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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Twain

Welcome to 2013 by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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New Year’s Eve Party sings the year in in style

 

Welcome to 2013 !

CHRISTY WARREN AND LENEIL SALDANA SIT DOWN TO DINNER_resized

Silent Supper

 

Christy Warren and Leneil Sadana sit down to a silent New Year’s Eve supper. Mano Bito, in the background of the snapshot, watches TV news coverage of the countdown to 2013. After I take this snapshot, I take a plate and sit down to supper.

The conversation is sparse. We all wonder if Ranilo Saldana’s classmates will attend the New Year’s Eve Party. Snapshot by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

Supreme.

 

I rate Ranilo Saldana’s New Year’s Eve Party,”Supreme.”

 

Ranilo Saldana had the idea for a New Year’s Eve Party to welcome in the new year. “Aunt Christy” Warren liked the idea as well.

 

Even before Christmas was over, they discussed ideas and started small tasks. December 26, 2012, Aunt Christy was already, “swabbing the deck.” She had water and a mop and was mopping over the porch floor.

 

The furniture seemed to take on a life of it’s own. The final days of December 2012, the bamboo chairs, coffee tables and end tables kept moving around the porch in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evenings.

 

By December 30, 2012, it was mentioned that in rural Leyte people stay around home on New Year’s Eve. The classmates might not show up for the party.

 

The Whole Hog Concept Of Partying

 

Nonetheless – New Year’s is New Year’s. In the United States, the day embodies the hope and optimism of the coming year. Thus, you gear up to welcome the new year. As we say,in the Ozarks, “You go whole hog.”

 

The “whole hog” times of life means you set aside conservative thoughts and go liberal. You pull out all the stops and do what you want to do. Common sense, of course, reminds you that you are not going to do something that will hurt you or others. Common sense, further reminds you, not to spend your last centavo on a celebration or party because you will want to be able to eat again tomorrow.

 

Overall, the”whole hog”concept as it relates to a party means you will do what it takes to have fun for you and your friends without you going broke or doing something that will put you behind bars for breaking the law.

 

Christy and Ranilo set up the karaoke arrangement of the TV, DVD player, speakers and the temperamental microphone. Mano Bito cut the bamboo limbs to use as decorations. The disco ball was in place.

 

New Year’s Eve evening the only thing missing was the guests.

 

Christy Warren and Leneil Saldana had been busy in the kitchen and the table had been set.

 

Would the guests show ?

 

While I wait for the guests to arrive, I jot down a note to outline men’s fashion issues in my New Year’s Eve article for my readers. The article within the article would address the barong and business suits. The article would point out my successes with these styles of attire.

 

My Business Barong

 

I put aside my T-shirt and walking shorts and went with denim jeans and a yellow barong. A barong, is a formal shirt in the Republic of the Philippines.

 

The holiday significance of the evening tempted me to consider wearing my military mess dress uniform. However, since the guests were suppose to be teenagers; I didn’t want to walk in and “Freak Them Out.” A duty military uniform can make some adults uncomfortable just walking past you on a sidewalk in the United States.

 

I decided the chevron and the medals would of probably made the young guests feel like they were in a military recruiter’s office and I would leave recruitment to the professionals, who get paid to do the job.

 

The barong has all the prestige of a tuxedo and the formal appeal of a white dinner jacket with slacks or a white sport coat with slacks. The message is simple: “This is a social function, but my professional attire means I am willing to talk and do business.”

 

The beauty of the Philippines’ barong is it is a designed article of clothing that is conscious that weather can and does affect formal dress. The barong is always comfortable like a T-shirt or polo shirt.

 

Business suits and military mess dress uniforms are always impressive, sometimes stylish, but, seldom comfortable, especially if you are in a situation where you will be wearing the clothing for a long period of time.

 

The barong has the debonair and panache of a tuxedo and escaped associations with the leisure suit. Leisure suits were popular in the United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

 

Leisure Suit Lament

 

The Leisure Suit is basically a long shirt and slacks. Leisure suits are comfortable attire. On a temporary duty assignment to the Kingdom of Thailand, in Bangkok, I located a tailor, who was willing to try my designs and deliver my tailored leisure suits.

 

I designed seven. One for each day of the week. I looked at the bolts of cloth and choose a rainbow of colors. I had a light blue leisure suit and a dark navy blue leisure suit. I had a dark green leisure suit, but I did not choose red because there were no casual or formal functions that a red leisure suit would work at at that point in my life.

 

I kept the leisure suits and wore them out. Even after the “fad” passed, I kept the leisure suits because they were comfortable and functional. In essence, a leisure suit is really a combination of a barong and a matching pair of slacks.

 

In the tropics, the leisure suits were really a brilliant idea because they were comfortable and provide a bridge between casual walking shorts, jeans and business suits.

 

Unfortunately, negative publicity quickly made leisure suits obsolete. The Leisure Suit Larry computer game was hitting big in the United States about the same time that the fashion fad of leisure suits was gaining ground.

 

Leisure suits seemed to quickly disappear as a man’s fashion choice in the States and men were back to either denim jeans, sport coats and slacks or business suits.

 

Leisure suit-style uniforms can still be found as fashionable in some places in Asia and the tropics.

 

Common Fashion Sense

 

Women have no problem wearing colored pants; men sometimes have the “macho” mindset that men should not wear brightly, colored or loud pants. Women have always had “fashion sense”, which explains why the fashion businesses or the world concentrate on trying to impress a woman.

 

A man’s concept of “fashion sense” is “Barbarian Basic.” If the religious, political, moral, business and social ethics of the world would allow, a man would wander around the world, naked, or only wearing a towel or a pair of denim jeans.

 

Thank God for Mothers ! Thanks to mothers, a boy learns at an early age not to mix plaids and stripes to wear out in public. A loving mother does not let her little boy grow up without some “common fashion sense.”

Suddenly, the global publicity took a negative spin on leisure suits. The attire became yesterday’s news. People began to associate the clothing with grandfathers whose fashion sense seemed antiquated.

 

Coveralls’ Culpability

 

The people who didn’t like leisure suits would point to overweight men in polyester coveralls and snicker that the man looked like a guy in a leisure suit. Dumb comparison.

 

Coveralls are basically bathrobes with legs. Instead of a terry cloth bathrobe belt coveralls have a zipper or Velcro fly. Coveralls are important work uniforms. You slip on a pair of coveralls and you go out and feed hay to the cattle in winter. Those type of coveralls contain insulation to keep you warm.

 

Men’s coveralls really do not work for casual or formal dress functions because once a man gets past his 20s or 30s, then, the physical silhouette of his body changes and men usually look like they have a “Beer Belly.”

 

The skintight, form fitting polyester men’s coveralls of the 1970s unfortunately called attention to a man’s physical appearance. Any man on the planet past age 22 always “looked like an old sow about ready to drop a litter of pigs.”

 

God’s “Beer Belly “ Design For Men

 

When God designed Man, He knew Men had no need for a wider or larger pelvic girdle like women, so He didn’t add that design detail to a Man’s body. Thus.men need a belt or suspenders to hold their pants up.

