Technology – Yesterday and Today

My grandpa who lived on a farm in Allendale, Missouri had a radio similar to this one and I listened to some Kansas City Athletics games on his radio console and will never forget how good the sound was, that emanated from that radio.
Phonograph records have never really went away completely. Now many manufacturers are building modern versions of the record players we grew up. Those being built today play records, CD’s, cassettes and even have an input, for MP3 players to play their music over the phonograph system.  Some record companies are still making vinyl records. Just went to eBay and found that there are 1,328,915 records for sale, so there will be a need for record players for years to come. Surprisingly, over 489,000 of those albums are new.  I was fortunate about three or four years ago, to find a bookstore in Knoxville, Tennessee selling record albums for 25 cents each. You can build up a collection fast at those prices since $10 buys 40 record albums.
Eight track players technology went right on by me, since I went straight from vinyl to cassettes. I never owned an eight track player or eight track tape. Not sure if eight track players are still being made today. If they are I have not heard about it.
Compact disc players can be found in portable CD players, CD boomboxes, CD shelf systems and some CD players today can be found in phonograph combos, that play CD’s, cassettes, records and have a AM-FM radio, plus either have a dock for an I-pod or a line in for a MP3 player. Some even have the capability of recording from a record, cassette or radio to a CD.
This Ipod Classic 160 GB player is the ultimate player, for those who like to record music, videos and store photos. This player can record 40,000 songs, which is equivalent to having 4,000 albums, with 10 songs each stored in this player. However, if you want to store videos and photos, then that would reduce the storage place for music. Who has 4,000 albums anyway? This player may not have all the bells and whistles, of an iPod Touch, but an iPod Touch is not going to have near the capacity of this player. One drawback to the 160 GB version is that the screen is only 2.5 inches, which is small, compared to the newest IPod Touch, which has a 4 inch screen.
Technology has come a long way from the phonographs of the early days, to machines that can hold 40,000 songs and play any song, almost instantaneously, after going through the folders to find the song you want to play or you can watch videos of movies and TV shows.
This is a Maytag ringer washing machine. There may be still be people using these machines, but they have to be few and far between, with the technology today, that lets the operator turn the machine on and put some soap in the machine and leave it to wash the clothes and come back an hour later or so and put those clothes into a dryer.
When is the last time you have seen bottles of milk, on your porch when door to door delivery of milk was popular? I remember when our milkman had only a four number telephone number on his truck.
When is the last time you saw someone actually typing on a typewriter like this Underwood Typewriter? There are probably some holdouts still using typewriters like this, but there can’t be a whole lot of them.
I can still remember the days of the nickel coke. The bottles may have been only 6 ounces, but today you spend at least $1.50 most places for 20 ounces of Coca-Cola. Back in the old days you could buy 24 ounces for only 20 cents. A $1.50 back then would buy 30 bottles of 6 ounce Cokes. So if I am figuring right, then that comes out to 180 ounces of Coca-Cola, which would be equivalent to about three 2 liter Coca-Colas today. Not many stores today sell three liters of original Coca-Cola for $1.50. Today it is usually cheaper to buy a 2 liter bottle of Coca-Cola for a $1-$1.25 or more, than to spend $1.50 or more on a 20 ounce Coca-Cola.
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Memories of a Lifetime: 1986-1990

For some reason my memory of the 1986-1990 period in my life is drawing a blank for the most part. Anyone with memories of what happened in Pineville-Alexandria during these years are welcome to comment.

1986 – Halley’s comet appeared in 1986 and won’t reappear till the year 2061. It had last appeared before 1986 in 1911. IBM launches the first laptop computer 27 years ago. Smoking was banned on all public transportation, in the United States which had to be tough for smokers on coast to coast airplane flights. The nicotine patch was invented in 1986. A Plymouth Colt could be purchased for $4,999. A gallon of gas only cost 89 cents. Average rent was $385 a month. Top Gun, Platoon and Crocodile Dundee were popular movies in 1986.

