Fandango’s Flashback Friday — February 3rd

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 Flashback Friday 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 3rd) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on February 3, 2018. Before I get into my Flashback Friday post, I discovered, as I was looking through my archives yesterday, that almost five years ago to the day, I posted this post, which featured the same two words, sympathy and empathy, that today’s Flashback post features. This is really quite coincidental and unintentional, I promise.

Word Play Gone Astray

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“I really empathize with that poor man over there,” Jessica said, looking at the homeless man sleeping beneath a tree in the park.

“No, Jessica, you don’t empathize with him,” Mitch said. “How could you? You’ve never been homeless and had to sleep on the street.”

“You know what I mean,” responded Jessica. “I feel bad for him, sorry for him.”

“I know you do,” said Mitch. “But that’s not empathy, that’s sympathy.”

“Same difference,” Jessica said.

“No, empathy and sympathy are not the same,” Mitch said. “When you empathize with someone, you can put yourself in that person’s shoes. When you sympathize with someone, you feel compassion or pity toward that person.”

“Fine, whatever,” Jessica said. “It’s six of one, half a dozen of another.”

“Jessica,” Mitch said, “the two words are not synonymous.”

“Stop being such a grammar nerd, Mitch,” Jessica insisted. “I could care less if there is a slight difference between ‘empathize’ and ‘sympathize.’ You knew very well what I meant.”

“You mean you couldn’t care less,” Mitch said, a smile on his face.

“You’re an asshole,” Jessica said, as she stormed away.


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

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — January 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 January 27, 2018.

The Inscrutable Charlie Chan

Whenever I hear the word “inscrutable,” which means not easily understood, mysterious, or unfathomable, it harkens me back to when I was a wee lad. My mother would sit me in front of the TV, turn on a random channel, and let me be entertained while she went about doing whatever motherly chores and deeds she set about doing.

And that was how I was introduced to the Asian detective, Charlie Chan. Charlie Chan was a fictional character created by author Earl Derr Biggers. Chan was loosely based on Honolulu detective Chang Apana. Chan was the hero of six detective novels by Biggers and 47 Hollywood movies between 1926 and 1949.

As a kid, I enjoyed watching Charlie Chan do his thing. I was fascinated at his ability to solve the most difficult of crimes with relative ease and plenty of aplomb. Of course, at the time, I had no idea what the word “aplomb” meant. Nor did I know the word “inscrutable.” But I did end up watching a number of Charlie Chan movies.

It turns out that the Charlie Chan character has been the subject of considerable controversy. Some find the character to be a positive role model, while others argue that Chan is an offensive stereotype.

To many Asian-Americans, Charlie Chan is another sort of Uncle Tom-like character. Chan was pudgy, slant-eyed, and inscrutable, and spoke in singsong, fortune-cookie-like English, saying things (or aphorisms) like, “If befriend donkey, expect to be kicked.” There’s a whole website dedicate to his hundreds of aphorisms.

Of course, the fact that the Charlie Chan character in the movies was played mostly by non-Asian actors may have contributed to the controversy.


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

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — January 20th

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 20th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on January 20, 2018.

The Earth is Flat

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When I was still working, I used to have to fly a lot for my job. When the plane I was flying in was five or six miles above the planet, it was pretty obvious, looking out at the visible horizon, that the Earth is not flat.

And yet there is something called the Flat Earth Society, whose members claim to believe that the Earth is flat. To these idiots, the planet’s surface looks and feels flat, so it must, therefore, be flat. They deem all evidence to the contrary, such as satellite photos of Earth as a sphere, to be fabrications of a “round Earth conspiracy” orchestrated by NASA and other government agencies.

Seriously, I’m not making this up. According to the Flat Earth Society’s official website, “The evidence for a flat earth is derived from many different facets of science and philosophy. The simplest is by relying on one’s own senses to discern the true nature of the world around us. The world looks flat, the bottoms of clouds are flat, the movement of the sun; these are all examples of your senses telling you that we do not live on a spherical, heliocentric world.”

