Yesterday I fell ill. It started with repeated trips to the restroom. By afternoon I was chilling even though it was eighty degrees outside. I also developed a low grade fever. I feel better today although I am still not quite up to snuff. At the same time I am a bit worried about a beautiful, blonde ladyfriend of mine who is in the process of moving. This Monday she has an eight hour drive to make. I just hope she has a safe journey. I really don't want anything to happen to her. Of course, I am still bummed about Al's death. At any rate, if this entry is not quite up to snuff, it is becuase I am a bit ill and I have other things on my mind.
Today I was just thinking of the choices in home entertainment I had growing up. For most of my life we had only one TV set, which was black and white (we got colour sets when I was older). For the most part our TV sets could only pick up the local channels, although on a good day we might pick up some of the St. Louis or Kansas City stations. When I was very young we had a simple, monophonic record player, although as I got older we did get a stereo. The stereo played what were then the most advanced media in sound recording--vinyl records and cassette tapes. We also had various radios. None of this was unsual, as most people only had TV sets, stereos, and radios. There just wasn't any other home entertainment available.
All of this began to change in the Seventies. The VCR (short for Video Cassette Recorder) was introduced to homes. Home video game systems were invented. And as far as television goes, cable TV saw unprecedented growth. Late in the decade saw the itnroduction of the home computer, although the World Wide Web was still more than a decade away. As far as home entertainment goes, my life is very different from what it was when I was growing up. My TV sets (all of which are colour) are hooked up with cable, which can pick up a good deal more than the six local stations (the number of TV stations in the area also doubled...). My stereo plays Compact Discs rather than vinyl records. I own both a DVD player and VCRs. I have a home computer that not only allows me to connect to the internet, but to play computer games if I choose to. About the only thing I lack is a PlayStation. Things have changed a great deal.
I have to wonder, however, with all these choices in home entertainment, have things really improved? I remember when I was growing up, in the days when most homes did not have cable and many areas only had two or three local TV stations, there were many who thought that television distracted people from more important things, like talking with their family or enjoying the great outdoors. I don't if this was really true, as I never saw television as impeding my family life any, but what if it was? With the number of choices in home entertainment so greatly increased, it would seem to me that there would be even more that would prevent a family from sitting down and chatting or going to the park or whatever. It seems possible to me that with the many choices we now have in home entertainment, that communications in families could have reached an all time low.
Of course, all of this depends on whether it is true that such things as television, CDs, the internet, and so on, distract from families talking with each other or enjoying each other's company. As I said, I don't know that it is. Growing up, I remember talking a great deal with my parents, playing with my brother, doing things with my family. And I can honestly say I watched a lot (maybe too much...) of television. I rather suspect it all comes down to this: home entertainment distracts from communicating with one's family or doing things with one's family only if he or she lets it do so. Of course, I suppose this only points out the obvious--being part of a family is hard work. Children don't raise themselves and spouses do need attention. It is then up to the individual to insure that TV, CDs, DVDs, and everything else out there does not interfere with his or her family.
Or maybe this whole entry is just the product of a fever wracked brain and hence is free to be ignored....