Excerpt for Weighing Things Up, Book Two by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Weighing Things Up, Book Two

More Essays on Trends, Technology, and Present–Day Society

Robert T. Branco

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2017 by Robert T. Branco

T
his ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re–sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy.



www.dldbooks.com
Editing and Self−Publishing Services

Table of Contents

PART ONE: GENERAL SOCIAL ISSUES

Abortion, Right or Wrong?

The Abuse of Social Media

The American Economy

Are Paper Bank Statements a Thing of the Past?

Beware of Telephone Scams

The Connection Between Technology and Violence

Controlling Your Children in Church

Corrupt Music

The Dangers of Online Dating

The Gambling Addiction

Getting High at the Movies

The Gun Control Debate

Has Comedy Changed on Television?

Have You Enjoyed Your Go Lately?

How Scammers Hurt Good Causes

The Importance of Tipping

In the Spotlight

Is American Society Too Sensitive?

Is Internet Radio Overrated?

Modern Fundraising

More Awareness of Our Country Is Necessary

Music Gimmick Drives Consumers Crazy

Our Native Language

Panhandling

Party Protocol

Pets in Restaurants

Racial Discrimination in America

Religious Conflicts

Respecting Our National Anthem

The Service Animal Craze

Sexual Knowledge at a Young Age

Texting While Driving

Too Many Lawsuits

Too Much Media Hype

Transgender Restrooms: Are They Necessary?

Unisex Restrooms

What Happened to Proper Dress?

Why Is There So Much Analysis?

PART TWO: GOVERNMENT and POLITICS

Does Government Overdo It?

Drivers’ Tax: Will It Be a Reality in Illinois?

Early Voting

How the Government Runs Our Parents

Is Hillary Clinton Above the Law?

Laws, Laws, and More Laws

The Marriage Penalty

Political Unrest in America

Presidential Debates in 2016 Were Out of Control

Should Marriage Be Privatized?

Too Much Protesting

Voter Apathy in the United States

PART THREE: BLINDNESS and DISABILITY ISSUES

Adaptable Shortcuts

Are Blind Employees Affected by a System?

Are Persons with Disabilities Met with Negativity from Rehab Counselors?

Are We Overdiagnosed?

Beware of Your Supported Environment

The Blind and Independence

The Blind Leading the Sighted

Blind Siblings in Private Schools

Can Vision Be Taken for Granted?

Comments About the No–Touching Policy

Complications for Blind Consumers

Does Everything Happen Because We’re Blind?

Does Society Really Believe What It Asks?

Do the Blind Need Handicapped Parking Placards?

Do the Blind Try Harder?

The Evolution of Schools for the Blind

How the Blind and the Sighted Are Perceived

It’s Only a Braille Menu

A Letter to President Barack Obama

SHARE Foundation’s October 1 Walk to Help Persons with Disabilities

Stepping Forward

Terms and Expressions

Unrecognized Questions

What Are the Younger Blind Doing These Days?

PART FOUR: EDUCATION

Can Today’s Education Save our Future?

Coping Rooms on College Campuses

The Future of Education

God in the Schools

Those Honorable High School Sophomores

Two Classic Books Temporarily Banned from a Virginia School

Will You Do My Homework for Me?

PART FIVE: SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY

Accepting Technological Change

The Advantages of Audio Books

The Dangers of Online Banking

Driverless Cars

Global Warming or Global Exaggeration?

The Inconvenience of the GPS

Rapid Progress Leads to Budget Concerns

They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To

PART SIX: EMPLOYMENT

Are Two Segments of Our Population Shortchanged in Employment?

Have Labor Unions Been Effective?

Paying Your Boss Instead of Yourself

The Unemployment Rate is Deceiving

PART SEVEN: MEDICAL ISSUES AND CONCERNS

Do Commercial Ads about Medications Frighten You?

Insurance and the Medical Profession

Is Society Overmedicating Itself?

PART EIGHT: SPORTS

Greed in Sports

How to Shorten Baseball Games

Instant Replay in Major League Baseball

My Thoughts on Deflategate

Running Up the Score

Safety at Ball Parks

Sports and Politics

Sports Organizations Are Out of Hand

Sports Talk in Boston, or Is It Really Sports Talk?

