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Vintage Things That Have Disappeared In Your Lifetime?

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by LizzieMaine, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. Well, there used to be religion but now there's the internet to anesthetize them. The beauty is, it's the user that pays for it, how brilliant is that !
  2. We need to redefine progress as “better” rather than “more”. This requires making decisions about how we use technology.

    The “elephant in the room” however, is world population growth. We have more people than we need or know what to do with. The drain on resources is the underlying cause of many of the problems we face now, or soon will. The mindless pursiut of growth was suited to the world 300 years ago, but no longer makes sense.
  3. A few years back, we had an explosion in my area of the population of raccoons. Ample food, lots of space to breed, favorable weather, and few predators all led to huge growth in the raccoon world. They grew so extensively, in fact, that the ample food and space to breed became much less ample. And then a disease epidemic swept thru the raccoon population and they were decimated -- not completely eradicated, but slashed back to a tiny fraction of their peak population. You still see them, but in nowhere near the numbers you saw them in thirty years ago. Nature itself has a way of correcting population imbalances.

    The moral of the story? Just when you think you're riding high, something is going to come along to cut you down to size. Way way down to size. Humanity will probably survive, but our current idea of civilization? Well, the raccoons will do well.

    Seriously, an excellent book dealing with this subject is George R. Stewart's 1949 ecological novel "Earth Abides," which has as its premise the near-complete worldwide eradication of post-WWII civilization by a super-disease that sweeps up out of nowhere, spreads via air travel to every corner of the civilized world, and wipes out about ninety percent of the human population in the space of a week. The rest of the book deals with one scattered group of survivors in what was Northern California trying to rebuild civilization -- and eventually realizing that they can't, because the population has dropped below the critical level required to maintain it. Within three generations of the plague, humanity reverts to a simple hunter-gatherer society with "civilization" a fading memory. There are no mutant bikers, no radioactive zombies, just a very somber meditation on just how fragile our illusions of "permanent progress" really are.
  4. Permanent - probably not as there are way too many things - as noted above - that could do civilization in. However, man has had a pretty impressive run and has made some incredible strides in science and technology, so I'm not counting civilization out yet.

    If we're going to realize a Star Trek reality, we have to keep going.

    My bet, there's something out there that does us in - meteors to microscopic bugs - maybe tomorrow, maybe a hundred years from now.

    That said, I'm hoping civilization wins.
  5. I give it 50/50 odds whether "something out there" does humanity in, or we do it to ourselves either through warfare or decimating the planet of the resources we need to survive. Either way, I hope I'm gone long before it happens.
    scottyrocks likes this.
  6. I don't think we destroy ourselves. As resources get scarce or abused, we will adjust - stop abusing (water is much better cared for today than in the '70s when I grew up ) or new technology (natural gas versus coal, crop yields are multiples betters than decades ago, etc.).

    But "something out there," that's a big risk.

    And like you, I hope what we have now hangs on for a few more decades.
    Zombie_61 likes this.
  7. A while back, I could never seem to be able to get through an automated checkout without needing the attendant to come over and fix something that didn't work properly. If an attendant always has to come over, it's not automated.

    I don't use automated checkouts anymore. In fact, I often make it a point to tell the clerk how I much prefer dealing with a real human being, unless said clerk's body language and attitude tells me that this the last place on earth they want to be right now. In that case, they can continue to wallow in their misery.
    3fingers, Zombie_61 and vitanola like this.
  8. ⇧, That's part of why I'm checkout agnostic.

    From a practical perspective each has its advantages. If I'm running into a store to grab a can of soda and there's a line at the manned-checkout but none at the automated - I scan the label, put my card in and am out in seconds. Conversely, if I have a bunch of items and, in particular, if they are on sale (as the systems don't always pick that up), humans tend to do better.

    But there is also the social aspect. It is nice to have a brief pleasant encounter - niceness given and received - with a checkout clerk and those are some of the good small moments in a day. However, as scottyrocks points out, sometimes, the clerk isn't in a good place (quite possibly for a good reason, but these encounters are not about either of us bringing our life's baggage into play ) and an impersonal machine is less stressful.

    So far, CVS - where I've encounter the self-checkout machines the most - gives you both options, which, for the reasons above, I will use one or the other based on the practical and socials reasons at work at the time.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
    Zombie_61 and scottyrocks like this.
  9. It is no doubt our destiny to self destruct since we are, as a species, totally inadapted to this planet. It is amusing to ponder though, that prehaps the most intelligent species the planet has known (according to us :rolleyes:), existed for less time than the shortest existence span of unicellular lifeforms. I guess we are just too clever for own good. ;)
    Zombie_61 likes this.
  10. My thoughts on the matter align with yours for the most part, but my primary reason for not using the self-checkout is more globally-conscious: I don't want the large retail chains who have installed them to get the idea that they are considerably more cost-effective than having a people at cash registers, which would likely result in a lot of people being replaced by those machines and losing their jobs. That might be nothing more than delaying the inevitable, but I'm doing what I can to slow those particular "wheels of progress".

    So far our local CVS stores haven't installed any self-checkout terminals but all of the local Home Depot warehouses have, and unless you have a rolling cart filled with 2x4s and such you're all but physically forced by the orange-vested employees to use them for small purchases.
  11. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

  12. Bugguy

    Bugguy A-List Customer

    Going, going, but not quite gone... pianos. I read a piece by Neal Wertheimer in the AARP Bulletin for October 2017. Neal talks about the difficulty he had finding a new home for the family's upright piano. Having recently lived through the exact situation, I thought it worth commenting.

