Writings from the past

On my “writing shelf” there is an assortment of notebooks and journals, which surface now and then and entice my writers’ eye to once again peruse the long forgotten, ignored, or awaiting rediscovery, and perhaps publication, of some of my literary works of yore.

As I struggle to surface from my self-imposed sabbatical, or writer’s sulk… it occurs to me that these scraps and bits of pencil-scribbled wisdom, born of a deep need for self- expression, may deserve to be brought to a venue where they may be read if anyone chooses to do so.

Word for Writers:
The worst thing you’ll ever write
is better than
the best thing you’ll never write.
(Sol Saks)

…………………………………………………………

This item was part of an exercise designed to find a point to start writing. In the center of a page write a word…this one I used was AFRAID. Then connect with arrows various thoughts pertaining to the key word, until a viable prompt starts your writing. (This was February 23, 1984)

Here’s my effort, using the word “Fear” as my prompt:

“The biggest fear I have is that I may run out of time to do what I must, which is simply, to write—that the day that marks the end of my life will come and I will say “no—not yet!” I’m afraid of sadness, of my own feelings of inadequacy…of the sadness of my children…the inability to do those things that I want to do, yet not to find the time—or inclination to do so. To be, to write, to fulfill my own destiny. I spend too much time worrying about the “children” who are not children at all, but worrying about them, yet most of all worrying about myself and the fear of not becoming what I must become.”

That’s it, what I wrote back then. 46 years ago! Good grief. Today those children are grown…so are their children, and THEIR children are teenagers. I still worry about them all, though they are no longer my personal responsibility. I still worry about my self-proclaimed goal as a “Writer.” Yes I have been a writer of sorts all through my life, at times even a professional newspaper writer. Now I’m a blogger…and I worry and fret about not writing.

Yep, the more we change the more we stay the same.

………………………………………………………

{More from the Green Notebook:]

I had just acquired my first computer in 1983, and I was enamored of it to the point of writing this:

“What does a square, cold, metal blox with a few strange things called “chips.” offer to a middle-aged woman? The answer is … the future, the past, the beginning and the end.”

That ancient Kaypro II was really was all that to me. I supported my five kids for awhile single-handedly as a single mom, as a newspaper reporter. Earned supplemental income as a newspaper writer. Then worked my way through my college degrees … and even now I blog and write. Not the same computer all those years of course…I’ve never been without since that first machine arrived.

The rise of the machines has had real meaning to me all through the last four decades…and beyond. In fact one of my early blogging attempts is extant, entitled “Rise of the Machines” or something like that here on Sometimes. A search of “computers” should locate it.

This is fun, I think I’ll do some more meandering backwards through my notebooks and computer disks… I’m having some writers’ block issues after my almost four years of “not writing much.” I love being back at SOMETIMES, and getting reacquainted with many of the “old gang” of the bloggersphere…

children are

toning down the glare

Last month I got a new computer, printer, and camera.   Yesterday the monitor had to go back to the store because the brightness control didn’t work.    I have had computers since 1983, and the first thing I ever did when setting them up for use was to adjust the brightness of the screen.   The manufacturers insist upon having white backgrounds on much of the content, but there was always the option to turn down the brightness by using the control button.

So in a search for the control that I knew had to be there, finally found the controls, and set out to change the brightness.    So I went online and asked google how to change the brightness.   Easy…they told me…giving detailed instructions.    Nope.   Then checked the discussion pages….the people who say stuff about their frustrating experiences with their new computers.      In a nutshell, they followed the instructions, to no avail…gave up.

After convincing myself that the brightness control on my monitor did not work, I turned to my second plan of attack—the first being to solve the problem myself—which involved asking my daughter, who is something of a computer guru, to look at it and tell me what I was doing wrong.   She arrived, and conducted a search of her own, trying all the tried and true tricks that a neophyte like me would not know.

