Zeroing in on zeros and ones

On Tuesday, April 26, The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg. Fog and rain, snow, sleet, and hail do not deter the Old Men of the Mountain from reaching the appointed eating establishment for the week. This week was such a Tuesday — lousy weather — and we had a full house.

As the OFs report to the breakfast each Tuesday, they are greeted with a hearty “good morning.”  Sometimes the name of the OF joining the group is also greeted by his name (if he is arriving by himself) or maybe just a couple of OGs arriving together will have their names included in the greeting by the OFs who are already there.

The later the OFs arrive, the more “good mornings” are expressed. Most of the OFs being greeted have a reply, and some just wave.

On Tuesday morning, one OF came in and was welcomed with the round of “good mornings” along with his name. When all the greetings were done, the arriving OF replied, “To your misfortune I am here.” Now that was different.

Zeros and ones

Redundancy is something this scribe tries to keep at a minimum; however, this scribe is dealing with OFs and it is hard. At times, although the topic may be redundant, the approach is different, or the circumstances related to a topic are new.

That was the case with a topic Tuesday morning on technology and how much and how fast it alters the way we do things, especially for the OFs who did not grow up with the technology of today from the toddler stage in their life.

What the OFs talked about was the routine, low end of the work force that has been replaced by technology.  For instance, the OFs were referring to jobs like file clerks.

It took many workers to shuffle and file paper that was once necessary to keep on hand, but these records are now being taken care of by machines. Many of the people who are now titled learning-disabled but could handle this type of job easily are no longer working.

The OFs say that, no matter how hard many people try, they are just unable to grasp much of what is going on, but they are definitely not dumb or stupid. The OFs know many of these types of kids who have fallen through a crack large enough to sink an ocean liner.

One OF said that he did not mind all the technology; he maintained that things (for him anyway) are now so much better. Medicine, construction, solar energy, plus so much more are tons better thanks to those zeros and ones.

Then the OFs noted that many of today’s vehicles have so much technological garbage on them that has no real function in making the vehicle go, steer, or stop, which makes it more frustrating when something goes wrong like the Global Positioning System.

“Hey,” the OF said, “I know how to read a map.”

An OF added that, when the light comes on in cold weather to tell you your tires are soft, they may not be. Why do I need that thing when I can see if a tire is soft or not? Those things are more expensive to fix than a new tire.

One OF said, just put a piece of black friction tape over it and forget it. Another OF said that, if you drive a car that has automatic braking on the vehicle, as an operator of such a car, the OF would probably become so used to the car stopping by itself when that little feature failed, whoa — what happens now? — one huge rear-ender.

Yet another OF said he remembers when automatic transmissions came out (and electric windows, and power steering, along with power brakes, and tubeless tires), the same things were said.  He continued, “Go with the flow; give me all that new stuff. Anything that makes my life easier, I am all for even if it is nothing more than zeros and ones.”

Small engines, big headaches

The OFs also talked a lot about lawn tractors, small engines and lawn mowers. The gist of the conversation was small engines are not like tractor engines, or car engines.

The mechanics in the group all agreed that repairing small engines can be frustrating and regular mechanics do not even want to mess with them.

This brought up the new phenomenon of lawn-tractor planters. The OFs noticed in many yards, when a lawn tractor decides to quit, it is just left where it died and the homeowner trots out and buys a new one.

When approaching the tractor (left where it quit) the lawn is just mowed around it and there it sits as a piece of lawn sculpture, or a potted plant is plopped on the seat and it is now a planter.

Heartfelt condolences

In closing this week’s column, the Old Men of the Mountain would like to offer their heartfelt condolences to two families of our members — the Porter family, and the Stevens Family on the loss of Pauline Gaige, and Donna Porter.

Mother and daughter who passed away within days of each other, both are now joining hands in the company of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in a better place.

Flying Dutchman

Those OFs who arrived at the Duanesburg Restaurant in Duanesburg, like the crew of the Flying Dutchman materializing out of the fog, were: Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Dave Williams, Roger Shafer, Jim Heiser, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aelesio, Mark Traver, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Gerry Irwin, Wayne Gaul, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Duncan Bellinger, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Mike Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.