In the Country Part 2-Grocer and Writer (Young Lady’s Perspective)

As we enter the house, my boyfriend’s mom says, “Where’s the heating oil?”

“Right here,” He tells her and hands her the tank.

We walk to his old bedroom and he turns on the bedside lamp.

He puts a new bulb in that old rechargeable flashlight then plugs it in.

Then we sit on his bed and he unpacks the flashlight I bought for him.

He then installs the batteries and turns it on.

We are both amazed by the brightness.

“I really appreciate this gift you gave me,” He tells me as he puts it safely in his pants pocket.

“It’s the least I could do. You’ve bought me a gift,” I tell him as I point to my watch.

“But I still promise to pay you back.”

“I know you will and I am so looking forward to it!” I tell him with a sweet kiss.

His mom walks into the room and says, “So y’all have been screwing even though y’all aren’t married. How long has this been going on?”

“We don’t have to answer that,” My boyfriend says as he stands up to her.

So his mom gives an ultimatum, “Either answer me or find somewhere else to stay until the evacuation order is lifted.”

She then looks at me and continues, “How long have you been committing this serious sin?”

I break down and answer her, “Since this past Christmas Eve. I had fallen so much in love with him and I’m still in love with him, but we had just learned on the news that a world war was about to break out. I was so afraid that he would be drafted and killed in combat without us fully knowing each other. I just wanted to seal my love for him.”

My boyfriend looks at me and says, “You don’t have to explain to her or feel guilty about it.”

His mom looks angrilly at him then says, “Oh, shut your mouth. You’re going to have a lot to answer for because of the way you charmed this young girl. I don’t know where you learned to do such a thing.”

I feel the need to stand up for my boyfriend, then tell her, “He didn’t charm me at all. Yes, he does write those love stories and I find it very attractive, but I wanted him before I knew he wrote such beautiful things. I just thought he was so cute, so I started talking to him. At first, he was hesitant because of our age difference, but eventually, he fully accepted me. No one else wanted me because of my glandular problem but he loves me in spite of it, just like I love him in spite of his Autism.” I pause, then continue, “Any other time I tried to talk to someone of the opposite sex, they would make cow and pig noises, because of my weight. I’ve been dealing with that ever since I was eleven or twelve. When I told your son he was cute, I then asked him if he thought I was cute also or was I too fat and his response was that I was beautiful and not to let anyone else tell me otherwise. If he would have rejected me, I very well might have ended my life. He didn’t reject me though. In fact, he treats me better than I ever dared to dream. No one else was ever so kind to me, so I couldn’t help falling in love with him.”

My boyfriend then looks at his mom and says, “Remember how at one point I had written some stories and all the girls were impressed but their boyfriends were jealous, so they began to spread false rumors about me? I was just reminded of that today in the hardware store. It ruined my reputation hence another reason why I got out of this one horse town as soon as I was able. I’m immensely glad I moved to the city too because I met her and she brings so much joy to my life. All of the suffering I endured prior to meeting her was worth it.”

His mom then tells him, “You’re lucky those boys didn’t beat you up. Maybe they should have because then you would have learned not to write such sinful literature. All those stories do is cause their readers to have unrealistic expectations of their partners.”

I stand up for him once again and say, “He reads those stories to me all the time and I don’t have any unrealistic expectations of him, in fact, they usually make me want to love him more. My dad is going to help him get published hopefully soon and he will never have to work at his grocery job again. He is so miserable there, but he keeps the job so he can take care of me.”

His mom gets even angrier and says, sternly, “Work is supposed to be miserable to remind us that we are sinners in a fallen world. If you enjoy your work, chances or you’ll pay for it in the afterlife. Speaking of work, both of you will do chores while y’all are here to burn off all of that sinful energy. Y’all want to have the pleasures of a married couple, then y’all should have the responsibility of a married couple too.”

She looks at my boyfriend, then continues, “Go help your daddy in the fields.”

She looks at me, and says, “You will help me cook and clean.”

My boyfriend and I look at each other in distress.

His mom then says, “Go on, get to work.”

My boyfriend and I attempt to kiss each other, but his mom says, “Uh-uh, none of that.”

He sulks, then walks out the room, down the hall and out the back door.

His mom then brings me an apron and says, “Put this on and you will help me.”

Reluctantly, I put the apron on.

“I want you to sweep all the floors,” His mom says as she hands me a broom.

I never had to do this before, but for love of my boyfriend, I try my best.

I sweep each room with a hard floor, then throw the dust away.

After I am done, I sit down.

“Why are you sitting?” His mom asks angrilly.

“Because my body cannot take all this physical labor,” I plainly tell her.

“You wouldn’t have that kind of body if you grew up on a farm, all the hard work would burn off those calories.”

“Actually, I have a glandular problem. It’s not my fault.”

“God is probably punishing you for something wrong you did and judging by the speed you got into my son’s pants you’ve probably done a lot of wrong before you met him.”

“If you’re suggesting I sleep around, you’re gravely mistaken. Your son is the only one I’ve ever been intimate with and the only one I want to be intimate with. He is so kind to me, that I couldn’t help but fall in love with him and give myself to him.”

“Maybe I am wrong about you.”

“I wouldn’t lie.”

“Well, I apologize. I just want my son to have a good lady in his life.”

“Even though your son and I aren’t married, I’m still a lady, because I only want him and wouldn’t lay down with anyone else.”

“I have trouble trusting the city dwellers, because there is so much wickedness in the cities.”

“But our standard of living is so much higher.”

“You’re right. And that means life is easier and therefore you have more time to sin. We were meant to toil in the fields for our food and wages and if everyone lived that way, there would be no time for any sin.”

“It’s not my fault. I live in a subdivision. My dad is a business executive. I’ll admit there is a lot of sin and I can see that it is because of idle city life, but I didn’t ask to be born into this life, so it isn’t my fault.

“You’re still going to have a lot to answer for and that will affect your eternal destiny. I’d be willing to bet you’re not going to Heaven and you’re also causing my son’s spiritual life to suffer, so you will really have a lot to answer for.”

“Well what am I supposed to do?”

“Just realize that you are a sinner deserving to go to hell for eternity to pay for your sins, but a man named Jesus Christ paid that price for you. You must surrender your life to Him and follow Him daily and he will forgive all your sins, past, present and future.”

“I do realize that now. How do I surrender to Jesus Christ?”

“Talk to Him like you would talk to your best friend, invite Him into your heart to save your soul and rule your life.”

I go into my boyfriend’s old bedroom, kneel down by the bed and do what I was told.

As I pray, I feel as if all my sin and guilt has been lifted off of me, but I also feel an extremely compelling need to marry my boyfriend.

I walk out of the room.

“Has Jesus spoke to you?” His mom asks me.

“I believe He has. He keeps telling me that I need to marry your son.”

“Well, if Jesus is telling you that, I’d have to agree, but you better always treat my boy right.”

“Oh, I sure will. I don’t ever want to lose him.”

“Now, let’s go to the kitchen. I’ll teach you how to cook.”

My boyfriend’s mom takes some chicken breasts out of the refrigerator and says, “I’ll teach you how to sear these.”

She seasons them then puts them in a pan periodically flipping them.

Then she slices some potatoes and puts them with spices milk and cheese in a caserole dish, then puts them in the oven.

Then she takes some fresh green beans and bacon and places them in a pot with oil spices and water and steams them.

I carefully observe as much as possible.

