiss, then she smacks his backside.

She then gets their young daughter ready for school.

Finally, he gets his keys and leaves his house, locking the doors behind him.

The skies are overcast and the wind is blowing as he steps onto his carport and opens the door to his 1993 Dodge Dakota.

He sits down cranks his engine and heads to work.

During his commute, he tunes in the Weather Band on his Midland CB Radio. He learns that the entire listening area is under a Tornado Watch and that a squall line is also due for their area this day.

He cusses under his breath, then asks God for forgiveness and places a couple of Cherry Sours in his mouth. Subsequently, he petitions God to protect his wife and daughter in addition to himself.

The sky is dark as he arrives at the local elementary school where he is employed as the facility engineer.

A bolt of lightning lights up the sky as he walks into the office.

He punches in and listens briefly as the principal’s radio is tuned to the local NPR affiliate.

He then walks to the boiler room and checks his work email on his Motorola Smartphone.

The cooler in the cafeteria needs to be tended to, so he retrieves his required tools and walks over.

There is a smell of bread rolls baking as well as red beans and rice along with smoked sausage being cooked. The aroma is very satisfying.

As the cafeteria staff continues to prepare the students’ lunch, the gentleman services the cooler. In due time he has the compressor pumping again.

One of the cooks attempts to flirt with him, but he replies, “Back off; I love my wife!”

The cafeteria manager warns her to respect his wishes and that he is a good man but a married man and not to mess with him again.

The buses are now dropping off the children.

He sees his young daughter stepping off the bus. She runs up to him and hugs him. He kisses her forehead then escorts her to her classroom.

He checks his work emails again and sees that the new light fixtures for the administration building have arrived and how he is assigned to install them.

He goes to the boiler room and secures a hand truck then walks to the receiving area to pick up the new light fixtures. He loads the boxes on the hand truck then transports them to the administration building along with his tools.

He steps into the administration building just as it begins to pour down rain.

NPR is still playing on the principal’s radio.

Morning Edition is interrupted with a Tornado Warning.

Immediately he assists the faculty and administration round up the children into the halls.

Just as the last student is in the hall, the electricity goes out.

He turns on his Streamlight SL-20 LED and lights up the dark school.

His daughter has an Olight I3E EOS on her lanyard next to her school ID. She also lights up her immediate area.

He stands next to her and begins to attempt to comfort the other students by telling them stories.

Suddenly his phone rings. It is his wife calling.

“I have to take this call,” He says, then quickly answers the phone.

On the other end, she frantically says, “It’s dark as night here bae. I think there’s a tornado nearby. Are you all right?”

“Yes. I am fine. I’m with all the students and my coworkers in the hall.”

“Is our little girl okay?”

“Yes. She has that little flashlight I bought her a while back on her lanyard and she is lighting up the hallways just like me.”

“That’s our girl! We’re blessed with a wonderful child!”

“Like mother, like daughter!”

“You’re so sweet!”

“Now baby, I’m not sure where the tornado is, but please go in the bathtub and cover yourself with a thick blanket!”

“Okay, I will. Do I have to let you go?”

“No. Stay on the line with me, at least until the warning expires. But if the call drops, just know that I love you.”

“I love you too and I won’t be at ease until you and our daughter are home and safe in my arms!”

“I love you, Mommy!” Their little girl called out.

Suddenly a horrible roaring sound was heard…

Back to “Works of Fiction”

The Personal Crisis I Face whilst Listening to NPR

A recent personal conflict of mine is whether I should listen to NPR (National Public Radio) or not.

The local NPR stations that are available in my area are WWNO on 89.9 FM from The University of New Orleans and KTLN, its translator station on 90.5 FM which serves the Houma-Thibodaux Metro.

I do enjoy listening to that radio network because I find doing so enhances my vocabulary, therefore my writing. And not only that, I find it makes me more informed as an individual. It was through listening to NPR that I first discovered the Coronavirus back in January of 2020. I appreciate their science programs and some of their cultural programs as well.

Since my early thirties, I’ve also tried to be more civic-minded and involved in my community at all levels. NPR allows me to do this, at least at varying degrees.

NPR is very educational, entertaining, and informative. And best of all it is free. At the most, I have to pay for the radio receiver and the source of power. So it’s not free, but it is very cheap as opposed to other mediums of information and entertainment.

So, yes, listening to NPR does bring me a considerable deal of happiness and benefits.

…BUT…

I find some of their news reporting leads a little more to the left than they should. After all, NPR is supposed to serve the entire American public, not just certain factions.

Don’t get me wrong, throughout my thirty-four years on this planet (at the time I am writing this), I have been scattered across the political spectrum. Since the ages of thirty-two or thirty-three, though I would consider myself fiercely Moderate. All I’m going to say is that it was a combination of having disabilities, one of my romantic relationships, and just my strong sense of community in general that has made me more Moderate than I used to be. I espouse some Conservative values and I espouse some Liberal values as well. But there are a few Conservative values I eschew, likewise, there are some Liberal values I equally eschew. As I’ve stated before, I know, as a Christian that we live in a flawed, fallen, and imperfect world. There is no getting around it and there are certain judgments that God has placed in this world and humanity. What I have noticed in recent years is that Liberals try to completely remove God’s judgments while Conservatives try to exacerbate God’s judgments. Both of these tactics would be considered playing God in my book and they are both going to have to answer to Him for it.

Okay, so I think I have established my position on my Moderate political stance.

I’m not trying to just attack Liberals in this piece, but I will point out that NPR tends to be more Liberal than Conservative, especially in recent years. Ideally, NPR should not be Conservative, Moderate, or Liberal. NPR should be apolitical, especially because it is meant to serve all of America.

I find the said radio network was especially harsh on the recent Trump administration.

On a Wednesday evening in late January or early February 2020, I had finished listening to NPR for a sizeable portion of the day. They were consistently badmouthing the president at the time.

So, I walked to my church and was waiting for everyone else to arrive so we could have our Prayer Meeting and Bible Study.

At the time I was EDCing a compact Bible and its translation was The Christian Standard Bible.

I was reading that Bible and came across Proverbs Chapter 31 Verse 3, “Don’t spend your energy on women or your efforts on those who destroy kings.”

Immediately I felt the strong Conviction of The Holy Ghost come upon me for listening to NPR earlier that day.

Like most of the American media, NPR had an agenda to destroy the Trump administration.

Now when that scripture was written, the only types of heads of state were kings. Donald Trump was certainly not a king, but I can safely say that the Bible does not endorse destroying any other sort of world leader, no matter how unpopular. The 13th Chapter of Romans will back this belief of mine up, by the way.

Thus began my crisis over whether or not I should listen to NPR.

I know I am a Moderate and a Christian and most American Christians tend to be staunchly pro-Conservative and equally anti Liberal.

I think this is because conservatives tend to be more espoused to Biblical principles, protect religious freedom and they are also mostly Christian, whereas Liberals tend to be more humanist, are not in favor of all religious freedoms and some have been known to persecute Christians in diverse ways.

I’ve mentioned previously in lesser detail how a goal/fantasy of mine is to be married to a super-sized lady and living in a neighborhood that is gentrifying. We would spend our days reading or writing and listening to NPR, to be more informed and to provoke more creativity. Likely we would have a daughter who sings in the school choir. And we would be a civic-minded family in general. I still think of this as a goal and fantasy, but I’m more hesitant about it after I received Divine Conviction about listening to NPR. Also, I am quite single at the moment, but I would still definitely want to be married to a super-sized lady and eventually have children with her. God has shown me very certain attributes about my future spouse, by the way, and I know I just need to wait on Him to bring her into my life.

I’ve seen media sway the political minds of other family members of mine, on both sides of the spectrum.

NPR could even sway my mind if I still listened to it as much as I have in the past.

