Friday Frivolity: un-canned SPAM

I received a SPAM e-mail the other day.  Even though such mail irritates many people, there’s not much that can be done.  Yeah, most e-mail providers have junk mail detectors, but every day phishers and scammers are finding ways to sneak around the filters.  The law isn’t much help either.  The CAN SPAM Act of 2003 makes the practice legal.  No, I’m not making that up and the Act is not relevant to legalizing the canning of a meat product.

I’ll admit that I don’t peruse e-mail that gets routed to my Junk mail box.  But memos in my Inbox at least get a quick look as long as they have a Subject.  The Subject of the particular memo I mentioned above was “USPS Delivery Failure Notice”.  Considering the volume of packages we ship and receive, I considered it plausible.

Considering the severely limited volume of my instinctive brain cells, it is equally plausible that I glanced at the content of that memo.

It was actually quite well contrived.  The USPS logo was certainly authentic appearing.  Yet, the very sight of “USPS” in the header of an e-mail did seem inappropriate, if not counterproductive.   Regardless of deficiencies in my intuition, skepticism is my insurance policy.  Regardless of the potential for one of our packages being stranded somewhere, such a Failure Notice would be in my roadside mailbox, not delivered through cyberspace.  I quickly resolved that I would not click on anything but my tongue…and to report it as SPAM.

But before I deleted it, I did read on.  The first sentence also provided conclusive doubt to the legitimacy of the notice.  It stated they “…couldn’t deliver to you address.”   I didn’t click the link to discover what they’er…I mean, their reason for the failure to deliver.  I was quite certain it would be equally ungrammatical if not totally illogical.

Yet, the longer I stared at the memo, the more my mind attempted to construct what might have been behind the link.  My imagination conjured up………

You’re package is being held do to wrong address information.  The contense of the package only reviled your e-mail address.  Please send additional $25 for extra handlings and good address.  Credit Cards accepted.

No, no, that’s not it.  This is much more enticing……  Were working for Ed McMahon.  He is supposed to deliver a Million-Dollars to you, but Publishers Cleaning House had the wrong address.  It is too risqué to try to deliver it again.  Please give us you bank account number and we will deposit the money.  

Okay, that’s enough fun for now.  I sure don’t want you to think this is SPAM.

Friday Frivolity: Soup for Lunch

[This story is one of 30 in my Laughing in Stitches book.  “…Stitches”, as well as “Laughing at Life” and “Laughing while Shopping” are  available for $8 each—plus postage.  Please order direct from me; EdLaughing@yahoo.com]

Once, shortly after we were married, Sue was ill.  Earnestly desiring to impress her with my care giving, I wandered into the kitchen to fix her lunch.

I say “wandered” as the kitchen is a strange land for me to visit without a guide.  In my basement workroom, I can locate hand tools with my eyes shut, find the appropriate fastener with the proficiency of a voice-activated robot, and know where every power tool is stored.  That is my homeland.

The kitchen is across the border.  Regardless that the instructional words on cans, boxes and documents in the kitchen appear to be in English, I am unable to properly translate the subtle variances of stir, mix, blend and fold.  Oh, but I’ve got “beat” quite clear in my mind.  Yeaaah…the difference between beat and whoop are visually acute in my masculine mind.  However, to my mind, the kitchen instruction to “beat” is in an ambiguous category with whip, puree and whisk.  (Though at one time, I thought whisking was what my mom did to me, with a broom, when she wanted me out of her kitchen.)

Considering that Sue—border guard, guide and translator, was languishing in bed, I needed to fix something I was familiar with.  Soup and fruit seemed like a good choice.  Fruit was quite easy.  Get out the trusty “never-needs-sharpening-slice-everything-effortlessly” knife and whack away.  Wow, it really looked easy on TV.

After I put on a band-aid and tossed out the red-blotched banana pieces, I took a much slower approach to the apple.  Even if not picture-perfect slicing and dicing, fruit-cutting was completed without further mishap.

Soup is not particularly challenging to me.  The Campbell kids often join me for lunch.  They are advocates of my open, heat, and eat protocol.

I was one proud guy to escape the kitchen without a fire or bloody stub—the cut should heal sooner than the burn.  Do you know how fast water boils in a dish rag mopping up a little spill on a glass-top burner?