Finally, daughter arrived at the point where I had given up and her opinion was that the control system was not working.    So, we went off to BestBuy, where the GeekSquad woman ran the monitor through its paces and arrived at exactly the same conclusion that we had reached—the thing did not work!

All ended well though—I paid an extra $30.00 and got a new monitor.   It’s about an inch larger screen than the one it replaces.    The brightness control works…and the controls themselves can be manipulated easily and efficiently without standing on my head to find the control board.

Now…I am having a problem getting the CD with the instruction booklet for the monitor to download.   I know the CD drive works because I tested it last week.   But this won’t be a major issue, because I DO know enough German to read the on-screen directions if I need to make other adjustments.    Sprechen zie kleine bissel deutsch, so I’ll manage until I have the wits to adjust the language.

Re-discovering Classics of Literature

My reference to the Sword of Damocles, in a poem I posted a few days ago, has served to jog my poor over-loaded brain.   I always think of the human brain as a vast library-like cavern, perhaps not unlike the wondrous university libraries, such as those at Oberlin College, and the Bierce Library at the University of Akron, which are two of the libraries where I did research as a doctoral student twenty years ago.        Especially etched into my brain cells were the upper floor reaches of the great libraries which during the summer months when they were not as crowded, and one could spend hours without encountering any other scholars.    There is my idea of Heaven…being alone in the stacks at a borrowed carrel, surrounded by rows and rows of shelves, laden with books.

Above and beyond the inherent treasure of information and knowledge of the ages is the simple fact of being one with the company of books…manuscripts, journals, atlases, writings in multiple languages.     The hallowed halls of musty, dusty volumes are in themselves of unestimable value in the rivers and mountains and mines of the books that are the records of the human ages and dreams of the future.

OK, I admit it…there are easier ways to tap into the motherlodes of learning—namely: computers.   Yeah, been there, done that too!   I love computers.    I adore the ease of research in a vast machine.    Before I bought my first computer,  I studied the computer magazines, and bothered people that I knew who were already “computer-literate.”   There were not many.   Even the major newspaper that I worked for back then, in the mid-1980s, had not yet made the transition to computerization.      More than one Radio Shack salesperson thought I was strange…my criteria for actually buying a computer was that it have the capability of holding “every book and media from the New York Public Library” available for users.   I had no idea that would really be possible within a very few years.  It was called the “Information Highway” before it was known as “The Internet.”

Any way, as I was saying about the Sword of Damacles…when the allusion popped into my head as I toyed with writing a poem, after a several-week slump during which I was sure I would never write poetry again.     Sure, I can always write miscellaneous posts about topics as varied as politics and attempts at humor.

Thinking about the Classics always appeals to nooks and crannies of my brain, in which are tucked away and filed in huge vessels of information, where all of the myriads of things that have been encountered and put away for “another day” when I had more time.    Thus was my complicated thought-train set into locomotion, chugging off into a darkened passage where I keep forgotten and fascinating scraps under a make-believe heading — FOR SOME DAY.

So ah-ha!   with my theoretical ticket to side-tracks of  possible literary points of interest peaked at the prompt phrase: “Sword of Damocles…” which found its way into an impromptu poem unstopping the clogged…or cluttered scraps of esoteric longing to venture into the Classical collections of ancient tomes and leather-bound texts which may or may not have been…shall I say hidden?   delayed?   saved as best for last?… a related reference to another masterpiece springing forth from my foggy brain.

Yes—after a bit of ponderance it came to me: The Pit and the Pendulum.    I vaguely recall the circumstances of Edgar Allen Poe’s grim and gruesome tale of madness and despair, of a poor prisoner sentenced to deal with the very pits of Hell.        The images and illusions that came to mind are rather allegories, or tales of tales which I have read over my lifetime (since I learned to read) and have become part of my personal library of versions of famous literature.