As a Christian, the only Liberal policies I can truly get behind are those that are meant to protect the vulnerable amongst us, but doing so without a hidden agenda!

By the way, I think I discovered NPR sometime in 2005 and I had listened to it at length for the first time in December of 2005. I had a pocket-sized radio and was sitting on the outside balcony of a public library. It was late afternoon and the skies were overcast. Still, the atmosphere was enough to be tremendously inspiring. And at the time I was on medication that crippled most of my emotions, yet I was still inspired. I don’t remember any of the content of what I had heard that day, but it was still powerful enough to lift my mood and make me more lively, despite all these artificial chemical restraints! I’m not sure what made me stop listening to NPR, but I wouldn’t listen to it again until the Summer of 2017 while doing laundry in the afternoon. During that Summer, I would frequently listen to NPR while sitting on the back porch of a friend. My then-wife-now-ex-wife would be inside watching television. It was a peaceful time in my otherwise stressful marriage. Usually, I would listen to the afternoon program, “All Things Considered.” By the way, she would get angry if I tried to listen to it on my car radio while she was riding with me. I would listen to NPR on the regular whenever I could. In May of 2018, I moved into my current residence, but it is difficult to catch my local NPR station because a nearby FM transmitter bleeds all over most of my radio dials. And even if I could catch it, this constant talk about Coronavirus and other unpleasant issues these days makes it very depressing and hard to listen to. It’s not like it was in 2017 and before!

All in all, I wish I could get in touch with someone who influenced NPR and tells him or her that maybe they would have more listeners if they tried to serve the entire American public instead of just pandering to liberals like the rest of the mainstream media. NPR is supposed to be of a higher caliber than that and therefore should at least try to do better. Imagine if they fairly and accurately reported the news and still did their educational pieces how much listenership they could gain! I won’t hold my breath though. It took Divine Conviction from The Holy Ghost to call me out on listening to NPR and therefore it will take Divine Intervention on a massive scale to make NPR better for everyone.

Until then I wish there was a comparable broadcasting service that was available on the scale that NPR is and truly served all of its listeners.

I guess this, therefore, concludes my piece on the crisis I face for listening to NPR.

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

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Personal Reflections”

A Review of the Sylvania Bluetooth CD Boombox

Just for the record, I do not own the featured image on this page, nor is it the actual image of the product I am reviewing in this piece, but it is close enough and it is related.

I was born in the late 1980s and was a child throughout the 1990s.

Therefore, like most people born during this era, I have an appreciation for the boom box.

As I’ve mentioned before, whilst I was married, my then-wife, now ex-wife, and I would frequently do laundry at the house of her ex-brother-in-law.

We would then cook and run errands for him, in exchange for using his washer and dryer.

His deceased daughter (actually the aspiring writer whose death compelled me to launch this blog), had purchased a Sylvania Boombox from the Ruble, I mean, the Dollar General sometime before being killed in a traffic accident. After her passing, her dad (my ex-wife’s ex-brother-in-law) kept that boom box on his back porch and frequently listened to Classic Rock stations with it.

I would use it to listen to NPR while doing laundry. My then-wife would watch television with her nephews.

I was surprised by the tuning accuracy, especially on FM, despite using the power cord as an antenna and having a fairly simple rotary tuner.

It wasn’t long before I wanted one.

In the late Summer of 2017, I drove to the local Dollar General to purchase one for myself. Of course, there were none in stock so I probably made my frequent remark on how it isn’t the Dollar General but rather the Ruble General. Subsequently, I ended up buying one on eBay.

The one I purchased on eBay didn’t perform as well, so I ended up donating it to charity.

In January of 2018, I left my wife, after years of a tense and faulty marriage, and in May of 2018, I moved into my own apartment after spending the prior three months with an older friend.

From this nicer Dollar General, I purchased a television antenna, a portable fan, and a new Sylvania Boom Box, which is the one shown in the featured image but not the actual model that this piece will be a review thereof.

This model could filter out the interference from a nearby FM transmitter despite having a seemingly simple rotary tuning system.

I used it for about a year, then gave it to a neighbor.

In March of 2021, as I had planned, I purchased the updated version which features Bluetooth.

The model number is a Sylvania SRCD202DG-BT-EO and this will be the product reviewed in this piece.

I have yet to use the CD player feature because CD’s have become mostly obsolete.

I haven’t tried the AM radio feature either, because I have other radios for AM listening.

I tried the FM feature because I was hoping that it could filter out the nearby transmitter like its predecessor models. It does to a degree, but the power cord doubles as the FM antenna and it needs to be in a certain position to catch the NPR station I want.

Unless I was anticipating a hurricane or other disaster that results in an extended power failure I wouldn’t like to purchase the 6 C batteries needed to power this off the grid.

If I had a device that didn’t feature Bluetooth, there is an auxiliary in jack that allows this to be used as a set of speakers.

The speakers put out decent audio, but nothing like a more powerful stereo system.

The Bluetooth feature is where this is a winner.

I have downloaded some scanner and radio apps for my tablet and I pair it with his device.

With this setup, I can hear scanner feeds and radio broadcasts both locally and around the world.

And, yes, NPR is among those feeds.

So is the BBC World Service.

So are some interesting railroad and marine scanner feeds.

As a Christian I know I must needs be careful whilst listening to NPR.

Like one of my recent characters, I listen to NPR mostly because doing so enhances my vocabulary. I don’t particularly care for their biased reporting and I find it is getting worse since I began listening in the Summer of 2017. Case in point, as I’ve mentioned before, it was after hours of listening to NPR for the first time that I began referring to the Dollar General as the Ruble General. Some of the content on there does indeed enrich my mind.

I used to romanticize finding a better woman than my ex-wife and she and I moving into the neighborhood where I used to do laundry, then she and I would sit at home and listen to NPR. We would later have a daughter who would sing in the school choir. This dream almost came true when I met my ex-girlfriend but sunk after she called it quits on me a year and some months later.

There is still something I romanticize about sitting on a back porch in the later afternoon and listening to NPR, but the biased reporting is getting to be too much for it to be enjoyable. NPR is supposed to serve the entire American public, not just certain political factions. I would consider myself politically moderate and so was NPR at the time I began listening. But now, I find, it is leaning way towards the left and that isn’t fair.

All right, let me get off of my soapbox because I doubt it does any good.

My one complaint about this boombox is that the FM reception could be a little better, but at least it appears to have an AFC circuit, though not as well-performing as its predecessor models.

I keep it in my living room on a shelf next to a vintage scanner, a Realistic Pro 2022. That scanner may be slow, but it has the best audio quality I’ve ever seen in a scanner.

The feature I use most is Bluetooth, which provides significantly better audio quality when streaming on my tablet.

I would give this a 4.6 out of 5-star rating because I wish the FM reception was a little better and I wish the speakers could be a little louder.

This particular model is sold only at The Ruble, I mean, The Dollar General for $26+taxes. Considering the build quality and all that it does, I would say it is a fair price, provided one is actually in stock. Some Dollar Generals are notorious for product shortages, long lines in checkout, and cluttered aisles, hence me calling it Ruble General, to begin with. For those who don’t know, the Ruble was the official currency of The Soviet Union and I’ve heard countless reports of the shopping experiences there similar to what I’ve seen in some Dollar Generals, hence me coming up with that idea.

All in all, I guess this, therefore, concludes my review on the Sylvania Bluetooth CD Boombox.

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

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

Zachary and Tiffany’s First Evening Together-The New Generation Gap

Zachary opened his front door for Tiffany and said, “Here it is. Not much, but for now, it’s mine.”

“It’s cute,” Tiffany replied.

“Thanks.”

Suddenly a rush of anxiety came over Tiffany as she said, shaking, “What am I going to do about clothing and my personal items?”

