Stupid Tuesday questions, Walt Disney edition

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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184 Responses

  1. Kazzy says:

    I don’t wear a watch because my last attempt at doing so resulted in a rash. I think it was something specific to that watch, as I’ve worn other watches in the past without concern. However, I’m very weird about having things around my wrist. I almost always have my sleeves rolled up, even in very cold weather. It is a weird physical/sensory quirk I have. As such, watches are more or less out for me.

    As to what should be preserved in amber… everything intended for young children that iPads and other such devices are attempting to replace. I recognize that technology can take us to new places and new heights, but attempts to replace valuable learning tools like blocks or books or manipulatives because technology misses the entire point of interacting with a physical, tangible medium. When my school decided not to replace our exiting librarian and to turn the library into a “media center” with green screens and LEGO robotics, I shed a little tear. The K teacher and I just ransacked the shelves, rescuing armfuls of books that were simply being ignored and made them available in our classroom libraries.Report

  2. aaron david says:

    Stick shifts and hard back books.

    The stick as it actually allows you to control the vehicle better. You are connected to it, a part of it as opposed to sitting in it.
    The book as it lets you drop away from the world for a bit, and enjoy the literature that the author painstakingly crafted.

    Any excuse to not have my phone on me makes me happy, asI have worn a mechanical (wind up) watch since I became an adult.Report

    • Kim in reply to aaron david says:

      Aren’t automatics better nowadays? I thought they finally fixed the tech…Report

    • morat20 in reply to aaron david says:

      I was a huge fan of real books, up until the moment I realized I needed either a larger house to fit in more bookshelves OR I needed to start figuring out how to install shelving IN the interior walls.

      Now I’m divesting myself of paperbacks (and cursing Amazon for not giving better options to organize books). I’m keeping most of the hardbacks. Especially the signed ones.

      OTOH, I’m going to have to figure out how to bequeath my electronic book collection…..:)

      Seriously, though, why hasn’t Amazon created something akin to Calibre for their Kindles?Report

      • Kazzy in reply to morat20 says:


        Have you looked at Swaptree? You can trade books and other media with people. If you’ve got a book you don’t anticipate reading again, you can trade it for a book you want to read with no net influx of books. All you pay is shipping. You have to find people whose wants align with your haves and vice versa but it might help mitigate some of your issue.Report

    • Damon in reply to aaron david says:


      For me it’s not about the tech, it’s the winding through the gears, downshifting into turns, accellerating out of them, and upshifting. Additionally, I control when to shift, not some computer, so IF I want to run it up to 8 thousand RPMs, I can. It’s FUN.

      I’ll second the real books. Don’t expect to have a e-book ever. I like reading paper and I’ll not wake up to find all my books gone through some DRM change.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to aaron david says:

      +1 on both hardbacks and sticks.Report

    • ScarletNumbers in reply to aaron david says:

      If it was up to me, manual transmission automobiles would be against the law.

      No reason for them.Report

  3. James Hanley says:

    I’d say paper books, but once encased in amber I’m not sure what good they’d be.Report

    • North in reply to James Hanley says:

      So far the demise of paper books appears to be far from a forgone conclusion.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to North says:

        Sure, thanks to the current low market price of amber. But when the inevitable resource shortage hits, what then, my friend? What. Then?Report

      • NewDealer in reply to North says:

        I agree but it is a very common mini-culture war debate.

        A lot of techie types like to undervalue things that existed before their “disruption” and this includes paper books and non-internet shopping. Such things are quaint and potentially environmentally destructive. I’ve had people argue that e-readers are better for the environment than paper books.

        I still cannot imagine a dwelling place without books though.Report

      • Kim in reply to North says:

        “Paper books make my eyes hurt” is not devaluing them simply for the sake that they’re old.

        E-readers allow more information density to be transmitted than print media… for certain types of printing (less halftoning, for example, you can get better gradients).Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

        A properly made hard-bound book with maps, photos, and illustrations can be a work of art though. Something that is not only a pleasure to read but a joy to look at, hold and handle. An e-book doesn’t give you the same experience as a paper book. I also found that deep engagement with the text is easier with a paper book.Report

      • Kim in reply to North says:

        yes, you don’t get newsprint stains either.Report

    • Pinky in reply to James Hanley says:

      The physical bookshelf is both a trophy case of accomplishments and a nemesis taunting you with all the things you told yourself you’d read, but haven’t. No online subdirectory can provide such mockery or such consolation.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to James Hanley says:

      I used to like books. Then I moved, at which point I cursed every book I ever owned.Report

  4. Kazzy says:

    The manual potato masher tools. Fuck whipped potatoes and the horse they rode in on.Report

  5. zic says:

    I like stick shifts and books, so I’ll second both.

    Film cameras, both still and moving. Because there’s art to using the chemistry of film.

    Paper maps and orienteering skills. Because GPS is not a skill, but map-reading and orienteering are very valuable skills.

    Hand-written love letters. With a pen, on paper, put in an envelope, and delivered via snail mail. Because thoughtful romance is super romantic.

    Analog synthesizers. Because they sound cool.