This is going to be a delicious dinner.

We check on the food and stir periodically until my boyfriend and his dad come walking in from the fields.

Now we are putting the food on the table.

As we sit down to eat, we get messages that the evacuation order is lifted.

Minutes later my boyfriend’s phone rings. He goes to the old bedroom to take the call.

He walks back into the dining room, to which his mom says, “Don’t people know not to call at dinner time?”

“That was my job calling. I have to be back there in twenty-four hours, so we have to leave as soon as we are finished eating. I have a five-hour drive ahead of me and I’ll also need to be rested up.”

“Translation you want to go back home and screw your girlfriend,” His mom says.

“Honey, for the last time, don’t be so hard on him. He’s very lucky to have her.” His dad interjects.

“And I am just as lucky to have him!” I speak up.

“Fine do whatever you want.” His mom says with irritation.

His dad sees us out and says, “She’ll eventually come around, especially if y’all get married which, I think, y’all need to strongly consider.”

That echoes what God has been telling me as well.

My boyfriend and I nod, then he opens the car door for me and I step in.

He then gets in on the driver side and we head back to the city.

Back to “My [Non-Offensive] “Grocer and Writer” Pieces”

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In the Country Part 1-Grocer and Writer (Young Lady’s Perspective)

My boyfriend and I wake up in his old bedroom at his parents’ house in the country.

We are very cold, so he steps out of bed to check the thermostat.

It is even colder with him out of the bed so I tell him, “Come back to bed and keep me warm.”

“I’m coming right now,” He replies.

We hold each other until the hunger pangs get the better of us.

Slowly we walk to the kitchen.

His mom is putting pancakes and bacon on the table.

The silence is awkward and tense as we eat.

At one point, my boyfriend says, “I think the furnace is broken.”

“No, it just needs more oil. Why don’t you make yourself useful and go to the hardware store and pick some up?” His mom tells him coldly.

He then looks at his watch and asks her, “Does it still open at eight in the morning?”

“Yes.”

“Then we’re going right now. I have to get a new bulb for my flashlight anyway.”

“Charge the oil to your dad’s account,” His mom says in a cut and dry tone.

We get our coats then walk to my boyfriend’s old car.

He opens the passenger door for me, to which I step in, then he enters the driver’s side and we leave.

We drive into town and arrive at the hardware store just as it is opening.

There is a long line, so my boyfriend browses around.

Suddenly, my phone rings. The caller ID shows that it is my dad, so I go into a corner of the store and take the call.

“Hi Daddy.”

“Hello princess. I understand there was a terrorist attack. Are you all right?”

“Yes. I’m fine. My boyfriend and I evacuated to his parents’ house in the country.”

“Good. I’m glad you found him and I’m glad you’re with him because he is a really good young man.”

“And he loves me. Well I love him too, you know.”

“Yes, I know and I’m so happy for you princess.”

“We would have gone to your house, but I knew mom would be on edge.”

“I know. It is also your eighteenth birthday, which your mother totally missed out on because of her addiction. I hope that could be a wake up call to her. I doubt you’re enjoying it, but I hope there was some goodness to your birthday.”

“Yes, before all this happened my boyfriend bought me dinner.”

“Well we are going to throw you a party at some point and I want him there too.”

“Okay, Daddy that will be good.”

“Where are you now.”

“I’m at a hardware store in the country. My boyfriend is picking up some oil for his parents’ heater.”

“Well keep in touch with me and call if you need anything.”

“Will do.”

“Now I have to go check on your mother, so let me go.”

“Okay Daddy.”

“Let me know when you’re back in the city.”

“All right.”

“Bye princess an Happy Birthday.”

“Bye Daddy and thank you.”

I hang up the phone and go browse around the store with my boyfriend.

Finally someone waits on us.

He and my boyfriend converse, “Long time no see. What can I get for you?”

“As many First Alert Ready-Lite bulbs as possible and some heating oil.”

“First Alert Ready-Lite, that’s something you don’t hear of anymore.”

“Well, it came with the house I bought in the city.”

“Wasn’t there a terrorist attack there last night?”

“There sure was. We were ordered to evacuate and here we are.”

“That’s a drag. I enjoyed living in the city when I played football at the university on scholarship, but then I was injured and my career was over. Now I work for my dad’s hardware company and try to be the best salesman I can be.”

“It’s a shame how something that happens in an instant can alter a person’s life.”

“Well, I guess it’s for the best. At least you can return to the city when the evacuation is lifted.”

“Yes but to a God-awful job.”

“Where do you work?”

“The Downtown Grocer.”

“Oh yes, I’ve seen their commercials on TV.”

“Don’t let the commercials fool you, they are dirty people. I hate working for them. I’d really like to be a writer.”

“You always did. Some of my teammates knew how their girlfriends were impressed by your writings and were very jealous, so they began to spread false rumors about you.”

“Yes, I am well aware of that. Can we not re-live it? You should have the oil, which I’ll be charging to my dad’s account. Do you have the bulbs or not? If you do, I’ll be paying cash.”

The clerk checks the computer, then says “I have five packs of bulbs left in stock.”

“I’ll take all five,” My boyfriend clearly says.

The clerk then suggests to my boyfriend, “Could I interest you in a Mini Maglite LED flashlight instead? It runs for five hours on 2 AAA batteries and gives off 111 lumens. Your Ready Lite’s battery only lasts about an hour and there might not be any electricity available at your house to charge it up again.”

“Man it sure sounds tempting, but I don’t have enough cash for both the First Alert bulbs and the Mini Maglite.”

“Charge it to your parents’ account.”

“They’d be livid if I did.”

I then tell my boyfriend, “I’ll pay for that flashlight with my grocery money.”

“Baby, you don’t have to do that.”

I put my finger on his lips and say, “But I want to, because I can tell you’d really it. You can pay me back for it the same way you plan to pay me back for the gas money-all night long! Don’t think I haven’t been keeping track!”

He blushes, then I kiss him lovingly.

“All right baby, you know my payment is good,” He tells me.

He looks at the clerk and says, “Charge the oil to my parents’ account. I’ll pay cash for the bulbs and…”

“I’ll pay for that flashlight with my debit card,” I interject.

“Thank you, baby!” He tells me. He then holds me by my waist and kisses my head.

After our items are paid for, we leave the store.

He opens the passenger door for me and I kiss him as I step in.

He then gets in on the driver side and is about to start the car when his phone rings.

“Hello,” “What do you mean?” “Who called exactly?” “No, people need to mind their own business, that’s one of the reasons why I got out of the godforsaken country and moved to the city.” “But it was a blessing to me!” “Because it was a strategic target.” “Whatever you say.” “All right I am coming.”

He then hangs up.

My boyfriend starts his car and begins to head to his parents’ house when I ask him, “What’s the matter?”

He then tells me, “Now I am not mad at you at all. However, when you are in a small town you need to watch what you say and do in public because everyone is always watching and they are all busybodies.”

“What do you mean?”

“Several people overheard us talking about the flashlight you bought me and how I plan to pay it back. They called my mom and now she is even more angry with us.”

“Oh, my God, what have I done?”

“Don’t beat yourself up, baby. It’s not your fault, you’ve probably never been to a small town, so you just didn’t know that the people would be watching much less how they’d react.”

“I feel terrible, but I’m glad you’re not mad at me.”

“I’m not mad at all. In fact, your awesome combination of kindness and naughtiness turns me on so much that I plan to pay you back all night long and with interest compounded nightly included and tips.”

