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••• The International Writers Magazine: The Retired Life USA

Observations Catches Up on Things
• Martin Green
This month’s “Favorite Restaurants” catches up on eating places that readers have e-mailed about in the past month or two and so I thought it a good time to catch up some vital subjects I’ve written about in previous “Observations” as well. 


January’s “Observations” was about my dining out experiences and noted that the dining scene in our area ---Roseville, Lincoln, Rocklin, Folsom, etc.--- has exploded since the advent of our two Sun Cities.  At least part of this, I believe, is because our Sun City wives have grown tired of cooking and so are always ready to eat out.    We recently had some out-of-town visitors and what struck them the most was the multitude and variety of restaurants available to us.  They even said they’re ready to come back to eat at some restaurants they missed.    So it seems we’re fortunate in this important regard and so far new eating places are still opening up.  

In March’s “Observations” I wrote about our growing dependence on technogadgets and warned that we might be losing control of our lives and that if ever our gadgets---TVs, PCs, iPads, iPhones and the like---failed (or revolted) we’d be in deep trouble.  Now I discover that the situation is even more dire than I’d thought.  Our gadgets might be spying on us and, not only this, there’s a whole legion of bad people out there trying to get at us through our gadgets.

I’ve become a little suspicious of our new “smart” Samsung TV as it doesn’t always do what we tell it to, like not going to Netflix from regular TV or mysteriously informing us it’s lost its signal.  Now we learn that it may be spying on us, relaying whatever we are saying to who-knows-what sinister organization, maybe a government agency, and what could be worse?     

In that same “Observations” I wrote about Yahoo being hacked and millions of e-mail accounts being broken into and it turned out that mine, according to a security alert I received, was one of them.  As instructed, I changed my password and so hope my e-mails are safe until the next break-in.   More recent was a phone call we received, alleging to be from Microsoft and telling us that our Cloud, I think that was it, had been infiltrated and that they’d be happy to remedy this problem for us.  Our Cloud compromised?  What next?  I’m not sure exactly what this is but I Googled (what would we do about Google?) and found out this is not an new but an old trick, another phishing expedition to get information about us and, I suppose, go on to put thousands of dollars on our credit cards.   

I also wrote about my experience with the latest technogadget in our household, an Amazon Echo dot my son gave me for my birthday.  This looks like a hockey puck, answers to the name Alexa and provides information about anything she has access to in cyberspace, including, maybe, that Microsoft  Cloud.  I’ve read that Alexa also hears everything you say and is supposed to adapt itself, pardon me, herself to your ways and respond accordingly. So far I’ve seen no sign of this but if this should happen in the future I hope Alexa will confine herself to such admonitions as “Don’t forget to take your pills” and “Did you close the garage door?” instead of telling me the best way to run my life (I have Beverly to do this).   

In last month’s “Observations” I wrote about my memories of growing up in the Bronx.  I ran out of space before being able to write about the importance that movies had in our young lives way back then.  I don’t know how old I was when I first started going to movies but as soon as I was I was dispatched to our local theater with the price of admission (a dime?  A quarter?) in my hand and sent to spend all Saturday morning there, along with all the other kids in the neighborhood.  It was the Depression, but whatever it cost, even as much as a quarter, it was probably worth it to our parents.

When I was older and past this stage the movies were still something to go to each week, especially during the summer, when movie theaters were the only air-conditioned places available.  The latest movies of course always opened downtown, i.e., in Manhattan, then eventually came to our first-run neighborhood theater, the Loew’s Boulevard, and then to our second-run theater, the Loew’s Spooner.  The movies were always a double-feature, an A picture and a B picture; sometimes the B movie was better than the A.  We went at any time, usually in the middle of a picture, saw the rest of it, then the other picture, then the beginning of the first one.  On special occasions, my mother would take me and my sister downtown, which meant going to Radio City Music Hall to see a first-run picture and, gasp, the Rockettes, and of course this meant having lunch out as the Automat, an eatery I cited in my January “Observations.”

What about movies today?  We still watch them but as we’ve gotten older going to a theater has become less enjoyable, if enjoyable at all.  I haven’t been to a movie theater in a long time but recall having to sit through commercials, interminable coming attractions, and super-loud sound tracks, not to mention bad pictures.  So now we watch at home sitting in our comfortable recliners, able to adjust the sound, and, as in the case of a couple of Oscar nominees we recently tried, able to stop watching.  (Since writing this, I’ve read that a couple of local cinemas have installed reclining seats so they’re aware of their problem).  

Okay, I think this brings everything up to date so for next month’s “Observations” it may be time to see what this year’s latest LLA;s and TGH’s are.  I’ll just give a preview here:  the Republicans, the Democrats, anyone else associated with Washington and what’s going on with our so-called government.

Missed some “Observations”?    Catch up by getting “Observations, 2010-2016” on Amazon Kindle.    Also, catch up with “The View From 85” on Amazon for FREE, no, 99 cents. (and Kobo)

© Martin Green May 2017

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