 

With or without alcohol, over time a Man’s body ages and gravity pulls at the stomach. “The Middle Age Spread” for men means nature has lowered your stomach and around your hips your favorite belt is going to “fit” differently.

 

Look in the mirror. A young man puts on a belt and the buckle “Points Out At The World” and that image is reflected in the mirror.

 

A middle age man puts on a belt and the buckle “Points Down At The Ground” and that image is reflected in a full length dress mirror.

 

Readers, notice for yourself, that at a certain age men have “The Beer Belly Flaw.” Look at the pictures in newspapers and magazines, especially at the side views of men and you will notice that “the belly pushes the belt buckle down.”

 

No article of clothing really hides or melts away “The Beer Belly Flaw.” In pictures of Arab leaders you will notice that in their robes that age has elaborated and elongated their bellies as well.

 

Appearance conscious men realize that age does their physical appearance no favors and they try to work around “The Beer Belly Flaw” with a suspender option; it doesn’t work. Suspenders and overall galluses pull the pants up and actually make the beer belly more noticeable.

 

I don’t wear suspenders often because to me they are uncomfortable. In my case, they would always rub over and feel like a weight on my shoulders. Whether the suspenders were clip on or the button-hole type, I could never get the suspenders to adjust to my level of comfort.

 

Some men resort to girdles for physical appearance or health issues like a back injury. The health issue is an understandable concern. A girdle looks uncomfortable.

 

God has a sense of humor. He gave women the pain of childbirth to remind them as a mother that she has a responsibility to love and care for her child. Men did not get off “Scott Free”. God gave men “The Beer Belly” to remind them of their responsibility as a father to love and raise their child.

 

For nine to 10 months, God made it obvious that a woman is “Pregnant.” Forget the”Healthy Glow” and look at a woman’s body – the obvious physical appearance screams, “I’m Pregnant !”

 

God’s sense of humor is evident with Men because while a woman carries and gives birth to a child, God reminds the father and grandfather’s of their responsibility by giving them “The Beer Belly.” The sense of humor is: “Pregnancy lasts around ten months. Parental Responsibility lasts a lifetime.”

 

The vanity of physical appearance is a personal issue of a man. You can’t beat age, but, you can reach an acceptable compromise with common sense and some effort.

 

In my lifetime, I have never noticed or discovered an article of clothing that will remove the physical design of “The Beer Belly.” However, leisure suits do seem to make a man’s middle-age and senior citizen “bulk” less obvious.

 

Leisure Suits Conceal Beer Belly

 

The nice thing about fashion is if something in the past had many people that loved the clothing or the style then the item will return. The bad thing is bad fashion ideas come back also.

 

Leisure suits’ main trump card with men is they were comfortable. For dress or business, once, a man had his slacks on, all you had to do was slip on a clean, white, cotton athletic T-shirt over your body and then slip on and button up the leisure suit shirt.

 

Leisure suits’ secondary trump card is they were functional and fast. Business suits require matching shirts and matching ties to the color and style of the suit. For instance:You don’t wear a wide tide with narrow lapels.

 

Sam’s Style

Business Appearance

Rules For Men

 

In the Real World, in your lifetime you will, no doubt, have an event where you need to at least look like a business man or a business women. I was fortunate to have a mother, who from an early age noticed my appearance. If I crawled out of bed looking like a creature from the sewer, she would not letting me go out in public until I at least looked human.

 

Around 1973, I learned about “Gentlemen’s Quarterly” magazine. For years I bought monthly copies. Momma had taught me all of the basics of public and business dress. “GQ” pointed out style changes, fads and used the terms that a man would use in working with his tailor for a new business suit or tuxedo.

 

Thanks to Momma and GQ, whenever I don a business suit, I know I will be successful.

 

I am passing on these rules that I have used and hope they will benefit my readers. Keep in mind, “Everything changes.” so what worked a week ago; may not work today. Life is usually cyclical, which means at some point the 1940s hairstyle for women will be a fashion focus for a time for women.

 

A major point to remember in business dress is to “Dress Conservative.” Women would not wear a PVC,Spandex or Lycra dress to a business interview. Women know better.

 

Men should not wear a sport coat and basketball shorts to a business interview; but, someone usually has to tell a man because men don’t always listen when their mothers are trying to tell them not to go outside looking like a dork.

 

The Business Of Business Suits

 

Business shirts and dress shirts, means the neck size has to be comfortable for a man. If the buttoned collar is too tight, then, you unbutton the collar and find a tie stay or tie bar to slip under the necktie that will hold the collar down and give the collar the appearance of being buttoned.

 

Learn To Tie Your Tie

 

Business suits require neckties or bow ties. Clip on neckties and bow ties have to be manufacturer by fashion designers, who know how to make the tie seem natural when worn.

 

If you do not know how to tie a necktie or a bow tie: Learn. A badly tied necktie is a “Visual Eye Sore.”

 

Business Bow Ties

 

A bow tie can work with a man’s business suit and look professional. The secret is the man has to select the bow tie.

 

Before you buy the tie, look at your face in the mirror and hold up the bow tie. The bow tie calls attention to your neck and the area around your nose. If you look like an “Off Duty Clown”; choose another bow tie or select a necktie.

 

French Cuffs

 

Business suits require dress shirts that may have French cuffs. I love French cuffs on my business shirts. French cuffs require cuff links since there is “No Button” to hold the cuffs.

 

White Suits

 

Business suits require the right material. Forget “The Memorial Day White Sale Mentality” that says you never wear white until after Memorial Day. That idea disappeared around 1965 or 1966, when women started wearing white anytime of the year. Mark Twain loved his white suits. He must have had closets full. There are many pictures of Mark Twain in a white suit.

 

Men can wear white. Men can wear white business suits. Men who wear white business suits should be conscious of the style – because if you look like a “Bozo”, someone will smile and give you directions to the circus.

 

Business Suit Weather Considerations

 

Business suits rely on climate for comfort material choices. You do not wear a paper thin tropical business suit to Alaska, Russia, China, Korea, Missouri or any other cold climate in the dead of winter unless you want to rush out and buy a heavy parka. If you do business in states or countries with cold, winter climates then choose wool or a heavy fabric for your business sport coats and suits to remain attractive, comfortable and warm.

 

Salute To Sharkskin Suits

 

Sharkskin Suits” are the shiny business suits. I loved my sharkskin suits. When I found a tailor in the Kingdom of Thailand, while on a temporary duty assignment, I sketched out the design I wanted and ended up with two beautiful business suits, a shiny silver and a light blue shiny suit. I wore them out going to parties, instead of board rooms.

 

The sharkskin suits are beautiful material that plays with the lights. Entertainers love shark skin suits because they seem wired with electricity because light brings out the sheen of the material, even in a dark room.

 

Sharkskin business suits are beautiful and do work in a business setting, but, you have to match your accessories from your wrist watch down to your cuff links and your socks to make sure the accessories compliment and do not challenge or make the sharkskin suit seem gaudy or garish.

 

Sharkskin suits were popular business suits in the late 1970s and early to mid-80s. Unfortunately, the late 1970s to the mid-1980s was “The Era Of The American Televangelists”. Every two-bit con man with a Holy Bible and a buddy with a video camera started their own “Ministries” and empty your pockets for God scheme.