Poe’s style had long fascinated, especially in the days of my somewhat dreamy-eyed and faux-sophisticated youth.      The Raven, maybe Edgar Allen Poe’s best known work…at least among students such as my younger self…had captured my imagination.    I so enjoyed the poem that I undertook the copying—in flowing cursive handwriting, accomplished with a fountain pen, with real ink—into one of the plain and homely brown notebooks that I so enjoyed.   I have it to this day.

Had I actually read The Pit and the Pendulum, in it’s entirety, with due consideration and concentration…tripping and gnashing over Poe’s lightly punctuated and technically worded nineteenth century prose…I dare say I would not have really understood it.     For one thing, although Poe states in his introduction to The Pit…that his torturers are members of the Spanish Inquisition….the not-so-Holy-Inquisition.

That dreaded institution was of course studied, or at least alluded to in high school History classes, but I…for whatever reason…did not really make an impression on me one way or another.    I didn’t care—and did not GET IT then.      I admit that at age nineteen I was much more of a romantic than a scholar.      So several decades later  I finally got around to my higher education, and in that capacity become intrigued with the discovery, development, destruction, and History of Latin America—which had a LOT to do with Spain, and Mexico, and the Holy Inquisition.  In the New World the Inquisition methods were somewhat limited, compared with back in Spain and environs…much of the efforts of the institution were directed toward members of the clegy, for various crimes including heresy and seduction in the confessional.

 

 

 

 

What happened to the first post?

Good question…I’m glad you asked!

I do a lot of photos…some are good, some are pretty bad focus-wise,  grainy and blurry.   So yesterday in a fit of frustration I decided to try to get to the bottom of the problem.  I have an idea how I want photo galleries to look, and all I want is clarity, focus, and decent pics that I don’t have to apologize for.

I thought when I got Windows 10 last year that my photo problems were solved.  HA!  Dream on, Fool…. But before I start bad-mouthing Windows, I must admit that I am a tinkerer when it comes to computers.  I couldn’t wait for Best Buy’s Geek Squad to set up my new computer last year–after all, I was perfectly capable of doing it myself, right?  Well, NO.     For one thing, my system has never had sound…I have no idea why, and lord knows I’ve fiddled with the speaker mechanism forever.   But I don’t have time for that…I need to do actual work on my computer and don’t have time to tinker with sound…I can read closed captions, and anyway, my hearing is pretty well shot any way.

So I switched back to Internet Explorer, and set Firefox free.  Then reverted to an older version of Windows…without the fancy-dancy “photo operations” that just don’t work for me.     I like to use Photo Gallery…which the new Windows seems to be wanting to get lost. Well I like it.  It works for me. (sometimes)

I have thousands of photos…used to be most were 35mm slides, but now most are digital, on CDs or on the computers.   In addition, some of the albums or collections of photos are comprised of shots taken by more than one photographer, more than one camera, and have been moved around within the vast photo library.

One thing I think I have learned is that when I make up a post like this one on Old Tucson, consisting of shots from both my camera and my son’s, (most taken by me,) an assortment of different cameras over the years…there are parameters which must be observed.  I just wish I knew and understood them.  The specific problem I had with the Old Tucson post was that I was trying to post them on the WordPress editing page from Photo Gallery AND from copies of originals which I had placed on the desktop and tried to “drop” into the post.  The result was that the photos in the post were various sizes, and worse…some of them were copies and of reduced quality.   The realization that it was not the IMAGE that was bad…but the WAY I was trying to move them into the post.

I took down the first post because most of the shots were lousy … mostly problems with clarity and that I was trying to re-post a faulty image.   So it wasn’t the image…it was the method that was bad.

Sometimes I really   miss my ancient word-processing systems, simple WordPerfect programs, a simple WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) format that was back in the time before all the improvements and innovations.    Except for some excellent expert help from the Cleveland State U computer-lab techs, when knowledge of WordPerfect 4.5 was needed…I am self-taught.  I personally deciphered the early manuals and the C/-prompts, and solved inevitable problems.  Now that even our first and second graders are proficient in computer skills…I realize I am way behind.   But that’s not such a bad thing.

