Thursday, October 26, 2017

Rabbit Ears

An example of how we used to watch TV when I was a kid was, when the TV channel needed to be changed, Dad had no remote control so he simply yelled, Hey Jimmy, get up and turn the TV to channel 4, OK now get back up and turn it up a little bit.

Settling on a channel and volume could take a while; just think of how you sit with your remote and channel surf now. It was pretty much the same back then, except for the fact that I was the remote, and there was a dial on the TV that you twisted to change the channels, and just think of dialing through all of those channels back then...OK the dial only had 13 spots and we had 3 channels, and the choice between 4, 7, and 13 was largely dependent on how much you had to tweak the rabbit ears.

Vintage television with a set of older rabbit ears type antenna.
Do you remember rabbit ears?
Do you remember the TV antennas that sat on top of the Television, or Rabbit Ears as we called them? Hey Jimmy move those Rabbit Ears a little, a little more, OK back, back, now turn it loose, oh man grab it again, now just hold it, don’t turn it loose we have a clear picture now. Here I am balancing on one foot holding onto one antenna and trying not to move anything, and there was always aluminum foil on the rabbit ears and if you moved the foil all was lost.

Watching TV could be a great exercise session. Adjusting those Rabbit ears was sometimes a combination yoga session/aluminum foil art class. The bad thing was that it always changed and you had to do it all over again the next time you watched TV.

When my kids were little we had a remote control and most of the time even had cable TV, this eliminated having to use a kid to turn the channel or adjust the Rabbit ears, the most exercise the kids got when it came to watching TV was when the remote was missing in action.

Cindy would yell. Hey Jimmy have you seen the remote? And the search would begin.

Everyone in the house ended up digging through the couch cushions and looking under all the chairs and tables for the missing remote. It usually ended up being found in one of the kid's rooms, or in the dog’s bed, there were always teeth marks on the remote and I am still not sure if the bite marks were put there by one of the kids or the dog. I keep meaning to ask Randy about this.

Several times I found the remote in the trash can, especially when little Emily was toddling around, I told you all about Emily a few years back in Monkeys and Duck Feathers, if you don't remember this one please go and read it, just remember to come back here when you stop laughing over there.

When Emily was learning how to throw things in the kitchen trash can, we had a lot of stuff disappear, not just the remote, and once when she got older the remote ended up in her backpack and going home with her for the night.

That was a long night, Cindy always watches TV at night before we go to sleep, I got flashbacks to my childhood when she said, Hey Jimmy can you get up and change the channel for me? OK now can you turn it up a little bit? I am sure glad we didn't have any rabbit ears.

Now days most of the time the TV is not even an issue at all, today everyone either has a smart phone or tablet and can stream any program they want to watch nearly anytime, the most exercise they are getting is when they swipe the screen on their device to choose what they want to see. And how about those Smart TV's, I will admit that I am not smart enough to work one of those, but here I sit watching my Smart Grandson controlling the Smart TV with a Smart phone, I still haven't figured that one out.

And since I mentioned Smart phones. There was a time long, long ago, back in the days before Smart phones were invented, Gasp!!... Do you remember the time when if someone called, they let the phone ring 10 times and if you didn't answer by then, they simply hung up because this meant that no one was home. The only way you knew if someone called was if they happened to call back when you were home, or if you ran into them the next day and they said that they had tried to call you.

Then came caller ID, you could buy yourself a caller ID unit and attach your incoming phone line to the caller ID unit, and then a line from the unit to your phone, this way when someone called, you could tell who it was before you answered, or if you missed a call you knew it once you got home. If you remembered to check the caller ID that is.

Now everything comes with caller ID, heck you don’t even have to own an incoming phone line anymore, I bet a lot of you don’t even have a land line/home phone anymore. Now it doesn’t matter if you are home or not, you can get calls anywhere and most of us do, heck I have seen a lot of people that I don’t think I would recognize without a phone attached to their face…

The whole point behind my rambling is simply looking back at how much things have changed since I was a kid. Are we becoming lazy because of all the things we have now to make life easier?

