Then and Now

One day, many years ago as I was driving to work, I heard a man on the radio speak of something that caught my attention.  He said that TV’s used to get their signal through antennas and telephones required wires.  Now phones use antennas and TV’s use wires.

From the early days of my life, I remember almost every house had a TV antenna.  When I was six, I lived in an area that had just one station and it required a high antenna to pick up that station.  Some might not remember the days when almost all houses had the antennas and it almost looked like an artificial forest of metal trees.

Now they are gone, at least most of them.  It is rare to see one of them sticking up.  It makes it easy to see those who don’t have cable.

Normally, phones had a wire on them of about ten or twelve feet.  For those willing to pay for it, longer cables could be installed so that the girls could take the phone in another room for a little privacy.

Now, most use cell phones.  The antennas on them are so small we can’t see them.  However, we no longer have cables attached to them.  Privacy is simple.  The young ladies can go into their rooms or even outside.

The odd thing about it is that lately, people have started watching TV on their phones.  So, in a sense, it has gone full circle.  The TV is using an antenna again.

 

In my book, “Mitch,” I point out another switch up.  In the early nineteen hundreds, people used horses.  Only the rich had cars.  They were, so to speak toys too expensive for most.  Now, most of us have cars.  Most of us can’t afford horses.  Of course, if the tree huggers have their way, we will go back to riding horses and only the elite will ride around in self-powered vehicles.

I don’t think I want to be around in that day.  Cars might spew smog, but horse manure produces disease.  Try looking up the old days in New York before cars.  That stuff did not disappear on its own, you know.

There has been a big shift in commercials too.  In my youth, the media constantly discouraged gambling.  It was seedy and only bad people did it.  Well, I guess some good people gambled too, but not on TV.  Many programs showed the good guys shutting down the gambling outfits and, of course the schools were often leading the way.

Schools, of course, did what they could to discourage gambling.  Governments at every level depicted gambling as wrong.

I blinked my eyes.  Next thing I know, it turned completely around.  Whoa to the politician that suggest shutting down the gambling.  We can’t do that.  We need the money.  By the way, it fixed nothing.  We now have the gambling and we still don’t have enough money to run the governments at every level.  Actually, it is worse than before.

They are still calling for more money for the schools.  The gambling didn’t help one bit.  I have noticed the county south of where I live allowed gambling.  They are far worse off than before.  The state had to come in and take over the school.

On the other hand, the number of people writing hot checks has skyrocketed.  Though I can’t prove it, I am sure the robberies have gone up.

There is a reason that those in the old days drove out gambling.  It would appear we can’t learn from history.  It means we are doomed to repeat it.  The difference is that now, nothing less than a miracle will get rid of it.  Now our society is more dependent on it than a druggy on heroine.  Near as I can tell, we are stuck with it and it hasn’t solved a thing.

 

In the movies, they used to show people smoking.  It was encouraged by tobacco companies to get people to smoke.  It worked.  Then we had a couple of generations of people dying from lung cancer.

Recently, they decided that was a bad idea.  Now, there is a big campaign to stop smoking and it is no longer seen in recent films and TV shows.  To some degree, it has succeeded.  I’ve noticed the number of people smoking, even in the military has decreased.

I think it was a good idea.  My question is, what took so long for them to figure it out.

It does make me wonder what the liquor companies are paying Hollywood to show the drinking.  Actually, drinking causes more problems than smoking.  Basically the smoker is the only one who suffers.  The drunk causes problems with almost anyone he encounters.

I wonder how long it will take society to realize that.  I wonder just how long Hollywood will continue to portray drinking as cool…the thing to do.

One day I was taking a walk.  I saw a pickup with a sticker on the back window, “My granddaughter was killed by a drunk,” or something to that effect.  I talked to the owner of the truck.  The granddaughter was two.  The drunk had been arrested twice before for drunk driving.

Sorry.  I don’t see drinking as cool.  One thing I know that no one can dispute.  No one becomes a drunk without taking the first drink.  As a society, we should discourage that first drink.  Instead, it is encouraged on every side:  TV, parties, military (though it is openly admitted that it is a big problem) and peers.

 

I get it, really I do.  I know you have to have your alcohol.  You say you can give it up if you want to.  You just don’t want to.  I really understand.  You just don’t want to give it up.  Fine.  Just please, don’t encourage others to drink.  You just might save the life of a two year old, maybe yours.