Unfairness in the National Football League Schedule

Voting for Baseball All–Stars

About the Author

About David and Leonore Dvorkin DLD Books Editing and Self–Publishing Services

EDITOR’S NOTES

As with Bob Branco’s previous book of short essays that I edited, Weighing Things Up (C 2014), I have received permission from him to include a few comments and links to articles that provide more information about the subject being discussed. Sometimes the article that I link to provides an opposing viewpoint. I much appreciate Bob’s willingness to allow these editorial additions.

Throughout this text, the word braille is capitalized only when it refers to Louis Braille, is the first word in a sentence, is part of a title, or refers to the name of a product. This is in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Braille Authority of North America in November 2006. For more details, see

http://www.brailleauthority.org/capitalization/capitalization.pdf

Leonore Dvorkin

Editor, DLD Books

http://www.dldbooks.com/

PART ONE
GENERAL SOCIAL ISSUES

Abortion, Right or Wrong?

October 20, 2016

As I write about this topic, keep in mind that I am speaking as a Christian. There has been much debate about abortion, and I certainly will try not to add to it. As far as I’m concerned, a fetus has life. Unless the mother is in a life or death situation where the fetus needs to be removed, no one should have the right to kill that fetus.

It didn’t ask for these problems when it was conceived. Speaking of conception, I’m sure that many mothers decide to have abortions because they weren’t planning to conceive. Yet, as you know, stuff happens, and women conceive children anyway.

Now here’s the big question. What should these women do when they become pregnant unexpectedly?

Many people are pro–choice, and they feel that there are times when women have the right to abort the fetus. At the same time, I believe there should be more education in schools about sex and how selective we should be about it. If you don’t have the parenting skills, yet, you shouldn’t think about having a baby. If you can’t afford to bring another person into this world, then don’t do it. I’m sure there are plenty of people who are ready to adopt unwanted children, but can we guarantee a perfect success rate? Unwanted children may find themselves with no positive direction, which means that they could add to all the problems we are facing in the world right now. Does this mean we have to abort them before they are born?

To me, it’s all about education, avoidance, and quality parent planning. I took two courses in sex education in middle school, and I learned a lot from that experience. I know when it’s right and when it’s not right. I know that if my partner and I aren’t financially and emotionally prepared to have children, we absolutely wouldn’t. If more people felt that way, this country would be better off.

Judge Judy, one of my favorite courtroom judges on television, gets angry when her unemployed litigants come to her with many children from many fathers. Quite often, these fathers are in jail, and the mothers have to struggle. Like me, Judge Judy doesn’t understand it, and quite often she gets extremely passionate on the air about it, so that millions of viewers can hear the message. I will close by repeating a quote I often express when talking about this subject. “If you can’t handle a baby, don’t make one.”

(Originally published in Word Matters,

www.ernestdempsey.com)


The Abuse of Social Media

May 18, 2016

Social media is an amazing invention. I take my hat off to those who created it, because it took an enormous amount of intelligence to set it all up. However, I am quite sure that the creators of social media did not intend for all the abuse that goes with it. How often do we hear about people who were bullied on social media to the point where they either thought about or successfully committed suicide?

Despite my blindness, I am one of the most active Facebook consumers around. For me to be as active on Facebook as I am, I needed to understand the proper uses of this form of social media. My posts are proper, productive, and beneficial to other people. While I try very hard to use Facebook in this fashion, I read lots of very offensive posts and comments. I often wonder if those who post these hateful remarks on Facebook are doing it for pleasure or because they are too cowardly to confront people face to face. After all, it’s very easy to hide behind a keyboard without worrying about what other people might say or do.

In fact, I think that the abuse of social media is so out of control that new laws have to be created in order to regulate behavior. Slander, bullying, and other forms of abuse mean the same if you use social media as if you were making a personal public display or writing something inappropriate to a newspaper.

