Conversation Starter

Conversation Starter

Going all the way back to the post-World War II “World of Tomorrow,” we were going to have telephones that incorporated a camera and a screen so a user could see the person on the other end of the line. Technologically, this was not a great reach 50 years ago. The big issue was demand. Nobody thought it sounded like a particularly good idea! People looked at their phone and looked in the mirror and said, No thanks. Besides, not so long ago all telephones were landlines, and a modestly affluent household had maybe three. What was the thrill of standing in one’s kitchen and talking to a friend standing in another kitchen? This reality never changed until the advent of ubiquitous cellular phones. My theory is, once phones became truly mobile and included cameras, there was a point to sharing an image. “Look! Me at Mt. Rushmore!” People, particularly young people, became comfortable with the idea of a visual telephone. Now we can’t get enough Facetime.

33 responses to “Conversation Starter”

  1. Am probably out of one loop or another: I don’t get today’s [10 Dec] A&J. What bow?
    According to Anu Garg’s AWAD, today is Emily Dickinson’s b’day; his selected quote is neat. Dickinson is one of Elaine’s favorites. Maybe they’ve met.

    • I think you’re right. Because when Arlo asks if she is gaslighting him, her answer is “The bow on that (gaslight) is crooked too. Gaslight would seem to be the implied object of her reply.

  2. Are we to assume that Arlo and Janis have a post-mounted, fossil fuel-burning gaslight in their yard with a ribbon tied around the post? Don’t tell Greta “How DARE You” Thunberg! But I’ll be charitable and assume that, like the one my parents had in the front yard of their last house, it was never connected to a gas line in the years they lived there.
    Vision-phone, phision-vone. I’m *still* waiting for my flying car.

  3. I just returned from the more-or-less annual visit to American Science & Surplus place at Geneva, IL – or close thereby. They had a few items of interest for my Christmas shopping, and also some for the MBH’s list. We have mentioned this firm in this blog before, quite favorably, and I’m pleased to continue that opinion.
    No tellin’ whether or not they sell a suitable phone for Janis in her tub, though.

  4. Visual comms like facetime are popular for long-distance, long-time-away connections, but for day-to-day interactions, it’s all texting. In m y experience, many if not most people under the age of 35 HATE talking on the phone. They will text back and forth a million times before they answer a phone call.

    I’ve always thought it was a funny step backward; giving up the miracle of hearing someone’s voice to essentially go back 100 years to sending them telegraph/telegrams again!

    • Same here. As a senior citizen I find it curious that kids prefer typing with their thumbs to talking to someone. There’s something broken in that preference. They certainly aren’t opting for speed of communication!

  5. The term “Gaslighting” comes from the Hitchcock movie Gaslight. It means making someone believe something that doesn’t exist or didn’t occur as a means to make them question their perception. In this instance, Janis is trying to comvince Arlo that the wreath has a non-existent now.

  6. My next q. would have been “gaslighting me”? So looked up “verb: to gaslight.” Originated in a ’38 London play, upon which the above movie was probably based. Husband apparently trying to drive wife nuts by convincing her she’s imagining things.
    Elaine & I on walking tour in London in the ’80s. Our guide noted a burning gaslight on Thames-side near Savoy Hotel. Said it burned gas generated by local sewage. Still adding CO2 to the atmosphere, but not burning Middle Eastern oil. Also, getting rid of CH4, a much worse greenhouse gas.
    Was in London [courtesy USAF] ’52-’53 during the notorious, and godawful pea soup smog. Have a photo somewhere of a double-decker emerging from the gloom just yards [metres] away. Yankee speelczech prefers meters.


  7. Dept. of Snappy Retorts, harvested from “Pickles” [courtesy of Gocomics site].
    “If you don’t like my apples, don’t shake my tree.”
    NB: I’ve already given credit where it’s due.

  8. Feline flash: Cilla still doing great, but Spunky is borderline diabetic, not overweight but underweight and has lost a little recently. If we try to give her shots everyday she is very adept at finding hiding places and we’ll never be able to get near her. Has anyone had this situation?

  9. Jerry

    Our Tiger was diabetic, we gave shots for 2 years (30 years ago).
    We closed off her Litter Box and in morning she let us know she had to go.
    Put the paper in the urine stream, read the color, give proper shot – she did not mind.
    ( this group does not like oral meds.) Keep honey on hand in case she does not use up insulin,
    rub on gums.
    She “stepped on the Rainbow” when we were not home.

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