Throwback Thursday — Birthday Blasts

Maggie, at From Cave Walls, and Lauren, at LSS Attitude of Gratitude, alternate hosting Throwback Thursday. The idea of the prompt is for them to give us a topic and for us to write a post in which we share our own memories or experiences about the given topic. This week, Lauren chose the topic of “Birthday Blasts.”

Lauren would like us to think back to the birthdays we remember. Here are her questions.

1) What’s your earliest birthday memory?

Sadly, I don’t remember virtually any of my birthdays when I was a kid.

2) What was your favorite birthday and why?

See my answer above.

3) What’s the best birthday present you have ever received?

For my 60th birthday my wife got us GoldLeaf tickets on the Rocky Mountaineer, a beautifully scenic train excursion from Vancouver to Banff. It was spectacular.

4) Did you ever get money as a birthday gift?

I’m sure I did.

5) What did you like to do on your birthday as a kid? What do you like to do now?

I suppose it was having friends over, playing games, eating cake and ice cream, and opening presents. That’s what I like to do now, too.

6) Did you have birthday parties with friends or family parties?

Yes, both.

7) Did you get to pick the food for your birthday? Did you prefer to eat a home cooked meal or to eat out at a restaurant on your birthday?

I think — and I emphasize think because I don’t have clear recollections — that my parties probably had take out food like pizzas or other fast foods.

8) Did your family have any fun birthday traditions? Did you continue those traditions with your own kids?

I don’t recall any specific traditions in my youth, but my wife and I always made big deals with our kids birthdays and their parties. And I have the video tapes to prove it.

9) Did you ever get to take the day off school on your birthday? As an adult did/do you take the day off?

Not that I recall.

10) Have you ever had a surprise birthday party? Was it a real surprise, or did you know it was coming?

Yes, for my 30th birthday, some of the people I worked with threw me a surprise party and, yes, I was very surprised. And the most notable birthday present of the night was a gag gift…an inflatable sex doll. I was still single at the time.

Bonus Question:
If you had a million dollars to spend only on your next birthday, what would you do?

I’d buy myself a gift. One million dollars deposited into an account that, upon my death, would be bequeathed to my wife, if she survives me, and to my children and grandchildren.

Fibbing Friday — Different Endings

Di (aka Pensitivity101) and Melanie (Sparks From a Combustible Mind) alternate as hosts for Fibbing Friday, a silly little exercise where we are to write a post with our answers to the ten questions below. But as the title suggests, truth is not an option. The idea is to fib a little, a lot, tell whoppers, be inventive, silly, or even outrageous, in our responses. This week is Di’s turn and she wants us to complete some song titles.

1. I’ve Got You Under …

the Ground.

2. Hi Ho Silver …

Gold, and All That Glitters

3. Anyone Who Had …

Half a Brain Would Leave This Place

4. Me and You …

Should Mud Wrestle

5. Hats Off …

Inside the Restaurant

6. Everyone’s Gone …

To Hell

7. Every Man Must …

Learn How to Avoid Answering the Question “Do These Jeans Make My Butt Look Fat?”

8. You’ll Never Find Another …

Planet to Live On

9. He Ain’t Heavy …

He’s Morbidly Obese

10. I’ll Meet You At …

the Gym

Second Amendment Thoughts Revisited

I originally posted Second Amendment Thoughts last year around this time, but I thought, in light of the most recent incidents of mass shootings in the United States over the past two weeks, I thought it might be worth revisiting it. I’ve made some changes and updates to the original.

I have perspectives regarding the Second Amendment. In fact, I have strong opinions about whether or not it actually applies to the ownership and use of concealed weapons and assault-style rifles. So let’s talk about what the Second Amendment actually says.

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

What does it really mean? The opening phrase refers to “a well regulated militia.” What is a militia? According to, a militia is “a body of citizen soldiers as distinguished from professional soldiers.” defines it as “a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency” or “a body of citizens organized for military service.” Using these definitions of “militia,” most Americans are not members of one.

Now what about well regulated? The free defines well regulated as “controlled or supervised to conform to rules, regulations, tradition, etc.” I suggest that, when it comes to gun ownership in America, including concealed weapons, open carry, and semiautomatic assault rifles, the notion of “well regulated” is not even close.

Okay, let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that the framers of the Constitution really did intend for all citizens — well, at least white male citizens — to be armed, should they so choose, regardless of whether they were members of a “well regulated militia.”

But let’s also put this in context of the late 18th Century, when the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written. This was a time when “standing armies” (e.g., the British Redcoats) were seen as a potential threat to freedom and liberty, and when calling out of the militia required individual soldiers to supply their own weapons.

