As I move very comfortably into the year 2020 when I will celebrate my 87th birthday, I am going to take a retrospective look at how 2019 and 2020 technology has increased my technical abilities insofar as electronic technology is concerned.
When I began writing my columns back in the early 1980s, before computer technology, my tools of the trade consisted of a pencil or ball point pen, a yellow lined writing tablet, and a typewriter.
My first column was published in 1981 before “word processors.” It began as a handwritten draft. I still have a few of those rough drafts laying around somewhere in my files. Lines are crossed out; sentences or paragraphs marked for insertion at another point, and whole pages re-written.
After I felt the rough draft was ready for polishing, I went back and re-read it; revising, cutting and moving text, in order to be assured that everything would unfold in a logical manner; then, I was ready for the final manuscript. The is was typed as a manuscript and hand carried to my editor and dear friend Wayne Davis of the Mercer Messenger.
One day in the 1980s, I visited a “Best” department store in East Brunswick. I was really after a ribbon for my old IBM, but I was stopped dead in my tracks by the banks of new “electronic” typewriters they had on display. Fortunately, like most mall stores they were apparently short of help, which gave me the opportunity to browse without the supervision of a sales person.
The computer had a try out feature which at the time was an answer to a prayer. Spell checking, automatic mis-spelling correction, and a number of other features completely foreign to my IBM “Selectric.” I was sold and bought out my credit card.
That little purchase of a Brother” typewriter started a chain of events that led to a “286” Packard Bell, then a “386” computer, then windows 3.1 right up to today when I am using Windows 10 with a laptop computer. Those evolutionary improvements bring us to the year 2020 and the hits just keep on coming:
Thanks to my son Tom, I received a birthday present in September of an Amazon “Fire Stick;” an electronic miracle similar to “Hulu,” “Roku,’ “Sling,” and others that plug into the back of my LG smart TV.
On New Year’s Eve, I jumped off cable so I wouldn’t be assaulted by a “Rockin’ New Year’s Eve.” I went to my newly acquired “Fire Stick,” picked up the remote, pushed the “Talk” button and asked “Alexa” to play Lawrence Welk New Years programs. Voila! A Lawrence Welk 1968 “Kinescope” program complete with “Geritol” commercials, and others! I tried my luck again: “Alexa” play Andy Williams Christmas program.” Yup; there it was in living color as I once again heard Andy open with “It’s a most wonderful time of year;” a listenable music lovers dream.
I tried Perry Como TV show and found that some of his programs are available at extremely low prices and will investigate further. Along with the above request for TV, there are literally thousands of TV shows and movies available and I am overwhelmed by the variety; most free, with many available rentals at ridiculously low cost.
Still another electronic miracle with which I have been gifted, plays a major part in the all-volunteer singalong project at Kuser Park which I started during Glenn Gilmore’s administration. Glenn had found it was too expensive to hire the professional orchestras which were very popular in previous administrations. If you figure the hiring of professional musicians for the 8 weeks of summer, you will see that it was a very expensive proposition.
Realizing I would never achieve the audience participation of professionals, I volunteered to at least try my non-professional vocal talent, accompanied by my computer as my orchestra playing “midi” backup! Midi music is the technological application of music that is synthesized to sound like the original instrument in each specific song title.
And so, we come to this brand-new year of 2020, as my “brother from another mother” singing partner Jack Pyrah begin organizing our 15th annual Sunday summer sing along program for those citizens who enjoy easy listening music. Present plans call for weekly appearances at the Sunday on Memorial Day May 31, and every Sunday in June, July, August from 6 to 7:30 p.m. weather permitting. Our regular attendees know to bring a blanket or folding chair for this free program with songs from Patti Page and Rosemary Clooney to Elton John and Bette Midler.
Born and raised in Hamilton, Tom Glover is past president of the Hamilton Township Historical Society and currently works at the Hamilton Township Public Library as local historian in the library’s Local History Collection. Visit Tom’s websites www.glover320.blogspot.com which has over 900,000 visits, also www.hhs51.blogspot.com. And www.kuser-school.blogspot.com and his Facebook pages for interesting links and many items of local history and nostalgia. Tom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.