Saturday, December 15, 2007


I suppose it is a natural part of growing older, not that I have any personal experience with that mind you, that you begin to compare the world as you knew it when you were growing up with the world today. In most instances the former pretty much sucks compared to the latter. We heard our parents saying the same thing, probably much the same way they heard it from their parents. Oh, "the good old days"...

So what has changed between 1950 and 2007? Really. Technology for starters. Our family didn't have a television until I was in grade school. My first records (you remember, the things before CD's?) were 78 RPM and the size of dinner plates. My mom had to buy us a state-of-the-art phonograph player (you remember, the thing before iPods?) just so we could get Long-Playing, 33 1/3 RPM records the size of large dinner plates. Our telephones were big black things with a rotary "dial". My grandkids are so sick of hearing me talk about this stuff.

Speaking of telephones, remember the first "portable" phones? They were the size of World War II walkie-talkies. Maybe they were WW II walkie-talkies. Walkie-talkies? Think about it. Roll it around on your tongue. Who the hell came up with that name - the same people that brought us Teletubbies? Side note: what we think of as a walkie-talkie is more properly a handie-talkie and was patented by Motorola, the now-parent company of the small software outfit my son works for.

Okay, everyone knows 2007 technology kicks 1950 technology's butt. And that's okay with me as I sit in my easy chair with my wireless notebook in my lap writing (and spell-checking as I go) thoughts that my friends all over these United States of America will be able to read in just a matter of moments. Shortly I plan to take my current portable phone out of my pocket, flip up the cover which contains a one megapixel camera with 4x zoom, gaze lovingly at my son and grandchildren displayed in a small, tv-like screen, click on my calendar to see where I need to be today, pull up my personal phone directory and call one of my golfing buddies in Florida (hope he's not out on the course) and ask him how he likes his GPS-based range finder that can be mapped to any of over 10,000 golf courses in the world and is accurate to within a yard. Yes, I'll take 2007 technology.

But other things in the current world aren't going so well. Climate change, drought in the Southeast, fire ants, hurricanes - some things I don't have much control over. A senseless war in Iraq, a semi-sensible war in Afghanistan that no one seems to care about, plunging house prices, spiraling national debt, a government that is probably just more incompetent than corrupt - some things I might be able to do something about but it's going to be a hard row to hoe. Oh, please, don't get me started on ho, ho, ho's.

Then there's what's happening to our society. Kids that just don't give a f***. Adults that do give a f***, oftentimes when they shouldn't be (just ask soon-to-be-former Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison). And now eighty plus baseball players stand accused of using steroids. My, my, my, what is the world coming to?

Thomas Sowell writes Say It Ain't So, Joe in NRO and there's a lot of talk about the “black sox scandal,” the deliberate throwing of the 1919 World Series. But within that discussion this jumped out at me:
That was long before we became so sophisticated that we learned to come up with excuses for those who violate rules and additional excuses for those who refuse to impose penalties.
Can this be why kids just don't give a f*** and adults too frequently do? There are no penalties, no consequences. I know I wouldn't get away with behaving the way that many kids do in school today - I would have gotten the crap beaten out of me by my dad and my ears burned off by my mom. Today's parents threaten a lawsuit if the school admin threatens their poor, pampered offspring because the only time the parents see their children is when there is a disciplinary problem and because that is the only time the parents see their children and they want their "together time" to be pleasant and happy, they automatically defend them. It's nuts.

Sowell ends by saying:

There is still some lingering hope of sanity in the baseball writers’ refusal to vote Mark McGwire into the Baseball Hall of Fame, despite his tremendous career achievements. Keeping known rule-breakers out of Cooperstown would be a lot more effective deterrent than putting asterisks alongside their records, to be disregarded by those who are “non-judgmental.”

Unfortunately Senator George Mitchell’s report on steroid use in the major leagues and its recommendations are of the let-bygones-be-bygones approach that has spread the disregard of rules throughout the whole society, from student cheaters to career criminals.


1 comment:

goprairie said...

I can't beleive I didn't kick you butt about this one - I missed it. Kids? You must be kidding. Have you BEEN to a school lately or hung out with some actual kids? Now maybe I am hanging out with a non-representative subset in suburban Illinois, where the ones I see are Boys Scouts or in the chess club or the orchestra. But whenever I am at a school or scout event, the kids are polite and kind and respectful and oddly, NOT spoiled by their relatively easy life of lots of ready access to stuff. I was discussing this with a kid recently. He is deciding what to major in. He is frustrated because so much of the counseling is in the area of how much money you can earn at various jobs. He really wants to teach but is being pushed into engineering. He says he looks around his room at the tv and video game controllers that he hardly ever used anymore because he would rather read or study and knows kids who didn't have them and his is no happier. He still has to worry about grades and whether his hair looks dorky and whther girls like him. So he says he would be happier teaching kids for less money even if has less stuff as a grown-up. Maybe this is the one kid in the universe who gets it, but I doubt it. I think there are more thoughtful well-balanced kids out there than we give them credit for - and . . . post election 2008 . . . many of them are turning out to be voters!