----BIBLE

HOME SITE MAP CONTENTS INFO

Lake & Mountain Scene#top

SIGNS OF THE TIME
New and Improved(?)

14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; (Mat 13:)

I drive a 37 year old van. It's got a rusty body (that's rusty, not rusted as in "rusted out," though it's approaching that stage), and looks its age. That is, from the outside it looks like it belongs in a junkyard. But under the hood it has a relatively new motor; a good transmission; new steering gear; new brake drums and system; good heavy-duty truck tires; and a fairly new radiator. It drives and rides like a new van. And it is more reliable than most new vans.

The inside of the van looks very much like a luxury automobile with nice blue carpeting all around, even on the dashboard and the overhead paneling. The side panels are upholstered with large speakers mounted in them; and that which isn't upholstered or carpeted is painted a pretty blue. My van is one of those with a high bubble-top like ice cream vans used to have. It is essentially an RV in miniature with bed, sink, toilet and the like.

All together, disregarding the labor, I would say I spent about 2-3,000 dollars on this van.

Now, you might legitimately say: "Why did you spend all that money on something that's not much more than a rolling outhouse instead of buying a new van."

Yes, I could buy a new van. That is, if I wanted to go into hock up to my ears to buy something that will likely give me more trouble than old Aunt Edna's trick knee. And that brings me to the point of this article.


Up until the middle of this century (oops, that's last century I mean) things were built to last. And if something happened to what you purchased, it was designed to be repaired. And believe it or not, you youngsters who have never seen such things, parts were sold (or manufactured) to repair them.

Today everything is designed to be thrown away. However, the chances are that what you wish to throw away, you can't, because it has lead or mercury or some other substance that is not allowed in the landfills. Of course there are places you can take these outdated, last year's things that aren't throw-away-able, but you have to pay plenty to let them take the old thing (two or three years old even - did I tell you that my van is 37 years old?), unrepairable and containing no parts that can be used to repair something else that is no longer working.

Oh for the days when we could go to the corner market and check our own part and replace those that were no longer working. (Did I tell you that I fix my car myself? You can do that with old cars, you know.)

The car you drive; what did it cost you to repair it last time the computer went out on it and it stalled in the middle of the freeway at rush hour with no way to fix it because it takes a computer wizard and ten thousand dollars worth of equipment to figure out what's wrong with it? (Did I tell you that I fix my car myself? And that the parts for it are very cheap - and repairable?)


Speaking of computers, it's computers that caused me to start thinking of this subject in the first place. I just started out with my van because I wanted to brag a bit.

I have several computers. Two of them, that I have hooked up and running all the time, are library throwaways that I bought for 35 bucks each, with 17" monitors. Actually, I bought two, a third they gave to me because they were anxious to get them off their shelves.

The old things work just fine. I have little to no trouble with them at all. And I run Windows Millennium, supposedly the worst operating system ever invented short of the Edsel, but I like it just fine. (I also liked the Edsel, which shows you what a distorted sense of taste I have in things.)

Besides the cheapies I just described, I have what I call my "big" computer with three sound cards, pull-out hard drives (in drawers) and 8 hard drives that I can install in just seconds. In comparison to "Modern" computers it runs at a snail's pace, but having had to repair some new machines that fail at the drop of a mouse, I wouldn't swap for any of them. (By the way, did I mention that my van is 37 years old and still running?)

Two of my hard drives have XP, supposedly a marvelous OS. I have nothing but trouble with both drives, and they do whatever they want to do. I tell it to do one thing, it balks like an obstinate two-year-old, and does just the opposite. And when it decides to quit, it doesn't bother to tell me it is going to quit on me, or even that it has quit on me. Nor does it save that which I have been entrusting to its care. It sits there like a big cycloptic rock and waits for me to restart it or dump it on the floor like I feel like doing.

Do you recall "HAL" in 2001, a Space Odyssey?

Included with frustration that accompanies the XP is the privilege to re-purchase everything we have already spent our last dollar on in order to use a computer. The XP will not recognize my old reliable printer, or scanner, or run the programs I have finally learned to use. I have to buy all new components and programs that do not work nearly as well as my old ones, and are harder to understand than why my old Aunt Edna's knee is so tricky.


Twenty years ago I had one of those Color Computers that you hook up to a TV. It was more like a game consol than a computer as we know it, but it was very interesting. By the way, I still have that computer, with a box full of cartridges. (I also have the old Atari with many cartridges.) The biggest problem with that Color Computer was having to type all the codes to make anything work. Being the computer wiz I am, I got around that problem with little effort. I got someone else to do the typing. (That's not true, but I thought it sounded clever.)

One of the cartridges that I bought for that little machine was a sound device. You typed in the code, and the words you wanted it to say, and a Darth Vader sound-a-like talked back at you.

That was twenty years ago. They had such a thing then - why isn't it available now?


Which leads me to my point. What has happened to the technology and the availability of working products of the past? It is the intention of civilization to move forward, isn't it? Then if this is the case, why do we find something that works, then degrade it or abandon it all together?


Have you ever found something in the store that fit perfectly your needs, and the next time you went back to that same store you discovered they stopped carrying that product? You ask them why, and they give you some off-the-wall explanation that makes no sense. But the one explanation that would make sense they do not give, that being the product wasn't selling. It was selling, you know this because of the line of people behind you ready to ask the same question.

