A Five Word Search

Perhaps one of the greatest side benefits of the internet is the way we can search out songs, some that are long forgotten. Last night I was watching a segment of an episode and the character was sitting at a piano playing a toon. I said to myself, “self, I know that tune. I’ve heard it a time or two.

The problem is that I couldn’t remember the words, or hardly. I couldn’t even remember who recorded it. I certainly didn’t know the title of the tune. As I started to search, I had no success. I have heard that a search can be recognized if I can hum the melody. I suppose that might be possible, that is if I can hum the tune. The problem with that is that I couldn’t hum any tune if my life depended on it. I might manage to whistle a bar or two but no more.

Finally, after four tries, I managed to remember 5 words… sort of. It was kind of a guess of a guess. The words I searched were, “Wedding bells will ring so merrily.” To my surprise the song appeared. Even more, i could hear Doris Day sing it. I suspect the song, “Till We Meet Again,” seemed to be written for Doris Day. It brought back some very nice memories, and I played it several times, some by other singers. I still think Doris played the best, but they were all good rendering.

I don’t think those who built the internet such a thing in mind. But I am very grateful that someone put together the feature. If they hadn’t helped me find the tune, I’d still be going nuts with the five words still going through my mind and trying to figure out the title. Do you have a hint how bothersome such a thing can a thing can be?

Oh, and by the way, I’d not be able to pass such a nice, pleasant thing along to others. And by the way, it would likely make a very wonderful song for a wedding…that along with “True Love.” [I think first sung by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly in the movie, “High Society”]

Growing Old

I write this for those who have not yet grown old. No matter what you might think it will be like, you’re wrong. It is no one thing but rather a collection of little things.

As you grow old, the first thing you will likely notice is that the person looking back at you has become a stranger. Fight as you might, your face changes, seemingly overnight. Yet, as you think it over, you will realize it was gradually, not sudden.

Perhaps, the most devastating birthday will be your 40th. This is when you will awake to the realization that you will never become president. Most will face the reality of never becoming rich and famous. I’d settle for rich.

On my 49th birthday, I never had surgery. Since, I have had a list as long as my arm. One indication of aging is when yoy sit around talking of hospital visits. We old folks are always trying to outdo the others about our trials and illnesses.

Closely associated with hospitalizations are the meds. At 40, the only meds I took were for my alergies. Now, before retiring for the night, I take 10, most reqireing scripts. I mentioned to a doctor that I feel as if I have my own drug store. He laughed and told me of a patient he had that received a transplant. He had shelves of meds, many very expensive.

I guess 65 is also another big transition for most of us. It’s when we start dealing with Social Security. Personally, my transition went well. The people were nice and very helpful.

I have heard of some real problems, though. My wife’s grandfather was born on an Indian reservation and he had a very difficult time proving he was born.

At 72, my hair is turning white and starting to thin. I can’t complain about that. Most men my age don’t have much hair at all. Look at what President Trump did to conceal his balding. On the other hand, the current occupier of The Oval Office had expensive hair transplants, only to lose most of it anyway.

One of the biggest giveaways that we are older is that we start losing friends, relatives and neighbors. I look around and I realize I have lost many acquaintances. I hear about this one having a heart attack or this one a stroke.

I have known a few who died from alkzheimers disease. I lost 2 brothers to brain cancer. It makes me wonder why I have been permitted to live this long.

One day, I needed to get down on the floor to do something. Next thing I knew, I couldn’t get up, regardless of my best efforts. I found it utterly ridiculous. It was something I just took for granted.

Nowadays, I am far more careful. Moreover, I suggest, anyone who is able, exercise by getting on the floor and standing 10 times a day. You must realize, being able to stand is important.

You might find this odd, but you should cough regularly. The muscles used for coughing are very important. If you’re unable to cough, you won’t be able to clear your lower respiratory system.

Getting old is learning to think of such things.

On the Peripheral of Baseball

I took my wife out to eat tonight at one of her favorites, Huey’s. Right after we ordered, she asked if I knew who Vin Scully is. Eventually she called to my attention the banner on the big TV screen behind me, “Remembering Vin Scully.

Of course I remember him. Being raised in Orange County, California, I listened to a great many of his broadcast of Dodgers games. Of course I never met him, yet he seemed to be a friend.

Naturally, one can say he was old. It was expected. Yet he is one that I would have preferred to hang around for a few more decades.

