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.

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Infomercials on Fox Business

I get it.  TV needs advertising.  It does get a little annoying when they show ads posing as news.  For a constant hour straight, during what was passed off as news, FBN talked about nothing but the new I-Phone and how wonderful it is.  According to them, we all need to go out and buy one immediately, if not sooner.

Sorry, I’m not going to spend a thousand dollars for something when I already have a cell phone that works just fine.  It has a camera, a calculator and even helps me find my way around town.  I even use it as a hot spot from time to time.  (It works better than my regular Internet connection in my home.)

I don’t need a $1000 phone.  I don’t want it, even if it were given to me and I certainly don’t want a news program passing off an hour ad as business news.

However, it does make me wonder.  There must have been some kind of compensation for FBN.  Just how did Apple pay Fox Business Network.  My first thought was that Apple just wrote a check to the network.  On the other hand, maybe they just provided phones for each of the those working for the network.

Of course, I could be wrong.  It is just a conclusion.  …but if I am wrong, just why did the network give a Apple a free one hour long commercial?

Sometimes, It’s Better to Smile and Say Nothing

This story is true and a bit long.  A foundation must be set to appreciate my situation completely.

When I was a young man of twenty, I joined the Marines.  This eventually brought me to NAS Memphis for aviation electronics training.

Today it is considered politically incorrect to call a woman in the Navy a wave, but back then, it was commonplace.  We had a woman in our class, and to say she was outspoken would be a bit of an understatement.

To utilize the training equipment, during lab assignments we worked in pairs.  Thinking back over it, I guess I was fortunate not to have her as a lab partner until the last unit of the school, RADAR.

I suppose I should explain that the situation was made somewhat worse by the fact that she was attractive.  Other than her outspokenness, she also had a pleasant personality.

During the RADAR unit, we had assignments that required us to get close to a display to count dots on it.  By both of us getting close to the display, we had to get close to each other, in this case, the sides of our heads were almost touching.  The only alternative was for us to take turns which we did for a while.

At first, I felt awkward about it and I think she did too, but as time went on, we didn’t even think about it.  As the instructor was walking by, he noticed it and asked, “All right.  What’s going on back here?”  I’m not sure, but I don’t think anyone in the class heard his question.

It was a joke.  He knew it.  I knew it and she knew it.  We all just laughed but she just had to add her two cents, “Don’t you know?  He’s my necking partner.”

Though a bit awkward, it still didn’t really bother me.  It was a joke, and the instructor knew it.

 

A couple of days later, while we were in the classroom, the instructor made a remark about me.  I can’t even remember what it was, but it was less than flattering.  It might have had something to do with my large ears.

At any rate, the wave apparently didn’t like the remark.  So, for everyone to hear, she said, “Don’t knock my necking partner!”

Now it wouldn’t have been that bad if all the others heard the previous conversation, but none of them did.  That information was known only by the three of us.

Experience told me that trying to explain would only make the situation worse.  She and the instructor were the only two that laughed.  The rest, I know, were looking at me.  I kept thinking, “Where’s a good foxhole to hide in when you need one.”  Not finding anywhere to hide, I smiled and said nothing.  Right then, I thought it was the most prudent thing.

 

I went on to another advanced nine-week school before leaving Memphis, as did she.  Hers was in training devices, mine in radios.  Once I finished the school, I started the check out process.

As I walked along the street to my next destination, I heard a voice behind me.  “There’s my necking partner!”

I don’t guess I need to explain who I saw when I turned around.  If she’d been much farther from me, I don’t think she could have yelled loud enough for me to hear.

Beside her was a bewildered woman marine.  Needless-to-say, there were a few others that looked over, first at her, then at me.  We talked for a while after that.  Then, we went our separate ways.

We haven’t seen each other since, but for some time after that, I lived in fear of meeting her again, especially if she saw me first.

 

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