When Technology crosses the line

Those of you that know me understand my quest for the latest and greatest gadgets.  New technology always excites me.  I always have to be the first to have the coolest new product or gizmo. But, even I have seen technology go too far.  I would like to point out several devices that, in my opinion, have little or no use or have just gone too far

First on my list is the automatic car wash, commonly referred to as an E-wash.  Last weekend I pulled into a new E-wash and was greeted by a machine.

This is how the conversation went:

E-wash: “Good afternoon. How can I help you today?”

Me:   “I would like my car washed.”

E-wash:  “Yes we can provide a Hot Wax”.

Me:  “I want a simple car wash.”

E-wash:  “Yes we can add an underbody wash.

Me:   “I just want a f____n’ car wash.

E-wash:  Thank you and have a nice day that will be $37.00

I agree, technology has improved our life in many fields including  medicine, finance and science but I don’t think I want my car wash to be included on that list.  I enjoy being greeted by a person. I enjoy getting out of the car and watching it go through the tunnel and I have great respect for the half dozen folks who are there drying and wiping the car down after the car comes through the system.   To me, a car wash is an American Icon, right up there with baseball, hotdogs and apple pie.    Trying to reason with a machine to wash my car was not an enjoyable experience that I will go through again.  I would rather wash the car myself.

Next on my list are public restrooms.   I believe somewhere in the Constitution or in the Declaration of Independence there has to be a line that states, as Americans we have the right to flush a toilet wash  and dry our hands when we want.  I can’t imagine our forefathers envisioned that toilets would flush themselves and sinks would provide only seconds of water and paper towels were distributed in matchbox size pieces.  There is nothing more annoying than having a toilet flush when you’re not ready for it to flush, I’m perfectly capable of turning the lever when I’m done, I can only imagine what the guy in the next stall is thinking when my toilet flushes ten times consecutively.   When it comes to washing my hands, is it really necessary to have the water delivered in 5 second intervals?  It’s not that complicated to turn a faucet on and off.  As for paper towels, you can take those sensors and put those through the car E-wash, they are the biggest waste of time I have ever seen!

Another biggy on my list is Cable TV.   My cable bill is like having a second mortgage. The rent on my first apartment in 1980 was less than my cable bill.  I have over 400 channels and every possible option, including DVR, On Demand, and all the premium channels.  The other night I sat down to watch TV and there was nothing on. Go Figure!  I grew up with a zenith TV with six channels (2, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 11) and a dial. And there was always something amazing to watch.   Can someone tell me how we went from Gilligan’s Island to Survivor? Ginger and Maryann, where have you gone?   Reality TV was as simple as “Family Feud.”

Last but not least on my technical wonders list is airport security.  Each time I fly somewhere I’m amazed at all the new devices and gadgets that make us feel dehumanized and detest flying that much more. What makes it even more ridiculous is no matter what new gadget is added, such as x ray machines or scanners; items still get through that can potentially ruin your day.  Here’s a novel idea, how about no carry on at all.  Period. That’s it. No questions asked.  Don’t like it; don’t fly.  Consider all the money that would be saved on security, and  then maybe the airlines can give us back free movies and food to enjoy (I’d be happy with a bag of pretzels). Hey, maybe you can even have a conversation with the person next to you.

I’m all for technology when it makes our lives more enjoyable and productive, but there comes a point where it can become just over the top. Reading this article online with your electronic reader, now how cool is that?

Published in: on May 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm  Comments (1)  
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Baggy Pants leads to arrest but not flip flops.

Recently a story of a 20 year old college student who was arrested in San Francisco on June 16th for not pulling his pants up while boarding a plane caught the media attention. Apparently, Deshon Marman was told by a customer service agent to pull up his low-slung pants as he boarded a Phoenix-bound flight at San Francisco International Airport. He refused and was again asked by another flight attendant as he was boarding the plane. He again refused. It was at that point that the pilot placed Mr. Marman under citizen’s arrest.  I guess a pilot could do that.  I sort of like that idea.  Well to make a long story short he has arrested and held with bail set at $10,000.  He has since been released, but the story is far from over.

In the news now is the family’s plan to sue the airlines, the police department, and the city of San Francisco for racial discrimination. Give me a break!  Talk about a waste of tax payer dollars and court time. This case has nothing to do with racial discrimination.   This is simply a matter of RESPECT.  That’s right, spell it! R-E-S-P-E-C-T.! All of this could have been avoided, if Mr. Marman would have simply pulled his pants up out of respect for the other passengers who were also on that flight.

Not too long ago, I remember my parents placing my brother and me on an airplane to go visit our grandparents dressed in sport jackets and dress pants. There was a day when airline travel was considered an important social event. Over the years the dress codes have become more relaxed for both travelers and airline crews.  What hasn’t changed and should never change is respect in public places.  Airlines are entitled to have dress codes and they are also entitled to enforce them.  The airline was following correct procedure.   Mr. Marman was just being disrespectful. END of STORY.