“When was the last time you bathed?”

“Right before going to the mall.” She paused, then continued, “But I am all sweaty and have no change of clothes.”

“Why don’t you take a bath, wear one of my tee shirts and sweat pants, then I’ll wash your clothes with mine in the laundromat? Then, when I get paid Friday, I know of a thrift store a few towns over that sells articles of clothing for twenty-five cents apiece.”

“What about my undergarments? I know thrift stores don’t sell those.”

I will buy you whichever ones you like.”

“But you’re on a fixed income.”

“Yes, but this is an emergency and I happen to have just enough money left over.”

“Thanks. You’re really sweet, Zack.”

“It’s the least I could do.”

“And you would wash my clothes for me?”

“Sure, I need to do a load of laundry anyway,” Zachary said as he retrieved a black tee-shirt and a pair of grey sweat pants from his dresser, then continued, “Go bathe and change in my bathroom, then afterward, place your dirty laundry in my hamper. It’s in my bedroom closet.”

Tiffany nodded then walked to Zachary’s bathroom.

Zachary stood in his kitchen and listened to the radio as he began to prepare dinner.

Tiffany removed her pink tee-shirt, then her purple brassiere as she stared at herself in the mirror. She then removed her grey tennis shoes, yellow socks, dark blue jeans, and white panty. She then used the toilet and subsequently flushed. Afterwards, she drew water in the bathtub and quickly bathed and dried off from the bathroom heater. She then donned Zachary’s black tee shirt and grey sweat pants, then bundled up all of her clothes, and placed them in Zachary’s laundry hamper which was now full. She saw Zachary in the kitchen, listening to a piece on NPR and slicing some squash and zucchini.

She covered his eyes from behind and said, “Guess who?”

“Is it the lovely Tiffany Taylor?”

“You win!”

“What’s the prize?”

“It would be a sin if I gave it to you now, but I definitely want to, Zack Moore!”

Zachary turned around and beheld her, then spoke, “Good Lord, Tiffany, you’re so beautiful!”

“Oh, Zack, I’m a mess.”

“But those clothes I gave you, they accentuate all of your lovely features and, wow, I’ve never been so attracted to someone!”

Zachary blushed afterward.

Tiffany kissed both of his red cheeks then said, “You’re so cute when you blush. And I know I have found someone good if I am wearing a tee-shirt, sweat pants, my hair is a mess and he still thinks I am beautiful.”

“You would be beautiful no matter what you wear!”

“Aww. You’re really sweet!”

“Thank you!” Zachary said as he kissed her, then preheated his oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit.

“Do you need any help with dinner?” Tiffany asked.

“Well, I could use some help with the seasoning base,” Zachary replied.

“Just tell me what you need.”

“Very well,” Zach said, the placed a pot on his electric range and said, “Pour some olive oil until the bottom of the pot is covered, then add some minced onions, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, Oregano, dehydrated bell peppers, and brown sugar. They’re all in my cabinet to the right of my stove.”

Tiffany retrieved everything from the cabinets. She poured the olive oil until the bottom of the pot was covered, then asked, “How do you measure the other spices?”

“Just add some of each until the olive oil is no longer clear.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m positive!” Zachary said as he kissed her.

Tiffany added the spices then Zachary added the sliced squash and zucchini.

She then asked, “What next?”

“Turn on the burner to very low, then stir every so often with a wooden spoon until everything carmelizes.”

“It’s nice to have a home-cooked meal. My parents usually buy those frozen Banquet Dinners.”

“Well, I eat those as well, only if I don’t have the time to cook,” Zachary paused, then continued, “Now keep stirring, but I will show you how I make meatballs.”

“Nice.”

Zachary took a plate of fresh ground beef from his refrigerator, then placed it in his mixing bowl. He also took a half-full bag of Mozzarella cheese from his refrigerator and added it to the mix, as he said, “The cheese gives the meatballs an extra flavor.” Zachary then added black pepper, seasoned salt, garlic powder, minced onion, and parsley to the mix. “Here’s the nasty part,” Zachary said as he washed his hands, then rinsed them and began to evenly mix the ground beef with the cheese and seasonings until it was consistent. The oven beeped, thereby indicating that it had reached the target temperature. Zachary then took a skillet and sprayed it with Pam. Afterward, they formed the ground beef mixture into little heaps the size of ping pong balls and placed them on the skillet and then in the oven. After closing the door, Zachary activated the stopwatch feature on his G-Shock.

A wonderful aroma filled the kitchen when Zachary said, “Time to add the sauce to the seasoning base.” He opened two jars of Ragu Garden Combination and poured them into the pot, then kissed Tiffany and said, “Now mix all of that and stir every now and then.”

Tiffany smiled sweetly as she stirred with the wooden spoon.

Suddenly Zachary had shooting pains in his lower back. By the expression on his face, he was unable to hide the fact that something was wrong.

Promptly, Tiffany asked, “What’s the matter, bae?”

“Oh, my wretched back is giving me trouble yet again.”

“Is it because of what happened today?”

“No. Please don’t worry about that, sweetheart. It’s not your fault at all, I frequently get back pain while cooking and doing many other activities as well.”

“Is there anything I can do?”

“You could hold me.”

“Okay, I’ll do that. I would want to do that anyway!”

“Then let’s relax on the couch while dinner cooks. We have a few minutes before the meatballs are done baking.”

Tiffany sat on one end of the couch and Zachary laid resting his head in her lap.

He looked up at her face with awestruck admiration while she smiled at him, playing with his hair and caressing his face.

Zachary took the remote then turned on his television and scanned for channels. There was only one channel coming in reliably enough, and it was playing a prime-time drama. Tiffany shuddered when the scene became violent. Zachary noticed, to which he turned the television off and said, “I’m sorry. If I knew that show would have upset you, I wouldn’t have watched it with you.”

“Do you usually watch that kind of stuff?”

“Not really. It’s just that was the only channel coming in at the moment. The weather affects my TV reception.”

“What radio station were you listening to earlier?”

“The local NPR station.”

“What’s that?”

“National Public Radio. It’s like PBS, but radio instead of television. I listen to NPR because it enhances my vocabulary, therefore improving my writing.”

“Do you listen to it a lot?”

“Yes.”

“What would be playing at this hour?”

“Classical Music.”

“Okay, nice! Do you think we could listen? Maybe it could inspire my painting when I get more art supplies.”

“Sure. I’ll turn my kitchen radio on.”

“I’ll do it, you rest.”

Tiffany then walked to the kitchen and switched the radio back on. They listened for a few minutes, then Zachary checked his watch. The twenty minutes were almost up.

Both walked to the kitchen and stood by the oven.

Zachary’s stopwatch feature on his G-Shock reached twenty minutes, so he opened the oven door, then with a potholder, removed the skillet and poured the meatballs along with the drippings into the pot of sauce. He then stirred the mixture and turned the oven and the burner off.

“Why you turned the burner off?” Tiffany asked.

“Because the mixture is hot enough to continue cooking, besides, we need to do laundry and I need to buy you some underwear.”

“Where can we get some?”

“There’s a Dollar General next door, we can go there.”

“I’ll just get a cheap six-pack of panties then.”

“Even the cheapest undergarments would make your bottom lovely!”

Tears filled Tiffany’s eyes as she said, “Thank you for saying that. You make me feel beautiful. My dad is always making comments about how big my butt is and that I shouldn’t eat so much.”

“I’m glad that I make you feel beautiful because, to me, you’re the most beautiful lady there is!”

“You’re making me want to commit that sin with you!”

“I want to commit that sin with you as well, but I am deathly afraid of losing you! As I’ve said before, I’d rather be obedient to my God and have you by my side for the rest of my life than have you for a few moments of pleasure only to lose you and never get you back. You’re worth the wait!”