My task of fixing lunch for my ailing wife was complete.  I even made a delectable-looking arrangement on the tray with the fruit, crackers, and some cheese.  Then, with the decorum of Jeeves, and a chest rivaling a ruffed grouse, I strutted into the bedroom with her lunch.

She was so grateful.

Initially, anyway.

Upon sampling the tomato soup she inquired as to what I had used to dilute it.

I proudly responded, “Dilute it?  Oh, no,  dear, I didn’t water it down.”

“Then how much milk did you use?”

“Ahhhh, milk?  I didn’t use milk, either.  I didn’t want to weaken the soup, hon.  You need all the nutrients you can get from each spoonful.”

She quickly rose up in bed.  I was quite amazed that only one spoonful of soup would result in such expedience in her recovery.

“What part of concentrate don’t you understand?”

“Concentrate?  On what?” I meekly offered as the air noticeably hissed from my deflating chest.

“Concentrate on what it says on the label.  Dilute with one can of milk.”

Well, that was it.  No more kitchen privileges for me.  At least not unsupervised.

Sue’s in control of the kitchen.  I cook outside.  Fewer dials, settings, and no recipes to follow.  Toss it on, keep the flash fires under control, and pull it off while the meat’s still limber enough to chew.  That’s about all the cookin’ I can be trusted with.

Friday Frivolity: In the Loop

It’s definitely a slow week in the news room when the headline of this Friday story is an expose on Froot Loops.   But, my news room is always of a frivolous nature.  By now, you shouldn’t be surprised when fine print on cereal boxes possesses my mind like a fiendish demon.  I was hungry for food and starved for entertainment.  Besides reading, what else exciting is there to do when you eat breakfast alone.

Normally, Sue fixes me breakfast and eats with me.  Not much to read on eggs, sausage & toast and not much reason to peruse Peanut Butter jars when she’s there to converse with.  However, the other morning I was up very early and my stomach growls for satisfaction about every two hours whether Sue’s awake or not.  So, I grabbed milk and a box of cereal.  It had been a long time since I’ve tasted Froot Loops.

As milk dissolved the loops into swirls of color, I challenged myself to identify which fruits each color represented.  I felt the need to validate my guesses by reading the Ingredients.

All I can say is Kellogg’s is safe from FDA investigation.  Though phonetically implying Fruit, I believe “Froot” is actually hydrogenated vegetables.  Not a single fruit is represented within the box.  Not in any form—flavor, fiber or filler.  Colors may infer fruitiness, but what flavor is Yellow 6, Red 40 or Blue1?

Oh, and what can you make this pronouncement on the box:  CORN USED IN THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS TRACES OF SOYBEANS.  Kinda made me wonder if the Oats were tainted with dandelions, but not enough to warrant such a disclaimer.

With great skepticism, I reached for a second cereal box.  This one proudly advertises “Mixed Berry; naturally and artificially flavored.”  Aside from the obvious question of what other way there might be to flavor something besides naturally or artificially, I hurriedly rotated the box to the Nutritional Facts panel.  Mixed Berry?  Humph…since when is Apple a berry.  Apples were the top “Berry Flavored Filling” ingredient.  I love apples but don’t try to sell me them as berries.

Unlike the circular “loops”, the second box of cereal I selected was Grape Flakes, #3.

REALLY?  Flakes made from grapes?  Okay, I’ll admit grapes may be round and berry sized but a berry flake, …NOT.  I mean, come on, berries make great toppings for ice cream.  Even with a name like Smuckers®, they don’t make a Grape syrup.  Black, Blue, Straw, Boysen and Triple but no Grape.  Beats me why someone would think grape in flake form would be a big seller.  Let’s see, hmmm, do they even make Grape Nuts any more?

This investigation got the juices flowing in my stomach…and I’m not talking fruit juices.  My Omeprozole™ couldn’t turn off the influx of gastric acid into the cereal mix I had ingested.  In the future, it would be better for me to eat cereal before my eyes…or my mind…can focus on the deceiving of Flakey and Frooty cereal ingredients.

Friday Frivolity: Have you seen…

“Have you seen my shoes?”

