Fandango’s Flashback Friday — November 26th

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 26th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on November 26, 2017.

Jackhammer

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The percussive sound of a jackhammer tearing up the street outside of his bedroom woke Alex up from his deep slumber. He looked at the clock on his nightstand. It was 1:37 in the afternoon and Alex was only halfway through his daily afternoon nap.

He got out of his bed, put on his robe and slippers, and headed downstairs to the kitchen, where his granddaughter was preparing a snack for when her kids got home from school in about an hour. “Hi, Pop Pop,” she said cheerily. “You’re up early from your nap.”

“How can I nap with all that racket going on outside,” he said grumpily. “What are they doing out there?”

“The public works department is repairing some of the old sewer pipes in the area,” Andrea responded. “It’s supposed to take about a week.”

“That’s just great,” Alex grumbled. “Got any Advil? That damn jackhammering is giving me a splitting headache.”

“Sure,” Andrea said, opening up one of the kitchen cabinets where she kept some household medical supplies. “How many do you want?”

“Just give me the goddam bottle and a glass of water,” Alex snapped.

Andrea handed him the Advil bottle and a glass of cold water. “You know, Pop Pop,” she said, somewhat tentatively, “maybe you should go visit Adam this week until the street work is done. I can give him a call and have him come pick you up. It will be good for you to have a change of scenery and to spend some time with your grandson and his kids.”

“No way,” Alex said. “Those little rugrats of his are more annoying than that goddam jackhammer out there. And his wife is a shrew. Besides,” he added, “it’s a three hour drive out to his place in the middle of nowhere. And you know my back can’t handle three hours sitting in a goddam car.”

“Fine,” Andrea said, knowing that she was in for another wonderful week of constant complaining from her grandfather. She would have preferred the peace and quiet of the jackhammer.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “percussive.”

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — November 19th

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 19th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted eleven years ago today, on November 19, 2010, on my old blog.

White Pages Going Dark?

Some people in New Haven, Connecticut are not happy that regulators in many states are granting telephone companies permission to stop publishing those once ubiquitous White Pages phone books.

It seems that the thick book chock full of residential names, addresses, and phone numbers — those of your neighbors, friends, and perhaps colleagues — is the latest victim of 21st century technology.

Why? Well, for one thing, more and more people are dropping traditional landlines and are opting for getting by with just their mobile phones. And cellphone numbers are not published in the White Pages books. It also seems that the number of new orders for landlines has been declining significantly over the past decade, while existing landlines are being discontinued at a rate of nearly 10 percent each year.

In addition, most people these days, according to the telephone companies, are leveraging the internet to find phone numbers, rather than flipping through the pages of the telephone book. As a result, these thick White Pages books often go unused, simply taking up space on kitchen counters, languishing atop refrigerators, ending up stuffed into junk drawers, or being immediately tossed into recycling bins.

Telephone companies are also touting the positive environmental impact of eliminating the publication of paper telephone books: less paper, less ink, and less recycling. It is interesting that the telephone companies don’t seem to be talking about how the elimination of the White Pages will potentially lower their costs and, thereby, produce higher profits. I wonder why that is.

So far, 16 states have granted (or are currently considering granting) permission to the telephone companies to cease publishing print versions of the White Pages. The likelihood is that more states will follow suit in the near future.

Yet, unlike the White Pages, business directories, often referred to as “The Yellow Pages,” seem to be thriving. According to the Yellow Pages Association, an industry trade group, more than half of Americans still let their fingers do the walking.

So exactly why are the folks from New Haven, in particular, so upset by the possible demise of the White Pages? It’s because New Haven considers itself to be the birthplace of the White Pages. The New Haven District Telephone Company published the first telephone subscriber listing on February 21, 1878, about two years after the telephone was invented. It had fifty names…and no, mine wasn’t one of those fifty. I never lived in New Haven.

So New Haveners are apparently pissed off that their one-page sheet of telephone subscriber names from 1878, which over the decades evolved into the thick, annually published book of names, addresses, and telephone numbers, and had become a household fixture all across the nation, has been rendered obsolete, thanks to the Information Age and the internet.

Damn you Al Gore!

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — November 12th

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 12th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on November 12, 2017

A Simple Question

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“It’s a ‘yes or no’ question, Mr. Avery,” the lawyer said.

Beads of perspiration were forming on Tom Avery’s forehead. He looked helplessly at the judge, who was sitting at the large desk on his right.

