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Too many channels and too many gadgets
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We will never go back to the days of three TV channels, one wired phone and a camera that required film, but there are times I’d like to.

At our house, we have cable channels that have numbers that reach into the 800s. Quite frankly, I don’t think we watch more than 15 or 20 in any given week. Some of the channels have names I don’t even recognize.

There is one channel that seems to always have a show on about people getting shot or stabbed and the attempt to save them in a hospital emergency room.

I did not go to medical school and I never took an anatomy class. I have no desire to look at another human being’s abdomen through a knife or bullet hole.

There are all kinds of shows about people who are attempting to lose considerable amounts of weight.

I probably would be well served to watch those, however, there are more channels that show us restaurants offering the world largest steak, hamburger or pork chop. Add to that all kinds of programs that give the inside story of making cakes, pies and cupcakes. I think there are several cupcake shows.

I think there are about a half dozen channels that just sell stuff. One is devoted exclusively to jewelry. You can turn it on anytime of day and see some kind of shiny bauble that can be ordered by calling the toll-free number on the screen.

I was much happier watching shows about folks who couldn’t afford baubles and such.

It was 40 years ago that "The Waltons" came our way on a Thursday night. I don’t think Mama ever missed an episode. My dad would mildly complain that The Waltons lived a pretty good life for folks in the midst of the Great Depression.

As for phones, I carry two in my pockets: One that is personal and another for work. I would gladly relinquish either or both of them.

I wish I knew the occupations of people who have those hands-free earpieces sticking out of their ear. What is so important that you have to talk while you walk through the grocery store?

I occasionally call my wife from the store for about 20 seconds to differentiate between whipping cream and whipped cream.

We are equally impersonal with the cameras on most phones. I saw a woman fall in a public place the other day and before one person could reach down to help her; someone was snapping a picture with a cell phone. That’s just wrong.

And oh, the things we do with those pictures, such as posting them on Facebook. There is a young man who is my Facebook friend and has posted a jillion pictures of himself and his girlfriend online. I’m so proud he is in love, but I don’t need to see images of their every waking moment.

I’m going to come off as an old fuddy-duddy, but there was something magical about sending off film and later opening the envelope with the finished prints. It was like reliving a special moment again.

The simple times were really not that bad. I’d lament more, but I’ve got to watch the real housewives on TV.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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