Tuesday, May 1, 2012

In the Courtyard of the Castle: A Facebook Thread on Yesterday's Post: A Split Biscuit with Ham Feature on the Biscuit City Network

Yesterday's post considered a blogger who wrote about "Nine Things that Will Disappear in Our Lifetime." (For easy reference, they are the post office, the check, the (paper) newspaper, the (physical) book, the landline telephone, recorded music, network television, "things" you own and privacy. today, Biscuit City is pleased to present a lightly edited thread that resulted from yesterday's post. The participants in the thread (in order of appearance) are my FB (and real world) friends Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt, writer, teacher and activist who lives in Manassas; Mary Kay Montgomery, with whom I worked at Robinson High School in Fairfax, and presently living in Bluffton, SC. MK, as I refer to her on FB, is a gardener, a reader, a director (she does not claim that title), and a retired bookstore manager and librarian; and Mary McElveen, also my colleague at JWR, now living in Alexandria, VA. Mary Mac is a writer, poet, reader, grandma, community activist and retired chemistry teacher. Me, I'm an innocent bystander, although I did start this fish fry. Enjoy!

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt: Awesome post, Dan, and one I would like to respond to in a full blog post of my own. However, this will take time, and I don't have enough of that this morning.

I agree with some of the predictions, but there may be more I disagree with, especially the notion of "our lifetime." Who is this "us"? People under the age of 40? 30? 20? I think the writer is disregarding baby boomers and many others. As someone who is increasingly "growing up," I am offended at this generalization which dismisses an entire population. We count, dammit! : )

Dan Verner:  You make a good point about the age of the writer, Katherine, and one I hadn't thought about. Judging from his picture (http://digitaljournal.com/blog/12633), he is a boomer although the site doesn't give his age. So, supposing that at least some of us live to be 100, that would be about 40 years from now. I think almost everything on the list will be gone in 20 years with the exception of "stuff." I think people will always be attached to sentimental objects and those will persist. But maybe they'll reside in the Cloud.

MaryKay Montgomery: This so sad. It makes me feel old, obsolete, and on the way out. I am NOT sad for the young'uns, though. I feel positive that every generation feels the same way about the changes that leave the oldsters behind. So - what else is new.

About your keeping vinyl records in case turntables come back -  we still have some pf them as well.

Dan:  MK, Thoughtful comments, as always. Technology changes (duh) and while it's hard to adjust to, usually I find I'm glad when I do. We had a digital camera for a year that the kids gave us before we took a single picture. Can you even buy film any more? I love the convenience of digital and the ability to send pictures over the 'net. But there are some losses. I know I will hold onto my "stuff" because it has sentimental value. And there is an app for the i-Pad that allows you to play it like a guitar. I'll stick with my D-18!

Mary Kay:  Me, too. On all of the above comments - including the vast improvement of digital cameras over film. And how could I LIVE without my computer? But I have resisted Kindles so far - and I'm the only one in my book club who hasn't "sold-out". I still cling to my many books. I have noticed, however, that when I need to know something I usually check the 'net instead of one of the lovely reference books in my collection.

Dan: I have a Nook but still read paper books. I think we're a transition generation. My daughters have gone all digital and find my habits amusing and quaint. But I have more insurance, to quote a line from "Fried Green Tomatoes." Towanda!

Mary Kay: I will give up my land-line when cell phone conversations can happen without interuption and poor reception 100% of the time. Also - how about phone books? If everyone uses cell phones there will be no need for the old books.

But my idea is that most generations become transition generations in the long run, don't you think?

Dan:  Good points! We have really good cell service around here. I understand the phone companies are stopping issuing phone books since most people use 411 or internet lookups. And indeed every generation becomes a transition generation. My father doesn't use computers, cell phones or DVD players at all. He's of the mechanical generation--can fix anything mechanical. But electronics baffle him. And he's not alone in that in his generation.

Mary McElveen:  I think Dan's right (in yesterday’s post); there will always be aficionados of books. There's no real substitute for the look, smell, feel of an old book. And there are kids who are discovering the appeal of vinyl in recordings...maybe the same thing we feel about antique furniture and other items that represent our past. Not that we'd live in museums, but...there's comfort in our past and that of our ancestors. Don't get me started on antiques..
And while we're talking about old stuff....


What makes one house sing

when others barely hum?

What electricity calls our names

in resonance with walls and spaces, fabric and wood?

What arcane language summons each to each,

defying ordinary words?

Treasured somethings made by hand

reflect the love within,

and draw more to themselves. Why else

choose the old and battered over pristine new,

but for the love, banked and drawing interest,

that lives within?

Love defies logic,

transcending space and time.

Who can deny that connection,

ethereal though it may be?

Who can touch those long-ago hearts

and not be touched in return?

Dan: Mary Mac, wow! What an appropriate poem! And you use abstractions, which are hard to make work in poetry. Cool!

Katherine: Mary, that is lovely! " What electricity calls our names..." Indeed.

Mary: Thank you. I'm really big on old, and/or handcrafted things: wooden bowls, silver, furniture..they have an indefinable something and that's what I was trying to express...

Dan:  I'm the same way with vintage guitars. Take pre-World War II Martin D-28's, which have incredible tones and are made from Brazilian rosewood, which is impossible to find now (legally, that is). They have increased in value by 10000% (not a mistyping) but their real value lies not in their monetary worth but in the fact that they are works of art a guitarist can play. At the same time, iPads can be "app-ed" to play like a guitar. Are the two equivalent? I don't think so.

MaryKay Montgomery (to Mary Mac): WOW! I'm crazy about your poem "What makes one house sing...." I will print and save it - somewhere in all this stuff so that I can see it often! I hope it isn't copyrighted? If not, I have a couple of people I'd like to send it to.

Mary:  Sigh. Like everything I write, the only place it's published is in my own self-published books. Send it at will; just give me credit...:) Thank you...Oddly enough it is in the my last book--Close to Home. Send me your address and I will mail it out. I published it on blurb.com and you can get it there, but the shipping cost is ridiculous. I'll send you my email in a separate message.

MaryKay: I enjoy these long, continuing conversations. After many hours away from the computer I come back to more threads and ideas. Fun.

Mary:  So is the title going to be Split Biscuit? With or without ham?

Dan:  Split Biscuit with Ham it is. Thank you for the idea. I want readers of Biscuit City to experience one of these threads and to be insanely jealous if they don't have FB friends  who can comment like this...


  1. And if plastic surgeons have their way, the eleventh thing that will disappear in the future is wrinkles. :-)

    1. Can't say I would miss cellulite and saggy skin, but I'm not about to pay the price.

  2. Okay, here's my take (too lazy to do my own blog post, so thanks, Dan). I'm 42. Post Office will probably be gone in another decade, replaced by other companies and hopefully less packaging and junk mail. Network television with commercials except Superbowl? Probably next twenty years. Landlines? Will take ten more years for technology to make connections better, especially during crises, so yeah, in ten years, no more landlines. Checks? Yes, in the next five years, and GOOD RIDDANCE! I loathe paying with checks and procrastinate when I am forced to do so. However,we need to have paper backups when the credit card machines go down (back to carbon copies). Recorded music, next thirty years or so except for collectors and fringe culture. Real books? At least fifty years, and maybe never, especially for collectors and the tactile. Physical newspaper? Next five years, but there may be physical variations of it. Things I own? Depends on how good I am at purging, and most of us aren't that good, so I don't see that happening in my lifetime. Privacy? We don't have much anyway, and I don't really care unless I'm being harassed or stalked.

    The most important thing? Never underestimate people who love antiques, artifacts, history and those who are just plain rebels.