As a result of what’s going on, Facebook gets a rather unfair reputation at times. I know people who are afraid to use it even if they have the best of intentions. They are afraid that Facebook bullies will use personal information to hurt them. One way to avoid harassment on social media is to limit as much personal information as you possibly can. Try to be professional and objective. The less that anyone else knows about you personally, the better off you will be. In the meantime, there are ways to report abuse on social media. Just follow the guidelines that are offered to you on each site. After all, you are still in charge.

(Originally published in Word Matters)


The American Economy

Every time our economy suffers, we always hear the same thing. We need to create new jobs. The thing that people do not realize is that for every new job we create, we lose others, and not only because of a bad economy, but because of the times we live in. Think of the number of telephone operators and receptionists that will be out of work because of automated answering services. With the tremendous increase in email, the postal profession might be in jeopardy. What about gas station attendants who used to help us pump gas? Today, most of us do it ourselves. Why do we need so many workers in a bank when we can all work an ATM machine? What’s going to happen when more of us shop online? You won’t see very many sales representatives in retail stores, and more stores will have to close. If we create more and more robots to clean our homes, the housecleaning profession will suffer. Even though I’m against it, stores now allow us to scan our own cards and use the cashier’s computer without the cashier doing it. So, why would we need cashiers? We might as well ring up our own purchases while we’re at it. So, how do we replace the jobs for all these people who are victims of technology as well as an economic collapse? Has anyone thought this through?

Another thing that bothers me is the deceptive unemployment rate. It’s been said time and time again that those of us who are out of work but no longer receive unemployment benefits are not part of the statistic. How is this fair? If I go out to dinner with nine people, and six of us are working, while the unemployment benefits for the other four people ran out, the surveyor who questions us will report that the unemployment rate is zero percent, because six out of six people are working. The other four do not count because their unemployment benefits expired. Sorry, pal. If I’m not working, I’m not working. It should be reported whether I get unemployment benefits or not. If I’m not working, it’s more than likely because there’s no job for me, which is something an economist needs to count.

(Originally published in my monthly newsletter, The Consumer Vision)


Are Paper Bank Statements
a Thing of the Past?

Being that I can’t criticize technological trends without someone telling me to accept the times we live in, I can’t help but be compelled to say once again that I accept modern times. It’s not the technology that bothers me. What bothers me is that technology seems to be taken for granted, with many people feeling that everyone in the world should have it no matter what. This is not reality. Many elderly people, the developmentally disabled, and others who simply choose not to deal with technology have the right not to have it, and these people should be served according to their wishes. Establishments such as postal services, medical facilities, and banks should be made aware of this.

My latest concern arose when someone informed me that a local bank will no longer be sending paper bank statements to its customers. Apparently, this bank’s customers will have to go online to find out about their transactions. For those with computers and smart phones, this is wonderful. It’s easy to do. You can check anytime you want. You have all the luxury you need whenever you need it. You should continue to enjoy your online banking. However, here’s the reality. I have a close relative who shall go nameless. She is a very bright woman who spent her entire life balancing a checkbook and understanding the concept of a paper bank statement. She is approximately 65 years old and does not own a computer, a smart phone, or any other modern technological device. She doesn’t want these devices, and that’s her right. She, like many other people, has lived her life just fine without smart devices. Yet this bank is no longer considering customers like her.

Here are my issues. First, why should my relative have to get a smart device that she either doesn’t want or can’t afford just because a bank decided not to mail paperwork to its customers anymore? Furthermore, I don’t go along with the excuse that the continued use of paper for a limited population is a financial burden on the bank or any other service organization that uses paper. It was never a financial burden in the past, so why is it suddenly a financial burden now?

When I was told about this brave decision to stop issuing paper bank statements, I thought about the fact that my bank still sends paper statements, including the braille statements that I depend on. What’s going to happen if my bank stops issuing paper? Will I still get my braille that I depend on because I’m blind? I know what some of you might be thinking as you read this. “Well, Bob, you’re a smart guy. Go online.” There are reasons why I won’t bank online, and other reasons why it may be difficult for me to do so. However, I won’t go into them right now.

I keep hearing rumors that eventually there will be no more U.S. Postal Service because of all the emailing we do. Again, where is the regard for the segment of our population that simply chooses to remain in a routine that they are accustomed to? Do you think that a 90–year–old man who has cognitive problems wants to go online for his prescriptions, his financial information, or anything else? Should he have to go to a library in order to keep up with the times? Maybe he can’t get to a library.

