Saturday, March 26, 2011

My electronic mother

Some of you may remember my other incredibly successful attempt at blogging.  If you do, good.  If you don't, good.  I wrote a piece called "I-Ignore" and it dealt with how our society these days has become technologically enslaved by the microchip.  For example, if you do a Google image search on "not now, I'm busy", the first image that comes up is this one I have stolen and put here in this article.

I have been out in Utah for the past few days on what is mostly a working vacation.  Last Wednesday night, I was invited to a get together that discussed, among other things, the hazards and benefits of social networking.  Although the presentation was excellent, there were no startling revelations.

As I listened to the talk unfold, I recalled seeing several things recently that made this presentation timely.  Since I don't do a lot of cooking, I eat out.  Cheap places mostly.  And thank goodness I live in Pittsburgh because there's plenty of these.  As I sit through a 3 dollar breakfast or five buck lunch, I see conversations and even the mechanism of eating being interrupted by cell phones.  All I could think of is how awfully important those calls must have been.  But then, my mind goes back to the pre-electronic days when me and my operating room friends would be eating lunch between surgical procedures and how peaceful and uninterrupted things were.

It also appears that nowadays, people must actually make some sort of tactile contact with their various electronic devices or maybe their heart might stop or the clotting factors in their blood will go haywire?  Disconnect that tactile contact and watch the hypertension, hyperventilation, and hyper everything else.

The thin boxes that we have become so dependant upon have become for us an umbilical powered by 12 volts of DC current.  I don't really want to admit this.  I carry one too, but only for (don't laugh) phone calls.  And those calls absolutely do not get answered while at dinner, in the bathroom, or when speaking to anyone (mostly everyone) whom I consider important in my life.

Bottom line?  Cellphones have replaced God in many ways.  They have become a Deity on 900 megahertz.  We care for them better than each other, we caress them, we worry when they're sick, and we cannot ever be out of physical contact with them.

If this weren't such a crazy idea, then I'd think that these things must make God a bit jealous.  They get more attention than He gets.  Which is why I now think that the end of the world will not be heralded by earthquakes and thunder, but a huge electromagnetic pulse (EMP).  What then?  I won't be able to go to confession using my "Bless me Father, for I have sinned" app or be able to partake of e-Communion.

For the love of God, people.  You heard me.  For the love of God.  Electricity was around long before Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison.  When are we going to take those contraptions out of our ears or faces or hands and for a brief few minutes, turn it all off and thank God for what we have today?

Oh sure, then our hearts will stop and we'll bleed to death.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


OK Cori, I'm a thief.  You see, I just stole this idea from Cori Connors' blog "Words" which you can find at  Since there is very little new in the world (or in my brain), I stole this.  Oh, and you really need to see Cori's blog.  I mean REALLY.

Cori lived near Smock in the Pleasant Hills section of Pittsburgh.  I'm not sure if anything about those hills was "pleasant" except that was its name.  But those 15 or so miles from Smock to Old Clairton Road was akin to what Captain Kirk would call a "worm hole" or a rift in the space-time continuum.

When we were growing up, the only riches that our parents had were owned by the Union Supply Company store.  Yes, the Company Store.  We never had anything that we could plug into a wall socket except for that Lionel transformer that ran the Christmas Train, the train that only showed itself at Christmas.  (This was a very close relative to the Thanksgiving Turkey.)

The only March Madness that we had was when Old Man Spiskey would rise from his winter hibernation to once again curse at us in Slovak when we cut through his back yard.

So in order to avoid any March Madness of our own, we would read.  After all, "reading maketh a man fit company for himself" according to Poor Richard.  "Poor" Richard would be "Dead" Richard if he made those gender specific comments today.  But HE was right.  Reading took us away from the cold, the boredom, and yes, the dysfunctional parents that we all seem to hide today.

I remember my first "Business Reply Card".  It was a card that you can fill out and mail for free.  I filled out the one for the free "A" issue of the Golden Book Encyclopedia, not caring about the fine print that said that "B through Z" would come at a cost.  So when the lawyers called my Mother wanting to know where the money was, she said that her 9 year old  MINOR son ordered them.  I remember that at that time, I was cruising through "S" or "T".  I read the whole encyclopedia twice, which is why I am so smart and famous today.

Because of our lack of Twitter, FlickR, Google, I-Pad, I-Phone, I-Vomit, Xoom, X-Box, Tivo, or anything 3-D (or 4-D), we had to use our heads to come up with.... wait for it..... IDEAS.  Many of these were tried and true and consisted of games that would cost us $0.00.  Catchers, dodge-ball, football, baseball, hide-n-go-seek, Lie Low Sheepy (a good "Hunky" game) or Cut-the-Pie, a purely Winter game.  We had to rely on ideas.  We didn't have any help from Sony, Hitachi, Samsung or Dell.  We did have help from Junie, Pickey, Fritzie, Jackie, Weezie, Kikel and Kubba.

And if we don't start teaching our kids or grandkids about the value of using their brains, then we'll be pushing them down the steep, slippery path that George Orwell or Rod Serling warned us about.  The adults of 2020 will be influenced totally from what they are electronically fed and not influenced by what they think.  Churches will be obsolete since the Bible must be READ and, God forbid, understood.  But the Gods of 2020 will have names like The Situation, Brittany, and Justin and the only Madonna we'll worship comes from New Jersey.

As Cori states, ideas are actually good for you.  Good for everyone.  Just ask Tom Edison.  Or Fred Rogers.  Oh, but they're dead.

It's not too late to come up with an original idea or thought.  And by the way, original means that YOU think of something that comes out of your brain and not from an electronic device that teaches you that OMG and WTF are as important an abbreviation as WWJD.

For many, it's too late.  Beyond repair.  Like where our country is heading.  For you see, WWJD now means What Would Justin (Bieber) Do?

Got the idea?