Tiffany grabbed Zachary then pulled him to her and showered his face with kisses.

“Let’s go get me some panties,” Tiffany said, smiling from ear to ear.

“Would you also like some socks?”

“Sure, if you have the money.”

“I think I do.”

“Then let’s go.”

Tiffany borrowed a pair of socks from Zachary and then put them and her tennis shoes on.

Zachary then grabbed his key lanyard and flashlight as they walked out of his apartment, down the stairs, then to the Dollar General.

They entered and walked right to the clothing section. There was a six-pack of socks that Tiffany grabbed immediately. Then there were several six-packs of panties that Tiffany had considered until she saw one that was all different colors: one white, one lavender, one black, one pink, one flesh-colored, and one gray. “Zack, what do you think of these?” She asked.

“I am at a loss for words on how beautiful I think you would be in them!” Zachary replied.

“Then buy them for me!”

“Very well, sweetheart!”

Tiffany kissed Zachary with great passion and then said, “Thank you!”

Zachary kissed her in return and affectionately patted her bottom.

Both blushed and grinned as they embraced.

“Oh, I almost forgot, I need some Tide to wash our laundry,” Zachary said.

“That’s fine,” Tiffany replied.

With that, they walked to the detergent section and purchased a small bottle of Tide, then walked to the counter and checked out.

By the light of Zachary’s flashlight, they walked home. After entering, Tiffany secured her new socks and panties. Afterward, she carried the laundry basket while Zachary carried the bottle of Tide and a roll of quarters to the laundromat. They selected a washing machine, then placed the clothes in, paid the quarters, and started it. Then hand in hand they walked back up to Zachary’s apartment by the light of his flashlight.

Upon arriving home, Zachary received a text message stating a low balance alert in his checking account.

“Now, I’m going to show you how to make the pasta,” Zachary said. He took another pot and filled it with water from his kitchen tap. He then added a few drops of olive oil and some parsley. Finally, he took a one-pound box of dried spaghetti noodles, broke them in half, dropped them in the pot, and put it on to boil. When the pasta was boiled, Zachary heated the sauce, then said, “I’m going switch the laundry. When I return, let us eat. Don’t open the door to anyone but me.”

Tiffany nodded then kissed him.

Zachary locked his door behind him, then walked down to the laundromat by the light of his flashlight with the quarters in hand. He saw that the washing machine was finished so he transferred the laundry to a dryer, then placed the quarters in and started it. Afterwards, he left the laundromat and walked back up to his unit.

Tiffany was setting the table as he entered.

“I’ll serve us, sweetheart,” Zachary said.

“Thanks, bae!” Tiffany replied.

Zack served each of them a generous portion of spaghetti and meatballs. Afterward, he sat down and said grace, “Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for this wonderful meal and we thank you for all the gifts and blessings that You have so graciously bestowed upon us. We also ask that you bless our relationship, keep us together forever and that You compel us to honor and glorify You with our lives. Please protect us from all who wish to do harm and please meet all of our needs, both seen and unseen, known and unknown. Bless this food for the nourishment of our bodies for Your service and glory. We make these prayers in Your Son Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen!”

As they were eating, Tiffany said, “I love hearing you pray, Zack!”

Zachary then asked, “Would you like to come to church with me tomorrow evening?”

“Church on a Wednesday?”

“Yes.”

“I mean, sure, I’m only used to church on either Saturday or Sunday.”

“I have church on Sunday as well.”

“I’ll go with you, both on Sunday and Wednesday. I feel a voice in my head that is urging me to go with you.”

“Wonderful!”

“This food is delicious, Zack!”

“Thank you. You know you helped me make it!”

“True.”

“And get used to it.”

“But everything I eat goes straight to my butt.”

“As I’ve said before, your bottom is very lovely!”

“What if it gets really big though?”

“Then that will mean more of it for me to adore and enjoy!”

“In a way, I’m glad my parents never let me have any freedom because now I am pure for you and if there is anyone worth losing my virginity to, it’s you, Zack!”

“And I’m glad that I have this disability and no other women wanted me, because we will be pure for each other and our honeymoon will be immensely special!”

“You still want me to marry you?” Tiffany asked in a puppy dog voice.

“Of course. You and no one else!”

“I’m falling for you, fast and hard Zack, so please don’t break me!”

“The feeling is mutual and let me say that I would rather die than break your heart!”

They finished up their meal, then placed the leftovers in Zachary’s refrigerator.

For a little while, they listened to more classical music on NPR. There was a break in the music and a weather forecast was given. The announcer stated that another round of thunderstorms would be making their way through the listening area during the overnight hours and that some had severe potential.

Zachary looked at his G-Shock and realized that his laundry was near done, so, he grabbed his basket, key lanyard, and flashlight, then he and Tiffany walked down to the laundromat. A thick scratchy wind was blowing through the complex as they walked across the parking lot and into the laundromat. There were a few seconds left on the dryer as they embraced, lost in each others’ eyes. The dryer buzzed, then Zachary loaded the freshly cleaned laundry into his basket. Tiffany carried it up to his unit and he escorted her.

She set the basket down on the living room floor.

“You can get your clothes out if you wish, but I’ll fold mine tomorrow. I need to wash my dishes before the next round of storms come through.”

“I’ll help you, Zachary.”

Together they washed and rinsed all of the dishes, then set them on the counter to dry.

Tiffany then asked, “Do you think you could read more of your stories to me?”

“Sure, I would be honored to!” Zachary replied.

With that, they walked to Zachary’s computer. Zachary sat down on the chair and Tiffany laid on the couch. Tiffany hung on to his every word, smiling from ear to ear. He read to her until they were very sleepy.

“Why don’t we get some rest?” Zachary asked.

“Okay, bae.” Tiffany replied.

She then went to the bathroom, took off Zachary’s sweat pants, and put on a pink pair of her new panties. She also put on another one of Zachary’s tee shirts, a grey one.

After she stepped out of the bathroom, Zachary beheld her with a mixture of tremendous admiration and immense lust.

He held her close to him and began to kiss her face, then her neck, then her chest, then her stomach as he caressed her buttocks.

“If you go any further, it will be a sin. But I would greatly enjoy it.”

“You’re right, Tiffany. And I don’t want to lose you as a result of that sin. No, I want you by my side forever!”

“That is my wish as well!”

Hand in hand, Zachary walked Tiffany to his bedroom, then tucked her in and gave her a long sweet goodnight kiss.

He then walked to his living room and pulled out the mattress of his futon and went to sleep…

…Hours passed by…

A severe thunderstorm had developed and had woken Tiffany up.

Wind, lightning, and thunder were constant.

She was very frightened, to the point of tears.

Tiffany walked out of bed, to Zachary’s living room.

She gently tapped him, “Zack…Zack…Zack…”

Finally, Zachary woke up and asked, “Tiffany are you all right?”

“I’m scared of the weather, Zack. Will you come hold me?”

“Sure, Tiffany. It would be a joy for you to sleep in my arms.”

“Then come right now.”

Zachary stepped off the couch, then followed Tiffany to his bedroom. They both climbed into his bed and pulled the covers over them.

Zachary held his arms around Tiffany’s waist and rested his face in the back of her neck.

Tiffany then said, “When I was a little girl, I was always afraid of the weather. I guess because my parents always said that God would kill me with lightning or a tornado because I was so wicked.”

“You’re very sweet and God loves you immensely. Your parents are the ones who are wicked.”

“I guess it is on my mind because I just left them and they are probably angry at me. I’d like to see the looks on their faces if they could see us cuddling and do nothing about it.”

Zachary kissed the back of her neck.

Tiffany pushed her buttocks against Zachary and then said, “I wish I could see the look on your face too, Zack because you get to feel my big butt all night long while I wear these sexy panties.”