Once again, let me reassure my readers that it isn’t the technology itself that I don’t accept; it’s the way that society seems to be turning its back on people who don’t have or want the technology. I don’t think technology is as required as it’s perceived to be. It’s nice to have it if you want to have it.

Beware of Telephone Scams

January 7, 2016

I’m sure that many of you have received phone calls from people who either request information from you or want to assist you with a problem, such as a personal debt or a computer issue. After years of dealing with callers like these, I must tell you that I ignore them if I am not familiar with who they are. In the first place, there are too many scam artists who can’t wait to victimize us. Allow me to give you some helpful hints which indicate that you are about to be scammed.

First, if someone contacts you offering advice on how to reverse your debt, and if he says he has looked through your personal file, please do not pay attention. The only way that a debt reversal organization looks through someone’s personal files is if they get permission to do so. And as far as I know, no one has offered personal files to such organizations.

Another type of phone call for you to avoid is the one from a person claiming to know all about your computer. He will even tell you that you have a serious technical problem with it. First of all, if you never reported any computer problems, how would these people know what they are? So again, this is likely to be another scammer, and you should hang up on him.

There are also people who claim to represent energy companies and want to offer you a deal. Although the deal sounds tempting, ask yourself if you have ever heard of these particular energy companies before. If you haven’t heard of them, it’s possible that the caller is trying to get information to use against you.

What I am basically saying is that we should all be extremely vigilant when strangers call us. As I said, you can hang up on them, but I also think it’s important to contact your local police department and let them know about the type of calls you are getting. The police have been known to track down telephone scammers in the past, and they will do their best to turn them in.

We live in an extremely greedy society, so I just want people to be aware and to do their best not to be victimized any longer.

(Originally published in Word Matters)


The Connection Between Technology and Violence

May 4, 2016

I suppose I should have put this as a question. Is there a connection between today’s technology and violence? Are children learning too much about violence at a young age as a result of video games? As far as I’m concerned, this is a subject for debate.

It is easy for us to assume that when a teenager or young adult goes on a shooting rampage in a school, a mall, a movie theater, or any other public place, it’s because he played too many video games as a child. After all, some of these games allow the users to shoot at one another or destroy their virtual enemies. Perhaps some children play these games so often that they apply the same rules when they get angry. Most of us can distinguish fantasy from reality, but others do not, no matter what the circumstances are in their lives.

While we can use video games as an excuse for violent behavior, there may be other reasons for it as well. Furthermore, there were violent toys on the market long before the video game was invented. When I was a child, I owned a big bag of cowboys and Indians. Each cowboy and Indian carried some sort of weapon.

Let’s talk about toy guns, G.I. Joe, television Westerns, and all else that the older generation had. These things were thought of as what they were, and no one thought to use these devices and sources of entertainment as an excuse for violent behavior. Yes, I believe there is more violence in society now than ever before, but I can’t blame it all on technology. A gun is a gun, no matter where we see it and how we learn to use it.

With today’s technology come more sophisticated media and gossip. I don’t think today’s media helps solve the violence problem. Most often, we turn on the television and hear a story about some kind of creative violence, which may allow someone watching to come up with his own ideas. With that said, social media and other forms of technology are big business, and much of big business does not care about consequences.

While we may never know the cause of increased violence, it’s going to take a lot of effort on all our parts to solve it.

(Originally published in Word Matters)

Editor’s Note

Despite the widespread perception that violence is on the rise, the opposite is true and has been for quite some time. Here is a link to just one of many online articles showing that the world is actually a lot less violent than it was a few decades ago.

http://www.npr.org/2016/07/16/486311030/despite–the–headlines–steven–pinker–says–the–world–is–becoming–less–violent


Controlling Your Children in Church

March 3, 2017

Recently, my girlfriend and I attended the Ash Wednesday service at a local Catholic church. We looked forward to it and were very proud to fulfill our obligation.