No, that wasn’t me.  I put my shoes away when I take them off.

It was Sue and we were about to leave.  I was standing at the door.  At times of in-climate weather she might leave her shoes in that area.  Often she sheds them near the couch as she raises the foot rest.  I surveyed the surroundings…none.  Not even a pair that she might not wish to wear for this outing, so I reported: “Nope, they’re not here”.  Off Sue went, muttering about just seeing them somewhere.  Off I went too.  Not physically, but my mind went back to a era when I wasn’t so meticulous about putting stuff where it belonged.

Whenever I’d openly utter such a question as “Where’s my shoes?” my dad would remind me “They’re not my size.” so why would I expect him to know where they were.  Mom would ask the obvious; “Where’d you put them?”  A mother’s words are often quite irritating in their profound logic.

In my adolescent years, my shoes, shirts, and jackets could be almost anywhere….school, neighbors, our hideout were just about as common a place for me to leave them as any room in our home.  But not the closet where they belonged.  The closet was a fail-safe.  It was the location of back-up shoes in case I couldn’t find the ones I wanted.

My adolescence was pre-NIKE.  Actually pre-anything except oxfords or crepe soles.  Oh, sure, I had “tennis shoes”.  Converse Hightops, but they were for gym floors only.  I recall having only 3 pair of shoes which could be worn “outside” — Good, school and play.  The trick was to try to get my school shoes past my mom when I couldn’t find my play shoes.  I’d strategically wait in my bedroom until she went to the kitchen.

The path from bedroom to front door was out of her line of sight.  With the stealth of a lion on the hunt, I’d slink toward escape.  From the kitchen “blind”, big-game hunter mom would take aim.  More often than not, just about the moment I reached for the front door she’d holler; “You’re not going to wear those shoes to play in.”  Shot down in my tracks.

Did I mention how irritating my mom’s profound logic could be.

Back to real time.  Sue is still wandering and muttering about where she didn’t leave her shoes.  I’m wondering why she doesn’t just go get a different pair.  After all, I don’t have my mother’s logic so she could wear most any shoes and I wouldn’t know if they were play shoes or not.

Finally, she returns with a pair of shoes.  As she sits to put them on, I inquire about where she finally found them.  With a sheepish smirk she answers.  “I hate when I can’t find them, and they end up where they belong.”  For me, where they belong is rarely a problem.  Generally, for Sue, that’s the last place to check.  But then, isn’t everything in the last place you’d look for it.

Friday Frivolity: Answer me this

This Friday Frivolity is to initiate something for my readers to participate in.

Most days I publish a ? of the day.  Even though my questions are typically rhetorical—that is to cause you to think, not necessarily answer, I am seeking witty answers.

Even if my silly questions cause you to smile, I believe there is even more humor in answers to my puzzling questions.

For example, I once asked:  If a cow won’t give milk, is it a Milk Dud? 

I got these answers:  That’s udder nonsense.

                       And :   I might even say it’s bull.

With that in mind, I’m hoping many of you will visit my web page — FridayFrivolities.com.  Look through the ?s I’ve posted there in the past.  Think of a clever comeback.  The aim to get lots of my readers, Facebook friends, and anyone else that happens to surf their way to my web page to submit humorous, if not punny, responses to particular ?s of the day.

Remember, I said funny.  Once I posed:  So…what is the speed of dark? One of my “genius” friends actually sent me the formula.  Also I do have some readers who search Etymology to tell me the source or logic for a word or phrase.  Those may be enlightening, but truth nor logic are what I seek.  Phrase your “answers” to give a chuckle to other readers.

Let’s have some fun. Who’s going to be the first answer today’s ? of the day Is it easier to see the pie in the sky if you’re pie-eyed?

Better yet, who can tell me:  How do you get down from an elephant?

Friday Frivolity: Age Turning?

Why is it that we commonly refer to a birthday as “Turning” a particular age?  Even considering my convoluted mental processing, I cannot ever recall any noticeable turn during any of the celebrations of my birth.  I went straight through the day without any noticeable corner at the precise time of my birth.