“I admit that I am smiling more than I ever have and I do feel very privileged,” Zachary said as he held her even closer to him.

“Then hold me all night like this, bae!”

“Your wish is my command, sweetheart!”

A bright bolt of lightning flashed followed by a loud crash of thunder.

“It’s not as scary now that I am in your arms, Zack.”

Zachary simply kissed her as they soon fell asleep, happier than ever before…

Back to “The New Generation Gap”

How Zachary Met Tiffany-The New Generation Gap

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

On an overcast evening, Zachary Moore had driven to the mall to compare prices on some items he planned to buy when his SSDI check would be deposited in a few days. The reason why he was drawing SSDI was that he had injured his back whilst working as a roustabout in the shipyards six years ago. After the injury, he applied for a low-income apartment and was granted one four months later. He was a lonely twenty-five-going-on-twenty-six-year-old, but kept busy writing and working on computers. He had been employed, nearly full time from the ages of fifteen to nineteen, first as a shopping cart attendant then as a shipyard roustabout when he turned eighteen.

Meanwhile, Tiffany Taylor had snuck out of her parents’ house and went hang out with friends at the mall. She had been out of high school for over a year, but unable to land any sort of job. She had been growing up in such a toxic environment for the past nineteen years and desperately wanted out. Her parents were constantly at each others’ throats and took out the remainder of their frustrations on her, verbally, emotionally, and even physically. Still, she was nervous about all the human trafficking stories she had seen and heard and was raised in an extremely religious home, so she was still a virgin and wanted to stay that way until she met her future husband. Her parents refused to let her date though because she was under their roof with no real job. She had enough, hence sneaking out with her friends, in the first place. She also needed a ride to the mall to buy some more art supplies. When they arrived, one of her friends proceeded to light up a joint, another one took a hit of Acid. Tiffany freaked out, grabbed her phone and her messenger bag, which was filled with her art supplies and a few other personal items, and then left the car. Storm clouds began to move in and the sky grew dark. Tiffany walked into the mall entrance then directly to a locally owned art supply store which she frequented. It was next to Sears, where Zachary was looking at some tools and clothing. He also was in the market for a new computer that he could write on since his current computer was getting to be out of date.

They both walked out of their stores and Tiffany was walking forward, but facing sideways. Her eyes were fixated on a mural that was on the wall. She hoped one day to get a job painting murals in public spaces. Meanwhile, Zachary was writing down prices of the items he wanted in a composition book and not paying attention to where he was walking either. They bumped into each other and Zachary fell to the floor.

“Gosh durnit, my back! It hurts!” He gnashed his teeth in great pain, took several deep breaths, then looked up to see whom he bumped into.

It was as if most of the pain instantly ceased when he laid eyes on Tiffany.

She looked down at him and said, “I’m so sorry, let me help you up.”

Their hands met and there was even more of a spark of attraction.

“Do you need medical attention?” Tiffany asked.

“I think I’ll be fine. I just need to rest on a bench for a while.”

Tiffany then pulled Zachary to his feet and asked, “Could I walk you to a bench? I want to make sure you’re all right.”

“Sure. I don’t mind.” They walked.

“How’s your back now?”

“Still hurts, but just slightly.”

There was an awkward silence, then Tiffany asked, “You’re not going to sue me, are you?”

“No. I wouldn’t have a case anyway, my back was damaged years prior to this. So it’s very sensitive.”

“You’re just being nice.”

“No. It’s true. I injured my back on the job six years ago and have been drawing disability ever since.”

“How old are you?”

“I’m 25 and will be 26 on February 1st.”

“Wow, you don’t look that old. I mean, you’re really cute.”

“Thank you for the kind compliment, but you need not sweet-talk me, I promise I won’t sue for even a penny.”

“No. I really mean it, you’re cute.”

They both blushed but then Zachary asked, “How old are you? You may think I am cute, but I must not keep company with a minor.”

“I’m nineteen but I will be twenty on April 26th.”

“I see.”

“So what is your name?”

“Zachary Moore, but those who like me call me Zack.”

“Well, I’d like to call you Zack, then.” They both blushed, then Tiffany continued, “I’m Tiffany Taylor, by the way.”

“That’s a pretty name.”

“Thanks. How do you feel about me calling you Zack?”

“Quite happy.”

“Because I like you?”

“Yes.”

“Is there a chance you like me as well?”

“Well, I tell you the truth, I was in a great deal of pain when I fell, but I beheld your pretty face, and in that very moment 90% of the pain ceased. I must have had a rush of endorphins.”

“Aww. You’re really sweet to tell me that.”

“It’s true, you know.”

They both blushed again.

Tiffany then asked, “So what’s in your composition book?”

“Oh, this? I wrote some prices down for items that I plan to purchase shortly. I’m researching to get the best possible deal.” Zachary paused then said, “Also I have some ideas for stories I am working on.”

“Wow, you’re a writer?”

Zachary blushed, then said, “Yes. I always wanted to pursue a career as a writer, but couldn’t stomach the additional academic requirements. I was employed from the ages of fifteen to nineteen but would write on my days off. I read volumes of online tutorials to improve my grammar.”

“That’s amazing. Could you share your story ideas with me?”

“Sure.”

Zachary began to read to Tiffany.

She stared at him, smiling from ear to ear.

Suddenly, she felt slight distress as she asked “Do you have any girlfriend or wife?”

“No. I am wholly single.”

“That’s hard to believe, I mean you’re cute, you’re sweet and you write these beautiful stories.”

“But I am afflicted with a wretched disability, so no women desire me.”

“It’s their loss.”

“Thank you, that means a great deal to me!”

“What is your living situation?”

“I live alone in a low-income apartment.”

“At least you have your own place, I stay with my parents and they are always in a bad mood and constantly bicker. They are uptight about everything I like and take out all their anger on me.”

“Seems to me that they are suffering from a lack of intimacy.” Zachary blushed then said, “Oh, sorry that came out wrong.”

No, I think you’re right. I’ve never once seen them show any affection towards each other.”

“I would never desire a relationship such as that. I mean if I was blessed with a special someone in my life, I would forever be showering her with my affections.”

“You’re really sweet. I know that you say no one wants you and I truly think that it’s their loss. Do you think it could be my gain?”

“Yes. I’d desire that wholeheartedly!”

“Then why don’t you ask me out?”

“Very well, Tiffany Taylor, will you be my girlfriend? I don’t have very much to offer, but I solemnly promise to make you my queen and shower you with affection, if you say yes. And not only that, I promise you my time, my loyalty, and my fidelity.”

Tiffany’s eyes twinkled as she beamed, then nodded several times and strongly embraced him as she spoke, “Oh most definitely, yes, Zack Moore!”

Zachary put his arms around Tiffany as well and held her close to him.

She rested her head on his chest for just a moment, to which he kissed the top of her head.

“That’s sweet, but I want a real kiss.”

“Very well,” Zachary replied.

Both were filled with giddiness as their eyes closed, their faces met and their lips pressed for a moment then sucked with passion.

Fireworks went off in both of their minds as they exchanged several more kisses until a security guard shouted, “Halt! Knock off with the kissing right this instant or I am kicking both of you out of my mall!”

“Could I have your phone number, for us to keep in contact?” Zachary asked.

“Of course, you silly goose! I was hoping you’d ask.”

Tiffany then pulled a blank piece of paper out of her messenger bag, tore it in half, then wrote her cell phone number on one piece. She then handed it along with her pencil and the blank piece to Zachary, to which he wrote his number on the other and handed it back to her. Subsequently, they programmed the numbers in each others’ phones.

Tiffany noticed the clock on her phone and became nervous as she spoke, “Oh no, it’s 5:15 my parents will be home soon.”

Seconds later there was a tremendously loud crash of thunder.