It does not matter what nationality, religion or color Mr. Marman is, the airline was right in their actions.   I RESPECT the airline for its decision.  Rules and regulations are part of our daily life.  I agree, some are not good but they are put there for a reason.   When there is a regulation or a rule that you are not comfortable with, there are better ways to disagree than with pure defiance.   By refusing to pull his pants up, Mr. Marman was not showing any maturity.  Maybe Mr. Marman should have “tweeted” or “blogged” his discontent with the rule and regulation and then presented his case to the airline at another time. This is how change comes.

For years I have been traveling to a time share in the Caribbean with my wife for our vacation.  One of the rules is, men have to wear long pants, collared shirts and shoes at dinner.  At first I found this to be a hassle. It involved extra packing and it really cramped my style of dress.  I would have preferred shorts, t-shirt and flip flops.  After a few years of this routine, I actually got to the point of looking forward to dressing up.  I enjoyed the experience of shopping prior to the vacation and planning out what I was going to wear.  The rule was enforced, although I never witnessed a citizens arrest by the hotel staff.

This week I just received my Island newsletter and guess what! As of July 1st, the dress code is being relaxed and now men will be allowed to wear shorts at dinner, although no jean cutoffs (does anybody wear them anymore?).  Casual shirts and open shoes will now also be permitted.  Believe it or not, I’m sort of bummed out about this.  I wonder what happened. I guess several guests decided to write letters, tweet, blog and send emails to the resort voicing their opinion on the dress code.  I never once witnessed a guest refuse to take his shorts off at dinner.  I also believe as new generations of guest and hotel staff arrived they brought with them new styles and trends.   As they say change is inevitable.   I think when the day comes that baggy pants down to your knees are allowed during dinner at our time share, it might be time for me to search out a new island.

So Mr. Marman, I hope you reconsider your lawsuit and just grow up a little bit.  I suggest you invest some time in learning proper manners and learning to respect the feelings of others.  If you want to wear your pants down to your knee, for now you will not be welcomed at my time share.


Steve Kohn

Published in: on July 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm  Comments (2)  
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No tailgating?

Wow! Just heard on the radio this morning that there will be no tailgating allowed in Miami at the Superbowl on Sunday.   Now I’m not a big football fan, but I do appreciate the game and understand that football is as American as you can get.  Correct me if I wrong, but if I was going to make an analogy, isn’t tailgating to football as a barbecue is to 4th of July?   Something is not right here.

What is happening folks?  In the last couple months look at the changes that are occurring.  Arriving three  hours  prior to  departing flights at airports in order to clear security.  Installation of metal detectors at local schools.  Security concerns at the NYC courthouse that have forced the movement of the terrorist trial.   What’s next- armed guards at the super market?

Land of the free and home of the brave? What happened to that?  Is the United States as we know it morphing before our eyes?  Homeland Security started out as a response to 9/11 but what  is it turning into now?  What has caused this major change in such a short period and what can we do to either halt it or reverse it?

I would like to continue to live the life we have grown accustomed to and would like the same for  future generations to come.  As Americans we have to fight for what we believe in and we have to let our elected officials know how we feel.  Quoting a line from a famous movie “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”. I urge all of you to speak up, let your voices be heard.

When you get an opportunity to speak  (such as a blog like this) let your opinion be known.  If enough of us speak up, changes will happen.   We need to feel secure in our own country and we need to take proper steps to ensure our safety.  Is banning tail gating at the SuperBowl really what life as come down to?  I understand why it is being done.  What I question is where we have failed to let this happen in the first place?

As a country we need to stop being politically correct all the time and create rules and safeguards that are in the best interest of the public, not the politicians.  Unfortunately in the world we live, politically correct just doesn’t cut it any more.    On Christmas Day we received a huge  “wake up America call” when the “underwear bomber” boarded a commercial jet bound for Detroit.  This should have never happened.

Yes, the safety of every Unites States Citizen should be our greatest concern and one that our government takes seriouly but I believe we are  going about it the wrong way. Doesn’t it seem we are being reactive rather than proactive?

I’m looking forward to many more July 4th Barbecues.  Let’s do what it takes to make sure that happens.

Published in: on February 2, 2010 at 4:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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Fly the friendly Skies – NOT

Yesterday at Newark Airport there was a security breach and passengers were delayed 6 hours until the “issue” was investigated. Even those already seated on planes on the tarmac had to deplane and go through security again.  Flying was become a major hassle. With the all the recent activity going on, how will your travel plans change or what advice do you have to share with other would be travelers. We have been told to plan on three hours to check in before flight. What is next? Checking in a day before?  I remember a day when airline travel was fun. Remember when you friends and family came to the gate to greet you or see you safely off.  It wasn’t long ago that carry on baggage was just a small bag of snacks, now its your entire wardrobe since its such a major ordeal to check (and get back) your bags.  Its sad but true, if someone is going to plan a terrorist activity they are going to do it no matter what hoops are thrown their way.  Its almost like its become a game of “can you beat this”.   I guess the best we can do as passengers is just be aware of our surroundings and beware of anything that is suspicious.   I look forward to going away but I’m waiting for the day when it will be as easy as “beam me up Scotty”.  Airports you can have them.

Published in: on January 4, 2010 at 5:42 pm  Leave a Comment