Having run out of patience, the attorney also looked up at the judge and said, “A little help, your honor.”

“Answer the question, Mr. Avery,” the judge said sternly.

Tom sighed. “It’s not a simple question.”

“Yes, Mr. Avery,” the attorney chided, “It is that simple. Yes or no?”

Tom cleared his throat, looked up at the judge, then over at the jury, and finally at the lawyer. “It’s not just black or white. There are gray areas. It’s complicated.”

The lawyer threw both of his arms up in the air out of frustration. He didn’t want the members of the jury to think he was badgering the witness, but he needed an answer. “Your honor,” he said, pleading with the judge.

“Answer the question, Mr. Avery,” the judge warned, “or I will hold you in contempt.”

Tom was now sweating profusely. He weighed his options carefully. Finally, he looked past the attorney at the plaintiff sitting at the table behind the lawyer.

“Okay, fine,” Tom said. Focusing his eyes directly on the plaintiff, he said, “Yes. My answer is yes.” A murmur ran through the courtroom. “Yes, Amanda, those jeans do make you look fat.”


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “black.”

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — November 5th

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 5th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on my old blog all the way back on November 5, 2005

The End of Evolution

The so called “Monkey Trials” of 1925 captured the interest and imagination of the public and contributed to the growing chasm between men of science and men of faith. But men of science won that round and evolution has since prevailed over creationism as the accepted theory for the origin of the species.

Yet those who shun Darwin’s theories of evolution and natural selection and consider it to be an affront to the bible, to faith, and to religiosity have not been silently sitting around taking it on the chin for all these years. They have continued to espouse their belief that evolution is nothing more than a flawed theory and has no basis in fact.

Until recently, this argument against decades, if not centuries, of exhaustive scholarly research and overwhelming scientific evidence was accepted only by the far religious right. But more recently there has been an all-out assault on the science of evolution by Christian evangelicals and even some religious mainstreamers through the aggressive promotion of creationism in sheep’s clothing. It goes by the name of “intelligent design,” or “ID.”

In their effort to remove religion and to avoid overtones of theocracy in this new wave of creationism, proponents of intelligent design are carefully crafting their messaging in secular terms and are going to great lengths to avoid mentioning the identity of the “designer.” The belief of this movement is that the use of secular terms, cultivation of ambiguity around the “designer,” and dialog that avoids religious overtones are necessary to reintroduce the religious notion of God as the designer. The idea is to get the bible out of the discussion and to put this “scientific theory” on an even footing with evolution.

Charles Krauthammer, in an article that appeared in the August 1, 2005 issue of Time Magazine, observed that intelligent design is nothing more than a “new and gratuitous attempt to invade science, and most particularly evolution, with religion.” He continued to note that “evolution is one of the most powerful and elegant theories in all of human science and the bedrock of all modern biology.” But those who support ID focus on only one word in that observation: “theory,” and attempt to fill what they perceive to be gaps in the theory of evolution with the notion of an intelligent designer — and a divine one, at that.

Intelligent design is a fine curriculum for Sunday school and religious schools. Let’s keep it out of our public, academic schools’ science curriculums.


Note: The Doonesbury (©️Garry Trudeau) strip above was not included on the original post.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — October 29th

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 29th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on October 29, 2017.

Sunday Photo Fiction — Heads Up

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“Why do you do that to your dolls?” Samantha asked her daughter.

Sheri was a shy, quiet girl with few friends. She spent most of her free time alone in her bedroom. “You mean pull their heads off?” she asked.

“Yes. Why do you do that?”

Sheri shrugged her shoulders and simply said, “I dunno. I just do,”

“That’s not an acceptable answer, young lady,” Samantha scolded. “You must have a reason for removing the heads from your dolls.”

Sheri shrugged again.

“Well, Sheri, if you won’t tell me why, I’ll make sure that Santa knows what you do to your dolls and I’m pretty sure he won’t be bringing you any new dolls this Christmas.”

“Fine,” Sheri said, “I’ll tell you.”

“Go ahead,” Samantha said. “I’m waiting.”

“I’m making a shrine and the dolls are my sacrifices.”

Dumbfounded, Samantha said, “A shrine? What kind of shrine? Who gave you that idea?”

“She told me you wouldn’t understand,” Sheri said.

“She? Who is ‘she’?”

Pointing at her own head, Sheri said, “She did.” Then an eerie smile crossed her face and she added, “Mom, did you know that Santa is an anagram for Satan?”


Written for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt.