Monday, September 17, 2012

The Sweetest Place on Earth

We've just returned from a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania where we spent a couple of days. There are various things to see there, an amusement park and "Chocolate World," and a museum.  We didn't have time to get to the Museum, but we enjoyed the beautiful  Fall weather walking around the tree lined amusement park. Nobody including the youngest wanted to attempt the large roller coasters. We could hear the screaming overhead. But we found enough things to do. Two people made their own chocolate bars. We took a "Chocolate Tour" where we saw the actual machinery which creates the chocolate treats. I'm not sure if this was real or just an exhibit. It looked real and I couldn't help thinking that a mystery writer might envision someone being "bumped off" in a large vat of chocolate. What a way to go!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Whose Granny?

I read a lot of cozy mysteries. And I enjoy them very much. One odd thing I have noticed, from time to time, is how writers are confused about time periods. I'm not sure if it is a failure to research the idea or is the writer just using a stereotype?
First thing is the depiction of older people, specifically older women.  Now I am a genuine card carrying (Medicare) older person, in her seventies. I feel uncomfortable when I read about someone's "Granny" in her out of date clothing, gray bun, ignorance of modern life, and truly horrible decor in her home. Now, there may be people like that my age, but I don't think there are many of them. Women in their seventies are stylish, modern women who have been through a lot, let me tell you! We've probably seen it all, from growing up as teenagers in the 1950's, (Elvis was born the same year I was,) after spending a childhood that was influenced by World War II, then the early sixties as  young adults, the days of James Bond, shaken not stirred sophistication and clothing influenced by Jackie Onassis.  Maybe some of our furniture looks like the seventies (an unfortunate era for decor) but that's just because we were raised not to throw anything out by our depression era parents.

Then the time periods! One author I read (not a published author) seemed to think that someone landing at New York from Ireland in 1947 was to be shown as if they were living in the 1800's. I, myself, got off a ship at the West Side Piers in 1947, as an immigrant, but we took a taxi to Greenwich Village.

I would say,get it right if you are going to talk about it at all.It's more interesting to read about real people, not stereotypes.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Off They Go

It's September, and the grandkids are getting ready to go back to school. As usual, Summer has gone much too fast. One thing that is different this year at one high school (we don't have any kids in high school yet) is that they are going to be using IPads instead of textbooks. Homework can be done online. How I wish I had had this in college in the early 1960's!
The high school teachers had to take a course (for which they were well paid) in how to use the IPads. Can you imagine that the kids know how? Kids today could probably send a rocket to the moon and bring it back again.
I'm happy to see more readers of ebooks even if they will be textbooks. I'm getting into the eboook world myself and it is a great adventure. I remember when the Internet was in its infancy -  as far as the ordinary person using it, anyway. Those were fun days. I even think nostalgically of using a modem to connect by phone. That ringing and waiting for the "connected" reward made you think you were doing something a little exciting and different. Then of course you had to write a lot of text when you got there and even try to handle basic DOS commands. Nowadays to tell the truth, I am bored by the ever-present advertising and pop-ups, the videos I am forced to watch when I could scan a text message in a few seconds. Even if they are trying to make it all "easier", to me it is not. I want my ugly old screens back! Well, not really that. Just to get rid of the advertising would do for a start.
But we can't travel back to the past. We're stuck with what we have now. And ereaders seem to be a bright new horizon. I hope they will continue this way and get even better.There's good and bad in everything., of course. I expect that there will always be actual books, at least, I hope so. But there is room for the ereader. In our electronic world, it's actually a little late in appearing, I think. But here it is in popular form and it will be interesting to follow its progress.