    Mechanical adding machines and typewriters. Because they fascinate me.

    My FIL ran a very successful investment company; and invested in (and was friends with) Jim Henson’s businesses. He could afford a Rolex or two or three, probably had some. But he wore a Big Bird watch. So I think this is a great question.

    Sadly, there have been few watches I’ve been able to wear; I seem to magnetize them, they stop working on me after a week or two, and start working again a week or two after I stop wearing. I’ve never had an expensive watch, perhaps they don’t? But like orienteering, I’m pretty good at knowing the time, at least while the sun’s out, and when I have worn watches, I notice my ability to know the time degrades.Report

    • zic in reply to zic says:

      And I forgot:

      Actual string sections, with real violins and cellos.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to zic says:

      Paper maps and orienteering skills.

      Yes, yes, yes.

      I’m pretty good at knowing the time, at least while the sun’s out, and when I have worn watches, I notice my ability to know the time degrades.

      When I do wilderness canoe trips, I hate that guy who keeps looking at his watch. Look at the sky, man, look at the sky! We just need to get our camp up before dark; we’re not trying to catch the start of Big Ban Theory.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        For those who don’t know, Big Ban Theory is a libertarian-oriented conspiracy-themed television show. It all starts with Big Gulps in the pilot episode, and by the end of season two we’re all marching in chains down the dusty road to serfdom.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to James Hanley says:


        My wife still insists I’m being silly when I say that I can roughly orient myself via the sun. I don’t have any formal training, but a basic understanding that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and moves across the southern sky can be very handy.

        Once, we got lost in Central Park after dark. Without the sun to help us, we ended up on 5th Avenue instead of Central Park West! In part because we saw a raccoon in the distance and had to detour. We were really roughin’ it!Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to James Hanley says:

        The question is really how a person can *fail* to be roughly well-oriented in terms of cardinal directions much before or after noon on a sunny day.Report

      • Reformed Republican in reply to James Hanley says:

        I cannot wait until that is on Netflix.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to James Hanley says:

        In part because we saw a raccoon in the distance and had to detour.

        The mind boggles. I can only imagine how you would have reacted if you had been on that moonless midnight hike in Wyoming when we came face to face with a moose on a dark trail.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to James Hanley says:


        Related to moose interactions…

        While driving on some back country lanes on our way up to Moosehead Lake in Maine, we saw signs informing us that we were traveling in an area that had a “High Frequency of Moose Strikes”. My friend and I — both raised in the suburbs of NYC — had the following exchange…

        Him: What qualifies as a ‘high frequency’?
        Me: 1. 1 is high. Too high.

        I trust @zic might also appreciate that story.

        Also related… some sort of animal lives under the shed in my backyard. Is it a gopher? A beaver? A groundhog? Fuck if I know. It’s brown, low to the ground, and — most importantly — has agreed to my general rule that I won’t bother it if it won’t bother me. He is free to do whatever the hell he wants under that shed so long as he never gets close enough for me to actually figure out what he is.Report

      • greginak in reply to James Hanley says:

        Kazzy, check to see if its a snipe.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to James Hanley says:


        A snipe appears to be a bird. I’m no wilderness expert, but I am quite sure this is not a bird.Report

      • zic in reply to James Hanley says:

        @kazzy it’s not the raccoons you have to worry about in the city. It’s the skunks.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        OK, city boy, here’s your nature lesson.

        Unless you see a big flat tail, it ain’t a beaver.

        If it’s as big as a small dog, it’s a groundhog (aka woodchuck, or in mountainous regions, a marmot).

        If its a gopher, you put it in your pocket and tell your wife you’re happy to see her.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to James Hanley says:

        Wait… a woodchuck is a groundhog? Huh?

        No flat tail… it’s low to the ground… and seems to have sort of loose, baggy fur. It looks like someone’s fur hat got run over and ran away.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to James Hanley says:

        Wait… a woodchuck is a groundhog? Huh?

        For true.

        No flat tail… it’s low to the ground… and seems to have sort of loose, baggy fur. It looks like someone’s fur hat got run over and ran away.

        That’s a groundhog. Now the important question is, did the little fucker see his shadow Sunday? Because I’m getting sick of all this ice on our streets. Go ask; I’ll wait.

        And what Zic said. Groundhogs are inoffensive. We used to have one living under our shed; I misss seing him. But skunks…

        Coons can be a pain, too. Those bastards have nothing but contempt for humans. We exist solely to provide a steady food supply to them, and they know it.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to James Hanley says:

        We had raccoons where I grew up but not so much around here. They skew more urban than rural, right? We keep our trash in the garage until garbage day so there is little food for them.

        I’m pretty sure the woodchuck is buried too deep in the snow to have seen anything. Roger God-del somehow brought 50-degree temps to NJ for the Super Bowl and then snow storms on the next two days. Oh well.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to James Hanley says:

        Coons are adaptable. They thrive in rural environments and urban ones. They can fend for themselves just fine in nature, but there is often a heavier concentration in urban areas because of the abundant food supply. The biggest ones I ever saw were in my backyard in San Francisco.

