This isn’t exactly a rant, but earlier tonight a TV ad bade me download a song: To where, I thought, to my brain? I have no cable TV beyond local stations, or PIN numbers, no satellite dish, no debit card, have never used an ATM, watched Blu- Ray, or used an I-phone, I-pod, Blackberry, or MP-3. Hell I don’t know what most of that stuff even is. I have a basic computer, with free software downloaded by someone else. My software does not include Power Point or a publishing program. I have word processing, just like when I had a typewriter, but this is a lot better. Still, I don’t use spell check because it is often wrong at the wrong times. I don’t own a laptop and I prefer a mouse, not a touch-pad. I’ve never seen one of them work worth a damn. Back in my corporate days an computer dude announced to me that our computer could do 100,000 calculations a second. I replied, “I can type 40 words a minute. Why should I care? Because it’s better, he said. For whom, not for me. He had no answer.
I don’t use GPS as a hand-unit, or in my truck, and I never owned a fuzz buster when they were in vogue. I didn’t grow up digital and I haven’t gone postal. My generation didn’t label itself the greatest. We lost the only war we fought — not out where it was actually contested in blood, but back here by those same folks who lost morale and now “support our troops,” which is pretty much abject bullshit. As long as they are not involved, or one of their kids, most people flat don’t care what happens to war-fighters. They just don’t.
We still had a draft and most men registered and went when called, or volunteered. Some ran to Canada. They weren’t missed. They were later given amnesty, were not welcomed back, and as far as I know, haven’t contributed much to anyone or anything since. I’d like to see the draft brought back, and all men and women called. I’d like to see two years of national service be mandatory for all citizens. I know it will never happen.
The Internet is connected at my house by a high-speed line, but it’s like taking an express train to the epicenter of all bullshit and misinformation, with nobody bothering to check facts, or veracity. I have call-waiting on my phone but have no idea how to use it. I consider its use rude at best.
Newspapers, which in our time played societal watchdogs and referees , are now dying. Free media are worth exactly what we pay for them, which is nothing. I blog, you blog, everybody blogs: Who cares? It’s all blather, just like this entry.
I’ve never owned flip-flops, much less worn them. It never occurred to me to duck military service for college. We didn’t get medals or blue ribbons simply for participation and our peers didn’t call themselves peers or walk around giving “man-hugs” and declaring “I love you” to every wanker that mouth-breathed and took up space on planet earth.
The Y generation allegedly prides itself in speaking its mind, and so far they don’t seem to have much to say collectively. We multi-tasked and didn’t make a thing out of it. We didn’t play computer games and we engaged in actual problem solving rather than the virtual form; texting was done on paper, not secretly over a telephone by some snot-nose in the back row of class when the teacher isn’t looking. Students who habitually disrupted class and school got their butts kicked and were expelled from school and not invited back. They weren’t missed.
The legal system in this country used to trumpet rehabilitation, which was never more than rhetoric . Our legal system has always been punitive, is now, and ever shall be. Those who get ensnared in the system have one hell of time getting out and most never make it. They never have.
Music has rarely moved me and I find music and those who play it less and less interesting more and more. The Cronicles of Narnia bored me, and so too did Harry Potter. I’m glad Harry Potter encouraged a lot of young people to read. What are we going to do for older people who need the same boost?
I went to a public school, graduated in a class of 58 and have done just fine. Why public schools can’t do that anymore, I don’t know and I don’t believe they can’t and aren’t. Just a guess, but I’m thinking the same school systems which were in trouble and under-performing when I was a kid are the same ones still having troubles, only those problems are deeper now.
The only thing globalization helps is the shareholders community.
I haven’t seen Avatar and have no interest in doing so. I enjoy Blue Man Group. That’s enough blue for me unless it’s a sky color. I’ve never enjoyed animated films. 3D started out when I was a kid. It was silly thing then and continues to be so.
Want to see computer reality? Watch the avionics in US Navy fighter flying a synch (sink) rate and ball onto a carrier deck at night. A computer tried to manage our first lunar landing, but Neil Armstrong had to disconnect it and land manually because the computer was about to put us into the rocks. That’s a good lesson to remember. For people like Armstrong and carrier pilots, nothing’s pretend, and there are no daily awards other than the satisfaction of knowing you get to keep living if you do your job right.
We had lots of small hot wars and One Big Honking Cold One. As school kids, we practiced sitting under our desks or along the walls in hallways awaiting nuclear attack by the Soviets. Nobody thought it was a game and nobody was laughing while the practices went on.
We had a selective service, military draft, and the vast majority of us registered as the law required, and went when we were called. A lot of us even volunteered. We had the GI Bill after Vietnam. It had not changed since World War II, twenty years before, and was marginal at best. There were no bonuses for signing up for military service. Nobody looked at you like you were a Martian if you volunteered. Most of our dads and uncles had served the country: Why not us? It took forever to get paid by the government, and when there were glitches, nobody in government gave a shit. Just like now. The emotionally and physically wounded were sort of patched up, then dumped, and mostly ignored forever after. Apparently that hasn’t changed all that much, though today’s prostheses seem a whole lot better. They surely do.
We wore baseball hats that fit, with the bills pointed forward and the logos on the crest reflected teams, not social statements. We didn’t have Columbine. We had Manson, Richard Speck, Son of Sam, and Kent State. I admit it: I’m a technoflop. But I am not a Luddite. Change is fine and natural, part of evolution, but change for the sake of change and the resulting chaos are not.
I do not expect the government to provide 100 percent safety from terrorists. They haven’t in the past, why would they be able to do it now? An American got to us in Oklahoma City, the Japanese got us in Honolulu. All the money we’re spending now is bankrupting the country and it is not working. A guy yesterday flew his single-engine plane into an Austin building that housed an IRS office, an organization with whom he has some sort of problem. The first question in the wake of the event: We should look at the rules for licensing private pilots. Hello! How about we ask what the IRS did to drive the wad over the edge? Shouldn’t that be in the first tier of questions, you know, in case there are others out there like that one homicidal cretin? Okay, so Reagan defeated the Soviets by outspending them, or more accurately by forcing them to keep spending what the didn’t have and their economy couldn’t support. Guess what: Bin Laden’s put us in the same boat as we put the Soviets into back then. But OBL spent a little, a few times, and now we keep spending lots and lots and lots, trillions upon trillions. We keep spending to achieve a level of unachievable safety, and look at our economy and social system, all of which is in shambles.
We have individuals spending million$ of their own money to win political offices that pay salaries of less than $250,000 a year. Why would they do that unless there are fiscal rewards the rest of us suspect but can’t see and we’ll never have access to?
Maybe Generation Y knows the answer and will give us the benefit of their deep wisdom — if they can step away from their electronic gizmo-handcuffs or get off their mountain bikes/skateboards/snowboards/roller blades long enough to weigh in. Don’t hold your breath.
Bullshido half-dinner today (three of the six). Spring she ain’t that far off. More snow coming Sunday night and Monday, but hey, it’s February. It’s supposed to snow, even in a time of climate change. I need sleep. Over