 

The televangelist became so associated with the sharkskin suits that it did not matter whether a minister was credible or a conman because the shiny suits got unjustly associated with the “crooked preachers” of the era and the suits went into storage.

 

Business Suits Genius Of Style

 

Business suits usually require accessories. The overall business suit design for a man or a woman is a pure work of genius because the suit gives an overall uniform appearance to people committed to being, acting and dressing in a professional manner.

 

Women have the option to choose a skirt or slacks to go with their business suit attire. Women have learned since they were little girls how to “accessorize.”

 

The Breast Pocket Handkerchief

 

Men need to learn to pay attention to the accessories they choose to compliment there business suits. In the early 21st century, men are still “ignoring” the breast pocket of the business suit.

 

For the record, guys: A handkerchief goes in the exterior breast pocket of a business suit. The handkerchief is functional because it can be removed to wipe sweat from your brow in an emergency. It is wiser to carry a clean, folded, white cotton handkerchief in a rear pants pocket.

 

The breast pocket handkerchief is an important accessory. The presence on the business suit states, “I Pay Attention To Detail.” In the good old days of business suits, breast pocket handkerchiefs came boxed with a matching necktie.

 

Always Carry A Handkerchief.”

 

Gentlemen, if you ignored your mother; listen to me, “Always carry a handkerchief.” The second handkerchief is the most important and should always been in a rear pants pocket or an inside breast pocket of a suit. It can be used to wipe sweat off your forehead, take care of tears or sneezing. And, any one of a bazillion situations that come up from a wound dressing to waving down a taxi; you can use a white handkerchief for.

 

Business suit accessories include your watch and your rings. Silver, gold, black or brown leather watchbands are business staples. Pay attention to the rings you wear with your business suit. Pay attention to the socks you wear with your business suit.

 

Slip On The Shoes

 

Shoes are important with the business suit, They should be stylish and comfortable. If you wear basketball sneakers with your business suit, I would hope the company calls building security and either has you escorted off the premises or transported to the nearest mental institution. Basketball shoes are for the basketball court; never for the world of business.

 

Boots ? If someone is from a western or southern state of the United States or some part of the world where the boots are normal footwear, then, they should be accepted as business footwear. The key is to go with the traditional colors of black and brown to compliment and not overwhelm the suit.

 

Hat Headliners

 

Hats ? Hats have style. Hats are functional because they keep the sun out of your eyes, keep the rain off your head, hold your hair back and in cold climates a hat helps to retain some of your body heat. Fedoras were popular business hats of the 1940s through 1960 in the United States to be worn with a business suit.

 

Western hats should be considered a cultural tradition for people who live in the American south or west, so they should be considered a part of the business attire. The key with an appropriate Western hat is the crown and the brim. The crown and the brim should compliment the wearer’s face and not overwhelm or hide the wearer’s face. Leave “The Goat Roper” wide brim, tall crown western hat in the pickup and choose a more conservative style like a Stetson stockman hat to wear with your business suit.

 

Baseball caps are not hats. Baseball caps are for playing baseball. If you wear a baseball cap with your business suit I would hope building security removes you from the premises and possibly has you transported with the “basketball sneaker” wearer to the nearest mental facility. Baseball caps look dumb with business suits and a business suit is designed to be professional.

 

Quick Change

 

One of the greatest selling points of “The Leisure Suit” is the “Quick Change.” Just like Clark Kent running into the phone booth to change into “Superman,” the Leisure Suit gave men the ability to quickly change into a professional business style of dress that looked presentable, professional, and comfortable.

 

A business suit is a professional form of dress that require conscious effort in the selection and wear of the suit. The leisure suit allows men to bypass a whole series of decisions that should be made in the wear of a business suit.

 

The leisure suit being a comfortable and functional designed shirt with matching slacks solves a majority of the issues that have to be considered with a business suit. Plus with a leisure suit you do not wear a necktie or a bow tie. It is acceptable to keep the top button unbuttoned.

 

The other major plus of a leisure suit is age makes a man’s “beer belly”predominant. Some men their stomachs literally shout,”In Your Face !” The leisure suit seems to overcome the physical appearance issue by design. The material like any shirt rests on a man’s shoulders and the length of the material hangs down long enough to cover the stomach without drawing undue attention to it.

 

Forget the belt with a leisure suit. The belt brings back the “Beer Belly.”

 

Super Supper

 

I look at the clock on the wall and realize that 2012 is about to be history. Ranilo’s young guests have not arrived.

 

While Christy and Leneil cater dishes to the table. Mano Bito arrived, The black disco ball light slowly spun colored lights out around the bamboo decor

 

Everyone anxiously awaited the Noche Buena feast, a few days ago. I love food. I am always anxious about dinner.

 

The magick furniture had at last settled into positions that would allow people to be able to use the microphone and TV for “Karaoke Night.” A large enough area of the floor remained vacant to allow for dancing.

 

My appetite recognized the containers of Pancit Canton and fried rice. The platter of lumpia confirmed that 2012 was being sent into oblivion with a full dinner table of delicious food. The last platter had watermelon, pineapple and an assortment of nuts.

 

I lost no time, seating myself at the table and satisfying my appetite. Christy, Leneil and Ramon joined me.

One nice factor of being a writer, you can use your imagination to look at the end of the table and watch women in evening gowns and men in tuxedos and white dinner jackets with pink carnations stepping out on to the dance floor. Balloons bob about, while the orchestra in their dinner jackets play the music of the evening. My “Secret Life Of Walter Mitty” mindset is interrupted by the brief visit of Rafael and Virgie Saldana

 

Rafael and Virgie Saldana stopped by to say, “Happy New Year !” They didn’t stay for dinner.

 

The black disco ball spins out it’s colored lights across the bamboo decor I notice the lights briefly wash over the Christmas Tree. It reminded me of Aunt Bill and Uncle Audrey Irwin’s small silver artificial tree and the color wheel still decorating one of my holiday memories of the 1960s.

 

After supper, dreams of a Waldorf Astoria New Year’s Eve Party were vanishing. The hours had become minutes. Each passing minute cast aside a New Year’s Eve Party dream.

 

The clock on the wall displayed the civilian digits of 1-0 and I smile at the military memory of “2200 hours.” I smiled at Christy and remembered the New Year’s Eve Party at Clark Air Base, where famous Filipina singer, Regine Velasquez sang in the new year.

 

Carry Out The Plan

 

Life has taught me you never give up on a plan.

 

A celebration is always a celebration. New Year’s Eve is one of those celebrations that you should always celebrate because everyone only gets so many holidays and celebrations in their lifetime. It is silly and senseless to waste a single one.

 

I Am A Party Of One

 

The nice thing about having grown up an “only child” is I can appreciate “The Party Of One” concept. You maybe “alone”, but, you are not “lonely”, unless you choose to be.

 

If I want to party, whether I am in the middle of the Sahara Desert or in an igloo at the South Pole, I will find a way to “Par – tay”.

 

In my lifetime, I have made it my mission to “uproot wall flowers” and try to get them out on the dance floor. I stroll to the karaoke setup and browse through Christy’s collection.

