Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day, past and present

Growing up Columbus day was a holiday which we celebrated the person who discovered America. Now the people are disputing that he did not discover America because people were already here.


If Europeans, did not know about the American Continent, then wouldn't that be discovering it?

Give me a break!

These people are trying to change stuff, enough is enough!

The Europeans are BAAAADDD people, the killed off the indigenous people by bringing small pox.

I guess these same people would be happy sitting around a fire roasting bison legs, living in animal furs.......

There is something called progress or discover where one trys to find new things, new ways, new ideas ......get the point?

Columbus is now portrayed as a bad guy.........

If it was not for Columbus, it would have been someone else a few years later.......or if not then the world as we would know it today would not have been possible since the ships would have sailed off the edge of the earth......

Give me a break, first the holidays, if they keep doing the same, everything will be grey.....not to offend some one's dislike for a particular color.

Enough is enough, when is someone going to stand up and say something?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Memories in photos.....

Green Stamps

Metal ice cubes trays with levers

Beanie and Cecil

Roller-skate keys

Corkpop guns

Marlin Perkins

Drive in Movies ;

Drive in restaurants

Car Hops

Topo Gigio

The Fuller Brush Man

Sky King

Reel-To-Reel tape recorders

Tinker toys

Erector Sets

15 cent McDonald hamburgers

5 cent packs of baseball cards

Penny candy

25 cent a gallon gasoline

Jiffy Pop popcorn

6 cent stamps

Gum wrapper chains

Chatty Cathy dolls

5 cent Cokes

Speedy Alka-Seltzer

Cigarettes for Christmas

Falstaff Beer

Brownie camera

Flash bulbs

TV Test patterns

Old Yeller

Chef Boy-AR-dee

Fire escape tubes

Timmy and Lassie

Ding Dong Avon calling


Aluminum Christmas Trees

If you can remember most or all of these,

Then you have lived!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hello Mr. Milkman.....

As you slam the door, there was a resonance you just don't hear anymore . It was on the front door of homes and lots of mom and pop corner grocery stores.....I'm talking about wooden screen doors. Now it is a sterile aluminum frame that just doesn't have that mellow slam.....

Glass milk bottles that were perched on the outside porch for the milk delivery man to pick up and replace. Some homes had a pass through where you left the old bottles and the milkman would open the outside door, replace what was needed and you opened the little door and fetched your new supply of milk or eggs for the day or two.
The Milk truck was the Clover Dairy, and the milkman actually lived down the street. His name was Frank Beeman and occsionaly he would hand out little tubs of ice cream to the kids on holidays.....what a concept.
The El Tapatio Hotel in Guadalajara still has these pass through where room service can leave your tray and you can get it without opening or seeing the delivery person....

Bakery Delivery Trucks.
3 times a week the Colonial Bread truck would come down our street, fresh breads, rolls, and donuts and pastries would be available. A loaf of bread was 25 cents..... not the smartalec guy who doesn't deserve a tip, these were miniature elevators in older homes that had several stories. You sent stuff down from upstairs to the basement, or the kitchen. They were next to the laundry shoot. You could also put your used dishes or dirty laundry and set them out of your life, to someone else where they would have to clean or wash them.

In older two story homes, there were two staircases. One formals wide one for all to uses, and a skinny steep (servants staircase" one that usually emptied out into the pantry or kitchen area. It was specially designed for the house help, you know, butler, maid, cleaning person, they were standard in all the Victorian homes or any mansions.

Steam radiators.
I remember in my first grade these hissing clanking radiators were the source of heat for the hold room. Now everything is central heat or air, with huge air returns and large channels....

Sold walls that you couldn't hear through. I grew up in a flat in the city that had lath and plaster walls. They were about 8 inch thick and once you closed the door, which was a solid wood door, not a hollow veneer, the room would be very quiet. Now drywall walls allow sound to pass easily unless they take extra precaution to insulate and put plastic sound barriers in the wall.....

