Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Children don’t have historical perspective. Parents and grandparents provide that for them, and I truly believe it is an obligation to provide it, whether the kids like it or not. We need to know where we’ve been, to have any idea where we are right now. I didn’t believe it when my parents said it to me when I was a kid, but they were right. Someday, the kids will thank you for it. Of course, when that perspective comes from the grandparents, children will swallow it like good ol’ Mary Poppins said, “a spoon full of sugar.”

Do you remember listening to your grandparents telling stories about their younger years, the historic events that you  solidly categorized as Olden Days? Or even your parents, listening to their tales of youth rebellion, and trying to imagine that they could ever have been those people, yet not understood your own teenaged angst? History in school always seemed to take on a different life, if my grandparents could augment my lessons with their own real experiences. They had survived The Great Depression, which in my young mind was the Mother of All Historical Eras. Grapes of Wrath As they recounted their various exploits from the 30’s, 40’s, and later, my imagination created magnificent cinematic dramas. Sepia or black and white affairs, their childhoods were all Grapes of Wrath, as far as I was concerned. Dust, starvation, and endless roving the country looking for work. I was a gifted child and, possibly, my parents allowed me a little too much time with the classic movies on the weekends. But I could never hear too much of Grandma’s and Grandpa’s storytelling. Are you kidding? The Great Depression, World War II, The Cold War, these people were heroes! I wanted pictures!

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I started to write a post last night about a topic that I thought was great. I was so inspired. I thought you would be cheered by childhood reminiscence. Then, my ISP went down. I couldn’t connect to WordPress, I couldn’t link to YouTube, I couldn’t research what I was writing about. I was sitting here with this awesome laptop, and I was a technological cripple. Yes, I could’ve connected via my phone and the wireless network, but then I’d have felt like I was switching from a remote control to having to change channels by hand.

Who, besides me, remembers that? Usually, the kid was practically chained to the television set, while the parent watched the kid change channels. And, by the way, why the HECK did it take so long to decide which channel they wanted, when there was no cable back then? We had all of about four channels! Whoever drew the short straw would just keep having to flip…flip…flip…flip… It was ridiculous. And half of the time, our family had a channel knob that was broken! So, how did we change the channel? Vice grips! Vice grips, people! Thanks be to God that the remote control was invented before home satellite dishes were invented. I cannot even imagine the horrors of child slave labor parents would have initiated, all because they had three hundred channels to get through. Oh, the agony in my fingers, at even the thought of Daddy ReloVertigo, forcing me to flip back and forth through twenty or thirty sports channels alone, on a Saturday during football season. The children across America, numb-footed, hands cramped around the channel knobs, begging dads in every American city, “Please, please, pick a game and stick with it!”

So, on behalf of millions and millions of kids all over the world, for generations to come, thank you to the late, great, Eugene Polley, inventor of the first wireless television remote control. He was a Zenith Electronics engineer and Chicago native (Da Bears), and won an Emmy along with fellow Zenith engineer Robert Adler in 1997, for their work on remote controls. Mr. Polley passed away in 2012 at the age of 96. He still had one of his original remotes. Right on, Mr. Polley. Right on.