Of course, the banner was not an outright proclamation but it is the way the news speaks of those who are no longer with us. So I pulled out my cell phone and did something I never used it for before. I pulled up Google and then after entering just the letter v, his name popped up. It sort-of told me 2 things. Vin Scully was high the news for the day and he had a huge following.

Then, almost instantly after I tapped the top most listing, I saw the news story. I knew it would be there, yet I hoped it wasn’t.

As I said, I didn’t really know him but for the few hours each day during the season. However, as near as I can tell, he was a man I would have liked to know well.

He was an announcer, not one of the players. He was only on the periphery of the game. Yet, he truly contributed so much to baseball and all of us who enjoyed the game and couldn’t afford to go.

He will be missed. He is already missed.

Memories

No, this is not one of those posts where I go back… well maybe it is, but not as usual.

You see, when I was still in junior high, I can remember about memories, that is computer memories. At that time, most computers used the doughnut shaped pieces of iron called ferrite cores. Each core could store one bit. To store 4 bits, the equivalent of one digit took 4 cores — though they generally organized them differently.

At the time, the frustration was packing as many of those doughnuts into as small a space as possible and still make them useful. The last successful core memory I saw provided about 512 million bits (64 million bytes) in a cabinet 6’x4’x2′ and it weighed, with power supply, roughly 6 or 7 hundred pounds.

Since that time, they came out with what they call IC memory, which has a history all of its own. It is enough to confuse all but the most avid computer geek. The first ones weren’t all that impressive… 4 flip-flops inside one computer chip. Before they were of any real use it took thousands of them. Moreover, they required a lot of electricity to power them.

Over time, they put hundreds, then thousands of the flip-flops in one chip and they called it static RAM. They were static in that as long as they had power, the info in the memory remained in tact. They were Random Access because any one flip-flop could be accessed as quickly as any other. I am not going to go into how they did this. If you want to know, simply do a search on Static RAM memory and I am sure you will find far more than you want to know.

Now, if there is going to be a static RAM, there really ought to be a dynamic RAM as well and there is. Dynamic RAM has 3 advantages. It is smaller, uses less power and generates less heat. There are trade offs. It is slightly slower and it requires more complex circuits to support it.

One of the problems with the prior types of RAM is that, when you turn off the power, anything stored is gone. Hence they came up with ROM, Read only memory. It is set once and forever. This is neat but for one thing. It can never be altered. If you need to change what is in the memory, you have to change the memory, that is the chips themselves.

Then someone came up with PROM, EPROM and EEPROM. I told you it gets complicated. PROM is ROM that can be written, that is programed once. As with ROM, if you need to change it, you have to toss it and replace it. EPROM is the same as PROM but it can be erased by using ultraviolet light to erase it. Hence, it can be reused. Finally, EEPROM is Electronically Erasable PROM. That is to say, it can be erased by sending it a signal to erase it. Then it can be re-written as if it were a new PROM.

Now they have a new type that can be rewritten thousands, maybe millions of times. They put them in computers and use them to replace the Hard-drive. (incidentally, Hard-drives have a history all their own. Being as I want to finish this some time today, I’ll skip that for now.)

The modern computer has at least 3 types of memory. There is at least some form of ROM used to store what is BIOS. It contains enough to get the computer started and a little more. The instant the computer is turned on, the microprocessor fetches its first instruction from ROM and performs what is called a bootstrap, or boot for short.

The second form of memory is dynamic RAM. Generally, most of the memory is dynamic RAM. Many if not most computers don’t use ROM once the computer is fully booted. ROM is far slower than RAM. Finally, the computer starts using the static RAM which is faster than dynamic RAM. The two types of RAM are used in combination for high storage and speed.

Having said all this, it would seem there are those types of memory that fail. I am one of those who has become well aware of it. Alzheimer’s disease just kind of sneaks up on us and it can get so frustrating. I can feel it sneaking up on me and I have seen it in others around me. It is just too bad we can’t come up with an answer for that.

There was a paper I saw one time. It was a farce about WOM, write only memory. It was said that a professor cam up with the idea as he saw his students taking notes he knew they would never look at. However, the idea is not that new. Egyptians wrote inside pyramids and never intended for anyone to read it.

Here lately, I get this feeling that my memory is becoming a WOM. More and more I misplace things. I can search for words, maybe an hour… words I have used all my life. I am starting to get an idea of what it is like to lose my memory. I am beginning to get a feel for what it is like for others.