Obsolescence

I had to take back my purchase of a DVD/VCR.    We had to return it because it didn’t have a tuner.  Before you consider some wise remark about unwise men not reading labeling on the box, I did.  The large print features helped me choose which one to purchase.  My progressive lens glasses do help me see the fine print, but who reads that in the store.  Oh, and the large text did not include:  – No tuner.  The last time I bought a VCR they all had tuners. Seriously?  What is the R for?

But then, what are all those other acronyms for?  There’s more letters on the sides of those cartons than in a box of Alphabits.  QAM SQPB HDMI iLink(R) and Khz must be important to someone, but to me it’s gibberish.  I’m electronically illiterate.  I can’t keep pace with technology.  It’s kinda like what transistors did to my vacuum tube Dad.

[CAUTION:  What follows is not approved for children under the age of 65] I can remember my father wigglin’ tubes in the TV when the vertical-hold didn’t.  And, when the picture would irreverently flop to a 45 degree slant in the midst of “Today’s News Today”, he’d jerk out a few likely culprits and head for a tube tester.

He didn’t know enough about electronics to get my Mr. Wizard crystal set to work, yet he was a master of tube diagnosis.  “…oh, yeah, son…see this darkening near the tri-diode interceptor.  This baby’s the problem.  Probably won’t even wiggle the needle down at the drugstore.”

I also remember his chagrin when we bought our first Solid State TV.  Solid state, auto-fine-tuning, left him with no knobs to tweak or tubes to wiggle.  Well, Pop, I now know how you felt.  Technology today is on an even faster track for me.  No tuner in a VCR.  Who ever heard of such a thing.  And what’s a 32 bit upscaler to 1080i?  All I want to do is tape the drag races.

Sue say’s that’s probably not going to be possible much longer.  VCR’s are about obsolete.  Obsolete?  You mean we won’t be able to watch all those videos we bought at rummage sales?  Hey, I remember when Laser Disks tried to replace VHS tapes in the late 70’s.  FAIL.  Now it looks like the laser’s little cousin, DVD, is finally gonna do it.

Oh, my, all those tapes…relics.  Relics just like the 45’s, 8 Tracks and audio cassettes gathering dust in the basement.  Relics just like me.

You know what?  I feel a pity party coming on.  Anyone want to stop by and commiserate.  Got any Blues on an LP?  I think my phonograph still works.

Class Action Payoff

I’m sure you will all be happy to hear that I won my law suit.  What?  You didn’t know that I was involved in legal litigation?

Actually, neither did I.  Seems that I was one of the plaintiffs in a class action law suit and didn’t even have to sign an affidavit or testify or nothin’.  I’m not even sure I know exactly what the suit was all about.  I do recall getting a notice that was intsy-bitsy legal jargon which I think claimed the company did something sneaky behind my back.  Because I had used that company’s credit card, I got included in the class that Aunt Matilda and 10 of her nephews initiated.

Regardless of who spotted this shady dealing or exactly what the shade covered up, I just know that I won.  Yippee, hurrah and Rah, Rah, Rah bring me the Sears catalogue.  The settlement was in the neighborhood of $16 million.   But by the time the money got from the 16-million-dollar neighborhood to my neighborhood, it was reduced to a measly nickel.

Put down the catalogue.  A nickle can’t even buy penny candy anymore.  You say, a nickel’s a nickel and I should be glad to have it.  Well, it’s not that I don’t think a nickel’s worth picking up, but this one I may never claim.

Like I said, this class action suit was linked to a credit card.  But I no longer use that card.  Oh, it’s still active and I could use it.  I just prefer the higher kick-backs of other cards.  So, an account that has been dormant for a couple years now has a credit balance of 5 cents.  To retrieve that nickel I would have to charge something.  When it comes time to pay the bill for that transaction, it will cost me postage cents to save the nickel.  I’m quite sure my math skills are sufficient to tabulate that as a negative on my balance sheet.

But wait.  Maybe there’s a solution if I can charge something costing only a nickel.  Then my balance would be zero.  Hmmm, wonder what’s out there than only costs a nickel these days.  Yeah…right…stop wondering.  Most everything I buy has more than a nickle in taxes.

Aside from the nickle itself, this payoff seems quite strange to me.  Aside from the attorney profits, why go through all the paperwork and postage for a nickel per person.  That didn’t happen the last time I won a law suit.  Several years ago my neighbor sued me to stop me from “squatting” on his property…no, the squatting didn’t have anything to do with pink toilet in my garden near the property line.

It had to do with “Adverse Possession”.   Even though I wasn’t on his land, in a letter he had told me to get off his land.  Go figure.  By law he was immediately on a time clock.  By law his letter made my squatting—which I was not doing—an adverse possession.  If, in 7 years, I didn’t get my possessions—which were zero—off his land, I could legally claim that land—that I wasn’t “on”.

I was innocent.  In the 6 years since that letter, I had forgotten about his threat to take possession of what I didn’t have on his land or shoot me if he actually caught me literally squatting there.  I had no intention, nor had I taken any action, to expand my property into his.  Okay, so I had a compost pile that might have spilled over the line a bit.  But a little rotting vegetation amongst neighbors shouldn’t be cause for litigation.

Anyway, to preclude any possibility of me claiming squatters rights to the property in question, the judgment was that he had to buy back the land that I wasn’t squatting on.  It cost him a dollar.  That was the judges ruling that my attorney happily reported to me.

Unlike the nickle that I actually got but chose not to get to, I have yet to see my dollar.

Now the question is; why did I get a nickel out of $16 million and nary a cent from the sale of property.  I think my attorney owes me a buck, don’t you?  At the very least, I should see it as a “credit balance” in my account with him.