Fandango’s Friday Flashback — September 25

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 25th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on my old blog on September 25, 2010.

Putting the Inmates in Charge of the Asylum

Seriously people, what is wrong with you? Many of you actually believe that Obama is a Muslim and that he wasn’t really born in the United States. Not an insignificant number of you buy into the ludicrous notion that 9/11 was a government conspiracy. And as the mid-term elections approach, you seem inclined to propel a bunch of nutcases into positions of power where they can potentially affect your destiny for years to come…assuming, of course, they don’t cause total Congressional gridlock, which is Senator Jim DeMint’s* ultimate goal.

Are you so disaffected that you want to give the keys to the asylum to the inmates? Because that’s exactly what you’re doing! Where is the sanity?Well, there’s one man who is taking steps to restore sanity to our political process. You may think of him as a comedian or funnyman, which he is, and not, therefore, take him seriously. But Jon Stewart is one smart guy and he speaks for those of us who have not yet lost our minds or our wits. He has scheduled his Rally to Restore Sanity in the shadow of the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, DC at the end of October.Of course, Stewart’s faux nemesis on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert, has planned his own rally, the March to Keep Fear Alive, at the same place and at the same time. Does it get any better than that?

I can’t remember the last time I attended a political rally — or a rally of any kind, for that matter. However, this mild-mannered, middle-income, average American is inspired to stop the insanity that is eating away at our society. My wife and I are seriously considering heading to DC to participate in the Rally to Restore Sanity (and/or the March to Keep Fear Alive) at the end of October.

We may even carry a very civil protest sign or two — after we’ve finished our pre-rally brunch, that is.

Postscript: my wife and I did go to the rally and it was truly awesome.*In December 2012, Jim DeMint, a founding member of the far right Senate Tea Party Caucus, suddenly announced that he was resigning from the Senate to become president of the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank. He was ousted as president of the Heritage Foundation in May 2017 due to “significant and worsening management issues” within the organization. Oh snap!

FOWC with Fandango — Conspiracy

FOWCWelcome to January 31, 2020 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “conspiracy.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

The issue with pingbacks not showing up seems to have been resolved, but you might check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.

Best if Read By Date

I read a post yesterday from Roger Shipp in which he asked that age-old question, “What is with this gobblety-goop with the sell-by dates?” Roger’s post reminded me of something I posted back on September 6, 2010 (yes, that’s right — ten years ago) for a now defunct blog I used to have, although my focus was more on the use by date than on the sell by date. Anyway, I dug up that post, and with a few minor edits, present it to you here.

It seems that all food products these days have expiration dates on them. Are these dates, often worded as “best if used by” on the jars, bottles, cans, wrappers, or boxes, warnings to indicate that something may be amiss if the product is consumed after the stamped date?

Or is this a conspiracy by food packaging companies to scare us into tossing out perfectly good food and to spend money to replace it with a “fresher” product?

My approach to determining whether or not something is okay to consume is to apply a series of sensory tests.
F561D376-3180-42C3-85E5-331B7F33B651The first test involves using my eyes. Do I see, for example, anything blue or green growing on cheese? When I open up the jar of half eaten salsa that has been in my refrigerator for a couple of weeks, are there white, fuzzy things growing inside the jar? Is a penicillin-like mold spotting my bread slices?  If so, regardless of the “best if used by” date marked on the package, it’s time to toss out the product.
EFCC0151-98B9-477C-A589-36B667E9E193The second test involves the sense of smell. If I put my nose up to the opening on the milk carton and a foul stench strong enough to cause me to gag emanates from within that carton, it’s a sure sign that the milk has turned.

But if the milk smells like milk, even if the “use by” date on the carton was two weeks ago, I feel safe pouring it all over my bowl of Wheaties and munching away.

I became curious about this “best if used by” date as a result of several recent occurrences. First, my wife tossed out nearly a dozen eggs because the “use by” date (or maybe it was the “sell by” date) had passed a week or so earlier.

Unfortunately, you can’t look at an egg, assuming its shell is not cracked, to see if it looks bad, and because of its shell, you can’t really sniff an egg to see if it smells bad until after you crack it open.