She assumed the fetal position and began to rock back and forth, then said, “I have no ride home and I don’t want to walk home because I am deathly afraid of lightning. Some friends drove me to the mall, but then I left them when I saw they had drugs. They probably wouldn’t give me a ride now.”

Zachary held her gently and said, “I can drive you home, but I respect you far too much to drive you home in this sort of weather, thereby placing you in danger of an accident.”

It now began to rain in torrents as the lightning fiercely flashed and the thunder angrily rumbled.

“You’re right. It’s just my parents will be furious when they get home and I’m not there. Of course, they’ll be furious with me regardless.”

“Would they ever strike you?”

“Yes.”

“Good Lord! Even though you’re an adult.”

“They said that if I don’t like it, that’s tough because I’m under their roof. They’ve even burned my paintings that I could have sold simply because they want me to work hard for a living.”

“I think they’re miserable and they believe you ought to be miserable as well.”

“They would also throw in how they paid for my education in catholic school for all those years and I’m not doing anything with it.” She paused then said, “It was the arts program at my school that made me want to be an artist. Of course, then, they would accuse me of being smart-aleck.”

“I despised going to school, to the point where I dropped out and became employed. I knew early on that high school taught very few useful things. To me, high school is a deliberately broken system used by this wretched society of ours to crush the wonderous spirits of youth and turn them into compliant, soul-less drones. All a high school degree proves is that the holder of it can do many tasks that he or she desires not to do. Most employers demand people exactly like that, sadly. I wish I would have paid more attention in English because it’s just now that I am catching up on my grammar skills.”

“Wow! I’ve noticed that too. It’s just I had no choice but to go to school.”

“Let me guess, your parents would beat you if you didn’t, right?”

“Exactly.”

“My parents agreed that I would work as much as legally possible if I dropped out. I’m glad they made me work because now I have a pretty decent income from SSDI.”

“When did you drop out?”

“I was seventeen and still a freshman.”

“Wow! But you write and speak so eloquently.”

“Thank you!”

“And you do come out with brilliant ideas. To tell the truth, I would love to have you read to me while I paint.”

“And I would love to examine your paintings and be inspire to write even more.”

“Where have you been all my life, Zack?”

“Oh nowhere really, but I do think there was a reason why we bumped into each other!”

“So do I!” Tiffany paused, then continued, “How much money do you get a month?”

“$1024.”

“Wow, that’s about the same my mom clears in a month. And how much is your rent?”

“It’s like two hundred something.”

“The utilities are fairly cheap, I don’t subscribe to cable, my cell phone is only $50 a month which provides me unlimited talking and texting and I subscribe to home Internet at a significant discount. I also receive a few dollars worth of nutritional benefits.”

“Wow. You have it made then!”

“Yes. And I’m willing to support you, and even spoil you if you so desire.”

“My parents wouldn’t like you since you’re a high school dropout, living in the projects on disability, and they would think your writing is a waste of time, but I like you, a lot.”

“You’re a legal adult you know.”

“I know, that’s why I am here talking with you instead of cooped up in my parents’ house doing endless chores.”

“I feel very honored that you are here with me and I just hope and pray it continues.”

“You’re so sweet, and cute I know I already said it, but I can’t help it. You’re also very smart. My parents would find ways to keep us apart though unless you were like a strong catholic.”

“I’m not catholic but a Christian. I converted at the age of nineteen.”

“What were you before?”

“My family was catholic, but I saw right through it at an early age.”

“How did you convert?”

“I was employed in the shipyards and there was this attractive woman who was interested in me. It was a Friday, September 29, 2006, and she was planning to have me meet her after work. I won’t lie, she wanted to fornicate with me. I was quite excited in anticipation for that night. Needless to say, I was very distracted and feeling so overconfident that I attempted to lift a heavy piece of pipe all by myself and had crudely announced that I would be laying pipe that night to my buddies. As further I attempted to lift that miserable pipe, my back gave out and was instantly ruined. I was in such grievous pain that I was rushed to the hospital and not able to visit that woman. When she learned how I was now disabled, she didn’t desire me anymore. I later found out that she has genital herpes, genital warts and God only knows what else. I required surgery on my back to repair the damage. While I was laid up at the hospital, the chaplain visited me, preached The Gospel to me, and subsequently prayed with me. I came to Christ right at that very moment and never looked. The surgery was successful since the doctors prevented the damage from spreading, but informed me of how I could never do any physical labor again.”

“Are you still a virgin?”

Zachary hung his head, almost in shame, then blushed then nodded.

“Don’t worry about it, I am as well!” Tiffany said as she kissed him, then continued, “By the way, our relationship will be very special!”

“My God, Tiffany you’re right! If I was ever content at being a twenty-five-year-old virgin, it is in this very moment.” Zachary paused, then continued, “I had been praying for years that God send me someone to love, and I must admit, He knew what he was doing when He sent you!”

“I know we just met, but I never felt this way about anyone the way I feel about you!” Tiffany confessed as she kissed him.

“The feeling is mutual. I mean I’ve been attracted to other females before, but, you remind me of a good character that which I would write about.”

“Aww. Maybe that’s why I like the stories you’ve told me so far, because I somehow identify with your characters, at least the good ones.”

“Thank you so much! I have fulfilled my literary purpose if I am provoking those very emotions from you!”

“If it wasn’t a sin, I would want your body. But not just your body, your entire being.” Tiffany’s face then sunk as she asked, “Are you even able to perform at intimacy though? I know your back is messed up.”

Zachary caressed her gently softly looked into her eyes and spoke, “I certainly am. The surgery was quite expensive but my company furnished the payments for it and the damage to my nerves that connect my spine to my reproductive organ was fully corrected. God had to have had a hand in it.” Zachary paused, kissed her, and then continued, “Now I think I know why!”

“In a very big way, I’m kind of glad no one else wanted you because that means I’ll have you all to myself,” Tiffany said as she grabbed him and stole a kiss.

Zachary’s face suddenly grew distressed.

Tiffany’s quickly noticed and then asked also with distress, “Did I say something wrong?”

Zachary gently held her and soberly replied, “No. You did not. However, God just spoke to me and said that we must needs forego intimate relations until marriage. It’s almost as if I think God would reverse the healing to my nerves if we engaged in carnal relations before exchanging those vows.”

“You’re right. Then we would become like my parents and drift further and further apart.”

“May it never be!”

“We can wait until marriage, though.” Tiffany paused, then asked in a puppy dog voice, “Would you even want me to marry you though?”

“I most certainly would! However, we would have to be wed without a marriage license, which means no catholic priest would perform the ceremony. I know of a few Christian pastors who would though.”

“Why no marriage license?”

“Because I would lose my Medicaid coverage in the event you were legally married to me and became a successful artist or even worked a regular job.”

“That’s fine, we don’t need a piece of paper, just God’s recognition.”

“Marriage is none of the government’s business anyway! Notice how everything the government touches, eventually rots.”

“Well, I only would want to be an artist, nothing else.”

“Then I fully support you in that endeavor! I dread the very thought of you slaving away in an occupation of which you’re not absolutely happy with.” Zachary kissed her, then continued, “I’ll even purchase your art supplies.”

“Where will I stay, though? If my parents find out that we are together and you bought me those supplies, they will destroy all of it and then beat me.”

“Then they are brazenly violating your personal space, your sacred body, and your priceless dignity.”

There was a bright flash of lightning followed by a piercing thunder roll. Seconds later, the current supplying the mall with electricity was disrupted.

Tiffany shrieked in terror.

Zachary quickly drew a small flashlight from his pocket and calmly switched it on.

The bright LED lit up their immediate area as Zachary said with confidence, “I always try to be prepared, so I never leave home without one of these.”

A smile returned to Tiffany’s face as she said, “You’re so sexy!”

