Wednesday, October 31, 2012

9 things that will disappear in our lifetime

Stan Arendts sent this along, something forwarded to him from one of his old shipmates.  If you do the Google you will find several references to this list, the one sounding most original being on a Yahoo Group, where it has pictures to match.  Click here for that link, but you can read it here, and either way consider the consequences.

You're probably well along to converting on some of these, like the Post Office.  In today's mail, for example, I received one missive of any importance, and 10 separate political ads.  Must be an election going on.  I did send a letter yesterday, the purpose of which I can't recall, but with new software I am even able to fax or email signed documents that are acceptable legally.  So why do we have a post office other than for the mass mailings of catalogues and politicians?  And fax machines - remember when they were important?

Cheques?  Banks can't make much money on selling their checks any longer because they're so cheap at Walmart and other online places, so Deluxe Checks from nearby Roseville, once the premier source for banks, may even be out of business today.  So I checked just now to see how many checks I have written in the past 2 months - 12.  Six of them were for fundraisers for the schools, and most of the rest of them could have been handled by bill-pay but sometimes it's easiest to just write the stupid check.

For banks to handle the checks they need to have accounts with money, because that's where they make their money, and their deposit competition these days is on every street corner, all with lower costs and service that's just as good except for the cute teller who isn't working there.  So in lieu of making money on checks, they're charging you fees wherever they can, like Closing Fees on a mortgage.

On Item 3, personally I prefer the printed newspaper although while on vacation the e-version is convenient; however most of the books I read, Item 4, are on a Kindle or iPad.

I could go on as to my personal idiosyncrasies, but jump to #9, the privacy issue, that is paramount.  Yes, my house is on the Google Street View, though I never saw the goofy Google Camera Car come through, and yours probably is as well.  But that's not as scary as the report I saw last night from the PBS Frontline, in which both political parties are revealed to be scanning your computer with cookies to find out all your tastes, then deliver ads for you that are designed to trip your personal trigger.

They know where you are and they are coming for you!!!   Now read the rest, the original report . . .

Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come.....

1. The Post Office
Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2. The Cheque
Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with cheque by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process cheques. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the cheque. This plays right into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3. The Newspaper
The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

4. The Book
You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music . The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once yo u start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.

5. The Land Line Telephone
Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they've always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes

6. Music
This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalogue items," meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the Music Dies."

7. Television
Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they're playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

8. The "Things" That You Own
Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in "the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That's the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all b e able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9. Privacy
If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That's gone. It's been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. "They" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.

All we will have left that can't be changed are "Memories".....
And then probably Alzheimer's will that away from you, too.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Harry Johnson, Star Basketball Shooter

Harry was a classic.  His wife, Mena, is also a classic, and apparently an entertainer of sorts at the nursing home, just by being herself.  Yesterday she was doing her best to be herself, and that led to an email from my brother Kevin about Harry's prowess on the basketball court:

Harry Johnson was famous - at least among basketball players - for regularly walking into practice shoot-around, asking for a ball, and then making a basket from the baseline corner. He was better at it than any of the players. Hardly ever missed. Shot it two-handed.

I recall having seen him do that during our day as well, and players remarking as to his skill.  Another colorful personality better remembered 50 years later.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Babes of '62

I invited several of my classmates for a luncheon at my house. Unfortunately several could not come. In attendance were Marilyn Gentz, Sharon Urbatch, Betty Ryan, Gwen Hillman, Vickie Hall & friend Janet Eilertson from class of 1960. Those not attending were Linda Hempen, Jo Tenold, Donna Davenport, Mary Nelson, Eileen Perkins, Karen Oakland, & Diane Taylor. We enjoyed our luncheon together along with some wine served with eyeballs. Also dessert topped off with brains, eyeballs, ears, or hearts (candy ones that is).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Francis Boggess, 1920 - 2012

Francis Boggess, as his obituary tells it, was Junior High Principal at Northwood-Kensett following the consolidation and HS Principal at Kensett prior to that.  Stan Arendts says  I knew him very well, since he was our neighbor for many years and played pool at our house many times each week.

Here is his obituary:

Francis Xavier Boggess, the son of Les and Mary (Nolan)Boggess was born February 22, 1920, in Estherville, Iowa.Francis passed away Friday, October 19, 2012 at Avera Holy Family Hospital in Estherville, Iowa at age 92.

He attended Estherville High School graduating in 1937. He then attended Estherville Junior College 1938 - 1939. Francisserved in U.S. Air Corp - 1942 - 1946 as a Radio Operator and was discharged as Corporal.

Returning home from service, he worked at the Estherville Ready Mix and was part of the Surveyors crew for the State Highway Commission.

He enrolled at Drake University in 1949 majoring in Education where he received three degrees; Bachelors in 1950, Masters in 1954 and EDS in 1966. He also attended summer school sessions at Colorado State, University of Cincinnati and University of Minnesota.

Francis began teaching English and Business Subjects in Kensett High School in 1951 where he coached both boys and girls varsity basketball. He became Principal of Kensett High School in 1954. He served as Junior High Principal for 15 years at Northwood-Kensett before becoming High School Principal in 1981 until his retirement in 1992. Francis started the girls basketball program at Northwood-Kensett High School and coached the girls there for 12 years. The Iowa High School Athletic Association awarded Francis for his contribution to High School Athletics

He was a member of National Association of Secondary School Principals; National Education Association; St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Estherville; Knights of Columbus; American Legion and Elks Lodge.

