Fandango’s Friday Flashback — September 20

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you 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 20th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This bit of nonsense was originally posted on September 20, 2014 in a now defunct blog of mine.

Above and Below

above and belowRonald is not just your average Joe. Not by a long shot. He is seriously above average. Just ask him. He’ll tell you.

Oh wow. You must think that he is one conceited SOB to make such a claim. He must really be full of himself; quite the egoist, right?

The truth is that, by almost any measure, Ronald is, in fact, a highly accomplished individual.

He has earned several graduate degrees. He has a fulfilling, high-paying job. He’s highly regarded, both at his job and in his community. He lives a comfortable life. He pays his bills on time and in full each month and still has plenty of money left over to enjoy some of the finer things life has to offer.

He and his wife have been happily married for three decades and together they raised three wonderful children who have grown up to become above average adults in their own rights.

So yes, Ronald feels pretty good about all that. Sure, there are other aspects of his life about which he might not feel so good, but this is neither the time nor the place to discuss such matters.

It’s very clear to anyone who is paying close attention that Ronald is above average. And I mean that quite literally.

I know this about Ronald because he has introduced me to the occupant of the apartment directly beneath his own. That occupant is a gentleman by the name of François Averagé.

His name is pronounced ah-vuh-RAHZH-ay. He’s French, according to Ronald. Or Belgian. Ronald’s not sure.

So you see, because he lives in the apartment directly above Mr. Averagé from France or Belgium, it cannot be denied that Ronald is, indeed, above Averagé.

Interestingly, the woman who lives in the apartment directly above Ronald is Victoria Arness. She recently got married, though, and now lives the apartment above Ronald with her husband, Samuel Belt.

Thus, while Ronald is above Averagé, he is also below the Belts.

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — September 13

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you 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 13th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on September 13, 2007 in a now long-gone blog of mine. At the time I posted this, the original “Smiley” emoticon was about to turn 25 years old. That was 12 years ago, so Smiley is now six days away from turning 37. Also note that this was way before the hundreds of emojis we have available today became ubiquitous. 🙂😉😏🤨

Happy Birthday Smiley

074EC8E2-76C2-4D6E-9486-DC0332C55A13The ubiquitous original emoticon, Smiley, was “invented” 25 years ago. You know Smiley. It is constructed by connecting the colon, dash, and close parenthesis keystrokes on a computer keyboard and then tilting your head to the left to recognize the two eyes, the nose, and the curved smile.

You’ve used Smiley often in your emails and instant messages to represent something you have put in writing that should be taken lightly, as a joke, or to express humor. Maybe you’ve used Smiley to take the edge off of something that you were concerned might be interpreted as being otherwise nasty, hurtful, or mean if taken the wrong way.

According to CNN, the first person to use the three keystroke combination was Scott E. Falhman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. On September 19, 1982 Fahman posted the emoticon in a message to an online electronic bulletin board (remember those?). He suggested it as a means to express comments meant to be taken lightly.

“I propose the following character sequence for joke markers,” he wrote, and then entered the three infamous keystrokes.

: – )

“Read it sideways,” his message continued. It gave computer users a way to convey humor or positive feelings with a smile, or the opposite sentiments simply by using the close parenthesis key.

: – (

Clifford Nass, a professor of communications at Stanford University, noted that emotions behind the written sentence may be hard to discern because emotion is often conveyed through tone of voice. “What emoticons [like Smiley] do is essentially provide a mechanism to transmit emotion when you don’t have the voice.”

So happy 25th birthday, Smiley, and thank you Professor Falhman for coming up with a way for me to give a witty tone to my written word.

: – )

🙂

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — September 6

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you 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 6th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on September 6, 2017 in response to a 100 Word Wednesday prompt from Bikurgurl.

Dominoes

IMG_2598I wouldn’t say they were looking for trouble, but the teenagers were clearly up to no good.

One of the boys noticed bicycles lined up on a side street at one of the cycle-sharing stands that dotted the city. He ran toward the bikes, the others following.

“Geronimo,” he yelled and let loose a hard, swift kick to the end bike, which sent the other bikes careening into each other, like falling dominoes.

The four ran from the scene, sure no one had seen them. They hadn’t noticed the surveillance camera mounted on the light pole near the bicycles.


Image Credit: Zachary Staines.

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — August 30

My apologies. I totally forgot yesterday to post my Friday Flashback prompt. It’s been that kind of week, I’m afraid — a day late and a dollar short. Oh well.

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you 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 30th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on August 30, 2018 in response to a Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.

The Apparition

549D5FE6-461F-4A4B-AB7D-9A517CA9C204Sean came back to this site every year since the incident five years earlier. As it was almost every time he came here for that auspicious anniversary, there was a thick mist hanging in the air. He stared at the point where he had last seen her and tears of regret filled his eyes.

His last view of Wendy was etched into his brain. She had walked to the land’s edge and was staring down at the waves crashing into the rocks far below. “Be careful, hon,” he remembered calling out to her. “Don’t get so close to the precipice.” And then she was gone.