Houses had deep overhangs, since most homes never had air condition, the eaves of the house extended far out from the roof line on all sides to protect the house from the summer sun.

Vegetable gardens. As a kid almost eveyton in the neighborhood had them. After you sowed the seeds, you would stick the empty envelop on a stick in front of the row so you would would know what you planted....oh the seed pack were 5 and 10 cents a pack.

A hand pump water pump in the front yard of a farm house. The water was cold and tasted great. You had to work for the water to arrive at the spigot, Something so simple now, everyone has running water inside the house.

How times change....

Friday, May 29, 2009

Please deposit your nickel , sir!

Hello Operator, I would like to make a person to person call to 213-277-9291, and talk to Mr. Elliot Singer please. ......
"You can call me back at TUxedo 5-4544.

Yes sir will do as soon as I get them on the line.
Thank you
"You're welcome"

A person to person call?
Whats that?
What's an Operator?
What's a dial phone?
When is the last time you heard a telephone bell ring?
Or if you were really hip you had a telephone company calling card....
In your wallet next to your Bank of America Visa Card, or your Master Charge Card
in the same wallet as your Standard Oil Card, that you could use at Standard Gas Stations, that were across the street from the Signal Oil stations or the Atlantic Richfield Station down the street from the Philips 66 or the Mohawk station.....
That is were the phone booth was usually located where you could make your phone calls when you were out and about.
Before Cellphones.......ages ago.
Not really....

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Could Kids survive nowadays?

I keep hearing how tough life is, it's not fair that someone has to sacrifice something like not going to the movies 3 time a week, down to twice or limiting the cell phone use because the last bill was $200 dollars....
They think they have it tough.

They should have grown up when if you wanted to communicate with someone, you sat down , got a piece of paper or if you were lucky enough stuck it into a typewriter and spend some time writing down your letter, then folded it up and stuck it in an envelope.
Then you put a 10 cent stamp on it, and you walked down to the post office, or if you were lucky your parents or neighbor would give you are ride to the post office and you would mail it.
It took a week or so for the person to get it.
Now they have the Internet , and they complain when the page takes too long to load.

Some one would call you on the phone and if you were on the phone or your parents were using it, the caller would get a busy signal. They would have to hang up, return to the phone later and dial the number again.
No call waiting,
No last number dialed,
No Caller ID, so you would have to answer the phone, each time, even if it was your school or boss, ......maybe you called in sick, so you better sound sick.....

And they complain when they have to leave a voice mail message.....

If you were lucky your television set had 3 channels on it.
Later PBS came into play, but that was it.
If you missed the TV show, your neighbors told you about it,
Now you TIVO it, or 20 years ago you could set your VCR to record it.
Now if there are 4 things that conflict with what you want to record,
They complain...........

You fill up the gas in your car, and every other time you either had to put in a quart of oil, and walk around the car adding air to the tires......
Now the new cars hardly ever use oil, you never have to pump up your tires and all the cars have air conditioning.
But still they complain......

They also complain that homework is to tough. Tough? We had no Internet so any research we had to walk down to the library, look up the reference material , get the books, and if you had a library card you could take the books home to study......
But they complain...

If you liked a song on the radio, you could do one of two things. Listen to it again and hope that you will hear it when you have your tape recorder handy or go down to the record store and buy the record.
Now they complain if they can pirate the song or the album, or steal it of the Internet to play on their MP3 player.
The real hip people had a Muntz 8 track installed under that dashboard. You bought the 8 track tape and every 4 or 5 times you would play the cassette, it would eat your tape.
But they complain when they can load their MP3 player fast enough.

Kids complain too much, or I am too old.....take your pick!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What? Savings........what's that?????

I figured out the reasons and causes of the financial crisis all by myself!
It is something that kids nowadays have never ever heard of, something that the last couple of generations have not heard of or forgotten.......

Savings accounts.

When I was in grammar school, in the Haight Ashbury in the 50's the school was named after Dudley Stone, who ever that was, I had Ms. Brown as my first teacher.

