HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

August 20, 2007
Potpourri

Ernest Cassara


New Technology Rescues the Old

Across from me in my study is a catalogue that came in the mail the other, with a picture of Myrna Loy and William Powell.  It reads “1st Time on DVD!”

Indeed, when you think about it, isn’t it marvelous how deteriorating film can be transferred to tape and, then, onto DVDs!

By the way, thinking of Powell in his role as the “Thin Man,” years ago, when the Boston Athenaeum, of which my spouse and I, and a daughter who resides in a town close to us, are members, chose to use the large Rabb Lecture Hall at the Boston Public Library, while it was undergoing restoration of its own building.  Since the Thin Man was a Martini cocktail afficionado, the Athenaeum staff served Martinis - along with a variety of cheeses - to all comers.  I made the mistake of swigging more than one, after which I chose a seat near the back of the auditorium.  I observed the beginning of the movie, and, then, was awakened by the applause at the end of the movie.  Very refreshing nap!

It taught me a lesson.  On public occasions, one is enough!


The Postal Service’s “Forever” Stamp

Since the Congress separated the postal service from the government years ago - a move which, I am sure, Benjamin Franklin, the first Post Master General, would have deplored - it has had to make its own way, without subsidies.  Thus, the penny postcard, which I keep as a souvenir, is, indeed, an antique that younger folks might wonder at.

Now the Postal Service has come up with the idea of issuing a “forever” stamp.  Always good!  And, it allows the Service to continue to boost prices without having to print new stamps!


Something Wrong? Pop a Pill! 

Television is, indeed, an educational medium.  It is perfectly amazing at how many ailments, according to the ads, can be cured by popping a pill.  One of the latest, I’ve noticed, “Restless Leg Syndrome.”  I would think that this is one ailment that a person might not want to cure.  After all, consider how many calories may be consumed while you sleep, making it unnecessary to go jogging when you arise!


The French Bread Scandal

Since it was best to travel by Air France to Tunisia, I was delighted to be offered a roll of French bread by the flight attendant.  It was stale! 

It was only on the way back to Boston that I realized why.  This time the bread was fresh!  Of course, from France to the U.S., it is fresh.  From the U.S. to France, it is stale!  One would think that modern technology would find a way to keep it fresh!


When I Avoid Public Television

It defies explanation that, when public television is engaged in a money raising campaign, it broadcasts programs it would never think of airing the rest of the year. You figure!


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