A Walk Among the Monuments

imageI spent most of the past week in Washington, DC. I’ve been to Washington several times, but my trips have always been of the in-business-out variety, including prescription nightlife. This time, I had a couple of hours to do some sightseeing. My hotel was close to the National Mall so I headed in that direction. I entered the area, according to the official map, known as The Mall. At that point I had a choice to make. Head toward the Capitol or head to the monuments and memorials. That was an easy choice – Go visit the people who do nothing or walk among the people who did everything they could possibly do.

National Mall

The first monument I encountered was the tall one, the Washington Monument. It was the tallest building in the world when built but was rapidly shoved deep into 2nd place by the Eiffel Tower. The Washington Monument still is the tallest masonry monument. I add that bit of qualification since there seems to be a debate about imagewhether it’s the tallest masonry structure or just the tallest stone structure. Whatever, it’s tall and I don’t want to think about how hard it was to build. If it wasn’t so well documented, somebody would be arguing that it was built by aliens.

I didn’t go into the monument because I didn’t have time. One big monument, honoring one famous man didn’t compare well to several shorter monuments honoring millions of men and women who served in the countless battles of multiple wars.

I took some pictures as I circled around the right side and I marveled at the workmanship. I listened to a tour guide talk about how the marble blocks are held together by gravity. There is mortar, but apparently it’s for weather-proofing not to hold things together.

In my last post, I mentioned touring the Grand Coulee Dam. Gravity is also doing the work there. The massive dam sits on bedrock and simply weighs more than the 9,155,942 m3 (2,418,743,967 US gallons) of water resting up against it. I digress, but I think that’s interesting.

The next stop on my walk was the place I wanted to see the most, the WWII memorial. The memorial is large. Anchored by monuments to the Pacific and European theaters of war, the memorial fountain is ringed by standards for each of the states and US territories involved in the war. Several of these were important to me – Pennsylvania, for my dad, West Virginia and Connecticut for my Father-in-law, and the Philippines because that is where my father ended up during the war. I had relatives who fought in Europe, but this isn’t a walk through my family tree.

(Note: In the galleries of pictures, you can hover over to see a caption or click to start a slide show).

From the WWII monument, I walked to and through the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – The Wall. I had previously seen The Moving Wall when it came to West Hartford, CT. I found the name I wanted to find and I shared a text message with the people that I know that care about that person. I was struck by the memorial’s stature. The WWII memorial rises up around you and is punctuated by descriptions of historic battles and statements that call attention to the battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. The Vietnam Memorial sinks below and simply lists the names of the soldiers who died in that war. There was no grand purpose to praise, no battles to remember, no day that will live in Infamy and no parade for those soldiers who returned.

My next stop was the Lincoln Memorial. While memorializing a great man, the Lincoln Memorial has also come to represent the fight for civil rights in which President Lincoln played such a significant role. From the steps of the memorial are some of the most recognized views of the Mall. One thing that I missed on those steps is an inscription marking the exact location from which Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. You can see a picture of that inscription in this article.

I continued to the Korean War Veterans Memorial for the final leg of my quick tour. I have to admit that prior to discovering Pacific Paratroopers blog, I didn’t know much about the Korean War. As the author of that blog moves into a discussion of WWII, I am finding that I don’t know as much about that war as I thought I did (and I thought I knew a lot). The Korean War memorial was haunting. The lifelike 7’ tall statues of soldiers in permanently muted action calls attention to the struggle of individual men and women in another conflict that refuses to fit neatly into history.

The statement “Freedom Is Not Free” stands at the east end of the memorial. Opposite from that statement are the carved totals indicating the price that was paid for this particular fight for freedom.

My favorite part of my walking tour was seeing the Honorimage Flight visitors walking and navigating wheel chairs around the WWII Memorial. My father-in-law was able to participate in his honor flight about a year before he died, and it meant a lot to him. One guy asked me if I wanted him to move so I could get a better picture. I told him “I think the picture is better with you in it, thank you!

Posted in Absent Friends, History, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

I Was the Remote

imageEarlier this week, I was having dinner with a few friends and we were talking about the differences between our children’s experiences and our own from childhood. I’ll apologize to my daughter as well as to the sons and daughters of those friends, but that’s what parents do. Our life was harder and in many ways the world was a more difficult place in which to live. In other ways, life was simpler, and it moved at a slower, more manageable pace, but we only focus on one side of the coin at a time. That’s because we’re getting old, but you knew that.