Those that would like to browse my author’s page, use the below URL

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Predictable

Stalin said, “Kill a man, it is murder.  Kill a million, it is a statistic. ” It would appear that a man decided to create some statistics; he killed 59.  Let’s try to keep these victims from becoming nothing more than a number.  Those who have died and those who survived were and are real people.

The news media give us the numbers and the name of the killer.  Personally, I’d rather that they not ever mention the name of the man.  He should remain anonymous to the public forever.  It would send a message to any future killers.

Everything possible should be done to keep the victims from being statistics, mere numbers.  I’m not sure how we could do this, but we could start by giving them a little respect.  No one should treat them as political pawns.

It is totally predictable that Hillery and other liberals should use them to convince us that there are not enough gun laws.  Predictable as it was, it surprised even me at her speed.  Her response was within micro-seconds.  Their exploitation of their death is shameful and unforgivable .

You want to argue against or for guns, let us at least wait until we have a time to grieve a week or so.

As a final note, let me leave you with a thought.  Laws do not prevent anything.  Civilizations have had laws against robbery from the very beginning.  Yet we still have robberies.  We have always had laws against murder.  Yet we still have murders.  We have laws against driving at excessive speeds.  Yet when I obey them, people pass me up left and right.  (Oddly, I have even had police officers get angry at me.)

The best we can hope for is to discourage those who would break the laws.  No one can stop the criminal, no matter what the laws.  If we made laws against guns, there would still be guns.  More important, there would still be murders.  The worst part is… most of the murders are done by those who lead countries… like the Soviet Union, Cuba and Venezuela.  Strange that the liberals are not anxious to rid the world of leaders like those in North Korea and Iran, though threaten the obliteration of millions.

They don’t seem to mind them making their own statistics.  It’s not surprising.  It’s totally predictable.

 

Repeating History

Media consensus  seems to be that we should again wait to be attacked before defending ourselves, as with Pearl Harbor the first time.  This time, if a rocket falls on Pearl Harbor, if we are unable to stop it, there will be a difference, that is, besides the difference of loss of life.  This time we won’t be able to use the harbor for a hundred years, maybe longer.

A Few Words About North Korea

Nowadays, we have big long runways.  Commercial jets usually have about 10,000 feet for takeoffs and landings, generally twice what they need.  Yet, every now and then planes do run off the end of the end runway.  Most of the time, this results in disaster, maybe even the loss of lives.

One of the first things a pilot learns is that every foot of runway behind him is useless.  No pilot wants to see that he just might run out of runway.

So, what does this have to do with North Korea?  We keep putting things off and we are quickly running out of runway.  One day we will come to the end of the runway and it will cause destruction and the loss of life.  We will realize that when Los Angeles is vaporized.  Indeed, it might put the US economy into an economic spiral that we just might not be able to come out of.

Worse yet, we will become sitting ducks for China and Russia.  Personally, I don’t like the idea of having to learn how to speak Chinese.  It would take me years just to learn the characters.  I’m not too keen on learning Russian either.  They use the Greek alphabet.  It too is confusing.  There is a real reason for the adage, “It’s Greek to me.”

Putting a stop to North Korea efforts is not an option.  If we don’t stop them,  we will reach a point where all options are taken from us.  If you enjoy your first amendment, you might want to consider that.  Those who part the press will enjoy your first amendment rights right up to the point when you lose it, and it will be greatly your fault.  You certainly can’t blame me.  I spent 9 years protecting your rights while you were busy frittering them away.

Remember this little fact.  Those who do not stand behind President Trump decrease the possibilities of a peaceful settlement.  To put it more bluntly, they help to ensure that millions will die.  Throughout history, appeasement has never successfully stopped a warmonger.

The idea is to provide the best bluff possible.  If the bluff fails, then the peaceful approach fails.   If the peace fails, it ensures war.  That crazy nut over there can start a war all by himself.  Less than a half hour after he makes the decision to start shooting, millions will die, especially if we do nothing.

It Doesn’t Take a PhD

To get rid of Obama Care they need to vote to repeal it.  Should take one day, maybe two.  A simple provision should be made for those who have learned to depend on the law.  It would continue the law for two years.  Those that don’t want to depend on the law should be able to leave it any time.