Flat Earthers believe that the Earth is in the form of a disk with the North Pole in the center and Antarctica as a wall around the edge. The Earth, they say, is surrounded on all sides by an ice wall that holds the oceans back. This ice wall is what explorers named Antarctica.

What is beyond the ice wall? Well, according to the Flat Earth Society, no one has been very far past the ice wall and returned to tell of their journey. “What we do know, the official website says, “is that it [the ice wall] encircles the earth and serves to hold in our oceans and helps protect us from whatever lies beyond.”

How much do you want to bet that members of the Flat Earth Society voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump in 2016?


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

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — January 13th

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 13th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on January 13, 2018.

A Look Back at Static

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How many of you are old enough to remember seeing static on your television screen? That is often what you saw if you turned on the TV after the stations had signed off for the night or before they signed on in the morning. (Yes, kiddies, there was a time many, many years ago when TV channels weren’t 24×7.)

Or, seeing static on your TV screen meant that you needed to get your ass up and out of your easy chair or off the sofa, walk over to the TV, and fiddle with the rabbit ears until a viewable image appeared.

Remember rabbit ears?

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And then there were those times when you were at home or in your car trying to tune into your favorite AM radio station and all you could get was static, no matter how frantically you turned the knob in search of some familiar music.

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Of course, this reminds me of the Steely Dan song “FM (No Static At All).”

And finally, how many times were you on the phone and heard crackling or hissing noises and had to say to the person on the other end of the line, “Let me call you back. There’s too much static.”

And that, my friends, is all I have to say about static today.


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

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — January 6th

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 6th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on January 6, 2015 on my old blog

Vanity Plates

Ah, vanity plates for your car. How many of you have them? How many of you leverage the seven or eight letters/numbers on your car’s license plate to tell the world who you are and what you stand for? Come on, fess up people. I know some of you do.

Speaking about vanity plates, sometimes there are stories that just jump out at you and you can’t help but chuckle. Here are two such stories.

A Denver woman is so fond of fermented bean curd that she wanted to shout it out to the world. Unfortunately, the Colorado Department of Revenue apparently didn’t share her enthusiasm for tofu.

The woman explained to the DOR that tofu is a staple of her vegan family’s diet. In addition to being a vegan, the woman is an environmental activist who described herself as “very expressive.” She bragged that she’s “anti-fur, anti-rodeo, and anti-circus when they come to Denver.”

Seriously? Anti-circus? I wonder if she feels that way only when the circus comes to Denver? What about Boulder or Grand Junction? She must be a “not-in-my-neighborhood” kind of a gal.

To demonstrate her love for tofu, this anti-circus vegan applied for vanity plates for her SUV. Wait. What? An environmental activist who drives an SUV?

Her application indicated that she wanted the letters “ILVTOFU” to be embossed on her vehicle’s license plates. She was intending to express the sentiment, “I love tofu.”

What a shocker that the state’s Department of Revenue blocked her plan, explaining that they believed the combination of letters she sought could be interpreted as profane.

According to an Associated Press report, a Department of Revenue spokesman explained, “We don’t allow ‘FU’ on license plates because some people could read that as street language for sex.” You think?

The well-intentioned tofu lover complained that the DOR must have “misinterpreted” her message. After all, being the “expressive” type, the woman explained, “Here was a chance to be positive and say I love something.”

I guess freedom of expression only goes so far in Colorado.

In a somewhat related story, take a quick look at the license plate in the picture below. What does it say?

If you read it as I read it, “anal sex,” then you, like me, must have a dirty mind.

The owner of this license plate is a woman named Ana, and Ana is merely communicating that she’s proud to be driving around in her Lexus (or “Lex”).

Having just described the sad story of the tofu loving Denver woman whose vanity plates application for “ILVTOFU” was rejected, it’s pretty clear that the people who approve vanity license plate wording at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles do not have the same dirty minds as those at the DOR in Colorado.

But seriously, how many people would take a quick look at Ana’s Lex and not interpret it, on first glance, anyway, as “ANALSEX” rather than “ANASLEX”?

Or maybe it’s just me.