“I love you so much!”

“And I love you just as much! Now, what did your dad call you for?”

“He was just making sure we were all right because of the terrorist attack and that he’s glad I was with you instead of my mom.”

“That’s a relief. I know you’re eighteen now, but I still want to stay on his good side.”

“Just love me like you do now and I think he’ll have no problems with you.”

We are now pulling into the driveway and his mom is about to confront us.

Back to “My [Non-Offensive] “Grocer and Writer” Pieces”

In the Country Part 2-Grocer and Writer (Guy’s Perspective)

We enter the house and my momma says, “Where’s the heating oil?”

“Right here,” I tell her then hand her the tank.

We walk to my old bedroom and I turn on the bedside lamp.

I put a new bulb in my Ready-Lite. It works again and I’m satisfied. I plug it into the wall socket to charge.

We sit on my old bed and I cut my new flashlight out of the blister packaging. I then install the batteries and turn it on.

My girlfriend and I are amazed by the brightness.

“I really appreciate this gift you gave me,” I tell her, placing it in my pants pocket.

“It’s the least I could do. You’ve bought me a gift.” She says, pointing to her Baby G watch.

“But I still promise to pay you back.”

“I know you will and I am so looking forward to it!” She tells me with a sweet kiss.

My momma walks into the room and says, “So y’all have been screwing even though y’all aren’t married. How long has this been going on?”

“We don’t have to answer that.”

“Either answer me or find somewhere else to stay until the evacuation order is lifted.”

My mom then looks at my girlfriend and continues, “How long have you been committing this serious sin?”

My girlfriend breaks down and answers, “Since this past Christmas Eve. I had fallen so much in love with him and I’m still in love with him, but we had just learned on the news that a world war was about to break out. I was so afraid that he would be drafted and killed in combat without us fully knowing each other. I just wanted to seal my love for him.”

I look at my girlfriend and say, “You don’t have to explain to her or feel guilty about it.”

My mom looks at me angrily then says, “Oh, shut your mouth. You’re going to have a lot to answer for because of the way you charmed this young girl. I don’t know where you learned to do such a thing.”

My girlfriend then says, “He didn’t charm me at all. Yes, he does write those love stories and I find it very attractive, but I wanted him before I knew he wrote such beautiful things. I just thought he was so cute, so I started talking to him. At first, he was hesitant because of our age difference, but eventually, he fully accepted me. No one else wanted me because of my glandular problem but he loves me in spite of it, just like I love him in spite of his Autism.” My girlfriend pauses, then continue, “Any other time I tried to talk to someone of the opposite sex, they would make cow and pig noises, because of my weight. I’ve been dealing with that ever since I was eleven or twelve. When I told your son he was cute, I then asked him if he thought I was cute also or was I too fat and his response was that I was beautiful and not to let anyone else tell me otherwise. If he would have rejected me, I very well might have ended my life. He didn’t reject me though. In fact, he treats me better than I ever dared to dream. No one else was ever so kind to me, so I couldn’t help falling in love with him.”

I then look at my momma and say, “Remember how at one point I had written some stories and all the girls were impressed but their boyfriends were jealous, so they began to spread false rumors about me? I was just reminded of that today in the hardware store. It ruined my reputation hence another reason why I got out of this one horse town as soon as I was able. I’m immensely glad I moved to the city too because I met her and she brings so much joy to my life. All of the suffering I endured prior to meeting her was worth it.”

“You’re lucky those boys didn’t beat you up. Maybe they should have because then you would have learned not to write such sinful literature. All those stories do is cause their readers to have unrealistic expectations of their partners.”

My girlfriend then says, “He reads those stories to me all the time and I don’t have any unrealistic expectations of him, in fact, they usually make me want to love him more. My dad is going to help him get published hopefully soon and he will never have to work at his grocery job again. He is so miserable there, but he keeps the job so he can take care of me.”

My momma sternly says, “Work is supposed to be miserable to remind us that we are sinners in a fallen world. If you enjoy your work, chances or you’ll pay for it in the afterlife. Speaking of work, both of you will do chores while y’all are here to burn off all of that sinful energy. Y’all want to have the pleasures of a married couple, then y’all should have the responsibility of a married couple too.”

She looks at me and then continues, “Go help your daddy in the fields.”

She then looks at my girlfriend and says, “You will help me cook and clean.”

My girlfriend and I look at each other in distress.

My momma then says, “Go on, get to work.”

My girlfriend and I attempt to kiss each other, but my momma says, “Uh-uh, none of that.”

I sulk, then walk out the room, down the hall and out the back door.

I walk through the fields looking for my dad.

It’s cold and damp so I walk to the barn. I enter and turn my new flashlight on.

Suddenly, I hear my dad’s voice, “Wow that flashlight sure is bright for being so small. Where did you get it?”

“My girlfriend bought it for me at the hardware store.”

“That was awful nice of her.”

My dad pauses, then continue, “You’re very lucky to have her, so do everything in your power to keep her.”

“Believe me, I will. I love her so much.”

“She obviously loves you too! It’s as if our prayers have been answered.”

“Y’all have been praying that I find someone.”

“Both me and your momma.”

“Well, then why is she so angry at me?”

“She just doesn’t like to see you all grown up, that is all.”

“You’re probably going to get an earful from several folks in town about my girlfriend and I fornicating.”

“Who are they to judge? How many of them have committed the much worse sin of adultery? We’re all sinners, that’s why Christ went to the Cross, to begin with. I’ve told you that all your life. Now if you did fornicate with this girl and you do indeed love her, then, y’all must get married as soon as possible.”

“Believe me I would if I could afford a decent ring.”

“At least your heart is in the right place, just think of how many young men your age would screw a girl and then leave her the next day.”

“I would never dream of doing that to her. I want her by my side forever!”

“She’s a keeper, that’s for sure. And she bought you that flashlight, I think it is at least as bright as the screw top lantern I keep in here.”

“You still have that old lantern?”

“It’s in here somewhere. I remember you used to come in here to play with it when you were small. I told you to not turn on the main bulb because it runs down the battery quickly, but you could turn the red signal light on.”

My dad reaches into the dark corner of the barn, retrieves the old lantern and hands it to me.

“I always wanted to do some research about this lantern online, but there was no model number written on it that I could remember.”

“I think it is an Energizer 231, or something like that, but I’m not sure. A new battery costs more than the lantern itself these days. So what brings you here?”

“Momma insists that I do chores and she told me to help you with whatever you’re doing.”

“Well the soybean planting is coming up next month, so I’m trying to get all of my equipment in good working order.”

“So what would you want me to do to help you?”

“Well, I have to change the oil and fluids in my tractor and I could always use a hand with that. First of all, go to the breaker panel and turn the lights on.”

“I’m on it.”

I turn the barn lights on, then ask my dad, “Are they still on the shelving unit I made in shop class?”

“They sure are, of course, it might not be as organized as it was when you lived here.”

“I guess that’s one of my more beneficial quirks.”

“You call it a quirk, but I find it useful. I also always appreciated how you were like a walking talking encyclopedia.”

“Well there is one quirk that I have been trying my best not to do and that is yelling at selfish drivers. It takes every ounce of strength in me not to do it though.”

“Oh, I remember how mad you used to get when you were behind the wheel and someone didn’t drive right. What’s made you change?”

“The desire to not use coarse language in front of my girlfriend; I’ve never uttered a single curse word in her presence and I hope to God that I never will.