        I rathet admire the little bastards, as long as they don’t tear up my campsite (they’re an endemic pest at many state parks).Report

    • bluefoot in reply to zic says:

      I will second all of these. Especially maps. And film.

      Re not being able to wear a watch: I used to have this problem until I got a an expensive watch (Longines). I’ve worn it nearly every day for the last 10+ years. The only other exception is a circa 1910 Elgin pocket watch I used to own.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to zic says:

      I don’t miss the old days of maps much at all. I just have very, very poor orientation. The lack of GPS’s didn’t really fix that. Though I will grant that I am worse now than I used to be. I still haven’t really mapped out our current town.Report

  6. dhex says:

    I’m ok with preserving vinyl as an audio curio/luxury with good cover art presentation possibilities.

    good riddance to cassettes, though up with the word “cassingle” as it’s so much fun to say.

    anyone who gets all moral imperative on old format fronts probably needs to be slapped in the face with a hard drive filled with pristine flac files, though. or 24bit wav files.Report

  7. Kim says:


  8. NewDealer says:

    I’ve worn a watch everyday since I was 17. But I was 17 before smartphones became common.

    My answer of course are books and live performance.

    By books, I mean the physical object on paper with binding. I am not used to e-readers. I enjoy the weight of a book in my hand and the act of turning pages and the smell of paper.

    I also love reading an actual newspaper or magazine instead of on-line versions.

    Live performance, everyone seems to be getting cranky about this and dislikes going out to see theatre and live music (all genres). I hear people talk about all the pains of going out when you can enjoy everything in the comfort of your own home. The social experience of live performance is great!Report

    • zic in reply to NewDealer says:

      Live performance, everyone seems to be getting cranky about this and dislikes going out to see theatre and live music (all genres). I hear people talk about all the pains of going out when you can enjoy everything in the comfort of your own home. The social experience of live performance is great!

      Applause. Encore. Applause. Louder Applause.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to zic says:

        Though I do think American audiences award standing ovations too freely. Those should be reserved for truly remarkable performances, not merely just good ones.Report

      • zic in reply to zic says:

        Are you implying your comment was merely good, not truly great?Report

      • NewDealer in reply to zic says:

        No, just a riff on how Americans treat live performance. I can’t recall the last time I was at a live performance in America that did not include a standing ovation. In London, standing ovations are very rare even for very famous and talented actors. Americans seem to think that a standing ovations is just what you do at the end of a live performance.

        If a famous actor is doing theatre in America like Kristen Scott Thomas, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, etc., Americans will burst into applause as soon as they appear on stage without doing anything. It makes it worth it to see plays with non-famous actors in some ways.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to zic says:


        I hate the social pressure that inevitably arises with a standing ovation. If you don’t stand, there seems to be an implicit message sent your way that you are some sort of unappreciative jerk. Even if you are clapping from your seated position.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to zic says:


        What did you mean by big performances? Do you mean Broadway with big named actors like Patrick Stewart?

        Plenty of off-broadway theatres don’t always have known names but they are very good performers. Many that you might recognize from TV (especially random Law and Order episodes) or people who will become household names.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to zic says:


        I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a show with an actor whose name I knew. But I’ve seen big shows… Wicked, Avenue Q (twice), Spamalot, and other Broadway-level shows*. Unless you wait online at TKTS, I don’t think it is possible to get into most productions for under $40/person. And while that might be worth it, I am usually resistant to spending such funds on entertainment (I don’t even attend that many sporting events for similar reasons).

        Odds are I can find local productions of high quality… hell, some high schools put on really good work… for much lower costs. It just requires more work. If they don’t immediately present themselves (such as a flier I see at the supermarket), I’m usually unlikely to do the legwork myself. My own fault, I know.

        * I’m cognizant that Broadway, Off-Broadway, etc. refer to theater sizes and say nothing of the quality, so when I say “Broadway-level”, I mean the sort of shows you can buy tickets for on TicketMaster and see in midtown Manhattan.Report

      • Kim in reply to zic says:

        Next time you’re in NYC go to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.
        That’s the cheap place in town to see big names. (Granted, they’re
        generally writers, so you may not place their Faces…)Report

    • Kazzy in reply to NewDealer says:

      I enjoy the theater. It is a different visceral experience to see something performed live. However, I am often unwilling to pay the prices required to see a top notch performance. I could probably avail myself of lower-tier performances and still get an approximate experience. But, you are absolutely correct.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

      I used to go to at least one or two live music performances a week. As a function of age, I go less frequently than I used to, but I lament the quasi-death of the local music scene back home because young people (not kids, obviously, but young adults in the non-I-really-mean-older-kids sense) aren’t doing what I did when I was younger (which, as a function of my age, I get grumpy about because those youngsters should do what I did!).Report

      • Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

        God I miss being able to get out to shows. I love that all kinds of stuff is available online, but seeing live music was (in addition to the musical experience itself) very much at the center of my social life – far more than, say, going to the movies – from my teens, until 5 years ago.

        “You going to the show? Want to get dinner or a drink beforehand? Should we roadtrip it? That was amazing/awful! Want to get some coffee/food before heading home? How about a nightcap on Steve’s patio?”