School was neat, we lived about 5 blocks from school and my mother walked me to school every day, and the days I liked the most is when it rained.

We would get out early.......why I haven't the slightest idea.
Anyway every two Fridays there would be a person that would come around and collect your nickels, dimes and quarters.

You were something big if you had a quarter. Those usually only appeared after your birthday or Christmas or special days.

If you had a quarter, you would pass it around, the kids would look at it, and say that they would have one next time. 'They usually didn't.

Anyway, the person that came around was a Bank of America representative. They would allow you to bring a card home which your parents would sign, and there was a space on the card for you signature.

My Signature?

How about my printing?

It was a savings account that Bank of America sponsored that was available for every child going to school. Some kids had a dollar or two in there, some had 20 or 30 dollars in there.

The ones with 20 or 30 dollars where the rich kids.......I think I had about 3 bucks in mine. My brother had about 7 in his.

Now a days that wouldn't be allowed because it may make the child feel inadequate for not having the same money as the next kid.........One of the problems facing society nowadays......

So, we would give the person our dimes, nickels ( remember nickles, both buffalo head and Jefferson?) you don't see nickles nowadays, for some reason, must be the metal is too valuable....

So after the school year ended, we looked at our savings accounts and got some kind of prize for the one that had the most saved during the year........what a concept.

The other thing was neat was Christmas would save money throughout the year so that you would have enough to buy your family some gifts........what a capitalistic motivation....

I see that lay-a-way programs are coming back. Another novel idea from the past. Imaging the concept of paying for something or better yet , waiting to get something until it is all paid for!

You would value the item so much more since it took you a long time to get it. The only thing you would borrow money for, after you had saved up a 30 % down payment was to buy a car....
or if you were really in the chips, a house........
But why would you buy a house? That was for rich folks......We lived in a flat, a half a block away from Golden Gate park, on the second floor. The flat had 5 rooms. Rent was $60 dollars a month.

There were no credit cards.........there was no financial collapse or at least the credit problems we face nowadays.

What a concept.

Remember piggy banks?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Heathkits, Knightkits and Eico

I got into electronics not by going to school for it, but by buying KnightKits first.
KnightKits were a product marketed and made by the Allied Radio Company of Chicago. For some reason I was enamored by spending all my time not on Marvel or Dell Comics but by perusing the pages and pages of neat stuff in the Allied Radio Catalog.
My first Knight Kit was a Tube Tester.
Anyone remember the tube testers that were in the drug stores, supermarkets and five and dime stores?

Just think of the last couple of generations, they do not even know what tubes were. They will miss out on the experience of burning the tips of their fingers when you take the tube out of a working piece of equipment........
Well I just had to have one they made a small version with just 4 tube sockets a meter and a whole bunch of switches.
I don't think it worked the first time I built it, I made some wiring mistakes, after all what did I know I was a 8 or 9 year old kid.
The kit cost 19 dollars. that was a whole bunch of money in them days.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What a difference 50 years makes

I found this on the Internet and had to share it with you!

School 1959 vs 2009

Scenario: Jack goes quail hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with a shotgun in gun rack

1959- Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.

2009- Schools goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or shotgun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.............

Scenario: John and Mark get into a fistfight after school.

1959- Crowd gathers, Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.

2009- Police calls, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario: Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students.

1959- Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the Principal, Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2009- Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin, Becomes a zombie, tested for ADD. School gets extra money from the state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1959- Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.

2009- Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Bill's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has affair with psychologist.

Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1959 - Mark shares aspirin with Principal out on the smoking dock.

2009- Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.

1959- Pedro goes to summer school, passes English , goes to college.

2009- Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 4 th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed.

1959- Ants die.
2009- BATF, Homeland Security , FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1959- In a short time, Johnny fells better and goes on playing.

2009- Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

Tell me it isn't so.....................