“You’ve come a long way, because I always knew when the computer was giving trouble, by hearing you curse.”

“Well, when I was trying to write stories or read online articles and the computer would crash at the worst possible time.”

“Yes or if you were listening to the radio during a thunderstorm.”

“Momma would say that the more I would curse the more God would make the lightning flash.”

“I didn’t agree with her saying that and I was always worried that she would turn you off to God.”

“For years I was turned off to Him until I realized how much of a sinner I truly was and how He loved me in spite of it and the great lengths He went to in order to save me. It’s basically what you’ve taught me all these years.”

“Well I’d like to think I did something right, now come on, let’s get those fluids changed. I need that gallon jug of transmission and hydraulic fluid and every quart bottle of the 20 weight oil on the shelf.”

I retrieve the fluid and oil.

My dad then says, “Now go get two five gallon buckets, one to put the spent transmission and hydraulic fluid and the other to put the spent oil.”

“It’s illegal to dump these,” I tell him.

“I don’t dump them. I save them and I use them to coat all of my tools to keep them from rusting. It’s cheaper than buying all those fancy lubricants.”

“Wow, I never thought to do that.”

“It’s an old trick of the farming trade.”

My dad opens up the access points on his tractor then drains the oils and fluids into the buckets.

Afterwards, he pours the new oil and fluids into the tractor then puts new filters on.

He starts up the tractor and says, “Purrs like a kitten, she does.”

“That was quick. I’m sure momma won’t let me off this easy, so what else can I do to help you?”

“You can organize the whole barn like you did when you were a little boy. It’s gotten in disarray since you moved out.”

“My Autism never seemed to bother you.”

“Well, that’s because your momma and I tried to have kids for years, but couldn’t. Then finally she was in her late thirties and I was almost fifty, but I produced you and she carried you to term and we were glad to have you. I read that a man’s seed changes as he gets older and it can cause his offspring to have some issues, but I always thought you were an awesome kid and looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just hope you’ll give me some grandchildren soon and I don’t care whether they are Autistic or not.”

“That means you’re now in your early seventies. Why don’t you retire?”

“I’m waiting for your momma to turn sixty-five, then I won’t have to pay so much for her health insurance because Medicare will kick in. Then we can sell the farm and buy a condominium in the city-yeah right your momma wouldn’t stand for it. ” He pauses, then continues, “Anyways, organize this barn really well and by the time your done supper should be on the table, or dinner as you city people refer to it.”

I get to work. The barn has definitely become unorganized since I moved out, but I can put a fix to that.

I begin by hanging all of the tools in their proper places, on the nails, I hammered into the wall as a child.

Then I organize the fertilizer chemicals not only by alphabet but elemental and molecular values. I also put them neatly in rows.

After that, I take the gasoline and diesel cans, consolidate them and place them near the vent.

I see several cutting blades and realize they are dull, so I take a file and sharpen them.

I look at my watch which indicates that it is 5:45 in the evening. The sun is almost set.

I tighten all of the loose screws on the barn’s doors and walls and finally the breaker panel.

I stack the bags of seeds neatly, then shut off the lights and lock the barn door.

By the light of my flashlight, my dad and I walk back to the house.

We walk in to find my momma and my girlfriend both putting supper on the table.

We are having seared chicken breasts, scalloped potatoes, and steamed green beans.

We sit down to eat, when suddenly both my phone and my girlfriend’s phone display a message of the evacuation order being lifted.

Minutes later, my phone rings.

It’s my workplace number, so I go into my old bedroom and take the call.

“Hello,” I answer.

The assistant store director is on the other end and says, “Okay your time off is over now, the evacuation has been lifted. Come back to work PDQ.”

“I’m out of town, I had no place to go when the train was derailed.”

“Then you have twenty-four hours from the end of this phone call to report back to work. If you don’t, your butt will be terminated.”

“Yes, sir,” I humbly reply.

I walk back into the dining room, to which my mom says, “Don’t people know not to call at dinner time?”

“That was my job calling. I have to be back there in twenty-four hours, so we have to leave as soon as we are finished eating. I have a five-hour drive ahead of me and I’ll also need to be rested up.”

“Translation you want to go back home and screw your girlfriend,” My mom says.

“Honey, for the last time, don’t be so hard on him. He’s very lucky to have her.”

“And I am just as lucky to have him!” My girlfriend speaks up.

“Fine do whatever you want.” My momma says with irritation.

We finish eating, then collect my things and leave.

My dad sees us out and says, “She’ll eventually come around, especially if y’all get married which, I think, y’all need to strongly consider.”

My girlfriend and I look at each other and nod, then I open the passenger door for her.

I then get in on the driver’s side, start my car and we head back to the city.

Back to “My [Non-Offensive] “Grocer and Writer” Pieces”

Evacuation-Grocer and Writer (Guy’s Perspective)

This is a very slightly modified version of the original.  There is one line that would be potentially offensive that I removed.

Hopefully, you, the reader, will forgive me and enjoy this version just as well.

Without further ado, here is the story:

“All right, let me just get a few things.” I tell the policeman.

“Where could we go?” My girlfriend asks me. “I don’t want to be with my mom.”

“If you don’t want to go there, we can go to the country and visit my family.”

“Are you sure?”

“What other choice do we have?”

“True.”

So I grab, my composition books and my flash drive, my rechargeable flashlight. my phone and charger. My girlfriend grabs her purse, phone and charger as well. God it’s cold. I hope my car can make it out of this wretched city. All I have is a wing and a prayer.

We walk out of my house, locking the doors behind us. Then we walk through my front yard and to the curb then shut hurricane fence. We get in my car and thankfully it fires right up.

I turn my car radio to the news and information station. My theory is proven correct; this was a terrorist attack. Contraflow is being used on all of the main highways out of the city. Right now it’s bumper to bumper, I hope and pray the terrorists don’t strike again right here. I must get off this Interstate as soon as I can and take an alternate route. That way, there’ll be less traffic and less chance of another attack.

There is a heavy police presence but I guess that is a good thing. I hope and pray that they are not harmed by those damn terrorists.

For forty five minutes the traffic moves like molasses in the dead of winter. She rests her head on my shoulder and I repeatedly kiss her forehead. We are making the best of a bad situation. Finally we are now moving.

“Once we get out of the city, I should get us some coffee and food. I need something to keep me awake.”

“Sure, do what you need to do.”

We are now out of the city and on the Interstate. Thank God, the traffic is now moving. Just as planned though, I will get off.

I see an exit to a dark, but well maintained highway two lane. Right away I take it.

“Looks like we are safe now, but why are you getting off right here?” My girlfriend asks.

“Because, I don’t want to take the chance of someone wrecking or breaking down. If that happens, traffic will back up and the terrorists could possibly strike again.” I reply.

“I hope you know what you’re doing.”

“Look, I am trying my best. You must know that I am just trying to get us out of harm’s way.”

“I guess.” She says with irritation.

“Let’s not fight, if we do the terrorists have another victory.”

“Yes, thank God we weren’t away from each other when this happened.

“You’re right! I would rather die with you than live and us be apart!”

“I love you so much!”

“And I love you too, baby!”

“How much longer from here?”

“About four hours.”

“That’s fine.”

“Yes, I just hope and pray my car won’t break down.” I reply.

“What’s your family like?”

“Let’s just say interesting.”

“I hope they will accept me but I’m afraid of what they will think of my mom’s pill habit.”

