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

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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.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — May 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 May 20, 2018

Sunday Photo Fiction — The New Earth

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They did everything they could to make it seem natural. Artificial light shining through the windows along the long hallway provided the illusion of sunlight. The opening at the end of the corridor led into a vast open area with high ceilings, green plants and trees, and a large pond fed by a waterfall. All artificial, but very realistic. It helped to make us all feel as if we were still living on the surface.

It was difficult to remember that people once lived on the surface. I was born here in the catacombs and all I knew of the old world I learned from my parents, who learned from their parents. And from books that had been salvaged, although it was hard to distinguish anymore between fiction and non-fiction.

Fortunately, those with foresight saw what was coming and began to construct these elaborate catacombs deep beneath the surface of the planet. But they could accommodate only about 100,000 of the planet’s nine billion inhabitants. A lottery was devised and my grandfather was one of the lucky winners.

Severe storms and catastrophic floods destroyed those left behind. But we are the lucky ones who must carry on.

Or are we?

(199 words)


Written for today’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. Photo credit: Susan Spaulding.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — May 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 May 13, 2011 on my old blog. This was written about 5 1/2 years before I retired, and I haven’t worn a tie since retiring.

The Tie as a Phallic Symbol

So what is the deal with ties? My extensive research confirmed that the tie is essentially a phallic symbol. I’m not kidding you. According to Rita Hutner in Catalogs.com, men’s neckties direct the viewer’s eyes downward toward the man’s genitals. Hutner claims, “the guy is subtly showing off.” Seriously, Rita?

In researching the history of ties I found out that ties first appeared in 221 BC when military men of China’s first emperor, Shin Huang Ti, were buried wearing neckties. Once you’re dead, though, I think even Rita Hutner would agree, it’s a little late to be drawing the eye toward your crotch.

It was in the 1600s when neckwear for men became somewhat fashionable in Europe after the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), when Croatian mercenaries wore small, knotted neckerchiefs. These “cravats” become a fashion craze in Paris. In 1784, Beau Brummel, an English authority on men’s fashion, associated a neck cloth with individuality and self-expression.

The modern necktie was born in the 1920s when a long, thin, easy to knot tie that would not come undone was introduced. And, up until a decade or so ago, the necktie continued to be the standard attire for white collar workers throughout the Western world. Until someone finally asked “why?” and casual, tieless attire became acceptable at the office.

Hold that thought. Corporate America appears to be reverting to “more traditional” dress codes. According to an article I recently read, “business sloppy” is out, and suits and ties are in. Oh damn!

When I work from home, which is most of the time, I obviously don’t put on a tie. Hell, half the time I work in my underwear. And on those relatively rare occasions when I do have to show my face at the office, I still don’t have to wear a tie. But lately I have been requested to wear a tie when I am going to see a prospective client, even at those companies that have embraced “business sloppy.”

I know you’re supposed to dress for the occasion, but seriously, folks, is it really such a good idea to wear an accessory that draws the eyes of those attending the meeting toward your genitals?

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — May 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 May 6, 2011 on my old blog.

Reheat Your Meat

No, the name of this post is not the tagline for an ad about a new miracle cure for erectile dysfunction or to enhance male sexual performance.

It is about a warning that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued for women who are pregnant, people over 50, “and especially for those over 65.”  Uh oh!

According to a recent article I read in USA Today, the CDC is warning us old timers against eating cold lunch meats, cold cuts, and deli meats.

Who knew that the latest threat to the survival of the human race would be honey cured ham, roasted turkey breast, or bologna? And yet the CDC suggests that such luncheon meats should not be eaten unless they’ve been thoroughly reheated to “steaming hot” (or at least 165 degrees) in order to kill any bacteria that might be present.

I can think of few things less appetizing than a plate piled high with steaming hot cold cuts. (If sliced luncheon meats are steaming hot, are they still considered to be “cold cuts”?)

Actually I can think of a few other piles of steaming stuff less appetizing than steaming cold cuts, but let’s just not go there.

This recommendation to reheat your meat is due to an insidious food-borne bug by the name of listeria monocytogenes. It’s the source of an uncommon but potentially fatal disease called listeriosis. About 85% of cases of listeriosis are linked to cold cuts or deli meats. The remaining 15%, according to reliable sources from the makers of Scope mouthwash, are linked to the use of Listerine, which, competitors claim, has listeria as its active ingredient.

By the way, Listeriosis is fatal about 20% of the time! And like all really scary threats to your health and well being, you can’t see, taste, or smell listeria.

Most luncheon meats are cooked at food processing plants where the bacteria in them are killed during the packaging process. But the problem is that once the cold cuts are sliced or the package is opened, they are vulnerable to listeria.

If just a single cell of listeria from a contaminated surface, a meat slicer, or even the air gets on the meats, it has a unique ability to keep growing even when refrigerated. It’s like a friggin’ zombie that just won’t die.

The CDC also advises that you not keep opened packages of lunch meat, or meat sliced at the local deli, for longer than three to five days in your refrigerator. I looked at a package of organic roasted turkey breast that my wife bought at Whole Foods Market a while ago. The package does say “Keep refrigerated (best within four days of opening).”

Maybe the warning should say, “Best within four days of opening; 20% probability of death if consumed after that.”

The suggestion that cold cuts should be consumed within three to five days of opening is something that virutally no one pays attention to, says Douglas Powell, director of food safety at Kansas State University. “Anecdotally, lots of people keep cold cuts in their refrigerator far longer than they should,” he says. “People keep them for one to two weeks. That’s the key message. If you get it from the deli counter, four days max.”

I always thought that if it didn’t smell bad, if it didn’t feel slimy, if the edges hadn’t turned green or blue, and if there weren’t little white spots of mold on the meat, it was still okay to eat.

By the way, the CDC also recommends that, after eating refrigerated luncheon meats or deli cold cuts without reheating your meat, if you get an erection lasting more than four hours, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Or gargle with Listerine.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — April 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 April 29, 2018.

Presidential Tantrums

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We have as our president a grown man — in fact, at 71, an elderly man — who behaves no differently than a spoiled five year old child. He wants what he wants when he wants it, and if he doesn’t get it, he throws a temper tantrum.

But because he is the President of the United States of America, his temper tantrums are very public. He is so prone to throwing tantrums that it’s an unusual day that passes without a presidential tantrum.

He throws tantrums on Twitter. He throws tantrums on “Fox & Friends.” He throws tantrums at his rallies and almost every time he opens his mouth.

The targets of his tantrums include the free press, cable news networks (except for Fox News), Democrats, Hollywood, Amazon and Jeff Bezos, late night comedians, Robert Mueller, Rob Rosenstein, Jim Comey, the Russia investigation, Kim Jong-Un (not so much lately, though), the FBI, the Justice Department, his handpicked Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, and almost anyone who says anything critical about him.

So here we are, America. We have elected as our president the tantrum-in-chief who is almost singlehandedly, thanks to the virtually silent Republican majority in Congress, doing what Vladimir Putin has only dreamed about. Trump is destroying the American democracy from within and undermining America’s influence around the world.


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