So if aging is such a slow, nearly imperceptible arching rather than turns, why do we remember so many age benchmarks?  Very often, I hear birthday celebrants wish they were some other age again.  I thought maybe I’d embark on that delusional retrospect into my age benchmarks.  What age would I like to have remained?

The first obvious stop was One year old.  I looked at a few pictures.  It looked quite inviting to me to loll around in a swing that played music.  Hmmm, why does the music not keep the same metronomic beat as the ratcheting swing spring?  Ahh, but that’s an adult recollection.  I didn’t ponder that anomaly at one year old.

Fact is I didn’t ponder much of anything.  I got just about everything that I wanted.  At least I think I did.  However, that’s the problem with being One…you can’t remember much.  Hmmm.  That’s not much different than today.  I guess I don’t need to be One.  I’m sure I’ve got about everything I want….I just can’t remember where I put it.

I can remember 10, though.  Except for taking out the trash and doing dishes, I had no responsibilities.  Gee, wouldn’t that be great era to languish in.  Come to think of it, I’m not particularly responsible now, and still take out the trash and help with dishes.  So 10 doesn’t really hold much of an advantage over today.

How about the teen years?  Oh, now there’s an age to be.  There’s definitely a tempting mystique about being a footloose and fancy free youth.  Yet even those foolhardy years had drawbacks.

Girlfriends…or lack thereof, was a constant and often overwhelming challenge for me.  And so was wrestling.  No, not with the girls—fat chance of that happening.  Actually, for me, it was a slim chance.  Yet slim did keep me wrestling against boys my size.  Being small was certainly not a disadvantage in the sport of wrestling.

Diminutive size was definitely a disadvantage in all my other athletic endeavors.  My body took a severe beating in most every sport I tried.  Low and behold, today my body takes a beating in about every game of softball I play.  So, why should I desire to be a skinny teen?

Oh, for the glory years of post teen.  Twenty would surely be the age to be.  Independence at last.  Free to do as I please, when I please.  So why did I choose to renounce that liberty and go to college with its restrictive scheduling, required attendance, obligatory studying and incessant testing. Not to mention hectic pace.  Why would I want to trade the leisure of my current retirement for that constraining regimen.  Besides, even at my age I can still have an “all-nighter”.  Of course, in my college days that meant staying up all night.  Now?  it is NOT getting up all night.

You know, now that I contemplate my past, it was certainly filled with wondrous moments, yet I’m not so certain I want to repeat any year of my life.  I suppose that’s what they mean by the “Myth of Nostalgia”.  Our wistful thoughts of our past are often filled with grandeur, yet with closer reflection, our life then was not without drawbacks.  I think I shall very happily turn all future age changes without yearning to go anywhere else than around the corner and onward.

Friday Frivolity: Alabama Adventure

I truly enjoy my time with my brother, ‘Bama Bob.  Just visiting with him and his wife in Alabama is good, but the real fun…if not funny time is accomplishing a “project” with him.  Last summer was one of those times.

The project was replacing a broken roof beam supporting a tool & implement shed.  This project also entailed re-setting one of the posts beneath the busted beam.  Consequently, we had to remove the broken concrete foundation beneath the old post.  Necessarily, we needed a pick-ax to dig through rock-hard clay.  Unfortunately we needed to kneel to hand chisel out pieces of concrete.  Regrettably, we hand-chiseled into an ant colony. Incidentally, we is a generic pronoun more precisely, ME.

In a flash they were all over me like ants on honey.  Oh, wait, they were ants.  Ahhh, they were all over me like flies on fresh…never mind.  Let’s just say there were lots of them and none of them happy.

But, I needed to dig the hole still deeper and could not accomplish that standing up.  To protect me while kneeling, I asked.  “Hey, Bob.  Do you have some ant spray?”

“Sure do.”   Came his assurance and off he went.

I wiped the sweat from my brow along with the ants from my pants.  And a few under my pants too.

I walked over to get a drink of water.

I walked back.

I could have taken a nap before he returned.

I was well rested when he returned.  “Gee, the spray wasn’t where I thought it was.”

He handed me the can.  I took dead aim at the heart of the ant population and pressed the atomizer trigger.  Pfst.