“Don’t worry, they’ll accept you. They always wanted me to find love and now I have because of you. They just might tease you about being from the city.”

“What about the pills? Would they judge me about that?”

“No, they won’t. My family has always taught me that no one is perfect and that we all have faults. Plus, you’re not the addict; your mom is.”

“What’s your hometown like?” She asks.

“Boring, flat and quiet. I guess that is a good thing at the moment. It’s not an important place, so the terrorists wouldn’t try to strike there.”

“So you think we’ll be safe there?”

“Yes, there is only a two-lane highway in and out of town and there are no waterways, railroads are airstrips. It’s nothing a terrorist would want to hit.”

“You should call your parents first, to let them know you are coming.” She tells me.

“You’re right. I was going to, but you know I should conserve my minutes, especially for my job.” I reply.

“I don’t think you will be returning to work for a while and, to me, that’s a very good thing. Besides, you can use my phone.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course. I love you and would do anything for you.”

“Oh, I love you too baby! Thank you so much.”

She turns her phone on and I call out the ten digits. She then puts the speaker phone feature on and we hear the ringing.

“Hello.” My mother answers, half asleep.

“Hey, momma it’s me. There has been a terrorist attack in my city and I am headed your way. Put the news on, you’ll hear all about it.” I reply.

“Are you all right?”

“Yes. I am fine, but I have someone special with me.”

“Whom do you have?”

“My girlfriend. I will explain everything when we arrive.”

“Okay, be careful.”

“I sure will.”

“How much longer until you’ll be here?”

“If everything goes right, about four to five hours. As soon as we find a truck stop, I will get some, food and coffee to keep me awake.”

“Okay, you drive safe and I will see you then. I can’t wait to meet this lovely young lady.”

Suddenly the signal fades out.

“Momma, can you hear me?”

“Durn it.

“Your mom seems nice.”

“Oh, she is very nice. I wish I could see her more.”

“It’s a good thing she is not like my mom.”

“The worst she does is take a shot of whiskey every now and then. It’s only to help her sleep.”

I continue to drive. It is cold and dark. The heater is working well for the most part. My girlfriend snuggles next to me and we keep warm.

I see a truck stop sign ahead, so activate my turn signal. We get off the highway, then pull into the parking lot.

We drive up to a pump, then go inside to pay the cashier.

My girlfriend pulls out her debit card and says “Let me pay. My dad deposited grocery money in my account, but I think we need gas more than groceries right now.

“Thank you so much, baby! I wish I could repay you!”

My girlfriend replies “It’s the least I can do. By the way, when we get back home, you can repay me all night long!” The she tells the cashier and say “Forty Dollars on pump five.”

The young cashier says, blushing “Y’all are so cute.” She then runs my girfriend’s card.

We go out to pump the gas, then come back after we’re done. I desperately need food and coffee, so I ask the cashier, “Is your restaurant open?”

“Well, we were going to close, but could sure use the business.” She pauses then calls the waitress. “There are some customers, don’t shut down just yet.”

We walk into the diner and the waitress greets us.

“What’ll it be?” She asks.

I look at my girlfriend and say “Tell her.”

“I would like some strawberry pancakes if that’s all right.”

“Sure. And for you?”

“Whatever sandwich you can make. And coffee-lot’s of it.”

“Where are y’all from?”

“The city south-east of here. There was a terrorist attack and we are refugees.”

“A terrorist attack?” She asks.

“Yes. Turn your TV on. You’ll learn all about it.” I tell her.

“Can’t. Cable’s out.” She replies.

“Well, these radical extremists, purposely derailed a train right where the transmission lines cross the tracks. That caused a chemical release and the power in most of the city is out.”

“Good Lord, that’s awful.”

“Yes. And it’s her eighteenth birthday.” I tell the waitress.

The waitress looks at my girlfriend and says “Well since it is your birthday, y’all both eat free. Y’all have seen enough hell for tonight and it’s the least we can do.”

“Thank you so much; I surely appreciate that.” I tell her.

“Yes, y’all are both welcome. Just tell any travellers about this place when you can.”

“I just hope and pray that you’ll get more refugee customers coming from the city, but most are probably on the Interstate. I took a back road so we wouldn’t be caught in all that traffic.”

My girlfriend and I happily eat and converse with the waitress and then we get coffee to go.

“Here’s a thermal mug with our company name on it. Tell everyone you can about us.” The waitress says.

“I sure will.” I tell her.

“Come back if you’re ever passing through again and we’ll take care of y’all.”

We leave the truck stop and get back on the highway. I am now awake and alert thanks to the free coffee. My girlfriend is sleeping on my shoulder. I hold her with my right arm and the wheel with my left. Three and a half hours before I am in my home town…

I see plenty of yellow lines and reflectors and at least my car is running smoothly. Finally I see the junction and turn to go into town.

I pull into my parents’ driveway. We step out of the car and I ring the doorbell. My momma greets us.

Back to “My [Non-Offensive] “Grocer and Writer” Pieces”

A Review of the Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-32 Handheld Programmable Scanner Radio

I am a very sentimental person.

I also frequently think about what technology was like around the time I came into this world (especially radio and computer technology.)

Because of that, for years, I had wanted to own a Realistic (Radio Shack®) Pro-32 scanner.

Why?

Because it was put on the market in 1987, the same year I was born.

In 1987 this was Radio Shack’s premium handheld scanner. It retailed for $299.99 (which would be the equivalent of $674.84 in 2019 Dollars.) I bought mine second hand but in very good condition with the original box and paper work for $25 even (more on that in a bit.)

The Pro-32 runs on 6 AA Alkaline or Rechargeable (NiCad/NiMH) batteries. It also uses three watch batteries to power what was a vast memory (200 Bank+10 Monitor Channels) in 1987. The Frequency ranges it covers are:
30-54 MHz FM
108-136 MHz AM
138-174 MHz FM
AND
380-512 MHz FM

This scanner must have been a failure, because it was only featured in the Radio Shack Catalogs from 1987 to 1988.

In 1989, a significantly more sophisticated model was put on the market, the Pro-34. This better scanner also ran on 6 AA batteries, but did not require watch batteries for the memory. In addition to what the Pro-32 received, the Pro-34 had more frequency ranges:
806-823 MHz FM
857-868 MHz FM
AND
896-906 MHz FM

Many police, fire and EMS services as well as some bigger businesses would begin to migrate to 800 MHz in the 1990s.

The Pro-34 costed slightly more at $329.99 ($680.07 in 2019 Dollars)

What I find amusing though, is the Pro-32 seems to be the direct ancestor of several entry level scanner radios such as:

The Radio Shack Pro-79, which came out 15 years later in 2002 and is more power efficient (runs on 4 AA batteries instead of 6 and the memory is flash based instead of requiring those watch batteries) and costed $99.99 ($142.04 in 2019 Dollars.)

The Radio Shack Pro-82, which came out 16 years later in 2003 and has the features of the Pro-79 in addition to push button dedicated searches for certain radio services and costed between $79.99-$99.99 ($111.09-$138.87 in 2019 Dollars.)

The Radio Shack Pro-404, which came out 22 years later in 2009 has all the features of the Pro-82 in addition to a Signal Stalker/Spectrum Sweeper and PC programmable features and also costed $79.99-$99.99 ($95.28-$119.10 in 2019 Dollars.)