I can’t believe how oblivious I was, Sean thought. I totally missed all of the signs. Her sister had warned Sean that something was wrong, but Sean thought her sister was a drama queen and was seeing things that weren’t there. But her sister was right all along. Clearly Wendy was suffering from a serious depression and Sean, preoccupied by his own issues, was distracted.

Sean heard a voice calling his name. It was Wendy’s voice, calling him to come over to her. He looked toward the edge of the bluff and saw Wendy standing there in the thick mist, looking down at the water far below. “Sean,” he heard her say. “Sean, come to me, come be with me.”

In a trance-like state, Sean walked toward Wendy. As he approached the cliff’s edge, Wendy was gone. Sean moved cautiously toward the edge and he heard Wendy’s voice calling him from below. He peered over the edge and saw her standing in the surf. “Come to me,” he heard her say to him. “Come be with me for eternity.”

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — August 23

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you 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 23rd) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on a now defunct blog of mine on August 23, 2011.

Lost in Translation

85A2A3CE-73D9-4027-AFFC-6A8DC67210F9“Home, James,” my wife said to me a few nights ago as we started our brief drive home from the restaurant.

Our son and daughter were sitting in the back seat of the car and our daughter asked my wife, “Why did you call him James?”

My wife and I looked at each other in disbelief. “Haven’t you heard that expression before?” I asked.

“No.”

“Well, it’s an old expression, and apparently a very dated one,” my wife said, “where ‘James’ is a chauffeur to some very wealthy person, who, sitting in the back seat of the carriage or limo, instructs her driver, ‘James,’ to take her home. It’s sort of a cliché, a reference to having someone do your bidding.”

“I still don’t get it,” our daughter said.

“I guess there’s a certain lost-in-translation factor when it comes to generational references,” I said. “Things that may have been relevant to an older generation have no meaning or context to a younger generation.”

This whole exchange got me thinking about cross-generational missed references, and not just within a family, but even in the workplace. After all, I’m an older guy and most of the people I work with are anywhere from 10 to 30 years younger than me.

How many times have I attempted to be witty or insightful by making a reference to something that no one else “got” because only those of my generation (i.e., early Baby Boomers) would recognize?

50688FBB-0D16-4800-94D8-C9B6EAE79CC2Why the awkward silence, I wondered, when I referred to someone who I thought acted like a mercenary gun for hire as “Paladin”? Didn’t these people ever watch “Have Gun Will Travel” back in the 50s?

I’ll never forget the time when I was talking about the film comedy team of Martin and Lewis and one of the thirty-somethings in the room said, “Oh, you mean the guys who explored the Louisiana Purchase, right?” Um, no, not even close.

Or when I mentioned “Ma Bell” and someone asked me whose mother I was referring to.

1CFCB8E3-5D25-4034-AF25-98D070A7021CHow about the blank stares when I commented, as our team was preparing for a finalist presentation for a prospective client, that we needed to make sure we were well rehearsed so that we didn’t come across like the Keystone Kops?  “Huh?  Who?  What?”

The other day someone asked me about an account I had worked on a few years ago and I said, “Hmm, that was quite a while ago. I think I’ll have to get into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback machine to refresh my memory.”

A334821A-B183-4082-A69C-BB1EC1443FFA“Mr. Peabody?”

“Yeah,” I said. “You know, Sherman and Mr. Peabody from Rocky and Bullwinkle.”

“Rocky and Bullwinkle?”

“Forget it. I’ll check the client file in my archived folders and get back to you.”

What once were relevant references from my generation too often fall flat on today’s Gen Xers and Millenials: TV test patterns, movie newsreels, 45s, 8-tracks, party-lines, rotary phones, Sputnik, Dr. Strangelove, Mr. Whipple, Bucky Beaver, Hi-Ho Silver, Kimosabe, Happy Trails, jump the shark.

Once, when something weird was going on, I sang the theme to the old TV show, “The Twilight Zone.” You know, “Nee-nee, nee-nee, nee-nee, nee-nee….” Nothing. No recognition.  The only weird things at that point were the looks I got from the others in the room.

Not that long ago, in the pre-mobile age, the term “landline” had no relevance and phones were never described as “smart.” Same with the word “download.” It had no applicable meaning. Neither did “emoji.”

Back then, being “online” meant queuing up in some long line, perhaps waiting to buy tickets to see the latest movie filmed in Todd-AO or CinemaScope. (Google it.)

A web browser could have been a phrase to describe someone who studied spider webs. A laptop was something a grandparent or parent might invite a child to climb up upon. Your desktop was merely the top surface of your desk. A mouse was an unwelcomed rodent…or a famous Disney character named Mickey.

Times change, technology changes, and, it seems, the language continually reinvents itself. Older references fade from consciousness and fresher, more contemporarily relevant ones emerge.

Maybe the post-Baby Boomer’s can’t relate to some of the expressions from my youth, just as I had trouble doing so to the expressions from an even earlier time (example: “23 Skidoo”; what the hell does that mean?).

But that’s okay. I’m down with that, which I think means it’s “groovy.”