Saturday, September 22, 2007

Are We supposed to swallow this...
...hook, line and sinker like they obviously want us to?

Sometimes I find it hard to swallow the logic proffered in some TV commercials...for instance: A TV ad from a "security system service" airs with annoying regularity, and I'm having a hard time with the commercial, a burglar breaks into a house...BEEP-BEEP-BEEP goes the alarm, the burglar scampers off. A man from a security system firm immediately calls the house, and the woman answers, and he asks, "are you all right?"; she says, "no, someone tried to break in", and the security system man says, "I'm calling the police right now". And she says, "thank you so much". Then the commercial concludes by saying "blah-blah" security saved this woman, and they can save you, too! And all is well once again in the neighborhood, or is it?

Because, if the burglar wanted to swipe something, he could've as he scampered out the door. Or he could've assaulted the woman with a couple of jabs, etc...and still scampered off...indeed, people can be killed in an instant. So did the security system REALLY save her? My take on this, is that, even with immediate response from the security system, they still had to ask the woman if she was okay, and they then had to call the police, and the police had to GET THERE, and all of this takes time. So, maybe, instead of spending mega-bucks on a security system, just set up some kind of super-amplified SOMETHING in your house to scare off the burglar, because that is basically ALL the security system did!

Don't ask me why I did this, because I'm not really sure why: Part of my Beatles collecting involves gathering together Beatles songs, as done by other artists. You know, stuff like the album, "Chet Atkins Picks On The Beatles". Or, how about "Beatle Country" by the Dillards, a late-60's folk-type group. Today, the mail brought me the immortally BAD version of "Hey Jude" by BING CROSBY...(!!!) And, I've yet to get it in the mail, but I've ordered a copy of, (and yer not gonna believe this), "Happy Banjos Play the Beatles". That oughta be a classic! Maybe I should next look for Beatles songs played by BAGPIPES? Someone tell me, please, why I do these things! But, that's not the weirdest "Beatles-by-Others" in my collection. Oh, no. I have a single that features the "Mission: Impossible" theme song, to which a vocal chorus sings "Norwegian Wood"! "I...once had a girl...or should I say...she once had me....da-da, DA DA, da-da, da-da......"

Maybe these are the good old days, who knows? I've been on the mend from a really serious flu attack, and I am getting better; making progress. I haven't gone much of anywhere for a while; I've basically been hibernating, not wishing to inflict society with what I came down with. And, in that time, I've ordered groceries by phone, I've had taxi's pick up groceries or pizzas, I've paid all of my bills over the phone, and I've done all of this with my debit card. I'm learning, that if you've got a piece o'plastic, you don't have to go anywhere or do anything, and that's quite amazing. A person could be totally anti-social, totally agoraphobic, and in short, be a complete hermit, and if they had a charge/debit card, they could exist just fine! Now, maybe everyone else already knows all of this, but I'm finding it out for the first time...and I find it quite amazing.

So, even though I am highly critical of much of today's way of life, I must admit there are good things, too. I remember the old know, when, if I wanted money, I had to go to the bank, wait my turn, talk to a teller, and actually fill out a check or some sort of draft statement. Now, all I do is slide a card, or read numbers over the phone, and voila, instant results. Oh, and now, I am thinking about paying all my bills over the computer. What will they think of next? But another part of my brain remembers the old song, "In the year won't need your teeth, won't need your eyes...your legs got nothin' to do...some machine's doin' that for you....." (a real toe-tapper, that song!)

Maybe I haven't seen a lot, but maybe I have: Writing the above paragraphs, about how things have changed, regarding the use of debit cards, got me to thinking about other innovations that have come along in my lifetime. I've seen various TV-news reports where a reporter interviews someone who's just turned 100, and asks them about all of the changes they've seen in their lives, and those folks have definitely seen a lot of stuff. But, I'm closing in on my mid-50's, and I'm beginning to think I've seen a lot of stuff, too. I remember buying brand new record albums for $3.98. I remember when the first 8-track and cassette players came along. I remember theaters that showed one movie for 2 or 3 days, and then they'd show another one. When I was a kid, zip-codes hadn't been invented yet. When I went to college, a computer took up several hundred square feet. I remember filling up the gas tank for five bucks, and getting change back. I remember using a TYPEWRITER. Nowadays, you can't find "typing paper"; instead, you have to buy copy paper and use that.

I was in 4th grade when President Kennedy was assassinated. And, I saw Lee Harvey Oswald get shot on live TV. I was alive before the advent of cable TV, Rock and Roll music on FM radio, even before The Beatles got popular. I remember that my Mom had an old RCA record player that only played 45's, and you had to plug it in to the back of a radio to hear the record being played. In the '60s, Dad and I used to fill up the trunk with presto-logs; you know, the ones that are basically compacted sawdust; you could give the clerk ONE DOLLAR and get 25 presto-logs. Now, a similar log-type-product costs the better part of ten bucks for a sealed package of half a dozen. A nice apartment, back in the '70s, cost me the princely sum of $135 a month. And so forth, and so on, and on and on...and, to paraphrase Bob Dylan..."The times, they STILL are a-changin'....." And, lately, I've been getting stuff over Ebay...such as the same model of little 6 transistor radio I had when I was a kid. Stuff like that really takes me back. Way back.

Whenever I write a post like this, part of me thinks I am sluffing off; after all, I did no heavy-duty research; indeed, I really had no plan for this post; I just began typing. But then again, this post is indicative of how my mind works, and perhaps my conversion of brain-stuff into a semi-intelligible presentation such as is here, may just be the hardest work of all.


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