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Internet has its alluring aspects
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THE BLITZ: Johnson at West Hall

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This column begins as a newspaper column. I’m very happy about that. I like the notion of being a newspaper columnist. I still like to hold the newspaper in my hand and look at it.

While it is available on the Internet, many people who read this don’t use the Internet in any form. I realize some of them will leave this world having never touched a computer keyboard or a smartphone screen.

While the non-Internet crowd is largely older, some people in their 40s and 50s avoid computers like the plague.

I couldn’t imagine life without the Internet. I use it for so many things.

For example, one of my most regular uses is to find out the names of actors in older movies and TV shows and determine if they are dead.

TV programmers, in an effort to squeeze in more commercial time, run the credits on many shows at several times the original speed and in a type style requiring a mouse to wear glasses.

I will be watching an old movie and see an actor and think I know his or her name. I later run to the computer, search for the information and get some degree of satisfaction in knowing such useless information. By the way, with the exception of Opie, Gomer and Thelma Lou, everyone who appeared on “The Andy Griffith Show” has now graduated to that great Mayberry in the sky.

The Internet is, for the most part, a good thing. I’m rather glad former Vice President Al Gore invented it.

But are all those non-Internet folks missing out on a good thing?

They are missing out on all of those cat videos. I’ve never owned a cat. I don’t dislike them, but I just never really wanted one.

I don’t want one now, because apparently you have to sit around and be ready with a video-recording device to capture your cat doing something funny, interesting or ridiculous. I know this because there is an abundance of cat-related videos on the Internet.

Another popular place is Facebook, which began as a place for teenagers and college students to communicate. It has been taken over by middle-age adults who post pictures of their grandchildren.

I don’t have any grandchildren but have no doubt I will be an obnoxious grandfather. I may never post a cat video, but rest assured I will post every wonderfully cute image of my near-perfect grandchild.

One of the images on one’s Facebook page is a profile picture. It is supposed to be a picture of the person who is the named holder of the page. Some people instead post pictures of their kids, grandkids or cats. I don’t know what some of my friends actually look like, unless they have somehow morphed into a cat or a toddler.

While I have never used this feature, some people seek romantic interests on the Internet. This is a very dangerous thing, because I understand some people will gain 50 or more pounds or age by 20 or more years when they meet someone in person. That can’t be healthy.

The other thing the Internet provides is email.

I recently heard a story about a young fellow who finally convinced his grandparents to receive emails. According to the story, they would print out the emails, write out a response and then place it in an envelope and send it via U.S. mail. That’s like going to an airport and getting on a Conestoga wagon.

Email also affords you the opportunity to get spam. Spam is Internet-speak for junk mail. My favorite junk mail is an appeal from the widow of a deposed leader to help her get millions of dollars into a U.S. bank. As bogus as this sounds (and is), folks fall for this scheme.

So, as you can see, those who avoid the Internet are clearly smarter than the rest of us.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.

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