    My mother - now 95 - recently moved into an assisted living facility. She was a graduate of the Chicago Conservatory of Music back when and had saved for years to buy a piano. Immediately post-WWII, she bought a beautiful, new Lyons and Healy baby grand and maintained it in impeccable condition till her recent move. She taught piano lessons and both my sister and I took lessons.

    Imagine her shock and disappointment when when we couldn't find even one buyer in Chicago for her pride and joy. No one wanted to devote the space, time or money to move and tune a piano. We couldn't even gift it. We were faced with closing on her house and were left paying to have it trashed. The day before closing, her daughter came through... her church in Michigan's Upper Peninsula agreed to take IF mom paid to have it moved 350 miles north.

    So there it sits, still played on Sundays and available for piano lessons by my sister. Mom feels good even though her estate is a few dollars lighter. Rather than move, maintain and tune a real instrument, when your digital keyboard goes bad, you can toss it and substitute a digital percussion set. Are pianos soon to be gone?
    Zombie_61 and tonyb like this.
  13. 3fingers

    3fingers Practically Family

    We went through this with my mother's piano as well. We were not concerned with the money aspect, we simply wanted a good home for it. At the point of despairing ever finding it a home, a nearby small church contacted us asking if it was still available. We were relieved and they were happy to have it.
    Trenchfriend, Zombie_61 and Bugguy like this.
  14. Perhaps it's wishful thinking in my part, but I suspect that "real" pianos will once again find a stronger demand. I sure hope so, especially for the piano repairman/tuner/restorer fellow with whom I had a dinner out, along with our spouses, a couple weeks ago. I have a standing invitation to tour his shop, which he had to relocate on fairly short notice not long ago. Major pain in the rump, he tells me.

    I'm reminded of being tasked with downsizing the offices of a publishing company I worked for back in the 1990s, when those newfangled computer gizmos were making obsolete much of the equipment formerly needed to lay out a print publication. I found that I couldn't give away steel desks. Seriously, in a metropolitan area of some millions of souls, I could find no one who wanted them. Had to pay to have them hauled off.

    Now, what with the resurgence of post-War, mid-century architectural and furniture styles, those desks might fetch a few hundred a pop.
    Trenchfriend, Zombie_61 and Bugguy like this.
  15. Pretty much all the stuff many of us here have been accumulating over the years will have no place in the lives of the generation to follow. A great many young people today don't anticipate ever being able to afford a house big enough to hold a lot of "heirlooms" and they for the most part wouldn't care about having the stuff around even if they did have room for it. It's not because they "don't respect history," its that their worldview doesn't revolve around having a lot of cobwebbed culch weighing them down.

    I've told the kids who'll inherit whatever I leave behind to do whatever they want with it -- keep what they like, sell what's left, donate it, burn it, I'll be beyond caring one way or the other. Whatever stuff they want in their lives is their business, not mine.

    As far as pianos go, we're always getting calls at work from people wanting to give them to us -- grands, baby grands, Steinways, the real deal. And we always turn them down. We have had several pianos in the past and they always turn out to be more trouble to maintain than they're worth -- and nowadays most keyboard artists bring their own synthesized electronic pianos, anyway.

    I've got a hundred and twenty-year-old pump organ in my living room. If you think getting rid of a piano is tough, see if you can unload one of those.
  16. Bugguy

    Bugguy A-List Customer

    ZPG - That train pulled out of the station. I did my part.
    Zombie_61 and tonyb like this.
  17. Cities are "hot" again. It's where young people especially wish to live. So the residential districts in the "inner cities" that survived the ravages inflicted by "urban renewal" in similar neighborhoods are now real, real pricey. If that was predicted back in the '60s and '70s, it somehow escaped my notice.

    I mention this because I wonder how certain "disruptive" technologies might make more attractive housing in suburban and even rural locales -- where there is more room for pianos, say. I stay in regular contact with people thousands of miles away, thanks to modern communications technologies. And I could be doing it as readily from a yurt on an island accessible only by private boat. I can purchase most anything my heart desires without leaving the couch. Add to that the increasing unaffordability of the cities, and the suburbs are looking more and more attractive.
  18. 3fingers

    3fingers Practically Family

    I've realized that even with my own kids. This is part of the motivation I have to stop acquiring more than I already have. They have no interest in it and I do not wish to impose on them after I shuffle off of this mortal coil by forcing them to deal with all of "dad's old stuff."
    Zombie_61 likes this.
  19. Not long ago I read an article about the semi-recent phenomenon of "urbanizing" big cities. The main reason they cited for this was simply that younger generations don't want that daily commute from the suburbs to the city--they want to live, shop, dine, or whatever, within walking distance (or a very short drive) from wherever they work. I can understand this to a point--my last place of employment was a 15-mile commute, and in the 18-1/2 years I worked there the one-way trip went from 20-30 minutes to an hour or more. So, yeah, I'd rather not have to drive an hour or more to get to work, but since I grew up in the suburbs I can't imagine living in the middle of a big city would be a better option.
    Trenchfriend likes this.
  20. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    It would appear that we have developed a lifestyle based around driving rather than around walking.

    One of my nephews and his wife, both lawyers, live in the city and work in the city. They only have a small apartment and just one car. But they take the subway to work.

    His parents lived overseas for a couple years and forced themselves to get rid of a lot of stuff. The government paid for moving or storage for a certain amount but only so much. The only trouble was, part of the stuff they got rid of is in our basement. My daughter and son-in-law also lived overseas for three years but they didn't approach the limit for how much they could have with them. The only trouble is, everything else is at our house. There is a pattern here.

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