The hot new word of 2011 is “bespoke.” If you listen, you’ll suddenly hear it everywhere. It used to be a perfectly good word, but by midsummer it will be threadbare and tattered from overuse. The wear is already showing.
Back when the world was young, there were mechanical devices in newspaper, radio, and even television newsrooms called “teletype machines.” The precursor to modern electronic printers, these things were very noisy. They had letter keys inside them, on arms, and in response to electrical impulse they would type the (usually) correct letter in the fashion of a typewriter.
The sky wasn’t just dark, it was … weird. Meanwhile, the weather radio was going crazy, with alerts interrupting other alerts.
Last week I saw a station wagon pulling a little travel trailer and I shuddered. Here’s why. The word “vacation” had always meant a trip to see relatives in Indiana or Nebraska or Pennsylvania. So my two sisters and I were greatly surprised when our parents, after some of that quiet, almost whispered code conversation grownups sometimes have, announced that we were going to make a trip to Florida.
The mud across the road told me how lucky I’d been. It was last Tuesday and I needed to get to Columbus. It had rained a lot the day before, but somehow I had forgotten: it floods here when it rains a lot. Fortunately, the water had receded before I headed out. 267×400
When the weather has been so cold and so awful for so long that (groundhog predictions notwithstanding) it seems the spring will never arrive, there’s only one thing to do: Think about tomatoes.
We’ve been hearing a lot about hatred lately. Actually, that’s not accurate. We’ve been hearing a lot of accusations of hatred lately. So let’s stop a minute and think about hate.
Fifty years ago this May, Alan Shepard became the first American in space. Later this year, the space shuttle will fly for the last time, marking the effective end of the country’s manned spaceflight program. And right in the middle, 25 years ago last Friday, was the loss of the space shuttle Challenger, which broke apart 73 seconds after its launch, killing seven people and, unbeknownst to me at the time, consuming much of the next three years of my life.
Will the Internet be the death of spelling and maybe the English language? Sometimes it seems so. A quick look at much that is sent or published online leaves the impression that the most powerful communications tool the world has ever seen is populated by people who did not complete fifth grade.
When the word came, it was like news that an old friend had died, albeit an old friend I hadn’t seen for years. A small camera shop in Kansas the last Thursday in 2010 turned off the last machine in the world capable of processing Kodachrome film. The best color film ever made is now gone, probably forever, a victim of the digital revolution.
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