Monthly Archives: July 2019

July 12 – On Gettin’ Out of Town

The Washington Cascades not too far from where our son (who shot the photo earlier this week) lives.

The dictionary defines a vacation as “a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation.” Vacation so used is an American word first put to use in the late Nineteenth Century as we were trying to figure out how to live as an urban and industrialized or professionalized people. It was a progressive idea. Paid vacations became an issue in the early days of unions and labor contracts.  The idea was to vacate, get out of, the dirty air of the city, the oppressive working conditions and the deadly dreariness of the assembly line, the crowded life of the tenement or the row house.  The sea shore, the lake, and the mountains; lodges, cabins, campgrounds, and hotels were favorite destinations.

A farmer on the land or a baker in a village would never have thought of a vacation.  But vacations won. Together we spend over $100 billion per year on our vacations and an average family of four will spend between $5,000 and $10,000 on this year’s vacation. Three quarters of us will go into debt for our vacations. Continue reading

July 5 – The Picture is Worth More than Nine Words

Facebook and its family of social media services, Instagram and WhatsApp, were a mess on Wednesday.  It turns out that you couldn’t post your pictures for nine hours.  Twitter lit up. People were angry and some were seriously anxious. Nine hours with no new selfie?

I think this is what you call a first world problem.

For nine long hours on Wednesday I could upload may latest favorite picture of me, but the photo would not display on my feed. Rather, Mark Zuckerberg’s robots scanned the photos and posted the verbal description of the photo that is used in a computer-generated voice description for the visually impaired.  Apparently, this is what the robots do with every photo we upload, it’s just that we usually see the photo and not the written description of it.  No word as to whether this was some sort of work slowdown on the part of the robots or if any of them will be disciplined for their slack work on Wednesday. Continue reading