        Most weeks, the bulk or entirety of our social plans were scheduled around live music.Report

    • Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

      Live performance is only fun when you get to shout things at the stage.
      (yes, I am not exactly being totally serious. Yes, it is still fun to shout things
      at the stage.)Report

    • Reformed Republican in reply to NewDealer says:

      A live performance and a recording (whatever the media) are two completely different products. I can enjoy a live concert of music that I would never listen to otherwise, just because the experience makes it worthwhille.

      On that note, it has been way too long since I have seen live music.Report

  9. NewDealer says:

    This thread should be called antiquarians of the world unite.

    Also technicolor as a process. It produces much better color.Report

  10. North says:

    Fog horns. I was raised around one. The windows would shake, the dishes would rattle, then utter silence. Then… from far across the dark foggy sea the echo would come haunting, crying back.Report

  11. LeeEsq says:

    I think that watches are still common enough as piece of jewelry that they do not need to preserved in amber. I were a watch because I like how it looks and feel on my arm.Report

  12. Kyle Cupp says:

    The Trivium.
    Dead languages.
    Old fashioned space, town, and castle LEGO sets.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Kyle Cupp says:

      All languages, not reading them off a translation app but actually learning them.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Kyle Cupp says:

      @kyle-cupp “Old fashioned space, town, and castle LEGO sets.”

      This is a contradiction in terms, and a heresy as well. An “old fashioned” LEGO set was a bunch of different colored & sized square and rectangle blocks. And you were happy with it.Report

      • scott the mediocre in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Hear, hear.
        Kids these days. In my day we used Lincoln Logs, and were happy to have them. Calculated the pivot points and bending moments with slide rules, we did too. I remember how happy I was to get an Erector Set, until I remembered that we couldn’t afford a roof and it was always raining.
        Tongue partway out of cheek, it seems like these days the people who use Meccanos are mostly young adults – maker types. So I don’t think they’re exactly being preserved in amber, but I’m glad they’re still around.Report

  13. zic says:

    Actual time spent in proximity to someone, speaking to them directly, making eye contact, perhaps the occasional physical touch.Report

  14. zic says:

    I’m off to my knitting circle, so I will credit the computer age and its connectivity with fostering a revival of DIY skills like knitting. Big time.

    And I wanted to point out: Nobody’s calling for the salvation of the shopping mall anchored by several big-box stores.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to zic says:

      Its a bit early to tell if people would mourn the passing of the shopping mall. In a decade or two we might very well see paens to the lost innocense of teenagers hanging out in shopping malls and how wonderful they were as social fora. It took a decade or two for people to start mourning the end of the traditional downtown.

      If we do not see a rise in nostaligia for the shopping mall and the strip mall, I predict it would be that the aesthetic of the shopping mall are different than that of the department stores. The department stores in the late 19th and early 20th century were built to be places of beauty. Serious attention was paid their aesthetics. Nobody paid much attention to beauty when they built shopping malls.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq says:

        One of the least diserable effects of the car was a decline in architectural beauty and civic aesthetics. When most travel was done on foot or by rail, a lot of attention was paid to the beauty of buildings regardless of whether or not they were private or government owned. These were buildings that were meant to be seen, admired, and enjoyed. The car seemed to change that. We have a lot of aesthetically famous office buildings in the downtowns of various cities but do how many suburban office parks are known as architectural gems? What shopping malls can comapre the great department stores of the past? What airport to a proper train station like the old Penn Station?Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Plenty of airports stack up nicely.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Which ones? What airport looks good from the outside?Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Denver’s. (Portland’s was pretty too).

        But a building need not look particularly good from the outside to be an architectural wonder.Report

      • trumwill in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Bozeman, Montana has a reallycool airport.Report

      • Glyph in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Heh, I’ve flown into Bozeman a couple times.Report

      • zic in reply to LeeEsq says:

        You’ll appreciate what we planned at the knitting circle.

        Most of us are well beyond child-bearing age; some of us are great-great grandmothers.

        But some of us are younger, and one’s pregnant with her first baby. So one blanket, wool from the farm’s sheep, hand-dyed in several shades using natural dyes (cochineal, lichen, logwood, onion skins among them; probably no indigo, since it’s a different process), hand knit into squares, we’ll each do three. The yarn will be mordanted tomorrow; we’ll dye it Friday, and next week hand it out at the circle.

        The lichen dye bath is mine. I foraged it over a summer, and it’s been fermenting in a jar of ammonia and water for two years. It’s common on the rocks hereabout, though it’s easy to over-forage in small places; you don’t ever want to strip a rock.

        If we don’t boil the dye vat, but manage to cook it just below simmer, it will produce an incredible rich purple. This is actually not easy to do, because something about the solution makes it bubble at a lower temp. We’ll re-use the exhausted bath, and produce increasingly lighter shades of pink.

        After the first use, the readily-available colors are no longer present, so it’s called an exhausted bath. In the case of lichen, the blue tones that make for a rich purple exhaust quickly, but there is still color in it, and it’s frequently used over and over, producing lighter and lighter shades of pink.