We were going through a list of the things that our children have never seen or the things that were miracle inventions to us that they have never know life without. Since I am a little older than my friends, my daughter is a little older than their children and she was on just the other side of the line in some cases. She does remember life before Internet access was a household staple, but we had CompuServe and AOL Instant Message (AIM) and IRC Chat. Faith is old enough to remember TV before cable, but we didn’t let her watch much TV prior to when cable brought us The Disney Channel. Saturday morning cartoons were about all that she might have seen.

That’s actually how we old folks got started on our conversation. One of my friends mentioned that his kids were in bed on Saturday morning watching cartoons via Netflix on their iPads. We all remembered being on the living room floor with a bowl of cereal and we thought bed + iPad + Netflix was just wrong.

I shared a story about when my daughter was able to go back in time with respect to TVs. We were on a vacation (yes, that vacation) and we drove around Washington State. We toured Grand Coulee Dam, and from there we headed west via the North Cascades Highway with a side trip to Mt Baker. From Coulee City, we drove to Winthrop, WA, as a staging area so we could begin our trip through the North Cascades early.

Winthrop is a western themed tourist town, but we were up for that. We stayed in a saloon-styled hotel that had a VHS Tape lending library in the lobby. Faith thought that was nice, but I’m not sure she appreciated the reason at first. Winthrop, located on the east side of the Cascades with not much else around it, didn’t have cable. Winthrop had the 3 broadcast networks and PBS, just like we had in Pittsburgh when I was a child. Those broadcast signals were delivered via repeater transmitters, over the Cascades.

Once in our room, Faith scurried to find the right bed (best view of TV) and, the, remote – Faith had control of the remote throughout that trip. Interestingly, there was no remote. No remote? How does that work? I introduced Faith to “The Dial” and the list of those 4 channels. As in every other town across America, they weren’t 1,2,3 & 4. No, they were 2, 8, 11 and 53 and 53 required setting the first dial at “U” and then dialing in the spot between 52.5 & 53.7 that had the least “snow” by using the second, smaller dial.

After we laughed about her experience, one of my dinner companions admitted to not remembering life before remotes. He looked at me and one other guy and said: “you guys actually remember life without a remote?” At that point, my friend and I both said: “I was the remote. My dad just told me to change the channel.image

It’s true.

Not only were we the remotes, but we were intelligent remotes. My dad would say “put the ballgame on” and I spun the dial to KDKA which was channel 2. I was an early incarnation of Siri (and I think I worked better) “Siri, what channel is the ballgame on?

Actually, Siri handled that better than I expected.

We weren’t just the TV remote, we were errand boys. From the point that we could be trusted to carry a few dollars, my brother and I were sent to Jule’s Market for everything from a pound of Chipped Ham to a pack of cigarettes. Yes, this was the early 60’s; kids could buy cigarettes for their parents. The worst errand was to get pop (soda for my New England followers) because that required carrying bottles both ways. Six empty bottles to the store and six full ones home. Early in my errand running days, I had a single-speed bike with a basket. That worked fine for trips to the store. After I destroyed that bike (see earlier post) I ultimately ended up with a 3-speed English Racer with hand brakes, gears and no room for a basket. I learned to carry a bag or a 6-pack of pop in one hand while steering, shifting and braking with the other.

Yeah, kids today have it way easy. Then again, their kids will be able to tap their phones and have Amazon fly them a 6-pack. Time marches on.

Posted in Nostalgia, Perspective | Tagged , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Remembering Tina Downey


Technically, I think posting the picture up there, using the title I used and promoting this post with the hashtag – #LifeisGood is all I really needed to do. My blog world friend and supporter @damyantig helped organize this tribute to Tina Downey, who passed away on August 23rd. Ironically, just before reading Damyanti’s post asking people to pay this small tribute to Tina, I had stopped to take these pictures of sunflowers. The upper one, the one that is there for Tina, was the view out my passenger side window when I stopped. I hope that photo helps to achieve the desired effect. The collection of sunflowers seemed to represent a wide variety of emotions.

imageThe photo to the left is for the rest of you, the writers, bloggers, friends of Tina and friends of mine. I look at the almost endless row of sunflowers, and I see my peers, my friends and the people to whom I am connected through this community of writing.

I didn’t know Tina.