We can’t get away from a phone anymore, I remember a time when I got in my truck simply to get away from the phone…but I will admit being thankful of having a phone with us when we had car trouble on the road once.

How about our technical devices like tablets, laptops, and computers, I think that I am partially old fashioned now because I still use a desktop computer. But are these devices making us lazy?

grandson benjamin fast asleep in a recliner wearing headphones with a taplet lying on his stomach
Benjamin fell asleep playing on his tablet.
I know that I used to be a really good speller, and if I didn’t know how to spell a word, I had my handy dandy dictionary that I would look up said word in, this wasn’t always easy because I was usually looking up that word because I didn’t know how to spell it, and to look up a word in a dictionary it is best if you know how to spell it first.

Now our computers have spell check, most of the time they can correct your spelling mistakes as you type without you even knowing that you messed up, so if your mistake is corrected before you ever know you messed up, did you really mess up? At the end of your document you go back to all the underlined words for spelling and/or grammar suggestions.

This takes away all of the research for your handy dandy dictionary. Now we don’t have to look up words that we don’t know how to spell in a book that is alphabetized by spelling anymore. Everything is now handled by spell check…

OK I’ll admit, Spell check is my friend, I'm glad we have a cell phone, and I am happy that I no longer have rabbit ears.

But seriously life back then wasn't so hard, was it?

64 comments:

  1. What an enjoyable read, Jimmy, and how absolutely appropriate. You had me reliving childhood and all sorts as I read it. TV came late in my life but I do remember learning how to twiddle the dial on radios and my Dad buying me a radio of my very own which made a change from those box thingies that had to be charged at the shop. As for modern practices, I am top of the list when it comes to adoring spellcheckers and ID systems. I even have nuisance callers entered on my phone ID list... I enter them as NUISANCE1, 2, 3, etc. As for remote control instruments, I got fed up with losing mine so I bought a gadget that holds them all. No more searching under chairs for me, Jimmy!

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    1. I used to wonder about those remote holding things. I thought if a person wasn't in the habit of always putting the remote in the same place on the coffee table, what would make them suddenly be like that and always put the remote in the holder? I know plenty of people with holders, who still lose the remote because they're in the habit of just putting it down anywhere, arm of the chair, down in the cushions etc.

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    2. Hello Valerie, Cindy's Dad got a remote control holder last Christmas, it's like a box on a swivel with a handle on top, it has been a Godsend and keeps everything he needs including the remote all within his reach.

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    3. True River, the only way the holders work is if you use it to store your remotes, I am sure a lot of people never actually get accustomed to placing the remote into the holder, but for those who do they really work well.

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  2. It's mind boggling when I think back to my early teens when TVs came on the market. They were huge, black and white, expensive and with dials, not buttons. How far we've come with technology. If cable gets anymore expensive I may go back to rabbit ears. My brother actually did and he get gets about 14 channels for free.

    Thanks for the walk down Memory Lane.

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    1. Hey Jean, I have seen these HD antennas for sale and wonder if they would actually work, I am sure the basic idea is picking up the signals like the old rabbit ears did, and same as with rabbit ears I imagine the reception depends how close to a big city you are. It is a good idea though the cost for cable is ridiculous.

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  3. Even with a huge antenna on top of the house, we still needed rabbit ears on top of the TV. I have both stored somewhere in my barn. Will someone ever want them? Maybe an archaeologist centuries from now will dig them up and say WOW!

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    1. Hello Annie, You never know, one of these days those old rabbit ears and the outside antenna just may come in handy, sell them for big bucks as Vintage Television Technology.

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  4. I miss when TV was free! It's crazy how different our lives became in the last 35 years, but I suppose my grandparents thought the same when they went from no transportation to having a car and then flying.

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    1. Hello Bijoux, I agree with you, the good thing about the old antennas was the cost, the prices that we pay for cable is ridiculous, but yet we continue to pay. Looking back thirty five years and you are right it is amazing how much life has changes.

      The changes our Grandparents saw compared to what they would think of the world today...