My wife also pointed out that our butter has “best if used by” dates stamped on the packages, which is something neither of us had ever noticed before, much less heeded.

Then just yesterday I was fixing myself a tuna fish sandwich and I noticed that the jar of mayonnaise that I pulled out of the refrigerator had a “best if used by” date of June 16, 2018, which was about two and a half months ago.

I opened the jar and looked inside. Nothing fuzzy growing in there. I stuck my nose into the mouth of the jar and it didn’t cause me to retch.

Having passed my sensory tests, I took a spoonful of the “expired” mayo and mixed it into my tuna fish. Then I took out two slices of Swiss cheese where the “best if used by” date stamped on the package had also expired. I carefully examined each slice of cheese and saw nothing unusual. No white spots, no green or blue areas around the edges. When I smelled the cheese slices, they smelled like cheese is supposed to smell.

I confidently prepared and then proceeded to eat my hand-crafted tuna fish sandwich. It was delicious, even though several of the ingredients were well past their “best if used by” dates.

According to the USDA, the “best if used by” date serves as a recommendation from food manufacturers to suggest that the food will have the best flavor or quality when consumed on or before that date. It is not a “purchase by” or safety date. Of course, that’s not how most people interpret that date.

A study by the Journal of Food Science found that it was more common for people to perceive that foods labeled as being past their “use by” date tasted bad, even though the food was actually not beyond that date. Conversely, taste acceptance increased when people ate foods that were labeled as being within the “best if used by” date range.

So is this “best if used by” date a ploy by clever food manufacturers? Is it intended to persuade people to throw out anything past the date, regardless of whether it still might be good, and to go out and replace it with the same product with a future “best if used by” date?

Being the cynic that I am, I believe it is. After all, I am still alive to share this tale of my tuna fish sandwich made with out-of-date mayonnaise and cheese. Thus, while I will be aware of the “best if used by” dates, I will pretty much continue to ignore them and will stick with my sensory tests.

If it’s not discolored, not fuzzy (assuming it’s not a peach), and doesn’t cause me to gag when I smell it, it’s still good to eat…for me, anyway.

My New Total

As I noted in this post, I had a bit of a conniption fit when I found out that my local grocery stores were no longer stocking my favorite breakfast cereal, Total. I thought for sure that the cereal industry had some sort of conspiracy going against me, since this was the second time they had sandbagged me. How could they persecute me like this?

Well, me being me, I searched far and wide to find a suitable new dry cereal to replace Total. And this was not a cursory search. No indeed. In fact, I could spin quite a yarn about all my trials and tribulations. But I don’t want to bore you to death with the details.

But in the end, I finally managed to find a replacement, albeit a surprising one. It’s actually an old standby, a cereal I used to eat, but haven’t since I was a kid many, many decades ago.

So what cereal fit the bill? None other than “The Breakfast of Champions,” Wheaties.


Written for these prompt:



SoCS — Picture Perfect

I don’t know why I had so much trouble with this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda G. Hill. The instructions seemed relatively straight forward. “Write about, or theme your post on, the first picture you see when you sit down to start writing. You don’t need to describe the picture necessarily — you can even put yourself in it if you’re not already there.”

So should I look at the newspaper or a magazine first thing after I wake up, find a picture, and clip it into this post? Should I write a bit of flash fiction around a picture? After all, as Rod Stewart sang, every picture tells a story.

But then I had this brilliant idea to Google “interesting pictures.” You know what? There are a lot of interesting pictures on the internet. Who knew?

Anyway, perhaps the most interesting picture I saw was this one of a remarkable cloud formation somewhere over New Zealand.

4FABFF3B-8C19-45A2-8922-7A13922EDBC6This type of cloud formation is called “undulatus asperatus.” It is formed when there’s rising air that creates a wide-spread cloud cover, together with wind shear that blows across the rising air. This can set up gravity waves, where air moves up and down as buoyancy and gravity battle it out, creating long rippling waves that carry the clouds up and down.

While the undulatus asperatus clouds in the picture appear somewhat menacing, storms seldom follow their dissipation.

This particular photograph, which came from NASA, generated a weird amount of online notoriety because it was featured in several conspiracy-oriented websites that claimed it was evidence of government manipulation of the weather.

Damn chemtrails.