Jimbob's Journal
by Jim Harris

Ok, after waiting in line for 3 days, I finally got my new Apple iPhone. I have no idea what it does or why I need it but I wanted to make sure I got one before they sold out. I have a sneaking suspicion it may be merely another fashion accouterment, but I can't take a chance on being without at least one. You never know in today's world what you might need in order to survive.

A possible scenario might go like this; "Hello, 911 - Help! A strange animal has got me trapped in a cave. I'm calling on my iPhone. See? Can you tell me what it is? A wolverine? Ok, let me Google that and see if they eat people." That alone would be worth the six hundred dollar price tag.

Remember when Apple made computers rather than talking jewelry? Originally, you actually had to write your own programs in BASIC. It was challenging but a great learning experience in logical thinking. Now everything is prepackaged, wireless, plug-free, button-free, no-thinking required. Some corporate braintrust's idea of the perfect can't-do-without gizmo. The keepers of these high-tech designer pets are a new breed of kids who learn early to multitask and think quickly, though not necessarily creatively or out of the box, so to speak.

I feel I have a unique view of this so-called communications revolution because my generation straddles the great divide between pre- and post revolution.

Our parents never really learned all of the new necessary idiosyncrasies. I fondly remember my dear Mom trying to change the TV channel with the cordless phone, and then there was the time aunt Ethel was being awakened during the night by her TV mysteriously turning on. It turned out she had lost the remote in her bed and was rolling over on it in her sleep.

These were people who liked to sit around in the back yard and talk face to face, with the sounds of birds singing and wind rustling thought the trees. Their world eventually turned very complicated and impersonal. I think it's up to us to remember them and to try to pass on some of their simple values.

Our kids use the new technology to keep each other constantly informed of who's dating whom, and to listen to four million different songs through earphones while on vacation to avoid having to communicate with their parents or in any way interact with their environment.

We boomers use Blackberries in order to continue working on our ulcers even when we are away from our desks. And, since our music is practically sacred to us, we have had to transfer our beloved song collection from vinyl to cassette to eight-track to CD to mini-disc to iPod to God knows what next. I have bought the same Beatle's album seventeen times. I am firmly in the pocket of the man.

Remember the controversy in the late 60's when Tony the Tiger said "Right On!" in a cereal commercial? That was just the beginning of capitalism's brilliant strategy of co-opting the symbolism of revolutionary movements, thus at once defusing them and turning them into salable items. Wow - I think I might have just said something heavy there, but I'm too mentally spoiled and lazy to figure out what it was without a computer. Oh well, Right On, Baby!

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