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start rant

A Now Few Words From Ima Luddite.

this old TVBack in 1982 I proudly purchased a 19" color TV. It was a GE for which I forked over a veritable king's ransom of $300 to the happy minions of K-Mart.

Over the ensuing years I watched as my friends bought ever larger TV sets, units with digital tuners, projection TV's, plasma TVs, LCD TV's, 6-foot wide HD screens. The mind boggled.

My friends always smiled at my little TV with its "clunk-clunk" tuner whenever they dropped in for a visit but I felt no shame at owning a TV so old that even the burglars wouldn't steal it, and they didn't. To me it was just a TV, not a reflection of my, you know, grooviness. "Why replace what worked?" I always reasoned?

It eventually gave up the ghost in the Fall of '04, just as Vinny Testaverde dropped back into the pocket. I had a suspicion it was a Redskins fan all along.

This is the way I typically approach technology in my life. I owned a wonderful little cell phone for ten years, only replacing it when AT&T switched to all-digital service, rendering my analog buddy useless. I have the same stereo, a vintage Sansui, that I took to college in '77. My Apple G4 is seven years old but I'd still be using my PowerMac 7500 if Apple hadn't abandoned OS9. Honest. The major appliances in my home have all reached the quarter-century mark and are doing just fine, thank you very much. I've driven the same car for 35 years.

Why bring this up?

Due to our inexhaustible need to keep our personal Grooviness Index at enviable levels we ceaselessly acquire the newest and shiniest items possible. The sad result is that this good Earth is rapidly running out of some of the raw materials necessary to employ teeming numbers of third-worlders feverishly laboring at slave wages in order to keep Wal-Mart open 24 hours a day.

This is especially true of the rare earth elements, the ones vital to the production of the very computer on which you're now reading this screed of mine. Eventually they'll disappear or become so rare that they'll be kept in reserve for national security purposes. What then?

I guess what I'm saying is perhaps we need to dispense with the notion of "old-fashioned". If something works, use it until it doesn't. There may come a time when we won't have an alternative.

Oh, and I replaced the old TV with a 21" CRT. It came with a remote control which I basically use to throw at the cat every time Jerry Jone's face appears.

Addendum: If think my little rant is ever-so-slightly smug then check out The Story of Electronics. It offers a bigger picture view of what's wrong with our electronics culture and what can be done to correct it.


end rant

What's in Mike's iPod?
"Old-Fashioned Millionaire" by Eartha Kitt

Today's amazing mystery comic is:


Raging Pencils is a devilish conceit of:

Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
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Today's Google Chow.

Satan: So, mortal, the choice is simple... you can either choose a species to save from extinction, or you can ride away in style on this brand new John Deere lawn mower! Which will it be?

Mortal: Ummm, does it come in purple?

Caption: The difference between man and Satan is that one will not stop until the Earth is destroyed, and the other is Lord of the Underworld.