I can’t speak for everybody. However, I will assume that when most of us attend church services, we want to pay close attention to the message being given by the priest, minister, or any other religious leader who presides. During the Mass that we attended, this was not the case. For the entire time that we were there, several children, probably between the ages of four and seven, were talking loudly, running around, and causing other disturbances. One of the children even cried out, “I want to go home! I want to go home!” It was very hard for us to concentrate under these circumstances. At one point, my girlfriend saw one or two of the parents take several of the children outside. Needless to say, that also prevented the parents from hearing the priest’s message.

While these children were disturbing the church service, I thought about the parental responsibility in all this. I have been attending church services since 1965, and I have never been to one with this kind of a ruckus. Are parents simply taking their kids to church because they don’t know what else to do with them? Do parents exercise as much control over kids as they once did? I don’t know, but I do know this. If I had pulled these stunts as a child while in church, my backside would likely have been decorated when I got home.

In my opinion, there are two sides to this issue. On the one hand, children should be exposed to God and church as much as possible, for obvious reasons. On the other hand, the adults want to hear the message being given at the service without being continuously distracted. During the service on Ash Wednesday, I commended the priest and his staff for not being fazed by the commotion and for moving right along with what they had to do.

If you are a parent and feel that you need to bring your five–year–old to church, you should be able to convince your child of the importance of where you’re about to go and that the child should fully respect the situation. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I believe this is a subject for healthy debate.

(Originally published in Word Matters)


Corrupt Music

When I was growing up in the 1960s and ‘70s, radio and television were restricted as to what went on the air. Songs with suggestive lyrics were banned from some Top 40 radio stations, and graphic language and video were restricted from your television sets. In 1954, you couldn’t say the word “pregnant” on television, but now, they show you how to get pregnant.

Much of today’s music is full of suggestions to impressionable teens about how to have babies, and their heroes, who possess bling, fancy cars, gold, etc., tell them how to get rich. Oftentimes these same perceived heroes lose their money as fast as they make it, which never gets mentioned in these crazy songs that are designed to impress teenagers.

To put things into further perspective, modern music encourages sex and never sends the proper message. In the 1950s, Elvis said “Love me Tender,” which meant simple love between two people in a classy manner. Similarly, the Beatles said, “Love Me Do”; the Platters, “Only You”; and Ray Charles, “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” These are normal things I would say to my girl, and I would be totally satisfied with that. Today, you have 50 Cent telling you how to use your body parts with your partner in the song “Candy Shop,” one of the filthiest songs ever written. Lil Wayne has a song out called “Lollipop,” but I won’t say any more about it out of respect for you. Listen to the song “Hotel Room Service” by Pitbull and hear all the steps required in order to have successful sex. I’m not kidding.

I realize that most of us don’t want government to tell private industry what to do, but there has to be some kind of moral faction that can exercise control over these music companies and make them understand what they are doing to society. Many songs I hear on today’s Top 40 stations refer to sex, gangs, or killing. No wonder we have all these problems. Don’t these companies know how impressionable kids are? Remember Elvis, the Beatles, the Partridge Family, and all these stars that kids simply fell in love with, just because?

How can people ban together to stop this madness before it gets even further out of hand?

(Originally published in The Consumer Vision)


The Dangers of Online Dating

March 19, 2016

It seems as though every time we turn around, there is an ad on television about online dating. The ad asks single people to apply on a dating site, where they can meet their special someone. Many of these dating sites charge an expensive fee, and we’re supposed to give out as much personal information as possible.

Despite the push for online dating, I still believe that personal contact is the way to meet people. Personality is what counts. When people are communicating with one another on a dating website, they don’t know anything beyond the written word. Anyone can write what they want, whether it’s true or not. There is no way to indicate truth or dishonesty.

If I were searching for my significant other, I would want to meet her, talk to her, get to know her, and figure out her strengths and weaknesses. You can’t do that on the computer. I have heard of cases in which people meet on a dating side, then plan to meet in person, even traveling hundreds of miles to do so, only to discover that the potential date is a fake or a criminal.

This is not to say that online dating never works. I know a woman who met her husband that way, and as far as I know, their marriage is very successful. On the other hand, it’s not the method I would recommend. There are too many unknown factors which take the place of personal introduction at a local library, mall, restaurant, church, or any other place you choose to meet someone.