 

…waxing poems playfully

Now there’s a word I don’t think I have ever used…
what in the world is it supposed to mean?

Waxing…what at odd word if used as I think it should be
conjurs visions of a can and a cloth, and an item to polish
using that elbow grease Mum used to go on about…

seriously…nah, not really…I think
without looking it up in a dictionary…
waxing has to do with the Moon
or with trite and/or gratuitous prose
or–more likely–poetry.

I love writing poems…sometimes I
pronounce that with two syllables: po-ems,
other times I like to say “pomes,”
which always invokes my old English teacher,
who believed that joshing around about
anything as sacred as a “po-em”
was akin to blasphemy.

I can write mushy stuff too…
in fact I think that’s what they call “waxing poetic,”
unless I made that up for nefarious purposes of my own.
The thing about writing and publishing works
of art,–or frowny-face admonishment–
is that the responsibility for adding new words
or phrases to one’s vocabulary
depends on two nebulous considerations:
Trusting the writer to know what they are doing,
and turning to a dictionary to check up on them.

Often, to card-carrying adherents of the
Vocabulary Police– hair-raising errors abound
in many otherwise intelligent examples of
blogging literature.  These are MOST glaring
in lectures on proper Grammar and Spelling.
So, I guess the point of all this is that
it behooves young writers to take due care
to avoid using the likes of “frowny-face”
on official writing papers.

One of the sweet things about blogging
is that One is free to break all sorts of rules
learned in seventh grade English classes–
where there is NO allowance whatsoever
for any creativity of phraseology or spelling.
If there was ever a point to this literary undertaking
it has become lost on the throes of righteousness
as dictated by Miss Frowny-Face herself.

Yes, that spectre does indeed tap its bony fingers
frequently on my shoulder.

(Caveat: this piece of silly stream-of-consciousness
is written strictly for fun …so please don’t quote me
if you get a frowny-face Smiley…. 😦

As a dyed-in-the-wool Luddite my best advice
is to get a REAL dictionary.  Yeah–the OED online is great…
but except for emergency spelling situations…it will
never replace the big bulky heavy paper dictionaries of yore…
and don’t trust those red underlines spell check gives,
I think the computer makes up words to confound
us when it comes to the Rise of the Machine.

But having said all that…I hasten to add that the computer’s
spell-check is better than NO spell check.

©Sometimes, 2016

Revisiting the Em-dash etc. (originally published here on Sometimes as: Punctuation Police please protect QWERTY (ReBlog from 2016.)

I —  how does one make an em dash— or is that even possible in the cyber-age?  Did the punctuation-police conspire to deprive us “typists” from the olden days of basic qwerty functions?

Ah-ha!   Since time immemorial all that was needed to make an em-dash  was to type the hyphen key twice—but now the mark can be accomplished by hitting the hyphen key three times.  In the instructional hits that came up when I did a search on Google—which is not current—advise that there was a complicated procedure involving the CTRL/ALT and MINUS key… the minus-key on the numerical keyboard…

If ya ask me, the punctuation-police are not writers.   Writers use the em-dash, and it’s OK to hit the hypen key three times, but that other CTRL/ALT business is for the birds.  We had enough of that back in the C/PM days and the World of the C:/ prompt.

A few minutes ago I read an interesting article written by Michelle Cook over at her blog.  https://puttingmyfeetinthedirt.com/2016/05/03/the-dash-button-why-just-why/#respond by    Michelle is discussing Amazon’s new feature which provides a button that can be pushed when we run out of some essential…like toothpaste…and it places an instant order which is filled and shipped automatically!  Imagine that!