Zachary and Tiffany began to heavily kiss and pet each other with tremendous affection by the light of the flashlight.

Minutes later, the security guards and janitors were rounding up all the customers.

One guard was speaking into a bullhorn “A tornado warning has just been issued, please follow our staff to the center of the mall!”

Zachary and Tiffany complied with the request and followed the guards with the rest of the customers.

The sky was once overcast but was now dark as midnight as Zachary and Tiffany laid down against the wall, Zachary shielding Tiffany’s body with his by the light of his flashlight.

Tiffany looked at her phone and realized there was no signal. She put her phone away and closed her eyes as Zachary held her tightly.

The roaring of the winds intensified more and more.

Both Zachary and Tiffany trembled in fear.

Tiffany began to recite the rosary out loud as the winds grew louder and glass began to break. Many mall patrons and personnel alike began to scream in terror.

Zachary then prayed out loud, “Heavenly Father, I humbly ask that you quiet and stifle this horrid storm so that no one shall be harmed and that Your Name be Glorified above all names. Please protect all of us, according to Your riches and glory. Moreso, draw everyone present nearer to You, even unto salvation. I make these requests in that Precious and Powerful Name of Your Son Jesus Christ and hereby proclaim that He is indeed God come in the flesh! Amen…”

A moment passed, then the storm quickly died down.

Everyone stayed put but a great relief of anxiety came upon all of them.

Minutes later, an all-clear was declared.

Zachary kissed Tiffany, then said, “Praise God, that terrible storm is over and we weren’t harmed!”

The room was dark, so no one could identify exactly who had prayed out loud but there were rumors throughout the mall that God heard a young man’s prayers on behalf of them and that they were indeed spared.

Tiffany helped Zachary up from the floor, as she embraced him and pelted his face with many kisses.

Hand in hand they began to walk, by the light of his flashlight when they were instructed by mall personnel to leave because there had been some structural damage. Tiffany’s phone beeped and buzzed indicating that she had a new voicemail.

Zachary said, “I guess I’ll drive you home. Call me tonight though, before you go to bed.”

Tiffany nodded as they walked to his 2004 Chevy Cobalt.
The sinking sun was starting to break through the clouds.

He opened the passenger door for her, then kissed her as she stepped in.

Afterwards, he stepped in on the driver’s side.

Both fastened their seatbelts when Tiffany said, “Let me check my voicemail, if it’s from one of my parents, you will see how horrible they are.”

She called her voicemail number, entered her PIN then activated her speakerphone feature.

There were two voicemails:

The first one was from her mom, “Tiffany Anne Taylor, where are you, little girl? You’re supposed to be at home doing chores while your dad and I are at work. It is unfair that you get to go out and have fun while mooching off of us as we slave away at our jobs. Your dad is going to tare up your hiney when he finds you, young lady. There will be other consequences as well for your rebellious behavior! Now get home immediately!”

The next one was from her dad, “Tiffany, this is your *blank* damn dad! I pay for your ****ing phone service so I expect you to answer when I ****ing call. And where in the mother****ing hell are you? You’re not at home, that’s for sure and you’re probably laying out with some lazy stupid ****ing bum. When I find out who that good for nothing son of a ***** is I am going to blow his **** for brains out with my .357 Magnum, then pour gasoline on his useless body and set it ablaze while roast some mother****ing marshmallows over it then I’m going to shove those marshmallows down your ****ing throat. Afterwards, I’ll flush his worthless ashes down my filthy ****ing toilet that you didn’t clean. Then I am going to beat your ungrateful *** to a mother****ing pulp until it ****ing bleeds and I’ll burn all of your *blank* damn stupid paintings. Then I’m going to blast your stupid ****ing computer with my 10 gauge shotgun to make damn sure all of your filthy creations of yours are destroyed. Finally, I’m going to smash your ****ing TV and radio with my *blank* damn sledgehammer, because all you watch and listen to on there is pure ****ing trash that teaches you how to be a spoiled degenerate brat. I work way too ****ing hard for you to lay on your fat ****ing *** all *blank* damn day drawing those trashy pictures and ****ing around with those bums. You need to get a real ****ing job and stop living in this *blank* damn fantasy world. You will come home right this ****ing instant if you know what is *blank* damn good for you!”

Zachary had become pale as a glass of fresh milk.

Tiffany spoke, “Despite what my dad said in there, I’m still a virgin and deep down he knows it because he is possessive of my virginity.”

Zachary quickly collected himself and spoke, “I believe you. And just so you know, I would never use that sort of language in front of a woman or girl. However, we must needs make a backup copy of these threatening messages in the case your dad terminates your phone service.”

“How can we do that?”

“I have a voice recorder app on my phone.”

At once, Tiffany played both of those messages again while Zachary recorded them to his phone’s internal storage.

Tiffany then spoke as tears were flowing profusely from her eyes, “I never want to go home again. I’m afraid of what will happen to me and worse what will happen to you.”

“We need to show this to the Justice of the Peace and have a restraining order placed against your dad. All of his guns will be confiscated and he will be immediately arrested if he comes near us. That is if you’re in agreement with doing so.”

“Yes. I am. I know what his temper is like and what he is capable of.”

Zachary looked at his watch which indicated 6:05. He then spoke, “Well we cannot see the Justice of the Peace until tomorrow morning, but it’s best we lay low.”

“Yes. I don’t want my dad to see us together.”

“Was he always so ill-tempered?”

“As far as I can remember.”

“Well I knew a lack of intimacy can put anyone on edge, but Good Lord, he takes it to the extreme.”

“I learned in my preteens that when a woman has a full hysterectomy, she loses all interest in sex and can become very cold-hearted. And when a man stops having intimacy, he is easily angered, by anything and everything. My parents never had any kids after me and I noticed that they were always angry at me. My older siblings said they used to be pleasant before I was born.” Tears rolled down Tiffany’s face once again and her voice broke as she said, “That means I’m an accident and they never wanted me.”

Zachary wiped Tiffany’s tears with his shirt as he gently rubbed her face and said, “You’re not an accident at all. I prayed for years that God would send you to me and now he has. You’re going to be a great artist one day and I just hope that you’ll have me by your side, maybe even using my stories for inspiration.”

“Yes, of course. I always thought I would end up marrying a man who is just like my dad, but you are so sweet and gentle. You’re nothing like him. I mean, you speak and write like the Puritan ministers I learned about in American English my Junior year and he speaks as if he were possessed by a legion of demons. I was hesitant to ask you if I could stay at your place, because, I still didn’t know what kind of man you were. However, when you said those prayers and God stopped that tornado, I knew you must have a clean heart because God wouldn’t answer the prayers of a man with wicked intentions. So, could I stay with you? I mean I have nowhere else to go.”

“I would be honored for you to stay with me. You can even have my bed and I will sleep on my futon in the living room.”

“How big is your bed?”

“Full-sized.”

“Then you could share your bed with me. I wouldn’t mind.”

“Believe me, I tremendously desire to hold you while we slumber. I just don’t want to provoke the chastening rod of my Heavenly Father.”

“You’re right.”

“I’d rather be obedient to my God and therefore have you by my side for a lifetime than have a few fleeting moments of immense pleasure with you, only to later lose you.”

“You indeed are a good man, Zack. I’m so happy I found you!”

Zack smiled from ear to ear, then blushed until he was red in the face as he said, “Thank you, Tiffany. No one has ever told me that before.”

“Why don’t we go to your place? I am a little hungry though.”

“I was going to get us some corn dogs and cherry soda, but then the mall was damaged. What would you like?”

“Do you have any food at home?”

“I have a pound of ground beef, some vegetables, a jar of sauce, some pasta, some cheeses, herbs, and spices. How would you like spaghetti and meatballs from scratch?”

“I would love that!”

“Are you okay with eating meat on a Friday?”

