Monthly Archives: August 2007

Playground games we loved

What kind of cream puffs are we raising? Does handling the controls of a Wii constitute the sum total of kids’ activity?My grandson and namesake received a Wii for his birthday, a joint gift to be shared with his brother, whose birthday is a few days later in the year.

A Wii is a kind of electronic console, of the X-Box genus, that hooks to the TV. It includes a host of games, such as racing, sports, and adventure and shoot-em-ups. The difference between this kind of game and others, which operate only with a button-filled panel or a joystick, is that the user may create the motions he/she wants the actors on the monitor to perform.

Arthur explained that if he were to swing his arms in circles, the figure on TV would do the same. We also talked about the case in which an exuberant man swung too hard and clobbered his spectator girlfriend in the process. Arthur said there is now a wrist strap that makes it harder for the user to take violent swings — and injure someone.

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Do text messages help? (LOL)

School has started, and it looks as if my co-teacher Tom McDonald and I have been blessed with an eager, albeit small, group of students interested in the journalism course we’re offering at Highlands.

Strange, but the eight years since I retired have at once given me confidence and made me more meticulous about planning lessons. Mainly, I find it necessary to move into the 21st century and put aside some of the bromides I used before.

The language of journalism, mainly what we call Associated Press Style, hasn’t changed a great deal since 1999, when I taught my last journalism class. Yet, regarding the use of technology, I’m feeling like the student, not the prof.

It would be easy to fall back into delivering lecture 107, a practice I swore I’d never cultivate.

Let me explain:

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What exactly is a church key?

Remember the times when one needed a tool to open a can or bottle?

That was in the days before dozens of techniques were developed to ease access to stuff. A husband once came home to his wife’s announcement that the electricity had gone off and therefore, no supper.

“But we cook with gas,” he said. She answered, “But the can opener’s electric.”

When I was a child, opening a can of cat food required the use of an 80-pound opener which, if you dropped it, would open your foot instead. Today, my wife showed up with an eight-pack of cat food that comes in plastic cups with an easy-open foil on top. Times have changed.

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Trucker made a perfect slide

It’s amazing how things can (almost) change in an instant. Everybody dreads that unwelcome phone call telling of an accident or other tragedy and wishes it away.

The parentheses-enclosed “almost” indicates there was no tragedy, but it was the next – nearest thing.

But first, some background:

At first I really resented the presidential fiat that nobody travel more than 55 mph. That was in the ‘70s and part of the ‘80s, when a presumed gas shortage was supposed to be alleviated if everybody slowed down, even on toll roads, engineered to accommodate huge volumes of traffic at high speeds.

That was then. I grew to enjoy it and even today keep a bit under the limit. The lower speed limit gave us time to enjoy the scenery; it decreased everyone’s likelihood of being killed. Yet, there were those who fought it. They reasoned that a 55-mile trip now would take a full hour, whereas before the speed limit, the same distance would take about 45 minutes.

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