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My First Transmitter Multi Elmac AF 67

Ham radio was a hobby which is now almost gone. The crux of the hobby was to sit and talk with someone, across town , down the state or across the world, via radio waves.
Multi Elmac was a company that made electronic stuff in the 50's. The were big manufacturers of garage door radio transmitters and receivers. The unit went in the trunk and had a few tubes that would transmit about 100 ft if you were lucky.
Lots of hams had other transmitters that were made by companies like EICO, Heathkit, EF Johnson actually made a kit form of their famous Viking line of transmitters. Then there were the really high priced units that rich guys had, brands like Collins and Hammerlund.
I had a Multi Elmac AF67. I got it used for 25 bucks, and made a power supply for it from old TV power supply transformer parts. 600 volts DC at about 125 milliamps, equated to about 65-70 watts of power......
The unit was a universal unit which also could be mounted in a vehicle. Image the angst my mother had when I tried to mount that thing in our family station wagon?
The antenna looked like a 8 ft broom stick attached to the bumper.
Thanks Mom, she did, I probably wouldn't have allowed my son to do that, but then again I never had any kids......maybe a good thing.
Anyway, the transmitter used tubes, about 10 of them. It also had a VFO, that allow you to dial in any transmit frequency you wanted to use.
Now a days the whole unit, transmitter and receiver, no tubes is the size of a cigar box........
You do remember cigar boxes don't' you?

Friday, February 20, 2009

How come we all grew up OK?

We are fortunate to receive network stations from San Francisco and Atlanta down here, and sometimes I tune it in to reinforce the reasons why I like life in Mexico at least for now.

There are things that we did, growing up in 40's,50's,60's that need to be questioned. The gradual change that has happened was so minuscule that no one noticed minute by minute, but when you look year by year or decade by decade you have to wonder.

How did we survive being born to mothers who smoked and or drank while they were pregnant? Now a days you almost get locked up, actually you can get locked up for doing that in the states.
We took aspirins, ate dirt pies, tuna directly from a can, drank milk that wasn't refrigerated and were put to bed in cribs and bed frames that were painted with bright colors, most of which had lead paint.

Somehow we survived....

SID's death were unheard of...

We didn't have to stupid childproof lids on medicine bottles that I fumble with even now in my advanced age, hell why not just make them a little harder and I will completely give up.

We were passengers in our family cars, held prisoners while both parents smoked, and raised hell if you tried to crack the window open a tad to get fresh air. We didn't have booster seats, seat belts or air bags. The car often had bald tires and questionable brakes and
We somehow survived.......

If you were thirsty you found any old water hose and turned on the spigot, why would you drink water from a bottle?

Some one of your friends would be lucky enough to get a nickle and buy a soda pop, 3 or 4 kids all got to share it and no one got sick and died from the trauma or germs......

We ate cupcakes, ding dongs, Wonder bread that builds your bodies 8 ways, smeared with real butter and even had bacon and mayo sandwiches. We also drank Kool Aid made with white sugar and for some reason were not overweight.

Maybe having your Mom tell you to go outside and play and be sure and be back in time for dinner had something to do with it.

Often I remember leaving the house on Saturdays around 8 in the morning, getting on the bus, going down to Market St, in downtown San Francisco and my mom wasn't calling the cop every 10 minutes to find out where I was.. everything was cool as long as I got back before the street lights came on and before dinner..... There was no way to reach you all day, (no cellphones) and for some reason WE WERE OK.

Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
Just try that now and see how far you would get.......

We would spend days building go-carts with old wood scraps and wheels make out of ball bearings and ride them down the hill for 20 feet before the wheels would slide off. We then figured out if you hammered a whole bunch of nails into the wood holding the bearings the they would stay on , then the next problem about 100 ft down the hill was not having any brakes on the cart, a stick of wood against the ground would act as your hand brake , or we ran into some bushes or a fence now and then we learned all kinds of mechanical issues.

The only games we had were made by Remco, or Lionel. We got tired of the Remco games since the batteries ran dead in a couple of hours and we didn't have the money to buy new ones. The TV only had 3 stations, no VCR'S or DVD players, no surround-sound or CD'S, just a couple of old 45's with the big hole in the middle which you could listen to all day. Sometimes we would actually listen to AM radio or the ball games.....