That gives us two years to do it right.  One bill for pre-existing conditions; one vote in each house; up or down.  The second bill; one vote: include 26 year-olds on the policies.  The third bill….  …and so forth and so on.  It actually does not take someone with a doctor’s degree to figure it out.  I suspect even a high school graduate could do it.

They keep telling us it’s complicated.  Sorry.  I don’t believe that.  What I do believe is that it would be resolved tomorrow if the senators and representatives had to go through all we do.  (Note:  They should be required to do their own paperwork, no cheating by paying someone else.)

While they are piddling around, I am paying $940 a month for my wife.  Thankfully, I am on Medicare or it would be double that.

Oh yes.  By the way, I need to find another insurance company.  Humana is canceling my wife’s policy at the end of the year.  I guess the premiums are still too small.

What I think is that no one within the confines of the D.C. city limits cares one iota.   While they argue, I go broke.  What I think is that I am not alone.  I might have to get another job just to pay her insurance.  The problem is that I don’t think I can find one that will pay be enough.

Maybe it is about time to start sending letters to our congressmen.  I’m not sure it will do any good, but let’s just try it and see.

The Beauty of the Backspace Key

I prefer to refer to myself as a storyteller rather than an author.  I write stories.  Most of them are fictitious tall tales, but this one is both personal and true.

I entered high school in 1960, a long time ago.  I looked around for a while and took notice that typing would be a useful skill.  So, being the brilliant person I am, I arranged a class during summer school to learn how to type.

After all, most people know that type written term papers usually get at least half a grade point higher than one that was handwritten, sometimes more.  Besides, my handwriting skills weren’t the greatest, speed or quality.  Adding speed as well as the quality would have been a big advantage.

I want you to know I gave up a lot for that class.  Not only did I give up many summer activities, but I also trudged through the summer heat every day to get to and from school.  Well, I did have a bicycle.

I put a lot of effort into the class.  I worked hard.  I gave it all I had.  I worked my fingers to the bone.  Failed it miserably.  Managed a blazing speed of 17 words a minute with three mistakes.

Actually, the seventeen words a minute was not a problem.  It was likely fast as or faster than my handwriting.

However, I want you to know, I suffered all through my life, to this day because of those mistakes.  They came out with all kinds of wonderful stuff, just for me.  They came out with a tape that I could put just above the paper and type the erroneous character and it was as if the wrong character was never there.  Well, not quite.

Throughout my life, the typewriter and I have had our battles.  Volumes could be filled with stories about them, but I’m trying to keep this story short.  It’s not supposed to be a book.

Let’s just say my type written papers had almost as many corrections as characters.  It would have been nice to avoid them, but my job required them

Then, during the mid-eighties, they came up with something wonderful.  The computer.  Not only did the computer keyboard have a backspace key, but also, when it is used, it makes it as if the errant character never existed.  What a wonderful thing!

Then they came out with something even better, an undo function.  Nowadays, if I make a big mistake, I can undo it.  If I realize that it wasn’t a mistake after all, I can redo it.

I want you to know, for those of us that had to work on dinosaur type typewriters: this is no small thing.  Today, it is taken for granted.  Today, I type about forty or so words a minute, but I still make a ton of mistakes.  However, I can now reach up there with my little finger and make them magically disappear.  (By the way, it is one of the most used keys on my keyboard.)

Then one day a thought occurred to me.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had backspace keys in life?  I say something I know I shouldn’t have; I just hit the backspace key.  I do something that hurts someone; I just press the backspace key.  It’s gone, poof—as if it never happened.

Unfortunately, we don’t have that option.  Every page in life is written in indelible ink.  It can’t be erased.  It can’t even really be covered up.  When I say something or do something that hurts someone, I have to live with it as well as the person I hurt.  Then again, if we all did have such a key, there would be no need to be careful.  Maybe that wouldn’t be so good.

Then there are those who don’t care.  If they hurt someone, it’s of no real significance to them.  In the world of psychiatry, they have names for such people.  I have a few names for such people too, a long list of them.

At any rate, when I hurt people, It is somewhat of a relief.  I feel bad, and I sometimes hurt.  It’s a reminder to be careful.  Besides, it separates me from those who have no pain when they hurt others.  I think that’s a good thing.  It’s just a little thought from an old man who enjoys telling stories.

