Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tapping into the Past

Thought for the day:  Many people have sighed for the 'good old days' and regretted the 'passing of the horse', but today, when only those who like horses own them, it is a far better time for horses. [C.W. Anderson]

When people talk about the good old days, they're usually not talking about outhouses. Lots of neat things about the past, but a smelly outhouse ain't one of them. Even though I most definitely  prefer indoor plumbing, I still cling to some things other people might consider old-fashioned. Some of those things speak to me... and their sounds are music to my ears.

                                            Um, no ... I'm not THAT old-fashioned...

But I do hate electric can openers. Far as I'm concerned, they're nothing but a noisy nuisance, and take up way too much counter space. I mean, why use THAT...

                                        When THIS not only does the job, but fits in a drawer?

Not a big fan of electric knives, either. I've got plenty of knives, but none of them plug into the wall. It'd be kinda fun to have an electric fork, though.

Anybody know what this is?

A cow horn. An honest-to-goodness cow horn. Or at least, part of one.

It's for making Polish kielbasa. The casings go on the smaller end closest to my hand, and the sausage mixture gets shoved into the larger end of the horn and into the casing. Pretty neat, huh? I've been using that horn for more than forty years. Works great, too.

                                                                                                  But....  check THIS out!

Cool, huh?

My brother sent this jerky and sausage maker to me right before we went to Maryland. It'll give me a whole new way to fill those casings... with a nifty-looking gizmo that kinda looks like a grease gun. (And it doesn't plug into the wall, either!) Now, THIS should be fun to play with. And as soon as we eat all the kielbasa that's already in our freezer, I'm looking forward to giving this puppy a whirl.

Okay, how about one of these? Miss them? 

Well, I don't miss the nasty job of changing a ribbon. (Remember the ones with black AND red ink?) 

Don't miss the aggravation of typing a full page, only to make a mistake on the last line, either. White Out to the rescue. Sorta.

But I do miss the feeling of rolling the paper onto the carriage, the cheerful DING! at the end of a line, the rhythmic clackety-clack of the keys, and the feeling of pulling out a completed page.

Then again, a modern day computer can do a lot of things our old typewriters couldn't do. Correcting errors is a piece of cake. Cut and paste is one of the best things ever. And, of course, flat keyboards make ideal napping spots for our feline friends.

But computers opened up a whole new world of headaches, too. Remember the dreaded blue screen of death? And why, oh why, can't someone invent a computer that does what you WANT it to do instead of what you accidentally TELL it to do...?

But no matter how wonderful today's computers are,  there is ONE thing no computer, no matter how modern and sophisticated it is, can do as well as a good old-fashioned typewriter. Make music                          

[That music isn't exactly new. Leroy Anderson wrote it in the early '50s. He wrote a lot of light Orchestral music, much of which was introduced by the Boston Pops. But I'm betting the music is new to most of you. Totally cool, isn't it?]

Wanta see another take on that same music? This is a classic Jerry Lewis skit from the good ol' days:

So, how about you? Anything from the good old days you prefer over the modern conveniences? What's your favorite modern invention? (In these 100+ degree days, the air conditioner's looking pretty darned good.) What's the dumbest modern invention?

                                      Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. Leaf blowing machines (instead of a broom) make me wince.

  2. Great post, with which I agree entirely. Favorite modern invention: impact-activated air-bags in cars. I owe a beloved life to that one. Worst invention: considering the massive decline of local vendors, I'd have to say big-box stores are right up there.

  3. Hah so true. Well I don't know so much about the good old days, but I miss the time when anyone under 16 didn't have a cellphone. Now 5 year olds seem to have them. What the --? And oh also the days when a road trip didn't mean everyone on their ipods.

  4. Up until 5 years ago, I didn't own a computer so all of my writing was done on an electric typewriter (that I did have to change the ribbon on. Good times)

    I think my biggest peeve in the modern age is cable tv. 235 channels I have to pay for and nothing is on. Let me go back to having 3 + PBS. (Which I would but I get no reception even with a $50-antenna.)

  5. I miss the innocence we once all had. I know knowledge is power, but constantlly being barraged by bad news, some of which we don't need to know, does not add to our quality of life. I am not talking about important information, but rather all the scandals, spin, and downright nasty things that go on is TMI for me. I also miss privacy, but with technology, that is a thing of the past. It is what it is though, there is no going back. I guess I am just an old fart.