 

I play the “One Night In Bangkok” selection and begin to dance. The nice thing about your senior citizen years is the “Liberation.” People look at your white hair and wrinkles and, no doubt, consider your possible “senility.”

 

Alas, my friends, if you live long enough, you too will sport the snow on the roof.

 

Sam’s Psychology Of Dancing 101

 

The kids and the adults watch Sam slippin’ and slidin’ across the dance floor. At first, they snicker, giggle and laugh. Minutes pass and before long, I am not alone on the dance floor.

 

Years of people watching and barroom boredom have taught me that people like to dance; few are willing to be the first to “get out on the dance floor.”

 

An empty dance floor simply means I have room to dance. Once a person or a couple begin to dance, then, other people who really wanted to dance will sneak or proudly strut out on to the dance floor.

 

After all, whether they realize it or not, people come to a dance – to dance. Sam’s Psychology Of Dancing 101 seldom fails because people do like music and people do like to dance.

 

Sometimes in the Real World people become so grown up that they forget sometimes to allow the “kid within” to slip on his dance shoes and party down.

 

The kids were enjoying kid style dancing and the adult were making brave attempts to overcome their “nervous knees” and actually cut loose and dance.

 

The kids were having fun. I’m too old not to have fun. I put in the“Rock Around The Clock” selection, closed my eyes and mentally time traveled back to a dance of my youth.

 

Dynamic DeMolay Dance

220px-Brasao_DeMolay_jpeg

 

The Ozarks Chapter of the Order of DeMolay boys went to the dance in Republic. Missouri. It was a formal function, which meant we wore coats and ties to the dance. Rainbow Girls and Job’s Daughters in their evening gowns waited patiently for the DeMolay boys in their stylish 1970s attire to ask “the girls to dance.”

 

A nice blessing of having been “A Momma’s Boy” in my youth is I put my mother on a pedestal. My allegiance to my mother meant that I have always respected and been attracted to girls and women. Therefore, anytime as a youth I noticed an attractive girl or woman, she became “Helen Of Troy Incarnate.”

 

At the dance, under the spinning disco ball of light, across the room I noticed a beautiful young brunette woman in an evening gown, Donna Knight. She did me the honor of walking out on the dance floor with me.

 

I have always hoped that I did not embarrass her. My formal dance training consisted of copying the moves of Elvis in his movies, My dance philosophy has always been, “Let the music move you.” This dance was the first time that I had ever been permitted to dance in public. Stone County, Missouri’s religious values outlawed “dancing” and denied seniors a “prom.”

 

This night, my heart was beaming. My mind raced, My body reacted. Joy, exhilaration, excitement, celebration – No English dictionary on the planet contains enough words to describe the overwhelming positive emotions flowing through my body. I cloud dance. And, dance I did.

 

Although films like “Dirty Dancing,” and “Footloose,” had not been made,yet, like the leading men of those dance films, I was out on the dance floor dancing my heart out. My young lungs ached and my leg muscles went numb.

 

I love to dance.

 

Anytime I am in a situation, where people come to dance, but are reluctant to take the first step; I do.

 

I think back to the DeMolay dance. I realize one of the pleasures of life is being able to move your body in ways you never realized that your body could move.

 

Regardless of your age, if you do a freestyle form of dancing and allow the “music to move you”, you will shock and offend some people, so, be aware of not only how you dance, but where you dance.

 

To me, dancing and the right music is just too precious to waste sitting it out on the sidelines. When you see the digits 6 and 0 vaguely on the horizon, you might have to back off of the “No Pain, No Gain” approach to dancing, which means you might not want to spend as long out on the dance floor.

 

I left our dance floor to sit out the next song, Ranyiel stops dancing and picks up the microphone to sing. He kept the karaoke microphone warm with his Tagalog and English songs until his brother, Ranilo, returned with a guest.

 

Chrismar Mora, Ranilo’s cousin, stopped by.

 

A better karaoke microphone got plugged in and passed around. Sarge, our blue heeler, and Smiley, our mixed breed wooly dog, became our resident music critics and let loose their canine howls.

 

Forget the judges of “American Idol”, Sarge’s bass howl is a loud piercing ambulance siren wail that raises the hairs on the back of your neck.

 

Smiley’s tenor bark is rapid and persistent.

 

The canine karaoke judges voted with their barks only a couple of times during the evening. I realized it was time for me to quit trying to sing Beatles tunes.

 

 

Whenever Chrismar Mora took the microphone, it became as quiet as a church and you could hear a pin drop.

 

I can’t play an instrument; but, I can play a radio or a record player. I’m no musician, but I know what I like in instrumental and vocal music.

 

My Music Memories

 

My mother had always had a radio on somewhere around the house, when I was growing up, so country music became part of my genetic code. I got exposed to opera,jazz and various forms of music.

 

When I was working my way through college at KSOZ-FM at Point Lookout,Missouri, I would pay attention to singers and new releases.

 

I learned how to dance watching Elvis Presley movies and would imitate “The King’s”vocal style as a child. In grade school and high school, there had been the great hard charging rock and roll music of the 1960s.

 

As I remember, the early to mid -70s gave the world Bachman Turner Overdrive, ZZ Top, Boston, Rush and the “Heavy Metal” that reached into the souls of musicians and stress tested the absolute limits of instruments from guitars to pianos.

 

From Iron Butterfly’s In A Gadda Da Vida to Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, the music came in through your ears and the pores of your skin. It seemed the tone vibrations of the music always rattled the red and white blood cells flowing in your blood stream.

 

You might doze off on an elevator playing “Elevator Muzack”, but, “Heavy Metal” music seemed destined to flow through your body and attempt to bond to your immortal soul.

 

I love Rock and Roll and Heavy Metal because both types of music seem to flow into your bloodstream and challenge you to react. Rock and Roll and Heavy Metal music call to mind the Black Oak Arkansas lyric about standing in the Hall of Commons between the devil and God.

 

Bubble gum” rock like Partridge Family music had a following. The movie “Saturday Night Fever” sent ever man in America to the tailor to find a white suit and try to learn to dance. Disco became a definite form of music overnight thanks to the movie.

Rap or Rat music?

 

I had been exposed to a lot of styles of music and could accept them all until “Rap.”

 

The introduction of “Rat” music “tuned me out,”

 

Take a boring, repetitive, rhythmic beat and apply it to the dirtiest words in the English language and you have a “Rap Hit” on your hands. Early rappers all seem to be “tone deaf convicted drug dealers on their way to Federal lockup.”

 

Like disco, everyone predicted “Rap” music would end; unfortunately, “Rat” music survived. As always the “Doomsday Prophets” were wrong and fast talking vulgar noise became an accepted part of the music industry.

 

By the 1990s, I might hear a song, but unless there was something special from the 1980s on, I didn’t get all that excited about music,with a few notable exceptions like Pat Benatar, Bonnie Tyler and Huey Lewis and the News.

 

This young man can sing !”

 

My skepticism and cynicism of global music “took the night off.” Chrismar Mora proved there are still people in the world who can sing and bring back the feeling of a song. As we say, in the Ozarks, “This young man can sing !”

 

Chrismar Mora’s voice singing along to the words on the karaoke screen reminded me that music could be beautiful, interesting and soothe the soul.