        I read a research paper once about the lichen populations in Scotland, which claimed to measure health of the lichen population over time by the presence of purple and pink in Tartans; I thought that silly; a very short time to consider the health of lichen populations.

        Each square to a design of our choosing done in the correct dimensions.Report

  15. bluefoot says:

    Hand tools, of all types. I’m a hobbyist metalworker and learning some woodworking and damn is it hard to find good hand tools. Not everything needs to have a freaking plug and pre-sets or laser sighting. Also manual cooking tools. For instance, it’s one of my pet peeves that many recipes these days assume you have a stand mixer and tell you the time and speed setting to use to mix something, but no information on what the consistency and color the food should be to proceed to the next step. Rather useless for those that like to cook but don’t have a stand mixer.

    I still wear a watch every day. And own (in my brother’s words) too many books. And clearly everyone needs to get off my lawn.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to bluefoot says:

      Hey, Bluefoot… haven’t seen ya ’round these parts before. But do a favor and stay awhile, will ya? And, should you be moved to share recipes complete with instructions on how things should look and fee… well, that’d be dope.Report

      • bluefoot in reply to Kazzy says:

        I read here a lot (for the last couple of years, actually), comment not so much.

        I admit I am kind of a luddite when it comes to cooking. e.g. I have a food processor, but I prefer my Henckels Pro S knives and a cutting board, or my pastry cutter rather than “processing” the dry with the fat. Hell, I’ve been known to grate cheese by hand for souffle or rarebit. Perhaps it’s my unhealthy liking for nice knives, or the fact I really enjoy the process of cooking. And I completely agree with you re potato mashers.

        Damn, now I’m getting hungry.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        I use the stand mixer for some and not for others. Likewise with the food processor. My knife set leaves much to be desired. There are some things for which the machines are better… if only because they are quicker or more consistent (my knife skills need work). But some times I like things a bit more rustic. My cole slaw (no mayo!) is much better when it has a rustic hand cut.Report

      • bluefoot in reply to Kazzy says:

        Any money spent on good knives is money well spent. And good knives don’t have to be expensive. My mother has a *perfect* paring knife that cost $5. Alas, she doesn’t remember where she got it and there’s no brand marking on it. But I do recommend trying out knives in the store to see what works for you. And if you’re left handed, you have to be careful purchasing any Japanese knives because a good percentage of those come right-handed only.Report

      • aaron david in reply to Kazzy says:

        @bluefoot For good tools at good prices, I have been hitting my local swap meet, and filling up on Proto and Starrrett, as well as other famous US brands.Report

    • Lyle in reply to bluefoot says:

      Of course you can get ahold of vintage cookbooks. (amazon has several on sale such as the 1931 joy of cooking) I suspect further that online sites might have pre 1920 cookbooks around as well.Report

    • Pinky in reply to bluefoot says:

      I know, those kids on the lawn, running about like they own the place…Report

  16. Will Truman says:

    I’m all-in on the watch-wearing. Who cares if I can get the time from my smartphone? My watch is more convenient and that’s despite the fact that I keep my phone in an easy-to-access holster instead of my pocket.

    I’ve actually been having a bit of a problem lately because my wrist is having a reaction to my favorite watch. It breaks out into something icky when I put it on. So I’ve been wearing my watch on my right wrist. It’s a real pain because I keep looking at my wrong wrist and the configuration of the buttons.

    I’m trying to think of an answer to the question, but questions are escaping me at the moment.

    Wait… phone holsters! They used to be there in part because phones were too big to fit comfortably in the pocket. These days they are thin enough to fit into pockets. But even so, phone holsters are much more practical and utilitarian.Report

    • Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

      You’re outside and need to know what time it is, while it’s below freezing, your phone is buried under at least 2 layers, the wind is blowing hard, and there’s a little bit of rain. Without a watch? Take off your gloves, open your nice and warm top layer 2 layers, reach in, take it out, get the touch screen wet, find out the time, then put it back in the two layers, zip up, and put your now wet and frozen hands back in their gloves. With a watch? slide back the layers just enough to get the watch between the layers and the gloves, look at the time, cover that tiny sliver of skin up again. Which is better?Report

      • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        You’re outside and need to know what time it is, while it’s below freezing

        Time to go inside? Sheesh, academics and common sense. 😉Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

        Or, of course, you can move to Texas.

        I almost never wear gloves. Though an advantage of the ecigarettes is that I can puff with gloves on. Ten-below combined with extremity-bloodflow-reduction effects of cigarettes was not fun.Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        My hands get cold when the temperature drops below 75.Report

      • zic in reply to Chris says:

        @chris, do you have Reynaud’s Syndrome?

        Santa Cruz, man.Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        zic, no, I’m just being hyperbolic. I live in Austin, Texas, a place where people wear parkas to walk their dogs when the temperature drops below 60 (this is not hyperbole).

        Seriously, the forecast today was for a high in the mid-70s, but it never got out of the low 60s. I kept running into people talking about how cold it was outside… in the low-60s. And on the bus-ride home, students were piling on with scarves and knit caps on… in the low-60s. I’m fixin’ to get up and walk over to the grocery store (maybe a block and a half away), and I’m trying to decide whether to put on my heavy hooded sweatshirt or my heavy jacket (that I ordered online, ’cause you can’t get jackets this heavy here). We are, collectively, cold weather lightweights.Report

      • zic in reply to Chris says:

        @chris Nice problem.

        I’ve just reached the point where I can be outside in 20? without glove for a 10 or 15 minute walk without it bothering me. By the end of the winter, I’ll be wearing a teeshirt when it reaches 40.

        And next fall, when it reaches 40 again, I’ll be bundled up like I am now at 20.

        Funny how we adapt.Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        zic, we pay for it in the summer. Boy do we pay for it.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Chris says:

        @chris @zic

        San Franciscans will also put on winter gear and bubble jackets when it gets below 60. In San Francisco, this is most of the year. It is always cold in San Francisco after 4 PM.

        I am still amused about how I can drive to the Caldecott tunnel (approximately 20 minutes or so) and have the temperature raise by 20-30 degrees (or more during the summer) as soon as I pass the tunnel. 60 degrees in SF, 97 degrees in Walnut Creek.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

      I dunno, phones are once again too big for pockets if’n you ask me (they are thin, but large, due to screen real estate). It’s one reason I hung onto my old RAZR for so long. There’s some perks to having a smartphone finally, but I dread putting it into my pocket and always take it out at the earliest opportunity.

      But a holster? Only if I can get a Han-Solo-thigh-blaster one. (Han phoned first!)Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Glyph says:

        I dread putting it into my pocket and always take it out at the earliest opportunity.

        Which kinda defeats the purpose! A cell phone is meant to be on you and not on a table across the room. Holsters solve both the pocket problem and the phone-across-the-room problem.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Glyph says:

        Also, the “thin” aspect is pretty huge. If you are a late adopter, you may not fully appreciate how thick smartphones used to be. Less screen real estate, but they definitely constituted a bulge and in some jeans simply wouldn’t fit at all.

        Also, if we had adopted holsters as a norm, smartphones might still have slide-out keyboards. Which is another answer to Russell’s question, maybe.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Glyph says:

        Remember when we laughed at people for having big phones? And now we laugh at people for having small phones? WE’RE BEING WORKED, PEOPLE!Report

  17. Pinky says:

    Cute weathergirls.Report

  18. LeeEsq says:

    One thing that should be preserved in amber is formal dress. The fanciest piece of clothing most people are going to wear is a suit and tie for men and some variety of the little black dress for women. People will not wear fancier unless they are at a black tie wedding, awards shoe, state dinner, or certain horse races. There was something to be said about having occassionally dress elegantly and formally.Report

  19. Jason Kuznicki says:

    Just about everything traditional about food is great. Just about everything very recent about food is crap. Except fusion, which is fun, but on the macro scale it’s probably a fad.

    And by “traditional” I mean from the mid-nineteenth century. Very little has improved since then, and many things have gotten worse, harder to obtain, or both.Report

    • Other than “processed food,” what food is new?

      I think of all non-processed food as being very old, just from varying distances away.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        New cultivars of pre-existing crops are coming along all the time. I don’t know how much real culinary novelty that represents, as they’re largely centered around agricultural or nutritional goals.

        I’m pretty happy about the apple and cherry trees in our yard – varieties that could produce in our climate zone were much less inspiring even a decade or two ago.

        Purple cauliflower turned up as a random mutation in the 80s. Triticale is from the late 19th Century. Folks seem to be constantly developing ever more insanely hot varieties of chili peppers, because of reasons…Report

      • zic in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @dragonfrog I would clasp on to the notion of new cultivars as an ancient tradition. But I grew up farming; eating the beans my grandmother grew and saved seed for year after year.

        And I’d include food processing; fermentation being a good example. And embrace the notion that places have distinctive flavors. Terrior; there’s no good English equivalent, and I find that a huge problem.Report

  20. Patrick says:

    Let me take a moment to talk about what e-readers are good for and what they’re bad for.

    For anybody who has a tendency to drop things, an e-reader is bad.
    For anybody who has a tendency to read multiple things at once, an e-reader is useful.
    For anybody who has Too Many Damn Books, an e-reader is good, if it’s used to replace volume and not quality (see morat’s comment.
    For anybody who has to have a lot of reference material, an e-reader is good*
    For anybody taking classes with a mandatory reading list, an e-reader is good*

    What would actually make e-readers *great*, as opposed to *good*, would be if they didn’t come loaded down with DRM stuff that makes it well-nigh impossible to use fairly stupidly fucking simple tools to copy and cite references, that integrates with an actual desktop computer, running open source software. Also: you need an e-reader that can consume PDFs and multiple ebook formats and produce copyable text. Clipping images out of ebooks would also be very useful.

    Period. These are necessary features.

    If people could highlight a block of text, or click on an image, and hit a “citation” button and have the e-reader be able to copy the text, the source bibliography information, and a tag cloud of meta information composed by the reader, and then sync that with a decent reference utility on a computer, the ability to do research would be enhanced greatly.

    Until that exists, e-readers are toys and not tools.Report

  21. veronica dire says:

    I’ll just say, I wish-wish-wish-wish I could find a pretty, fashionable woman’s watch that would fit around my tree-trunk thick wrists. Something graceful and lovely. But alas.

    What to preserve in amber: nothing, let it all go, bring on our brave new world.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to veronica dire says:

      What sort of band do you prefer? If it is a metal band, I know that segments can be removed, so I would assume they could just as easily be added. A leather band may present more difficulty.Report

      • veronica dire in reply to Kazzy says:

        I dunno. Metal, I guess, as I tend to go kinda sporty-sleek in my style, more than classic. But still, the slender, lovely sort of things that catch my eye often look terrible on me.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

        I can’t help you on style issues, unfortunately; I can barely help myself. But should you find a watch that looks great save for the size, talker to a local jeweler or — better yet — the place you purchase it from about getting it resized up. It’s common for them to remove links to size it down. the original seller may keep these removed pieces on hand to facilitate just such a move.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to veronica dire says:

      I see you belong to the Whiggish/Messianic school of history. I’m a bit too much of an antiquarian to not mourn some of the past. We shouldn’t get rid of the good parts of the past if possible.Report

      • veronica dire in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I’m pretty sure I don’t know what “Whiggish” actually means in any precise sense. (And I’m pretty sure explaining won’t help.)

        “Messianic”? WTF?Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq says:

        In historical terms, its a school of history that argues that the past sucked and the best times are in the present or yet to come. Whiggish historians were a school of 19th century scholars that had no love with the idealization of the past that existed in the Romanitc movement. They were all for the changes bering brought by the industrial revolution.Report

    • NewDealer in reply to veronica dire says:

      What’s wrong with books?Report

    • zic in reply to veronica dire says:

      I would pick out a watch face I like, and have a band custom made by an artist.Report

  22. Tod Kelly says:

    Bars that feature jazz combos that are meant to be listened to and not just provide “date atmosphere,” symphonies that play new works that aren’t attached to movie soundtracks, and music programs in public schools that can help ensure the continuation of both. Rice cooked in a pan instead of a rice cooker, and vodka made from actual potatoes. The title “Poet Laureate” actually meaning something special to people. Sports stars that spend their entire careers playing for a single franchise.

    Coffee brewed in presses, and young men and women knowing how to cork a bottle of sparking wine, pour a draft of beer, and free-pour cocktails. Parents teaching their children how to properly carve a turkey, and having stuffing be thing that is actually stuffed inside of it as opposed to cooked the day before and reheated. Knowing how to tie at least a full and half Windsor, as well as a bowtie; French cuffs and cufflinks.

    Bars and taverns where different kinds of people gather and figure out how to get along splendidly, rather than ones that serve a certain type of person who thinks, dresses and behaves exactly like everyone else in the joint. Disc jockeys who play different genres of music on their shows. Journalists who care more about telling compelling stories than seeing their byline, pundits who can admit to not knowing everything there is to know ever, and news anchors who care more about being intelligent than provocative. American science programs that care more about discovery than the ability to draw private venture capital. Face-to-face customer service, and neighborhood stores that really specialize in one thing.

    My sons, young and still growing, living under my roof awaiting manhood.Report

    • veronica dire in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      If I go to a bar where “different kinds of people gather,” I’ll get beat up.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to veronica dire says:

        I’m with Veronica on this. Bars and taverns were never really shared spaces in the United States. During the days before Prohibition, each saloon catered to a particularly group and God help you if you walked into the wrong bar by mistake even for differences we see as minor these days like German and Polish. American drinking culture always had a rough edge to it and we never had an institution like the village pub.

        I’m with you on a lot of the other stuff you mentioned though.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Rice cooked in pan? You cook rice in a pot.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Symphonies that play forgotten old works. Or, only if necessary, symphonies that play forgotten old works and new non-soundtrack works, but not on the same night.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      symphonies that play new works that aren’t attached to movie soundtracks

      The radio kinda killed this off, I think. You went from a position where if you wanted to listen to music, you had to either play it at home (and there are all kinds of barriers to entry for that) or you went out to listen to someone skilled do it… to being able to listen to a full symphony in your own hovel (some googling tells me that it was possible to get cheaper radios for around $25 in the 1920’s, and, while that ain’t chickenfeed, it’s certainly in the budget of the middle class).

      By the time that the whole “call the radio station and tell them to play a certain song” took off (and I have no idea when that would have been), it seems like “the song goes ‘there’s a warm wind blowing, the stars are out, and I’d really love to see you tonight” would result in more success than “it goes dun, duh-na-nah, bah bah bah bah! Dun, duh-na-nuh.”

      And then transfer that to the record store and Katie bar the door.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Have you read “The 85 Ways to Tie a Tie”? I found it a fun read (though the blurb does rather oversell it – they didn’t discover for the first time 81 previously unknown tie knots – rather, their formula for what makes an aesthetic tie knot is validated by the fact that in each case they are find the knot described by the formula is in fact a knot used in practice, even if less commonly than the four most common ones.)Report

    • zic in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      My first summer in Boston, I was 16. Fresh off the farm. Drinking age was still 18, and most places didn’t card too hard.

