Stuff I learned in Boy Scouts, but wasn’t in the official Scout Manual.  Please, no Catholic Priest jokes here, sad as that situation was (I was lucky and had wonderful troop leaders and a wonderful organization, along with wonderful fellow scouts).  And it’s very sad to have to open something like this, which is about some good memories, with a sentence like that.  Anyway…

“Flaming Zit Zits”: This was a term that probably only people in Troop 12 would remember.  It is not a universal term. I did a search on Google for it (in quotes) and there were zero results.  Searching without quotes results in a lot of results for acne medication.  To be clear, the sound it makes would make one think we called them “Flaming Zip Zips”.  That would make more sense, and I don’t think my memory is failing me on that point, but it might.  I think we chose ‘Zit’ over ‘Zip’ because it is more irreverent.  And it is something others have experienced (see YouTube Videos below).

And in answer to one person’s question in the comments of the above video about slowing down the burning of the plastic: Wrap it very tightly around the end of the stick.  Plastic bread bags are the best for sound, color, and tight wrapping around a stick for slow burning.

Turn Root Beer into Beer:  Well, not really.  But one can make root beer look like beer.  This was my own discovery the first evening of a ten day trek at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimmaron, NM

Picture courtesy of r/philmont - Cantina at Abreu Posted byu/Valkner Ranger '15, PC Baldy Town '16, Info Tech Assistant '17 from at

Cantina at Abreu, Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimmaron, NM

For some reason, we chose to do our trek in a different order than would normally be done.  We ended up spending the first night at a campsite that most people camped at during their last night on the trail.  Close to the campsite was a ‘Cantina‘ (and it is still there in 2022, scroll down in the alphabetical list to Cantina) mocked up as a bar, but for underage kids.  They served root beer in pitchers.  It was a blast.  Made us all feel like grown ups.  Toward the end of the evening we were one of the last groups in there.  I got the bright idea to add a bit of water to the leftover contents of a root beer pitcher.  It turned from a dark brown color to the light brown color of beer.  With a head on it and everything.  I gathered up a bunch of left overs from other pitchers and was able to create a full pitcher of root beer diluted with water that looked exactly like beer.  Not drinkable, but it did grab the attention of the bar tender as he went around picking up empty pitchers.  He stared at it with a horrified look, as if he’d served minors alcoholic beverages.

Turning Water into Wine:  Again, not really.  It was much worse than that.  We turned pee into Gatorade.  It turns out that if one consumes a great deal of vitamin B2 / Riboflavin the pee that comes out is ‘highlighter yellow’.  Using just the right amount of water, the pee can be adjusted to look strikingly similar to the color of Lemon / Lime Gatorade.  Little known fact is that heating up the cap on the bottle of Gatorade will allow one to remove the cap without breaking the safety seal if care is used (at least it did back in the 1980s, haven’t tried it recently).  You might see where this is going.  I’ll leave the rest of the story to your imagination.

And I hate to say it, but beyond the disclaimer at the beginning of this post, I was almost prevented from even creating this post.  Yes, WordPress failed me.  Or more specifically, the WP Security Plugin failed.  The WordFence Plugin also caused issues of a different nature.  Both prevented me from logging in.  Me, the person that built the physical server, installed the virtual CentOS machine, configured the Apache LAMP Stack, and then installed WordPress, among a thousand other configuration, it stopped me.  Well in Sigorney Weaver’s line from Galaxy Quest, “…well screw that.”  (I’m going to write this no matter what).  The end of the story, after a lost half an hour updating and re-configuring stuff that should not have needed fixing, I fixed it.  Fork you Matrix!  Oh, but the Matrix struck again, messing with another one of my servers and the Computer Management Screen because of some idiot USB disk drives.  Ah, the hassles of a computer technician never stop.

Categories: Thoughts