Our cell phone was a couple of tin cans with some string between you and your neighbors house. It was pretty easy to operate, no texting, no cellphone, no monthly charges, chat rooms or Internet.

If you wanted to talk to a friend a couple of blocks away, you went outside and hollered or ran around and found them without the aid of a cell phone or text messaging. Knocking on their front door was sometimes done but most of the time we just walked in and talked to them, a lot of the time we would stay for dinner since our friend's food was usually better or different from ours and that was a lot of fun! ( But you called home and asked for permission first)

And we somehow survived......and we learned what it was to be gracious and a good host. As well as being polite and having table manners. (Ever see kids eat nowadays?)

We fell out of trees and phone poles, some kids had broken bones or a tooth chipped, there were no lawsuits from these accidents.......what a concept.

We were given BB guns for birthdays, shot at tin cans, later got a 22 rifle and got really good at shooting cans, played with all kinds of objects and were told to be careful as not to put someones eye out. and we succeeded without blinding any buddies.

Lots of kids played baseball or some other sport. If you weren't good at it, you dropped out and were disappointed for about half and hour. You learned to deal with all kinds of disappointment that kids nowadays can not. We learned that in life there are time when you win and some times when you loose. So you kept trying to win........

If you or your friends did something wrong you were really punisihed. If you really broke the law parents wouldn't think of bailing you out, and actually wanted the system to correct and punish you.

I remember doing something stupid, having the police tell us to follow them to the police station and then give us the 3rd degree, and really scare the crap out of you so you wouldn't ever do any stupid things again.......

The kids that grew up in that era, seemed to have turned out OK, became productive members of society, worked hard and saved money, became inventors and business owners and seemed to have a better handle on what was going on.
At least I though so....

Our time we had enormous freedom to do pretty much anything as long as it didn't hurt or impact someone, we had great successes and with it came responsibilities and we were saddled with learning how to deal with successes and failures.
We had great fortune and luck to have grow up as kids before the lawyers and government regulated every last menusha of life as we knew it.
One of the reasons I am down here now is because there is still some freedoms left, at least for awhile.

You can still ride in back of a pickup truck and won't get a citation which will raise your insurance premium.

You can still build a house without a permit, if you choose to build it with poor design and it falls down, you have no one to blame except yourself. That alone saves a lot of money for people who wish to own a home.
You can still have a hole in the sidewalk, and if you trip and fall because you were not paying attention and break you leg, you should be more careful.
You do not have to put up yellow tape around your garbage cans when the get pushed over and all the stuff falls out on to the street.
You can ride a bicycle or a motorcycle without a helmet if you so choose, even though it would be smart to, in case someone runs you over or you hit a pot hole.
And you can run through the house with open scissors and no one will care......

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with open scissors, doesn't it ?

Mexico seems so simple, just image how IT was 50 years ago, and image how it will be 50 years from now.
I know in Patzcuaro, there have been changes, but there have been a lot of things that have not changed at all, in 50 or 200 years.........
So keep your eye open, so that you don't walk into a tree limb. There's no one to sue down here.
What a concept......

Flash......I just read that a kid was arrested the other day for bringing in a old hand grenade to school for show and tell. The old hollowed out grenade was a souvenir from his fathers WWII stuff and the school was immediately put on lock down when the teacher freaked out. The child was taken to the police station and later released.
When I was going to school, you would not believe what kind of stuff was brought in for show and tell, half of which would now have to be handled with a TYVEX suit and hazmat team.......
See what I mean?


About Me

My photo
From TV News to owning radio communications business, seen technology grow and change the way we live. Hobbies are still some photography and reading, satellite pickup. Did catering and cooking at wineries, taught cooking classes and culinary related ventures. Do a few regional cooking classes down here at my house from time to time, in between visiting and living in this beautiful country. Some tech consulting and lots of opinionated chatter.