The Radio Shack Pro 649 which came out about 27 years later in 2014 and is almost a younger clone of the Pro-404, but can tune in more narrow frequency steps on certain bands and costed $99.99 ($107.94 in 2019 Dollars.)

The closest modern equivalent to it is the Whistler WS-1010, which came out 31 years or so in 2018 or so and has all the features of the Pro 649 but double the memory and costs between $79.99-$119.99 ($81.40-$122.11 in 2019 Dollars.)

I had checked on eBay quite a few times trying to buy this scanner, but there was always a problem purchasing it.

A few weeks ago, I had tried for the final time, when my transaction didn’t go through. Within seconds of the failed transaction, The Good Lord Himself told me stop and wait because I would be purchasing one at Ham Vention 2019 in Ohio.

I’m beginning to learn to obey Him and this time, I did just that.

And do you, the reader, know what?

The Pro-32 scanner I bought a Ham Vention was in much better condition and cheaper than any of the ones selling on eBay!

Any Christian (but only a Christian) is a child of the One True God. And God is a passionate loving Father who wants only the best for His children. This is a very small but still valid example of that.

By the way, this particular scanner is not very common. Case in point: It is vintage and it wasn’t in production very long. That means there probably aren’t too many in existence anymore. It would have taken basically an act of God for one to be available at the flea market, for me to see it there because the flea market is the size of a horse track and covered entirely with vendors and for no one else to purchase it. So the fact that God Himself told me I would be purchasing one at the Ham Vention flea market, strengthens my faith in Him and my walk with Him and it should be good testimony for believers and non believers alike!

I was planning to go to Ham Vention to purchase gently used flashlights and calculators in the flea market anyway, like I did last year.

I am indeed a ham and in fact, I do hold a General Class license.

Those of you whom were forwarded to my blog from Q R Zed already know this, but I don’t like to give out my call sign.

I’m not too active on the radio, because of where I currently live.

My lease forbids any sort of transmitting antennas and neither do I want to interfere with any of my neighbors’ electronics, because I tend to enjoy peace and detest drama.

So for that reason, I basically stay on 2 Meters and 440 with low power portable radios and usually only during emergencies.

I do all my HF, high powered long antenna activities at a friend’s house with his equipment.

So why besides it being as old as me would I want a Radio Shack Pro-32?

I mean, compared to the modern scanners: It is bulky as a brick in size and weight. It is power hungry as a starving pit bull in a butcher. It is slower than molasses in the dead of winter when it comes to scan and search speed. It is analog only which makes it obsolete, at least partially. And the coverage is limited.

Yes, that is all very true.

…BUT…

I find that for what I listen to most which is railroad and marine traffic, older scanners are far more sensitive than their modern counterparts. They clearly pull in signals from farther away that most modern scanners cannot even detect. Japanese electronics, which this particular scanner was made in Japan, seem to overwhelmingly outperform their Chinese and Vietnamese made descendants in ways where performance truly counts.

I interpreted the date code (5A7) to mean this particular unit was made in May of 1987. That means it was made thirty two years ago this month (the same month I bought it)!

What amuses and amazes me the most is that the model number is 32, I am 32 (at the time of writing this) and it is also 32! God definitely has His hand in this!

This concludes my review on the Radio Shack Pro-32.

I would like to thank and cite Radio Shack Catalogs for the picture (which I do not own) and the technical details.

I hope you the reader have been informed and entertained by this piece. Thank you for taking the time of reading and may God richly bless you!

Back to “Product Reviews”

About Television

This piece is about television: Analog…Digital…Cable…Broadcast…

I watch broadcast television.

When I say that, I mean “free” television that is received over the air with an antenna.

I don’t subscribe to any cable, satellite or Internet Protocol television at all.

Many other Millenials like me also do not subscribe to any pay television.

BUT, initially, I did it for different reasons than my fellow Millenials.

However, many of my fellow Millenials do subscribe to one or more streaming services, I don’t.

I am a total cord cutter and my only data traffic comes in and out on my cell phone.

Growing up, my parents always subscribed to cable.

They are indeed Baby Boomers and that generation almost as a whole fervently believes in subscribing to cable.

I think this is because, when they were growing up, the only people who had “clear” television reception were the city dwellers and everyone else had frequent reception issues. Not only that, there were maybe three main channels in a given market when they were growing up, whereas cable offers dozens to hundreds of channels. Cable was also much cheaper in the early days. I remember both my parents and grandparents saying how cable television was $8/month when they began subscribing.

However, myself and maybe other Millenials have noticed that since about the late 2000s cable television has skyrocketed in cost but plummeted in quality programming-change my (our) mind(s)!

I would dare say that it is not even worth eight 2019 dollars a month unless one lives totally out of any broadcast reception range (like maybe Texas, between San Antonio and El Paso or other extremely rural areas.)

When the Baby Boomers were much younger adults in the 1980s and 1990s, cable was wonderful, I’ll admit it and I’ll admit it until the cows come home. I was a child back then, but I remember how cable used to be very good. Nickelodeon had awesome cartoons and sketch comedies. VH1 and MTV actually played music videos! Arts and Entertainment, The History Channel and the Discovery Channel didn’t show constant reruns, but actually had very original and equally educational shows! TBS and TNT and USA Network had much more diverse and sometimes original programming unlike now where they mostly air reruns of shows that are already on broadcast television for free! And get this: CNN actually reported credible news without so much biased commentary!

I first “cut the cable” in the Summer of 2003, when I was sixteen and a half.

I finally had my own television, a 1992 Zenith Sentry 2 and I wanted to experiment with it.

This means that my initial reason for cutting cable was strictly experimental.

So I purchased a set of rabbit ears and a loop and connected them to that aforementioned television.

I would spend hours scanning the channels and constantly repositioning the antennas to see which stations I could receive.

At the time, I lived about sixty miles from Baton Rouge, fifty miles from New Orleans, and maybe eight miles from Houma, the three closest cities with television stations.

The rest of my family thought I was crazy.

My classmates that found out also thought I was crazy.

Let’s just say I was a cord cutter well before doing so was cool.

I guess that makes me at least partially a hipster.

I may sometimes wear my newsboy hat, but I refuse to grow a beard, so there.

This went on from 2003 to about 2006 and was basically before the June 12, 2009, FCC Digital Upgrade Mandate.

I will say that when comparing analog and digital broadcast television, both have some advantages as well as disadvantages.

Since the television I had was only an analog model and I didn’t yet have a converter box, I was only able to watch analog television.

However, analog television signals were able to travel further and could be received with lower quality antennas than their modern digital counterparts. Also, an analog television signal could still be intelligibly received whilst the receiver was in motion and even mobile (like in a car!)