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  5. Yes, all these gadgets are making us lazy. I think life was much easier before we had them, certainly we seemed to have so much more time to actually get up and out doing things. Now there's no time because everyone has to, (HAS TO, ha ha)check email, check facebook, update facebook, and because of all the mobile phones people are always in touch with work even when they're supposed to be home and on "free" time.

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    1. Hello River, An excellent point that you made on people always being in touch on their mobile phones with work floors me, a good example is our daughter in law, here in California on vacation but spending the majority of her time on the cell phone managing her business back home, I asked her if she had a manager to take care of things while she was gone, she said yes but that she liked to stay in touch in case the manager had problems, my answer is to hire another manager and hang up the phone.

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  6. Not sure I miss those old phones and TV's, but i do like the memories. I remember not only fooling around with the rabbit ears, but Dad climbing on the roof turning the antennae toward Philadelphia when the Giants played the Eagles at home. The game was blacked out for NY, but we were close enough to get Philly channel 10 and watch our Giants play through all the "snow".

    Great post!

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    1. Hello Joe, The memories is what it is all about isn't it, the gadgets were just part of those memories. We never had an outside antennae but I know some of my friends did, the rabbit ears on the TV is all I remember ever having...that and a roll of tin foil ha ha.

      Oh yes watching programs through the snow, I do remember that now that you mentioned it.

      Thank you Joe, it's good to see you my friend.

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  7. We lived in the country and rabbit ears were useless, my brother had to climb the ladder and 'fix' the big antenna every time the wind blew, practically. Dad had control of what we watched, like westerns or go read a book. We had to share the land line with 3 other houses ...

    Now, I swear, I'll disconnect that $93.48 bill and just use the free channels if/when DH dies. I'm sick of listening to car shows, wrestling, football, and home repair channels! I have a small antenna in my womb and I get 5 channels. It's enough. I have a smart phone and I usually choose to ignore it, and no, I haven't set it up for voice mail. If all I had was my internet, I could live peacefully, and come to think of it, I would be fine without that as well. Maybe I would dust ...

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    1. Hey Sharon, I need to check and see how many channels we pick up for free here, as for me I don't really watch much TV but Cindy and her Dad is another story.

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  8. Black and white TV with rabbit ears and three channels available (sometimes) and land line phones with paryt lines, radios with tubes and a lovely crackle sound, vinyl records in 78's. Ah those were the days. I do love my remote though. We still don't have a smart phone or I phone..whatever they're called...we have a little flip phone which is never turned on. When this computer dies I don't imagine we will bother with another one. We are trying to get various service providers educated to the fact that we want paper bills as one of these days we will not be online.

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    1. Hello Delores, The majority of providers are trying to convert the masses over to paperless billing but we are not fully converted yet.

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  9. I remember being told to go turn on the RCA television so it would warm up. I remember all of these things.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Hello Sandee, I had forgotten about letting the TV warm up or that the TV stations signed off at midnight, I just thought of that :-)

      A geat day to you too.

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  10. I remember those days, too, although we had only two channels and one wasn't all that clear. And like a couple of other commenters, we had an aerial on the house; when the reception got really bad it was time to "turn the aerial."

    I do think we are much lazier physically these days and then people decide they have to get exercise so they need a gym membership. There are whole industries that would just dry up if we didn't have technology and I'm not just talking about the obvious jobs :)

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    1. Very true Jenny, Just about everything is controlled by technology of one sort or another, a sign of the times as my Mom would say, we are at the point now to where we are completely dependant on technology, technology is not a bad thing just being that dependant is kind of scary. Big difference from when we were younger.

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  11. In the year B. R. (Before Remotes) Bud told one of the kids to get up & change the channel on the TV. The kid asked him who changed the channel before he had children. He replied, without missing a beat, "Your mother!!"

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    1. "Your mother!!" Now that is funny Fran.

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  12. I've used tvs with them but we almost always had basic cable. We had a small portable black and white tv with an antenna and that was only slightly more visuals than radio, it was horrid.

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    1. TV reception has come a long way Adam, I remember slightly more visual than radio as being normal, and yes it was horrid.

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  13. Bijoux makes a good point. We may have worked harder and had fewer choices but it was free. Sigh.
    Only have a land line here as there is no cell service. I have to drive 4 miles to get a signal.