 

Happy New Year 2013 !

 

The TV shuttled back and forth between the ABS and CBN countdown and the GMA countdown to midnight. The family, began the remarks of “Happy New Year !” The fireworks in the distance exploded to signal the arrival of the new year. A slight breeze stirred through the tropic night and Christy commented, “A cool breeze.”

 

After the welcome of 2013, family members began easing off to bed. I really appreciated Chrismar’s singing,so I stayed on the bamboo loveseat until 2 am. Ranyiel relinquished his microphone and went to bed. Ranilo would take a turn at the mike now and then. Sarge and Smiley had voted against my singing earlier in the evening, so I sat back and listened.

 

My eyes became heavy. I remember a lyric about “singing until the break of day.” Perhaps, Ranilo and Chrismar did. I felt the party had been a success.

 

My recognition of the definite presence of 2013 came thanks to a familiar song I heard on New Year’s Day. Family members and friends arrived to spend some time with us on New Year’s Day/

 

In the midst of the conversations, I heard music coming from a distance through the jungle. I recognized the voice of Bonnie Tyler, singing. “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

 

For my readers, I wish you the best that 2013 can bring to you.

 

Happy New Year

2013 !

Sam

 

New Year’s Party Links

 

Regine Velasquez

Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regina_Encarnacion_Ansong_Velasquez

 

Barong Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barong_Tagalog

 

Tuxedo Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuxedo

 

Military Mess Dress Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mess_dress

 

 

Sharkskin Suits Wikipedia

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharkskin

 

Gentlemen’s Quarterly “GQ” Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GQ

 

GQ Magazine Online

http://www.gq.com/

 

Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_Life_of_Walter_Mitty

 

One Night In Bangkok Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Night_In_Bangkok

 

Rock Around The Clock Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Around_The_Clock

 

Order of DeMolay Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_DeMolay

 

Rainbow Girls Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Girls

 

Job’s Daughters Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Job%27s_Daughters

In A Gadda Da Vida Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_A_Gadda_Da_Vida

 

Black Oak Arkansas Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Oak_Arkansas

 

Saturday Night Fever Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturday_Night_Fever

 

Helen Of Troy Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Of_Troy

 

Total Eclipse of the Heart Wikipedia

lhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Eclipse_of_the_Heart

 

Waldorf Astoria Hotel Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldorf-Astoria_Hotel

 

13th Air Force Crest Thumbnail

 

Clark Air Base Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clark_Air_Base

Pacific Air Forces Crest Thumbnail

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Written by samwarren55

January 3, 2013 at 6:08 AM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Leyte, Money, Nature, Philippines, The Ozarks

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Christmas Cash,Costs,Challenges of The Ozarks 1960s

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Christmas Cash,Costs, Challenges

of

The

Ozarks’

1960s

THE OZARKS OLD HOUSE_Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The Old House

Of The Ozarks

This small house beside Missouri State Highway 176 in Stone County, Missouri in The Ozarks can go unnoticed by passing motorists. This Old House served as The DeLong Family Home in the 1960s. Birthday parties, Fourth of July, Halloween Trick or Treat events,Thanksgiving Supper and Christmas Day Dinner celebrations were held in the three – room house, which had a Laundry Room built on in the 1970s. There was no inside plumbing. Uncle Joe built an Outhouse down on the hillside. While the house did not have the social comforts of some 20th Century homes in The Ozarks; it always felt like “Home” to DeLong family members, who returned to Stone County and the Missouri Ozarks anytime of the year. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

christmas-tree-logo-photo-two-thumbnail_thumb[1]Home in my childhood was “The Ozarks.”

 

The Ozarks is one of the places in the world, where myth and reality live side by side.

 

You live your life in The Real World and sometimes it seems like you look up and see a wild,white-haired Mark Twain smiling down at you with his pen in hand.

 

The heavy snows of winter fall. The scene looks like a Currier and Ives lithograph on a china plate and then you feel the “bone chilling cold” enter your body. You see your breath. You trudge out of the knee-high snow into the warmth of your home.

 

You “warm” by the large, rectangular, dark brown “Warm Morning” gas stove and realize winter in The Ozarks means Christmas is usually just days away.

 

You get a hot cup of coffee and wonder why people think The Ozarks is “permanently stuck in an 1800s Time Warp.”

 

MV5BMTUzNzE1MjY0MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDE3MjU1MQ@@._V1._SX359_SY500_If you ever watched an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies” you may believe the fictional characters represent “Life In The Ozarks.”

 

You would be wrong.

 

I grew up in the Ozarks and I never ate possum.

 

I have ate squirrel.

 

Uncle Hobert DeLong was a “dead on shot” with a rifle. Every time he went into the woods, he came back with a “mess of squirrels” and sometimes “a mess of rabbits.”

 

Of course, no one remembers Jed, granny and the rest of the Clampett were supposed to have been from Bugtussel, Tennessee and the characters get associated with The Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks.

 

Cartoonist Al Capp made a large fortune drawing the comic strip of Lil’ Abner for 43th years that reached 60 million readers in more than 900 American newspapers.

 

Capp’s newspaper comic strip was one of my mother’s favorites. Capp put the characters in Dogpatch, Kentucky, but as a kid everyone though if you were from The Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks, then, you must be like Lil’ Abner.

 

I never went to a Sadie Hawkin’s Day dance.

 

Dancing wasn’t allowed at Galena High School in the 1960s. It was an issue that came up with every senior class wanting a “Prom.” The Baptist and Pentecostal churches of the 1960s in Stone County were vocal in their objections and they kept the prom dance out of school.

 

I graduated in 1973 in a “Graduation Exercises” ceremony, but there was “No Prom” because the churches still didn’t allow dancing in school.

 

 

 

The Ozarks Hillbilly Stereotype

 

No matter how incorrect the “hillbilly” stereotype is about The Ozarks. Americans and foreigners seem to cling to the dumb hayseed and lazy cartoon and television stereotypes of “The Ozarks Hillbilly.”

 

The irony is that the Ozarks is pretty close to the center of the United States and it has always seemed like an “undiscovered country” to foreigners and other Americans.

 

My geographical calculations of “The Ozarks” begins from the southern city limits sign of Jefferson City to the southern city limits sign of Little Rock, Arkansas, which is what I always considered to be, “The Ozarks.”

 

Stone County, Missouri is in the southwest section of the state and borders Arkansas, which means, “reckon I grew up one of them thar’ Ozarks’ country boys.”

 

Missourians in the Ozarks joke, “If you don’t like the weather just wait 15 minutes and it will change.” There is truth to that joke. The weather doesn’t always change every 15 minutes, but in a 24-hour day, the weather can change several times in a day.

 

Pen To Paper

 

To put pen to paper and write a story about Christmas in The Ozarks, I will have to set the stage.

 

There are many famous Missourians from United States Army Generals of the Armies John Joseph “Blackjack” Pershing to “The Most Trusted Man In America” Walter Cronkite, but, usually the celebrities are known as Missourians and not necessarily, “Ozarkers.”

 

Neosho, Missouri’s Thomas Hart Benton put his brush strokes on canvas to paint pictures; I will try to paint a word picture of life in The Ozarks in the 1960s.