1987 – A Private First Class in the Army was earning $9,385.20 a year. When I joined the Army in 1962 a recruit earned $936 a year as a E-1. A gallon of gas was 89 cents, the same price as in 1986. The U.S. stock market crashed on October 19 with a 508 point drop. Fox Broadcasting made its debut 26 years ago. A seven-day Caribbean cruise cost $1195.

1988 – The price of a gallon of gasoline remained relatively stable, rising to only 91 cents, after being 89 cents the previous two years. Movie tickets were $3.50 and average rent was now $420. Yellowstone National Park had 250 separate fires in 1988 that destroyed 793,880 acres of the park, which was a third of the total acreage of the park. A Logitech mouse cost $89.99, while a Amiga 500 with a color monitor cost $849.

1989 – I had surgery in July of 1989 at Rapides Hospital. I would be off work for six weeks. I would then work from 1989-2004 at the Town Talk , while missing a total of one day of work and was in the hospital that day, after being admitted from emergency room, due to emergency room physician thinking I may had a blood clot, but it turned out to be a muscle tear. I think I got my work ethic from my dad who didn’t miss a day of work over a 40 year period.

That same month before the surgery I had gone to grocery store to get snacks to watch the 1989 All Star game. By the time I got back an earthquake had hit the San Francisco area and film was being shown of the players leaving the stadium with their families. Then we saw hours of coverage of the devastation in the area. Hard to believe 24 years have passed since that date.

Other big news in 1989 is that the Yugo cars went bankrupt. The Yugo is 39th on the list of worst cars in history. One feature was the rear window defroster, which kept your hands warm, while you pushed it. The car looked like it had been assembled at gunpoint. The article also has this to say about the Yugo:

The engines went ka-blooey, the electrical system — such as it was — would  sizzle, and things would just fall off.

1990 – I think this is the year my son Steve played football for the Pineville High School Rebels. He played end and endured practices from summer till the end of the season, but only played in the last game of the season, for only one play and the worst thing is that his mom had left the stadium, by the time he played in the game and I was at work, so no family member was there to see him in that one play. I still respect his work ethic to stick with it all season, even if he didn’t get to play but in that one play.

Gasoline had skyrocketed to $1.34 by 1990. Today gasoline is in the $3.25 range in our area. A Super Nintendo cost $159. Cabbage Patch Kids were $29.99. A six volt Batman car could be purchased for $199 and had a top speed of 3 MPH. A Smith Corona Daisy Wheel Typewriter could be purchased for $179, while a cellular car phone could be bought for $325.

Typical Day In Small Town America 60 Years Ago

This ten minute video shows what life was like in small town America in 1952. It is sickening to read the comments made by those who viewed this video. They turn what was a special time to those of us, who grew up in the 50’s, into a platform for hatred of races.

Even the ugly remarks can’t ruin a video that brings so many fond memories  of the past.

I was eight years old when this video was filmed so can identify with what happened during a typical day 60 years ago.

It was a simpler time, before cell phones, I-pods, laptop computers and HD television sets. The television sets back then still had the huge tubes, that made them so bulky, unlike the lightweight television sets of today.

Growing up in the 1950’s was a special time and this video captures the feeling from having grown up in that era.

Nostalgic Memories From the Past

These are just some of my memories of the good old days:

When the  ice man brought ice to place in your icebox.

When milkmen brought your milk to the house with cream at the top of the bottles.

When attic fans were the only way of getting any air in a house.

When we would walk on the Murray Street Bridge and see the Red River below, when there were missing slats.

When we were hot and didn’t think about it being hot because it was all we knew since nobody had air conditioners then.

When television shows didn’t come on  till 3:30 PM.  Howdy Doody and Pinky Lee started the telecast day on KALB-TV in Alexandria, Louisiana in the 50’s.

When we listened to old time radio shows like Dragnet and Breakfast Club on the radio, while my mom listened to her soap operas like Just Plain Bill, Stella Dallas, Lorenzo Jones and Guiding Light.

When people would go to local appliance store at night and watch television through the display window at Jimmie Walker’s Appliances on Main Street in Pineville.

When we would come home from school and watch our cowboy heroes in action.

When nativity scenes could be seen in public places before ACLU raised such a fuss, that you can’t find one in a mall today.