      I saw dozens of shows at the Jazz Workshop. Pooh’s Pub. Michaels.

      Sometimes, a good education requires acts of civil disobedience, and experiencing what you’re describing is one I’m very proud to have done. It was worth it, to see Oscar Peterson. To have Wayne Shorter smile at me dancing in my seat (I was sitting in the front row), turn to his band, and say, “Take it out.” To see the Elvin Jones turn his trap set into a textile mill weaving this amazing tapestry of sound.

      I really hate one thing about it, however: the solo applause. Someone gets up, plays a solo, and everyone claps. Then the next solo. It turns the music into a progression of egos, and that just sucks. It’s what’s wrong with jazz. Jazz is a conversation between the musicians and the audience. Applause is totally awesome in jazz, don’t get me wrong, when they’re on fire, you should be rocking in your seat and bursting out with joy. The end-of-the-solo placement disrupts the conversation, the flow of energy. It’s often insincere. It sucks.Report

      • Pinky in reply to zic says:

        Very interesting point, and one I’ve never heard before.Report

      • zic in reply to zic says:

        @pinky, it extends from thinking about what’s the piece of art?

        Is it the solo? It can be, I admit; a good solo in an otherwise bad song is a breath of fresh air.

        Is it the form? The 16 bars over certain rhythm and/or progression, the bridge? They’re just parts of something else.

        It’s the song, the tune. The composition. Clapping between solos is worse then clapping between movements in a symphony.Report

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      I second cufflinks.Report

  23. Boegiboe says:

    Mechanical (not electric) coin sorters.
    It’d be nice to get wooden Lincoln Logs back, but I guess they’re gone.Report

  24. Christopher Carr says:

    Business travel.Report

  25. NewDealer says:


    The TWA building at JFK is considered iconic.

    Though you seem biased against any building made after 1920 if not 1900.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

      Its really in the post-WWII era that architecture started to suffer. Several very good buildings like the Guggenheim were designed and built in the post-war period but not as many as before hand.

      When department stores were built in late 19th and first half of the 20th century, there owners commissioned buildings that were supposed to be impressive. Did anybody pay attention to the exterior look of a shopping mall?Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Inner harbor seems built to be “impressive”Report

      • NewDealer in reply to LeeEsq says:

        their ownersReport

      • Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Its really in the post-WWII era that architecture started to suffer.

        False. Brutalism is one of the best styles, and it didn’t even really reach its apex until a couple decades after WW2.

        (Also, the best kind of bear is the black bear.)Report

      • Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq says:

        “Brutalism is one of the best styles,”

        [triumph] For me to poop on [/triumph]*

        Brutalism has not aged well because it does not weather well. Brownish concrete looks even dingier after several decades of exterior mold growth. Light colored concrete, like on the DC Metro, would look fine, except nobody bothers to ever spend the money to keep it clean.

        *and that’s not entirely a joke, the style gives plenty of hidey places to puka homeless folksReport

      • LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq says:

        ND, thats the point. The great department stores were developed by individual businesspeople more than corporations and they wanted their stores to look great and impressive. Thats why they turned them into things of beauty. The same is true of the early skyscrapers. Office parks and shopping malls are developed and built by corporations and they aren’t paying that much attention to exterior beauty. The insides can be attractive but not the exteriors.Report

      • Mo in reply to LeeEsq says:

        @leeesq I think it’s a combo of survivorship bias and Sturgeon’s Law. Lots of old buildings look nice because people are far less likely to tear down the good looking buildings. If you do, you end up with the Penn Station backlash. Lots of companies still build beautiful complexes, even in the suburbs and even recently. A couple good examples near me are the IBM Somers complex and the MasterCard HQ (originally Nestle US HQ).Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Also: environmental laws.
        Fewer Potemkin Villages like Oakland (that’s the neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Fabulous, but a total fake).Report

  26. dragonfrog says:

    For the past few years I’ve had a length of bike chain on my left wrist. I was putting a new chain on, and the excess length was just right for a bracelet, so there it went.

    I hadn’t worn a watch in a long while by that point, and still the weight immediately tricked me into thinking I had one – it took quite a while for me to stop looking at my wrist for the time, when all it could tell me was “featureless metal chain o’clock”.

    I keep forgetting to take the thing off when I head to the airport. It can’t be removed without a chain breaker tool; I always seem to remember the tool sitting in my garage when I’m standing in the security line…Report

  27. Kolohe says:

    The 1010 WINS theme song and the telex foley they still use (at least as of 2010), despite those machines now likely absent from the studio for at least a decade.Report

  28. Rufus F. says:

    I don’t know if it’s made the watch redundant or just classier. I tend to take notice in a good way when I see someone wearing a watch now.Report

  29. Mike Dwyer says:

    Handkerchiefs. My dad always carried one. I almost always carry one. People look at you weird when you pull one out to blow your nose these days. Offer one to someone crying and you just became the most gentlemanly person they have ever met.Report