    I am not a fan of contraptions on my counter either, but hand held manual can openers are sometimes hard on my hands. I opt for the battery operated ones that are small and can be put away in the drawer.

  6. Cro- Oh, that's a good one! Nothing destroys the peace and quiet of a beautiful fall day more than a couple neighbors blasting their leaves around the yard with those annoying things. A rake suits me just fine.

    Geo- Wow, great answers. Thanks.

    Lady- I know what you mean about cellphones. My grandchildren have their own cells, but I don't. Don't want one, either. We don't have i-anythings, either. No PDAs. We prefer a good ol' pen and PAD.

    Anne- I know what you mean about all those channels filled with nothing but garbage. But with the advent of digital TV, I'm surprised you can't get off-air stuff on an antenna. That really stinks, because the off-air picture is lots better than the one through the cable box.

    Arleen- You're right; the TV news people start out by telling us "Good evening!" and then go on to tell us why it isn't. I haven't seen any small battery-operated can openers, but I'll keep that in mind for when my buddy Arthur Itis gets too uppity. Thanks. Oh, and you're not an old fart. You're like me ...we're old fart-essas. Much classier.

  7. There was a lot more tactile satisfaction in a typewriter, as Jerry Lewis demonstrates!

    We have an old-fashioned chitarra at our house for making homemade pasta. The dough is rolled out thin and then pressed through guitar strings with a rolling pin. Strumming the strings produces music and causes the spaghetti strands to fall through!

  8. Dianne- I've never heard of a chitarra before, but it sounds wonderful. I hope you make pasta (and music!) with it from time to time.

  9. I'm with Cro -- leaf-blowers may be convenient, but they sound obnoxious.

    The air conditioner is, hands-down, the best invention ever, as far as I'm concerned.

  10. Linda- Yeah, the air conditioner gets my vote, too, especially this summer. Not that I'm over-dramatic or anything, (perish the thought!) but I've been known to drag my overheated sweaty self into the cooled house and moan, "Thank you, God, for air conditioning!"

  11. oh, I definitely think the computer is one of the great inventions, not only does it make my writing life ever so much easier I can play games and kill dragons and make potions get the idea :)

    could do without AC but not central heating, hot water, and indoor plumbing.

  12. I asked my dad a few years ago what he thought the greatest advantage is now over his childhood and he was very swift to answer, 'Climate control.'

    Even though my grandfather had bought us an Apple IIe in the late '80s, I still remember using a typewriter to write my poems and short stories well into my senior year in high school (1992.) I don't remember ever changing the red and black ribbon but I do have some recollection of that sonorous clackety-clack.

    I think I agree with you about the can openers. Most electrics are not only noisy (in a grating way) but also often ineffectual! I find I have to go over the same can more than once to get the top completely sliced off.

  13. Oh lord, the AC is my favorite today. Well the last month, truth be told.

    I don't miss typewriters. Corrections were a pain in the rear, ditto on the ribbon. I love my computer. I have a good speaker system--music, very good quality flat screen monitor-movies and the occasional TV show, I can chat with family and friends. Heck it even has texting abilities for those who prefer text messages and I don't have to squint at the tiny letters, lol! Now, if I could just get the thing to finish painting my livingroom and hang all the doo-dads back up. sigh.

    Funny thing, in the kitchen I don't use many electric appliances--except a mixer and the microwave now and then.

    I love that cow horn and I can see where it would work perfectly and I know just where to get one, lol! Anytime you want to share your kielbasa recipes...


  14. The can opener is called One Touch and you can get it at any kitchen store and probably on Amazon also

  15. I have an imprint of that exact typewriter on one of my T-shirts! :)

  16. I prefer manual can openers and knives as well. My mom had an old typewriter like the one you pictured. I can't imagine stuffing meat in a cow horn. I wonder what we'll be shaking our heads at in 20 years.

  17. Aha, I prefer those days when folks actually used their ability to communicate without texting. If U C what I mean. Y O Y do folks text so much?
    My favourite modern invention is the cordless headphones. That way, I can block out my neighbour's screaming.
    And before my computer um crashes or blogger starts acting up, I shall click on "Publish Your Comment" and see what happens...

  18. Marcy- Yeah, I don't reckon it'd be too hard for you to give up air conditioning, but it Georgia, it isn't a nicety; it's a necessity. But you're right about computers.For better or worse, they've become an important part of our world.