Well here is something even MORE scary… A few weeks ago I decided to investigate second mortgages.  I followed some Google prompts and came to a reputable name that I recognized, then pushed the button for  information.   This led to two major firms in my area.  I indicated that I would like some information.   Well—before I finished filling telephone-information into the form—the phone rang.  Guess what?   Yep, it was one of the financial firms.   I remarked about how fortuitous it was that they were calling just when I was seeking information.   “Oh, what a coincidence…”

That isn’t all, either… while I was on the telephone line a message popped up that I had another call….guess who!?  Yep, the other recommendation.  I later noticed that there were emails from both of these telephone callers…plus some other similar financial businesses.

I don’t like that!  That means somehow through the wonders of cyber-world those firms were notified of my inquiry … by computer BEFORE I had even finished the query.     I know…they do it all the time…and the television people too.  Bah humbug!

 

 

Good News!

red light in green row
not a harbinger of good
brings words “no signal.”

That sinking feeling
in the pit of the being
warns of disaster…
threatening isolation.

Wait for the agent
always seems like forever,
breath held in hostage
fearing the admonition:
you’re sure its plugged in?

Will I understand
all the agent’s instructions
and know what to do–
be familiar with lingo
and names of the parts?
Remember passwords and such?

chewing-on-cable_thumb.jpg

The relief is unequaled
when the good news comes…
that the signal is strong now
the lights are all green!
Yahoo and Google are back…
blogger pals await–
all is well in cyberspace!

© Sometimes, 2016

 

New York Public Library treasure trove–Free

Before I got my first computer in 1983 my rational was: when all of the contents of the New York Public Library collection is available on the computer (there was no such thing as “online,” at least as far as I knew.    The Radio Shack guy looked at me like I was out of my mind (no argument there) and didn’t comment.   Actually I didn’t wait for that goal to become within the realm of MY reach…although it did seem inevitable to me at the time, it did not hit the “information highway” for decades.  (Not very long, in the scheme of things.)

Here is the link leading to free access to multiple thousands of photos, papers, maps, and texts.   The NYPL has also developed free programs and gadgets to access the treasure trove.

http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/

Escaping the Computer

[The Daily Post.  Theme: Bloggers, Unplugged]

 

The sticking, tearing sound is ME, being ripped away from my computer.   Theoretically I sit here, in my chair at my keyboard, from the time I get up in the morning — having first started the coffee, fed the cats, and grabbed something for breakfast — for two hours.

In theory.  Actually sometimes I am compelled to sit here until noon…even beyond if there is a lot of feedback traffic on my blog.    My routine is that I check my email, handle any book orders, check several blogs, reply to messages, then write a new blog post.

I know this sounds compulsive and/or obsessive, but hey…I can feel the heads nodding and the clicks of the keyboards out there…I’m preaching to the choir here!

Sometimes I am not literally writing, but working on photos, trying to get my printer to cooperate, or reading other blogs.  I do a LOT of that.   I have about 350 followers and I follow as many blogs as well.   That means that if I am following — I have explored the blog to some practical extent.  I have some at-least-fuzzy recognition of it when I see the blogger’s handle or title of their blog.

I almost without exception comment on the site, even if I get into it and look around and find that I have no relationship with the content.  Once in a great while there is something that I don’t like.   In these cases I do not follow these blogs in the first place.

Gosh!  Every other word in this is I…. I did this, and I did that…what was that old rule that says not to use “I” except very sparingly?   You know, that’s the rule from long ago that was emblazoned on our brains when we were learning to write proper formal letters.    My typing finger DOES twitch when I use the first person, so at least there is some recognition of the rule.   But this particular piece I am writing here is based on the premise that since the topic and theme of the prompt is to chat about what WE personally think and do….well then, it’s OK.

So how do I ever get anything else done? Besides writing, that is?   Well, as I have said elsewhere Writing is now my TOP PRIORITY.   However, there are still “other things” that have to be done.   My son and I have an unwritten agreement about certain household chores…sometimes it is a sort of “stand off” situation where a specific task is not on the Job Description of either of us.