When stores like Penneys, Sears and Montgomery Ward were located in free standing stores, before the advent of the shopping centers and malls.

When kids would trick or treat until 10PM at night, filling grocery bags full of candy, with no special Halloween bags.

When families went to drive-in movies together, while teenagers would sneak a extra kid in the trunk, to avoid paying for them.

When theatergoers would throw tomatoes at the movie screen if they were upset with a bad movie.

When Larry McHale of KALB – TV was advertising cigarettes and started coughing, but regrouped and said “Just thinking of those other brands makes me cough.”

When eating TV dinners were more popular than fast food.

When McDonald’s had 15 cent hamburgers.

When you could get a haircut for less than a dollar.

When it cost a dime to see a movie.

When it cost a dime for a school lunch in 1950 at Pineville Elementary in Pineville, Louisiana.

When kids collected baseball cards and put them in bicycle spokes.

When families would go on picnics at the city park, letting the kids play on the playground equipment.

When going to stores we would see white and colored water fountains. One black man tried both kinds and said they tasted the same.

When we watched No Time For Sergeants three times in a row at the movie theater. (One of the funniest movies ever, with Don Knotts being a dexterity expert, that became discombobulated by Andy Griffith’s character.)

When we used to drink Hawaiian Punch and Delaware Punch.

When we used to pay a nickel for a 6 ounce coke out of a machine. Now they charge over a $1.50 for a 20 ounce coke, when in the old days a 24 ounce coke would cost 20 cents.

When we walked a mile to school everyday for the entire 12 years of elementary and high school.

When there was no middle school back in the 50’s.

When Gov. Earl K. Long of Louisiana gave free chickens to voters during a gubneratorial election.

When going fishing meant taking a cane pole and not a expensive rod and reel.

When I bought a $6.50 Nokona baseball glove for $6.00 when the hardware store owner found out I didn’t have enough money to pay the full price.

When we celebrated Christmas by running around with sparklers.

When we would see the miniature church on the city square in Alexandria every Christmas.

When Christmas music was played downtown during the Christmas season.

When we used to play marbles in school.

When playing with a yo-yo was cool.

When hula hoops were the hot fad.

When high school kids rode bikes to school instead of driving cars.

When familes went to church together.

When families actually ate dinner together at a table, instead of in front of the television.

When kids made money by delivering newspapers on bicycle.

When we drank grapefruit juice at breakfast even though we didn’t like it.

When we ate Wheat Chex at breakfast even though we didn’t like it.

When we used to get excited about another school year starting.

When we went to special Christmas Eve services on a cold night in December and watching Christmas movies on television when we got home.

When we had a train set over our bed as a kid.

When we took a trip in 1957 and saw the Howard Johnson restaurants with the orange roofs.

When we got together as a family to hear mother read from the Bible.

When we used to listen to records on the record player.

When homemade ice cream was better than any ice cream bought in a store.

When pizza was delivered to the house the first time.

When mom and pop stores went out of business because of Wal-Mart.

When there used to be neighborhood groceries scattered around in residential neighborhoods.

Yes, those truly were the good old days.

Flag Pole Sitting

Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly sitting on flagpole during the heyday of the flagpole sitting craze in 1920's and 1930's.

Most people are scared of heights and can’t imagine, what it would be like to sit atop a flagpole for many days.

Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly was regarded as the king of the flagpole sitters. Kelly was a stunt actor who first became known as a flagpole sitter in 1924.

His first stint atop a flagpole was when he sat on the pole for 13 hours and 13 minutes. After his record had been broken several times he set a new record by sitting for 49 days.

One year later Bill Penfield set a new record of 51 days, which was shortened by a thunderstorm.

H. David Werder sat on a flagpole for 439 days, which almost certainly is still the record today. He was protesting the high price of gasoline in 1980.

There is even more reason today to protest high gasoline prices but doubt anyone will resort to flagpole sitting as part of their protest.

I can’t imagine anything less fun than sitting on a platform attached to a flag pole for 449 days. Even with breaks it still had to be very uncomfortable.