In the pure sense of the word, I don’t know Damyanti, but she’s my friend. True, we’ve never met. We may never meet, but I know her. I know her through her beautiful writing. I know her through her thoughtful comments. I know her through her supportive outreach to me and other writers and bloggers. I follow and I am inspired by a cadre of writers, authors, poets, photographers and artists. I relish the fact that many of them have chosen to welcome me into their company. That’s why I am remembering Tina.

I have read a number of Tina’s posts, mostly those associated with or that were a part of the A-to-Z Challenge. Tina was one of the organizers of that amazing event. If you aren’t familiar, the A-to-Z Challenge is a marathon blogging event during which people write something every day except Sunday throughout the month of April. I followed Damyanti and several other participants, there were over 2,000! Reading the daily production was time-consuming. I cannot imagine the effort involved in writing the 26 posts, let alone the 26 bits of original flash fiction some writers managed to produce.

In her request, Damyanti said:

If you didn’t know Tina – celebrate this Blogfest as a day of choosing to be joyful – a choice Tina Downey made, despite all her suffering, every day of her life.”

I can do that. I hope that you can join me.

I want to express my sorrow to Tina’s family. I only know you thought Tina’s words, but I feel that I know you well. I hope that my thoughts and prayers can add some measure of comfort to you during this sad time.

If you want to know more about Tina, I recommend her introduction page on the A-to-Z Challenge. I think that’s the way she wanted people in this community to know her.

Posted in Absent Friends, Joy, Prompt | Tagged , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Disconnected Messages

imageEarlier this week, my wife received an email inviting her to a tool store where the factory salesperson from Makita will be speaking at lunch.

She buys a lot of tools for me so she gets the invite. They know where the money is.

The salesperson is introducing a line of tools based on Makita’s new brushless motors. Sweet. I want one of those. But, I don’t need one of those. I have a 2-year old Makita Drill/Driver kit that is totally capable of meeting my drill/driver needs. I have a 5-yr old Bosch cordless drill that still works. I have a 10-yr old cordless drill that still works. I have… well you get the picture.

The fact that Makita has invented a “brushless” motor is interesting, but I haven’t owned a drill long enough to have had to replace the brushes since 1968! Brushes don’t fail. Tools don’t fail. The only reason anyone ever has to replace a cordless tool is because the battery dies and replacements can’t be purchased.

Marketing and engineering almost never seem to understand each other, but I think we’ve gotten to the point where engineering, marketing and companies that make stuff no longer understand reality. I’ve had car dealers talk incessantly during the sale about 10-yr rust warranties, 5-yr power train warranties, reliability, stability, and every other-bility but then they turn around and expect me to buy a new car two years later.

The worst example of mixed messages that I ever received from a car dealer was when I was shopping to replace a 1977 Saab. It was 1982, and I was considering a new Saab. The dealer was offering me $2,000 for my old Saab toward the $18,000 price of a new one. I told him that “the Toyota dealer is offering me $3,500 if I trade this in on a Celica GT that sells for the same price.”

He said – I’m not making this up – “but that Celica won’t hold its value as well as this car” pointing to the new Saab that I didn’t buy.

The world of computers, in which I earn my living, is full of these mixed signals. Desktops and laptops once had such anemic storage capacity that it was a common task to replace the hard drives every 8-12 months. Then, just in time for companies to be moving content onto Local Area Networks, desktop computers started to arrive with large amounts of storage. Today, as we are being nudged to put all of our documents, pictures and blog entries into the cloud, laptops are coming equipped with oodles and boodles of storage.

Remember when cell phones first started to slip into the mainstream? Back then, itimage was all about ‘minutes’ as in how long you could talk. Talk, just like you used to do on your phone. Today, hardly anybody I know really talks on their cell phone, but plans now include “unlimited talk and text.” I think the last time I needed to care about how many ‘talk’ minutes I had was the last time I had a cell phone that was comfortable to talk on. Since then, every cell phone I’ve had has been flat, in the way that the space between my ear and my mouth isn’t. I use a Bluetooth earbud, which is uncomfortable, or the Bluetooth connection in my car that is less than reliable and I suffer in everything but silence. The things my and the party on the other end’s microphones choose to pick up and amplify make no sense. My turn signal sounds like the pendulum in the movie version of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic horror story and the kitchen noises my wife’s headset sends my way sound like the breaking up of the Titanic.

I shouldn’t complain. I still have the option to experience phone nirvana. Several years ago, I bought my wife a rotary dial Princess phone for Mother’s Day – yes, I am just that romantic. I cleaned that phone and rewired it so that it works with the modular jacks and I have to tell you, it feels like a phone.

We don’t use it often, but not only can imageyou hold it without worrying about damaging it or your signal, you can do the little neck exercise to pin it between your head and shoulder. In fact, that exact motion has been prescribed to me by my Physical Therapist. He is too young to understand what he’s asking me to do, but I now realize why I didn’t have neck problems until recently – I had a phone!

I’ll leave you with the best story I have about the marketing standard, the “lifetime” guarantee. In the late 80’s, I took a muffler back to a local auto parts store. It came with a lifetime guarantee and I had saved the paperwork and the receipt for the day that it failed. The counter clerk took the muffler and tossed it and the warranty in the trash. The guarantee didn’t cover rust. As long as the muffler remained intact, it was guaranteed to muffle. That’s it.

Posted in Humor, Marketing, Nostalgia, Rant | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

The Jupiter Effect

imageToday’s story more closely fits the serious part of the theme of No Facilities. This story started 50 years ago this week and my telling it is long overdue.

I met Marty on the playground on my first day of 5th grade. Marty and I were not so much drawn to each other as we were both squeezed out like asteroids in the wake of Jupiter’s gravity. Cliques were forming around cool kids, around smart kids and around junior jocks but many ordinary kids didn’t seem to fit into those nascent groups.

I didn’t fit in because I was a new kid and the economy, demographics and the quality of the schools in the town I had come from were just not up to the new standard by which I was being judged. Marty didn’t fit in because Marty never fit in. He was awkward. He had unmanageable curly hair at a time when boys were just starting to let their hair grow long and Marty’s was funny looking. He stuttered and he was an uncoordinated sports injury waiting to happen – a trait that he and I shared.

Marty was a kind person. Marty was always smiling. Marty couldn’t be bothered by cliques and he helped me through some very tough days. Marty personified the notion that one needs to first accept oneself. Unfortunately, he could have been a poster child for the notion that people need to accept all other people, but that was not to be. Marty and I accepted a sideline status at a point where status was just starting to mean something.

Marty and I were close friends in 5th and 6th grade. In 7th grade the scale, speed and logistics of Junior High began to pull Marty and I apart. Neither of us were great students. Marty didn’t seem to care, and the system we were in didn’t care about him. The system didn’t care about me either but I was a bit more scared of failing. Marty’s and my academic schedule almost never overlapped. Ironically, our poor athletic ability brought us back together.

You wouldn’t think you could make junior high gym class worse, but you actually can. Some administrator had the idea that kids like Marty and me, kids who were always being picked last for the team, should be in a gym class by themselves. What might have been designed to be a compassionate and supportive experience was carried out as a humiliating ordeal by instructors who were loath to respect us. We learned to fence, we learned to dance and we learned exercises that might be called yoga today. We were never told why we were in the class and we were never told how we could get out of it.

We hated being in that class and the experimental imagenature was palpable. Eventually, I was allowed to rejoin the mainstream gym class. I’m not sure what achievement set me free, I was just told: “you can go back to Mr. Sullivan’s class.” Marty didn’t return to the normal gym class until we were in high school where there were no experimental classes.

Marty and I weren’t in any of the same classes in high school. In fact, at some point between 9th and 11th grade, Marty was held back because in January 1971, I was in 11th grade but the article describing Marty’s death, listed him as being in 10th grade. Yeah, Marty died.

I had seen Marty about a week before he died. I had been imageexcused from class to go to the bathroom. I ran into Marty in the hall and I stopped to talk to him. He told me about some new friends of his, friends who he said weren’t judging him. He didn’t tell me that he and his new friends were doing drugs, but it wouldn’t have surprised me and it wouldn’t have mattered.

He told me about a Saturday when he had been at Point State Park in Pittsburgh. He had been buying popcorn and offering it to people as they walked by. He was pleased by how many people would take popcorn from him – the fact that they didn’t avoid him the way so many people in school did made him happy. He sounded hopeful, as if he was looking forward to being released from the artificial environment of our high school – another trait that he and I shared.

That is the image that I still carry of Marty, a lanky kid with crazy wild curly hair and an infectious smile giving popcorn away to strangers in the park.

I remember thinking that it was odd that, in a school with over 2,200 students in 10th through 12th grade, Marty and I stood and talked alone in the hallway. We talked long enough for me to be in trouble when I returned to class. A week later Marty was dead. Several of us attended Marty’s funeral but there was no discussion, no grief counselors and no official recognition.

