Friday Wisdom – Police Question

If the police arrest a mime,

— do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?

More questions next week,


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Sitting Among the Remnants of the Future

When I started in electronics, computers filled whole rooms, TV’s were giant boxes with tiny screens, and 8-track tapes were just starting to be replaced by cassette tape.  One of my first jobs was working in a factory that made floppy disks – 8 inch and we’d just started a line of 5 1/4 inch disks with an amazing 1.44 mb of space.

Likely I am one of the few people left on the planet who knows how to align a Shurgart 801 floppy disk drive.  A wonder of modern technology.  I was in the lab when the salesman brought in the first hard drive for a personal computer.  Today we call them a desk top, but back then they consumed the whole desk.

With each shift in technology – 8 track to cassette, floppy to hard disk, personal computer to tablet, a lot of old machines hit the scrap yard.  There’s a subindustry that feeds off the constant promise of the future by scrapping the past.  Each machine builds on the past and as the new replaces the past – the scavengers come looking for the constants of technology – steal, aluminum, copper, silver, gold, titanium, nickel, lead and all the precious metals that we constantly rearrange in our striving for a better future.

Today I went to my brother’s house to set up his new TV.  He’s handicapped and can’t do much, so I help out.  He doesn’t have a lot of money so the technology in is home is old, slow, and always one step from failure.  Recently he complained about his cable TV bill and asked if Netflix would be cheaper.  Of course that TV he was given ten years ago wasn’t up to the task.

So at half the cost of his last TV, I got him a new smart TV that could connect to Netflix and so many other things.  Another generation of modern technological marvels. Good thing I bought him a computer a few years ago because we needed it to set up the internet accounts he needs to get his Netflix.

I left him with a new remote and gathered a decade of dead and discarded remotes to add to the pile of electronic gadgets to send to the recycler.  Soon to be stripped down, melted and reformed in to new marvels.

Among these was a VCR.  I bought him that VCR in ’91. It was great, he could go to Blockbuster next door and rent movies.  Then he could record his favorite shows – wonders that this new technology brought.  At the time I gave him a gift of the future that now his house keeper was bagging up as trash.

Remnants of past futures.

Till next week,


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Friday Wisdom – Eggs

You have to break some eggs

— to make a real mess on your neighbor’s car.

More wisdom next week,


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When I Write

I like to write, but often writing isn’t easy.  There is always a tension between what I want to write and what I actually write.  Sometimes I wonder if I am revealing too much and other times I wonder if I am not saying enough.  And there are times when phrases like this get stuck in my brain:

“Sitting among the remnants of the future.”

Seriously, that’s been in my brain for the last thirty minutes and I have no idea what it means. Perhaps it is a title of a time travel novel or a poem where the speaker laments.

Perhaps it is prophetic and part of some ancient future – some mythology that has formed around pasta machines.

It feels like there should be something profound in the phrase, but it could also be just plain silly.  Perhaps it’s a chapter in a post apocalyptic book when the hero finally discovers a ruined shell of a 21st century data center and realizes that no one will ever be able to restart it and recover the vast secrets it holds.

Perhaps, it’s a pen and ink drawing – a spaceship crashed on an alien landscape with a space suited figure collapsed against a rock looking back at the wreckage that has stranded her light years from home.

Or maybe it could be a novel about a man born in the 1950’s told flash backs weaving the story of his life around cause and effect – telling how that choice to drive to the lake became his greatest joy and deepest regret.

“Sitting among the remnants of the future”

“Sitting” implying no movement and being introspective.

“among” More than one thing – in the midst of lots of things.  Objects, memories.

“the remnants” Tattered and dusty.  Broken and discarded.  Incomplete and fragmented.

“of the future” a juxtaposition where past and future merge then fade.

Or it is just a lament of an old man who never achieved all he set out to do?

A writer can never be sure why some words come to disturb the mind and take the story to places he hadn’t intended.



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