Plus, the “arms” of that era were single-fire muskets, which, by the way, are impossible to carry around concealed, and flint-lock pistols. According to, the steps involved in loading and firing a musket are:

  1. Standing up, set the hammer to “half cock” for safety reasons. You’ll be looking down the barrel quite a bit, and you don’t want the hammer on full cock, which if kicked or dropped, might cause the musket to fire.
  2. Grab a charge out of the box or from your ammo pouch. Tear off the top of the charge with your teeth and keep the ball that was on the top in your mouth. Pour the powder down the barrel. Put the ball of lead into the barrel and put the wadding from the package on top.
  3. Take the ramrod and tamp the powder, the ball, and the wadding into the barrel. The wadding is there to make sure that the ball and gunpowder stay put.
  4. Add some gunpowder to the flash pan below the trigger and fully cock the musket.
  5. Aim for the biggest mass you can on the battlefield because this weapon is not very accurate. Once you’ve set your sights on your target, press the trigger and the hammer will come down. This strikes flint against the pan, causing the gunpowder behind the ball to ignite and the weapon to fire.

At best, a highly trained soldier might have been able to pump out two to four musket shots a minute. Now let’s contrast that with an AR-15, today’s semiautomatic weapon of choice. Using 30 round magazines, it can easily fire off 30 to 45 rounds a minute.

Now think about our Founding Fathers back then, sitting around listening to tunes on their iPhones , texting each other, watching the Patriots game on their 65 inch, flat-panel Ultra High Def TV, or checking what their friends were up to on Facebook or Twitter. Can you seriously believe they had military-grade, semiautomatic assault rifles in mind when they drafted the Second Amendment?

Fast forward to today. Do gun rights activists and the NRA genuinely feel that it’s necessary for everyday citizens to be able to arm themselves with these assault weapons that are intended to inflict the maximum fatality potential in order to defend their homes or to hunt defenseless wild game?

Apparently they do. The U.S. has 4% of the world’s population and 42% of its firearms. There are mass shooting nearly every week in this country. In May 2019, 50 New Zealanders were killed in a mass shooting. Six days later the country banned all automatic and semiautomatic firearms sales and there have been no more mass shootings since then. Actions speak louder than words. Way louder than thoughts and prayers. It’s time to take action in this country.

If you look at high-income countries and territories with populations of 10 million or more, the U.S. has the highest gun death rate per 100,000 population than any other such country — by far!

I believe any reasonably thinking human being, even those who support the right of citizens to keep and bear arms, can’t possibly justify the availability and use of such assault weapons by other than members of the military — the professional military.

We need to stop the insanity. Enough is enough. It’s time for Congress to put public health above special interests and politics. Otherwise I’m afraid for the future of our society.

Old People and New Tech

“This newfangled technology is taking its toll on me. I can’t get this damn machine to work. Back in the day you just plugged the damn things in, pressed the on-button, and voila. Nowadays they have these small screens with myriad tiny icons and who knows what the hell they mean.”

“Don’t feel forlorn,” grandpa,” Teddy said. “Most old people like you have trouble with high tech stuff these days, but I’ll help you out. And I’m good at it. I’m a scion with icons.”

“Did you just come up with an anagram for icons with ‘scion’?” Teddy’s grandfather asked.

Teddy blushed. “Yeah, I’m good at that, too.”

Evidently,” Teddy’s grandfather said.

Written for these daily prompts: The Daily Spur (technology), Word of the Day Challenge (toll), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (machine), Ragtag Daily Prompt (myriad), My Vivid Blog (forlorn), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (anagram), and Your Daily Word Prompt (evident).

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — May 27th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 27th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on May 27, 2019.

Old School


I’m an old guy — as in senior citizen old. And I’m sometimes challenged to keep up with the latest and greatest language lingo and usage.

For example, when my daughter’s boyfriend told me that he was “down with” something I said, I became very defensive, thinking that I was being insulted. I later found out that it meant that he agreed with me or was “okay” with whatever it was that I said.

And when someone recently asked, “Do you feel me?” my response was, “Um, in this #MeToo era, do you really want me to?” I’m glad I asked first.

So these days, before I react to something I hear or read, I often look to the Urban Dictionary to help me understand what the hell people, particularly younger people — which, at my age is almost everyone — are talking about.

A few days ago, I heard someone use the phrase “off-the-hook.” The way I always understood the phrase “off-the-hook” is that it means being relieved from responsibility. For example, when Donald Trump heard that Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary of the Mueller Report found “no collusion and no obstruction” (it did not, in fact, find any such thing), Donald Trump felt like he was off the hook.

But it turns out that the person who used that expression meant it in an entirely different way. When he said it, his intended meaning for something being “off the hook” was that it was “fresh” and “new” and so in demand that the items in question are virtually flying off the hooks (or hangers or shelves) at stores.

Sure enough, when I went to the Urban Dictionary site, that was the second definition. The number one definition was “cool, happening,” as in “Bob’s party was totally off the hook!”

“Off the hook” also refers to something that exceeds a minimal standard of satisfaction or is appealing to one’s mind, as in “that song is off the hook!”

My definition for “off the hook” (to get away with something or to not be responsible for it) is what the Urban Dictionary calls the  “old school” definition.

So I’m “old school,” huh? Well, that’s okay. I don’t really mind being thought of as old school. I take it as a badge of honor. And, by the way, the Urban Dictionary defines “old school” as “anything that is from an earlier era or previous generation and is looked upon with high regard or respect.” Woo hoo!

Besides, it’s also one of my favorite Steely Dan songs. I mean that song is off the hook.