09 March 2009

From A View To A Kill...
No, Virginia, this is NOT a cinematic critique pertaining to a certain mister "Bond...James Bond", in spite of the title. It's just the best way to describe the gamut this post will run today.
-- It's not just a sad day in Mudville...but it's a sad day in Fort Wayne, or Portland, IN, or most any other American city where children used to grow up happy, with a thirst for knowledge and yes, even a zest for "adventure", be it courtesy of a hand-held device designed to take us to places and meet people we could (then) only dream about. I'm talking about the death knell of the original VIEW-MASTER!
The "official" site (I'm sure soon to be taken down in some fashion) is here:
And here is a website with a fantastic history of the viewers themselves:
Now, you have to remember that this was popular in an era when we STILL had B&W television (if we could afford one, that is). You had rabbit ears on the set that were affected by people driving by with poorly shielded alternators in their cars, or planes flying overhead. And if you were REALLY fortunate (or lived in a rural area), you had a "roof rack", or a chimney-mounted antenna.
And all THOSE signals were FREE...none of this "converter box" crap.
Still, kids were entertained, whether it was by that "evil box" on the floor, or by playing with the old View-Master.
And somehow, slipping in some reel of the GRAND CANYON, or INDIA, or even DISNEYLAND (Disney World wasn't even built yet), was damn near as much fun as going outside and getting all muddy playing with the cap guns, if not more.
I mean it was in 3-D, for God's sake. The pictures seemed to "jump out" at us!
The basic viewer could be had for around $10, and in those days, that was a lot more serious money than it is today.
Hell, with bread at 27 cents a loaf, FIVE BUCKS could feed the family for almost a frigging week!
You didn't need a playmate...didn't need anything really BUT that viewer and some reels to watch.
Okay, so it might not occupy us for more than an hour, but that was an hour that mom or dad got to take a breather.
And when you were sick in bed, you could vicariously "be well" and travel the world, or watch the antics of cartoon characters.
Today's kids simply can't be bothered with such tripe...
They'd much rather watch a DVD or drag out the PlayStation to pass the time.
Or toss rocks at other people's houses. (oh, wait...that's just the kids in MY area....LOL)
Forget about doing that manual labor to advance the PICTURES on the View-Master...too much hassle.
I'd rather go kill some aliens in a virtual planet, or hang out with my other 7 year-old "buds".
Funny how the ones who STILL find the View-Master an interesting diversion are people a LOT older than the kids.
We Baby Boomers grew up with this, and yes, we liked it a lot.
Perhaps it might have been the fact that our parents didn't mind getting us a "toy" that might, in some way, happen to educate us.
Or maybe it was that our folks got a kick out of it as well.
In any case, the venerable View-Master will soon belong to the ages...and perhaps a Smithsonian Exhibit.
I still have one...and some reels.
And I might even start collecting some more...just in case I ever want to revisit the Grand Canyon.
-- I spotted an amusing article in yesterday's Journal-Gazette about the housing located at the Renaissance Pointe area (Hanna-Creighton).
It speaks to the neighborhood's "reputation" - earned after DECADES of hard work (if you can call having the locals do nothing except cause this rising crime "work"), and how that "perception" is making the area a HARD SELL to the people this city would like to see move into the newly-built houses. ('ya think?)
Here's the link to the entire article:
One neighbor mentioned that when people (there) manage to better their situation, they MOVE AWAY (gee, sounds a LOT like MY neighborhood).
All of SIX houses have been sold so far (in the past several years)...not a good track record.
Granted, the houses were initially targeted for low-income residents, but that moniker (alone) has some interesting "nuances" attached to it. MY parents could be called "low-income", back in the day, but the type of people my parents were, were as far removed from what constitutes the ones we find in our neighborhoods today, that's for sure.
Okay, so here''s the TRUTH of all this:
The PERCEPTION is that there IS a lot of crime in the area.
The REALITY is that there IS a lot of crime in the area.
Anyone seeing a similarity between the "perception" of the area and the "reality" of it? (I thought you would)
And it's got nothing to do with skin color in general.
But it DOES have to do with the manner in which people ACT.
Gone is the mutual respect shown to others in these areas.
Gone is the integrity the people used to have.
Gone is the TRUE sense of "community", supplanted by a skewed and perverted version of "everything belongs to everyone".
It's sad...but it's true.
Naturally, Glynn (blinders on) Hines had to chime in:
"Gun activity is HIGHER in that portion of the city than in others" (in spite of an alleged 22 % drop in violent crime from 2006-2007).
"It's been up and down, and I think it's societal", he said.
REALLY, Glynn? SOCIETAL? How's about we call it what it REALLY is by saying RACIAL, instead?
I don't see scores of whites moving into that area, nor do I see scores of whites bringing the crime to areas like Renaissance Pointe (or even the S/E quadrant)...it's YOUR OWN DAMN PEOPLE, "bru'tha"!
Get THEM under control, and crime WILL drop markedly...I guarantee that.
Crime is down (?) in the Renaissance Pointe neighborhood, but that's due to the renovation...thugs get confused when people are "buildin' shit"...so they come farther down to MY area, or retreat over to Phil Marx's area.
Add to that, the FACT that when the population density drops, so does crime (especially in ethnic neighborhoods).
There ARE people who want to see the neighborhood (Renaissance Pointe) succeed...
Well, so do I.
Hell, I'd LOVE to see MY neighborhood "succeed", and not by becoming the highest crime area in the damn city.
(perhaps we are "at war" down here?)
I'd love to see some GOOD people move the hell back in, but until the CRIME issue (that helped to close well over 50 businesses here, as well as drive out a lot of good neighbors) is addressed, NOT ONE DAMN THING will change (and that is especially true with new businesses NOT flocking into the S/E as the city hopes).
I can guarantee that, too, AND you can make book on it.
-- Lastly, just when you thought it was safe to get your weekly dose of God's word, some lunatic ambles into your church, walks up the aisle, and KILLS THE PASTOR. It happened this weekend in a suburb of St. Louis, Illinois.
Here's the link to the story:
The shooter was not believed to have been a member of the church.
And the pastor was shot at close range with a .45 as he preached.
The shooter had a weapon-jam, but brandished a knife and stabbed himself, along with two other congregation members, before more church goers took him down.
He is listed in critical condition.
Now I've been on both sides of the pulpit (a few lives ago), and it's disturbing to think that even our churches aren't the refuge for the fallen, as well as the saved, that they used to be.
Do we post "guards" at the doors in place of the greeters and ushers?
Do we demand that "All firearms must be hung on the back wall", as they used to do in the Wild West days?
It's scary to think we can't freely enjoy and practice freedom of religion without someone taking a shot within the walls of our churches.
One thing is certain; this shooter has a LOT of explaining to do, and to a MUCH higher authority than anyone HERE.
Stay safe out there, America.

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