Archive for the 'History Lessons' Category

Can You Tell Me What Time It Is?

Such a funny thing, time. Apparently, there is a time for everything. And a season for every activity under heaven:

A right time for birth and another for death, a right time to plant and another to harvest, a right time to kill and another to heal, a right time to destroy and another to construct, a right time to cry and another to laugh, a right time to lament and another to cheer, a right time to make love and another to abstain, a right time to embrace and another to part, a right time to search and another to count your losses, a right time to hold on and another to let go, a right time to rip out and another to mend, a right time to shut up and another to speak up, a right time to love and another to hate, a right time to wage war and another to make peace.

That’s from the Bible, in Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, and I have no clue what time it is.

So flighty and persistent and irreverent, time is. Plowing through everyone and everything in its path; leaving in its wake a mess of poor, rusted souls drowning in the ebb and flow of their own disproportionate shadows, fruitlessly triangulating their own flickering lights, akin to sleepy, hollow jack-o-lanterns long after the candy-crazed hordes have gorged themselves to the cusp of sugar-induced comas.

When time dissolves away the facade of what has or has not been done, how could it ever be undone? How would a person ever recover from such a devastating blow as realizing they’ve wasted the gift of time that time gave them?

So now what? Am I left in that place between asleep and awake desperately trying to make sense out of all that I’ve done and not done; all that I’ve said and not said — as if my life or someone else’s hangs in the balance at each fork in my road? Am I abandoned in this place where fear is god, and god is the notion that I missed an appointment… that the right times to do the right things have vaporized while I sit frozen in an ice storm trying to determine precisely when is the right time to do or say what needs to be done or said?

Gridlock. How critical it is to have a dependable clock.

I Heart Radio

My son and I were on our way home from a grocery store run a while ago and he was letting me know how much he wanted to see the movie Independence Day. During our conversation I was reminded that I first saw that movie on July 4th in the theater back in 1996 with a friend. I told Kai, “My friend won tickets to the premier on the radio! Isn’t that cool?”

Astonished, he asked, “They had radio when you were younger?” [pause, while I try to interpret what the hell I just heard] “Oh, yeah… ‘the weather today is sunny with a chance of rain'” he proceeded to spout in a mock old-man-nerdy voice. Then he asked if they also had echoing sounds like: “Car sale on Sunday ( ( Sunday ( ( Sunday ) ) ) )!”

Malakai is nine years old; I’m 30-something; Radio has been around for over 100 years. Perspective… I feel better now. I was sharing this story with a co-worker during our carpool one day and he said something that put it into an even better perspective, “Things change so fast these days that his understanding is probably skewed about how long things can take.”

Thank you, Chad.

In the second half of the 1800’s through the turn of the century, a handful of scientists and inventors were all working on creating the technological pieces that would soon make “wireless telegraphy” a viable, practical commercial reality, originally for the benefit of ships out at sea. Among them were: James Maxwell, David Hughes, Thomas Edison, Heinrich Hertz, Nikola Tesla, Alexander Popov, Guglielmo Marconi and Reginald Fessenden.

There’s some dispute over who actually invented radio as we know it today, but we all know Tesla was a freakin’ genius; Edison already has that whole light bulb thing; Marconi established the world’s first radio station on the Isle of Wight, England in 1897 and has been called the Father of Radio; and Fessenden, the Father of Radio Broadcasting who on Christmas Eve in 1906, used a synchronous rotary-spark transmitter for the first radio program broadcast, from Ocean Bluff-Brant Rock, Massachusetts. Ships at sea heard a broadcast that included Fessenden playing “O Holy Night” on the violin and reading a passage from the Bible. This was, for all intents and purposes, the first transmission of what is now known as amplitude modulation or AM radio.

I’m smart… I can find stuff on Wikipedia.

This has nothing to do with Independence Day but we now have a plethora wireless technologies like FM, Wi-fi, 3G, HD Radio and online virtual radio stations that don’t really exist. And you can download for free the “I Heart Radio” app for your mobile wireless devices (iPhone, Blackberry, etc.) to pick up digitized broadcasts of radio stations around the country!

Now, if only I could install the I Heart Radio app on my boom box.