Friday, October 08, 2004

Thinking Back

Since I've been on a nostalgia jag, which autumn always evokes in me, I've been musing about technologies that have become prevalent in my lifetime. Here are the things I like most and least (in no particular order):

Pocket calculators
Tubeless tires
Computer languages
Personal computers and their accoutrements
Ethernet, Internet, and WWW
Search engines
Japanese automobiles
High-fidelity stereophonic sound systems
Video replay systems (VCRs and DVD players)
FM radio
Voice messaging
Online banking
UPC (bar codes) and all that flows from them
Smart weapons (owned by the U.S.)
Satellite surveillance systems (owned by the U.S.)
Every "wonder" drug since penicillin
Almost every medical technology since x-rays
Fiberoptics, nanotechnology, and all those other neat ways of communicating, seeing, and manipulating things
Nuclear power
Post-it notes

TV (except as a medium for playing videotapes and DVDs)
Public radio & TV
Cell phones
Electronic musical instruments
Canned music
Digital special effects
Tracking cookies
Computer viruses
Truck and car bombs

(Thanks to "Twentieth Century Inventions" at About for many of the items on these lists.)

And here, of everything that has become rare if not extinct since my birth, are the things I miss the most:

Weekly radio shows (e.g., Jack Benny, Our Miss Brooks, The Great Gildersleeve, Burns & Allen)

Movie musicals whose stars were truly talented (e.g., Allan Jones, Kathryn Grayson, Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers)

The corner store (not a 7-11 or its ilk)

Mom & pop bakeries with fresh bread and pastries

Tranquil villages with well-kept homes and stable businesses that were "real" places and not tourist attractions

Tree-lined streets with sidewalks, laid out in a rectangular grid


Main street

People who whistled while they worked

Absolute victory.