Later that week a story circulated from Marty’s gym class. It seems the instructor yelled out “Oppenheim” – when he got no reply, he yelled again and someone yelled back “he’s dead.” The instructor moved on without a word.

People die from drug, alcohol and substance abuse all the time. Lots of people died from inhaling chemicals in the 60’s and 70’s. We saw those deaths as a sad statistic of our time. This death was different because I knew why Marty died. He died trying to escape from the world around him. He died because that world didn’t have room for him. Even though he’s officially listed in the class of 1973, I count Marty in my graduating class. I also count him among the small group of people who made the years I spent in that school system tolerable. RIP Marty.

Posted in Absent Friends, Perspective | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

Labor of Love

imageI started writing this post in my daughter’s apartment while watching a pair of male cats and the NCAA Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Faith was away, and those boys needed to be fed – they always need to be fed. Those two knuckleheads have the “oh-my-God-I-am-starrr-ving” look down to a T. I entered the apartment to a chorus of “please plee eeease, feeeeeed us. We haven’t eaten in daaaaaazz.

The boys are Moncton and Preston. Moncton is a handsome black and white tuxedo cat in the great tradition of tuxedo cats in our family that dates back to Oreo.

Oreo was an emaciated black and white kitten that wandered into my cabinet shop a day before we closed the doors forever. I picked him up, looked him in the eyes and said “the last thing I need right now is another mouth to feed.” Still, he wouldn’t give up. He cried and cried “I want to be your kitty.” I called home. My wife said “we can’t afford a cat” and she reminded me that she was allergic to cats. Yeah yeah, I took him home.

All the way home, he rode on my shoulders, bumping my head with his. When we got home, my wife opened the door and Oreo leaped from my hands into her arms. When I reached to pet him, he slashed out at me with his claws, as if to say: “you found my mom; you can go now.” Cats are like that.

We have had black and white tuxedo cats ever since.

The other boy, Preston, is a ball of beige fluff. Preston is the color of everytimagehing. He blends in with the carpet, the couch, the walls and, as you can see, the sides of a box. Preston is also crazy. Faith shared photos of him when he cornered a live mouse behind a piece of cardboard but got distracted by a stuffed toy mouse. The real mouse escaped.

As for the football game, I wasn’t thrilled to see this game on WVU’s schedule. I’m not sure who thought a team that has struggled to beat Marshall for 3 years in their opening game could beat the Crimson Tide. WVU (that’s West Virginia University, a.k.a. my undergraduate alma mater) was 4-8 last year.

Alabama, on the other hand won 11 consecutive football games to start their 2013 season. Their march to the SEC (Southeastern Conference) championship playoff game was terminated in bizarre fashion when Auburn, Alabama’s in-state arch rival, ran back a missed field goal attempt for a touchdown in the final seconds of a game known as The Iron Bowl.

I’m no fan of Alabama. I spent one year at the University of Georgia, and one year in the SEC was enough to form a healthy dislike of the Crimson Tide. I’m no fan of Auburn either, but when that kid was runing the missed field goal back for a touchdown, I was screaming “War Eagle” almost as loud as my friend Laurence Hart.

Cats go well with football. First off, despite all their imageclamoring, they can wait until halftime to eat. More importantly, they do not interrupt the game. Other than blocking the signal from the remote, the worst thing they do is to land on your lap and demand attention. After almost 30 years of being owned by cats, I can scratch a kitty while watching TV. In addition to Tuxedo cats, we have had 4 Irish Setters in the past 30-some years. Mitzi, Rielly and Mollie accompanied us to 2013 when Maddie arrived. Dogs have no respect for football. Dogs are all:

I need to go out. I don’t care if the two-minute warning just sounded, I. Am. Going. To. Poop. On. The. Floor. If you don’t take me out now!

The boys and I ate early during the game. Faith left me with many cans of the boys’ favorite food. My food, on the other hand, met with some resistance. I had picked up a pizza on my way over on Saturday, planning to eat half and reheat half on Sunday.

Guys can eat the same thing two days in a row. Guys can eat the same food forever. Make me a meatloaf and I will eat meatloaf and meatloaf sandwiches until the meatloaf is gone.