An example of things that I MUST DO…came up over the holiday.   My second daughter’s birthday is November 25, which is always either on or near Thanksgiving Day.      I wanted to make something special for her, so I forced myself to get off the computer chair and onto the “beading chair.”  I have millions of beads…glass, wooden, crystal, turquoise, stone…probably enough beads to reach from here to Chicago if laid end to end along the highway.     (I know, that’s ridiculous–but hey, please work with me here!)

Let’s cut to the chase.   I ran out of procrastinating-time, and dragged out my boxes of beads, selected some nice turquoise stones and black crystals, and created a nice necklace.   Then I helped my son make his sister a necklace himself, so that was a good use (I think) of the time spent watching CNN.

So that is how I take a break from the computer–kicking and screaming being dragged away by Priority Tasks.     There will be a lot of that this next month…another Birthday Daughter next week.   Then a bevy of granddaughters and their daughters who will get holiday gifts hand-crafted By Me.   And of course they all have husbands and sons, but that’s another issue entirely…

Everybody gets a crocheted scarf, too.  And a hat sometimes…although my hats always turn out weird and funky.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bloggers-unplugged/”>Bloggers, Unplugged</a>

Who Needs Punctuation??? (Yes–We Do!!!)

Punctuation is one of my most favorite topics.

I regularly yell at signs posted on businesses along the roadway who declare such comments as WE HAVE WATERMELON’S TODAY.  Or worse yet SUNDAY SERVICE’S, or even… 4 SAIL SHOE’S.

Yep, the culprit–misuse of apostrophe’s.  (Yes I spelled it on purpose…just sayin’.)

Wrongly spelled words bug me.  Especially when  posted on a SCHOOL sign!!!   Once I actually did a wheelie and turned around to go into a school and discuss their spelling… CORNGRADULATIONS!!!  OK, I didn’t even see the “corn” part of the word.    The school principal and a teacher happened to be in the office when I entered (yes, I really did!) and I explained the error on the sign.   They blithely explained that the sign was advertising a Fall wing-ding of some kind, and that the “CORN” was a pun.

So I explained…it is the GRAD part that is in error.   It was supposed to be “congraTulations.”

Blank looks… “oh,” said one of the educators… “I missed that.”    The luke-warm response only echoed their shocked expressions….ALSO–they did not seem to “get it” as when I passed later in the day the sign had not been corrected.

I love punctuation, especially elipses (the little line of three dots) and I try not to confuse them with dashes–,  or with parentheses.    English teachers and college professors are always so serious and narrow-minded about such things.

When I graded students’ papers I usually noted misplaced punctuation or corrected it…on the premise that since it was a History exam, dealing with something like the Sedition Act for example, it was over-kill to expect proper spelling and grammar.  Some of my fellow teaching assistants leaned heavily on bad commas or misspelled words… I just clearly wrote the word Sedition over their “Cedision” or other invented word.    One said he never counted or even marked bad spelling because he was not a very good speller himself, and usually didn’t notice.

I love exclamation points!!! and don’t ya love question marks ???  CAPITALS, italics, bold, color, ♥, or ℘ (which is the symbol for Weierstrass p (in case ya ever need it…one never knows!!!) NOTE: on the WordPress editing page the symbol to bring to your fingertips (I guess every one in the world?) is the  Ω .   It’s on the chart by the indent keys on the second line.   DISCLAIMER: I’m going to quit while I’m ahead there…it’s not at all confusing if one knows what they are looking for, but a little voice is whispering to me that I’m getting dangerously close to silly.  

Seriously, this is really a wonderful collection,  and one I would have welcomed when writing in Spanish.  There was a way to manually “build” a system of characters into a regular WordPerfect set-up, and I did so…and I could use the normal keys for adding accented vowels by using the CTRL key (or other)  and capital and lower case letters.   Also the ñ Ñ ¿ ¡ and
others.   This was very convenient when working with these characters.    The trick worked on the computer keyboard, and when I got a new computer I’d have to re-set my shortcut system.