All I had were rabbit ears and a loop, but I could catch both of the then VHF High New Orleans stations WYES-12 (didn’t watch much on it, but it had the clearest picture of all) and WVUE-8 (watched The Simpsons every Sunday night on there) almost perfectly. Most of the UHF New Orleans stations WNOL-38 (watched The Simpsons every weeknight on it), WHNO-20 (watched some preachers on there), WPXL-49 easily. The other UHF New Orleans-area stations WUPL-54, WGNO-26, WLAE-32 were hit and miss. The two VHF Low Band stations in New Orleans WWL-4 (despite being one of the most powerful television stations in the country) and WDSU-6 were difficult to catch, and had lots of static on my then configuration but would come in every now and then (and WDSU-6 had beautiful color when it did come in properly, it was always fun to watch Golf or Racing on there.) I could also catch the VHF High Band station out of Baton Rouge WAFB-9 all the time, (in fact when I wasn’t in school or working, I would watch As the World Turns on there.) The VHF Low Band station in Baton Rouge, WBRZ-2 would come in every now and then but always had lots of static. As for the UHF Baton Rouge stations, I could catch WVLA-33 most of the time and every now and then could catch WGMB-44 (would also watch The Simpsons on there when I could), which wasn’t even on my parents’ cable service. Sometimes the picture was almost clear, most of the time the picture was overall intelligible, but with some snow and white noise. These results were pretty much acceptable considering the antenna was an indoor model maybe six feet up and up to sixty miles away from the stations. Sometimes various forms of radio skip would occur and I would catch television stations from other states! That was always interesting and of course, caught my undivided attention. KFOL-30 (HTV-10) out of Houma was almost always guaranteed to come in but sometimes had a least a little white noise and snow in the signal.

I will say that it is virtually impossible in that location with that antenna setup to receive most of those stations since they switched to digital mode.

In December 2007, my then girlfriend, now ex-wife and I purchased our first Digital Ready television. It was a 24 inch Dynex CRT we purchased from Best Buy and was a Christmas gift to each other. Later on that day, I hooked up my rabbit ears and a loop to it excited to see what I could catch. We were living in her parents’ trailer in Raceland, Louisiana, which adversely affect television reception with that setup. However, I was only able to get WWL-36 (virtual channel 4.1) though sometimes it would come in clearly and beautifully but other times it would freeze up and fade out. One of the first things I remember catching on there was the “Happy Holidays” commercial for the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. We also watched the CBS Evening News where Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson was being interviewed. Later that night I went to Wal Mart and purchased a set of rabbit ears and a loop with a built-in amplifier. This only made a marginal difference. For almost a year, we watched broadcast television with hit and miss results, then in the Summer of 2008, my now ex-wife but then girlfriend began subscribing to cable, which also meant home internet and phone. Also in the Summer of 2008, I applied for the coupons for a digital converter box. When they came in, I went to Wal Mart, purchased one and installed it on my old Zenith at my parents’ house.

On June 12, 2009, all full-power American television stations shut off their analog signals and began broadcasting strictly in digital.

Fast forward to the Spring of 2016. My then wife, now ex-wife and I were living in a second story apartment in Raceland, Louisiana. I had a man cave with that Dynex television and bought a cheap flat panel antenna for it. My then now ex-wife either watched Uverse in the bedroom or living room. I could catch a good bit of the New Orleans stations and the one Houma station since I was on the second floor and had a height advantage. I was never able to catch any of the Baton Rouge stations though and that irritated me, especially since they weren’t on our Uverse subscription either. At the time, however, I was more interested in listening to railroad communications on my scanners. In late 2017, my now ex-wife was badgering me how she wanted a ground floor apartment and since our neighbors below us moved out, we applied for and got it. This put a damper on my television and scanner reception. But even though my marriage was falling apart, I knew she had mobility issues and was even then was trying to appease her and her family. In early January of 2018, we mutually decided to cancel our Uverse television subscription and use Netflix and antennas but keep the Internet service in order to save money and pay down debt. Being on the bottom floor meant less television [and scanner] reception. However, I remember my ex watching Inside Edition and they were doing a piece on President Trump’s questionable diet. We could only catch WWL-36/(4.1) and KFOL-30. I wasn’t too happy about that, but I chalked it up to her wanting so badly to move downstairs. Then, I had found out some stuff she was doing behind my back coupled with years of mistreatment and I left her later that month also later that month and I applied for an apartment on the outskirts of Houma, Louisiana. I stayed with a friend until that apartment became available.

My ex wanted me to keep that old Dynex television, but I refused because I didn’t want to be reminded of her. God only knows where it is now.

I got my own apartment on May 1, 2018, and what was really a blessing is that I was offered a second-floor unit and gladly took it (a vertically higher position equals better television and scanner reception.)

Between leaving my ex and getting my own apartment, I purchased a 24 inch LG flat screen model and watched it at a friends house. it was hooked up to an attic antenna and I caught just about every station from New Orleans but none from Houma or Baton Rouge. This is because that attic antenna was a directional model and pointed at New Orleans. It also doubled as my computer monitor for the time being.

A few days after moving into my apartment, I set up my LG television. I knew I was not going to get cable and since my ex kept the other televisions and antennas we had, I went to The Ruble, I mean The Dollar General and purchased another flat antenna. I tried multiple several spots in my living room, until realizing that placing it in the window that faces the Gulf of Mexico, for whatever reasons pulls the stations in. I caught a few New Orleans stations and of course the one station in Houma. What is very strange though is I initially tried placing my antenna in the window that faces New Orleans but didn’t catch ANY stations doing so.

I used my phone for all of my Internet use, but many times I ended up with throttled data. In July of 2018, I had begun subscribing to Internet through Comcast. I had it until April of 2019 when I purchased a good enough mobile data plan to where I didn’t need home Internet anymore. Once again, I became a cord cutter!

Also a few days ago, my brother and his wife gave me their Samsung 43 inch Smart TV, since they upgraded. I put my LG in my bedroom and this Samsung television in my living room. However, I’ve noticed that while Samsung televisions do have very beautiful pictures, their RF tuning circuits aren’t that sensitive. LG televisions have superior RF tuning circuits and I think that has something to do with the fact that they merged with Zenith! Okay, that 1992 Zenith television also had a very good tuner and actually it was in my family until about 2010 or 2011! My maternal grandma also swore by Zenith televisions to the point where she referred to all remotes as “the Space Command.” I’ve also been told that her husband, my grandpa also swore by Zenith products, but he died 29 years before I was born. Anyway, that’s why I am so prejudiced in favor of Zenith and now LG! It was January of 2006 when I had found out that LG and Zenith merged. I was highly ticked off because, at the time, I had found that LG made junky phones, however, nowadays they make pretty decent phones and because of that Zenith engineering that they inherited, their televisions have the best tuners, hands down. I could give other detailed examples of this too, drop me a line and I will. So earlier this evening I purchased a better antenna for the Samsung and if need be, I will also get an amplifier. I cannot wait for it to come in. Currently, it only catches WWL-36/(4.1, 4.2, 4.3) and KFOL-30/(30.1, 30.3.) By the way, the LG television in my bedroom picks up a few New Orleans stations and of course the one station in Houma. I purchased the antenna for it at The Family Dollar and it is mounted high up on the wall that faces the Gulf of Mexico.

Now digital television does have its advantages over its analog ancestor. While the reception range is shortened, the picture quality is highly superior when the signal comes in properly. Also, the bandwidth required for one analog channel can fit six digital channels! Couple a good tuner and antenna system, most users can have a choice of channels that is almost on par with basic cable, but it costs nothing! Well, one does need a good antenna and that might also mean a tower, some coax, amplifiers, and a digital ready television or converter box, but the setup would pay for itself in one to three months!

As I stated on Facebook, I wish we could marry the signal strength and transmission range of analog television with the picture quality and channel capacity of digital television…It was that Facebook post I made earlier today that inspired me to write this piece!

But wouldn’t it be nice if ATSC 3.0 solves that exact issue, though?

If I were to live alone forever, I would probably be a cord cutter forever!

