Saturday, April 11, 2015

“For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three.” — Alice Kahn

When I was a small boy (prior to 1950) and we went to stay with my grandmother in Little Rock, Arkansas, the bathroom was outdoors—an outhouse.  My grandmother was too much of a genteel lady to ever refer to it by what it really was, so she alway called it the “euphemism” and would say she was going to the euphemism as she took the flashlight off the hook by the back door.  I bring this up because it has to do aging—mine in particular.  If you happen to be a Caucasian male and are past 60 years old, you have an 85% chance of having serious prostate problems (95% if you have African ancestry).  My good friend, Pete O’Neal has the problems but has avoided surgery.  I have not been so lucky having had surgery just two years ago and facing it again in the next three years or so.  What this means for us old men is that we have to make many, many trips to the euphemism every single day and at least six to eight times a night.  Yeah, I know, boo hoo, grow up and get with the program.  Which brings me to my main point today which is about programs.  We get some television programs in English thanks to a South African satellite company.  We get BBC, Discovery, National Geographic, the History Channel, and several movie and sports channels.  Now it is difficult to follow the continuity of programs if you have to interrupt them four times an hour.  You see, we don’t have commercial breaks here—no commercials.  The movies and sporting events go straight through.  We don’t get any American football, baseball, basketball, or other sports except for the Super Bowl and the Final Four.  We get no American networks, HBO, etc.  We do get cricket, rugby, soccer, and European golf every day, and more importantly for me, we also get all of the Formula One broadcasts including practice, qualifying and the race itself.  This can be very frustrating for an old man running back and forth down the hall.  However, this year, we saved up and bought a satellite receiver that’s like a TIVO.  We can pause live programs and then not miss a thing during visits to the euphemism.  It does mean that Karen and John have to be patient and have other things to do while I’m gone, but so far they have been just great about that.  This new receiver also allows us to record programs so we can watch them later which is very good as we get many, many interruptions during the day.  I’m not a really big high tech fanatic having the same phone I’ve had for the last four years, but this TIVO kind of thing is a gift from God for old men with prostate problems.  Just sayin’—I give thanks that we can see programs all the way through—that is if the wind and rain haven’t thrown the dish out of kilter which happens about once a month.  Then we see nothing till we get a guy on the roof to reset the silly thing.  Just passing along a little bit of what life is like here for me.  Sorry, if it was “too much information” but it is one piece of technology that makes my life just a tiny bit better.  I am thankful.  And that’s all the news from Lake Woebegone.
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