πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει


I know, right…it’s all Greek to you.

FYI, the above phrase translates to “Everything changes and nothing stands still.” According to Plato in his dialogue titled Cratylus, this was written by Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (535 BC – 475 BC)

AGMA is aware that this is pretty heady stuff. Thank you Wikiquote.

I was going for “Nothing is constant except change.” but there seems to be some dispute as to who really said that. AGMA tries to avoid conflict at all costs.

Aside from having a name that 14 year old boys would love to make randy comments about, Heraclitus was a very wise man.

He was all about change.

And it’s more of a constant in our lives now than ever before in human history.

Just when you think you’ve mastered how to take advantage of the “smart” in your smart phone – or at least the 10% that you actually know about – an updated operating system downloads and boogers everything up.

“Rizzle frazzle what the hell sh*t frack damn now what??”, as heard in AGMA’s house after such an update.

Or SmartPhone V108.5 comes out. Now you have to go back to the very beginning and learn  the new 10% of the new phone that doesn’t operate at all like your old one.  Yet again.

Some of us have children or grandchildren who can help us. The lucky ones have children or grandchildren who actually do help us. There’s a difference.

AGMA’s still waiting for her younger son to reprogram our universal remote because we changed from cable to satellite. Over a year ago. In the meantime, our coffee table is once again littered with remotes of various shapes and sizes that don’t get along with each other at all.

Kind of like Congress.

There are dozens, nay, hundreds, of other examples of the constant changes in technology, meant to make our lives easier, that actually screw it up. At least in the short term.

Please don’t think AGMA is a “Make America Great Again” type who wants a general store/soda fountain on every corner, a black and white television with rabbit ears in every living room, and telephones connected to walls. With cords.

On the contrary, she has been known to be an “semi”-early adopter.

We bought our first PC in 1984 and had an email account shortly afterwards. We also had a Betamax back in the 80’s. I know, AGMA was young and foolish about the Beta thing…

I bought my first Prius in 2006 and got the first Google smart phone, the G1, when it came out in 2008. Both went better than the Betamax debacle.

AGMA also uses cloud storage for her pictures/videos. I just need to remember where they are – Dropbox, Amazon Photos or Google Drive.

I’m hoping the dementia onset will be delayed until I can figure it all out.

But there are times when AGMA takes great comfort in the unchanging nature of some things. Familiar things.  Things that I grew up with and have basically stayed the same my whole life.

The flush toilet for example. Invented by John Harington in 1596, but bought into common use in the late 1800’s by Thomas Crapper (14 year old boy alert!), the flush toilet is brilliant piece of engineering. Other than the occasional need for a plunger, it’s the execution of a near perfect concept in public sanitation that has withstood the test of time. And Hub’s occasional splurge of pork and beans.

And the iron. While the design has changed a bit over the years, it’s still basically a water chamber and a metal plate that gets hot, and is used to get wrinkles out of fabric. And, if too hot, as AGMA learned the hard way, melts synthetic fibers together into a disgusting lump that has an alarming smell. And sets off the smoke detector.

But that’s another post…

Other than setting the correct temperature (see above), there aren’t many tricks to the iron. You fill the water chamber (if you want to generate steam that can burn off your face), plug it in, and press it down on the wrinkled fabric strategically positioned on an ironing board.  The ironing board – yet another comfortingly unchanged household item.

AGMA is, of course, assuming that the iron hasn’t changed over the last 10 years or so. It has been that long since she has actually used one, but she’s pretty sure they’re still the same. She believes that if God had intended for her to continue to use an iron, God wouldn’t have put the $1.99 dry cleaner so close to her house.

And then there’s the toaster. Again, simplicity that’s hard to improve on. Bread, a heating element and time = toast. Pretty damn basic. And comforting.

Just make sure you unplug it before you stick a fork in to pry the toast out that got stuck.

So the next time your head starts feeling like it’s going to explode learning yet another “indispensable” app, or programming your new Nest, or figuring out the difference between Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and 10 other social media sites AGMA doesn’t even know about yet, go back to basics.

Think of the simple, familiar, unchanging, comforting toilet, iron and toaster.

You’re welcome.


Fearless tech 101


I’m eavesdropping at my favorite coffee shop again.

It’s not intentional.  Really.  I like it here because it’s usually quiet and I can blog. Thinking and writing can be a dicey proposition in the of best circumstances without adding yacking to the equation.  For me.

But some folks just don’t know how to use their “inside voices”.  Today’s victims are sitting at the coffee bar about eight feet away from my table.  Far enough away so that I shouldn’t hear them.

They’re not a young match.com couple like my other eavesdrop post.  These people are Age of Aquarius people.  Peace, love and rock n’ roll people.  Pepsi Generation people.

In other words, old farts like AGMA.

And – oh my – they are explaining technology to each other.  Now this is getting good… There are few things in this world more entertaining than listening one Baby Boomer explain how to download app to their Notebook to another.  The goal – a crossword puzzle app.

As my older son so aptly and impatiently put it in 2004 when our extended family gathered in Chicago for his college graduation and the “elders” of the family were struggling to put each other’s cell phone numbers in their phones….

“It’s like watching monkeys trying to use tools.”

True dat.

Full disclosure: AGMA worked in a corporate IT department for 20 years back in the day, so technology isn’t quite as daunting to me as it is to some other Boomers.

The technology of today is light years ahead of what I was dealing with when I left in 2006.  I certainly don’t understand how 98% of it all works now, but I do understand the basics which, in some ways, makes me a bit more “tech fearless” than most my age.

Hey – I set up my WordPress blog didn’t I?

My sister and her hub got new Galaxy S6 smart phones a couple of months ago.  They went to classes to learn to use them. Recently, they got back from a bucket-list trip to Israel.  My sister discovered, AFTER she got home, that she could actually adjust the screen brightness on the camera function.  The whole trip, she had been taking pictures with her phone not actually seeing what she was taking a picture of because her screen was so dim.  She just pointed the phone camera toward the subject, pressed the shutter button and hoped for the best.

Oops.  I might ask for my money back from that class.

Oh golly – there’s so much more to say about technology for seniors…  But I think I’m getting too wordy.  I’ve decided that I’ve been too wordy lately. So AGMA’s turned over a “no more wordy posts” leaf.

“Oh no AGMA, we LOVE reading your inordinately long posts…”  Not.

So I’ll continue next time.  As always, stay tuned.

Oh – and I’m sure you’ll want to know that the crossword app download was a resounding success.  Now they’re just sitting there, heads down, tapping way on their notebooks.

Nothing like a challenging crossword to get the coffee shop universe back in balance.

And quiet.