In fact, the only way I can see myself ever subscribing to cable again would be when/if my girlfriend and I marry and buy a house together. This would be so she can watch her Hallmark movies and listen to her Christian music on Music Choice. I’ll also admit that I’d be glad to watch and listen to that with her as those are one of the few rare modern perks of cable television. She treats me so well and because of that, I want her to be able to spoil her as much as possible and while I don’t currently believe in subscribing to cable, I would do it for her in a heartbeat. There are so many other things I want to do for her too as well. For the record though, we would have an antenna though for a backup for when the cable goes out.

Broadcast television has overall gotten better and cable has obviously gotten worse.

There need to be drastic changes in the cable and other subscription television industries as a whole, or more and more will get fed up and start hooking up antennas instead. They will lose too many customers and that will serve them right for charging too much for too little.

One of those changes I suggest is, if hospitals, hotels/motels, and even prisons can have cable without that freakin’ box (pardon my language but this really irritates me and therefore, unfortunately, warrants such crude language) and just plug the television directly into the cable wire, why can’t the average consumer do the same? I’ve been asking that question publically since 2016, but it has been on my mind much longer. Most of it is fueled by seeing my paternal grandma struggle to operate her cable box and her husband, my Paw Paw (God rest his soul) flat out give up on television because of the complexity of operating the cable box

I discovered broadcast television as an experiment but now rely on it daily for entertainment and information.

I much prefer broadcast over cable and I get mixed reactions for this preference.

I hope this piece has been informative and entertaining…

Notes on the Texas Instruments TI-36 Calculator

I have EDCed a Texas Instruments TI-36 X Pro (2011 version) either on my person, in my backpack or otherwise very near me since June of 2014. It is my favorite scientific calculator ever made!

For some time now, I had also been EDCing a composition book in my backpack and taking notes on subjects that interest me.

This page of notes pertains to the history of the TI-36 calculator and I will cite my main source as Wikipedia. I took these notes on October 14, 2018.

Without further ado, here are the notes:

These are details of the history and specifications of the TI-36.

The Texas Instruments TI-36 began in 1986 as an upgraded variant of the TI-35 Plus with Solar Cells a ten digit mantissa, two digit exponents, twelve-digit internal precision, base calculations (decimal, hexadecimal, octal and binary), complex values, statistics, the ability to convert the coordinates of polar and rectangular angles, an X-Y exchange, percentages, register-current stack exchange, factorial, permutation/combination, fifteen level parenthesis with six pending operation stacks, two operand registers (A,B) and one memory register.

The 1986 TI-35 Plus uses a Toshiba T7767.

The 1986 TI-36 Solar uses a Toshiba T7768 and features trigonometric functions, exponents, logarithms and intelligent order of operations.

They were upgraded in 1989.

The 1989 TI-35 Plus now uses a Toshiba T-7765 and now has a black shell.

The TI-36 Solar features smaller and more efficient solar cells. The Text, “ANYLITE SOLAR” replaces “SCIENTIFIC” on the bottom right of the face.

They were upgraded again in 1991 as the TI-35X or the TI-36X SOLAR and had a similar design of the TI-68, but lacking programming capability and the tilted screen.

There was also the addition of unit conversions such as: centimeters to inches, liters to US Gallons, kilograms to pounds, Celsius to Fahrenheit and grams to ounces, eight physical constants, a three-count register and two variable statistics with linear regression.

Base calculations now include Boolean logic (NOT, AND, OR, XOR, XNOR.)

Other new features included cube roots, fraction mode display and conversion of pure and mixed numbers.

The complex function was removed.

They have fifteen parenthesis stack level.

The 1991 TI-35X uses a Toshiba T6A58S and the 1991 TI-36 X Solar use a Toshiba T6A57.

They were mostly cosmetic upgrades in 1993, featuring redesigns of rubber like keys and a rounder case.

In 1996, the TI-36X Solar was upgraded with recolored labels, solid plastic keys. A bare processor was now attached to the motherboard.

The TI-35 was also discontinued.

In 1999 two variants of the TI-36 were released to the markets:

The TI-36 eco RS featuring a cabinet that was made from recycled plastics.

The TI-36 XII featured a two-line display, 11 5X7 cell characters, could store multiple expressions each holding eighty-eight characters, thirteen digit internal precision, five registers for memory, two registers for expressions, integer division, new unit conversions (meters to feet, meters to yards, kilometers to miles, litres-to UK Gallons and kilometers per hour to meters per second), eight more physical constants in addition to a Pi constant, two variable statistic regression models include natural logarithms, exponent, power, forty-two sample points or pairs can be stored, the binary base calculation was removed, the complex function was restored, supports conjugate, real/imaginary numbers, absolute value, integral calculation, random number generators, stacks were increased to twenty-three pending operations, eight pending values, a D-pad and a restyled cabinet.

2004 brought on another two upgrades:

The TI-36X SOLAR, which was a total cosmetic redesign on the 1996 model design. This new theme was based on the 2004 BA II Plus or the 2003 TI-1706SV.

There was also a slight redesign on the 1999 TI-36 XII, mostly different colored keys.

These were manufactured by Nam Tai Electronics.

In 2005, a talking version of the TI-36 known as the Orion was made to help the visually impaired.

2011 brought about the latest incarnation, the TI-36 X Pro.

Expression lengths were reduced to eight characters. Registers were increased to eight for memory, one for formula and can store three list formulas. Physical constants were increased by four to twenty, conversion sets increased to forty. Binary base calculations were restored.

A plethora of new functions were added:
Least common multiple, greatest common denominator, prime factors summation, product rounded value, integer part of a number, fractional part of a number, greatest integer smaller or equal to the number, minimum and maximum of the two numbers, Modulo calculus numeric derivative symmetric difference quotient method, two variable statistics, quadratic and cubic regressions, distribution functions, normal probability density function, mean=0 and sigma=1, function of x, probability between x boundaries, inverse cumulative normal distribution functions for a given area under the normal distribution curve with a user-specified mean and standard deviation, probability at x for the discrete binomial distribution with user-specified mean and standard deviation, probability at x for the discrete binomial distribution with user-specified trial number and probability of success per trial, cumulative probability at x for binomial distribution with specified trial number of success per trial, probability at y and y for Poisson distribution with the specified mean, statistics results min/max of x values 25/75 percentile, function table formula based generator, manual table Matrix three editable tables, preset 2X2 and 3X3 identity matrices, matrix arithmetic vector three editable tables, preset last matrix/vector result, vector arithmetic, dot product, cross product, polynomial solver 2nd/3rd degree solver, linear equation solver 2X2 and 3X3 solver, Base-N operations, Boolean operators, expression evaluation, complex numbers, polar coordinate entry, polar cartesian display mode angle for complex number.

In 2017 and continuing, the TI-36 X Pro is now made in The Philipines.

The TI-35 and TI-36 lines are the highest end models of Texas Instruments scientific calculators.

TI-36 Calculator History Table:
YEAR……..Model………Processor……..Country of Manufacture
1986……..TI-35 PLUS….Toshiba T7767….Italy
1986……..TI-36 SOLAR…Toshiba T7768….Taiwan ROC
1991……..”” “”………Toshiba T6A57….Italy
1996……..TI-36 X SOLAR.??……………Mainland China
1999……..TI-36 eco RS..??……………”” “”
1999……..TI-36 X II……??……………”” “”
2004……..”” “”………??……………”” “”
2004……..TI-36 X SOLAR.??……………”” “”
2011……..TI-36 X Pro…??……………Mainland China
2017……..”” “”………??……………The Philipines