Online dating has become a popular industry, one that makes a lot of money, and as long as there are many single people out there who believe there is no other way to find their mates, the industry will continue to grow and grow. Despite all that, the human touch is always the answer. So, why not continue to go about your day, meeting people in person and hoping for the best?

(Originally published in Word Matters)


The Gambling Addiction

Do you know anyone who gambles on a regular basis? Even if the gambler doesn’t admit how compulsive he is about it, can you figure it out? I think I can.

I have known people, especially senior citizens, who continuously buy scratch tickets and go to the casino on a regular basis. These people seem to have no regard for what may happen to them financially if they lose. They just keep on throwing their money away and living for the moment, because it gives them an emotional high.

Here is an example of how a compulsive gambler behaves. Years ago, I knew someone who used to purchase dozens of scratch tickets at a time. Let’s assume he spent $100 buying them. After spending that money, he purchased another ticket and won $100. He came home and proudly told his wife how happy he was that he had won $100. What he didn’t tell her was that he had spent $100 to win it, so in reality, he broke even and didn’t win anything. People who behave this way are so wrapped up in the concept of winning that they fail to recognize how much they had to invest in order to win.

I have only been to a casino once in my entire life, and I had bad luck there. Because I care about living within my financial means, I decided not to go to a casino ever again. With that said, I am not a compulsive gambler, so it is easy for me to make that commitment.

It is very difficult to give advice to those who gamble, but there is one thing that I would like to make everyone aware of. No matter how much you gamble at the casino, the casino always makes more money at the end of the day than the total amount of winnings given to all the customers on that day. In other words, the house always wins.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense, because casinos are businesses. We can only hope that those who gamble on a regular basis realize their personal situations and play it smart.

(Originally published in Word Matters)


Getting High at the Movies

March 16, 2016

When we go to the theater, it’s because we want to see a good movie and have a nice bag of hot popcorn. We never think about the patrons shooting themselves up with drugs.

Several days ago in my city, four hypodermic needles were found by a cleaning woman inside some of the leather chairs in a local movie theater. She accidentally stabbed herself with one of the needles and was taken to the hospital for evaluation. As a result of this incident, the owner of the movie theater removed all the leather chairs from each of his screening rooms. It was a tremendous economic sacrifice.

Just how bad is the drug problem in this country? It seems that we have to worry about hypodermic needles no matter where we go, whether it’s at the beach, a school classroom, or a public restroom, and now the movie theater. It’s utter madness, and society needs to take steps to do something about this problem right now.

I am not a drug addict, so I don’t claim to know what it’s like to be hooked on a chemical substance. With that said, many innocent people, including business owners, have to pay the price for what these drug addicts do. Those leather chairs at the movie theater where the four needles were found were there for patrons to relax in.

If these moviegoers can’t relax at that theater, they will just have to move on to another one. Then again, what if all theater owners decide to remove leather chairs in case of hypodermic needles? Do ushers now have to check each patron for drug paraphernalia? Can’t we relax and enjoy life without worrying?

All I can say is that we should be extremely careful and be very much aware of our surroundings.

(Originally published in Word Matters)


The Gun Control Debate

June 24, 2016

It might be my imagination, but there seems to be an increase in mass shootings throughout the United States. These shootings seem to have been occurring more frequently in the last 10 years than they were 20, 30, and 40 years ago. At this time, I will not give you my reasons why I feel that mass shootings are happening more often, because my opinions have nothing to do with my topic. However, I will say that their frequency raises the issue of gun control to the point where it has become a major debate. Should we keep the second amendment of our Constitution or abolish it altogether?

On one side, there are people who firmly believe that the presence of legal weapons will prevent much of the violence that is going on right now. Mike Gallagher, a well–known conservative talk show host, said, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Do you believe Mike Gallagher’s philosophy? Do you also believe that others who witnessed the mass shooting in Orlando could have saved a lot of lives if they had been allowed to use legal weapons of their own? Of course we will never know, but the debate continues.

On the other side, there are those who feel that if we control the sale of guns, there won’t be as many guns in circulation. The problem is that if a person wants to obtain a gun illegally, it doesn’t matter what side of the gun control issue we are on. Anything that can’t be legally obtained can potentially be obtained illegally.