Francis's interests included all sporting events but he especially enjoyed watching Notre Dame football and Drake basketball. He was an avid reader and loved working crossword puzzles. Francis enjoyed traveling both in the U.S. and Europe visiting Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Austria and Germany. He traveled with his best friend Robert Perkins, a fellow educator whom he met while they were both students at Drake.

Left to cherish Francis's memory are twenty-one nieces and nephews and many more grand-nieces and nephews..

Preceding Francis in death were his parents, Les and Mary; his two brothers, Nolan and Maurice and his sister, Virginia (Boggess) Johnson.

Friday, October 19, 2012

why so many deer crossings?

You have all along wondered why the DOT has to create so many deer crossings, right?  I mean, couldn't those over sized chihuahuas just queue up in some remote place that would allow them to get to where they need to be while causing less trauma to humans?

You gotta ask, what did they do when we were growing up and didn't have Deer Crossing signs?  At least not at the same frequency of signage today. And they still were able to get to where they needed to be, without the bloody carnage . . .    Well, you get the point.  Which leads me to Donna from Fargo, who is on her own little campaign to make the world a better place, and spoke to a Fargo radio station that later shared it with the world on YouTube, to the tune of more than 4 million hits.

Here she is . .

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

the granddaddy of them all - Kennedy vs Nixon

Debates like the one you probably observed last night can often prompt thoughts of times long ago, including the 1960 debate between Nixon and Kennedy, wherein Nixon determined makeup was too girly-girl and below him.  To his dismay.

But you may enjoy watching this YouTube, at least briefly, and compare against more modern alpha-male peeing contests such as the second Obama-Romney elucidation of our national dilemmas.  Kidding, of course.

There have been some great moments in the past, to wit the Reagan-Mondale debate of '84 when Reagan threw out the great line about not making age an issue due to the youth and lack of experience of Mondale.  Even Mondale was laughing out loud.  Think Reagan had been planning that line?

Or the Bentsen-Quayle debate in '88 when you could almost hear Bentsen saying "Please proceed" to the self-congratulatory comparisons that Quayle tried to draw between himself and John Kennedy.  Then said: "I knew Kennedy - he wasn't no potato-head..."  Or words to that effect.

Think he had been planning it?  Or Obama leading Romney to the cliff by saying "Please proceed - 'to stick your foot in it by incorrectly describing my words in the Rose Garden...' "

Kind of makes you pine for the days when the parties met in the smoke-filled rooms to choose their candidates.  Recommended reading: Robert Caro's 4th in the Lyndon Johnson series, The Passage of Power.  Wilma will be proud of you for reading it, I suspect. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Stanley Cup!

There is a tradition in the NHL some of you may be aware of, that every player on the team that wins the Stanley Cup is allowed to have the Cup with him for a day, wherever he wants to take it.  In fact in some cases they've been known to carry it into a bar and kind of forget about it, but anybody who would attempt to steal it would likely get pulled across the ice a million times until their body is totally devoured by the cracks in the ice that are not smoothed out by the Zamboni.  Or would get thrown in front of the Zamboni, either way.

Anyhow, one of the LA Kings is David Drewiske, who is from Hudson, and a member of the '02 and '03 Wisconsin State High School Championship Hudson Hockey Team.  So he had the honor of hosting the Cup for a day and was in town this summer, where my hockey-loving 15-year-old granddaughter dragged her mom up so they could see him - and get this picture taken with the Stanley Cup.

That's Brett on the left, Dana on the right.  Think she was thrilled?

Probably reminds you of Marilyn running into Tommy Kramer in Vegas. . . .

But check the YouTube of his fight with Steve Ott, which is largely done by pulling on the other guy's jersey.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

from the archives

Sometimes you don't know what you don't know.

The truth of that hit home this week when I read an article in our local paper about a fellow who has repaired for me a chainsaw, lawnmower, and ATV, and also sharpened chainsaw and lawnmower blades from time to time.  He seemed to be a sharp fellow and I heard tidbits about him from time to time but never the whole story . . .

That's the beginning of a story written a little over a year ago about Dr Robert Flute.  I thought about him the other day when the local paper wrote of the fellow who has recently purchased the business that his wife thought she could run, but apparently found it beyond her capacity.

Click this link to go to the story, and I encourage you to click the link to allow you to read the newspaper article by Steve Dzubay, editor of our paper, about midway through the story.  Dr. Flute was an amazing man, and I wish I could say I knew him better.  But I can't.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

On a recent trip to Las Vegas with friend & classmate Marilyn Gentz Holland and friend Janet Eilertson Bergo (class of 1960) we met Tommy Kramer former Minnesota Vikings player at the Minneapolis airport. He was so kind to let us have our picture taken with him.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Remembering 1967

AMC's website has a new trivia game for you to figure out how much you recall about 1967.  The first question is "Jim Morrison and the Doors were banned from the Ed Sullivan Show for singing what lyrics?"
            1. Girl we couldn't get much higher.
            2. Let's spend the night together
            3. Love child
            4. Wanna take you higher
For the correct answer and more questions, go to the AMC 1967 Trivia website by clicking that link.  It may or may not be right up your alley.  Some of you might have been busy in other ways.  Sadly, I scored only 30 points on this quiz, and now you can show me up easily.

Here's another option, the 1962 Trivia Quiz.  I'm proud to say I scored 90 points on this one.  With a couple of guesses.

Good luck and let us know how you did!  By the way, you can build your own avatar on their website.  See mine above.