Please take note.  That was a 4 letter pfst.  Not the extended pfssssst I was anticipating.  There were a couple ants that looked up at me wondering if I was blowing a cool breeze their way.  I shook the can vigorously and pressed the atomizer button with all the force my forefinger could muster.  Pft

Please note, 3 letters…no s… Just a puff of exhaust from the can.

Bob quickly exclaimed; “Hmmm, I thought it had more in it than that.”

“I don’t suppose you have a new can somewhere.” I doubtfully queried.

“For an old guy, you’re darned good at supposing.”  He countered

The ants had calmed considerably by this time.  I took several new pick-ax pokes into the hole.  Oh, yeah, that got into the heart of the colony.  I exclaimed; “Break time.  We’ll get the loose dirt out after they go in for the night.”

In the meantime, we decided to go to up the hill to the woodshed for the needed piece of lumber.  The beam we had to replace was quite long.  At the woodshed, I pulled out an identically dimensioned beam.  Identical in width and thickness but was its length sufficient for our need.  So, I asked the logical questioned.  “How long a piece do we need, Bob.”

“That one is long enough.”

“How do you know, you haven’t measured it yet?”

“I know it’s long enough because we don’t have any that are any longer.”

Let me just say that “any longer” we might have gone that day would have been a bumpy ride downhill.  Did I mention that the woodshed is atop a fairly steep rocky hill.

Friday Frivolity: Sign Language

Summer is fast approaching.  That is a time when we spend a lot of time “on the road”.  Here’s a Frivolity I wrote a few years ago about a trip “out east.”

There’s so much to see while driving. Even though I keep close watch of traffic, many highways are divided so I can also gaze a bit at the scenery without much risk of weaving into oncoming traffic.  On a trip to Eastern PA, I discovered that Ohio and Pennsylvania highways are divided not only between east and westbound lanes, it is also divided into toll segments.

I guess I’m really getting old and my memory chip needs an upgrade.  As we approached the first toll booth, I told Sue to get the change out of the glove compartment.  She responded, “Ed, you don’t use change for tolls any more.  Give me your wallet.”  You no longer need a bag of coins for tolls.  You need a credit card.

In addition to divided roads to protect sight-seeing drivers from head-on crashes, they now have washboard strips along the road almost everywhere.  I suppose they are intended to alert a driver when they cross over onto the shoulder.  No doubt you’ve rolled over such wrinkles in the road.  But, did you know that in some locales the highway department actually formed the strips to play a short ditty tune?  I have not yet experienced any noticeable tune, yet I think Pennsylvania’s rumble strips have the mellowest tone.

Pennsylvania is also exciting to drive in for other reasons.  If you happen to be a Demolition Derby fan, Pennsylvania actually puts signs up in good viewing zones.  At least I interpret a sign denoting a “High Crash Area” as a good place to pull off the road, get a good seat and wait for the next Derby to begin.  Pennsylvania also alerts you when you are about to enter an area where reckless driving is rampant…”Beware of Aggressive Drivers“.   Yeah, that’s actually a PennDOT sign.

On one occasion, just after one of those Beware…signs, I came upon a sign alerting drivers of a Duck Crossing Zone.  I was on the alert for ducks yet my mind did wonder if there PennDOT would caution the ducks…Beware of Aggressive Drivers — fly you dumb ducks.  Then I realized such a sign would be wasted.  With aggressive drivers in the area, just how many ducks could there be left to cross the road?

There was another sign which caused me considerable wonderment.  “Targeted Enforcement Area“.   If the sign was indeed true and there was such an area,  why warn drivers.  Wouldn’t that be self defeating for any Sheriff’s department in dire need of cash flow.  Moreover, it wasn’t working as a deterrent.  I was ten over and at high risk of getting rear ended.  The sign was worthless.

Another sign that isn’t worth the money to erect: “Speed Enforced by Aircraft“.  Who’s kidding who?  Enforce the law by aircraft?  What are they going to do, send up Cobra Gunship Helicopters to strafe offending drivers.  And even if the choppers only gun is of the radar variety, how many tickets would it take to pay for an hours worth of aviation fuel.  Once again, the idea of such a sign being a deterrent is faulty.  I’m thinking the warning sign needs to be augmented.  How about hiring a few kids to sit on the mountainside remotely flying drones to buzz speeding drivers.

