Tag Archive: stamp collecting

Technology Harlots

I was born in the age of pen friends and stamp collecting.

Today, 60 years on, you can do neither. The thrill of arriving home from school to find one, two or more letters in the mailbox and the disappointment if there was none is something that kids today can never know.

The ability to write a letter, to actually use a pen, to be able to spell and express ideas seems to be lost on the current generation.

The three or four week round trip, from posting to receiving a reply was sometimes agony. But pen friends wasn’t just about writing, it was about discovering relationships, ability to communicate, the handling of emotions, the organisation (I had many pen friends, I had to keep a log of letters received and sent) and  how to use the post office. There were so many peripheral aspects of life that were included with the responsibility of pen friendship.

E-mails, adhesive stickers (look like stamps, but don’t taste like stamps), franking machines (almost a dinosaur too), Skype, FaceBook, Twitter, Orkut have all been responsible for killing it.

Then there was the stamp collecting, carefully tearing the corner off an envelope, soaking the stamps in warm water, laying them on Mum’s table cloth to dry on the kitchen table, exploring the world with little pieces of perforated paper, mounting them correctly by country and year of issue in albums.

Today, it’s all Google, search and destroy, Earth, Wikipedia.

There’s no more going to the library, being a member of a library, borrowing books and the responsibility of caring and then returning them to avoid a fine.

The communications techniques of today are progress, I think not. While it may be faster and more wide reaching, we have lost so much of the human side of life. The destruction of languages, the banality of material, discussions about the puerile and the inane. It’s not progress, it’s a rot that is eating at the very core of society.

I go to a restaurant, and there are people on cellphones, I walk the streets there are people on cell phones, I ride in a bus and the driver is on his cell phone as are many of the drivers in cars.

I go to a restaurant to relax and eat a meal to enjoy the atmosphere and the air is punctuated with the obnoxious beeps and tweets of Nextel type phones; it’s horrid, it’s abhorrent, it’s bloody ignorant.

Technology has destroyed the respect people once had for one another. People are obsessed. “Oh God, I farted, must put that on FaceBook!” I use Twitter, not as a social device, but a way to publish new blog posts (some of which are banal, I have fallen into the trap). I get a tweet, “I am at XXX!” Who gives a damned? I ‘unfollow.’ The narcissism that technology has created is pathetic. I see pathetic people everyday and I shake my head, because I know it will only get worse.

Everybody has a PC, a laptop, a tablet, an iPhone that has more functions than I can fathom; and they use them for the paltry, petty and the piteous. Girls particularly have become slaves to the cell phone, they have become technology harlots, they have sold themselves to the idea, I must talk as though their very being depended on it. My God, I have known women who could do that without one.

Rant over…

It’s a nice sunny day out there, and my flu’ has gone.


An Inextricable Link


Yes, there is… an inextricable link between the cigarette and the written word.

Yesterday, without making plans, nor indeed, with the intention… I gave up smoking.

Just stopped from 40+ daily to zero.

The stamp to the right has nothing to do with the post, although the subject matter is akin. I just like it, my boyhood stamp collecting fervor has never really left.

I am in front of my PC for most part of each day, as most of you know, I have eight blogs to maintain. That is a lot each day, I don’t always succeed, but the spirit is there. I smoke when I am at the PC, I smoke when I have a beer and I normally light a smoke when I have shut the gate and on my way to wherever.

But smoking when I am writing, smoking aids the thought process. I may not actually ‘smoke’ the cigarette, or the whole thing. It may just sit in the ashtray and smoulder itself away, but the cigarette must be there.

The Brazilian government have just added a new tax on cigarettes too. My pack has jumped from R$3,40 to R$4.25, that’s a major hike. On TV the other night they were complaining about the R$2bn spent on smoking related healthcare each year; but they made no mention of the billions they save in social security and pensions when a smoker dies earlier than the actuary estimated.

I have the pack in front of me still, where it always is. In the last 26 hours I have succumbed to the temptation four times. I have had four cigarettes, when I would normally have put paid to more than two packs, so while it’s not exactly ‘zero’ it is a significant reduction.

Mexico 2 – Brazil 0

I haven’t smoked on the street today, nor at the bar, just here at the PC. Nobody has even noticed.

Of course my lack of cigarette smoke is directly linked to the fact that Brazil have just lost a ‘friendly’ to Mexico, 0x2. I blame myself.

The problem that I face now is my weight. In the past, when I have given up cigarettes, I pile on the weight. 10kgs (22lbs) can appear in 6 weeks. That’s a daunting prospect when you consider that I am currently 110kgs (240lbs+/-). My weight is among my worst enemies. I already use a walking stick, have done so for three years now; any additional weight will have an adverse affect on my mobility.

Let’s see what happens.

I sincerely hope that I will have a Sunday Travel Tales this week. I failed totally last week, even with the hope that I would do it Monday.

%d bloggers like this: