To the MOON, Alice!_


Bloggernauts! Yes, behold the iconic bark-worse-than-his-bite Ralph Kramden as he warns Alice yet again, that one day….one day… And amazingly, he was right! Well, Alice never went (certainly not via the Kramdenian mode of travel suggested, happily) but many others. Thanks in part to this brilliant bit of marketing:

Virtuoso oratory! Makes my skin tingle. (Listen closely and you can hear LBJ whisper, “I’m sorry, what was he talking about?” …but I digress…)

All this is to say that I was quite close with my great grandmother who was born in the late 19th century. Huh? Trust me…it makes sense in a minute…

I called her “Grandma Lady” due to the confusion I felt as a child in having multiple sets of grandparents with the same last name. The generations got the whole childbearing thing underway earlier back then it seems. As I grew older, I often commented to Grandma Lady on how much she had seen in her life. She had actually gone from pre readily-available electricity, transportation via horses all the way to men on the moon! An amazing amount of technological development within the span of one lifetime. I used to say that such a feat would never be duplicated, indeed-it would be impossible to do so!

However, how about going from this:


To this…

1960s Man Programing Mainframe Computer At Control Room Console


Modern Computer

In 56 years! Technological development is moving so fast that absolutely nobody is sure where we will be before my generation is in great-grandparent mode. I actually find myself occasionally slipping into nostalgia about things like pencils, paper, handwriting, handwritten letters with stamps…what? Have we changed THAT much in so short a time period? Is that possible?

In some ways, we are moving even faster than Grandma Lady’s generation. At least they saw it coming. All of the sci-fi folk in the 1940s and 50s got pretty darn close in predicting the future. It is anybody’s guess what we have in store for us tech-wise during the reign of the babyboomers. Although these guys seem to have some kind of inside track:

Star Trek 2

ST 1

Did we really back-engineer a UFO that is stored in Area 51? (my favorite explanation of course!) Were we assisted by a long lineage of Urisk Zoon-ee? (AH! Product placement!) Or, are we just that dang smart? For whatever reason, the speed at which new developments in technology are happening is astounding. And FUN!

I am reminded of an exercise that we went through in elementary school where we were all told to imagine what life would be like in the 21st Century. Thinking excitedly ahead into the future I imagined:

A. How COOL it will be to have ray-guns, robots, and flying cars! Woo Hoo!

*real-time update:

*A1. No ray-guns. D’OH! Perhaps some kind of hand held pistol that is harmless to humans but emits a cool green beam that explodes flies? Come, on it would be so HIP!

*A2. We do seem to be moving right along with the whole robot thing, although perhaps not in the Jetson-Direction originally imagined:

*A3. Anyone who has experienced the drivers in the DFW area now knows why there is absolutely NO WAY we will EVER have flying cars.

B. I worried that my incredibly advanced age of 44 by the year 2001 (All Arthur C. Clarke fans gage things from 2001 rather than 2000) would keep me from enjoying all the cool space-age advances in science. Who knew?

But BIG FUN it is. While I do indeed drift off into a reverie every once in awhile remembering writing music with a pencil, I really dig Finale and Logic Pro! I mean, I get to “hear” the music and tweak it to my heart’s delight BEFORE presenting it to the cats. Plus, when I go on my Muse-cultivating “Beethoven Walks” I take my handy iPhone along to record any happy artistic thoughts that may blossom along the way. How cool is THAT?

And as far as social media:

I was reunited with a friend recently that I hadn’t seen since THE THIRD GRADE! Yep, 48 years ago, I lost touch with a young boy from Argentina who had just moved to the U.S. I instantly gravitated to him and we hit it off, becoming best buds. Amazingly, I was one of his first introductions to the English language. And in spite of THAT, he went on to lead a very successful life 🙂 (insert rimshot here)

Visual Rimshot

Visual Rimshot

And how did Paul DiLorenzo and I reconnect? Via the 21st Century’s wildly popular method of “communication” Facebook. that’s right, Paul heard my band The One O’Clock Lab Band playing on the radio and “friended” me on Facebook. The next time his business brought him to Dallas…ta da:

Paul and Me

Facebook Just Justified Its Existence!

So, from writing letters by hand on cool stationary actually made of paper, to manipulating electrons through a planet-wide network of smartphones and computers? Not bad for one generation. Not quite a “Grandma Lady” record…yet.

Where are we going? Anyone know? I will be super-interested in your replies as we all grapple with this joyous adventure together.

That being said, I DO miss TV theme songs. Seems like it isn’t really progress to lose those. Alas…as I always say, if something makes no sense at all….money must be involved in the equation somewhere.


About swiest2

Steve Wiest is a Trombonist-Composer-Cartoonist-Author and Coordinator of The 21st Century Music Initiative at The Lamont School of Music: The University of Denver
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2 Responses to To the MOON, Alice!_

  1. Hambone says:

    Who knows where we’ll end up. But while we marvel at our computers, smart phones and cool software, all those things depend upon power lines erected 50 years ago. We just commemorated the anniversary of the largest blackout in U.S. history that was initiated by… a sagging power line touching a tree limb. Not kidding. The power humming through these aging power lines in turn comes largely from oil in control of foreign countries hostile to us. So while I also marvel at technology, I worry what happens when the power goes out. So I’m keeping the pencil and paper around a bit longer.

    • swiest2 says:

      Ah, Sir Hambone 🙂 I totally agree on this one. Our infrastructure seems to be in dreadful shape. I hear this quite a bit from a variety of people whom I respect greatly. When you think about it, we are one serious power outage away from medieval times. The horror stories I heard from the days after Katrina as to how quickly society began to deteriorate…perhaps the Scarlett O’Hara approach is best: “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

      But seriously, the only apocalyptic thing that truly concerns me is the possibility of a solar flare that could fry transformers and leave us without electricity for months. YIKES! Consider the scenarios and possibilities with THAT one. OK….back to Scarlett.

      (But I fear the prevailing approach is more Rhett Butlerian…)

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