Anyway, my wife was concerned because when Faith was born, also on a Saturday, I left the hospital for home pretty late. When I arrived, I popped a few slices of leftover pizza in the oven. Then I called my brother to tell him our good news. We talked. It got late. I went to bed. Monday afternoon, when I brought mother and baby home, the first thing my wife said was: “what’s burning?” The oven had been cranking at 450° for about 45 hours. The pizza had a Biblical ending, as in: “…and to dust you shall return” but no real harm was done. OK, our electric bill may have spiked a bit.

I will never live that incident down.

Alabama beat WVU 33-23, nowhere near covering the 21 ½ point spread given by the odds makers. That’s a respectable showing for my team. If WVU can hang tough with the Crimson Tide, maybe they can finish 2014 with a winning season. Happy Labor Day, and thanks for reading.

Posted in Family, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

I love Catalogs

CatalogsThere, I said it. I know that you’ve already computed my age as being somewhere between ‘old’ and ‘ancient’ and you’re already bracing yourself for a trip down memory lane. I’m ok with my age, and this isn’t a post about how things were better back in the day. Also, you should also know that I have spent 35+ years in a career working with technology, so I am familiar with things like computers, iPads and the Internet.

One of the benefits of that career, or perhaps it’s a work-related injury of sorts is that I understand the details of technology. I understand the differences between analog and digital forms, and I know think know where digital still pales by comparison. First, let’s give digital its due.

Digital shopping works, but I would add that digital buying works much better than digital shopping. Digital buying works better than analog buying in some cases:

A few weeks ago, I was in a department store shopping for casual pants. Of all the colors and styles available, only the standard khaki-colored variety was available in the size (38×34) and style (flat front, no cuff, cuz who wants cuffs on casual pants?) A saleswoman asked if I found everything I was looking for and I explained that I had not. She said: “I can order anything you want on-line and have it shipped to you for the in-store price.

You would think that sending a truckload of pants to the store would be cheaper than sending one pair of pants to me, but I guess not. I also guess that it won’t be long before the department store closes.

Digital shopping has everything in stock. Digital shopping can save me a trip to the mall. But, digital shopping can’t let me try those pants on; you know to see if the 38 in the 38×34 is still a good number or if the 34 puts those cuff-less legs dangerously high above my shoes. Yes, I know that technology exists/is right around the corner where I can upload a picture of me and my measurements and spin myself around in those new pants. However, I won’t be able to feel the tug on my waist. Actually, my wife points out that I’m no longer wearing my pants at my waist or that my waist is no longer where it’s supposed to be, so the measurements I upload won’t be helpful to the algorithm-driven mannequin. Anyway, I’m off track. That’s in-person shopping, I was talking about catalogs.

I love catalogs because, like real books, they encourage my imagination. Digital screens require too much of my attention to let me imagine anything. I’m fighting pop-ups, paging forward and back, taking screen-shots or making a list in Evernote to keep track of the things I like. I’d rather lie on the couch, browsing from page-to-page thinking about what might be. Imagining what I could do with a tool, how a piece of furniture would feel or discovering that something heretofore unknown to me really does exist.

Heretofore not used before

I checked, that is the first time I’ve used the word “heretofore” in a blog post.

Fortunately, the people selling the stuff I most want to browse in a catalog are still sending me catalogs. Those would be tool suppliers and to be honest, they are sending those catalogs to my wife. She’s been buying me tools for a long time. She was buying from catalogs when the ‘mail’ in ‘mail-order’ still meant “to call on the phone” so she has the relationships with these companies.

I want those companies to continue sending me her catalogs, so I treat them with the respect that they deserve. If I see something in a catalog that I want, I buy it from that company. I do NOT pull out my iPad to see if that item is cheaper on Amazon. That’s not right!

Amazon wants to forever strip me of the thrill of leafing through a catalog. Amazon wants to study all the information they’ve collected about me so that they can anticipate my next purchase with precision, offer it to me “just in time” and fly it to my house by drone. That may sound like the Jetson’s to some folks but check it out, it’s not. See (if you watched the video) when Jane (his wife) leaves the flying car, she is heading to a Shopping Center.

She’s also apparently planning to pay for her purchase with cash…sigh. I get it, we couldn’t imagine the world of Internet shopping back in the 60’s. But that doesn’t mean that every old way of doing business is antiquated.

Some things got to be old because they still work!

OK, I suspect that my editor has either passed out or is checking the yard for Pods. No honey, it’s really me. It’s true, I favor the “new and improved” version of just about anything, but not when it comes at the expense of what was is a better experience. Catalogs are better than websites.

Posted in Marketing, Tools, User Experience | Tagged , , , , , | 30 Comments