Yes, this WAS before Word was even a twinkle in Microsoft’s eye.   WordPerfect was the industry standard, and the word processing system required by Cleveland State U, and which we were able to learn in the CSU computer lab free of charge.  Prior to WordPerfect I had used WordStar, which was an excellent system that came with early home computers.  I have written about that elsewhere, if anyone is interested.  https://mumbletymuse.wordpress.com/2015/01/26/rise-of-the-machine/

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/by-the-dots/”>By the Dots</a>

How Did We Live Without our Cell Phones?

I have five great-grandchildren, and they all have tablets and cell phones…albeit the cell phones are under supervision.  They range from 10 to 2 1/2, and the older four are proficient in computer skills (at least on a basic level, two of the kids are seven years old.)     The youngest, for obvious reasons does not have a tablet, or access to cell phone use.

Their parents are my grandchildren, all in their 30s.  I have a photo of the oldest, at five years, sitting at my good old KayPro II (my first computer) typing away.

No, this isn’t me bragging about my grandkids…it is a treatise on Children and Computers in general.   I’m not trying to say that ALL kids everywhere have their own tablets, or even access to them…not even at school.    The point I am trying to make is that although it is still the dawning (or maybe the sunrise) of the digital age– and certainly children in certain world societies and/or economic levels have greater exposure to technological break-throughs than others–kids do have access to computers and methods of learning and teaching have changed drastically since “WE” (whoever we are) were kids.

In fact, if I may state the obvious, there are areas in the world that still do not have running water, inside toilets, or electricity.  I won’t even go into the issues of politics, availability of education, nor launch into a discussion of poverty-vs-wealth.

There is much discussion about the extent to which children who are not exposed to technological gadgets are deprived.

I will be the first person to admit that the internet is…well, GREAT (to lack a more expansive superlative) and agree that everything anyone could ever possibly want to know is available online.   This is excellent.  Research possibilities for students of all ages are phenomenal…just enter a key word, and PRESTO! there is a wealth of information.  The downside to this is that although there are internet bibliographies, endless links to endless sites, one of the negative aspects is that there is no extraneous information to “discover” along the way of the search.

A good example is The Dictionary.  Remember the clunky old book we dragged around, and laboriously searched the pages for a certain vocabulary word.  Sure, the word was there (usually, if we had a clue about how to spell it,) but half the fun…or torture…of searching for our destination word, was the bonus appearance of other words popping up during the search.

Unfortunately, now that they have the internet dictionary…the paper dictionaries are becoming obsolete in some places.   Please excuse me for being an old-fashion English teacher–which I’m not, exactly….but I maintain that the old dictionaries, and other research tomes, and the endless reference books on the library shelves can’t be replaced with a quickie visit to a dictionary.com site.

But, having said that, I admit to being something of a luddite, (one of those guys that smashed up the new machines because they saw them as taking away jobs) and its quite possible that I don’t know everything about the subject. (Quite likely in fact.)

One more thing…sobering, and widely believed to be impossible, or at least improbable, is that an artificial storage method can fail…power sources can fail.  That’s a worst case scenario, of course, but we all know Murphy’s Law: that anything that can go wrong…will.   I think that it is risky to try to put all of human knowledge online, at the mercy of  cyberspace a la 2001 Space Odyssey.

At the risk of being annoying, I did not know how to spell Odyssey, and didn’t want to leave the post I’m writing and go to a dictionary site…so I used a Latin dictionary.   I’m not sure what the point of this paragraph is, except that it illustrates my insecurities about online-posting…it is too easy to lose a post when I leave to snoop around online.  That wouldn’t happen with a paper dictionary, except that I can’t find mine.

Sigh… the moral here is the old saw: “…don’t do as I do, do as I say.”

RE-BLOGGED: Should we try to Auto-Correct Humanity In This Strange And Lonely New World?

[This excellent post by Steve is so good, in my opinion, that I would like to take this opportunity to re-blog here on Sometimes, with an accompanying post of my own in a separate article, which will be published later today.]