 

Tom Sawyer Childhood

 

Life in “The Ozarks” in Stone County, Missouri in the 1960s was like “Tom Sawyer on a tractor and in a pickup truck.” Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Midwest buckboards and stagecoaches were replaced by 18-wheelers, Greyhound and Continental Trailways buses.

 

Rose O’Neill’s Kewpie dolls could be still found in toy stores in the Ozarks. Overall, Life in southern Missouri had not changed all that much since the days of Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose O’Neill.

 

The Tomato Factories” of Reeds Spring, Abesville, and Galena in the 1930s had been replaced with “The Garment Factory” in Reeds Spring and Crane and Crane had a “Casket Factory.”

 

Fasco in Springfield, Missouri employed several people from Stone County. In 1960, Silver Dollar City was just beginning operations. Branson, Missouri in 1960 was “no threat” to country music in Nashville, but, Nashville musicians would begin to head for Branson, during the 1960s. In the area of economics, “times were tough”, in Stone County and southwest Missouri in 1960.

 

Blood Out Of A Turnip

 

Every nation has an economy. Money flows around in the metropolitan and urban areas, but in rural areas the ocean of money flows into a narrow stream that sometimes becomes a dry creek bed. In Stone County, it seemed even the rocks in the creek bed were usually “bone dry.”

 

After The Great Depression and World War II, the United States economy was strengthening. In the rural areas of the Ozarks, being “poor” is still a way of life.

 

In the early 1960s, the local power companies were working hard to provide, stable and reliable electricity.

 

Stone County, Missouri had a reputation of being one of the poorest counties in The Show Me State.

 

Traditionally in Missouri, statistics reveal “Mining” is the major source of manual labor income for the state. Farming comes in second. There were caves in Stone County, but no working mines.

 

Farming is hard work. Even with good weather and the money to buy seeds, livestock and equipment, farming is a full-time job to make a living.

 

Gardening maybe a hobby; Farming is a job.

 

Grandma DeLong like to sum up an economic situation as, “I couldn’t afford to make a down payment on an old settin’ hen with all her eggs rotten.” The purpose of this country statement was to point out that someone was “financially broke.” It was a common financial phrase that you heard in The Ozarks in the 1960s.

 

By 1960s, some farmers in Stone County had had it with “life on the farm.” Some people sold their farms and moved to other states. Some people stayed on their farms, but tried to get a “public job” at Silver Dollar City.

 

When it came to money in Stone County, Missouri and The Ozarks in the 1960s “people minded their Ps and Qs” and sometimes the lack of money was described as “Trying to get blood out of a turnip.”

 

Ozarks Hills And Hollers

 

Corn and tomatoes were the big income producing crops in Stone County, Missouri in my childhood in the 1960s. There were always stories of some of the corn being used to produce “moonshine” and “white lightning.”

 

In the early 1980s, I was “home on leave” from the military and a family friend unscrewed the lid on a Mason jar and asked me if I wanted some of the clear liquid.

 

I thanked him, but decided not to drink the “white lightning.”

 

The geography of Stone County had some cliffs and bluffs in the landscape of the hills and hollers. When the soil was too rough, rocky or poor to raise any other crop, usually the farmer would sew cane and other pasture grasses.

 

Fertilize was not all that expensive, but, the amount needed to nourish the soil and get crops to grow was sometimes too big a chunk of money out of a farmer’s budget.

 

Uncle Richard had one field beside State Highway 176, that the family called, “The Cane Field” because it was too rocky and the soil too poor for any other crop. The cane was used to feed to the cattle in the winter time,

 

Spring and summer usually the crops grew well and there was plenty of pasture to feed the livestock. Farmers didn’t get rich, but they made “the ends meet.”

 

Deep Freeze

 

Winter in southwest Missouri in the 1960s was always Armageddon. Fields were buried under blankets of deep snow. The important contribution of the deep snow and cold temperatures is the weather would kill off chiggers, ticks and snakes as long as farmers burned the brush in their fields and hollers in the early falls.

 

Burning the tree leaves in the hollers that fell kept deep leave beds from filling up the hollers. In the winter time, chigger, ticks and snakes would burrow into the deep leaves to try and wait out the winter until spring.

 

Southwest Missouri’s picture postcard “snows” were efficient in freezing farm ponds, which stayed frozen unless you broke the ice with an ax for the cattle to get a drink.

 

The weight of a Black Angus, Polled Hereford, Jersey or Holstein cow would sometimes shatter the ice and a cow could drown trying to get a drink of water in the winter.

 

Later in the 1960s, someone invented a device to stick in farm ponds in the winter to keep the water from freezing.

 

The deep freeze of the Ozarks in winter would freeze trees. The weight of ice on the limbs would cause the limbs to fall and take down electric lines. If you were lucky, you would be without electricity for a day.

 

On average people usually went without electricity for two to three days usually two to three times,during winter from October through April. The worst case scenario meant you would go without electricity for one to two weeks during the winter.

 

A Country Mile

 

The strength of my childhood came from my family in the Ozarks. Momma, Grandma DeLong, Uncle Richard, Uncle Hobert, Aunt Mary, and Cousin Donna were my family in the Ozarks.

 

In Houston, Texas, I could step out in my front yard. Donna and Debbie Brinkley from the house next door only had to walk out their gate and a few feet to walk into my yard for us to play.

 

In the Ozarks, neighbors always seemed to live a country mile from your front door.

 

Thelma Thomas was my closet neighbor in 1960 and she lived about a tenth of a mile from my front door on top of a hill. Her kids were grown with families of their own.

 

The Galena School District usually included Jenkins and Wheelerville, Missouri, which was only a few miles from Crane, Missouri. And, Crane, Missouri was 10 miles from Galena.The district would extend south to almost Reeds Spring, which was about 15 miles from Galena.

 

Many of my classmates would have to do chores before catching the school bus in the morning. The bus ride for some of the kids meant they were on the school bus for two hours before they arrived at Galena Elementary or Galena High School. After school, they would spend two hours on the bus once it left the school.

 

You would see classmates in school, but the distances and the rural road conditions to their parents’ farms meant that “visits” and social interaction was almost impossible, except for possibly on the weekend.

 

Crane, Missouri was only 10 miles from Galena and we usually only went grocery shopping in Crane on Saturdays.

 

 

 

Life On Planet Earth Before Electronics”

 

Children of the 21st Century will think I grew up in The Dark Ages because there was no Internet, no facebook, no twitter, no computers, no X box, no play station and no cell phones.

 

Yes, there was “Life On Planet Earth Before Electronics.”

 

Fire had been discovered. My father always carried his Zippo cigarette lighter.

 

We didn’t have to use stone tablets and chisels because there was an archaic device called, a typewriter that used ribbons, bond paper and carbon paper that helped people put words on paper for future generations.

 

Telephones Come To Stone County

 

Telephones were being installed in homes, near Galena and Abesville, Missouri.

 

In order to have a telephone in your home if you lived near State Highway 176, you had to be willing to be on “a party line”, which meant when your phone rang, your neighbors telephone gave off a jangle sound,

 

There was one public telephone booth in Galena, Missouri. The phone booth was on the sidewalk by the US Post Office, next to Floyd’s Barber shop, which was next to Rose’s beauty shop, which was next to the Hillbilly Cafe and sat across the street from the courthouse. In 2011, that area is now a parking lot for The Stone County Judicial Center.