    Suze- Your dad's a smart man. Decisive, too. I probably shouldn't be surprised that you used a typewriter as recently as the '90s. My guess is you did it because you enjoyed it. You do have a way of marching to your own drummer, don't ya?

    Sia- Yep, computers can practically "do it all" nowadays. Alas, no painting or wall-papering, though. Or vacuuming. I'd be happy to share the recipe if you want it. Just send me an email.

    Arleen- Thanks! I appreciate it.

    DL- Funny, I have an old tee shirt over the typewriter...

    Mare- The cow horn works GREAT! Really! No telling what the world will be like twenty years from now, but I hope I'm still around to scratch my head and make fun of it.

    Gary- I'm with you. I have no idea what the big attraction is about texting. Maybe it appeals to people who can't spell? But I'll betcha, twenty years from now, there's gonna be a lot of people with a new painful ailment called "texting thumbs".

  19. ps about that list you liked on my's a lot longer than that and if you're interested I could send you the whole thing (about 5 pages). Just email me :)

  20. Electric knives scare me, but I can't operate an old fashioned can opener to save my life. Regrettably, I worship my electric one.

    I miss old fashioned phones. Film projectors were pretty fun too. And the Polaroid much more. Fun post.


  21. Marcy- Cool! Thanks; I'll do just that.

    Robyn- I'm glad I'm not the only old-fashioned one around here. I don't have ... or want ... a cell phone, or even a cordless. (If you can believe it, we still have several rotary dial phones in our house.) Can't say that I especially miss Polaroid cameras, though. I'm a bigger fan of my digital one.

  22. I think the best modern invention is Victoria's Secret online. I don't know what the dumbest invention is, but it definitely ain't indoor plumbing. Oh. Wait. I know. The modern-day school system is the dumbest invention.


  23. I do miss old typewriters. I had a Selectric that I just adored. There was something about the hum that was very meditative. And the Ding! was so cheerful. I wonder if I could even hit the keys hard enough after all these years of little tickety-tack on these keyboards. And I'll take the electric can opener even though I keep a manual for emergencies. The manual hurts my hands too much. Ach, I'm old.

  24. I know that you're in real need of air conditioning right now but here in the UK I'm just relieved someone invented central heating. I couldn't imagine being without my computer and the Internet. And I'm more than happy that outside toilets are a thing of the past!

  25. I miss my old manual typewriter. At 45 I was in the last class in our HS to learn to type on a manual. The electric ones [wooo!] arrived the following year.

    To be honest - I would have a manual can opener only if I could work it. I am no longer able to and I would be lost if Pooldad or the kids weren't here to use it for me. So my electric can opener stays. As it is, it doesn't get used that much and it is an under the counter model.

    And the knife, forked, "too spoon" comic is priceless. I can always count on you for a smile. Thanks. giggle

  26. Janie- Victoria's Secret online, huh? I suppose that'd provide a certain happy anonymity to the gals (and cross dressers) who might be a little shy about entering an actual store and risk being smirked out of the place. As for the education, I applaud its invention, but question its application.

    Laura- Oooh, you had a Selectric. How cool. I never owned one, but occasionally used one at the hospital. It was the kind with interchangeable balls. Totally neat. Nope. I refuse to accept the premise that you are "old". To do so would imply that I am "old-ER", and I ain't playing that hand.

    Rosalind- With the way your weather's been for the past month, I'd think your favorite invention about now would be the umbrella. Or galoshes. I sure hope the rain dries up before the Olympics begin.

    Skippy- Hi-ya!! Good to see you again here in Yammyville. And I'm glad I made ya smile. 12:34

  27. Smoothie maker. Isn't that just a blender?

  28. Tonja- HA! Yeah, I do believe you're right.

  29. I always loved writing, but make far too many mistakes as I go, so probably the computer has been the best invention for me ever; especially as it means I can be social without having to speak to neighbours and rabid beasts. The next things in line, entertainment-wise, would be my kindle, followed by Wii. Never had a cellphone or an electric can opener! But my husband is partial to his meat thermometer. ;)

  30. Carrie- Yeah, the computer's a real boost for those of us whose fingers sometimes get dyslexic. I have to agree with you about the Kindle, too. To tell the truth, it kinda surprises me how much I love that thing. As for Wii, my only experience with that is watching my grandchildren play it. (But THEY sure enjoy it!)