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Random Notes from my Desk

No particular topic or focus this time, just some loose ends to clear out off my desk. They aren't worth a full post, just a few paragraphs each:

*Britbox  This is a streaming service I became aware of after seeing an article in the New York Times. Betty and I enjoy many of the British shows that make their way to PBS, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. While humor from the U.K. often eludes us, British crime dramas are a very nice change of pace.

Since the police don't carry guns, crimes are solved more with intellect and old-fashioned sleuthing. There is much less violence, no explosions, and no on-screen shootouts. If a gun is used in a crime, these programs tend to show the victim after the detectives enter the story. The appeal of American shoot-em-up crime shows has worn quite thin.

Documentaries and lifestyle shows that feature the beautiful U.K. countryside are enjoyable, too. It is interesting to us that the hosts are not usually "Hollywood" beautiful. Rather, they are common folks who love what they are showing. They are refreshingly real.

*Restoring old radios  I have started a new hobby. As a natural extension of my ham radio activities and career in broadcasting, I have started buying and restoring vintage radios. These wooden-boxed beauties are from the 1930's and 40's, well before FM or any form of digital transmissions. I don't buy them to really listen to them since the AM band is now almost exclusively talk or religious stations. In Phoenix the only music heard on AM is Mexican, except for one 60's oldies station. 

I am collecting them for the beauty of the cabinets and the fascination with bringing something back to life that is sixty or even seventy years old and still works. 

*Being careful how you act around others   We were taking care of our grandson for a few days a couple of weeks ago. Mom and the girls were out of town on a Girl Scout trip, and dad was working. So, to help out we agreed to have him spend the days with us. Unfortunately, this was the period when our computers were malware-attacked. Tempers were shorter than normal. I was snapping at Betty and she was getting agitated with me. 

Our attitudes did not go unnoticed by him. After a while, he simply asked if we could stop arguing. He suggested we stop working on the computers since that seemed to be the cause of our anger.

Few things can get you back under control more quickly than to have a grandchild ask you to change your behavior. What a great lesson in proper respect for each other and controlling one's emotions.  It was embarrassing and sobering, but he was completely in the right.

*Summers and heat  We are less than halfway through the mind-numbing heat of a Phoenix summer. Daytime highs won't drop below 100 until mid to late September. Open window weather will arrive in November. That is a long way away.

For both budgetary and family-oriented reasons, we decided to spend the summer in town. Except for a five day trip to Disneyland next month, we are here for every one of those hot days.

Betty and I are coming to more fully appreciate why we usually plan on being gone for at least part of each summer! Day after day of the same toastiness is draining. I grew up back east so I remember the winter weeks of snow and cold that seemed like they would never end. The heat in the desert produces something kind of like that...a cabin-fever feeling of an unpleasant mother nature lurking just outside your door.  Next summer....

*E-mails should come with warning labels  Because they are so easy to use and such a part of our lives, we tend to forget the power of e-mails. Donald Trump, Jr. and Hillary Clinton are recent high profile instances of e-mails gone bad. Stories of folks losing jobs or harming relationships over missent electronic mail are common. 

We forget that once we hit send, there will be a permanent record of whatever you typed. If you send a e-mail in anger or without thinking through the ramifications, there is a never-ending risk of harm. 

Perhaps we'd all benefit from an attitude that an e-mail is no different from the written note you once put into the mailbox. Once it drops into the box, whatever you said cannot be taken back. To paraphrase a Jimmy Buffett expression, "an e-mail is a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling."

OK, cleaner desk top. Thanks for letting me post these random thoughts.


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