Forty years or so ago I lived in a HUD development in California. This development had cockroaches that were known to carry off small children and hold them for ransom. Not only were these cockroaches big, but they outnumbered us residents a thousand to one.

Once I visited the people in the apartment directly behind me. The father, the mother, and the four kids were doing the cucaracha. If you are unfamiliar with the word, it is Spanish for cockroach. In the case of my neighbors, although they were Mexican, they were not singing, they were dancing. Well, it looked like dancing, but what they were doing was stomping on the hundreds of cockroaches that were scurrying across the floor. I don't know what these folks put down, but whatever it was, it sure brought out the cockroaches. As the rest of the family stomped, the mother, wielding a shovel, was scooping up all the cockroaches she could catch and tossing them in the lit oven.

Cockroaches were everywhere. Walk outside and you had to step over and around these big black creatures. It's the law. In a HUD development cockroaches have the right of way, don't you know. And if you forget, they will gang up on you, and you surely don't want that.

All this to say, there were a lot of cockroaches.

But not in my apartment.

At that time there were two products out that did an excellent job of keeping cockroaches from entering one's domain. And with the use of them I had not one cockroach although the neighborhood was overrun with them. One of these products was a shelf paper that was treated somehow, and the other was a floor wax. Highly effective. But like most, if not all effective and efficient things, once they are discovered by the powers that be to work, they are taken off the market.


Today we are looking for alternative fuels. Or should I say we are supposedly looking for alternative fuels. For years we have known of many such fuels, but once something is known to work, somebody puts the kibosh on it and we don't hear of it again.

When I was young, and that was a long time ago don't you know, somebody came up with a car battery that never needed replacing. The next thing we heard was nothing. Apparently some auto manufacturer bought it out and took it off the market.

In the early '70's I was riding a bicycle around the country. As I was crossing the Straits from Vancouver Island on the ferry I struck up a conversation with a young fellow who owned a farm on one of the small Canadian islands (he had homesteaded it when he was a teenager, raising sheep). He had developed a way to turn manure into fuel - not something particularly new since manure has been used for fuel since they invented animals. But apparently the process he developed was new, and the Canadian government wanted to see it. I guess it worked, because we haven't heard any more about it.

Grain is another fuel that has been used successfully. So successfully in fact that our government burns grain and pays the farmers not to raise it in order to keep the prices high. Now that grain could be used as alternative fuel I'm a thinking. But who am I to argue the wisdom of our honorable politicians?

There was a period of time when farmers paid no heed to the government and made alternative fuel from grain in spite of the prohibition against it. The problem was that the farmers (and others so inclined, which was many) drank the fuel before they could get it to market.


Back to computers, the subject that started this whole mess in the first place.

After my color computer I acquired a Tandy 1000, the elite one with a monster 20 Mb hard drive is what I had. This machine was the ultimate in my opinion. I was using it to write, in other words as a huge word processor. And for that purpose, it was a dandy. It was reliable and easy to use, once I worked my way through all the codes and hard-to-understand instructions.

What I particularly enjoyed about the 1000 was defragging it. The defrag had lots of colors and lights flashing as it zigzagged its way across the screen. It reminded me a lot of the Fourth of July in Las Vegas. I defragged my machine often just to watch the lights. But it was not only the lights and the colors I found interesting, but what I could learn from the experience. For instance, along with the colors there was text on the screen indicating right were the defragger was putting every file. It was like I could see into the machine and know right where it was keeping my treasured works of literary art. It took the mystery and suspicion away from using that cyclops.

Today watching a defragging is less fun than spilling the garbage can on the front stoop. In fact it has gotten so uninteresting with XP that it does whatever it is going to do, and it doesn't even bother to tell you what it's doing, what it found (in the case of a disk scan) or that it is even through doing what it supposedly has done.

The only thing I can say I like about the new program (XP) is the little doggie on the search engine. I search every chance I get, even when I already know where what I am looking for is located so I can watch the pup dig it up.


It took two upgrades to make this "perfect" OS work any where near satisfactorily, and it still falls far short of its claim. Now I understand they have an even newer version out that, according to the experts I've talked to, has more bugs in it than my HUD development.


Progress. It seems to me that progress is creating more junk we can't get rid of; less fun in the just-for-fun things; more bite to the buck than value; and a higher cost of living with less living for the cost.

Oh, for the Good Old Days when we had value and we had junk, and there was a way to tell the difference between the two.



Quotes


"What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea." Mahatma Gandhi

"Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed." Mahatma Gandhi

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." William Falconer

"Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide." Napoleon Bonaparte

"Intelligence must follow faith, never precede it, and never destroy it." Thomas Kempis

"Some minds are like concrete: thoroughly mixed up and permanently set." Attributed to the Rev. Denny Brake

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-- and a lot of courage--to move in the opposite direction." E. F.Schumacker

"They say that the more a person learns, the more they find there is to learn. Therefore the smarter you think you are, the dumber you really are." Chris Hamono

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." F Scott Fitzgerald

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." Albert Einstein

9Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. 10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Mat 13:)


  Top of Page  
 
TEXT ONLY LINK
 
 
 
'.

.

.

































































































































































































































































































































www.TUMBLEWEED.name
www.TUMBLEWEED-2.info