Hat on Top, Coat Below


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December 15, 2009

A friend shared the link to New York Magazine’s Catalogue of Everyday Stuff That Has Become Extinct and, as with any list like this, I agree with some items and quibble with others.

The answering machine is not extinct at my house. Of course we’ve still got a landline, too. (Though there isn’t one at the condo, nor do we plan on getting one.) An answering machine is so much nicer for screening calls than voicemail—I can get a little taste of what the caller wants before I decide to pick up or not (I usually do pick up if it’s a personal call).

I agree that lickable stamps are pretty much gone. I didn’t mind the licking, and they were certainly easier to remove from an envelope when placed there in error than the self-stick ones are, but I’m okay with the new fangled ones too.

I hope foldable road maps don’t disappear. Much as I like having the navigation system in my car, I haven’t given up paper maps. I use them more for planning and getting an overview than finding my way turn by turn.

I’m guessing we probably won’t buy another cathode ray tube TV, as we didn’t the last time we needed a new set, but it’ll be a while before they’re all gone. (There’s one in a box in my dining room right now, waiting to move to Idaho.)

I somehow missed the news that incandescent light bulbs are going to be banned (provided incandescents can’t meet the new standards that start to be phased in starting in 2012). That’s a bit annoying. We have started using compact fluorescents around our house, but there are some fixtures where they won’t fit or just plain look crappy. I hope CFL manufacturers are working on those issues—if not, I’ll have to start hoarding, and that’s not a good thing.

I am not a big consumer of paid pornography or free porn, either, but I tend to think that “you get what you pay for” applies here, at least in broad strokes. I’d compare it to published novels versus fan fiction; there’s good stuff to be found in both formats, but if I had to pick just one to get my stories from, I’d go with the one that’s been produced by professionals.

Smoking in bars is mostly irrelevant to me because I spend very little time in bars these days. I am, however, very glad that there’s no smoking in offices—that change was pretty much done by the time I started working after college, though there were a few holdouts I’d come across in my visits to auditing clients and I hated the headaches I’d get and the smell on my clothes when I came home.

I sincerely wish fax machines were extinct, but my recent experience with two different mortgage banks showed me they are not. Granted, until the banks demanded it, I hadn’t had to fax anything in a very long time (so long that I had to learn how to get the all-in-one copier/fax/printer/scanner behemoth to send something), but it sure felt like it would have been impossible to get our loan without the fax.

I grew up eating Oreos, so the disappearance of Hydrox cookies affected me not at all. (I have been trying to keep myself from checking whether the white chocolate covered holiday Oreos are back this year.)

Cassette tapes? They’re pretty much dead to me. We still have some, and the equipment to play them, but I can’t remember the last time I actually listened to a tape. I can’t listen to them in my car anymore, what with not having a tape deck, but I don’t miss them—between the satellite radio and the hard drive in the car and my iPod and CDs, I’m plenty entertained. Our truck is old enough that it has a tape player in it—maybe I’ll pull out my old mix tapes and listen to them the next time we take a road trip.

That the French franc is gone makes me a little sad. I’m glad I was fortunate enough to visit once before they went away; I kept 50 Franc Little Prince note as a souvenir.

Floppy disks and phone books fall into the same category as cassette tapes for me; I have them around but rarely use them. Of the three, I probably use the phone book the most, as it can be faster to look up something there than online—I am never distracted by LOLcats or e-mail or Facebook when using the Yellow Pages.

I’ve read that Polaroid photos are coming back, but I haven’t missed them. In pre-digital camera days, I used my Polaroid mostly to take pictures of quilts in the design stage, to record ideas I might want to come back to and have a guide for the final layout when it came to sewing it all together. Now I do that with pixels and can take many more shots because I’m not using up expensive film; that’s an improvement.

I absolutely do not miss bank deposit slips. I was bit disconcerted the first time I fed a check into the ATM unaccompanied but now it’s just the way things are done. What I need now is an easier way to remember to take the checks to the ATM in the first place; fortunately I don’t get that many I have to deal with.

Subway tokens are a non-issue in metro Detroit, where I’ve spent most of my adult life.

I barely remember the Rolodex; I never had one of my own and managed just fine with a paper address book.


On this date in 2008: Socks of the Corn
2007: WDW VI: The Undiscovered Attractions & A Night at the Opera House
2006: No entry
2005: Winter Count–May
2004: Pictures Taken and Not & Froggie Went a Courtin’.
2003: Weekly Update
2002: Unofficial Party

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