 

The reason why the telephone was so important in 1960 was it allowed Momma to call Daddy in Texas and he could call her from Texas. Grandma and Uncle Richard never had a telephone. DeLong and Warren family members, who lived in other states could call us and we could call them.

 

In the 21st Century, when it seems children own a cell phone as soon as they learn to speak; it may be hard to imagine the importance of a telephone in your home, but, imagine for a moment that you lived in the snow and ice of the South Pole and you were trying to make a phone call to your grandparents in the United States.

 

If your grandparents lived in a city like Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles or New York City, it would be easy for them to place a call. But, if you lived in a remote location at the South Pole, there might not be phone lines or cell phone towers, so you might not get the phone call.

Old Missouri Spring Photo by Junior Warren1

Old Missouri Spring

This old spring is on Warren Land in Stone County, Missouri. The Ozarks area of the United States has always been difficult for “people to live off the land” because the soil is poor and rocky. If you need rain; you will get a drought. If you need sunshine;you will get a flood. Nature seems to enjoy working against farmers. Wildlife and insect pest can have a negative effect on crops. The Old Traditional Ozarks Hillbilly concept portrays citizens as dumb and lazy. The truth is an Ozarks Hillbilly is one of the smartest and hard working people, you will ever meet because they use their elbow grease and common sense to work a “Miracle” on stubborn pieces of land to earn a living and raise their families. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

The Miracle Of Life In The Ozarks

 

When you think of “The Ozarks” in the 1960s; you understand the word, “Miracle” is a reality.

 

The Ozarks’ lunar style geography of cliffs and bluffs, poor soil, an over abundance of rocks, moody weather, predator wildlife like wolves and coyotes as well as insect pests; it is a “Miracle” that people were able to live, earn a living, and sometimes prosper in this section of the United States.

 

When you are a child, you open your toys on Christmas Day. Underneath the Christmas Tree, you begin to play with the toys.

 

As a young man, you can find yourself trying to decide if you want to go “Home For The Holidays.”

 

As a senior citizen you can sit back with a cup of coffee or a glass of egg nog and remember the toys and the celebrations. When you look back long enough at your childhood, you really begin to understand and appreciate the sacrifices that your parents made for you.

 

At last, you can understand, the challenges, costs,hard work and the effort that your parents made to make Christmas seem like a “Magickal Holiday” that simply happens.

Sam

thumbnail 1 old missouri spring

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Written by samwarren55

December 23, 2012 at 4:23 PM

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Trials, Tribulation, Triumphant Tale of the Old Computer Geek

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Trials, Tribulation, Triumphant,Tale

of the

Old Computer Geek

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

My birthday is only a couple of days after Microsoft Founder Bill Gates. Computer software made Mr. Gates wealthy.  Computer software gave me gray hair and, probably, ulcers,  Nonetheless, I am an “Old Computer Geek.”

United States Air Force “Buck” Sergeant Bill Law, a KC-10 crew chief, of the 2nd Bombardment Wing of Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, did his best to bring me into: The New Emerging Computer Age Of The 1980s.

I was a Junior in Galena High School, in Galena, Missouri, in 1972, when Wes Ashcroft, my math teacher, gave me a 8 by 10-sized paperback book with about a hundred or so pages in it. I forgot the title of the book, but, not the story inside. It outlined the ongoing development of computers.

The Book

In the 1800s, while Thomas Edison and Luther Burbank were working on various inventions, some people were determined to discover a way to capture light to make pictures that would become photography and devices called, cameras. Still, there were other people in the 1800s, that knew there had to be knowledge and a method to build a “Counting Machine.” The overall idea was beyond adding machines, cash registers and calculators.

The technology of the day, of the 1800s, had the refined and polished parts of the Industrial Revolution to work with. But, the polished parts of sheet metal and forged metal arranged together only resulted in abacus type functions that did not allow for the “counting” that the inventors had hoped for.

Those original “counting” machine ideas were the first rough ideas of computers. Alas, while the ambition, passion and innovation of creative people was rampant; technology did not provide a way to combine the metal, mechanical machine functions with a power source to create a computer.

After all, the hard charging newspaper reporters of the 1800s were still pounding out their breaking news stories on heavy manual typewriters to make the morning, afternoon and evening editions of America’s daily newspapers.

The Math Teacher

The book, Mr. Ashcroft gave me, outlined how development of electronic parts had allowed these transistors to be used to build huge room sized contraptions that performed simple mathematical functions. And, the book theorized that someday the “computer”, especially, the popular, expensive game computers built for use in homes might become as common in American homes as televisions and automobiles.

I always remember Mr. Ashcroft because of his smile, sense of humor, and he was the only math teacher I ever had that made me “like” math. I hated math. To me, math was boring. Mr. Ashcroft teaching method helped to allow me to want to understand more about math.

Most people in southwest Missouri, remember, Wes Ashcroft, the math teacher, as the brother of John Ashcroft, who became a United States Attorney General.

The Sergeant

While I never forgot the book that Mr. Ashcroft gave me, it was Sergeant Bill Law, who did his best to convince me that computers would make a difference in the future. He would put a cassette tape in the Tandy Radio Shack cassette recorder and we had to wait for the electronic bits to travel along the cords to wake up the TV or the crude monitor.

Then, the electricity would allow pixels to appear on the screen to reveal childish art that looked like rough cave paintings on the screen, The words at the bottom of the screen were text and described an adventure story that you were suppose to push buttons on the keyboard to play the game.

Bill Law was an early computer gamer. Me, I would shake my head and wonder why anyone would be willing to spend all that money, the time to connect all those cords and pieces of equipment to spend a few minutes to play a computer game.

My First Computer

I told myself I bought my Commodore 64 to impress people and learn computers. It sat on the coffee table in my barracks room and I gave it a light dusting each morning, just in case the First Sergeant (i.e., the “First Shirt”) decided to pull a surprise barracks room inspection. I know, now, I bought the computer to keep my friend from always giving me his “used car salesman computer pitch” and his prophecy that someday computers would change the world.

Bill’s Computer

Bill had a Tandy Radio Shack Color Computer II that he thought was the “Cat’s Meow.” We were two young, single American G.I.s interested in airplanes and girls.

We understood airplanes and we did our best to understand the girls. A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker crew chief, who took the additional training to become a KC-10 crew chief, Sergeant Bill Law knew that computers would change the world.

I bought Bill Law’s old “Trash 80,” computer so he could upgrade to the “elite of the fleet” the Tandy Radio Shack 1000. I took my orders to Kadena Air Base Okinawa and said “Good Riddance To Computers”

How could ugly green screens with dim yellow flashing dots ever hope to change the world ? They did.

Meet The Frankenstein’s Of The Future

My favorite philosophical uncle, “Uncle Sam” had sent me to Kadena Air Base. Day One, The large, long, rectangular, heavy, beige, plastic encased, IBM Selectric III typewriter, with it’s 12 pica elite and courier balls, I had used at Barksdale was not on my desk at Kadena.

A ugly, squat, dark plastic gray box that looked like a cheap, pregnant, TV sat on my desk. It was an NCR computer.

It was a physically ugly machine that looked like it had been born. not in a hospital or laboratory, but in the back seat of a junked car in a salvage yard. It was a gray, plastic electronic head, missing a pike or a body.

The machine was a Frankenstein of the Future that looked like it should of remained in the horrific nightmares of a mental patient in an asylum, rather, than leeching space on my desk.

One look at the ugly machine and it was all I could do to keep my breakfast at the chow hall in my stomach. The only good thing about the ugly machine, it didn’t take up much space on the corner or my desk.

The Miracle Of Newspapers

To be able to publish a newspaper is always a Miracle. There are so many factors that have to happen to be able to get “a newspaper out on the street.”

A good manual or electric typewriter had become the Global Support Beam Of A Worldwide Publishing Industry.

Computers were toys – plastic boxes of electricity and wires for people who were “gamers.”

The idea of “Desktop Publishing” in the mid-1980s seemed to rank right up there with “Unicorn Farming.”

We were suppose to be able to publish a weekly military newspaper. While we had the usual duties of coming up with story ideas, contacting people, setting up interviews, doing interviews and writing the stories and arranging for pictures to be taken – we still had to work with an electronic life form that seemed better suited for the autopsy table of a mad scientist’s laboratory than in an office.

We, military journalists, were the Ernest Hemingways and the Ernie Pyles of the United States Armed Forces, who were expected to moonlight throughout the day as Doctor Frankenstein’s hunchback assistant to try to get our electronic Frankenstein abominations on the desk to do something remotely like typing and publishing.

It was not exciting to me to be at the forefront of a new technology.

I was a newspaper man, who just wanted to get the story in print and out on the street. Of course, global technology proved to be the “ultimate speed freak” because it took off and did not stop.

Computer Curiosity

My contempt for computers changed to curiosity. By the time Uncle Sam handed me orders for “The P.I.,” I had become a neophyte in the Celestial Cosmic Order of Global Geekdom.

I knew how to get into DOS and use wild cards, forward slashes and back slashes to wake up a “Windoze pizza box” computer and get it to blink back to life.

Uncle always had all his “official” policies about computer repair, alas, as the clock on the wall ticks off the seconds to a newspaper deadline and the pizza box on the desk is schizophrenic – it became “red S on the chest time” – and I would hear, “Get Sam !” I never popped the buttons off my uniform shirt to reveal a big red S on my chest, I would just smile, slip into the chair and type my way into MS-DOS.

Deadline Dollar Delays

Uncle Sam, of course, would have been livid at me not waiting for the “blessed, sanctified, certified, official computer US Government repairman”, but, when a newspaper is late getting out on the street; it affects the “credibility” of the publication.

Uncle Sam’s “bean counting, number crunching, regulation writing, regulation reading, penny pinching bureaucrats” could understand, an even more important concept, – miss a newspaper deadline and Uncle Sam has to “pay for the delay.”

And, the delay was never the pocket change of a few dollars, but several hundred dollars that could quickly rise to several thousand dollars as minutes became hours and printing presses sat idle waiting for the news copy to be delivered to the publisher.

When I solved a computer problem, I felt good. I had gotten into the head of the “electronic dumb animal” and jump started it’s mustard seed mind. I had us back at the keyboard ready to “beat the clock” and make the deadline.

Whether the shadowy bureaucrats appreciated it or not, I had saved Uncle “money” and “time” – no need to schedule an official repairman, who would most likely try to give us the song and dance act of, “Umm.  I can’t get to it today.  I’ll have to work you in later in the week.”

Back Burner Bureaucracy of Computer Repair

The “official” computer repairmen, who were usually contracted from a computer company by Uncle Sam never understood a primal instinct of human nature.  Like hungry cave men and women, people have always had a barbaric hunger for information.

Newspapers, dailies, weeklies, military –  were all the “real-time, streaming information” equivalents of the day.  In Society, before facebook and Twitter, people still had an insatiable lust and hunger for the latest factual information on issues that interest them and affected their lives.

When CNN first went “On The Air” it was “The Second Coming of Television Broadcasting,” I, and other Americans did not seem able to get enough of the constant news coverage from around the world.

“The Passionate Priesthood Of Public Publishing”

When the first issues of USA Today came “hot off the presses” in the early 1980s, “The Messiah Of American Newspaper Publishing Had Been Born.” 

The clean layout, colorful design, large, action oriented photos and the “fast” publication of the daily newspaper in what was considered “remote” places in the world made USA Today the facebook and Twitter of the American Newspaper Publishing Industry.

In technical training school we were required to look at the stories and overall design of USA Today each morning before classes.  Instructors were teaching us USA Today design concepts probably as quickly as editors at the newspaper were publishing the ideas.

CNN had transformed American Television News Coverage and USA Today had transformed the American Newspaper Publishing Industry.  Thus, any delay in getting “news out on the street” was an unforgiveable sin of the highest order.

Computer repairmen simply did not understand “The Passionate Priesthood Of Public Publishing.”

Deadline DOS Dancing

When I had succeeded in tinkering and typing around with the DOS codes to get a computer back up and running, I would smile, “The Fate Of The Free World” and more importantly, “My Newspaper” had been on my shoulders and I had “Saved The Day.”

Thus, I “tinkered” and “played” with Windows DOS computers, marveled at the expensive Apple computers and took every opportunity to “dabble” with Amiga computers.

Now, that I am retired – I just want to write, shoot photos and publish my articles and photos.

GIGO Chromosomes

Personal Computers still have too many “GIGO Chromosomes.” GIGO is an early computer term of the 1970s and 1980s, which reminded the early nerds and geeks of a common sense commandment – “Garbage In; Garbage Out,” which meant if you input in the wrong information, then, you would get bad information out of the computer.

Some things Never Change – Love-War- Computers.

Computers have been programmed to be “smarter”, but the flaw remains “intelligence.” Like some people, ALL computers “lack Common Sense.”

A computer can still not think for itself. There are all types of “artificial intelligence” schemes, projects, initiatives and various undertakings ongoing, but – computers still rely on the “human” to input data at some point.

In retirement, I have fixed friends Windows PC computers to get them up and running. I smile at my Filipino and Filipina nephews and nieces and amaze them with my computer knowledge to resurrect the “Lazarus” laptop computer back to life and duty.

I leave the “illegitimate children of computers” – cellphones –  to the fertile young imaginations of my nieces, nephews and future generations.

After my passionate interests in telephone operators “Barksdale 18” and an Offutt telephone operator of my young, single days, I lost my interest in “Ma Bell’s” frustrating ringing device and chose to stand beside Mark Twain, in his conviction, that telephones are annoying, nuisance devices.

Nonetheless, I am an Old Computer Geek. When a computer issue comes up, good reporter that I am I find my metaphorical Ma Bell phone booth, step inside, and emerge “Up, Up And Away” to save the day for “Truth, Justice. . .And A Working Computer.”

Sam

Article published using Windows Live Writer 2011

Written by samwarren55

July 28, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Opinion, Sam I Am, Stone County History

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