No matter what happens, I am totally against the average citizen owning an assault weapon. The mother of the guy who went on a shooting rampage at the Sandy Hook school in Connecticut owned assault weapons. Why would she even want them? I don’t understand that kind of thought process at all.

As long as we have this type of violence, the gun control dialog will continue, and I do not envy those who need to figure out a solution. It’s not easy. However, your position on the gun control issue may help you determine who you are going to vote for as president, because this is an issue that can make or break someone’s presidential campaign.

(Originally published in Word Matters)


Has Comedy Changed on Television?

April 6, 2016

If you are old enough to remember what television was like 30, 40, or even 50 years ago, ask yourselves if television comedy shows are as humorous today as they once were.

I have been listening to comedy shows for more than 50 years, and I have reached my own conclusions. I don’t laugh as much at comedy as I used to. Like many other types of programs, comedy seems to be more watered down, and the acting isn’t the same. Either the characters talk too fast or act more juvenile, or they are just too bland for my taste.

Specifically, I enjoyed The Jeffersons, I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and other classic comedy programs. The jokes were more noticeable, and they fit right into the show’s plot very nicely. We understood what was going on, and our interest was always there. There was nothing else like it. We television fans talked about the actors and actresses who played lead and supporting roles, and we couldn’t wait for the next episode.

Today, when I hear about comedy shows that are advertised, I yawn and say, “Who cares?” With rare exception, I simply can’t be enthusiastic about today’s comedy. Perhaps if I went to see a popular modern comedian, I would be proven wrong, but I’m talking about television right now.

Another aspect of today’s humor which I don’t find very appealing is the use of questionable language. I don’t think prime time television is the place for such language. It belongs on HBO or any other mature network, but during prime time, children are up. Today’s kids will find ways to see these types of shows, especially when they have more opportunities to get away with it. Let’s face it, the modern generation has more resources available to them, so they can defy their parents and watch television anyway. There are smart phones and other modern devices which allow this.

I don’t know what the future holds for television, but I am concerned. I know society has changed, but I haven’t. As a result, I just stick to sports, news, the weather channel, Judge Judy, and other more conservative programming.

(Originally published in Word Matters)


Have You Enjoyed Your Go Lately?

Just think back to when you were growing up. I’m sure that when you watched television or listened to the radio, you heard commercials about quality cleaning products, sparkling soft drinks, remedies for the common cold, and other basic products which made you and your home look and feel good. The message conveyed by these advertisers was very clear. Usually, we paid attention and considered buying those products for ourselves.

As the years went by, advertising became quite bold. Some of today’s messages leave me with my mouth open and my head down. I would like to talk about a specific television commercial which makes me wonder if professional advertisers are overdoing it a bit. The ad is for Charmin bathroom tissue. Charmin has been around for decades, and in the past, the message was quite clear. We were constantly told, “Don’t squeeze the Charmin,” because the tissue is very soft.

Recently, the ads for Charmin bathroom tissue have been embellished. One such commercial encourages us to “enjoy the go”! In my 59 years, I have witnessed many changes in the way things are done and how they are said. However, despite my amazement over what’s happening in today’s society, I never thought I would see the day when a professional advertiser would encourage us to enjoy our bowel movements. The ad says it very clearly: “Why not enjoy the go?” Has Charmin gotten so desperate for a different kind of marketing strategy that it is willing to say anything it wants to in order to make the point, no matter how graphic it is?

When I hear this strange commercial about how we should enjoy the go, I am thankful that I am not eating while it’s on, otherwise my food would likely come out the end that Charmin isn’t referring to. Many of us already avoid listening to television and radio commercials as it is. Why make it worse by advertising in a rather suggestive manner? Is Charmin implying that we need to enjoy our go in anticipation of using their product? It sounds like it to me.

On the other hand, someone recently made a very good point about why advertisers such as Charmin have gotten so bold with their commercial ads. Just the fact that I am criticizing this ad means that Charmin got my attention. This is what they wanted, so hurray for Charmin. Nonetheless, I advise that you not eat during this commercial.


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