Please visit my Author’s Page at

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There are many books to chose from.  You will not find one with profanity or adult passages.  Though a few of them get have some violence, they are far less violent than what you will find on network TV these days.  More important, the violence has purpose.

Newly Married

Newly Married

 

I must admit I was spoiled.  I grew up in Southern California.  Nice pleasant days were the norm.  Oh, we had rainy days.  Sometimes it rained on and off for a week, but thunderstorms were so rare that they caused a lot of talk.  I can also remember days when it was 107 degrees for as much as a week straight.  The bad part about that is that the houses weren’t built for it.  Only people who were well off had air-conditioning, and I certainly wasn’t well off.

On the other hand, I can remember walking to school one day and there were little pieces of ice lying on the street.  I don’t know why but someone was apparently trying to water his lawn.  It was so cold that the water coming out of the sprinkler froze.  Eventually the water in the hose did too.

With those few exceptions, we had day after day of nice weather.  The temperature was generally between 65 in the winter, to low 80’s in the summer.  As I said, it was enough to spoil a person.

At any rate, it was one of those exceptionally nice days and I just finished work–teaching electronics on the Marine air base.  We’d been married a few months and my new wife wasn’t much of a cook.  She could make eggs for breakfast, and she could make hamburgers, and, of course frozen dinners.  Since we were married, she, for the most part, learned to make French fries and boiled eggs.

After I opened the door to the apartment, I noticed an odor.  I called out, not knowing where Kaay was, “What’s that smell?”

She made a mad dash for the kitchen while saying something about forgetting all about the eggs.  It seemed she was boiling eggs, got busy and forgot.  As I arrived, there was no more water in the pan.  I don’t guess you could say the eggs were burnt, but they weren’t exactly edible either.

We talked it over for a while and decided she could make another try at boiling the eggs and we could have egg salad sandwiches and French fries for dinner, but I needed to make a quick trip to the store, a few minutes away.  I can’t remember what it was I needed to get, but whatever it was we needed it for dinner.  Seems like it might have been milk or soft drinks.

At this point, I guess I should pause to say that we had an electric stove.  It was supplied with the apartment.

As I got back from the store, Kaay met me at the door with a question, “Is it baking powder or baking soda that you’re supposed to put on grease fires?”

Needless-to-say, that sparked just a little bit of panic in me.  The only thing that gave me any solace was that I saw neither smoke nor fire.  I figured it couldn’t be too bad, yet.  “Is there a fire?”  I asked as I pushed by her.

She replied, “Not anymore.”

Only somewhat relieved, I asked what happened.  She said that the oil for the French fries spilled over and got on the heating element.  It burst into flames.  Then, of course, she said, “I couldn’t remember which one I was supposed to use so I sprayed 409 (the cleaner) on it.”

Somehow, that didn’t make me feel a lot better, nor could I understand the reasoning.  Although I was afraid to ask I did, “What happened?”

She said the fire went out and it just made kind of a brown foam.  Then trying to cheer me up she added, “It cleaned up real easy.  You can hardly tell there was a fire there.”

Between the smell of the boiled eggs and the small kitchen fire, we decided to go out to eat.  Not only was it more pleasant, but just a bit safer too.

I have often thought about sending the story into Reader’s Digest, but then I keep thinking, what if someone else uses it on a fire?  We got lucky.  No telling what would happen if others tried using 409 in similar situations.  I don’t recommend it for putting out fires and I suspect the makers of 409 would prefer everyone restrict its use to cleaning.

Although we had our trying times, Kaay is now a good cook.  The good part is that there have never been any more fires, though she does still make quite a bit of smoke when she cooks.  When she wants to do any serious frying, we have to disable the smoke detector.

However, to this day, I’ve wondered just how good 409 would be for extinguishing fires.  The fire departments might be using the wrong thing when they use the commercial foam they put on oil and gasoline fires.  Maybe they need to start using 409.  Then, as Kaay said, it just might make the cleanup easier afterward.

(Oh yes.  One little important thing to remember: most say the proper thing to use would be baking soda, or better yet, an appropriate fire extinguisher.  I have no idea about baking powder.  I would prefer not to find out.)

Thinking back over the situation, I should have kept a box or two of baking soda in easy reach.  A few words of instruction might have come in handy too.  Then again, maybe we would have had more difficulty cleaning up.