Regardless of whether the signs are worth the tin and paint, I hope they don’t take them down.  After all, they provide me with many miles of entertaining wonderment.

Beyond Bell’s Imagination

I called an out-of-town friend on the phone.  Although I had a matter of some importance to ask him, we had not had an opportunity to chat in nearly a year, so I thought some small talk to start with would be good.  After the usual cordial greeting exchanges, I followed with the old standby question: “How’s the weather?”

“Hold on a sec,” he replied.  I could hear some maneuvering of the phone and a few clicking sounds.  In a moment he’s back. “Where?”

“Where?” I repeated with a bit of astonishment.

“Yeah, the weather where?”

“Well, where you are, of course.”

“Okay…hold on.”

I began to wonder if my phone call had interrupted him from something of greater urgency.  I said I’d call him back if he were busy.  He assured me he was not doing much of anything that morning.  “Got it,” he stated with pride.  “Seventy-two degrees, cloudy, winds southeast at five to ten, sixty-percent chance of rain.”

What was that…Weather at 6?  He sure didn’t get that looking out the window.  He admitted he got that info from his phone.  That and radar blips of raindrops headed his way.  My phone is not smart.  It has no I nor G in its name.  His phone can tell him what time it is anywhere in the world.  My phone doesn’t know what day it is.

Where is this electronic age taking us?  Phones now give up real time prices for precious metal, stocks, grain, corn, beef and corned beef.  If you bought some pork bellies, there’s an app that rates counseling services.  There’s an app for everything.   I even saw one advertised to download a level.  Yeah, like 4 inches of flat side on your phone can accurately bubble an 8-foot beam.

Phones are so complex now.  Sue has a cellphone.  It has more icons on its 4-inch screen than I have on my 24-inch desktop monitor.  I tried to make a call from her phone the other day.  I touched an icon that looked like a keypad.  Wow, that calculator had log tables and I’m not talking about a rustic cabin.  I guess I’m too old for such complexity.  Give me simplicity.  Whatever happened to the party line?

Okay, so I don’t really want to bring back the party-line phone system.  Although, it was kinda fun sometimes to listen in.  It’s intriguing to me, though, how people used to object to a snoopy second party listening in on a conversation, yet now the norm is to talk on the phone in large crowds!  Of course, no one is listening in.  Everyone is talking on their own phones.  I went by a gal recently who was jumping up and down, waving and excitedly yelling into her phone.  “Hey, Jayne…I’m over here.”  Beats me why she didn’t just hang up and walk over to Jayne.

Anyway, back to the touch-screen, multi-tasking, widi wini wici-ipedia, telephone.  It’s hardly what Alexander Graham Bell patented.  He just figured a better way than two tin cans and a string.  His phone was an instant hit for the town gossips.  It was readily accepted as an efficient means of information sharing and personal conversations.

It was personal.  People went “in the other room” just to keep it private.  Now?  When a cell ring tones, some people don’t even excuse themselves from people around them.  They just quick-draw it from their belt holster and begin a much-too-public conversation.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve answered someone in the back seat of my car when they weren’t talking to me.  Hmmm, now that I think about it, there have been many times I’ve answered people talking on a cellphone who I knew weren’t talking to me.  Even strangers.  Okay, especially strangers.

As I have walked through the mall and a stranger’s cell is answered next to me, I’ve asked, “Is that for me?  I’m expecting a call.”  Or, “If that’s my wife, I’m not here.”  I get a lot of weird looks.  Actually,  it’s more like a glare than a weird glance.  But, who cares.  It’s one of my distorted delights that the cellphone era has provided me.

Ah, but distorted pleasures aside, I have concerns, too.  I’m not so sure all this technology is a good thing.  After all, when I call a friend and ask, “How are you?” I don’t want them to check their 8G horoscope.  Worse yet is what might be coming.  By the 10th Generation, they won’t be just SmartPhones — they will be BrainiacCells.  Imagine someone responding to an off-hand inquiry of their health by doing a sweeping body scan with their NthGenius then faxing you an MRI.

And, I am definitely not ready to call someone to say,  “Wish you were here,” and then hear them say,  “Beam me up, Scotty!”

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.