Weekend musings

phone IIThere isn’t an illustration next to the definition for irony at dictionary.com, but the editors at the website might want to consider this photo.

I spotted this Friday afternoon at Muscatine Community College. It leads to an obvious question: What could be more ironic than a payphone on a college campus, where a freshman who enrolled this year directly after high school would have been born in, what, 1996? Coincidentally, that might be about the last time I used a payphone in the days before I finally got a cell phone.

According to Wikipedia, the first public telephone with a coin-pay mechanism in the United States was installed in 1889 at the Hartford Bank in Hartford, Conn.

Wikipedia goes on to say:

Sources differ as to whether the peak number of payphones in the United States was 2.6 million in 1995 or 2.2 million in 2000. But as of 2013, the number was reportedly fewer than 500,000 and the major carriers, AT&T and Verizon, have both exited the business.

But there is still at least one payphone at MCC. And the first thing I did when I saw this dinosaur was grab my iPhone and take a photo.

What I’d really like to know is when someone last used this phone to place a call. Please be sure to text me if you know.


Obvious iPhone addiction aside, I know just enough about most new technology to be dangerous.

To wit: this blog.

Just Thursday evening, I was bragging how Brome Hill and Facebook had helped connect me to someone in Tennessee who may want to ride on RAGBRAI with a group I am organizing.

At roughly the same time, I wrote something for Daily Prompt: Generation XYZ, an idea for a blog post suggested by the editors at WordPress. After finishing, I scheduled it to publish at 5 a.m. Friday and headed for bed only to awake a few hours later with second thoughts.

I got up, tried to revise the posting and still didn’t like it so I tried to unscheduled it. But I instead managed to publish it, which then also sent it to my Facebook page and Twitter feed. Damn social media.

It was easy to delete from my Facebook page. And I deleted the tweet and unpublished the blog post, which I then trashed.

If there is a silver lining it’s that I heard later Friday from two readers who are email subscribers. They couldn’t open up anything when they tried to click on the link in their email and they wanted to know what was wrong.

There is nothing wrong, I said, other than my problems with technology.


It has been snowing this morning here on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, it’s 19 degrees and we’re just coming out of a winter storm warning. But it’s warm where I sit writing this. I have coffee and I’m listening to the music feed from The Current., which just played this. Life could be a lot worse.


That I’m listing to a big hit from 1987 means we can wrap up this morning with more irony.

Friday night, I went to the nearby Riverside Casino to listen, I thought, to these guys. But these guys showed up instead.

I’m not a huge fan of disco, but it was still a fun night. And what’s interesting about this is that the two bands are the same guys. Both bands are led by Andrew Blake, a performer from Chicago. He is a talented guy. Both bands are a lot of fun.

The low light of the evening — which, luckily, not many people were still there to see — was me trying to remember how to do this, which I was forced to kind of learn in junior high. The problem in a nutshell: My spinner doesn’t work anymore. Well, that, and my two left feet.

Rumor has it the Spazmatics are playing tonight at Riverside. Wonder if they know Beds Are Burning