“It doesn’t bother me.”

“Good, because that rule is nowhere in the Bible, rather, it was created by the roman catholic church for corrupt financial reasons.”

“I’m beginning to also think that catholicism is phony. When I started to pray the rosary, the winds became more violent, but when you prayed, the storm quickly calmed down.” Tiffany paused then said, “I want what you have.”

“I’d be honored for you to come to church with me. My pastor can explain it better than I can.”

“I’ll come with you to church or anywhere else.”

Zachary started his car, then began to pray, “Heavenly Father, please grant us safe travels. Please also open up Tiffany’s heart and ears for what my pastor tells her. Please also keep Tiffany and me together forever and may our relationship perpetually honor and glorify You. May we always treat each other with kindness, respect, and even reverence. May we always show each other affection and strive to be unequivocally faithful to one another. Protect us from all those who wish to do harm. I love you Heavenly Father and I make all of these requests in Your Son Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen. And thank You, Lord.”

“I love hearing you pray. You sound even better than the priest at my high school, who was so repetitive.”

Zachary blushed again and said, “Thank you. I just pray when God tells me to pray. He helps me find the words.”

With that, Zachary put his car in gear then drove his car through the rain-soaked roads and highways until they came to his apartment complex on the outskirts of the city. They walked up his steps and into his front door just as the sun was going down…

Back to “The New Generation Gap”

A Review of The Sony ICF-P26 AM/FM Portable Radio

Just so we’re all clear, I do not own the featured image on this page and I give credit to whomsoever credit is due.

I always enjoyed listening to the radio growing up.

The style of radio that I enjoy most are those that resemble the transistor radios made from the 1950s through the 1980s. There is just something about that style.

By the way, such a style is getting rarer and rarer as time goes by.

I believe it was some time in 2015 when I discovered the Sony ICF-P26 and, fun fact, it was through a MEME I saw on social media.

I finally bought one in March of 2017 and so I have owned one of these radios for almost your years.

That radio by the way is what this piece will be a review thereof.

In reality, I had been wanting to write this review since July of 2018, when I started writing product reviews, but there have been numerous distractions that hindered me from doing so.

In March of 2017, I had a little bit extra money, so I ordered a Sony ICF-P26 on eBay.

It came in a few days later and I began to use it extensively. It even gained a spot for a few years in my EDC backpack.

I was thoroughly impressed by the clear and generous sound, the tuning accuracy, the reception range (especially on AM, but FM as well), and the overall solid feel when handling this radio.

On every trip I took, it was a frequent companion, allowing me to hear local radio stations. One of my rituals is while traveling I wash my face, then shave as soon as I enter the hotel or motel room. For some reason traveling in a car for an extended period, even with the windows up makes my face ultra dirty. I also like to be clean-shaven when going out and about anywhere, so after washing my face, I shave, then apply the Aqua Velva. Usually while shaving in a place besides home, I listen to a local music station. One particular memory I have about carrying out this ritual is being in Texas and hearing Jim Ed Brown sing “Pop a Top” on a local AM station. Music sounds so much richer when played on AM and Jim Ed Brown already had a very rich voice, so it was a very pleasant experience. When not traveling, I used to listen to NPR whilst I was doing my laundry.

I did keep this radio when my ex-wife and I split up the community property and I left her a Sangean DT-200VX because she always liked it and I was trying to make the divorce as painless as possible. She and I are on much better terms now but I am 100% sure that we are not compatible as husband and wife. I just wish I would have realized this before the relationship became too serious. Well, she clearly stated that she wanted to marry me six days after meeting me. At the time, I was thrilled, because I didn’t see the red flags yet.

Speaking of red flags, my one gripe about this radio is that it lacks an AFC circuit. This wasn’t an issue at my previous residences but is very much an issue at my current residence since I am only a few blocks away from an FM transmitter. That station’s signal bleeds all over my FM dial and drowns out almost all other FM stations that would normally be available. So I upgraded (and I use that term loosely) to a cheap, unbranded radio, that has a phase lock loop synthesized oscillator, for most of my portable FM listening. It also gets AM (mediocre) and Weather (quite well, actually), but isn’t as solidly built as my Sony. Although it is as small as an MP3 player and I do have a dedicated pocket for it in my EDC backpack. However, on some nights I will still use this Sony for AM listening, both local and long-distance. If I’m not in my neighborhood and have it with me, I will also use my Sony for FM listening.

A few evenings ago when Winter Storm Uri was wreaking havoc across the country, our local governments and our electric utility companies were advising us to conserve power until 10:00 PM. So, I unplugged all of my grid-powered electronics, set my central heater (which is electric) to 68 Degrees Fahrenheit and I even turned off the lights. To be able to see, I used a highly efficient battery-powered LED lantern. My previous product review was about that very lantern. And for entertainment, I listened to the AM band on my Sony radio. I did some AM DXing until finally, I decided to listen to WSB out of Atlanta. There is a local show on there that I have listened to a time or two prior. It is a good, wholesome, and even Christian show. They were talking about Rush Limbaugh’s passing. I listened until the signal faded out. By that point, it was past Ten O’Clock, so I resumed my “normal” nighttime activities. The AM ferrite bar antenna on this radio isn’t very big, so it’s not the best radio for AM DXing, but, in my location, it will catch most of the clear channel AM stations between The Rockies and Appalachians after dark.

A very wise feature on this radio is that it isn’t turned off or on by the volume potentiometer, but rather a three-position sliding switch “OFF” “AM” “FM.” There is a volume potentiometer and after almost four years of use and three years of carrying in my EDC backpack, it needs to be dusted out. To tune the radio, a knob is connected to a slide rule indicator. For FM listening, there is a telescopic antenna that can be changed out if it is ever damaged. Why can’t all radios be made this way?

There is also a removable nylon lanyard.

Two other features on this radio include a green LED, whose brightness indicates how much battery power is left and a red LED which indicates that the radio is locked on a station’s signal.

For power, it runs on two AA batteries. I always used Alkalines and always had generous run times. I think the run time is rated at 35 or so hours on a set of batteries but I’m not 100% sure.

Currently, I have my Sony radio on a night table in my living room, but if I were to have to travel, especially to evacuate from a hurricane, it will be coming with me.

If anyone is interested in purchasing one of these, they are widely available online and even in some brick-and-mortar establishments.

I give it a 4.85 out of 5 stars and this rating is subjective to where one uses it. Had it been manufactured with an AFC circuit, I would have given it the full 5 stars.

Sony is a reputable brand and they make some fine radios, so why couldn’t they have installed an AFC circuit and made this radio even better?

I’ve mentioned on social media in the past how I wish all FM radios would have an AFC circuit, but terrestrial analog radio is gradually dying out, much to my dismay.

In the event of an emergency remember KISS: Keep it Simple, Stupid! The simpler a communications system is, the less chance there is for failure and typically the cheaper the equipment. Analog terrestrial radio should remain in use, at least as a means of communicating important information to the public, especially in the event of an emergency!

I’ll get either one or another response for this statement and it is:

You’re preaching to the choir (from those who think like me.)

OR

Change is inevitable (from those who don’t realize what I realize.)

Currently, I am thinking of buying a Bluetooth-capable radio very soon so I can pair it with my tablet and Stream online radio stations. The model I am looking at is sold at The Ruble, I mean, The Dollar General and if it is like its predecessor model, then it will have an AFC circuit, which is the other reason for me to consider purchasing it.

So, yes I do embrace new technology, but I also have a prepper mindset, not to mention I hold a General Class Amateur Radio license, and therefore am very much aware of how older simpler technology is more reliable, especially as a means of mass communications.

Well, look at this, I’ve turned a product review into a lecture.

My apologies.

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

I guess this concludes my review of the Sony ICF-P26.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”