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Twittering away an education (11/07/2010)
By Janet Lewis Burns
The Internet may well be stifling minds, robbing individuals of the initiative to think for themselves. I’ve always had the self-satisfaction of calling to mind trivia from my heyday. Now I’m afraid that my credibility is forever sabotaged.

Due to the simple, button-pushing Internet, I can no longer claim remembrance of all that hot fifties and sixties trivia without being scrutinized by everyone in earshot. I caught myself red-handed at the keyboard, substantiating my spelling of the singers that appeared on the original Hit Parade, one of the first television shows to run when I was a kid.

I had written down the four names from memory the day before, stewing over the spelling, when it hit me! Anybody can look this stuff up on the net anytime! I discovered that, apart from spelling goof-ups, I had the four names correct. Sponsored by Lucky Strike, “Your Hit Parade” featured skits to accompany performances of the best selling songs of the week.

The names of the four vocalists, with correct spellings, are Dorothy Collins, Gisele MacKenzie, Snooky Lanson, and Russell Arms. The show was broadcast from 1950 to 1959. I clearly remember one of the longest running songs was “Green Door.” Others were “Puff the Magic Dragon,” and “Jailhouse Rock.” Aha! I’ve still got it!

Memory evolves to memory as I think back to that era...slow-paced, kid-friendly, party lines, dime stores, and Mayberry hospitality. The season before our Lewis family got a television, we were invited to view the tube at the home of Dad’s boss, from down at the local grocery store on Main Street, where he served as the giggling butcher for many years.

At Luther and Cubby Nussloch’s place, I faintly recall that we watched shows like Pinky Lee, Tennessee Ernie Ford (the old Pea Picker,) and the Spike Jones Show. I was delighted to have gotten reacquainted with Betsy (Nussloch) Senrick at recent area funerals we both attended. There’s nothing like reminiscing face to face!

Considering the ongoing advanced, technological innovations, how many familiar things will soon be gathering dust? With more and more offerings on the Internet, what’s going to become of home telephones and directories, dictionaries, catalogues, movie theaters, newspapers, book publishing companies and bookstores, and the dependable mailman?

Are magazine companies going broke? They’ve been enticing subscribers to renew early and take advantage of this great deal to gift friends with a cut-rate subscription, just in time for Christmas. The trend to buy sought-after music CDs in stores is fading. Simply plug yourself into an i pod and groove out to endless tunes of your choice.

Our mailbox is well fed with junk mail daily, some from the same companies several times a week. How many trees are sacrificed for all the wastepaper generated through the postal service every day? With computer friendly ways to shop from home and office, like Craig’s List and e-bay, how many will be traipsing around malls or haggling dealers to get the best buys?

Research has discovered that three-fourth of on-line teens, and nearly as many young adults, use social networks regularly, compared to 40% of Internet users aged 30 or older. It seems these individuals know no other way of communicating, and are checking their Twitter and Face book messages day and night.

A new generation of cyber heads is definitely on the horizon! Even though a school may forbid cell phones in classrooms, many students continue to conceal them so they can indulge in text messaging each other – and that’s not all! Some are cheating by sneakily exchanging answers during tests. Their loss.

Many schools are banning these addicting practices in their classrooms. No dah! Since there are no longer coin-operated telephones offered to students in many schools, the excuse is that they need to have a way to be in contact with family members. Give me a break! There’s adequate time for that.

Education is a gift that keeps on giving. Don’t tune it out!

Janet Burns resides in Lewiston. She can be reached at patandjanburns@embarqmail.com. 


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