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    1. Hey Patti, Working harder and fewer choices really wasn't that bad was it, too many choices and high cost worries me. Bijoux did make a good point, I miss free TV too.

      I am surprised that they haven't gotten cell service in your area yet, hopefully it won't be much longer.

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  14. I remember those days well. Like jenny_o, we only had two channels to choose from and mostly watched one because the other (shock/horror) was full of advertisements.
    I am a dinosaur too. No lap top here, and my eyes are good enough to watch much on my phone. And sometimes I like being out of contact.
    I still remember my father saying (truthfully) that he didn't need a dishwasher - he had four. And complaining that they argued in the kitchen.
    And I hate, loathe and despise it when my partner plays St Vitus Dance with the remote scanning through the channels are every opportunity.
    Sorry - you seem to have triggered my grumpy old woman nerve...

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    1. Sorry about triggering the grumpy nerve EC, Cindy running through all of the channels is the main reason I read while she watches TV ;-)

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  15. We used to have to stand or sit in one part of the room for the tv to work sometimes. We had channel 3,9, 18 and 36. And I do know the connection between the tv and aluminum foil.
    Lisa

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    1. Hey Lisa, Yes location was everything sometimes, and the aluminum foil was definitely a work of art at times.

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  16. Yes, I remember rabbit ears and playing with them to get a decent picture.

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    1. Hello Stephen, I don't remember the adjustment ever sticking either, you had to play again with them before too long.

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  17. Things sure have changed. And thanks for reminding me how old I am!
    I remember TV-watching being a regular evening activity. My mom would say, "turn on the TV so it's all warmed up by the time I get there", because ours would take a while to get going. Thanks for the memories!

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    1. You are very welcome Abby, We aren't all that old, our memories are just vintage.

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  18. We had one telephone for the entire house! It was on our "telephone stand".

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    1. Hello John, I do remember the telephone stand in our house too, I haven't seen one of those in a while.

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  19. A fun read, took me back. I remember the rabbit ears, getting up to change the channel. I remember my dad buying his mom a TV so that she could watch her favorite show. Nanny loved her Perry Mason. I remember huddling around the 13 inch screen absolutely mesmerized.

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    1. Thank you Denise, Raymond Burr made a name for himself with Perry Mason, and the 13 inch TV was a great thing at the time, I bet your Nanny was happy with the TV from your Dad.

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  20. I remember how excited we were with our first VCR, it even had a remote, with a wire that reached all the way to the couch.

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    1. Hello Jeff, I do remember those VCR's with the wired remote, haven't seen one of those in a long time.

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  21. Thanks for all those flashes from the past! Made me smile more than once. ,I resisted cell phones for a while, wanting to keep some private moments to,myself. That seemed eons ago! At first I only kept one on me for emergency purposes, then, before you know it.... Still hate regular calls though. I'm not an auditory person. I prefer texting to phone calls.

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    1. Isn't it amazing how quickly the cell phones can become a part of your daily routine, I still don't have one myself but the one we got like you was simply for emergencies, now it is permanently attached to my wife ha ha.

      Great to see you.

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  22. My work life was so much simpler back then! I didn't have to be on cell phone patrol, or prepare a lesson to entertain very short attention spans. On the other hand, I had to type up my materials and run a spirit master and crank that purple-fluid stuff over papers to make copies. If I wanted different versions of the test, I had to type each one. On a typewriter. Correcting mistakes as I went.

    On the other hand, maybe my work life WASN'T so much simpler back then!

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    1. Now that you put it that way Val, maybe it wasn't so easy back then, could we have students from back then and the conveniences of now?

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  23. I have a land like but I have to have one for work. The minute I stop working for a company that it is required for, there goes the land line. I don't give out the phone number to anyone but we sure get a lot of calls on it and the majority of phone calls are from creditors (I might have told you this already).

    I do remember the rabbit ears. I do remember the limit of channels available and that TV channels actually went off the air after midnight.

    I like spell check because I'm paid on production. Easier to have spell check correct a word than have to look it up in the dictionary. Saves time and money that way :)

    How did things change so incredibly fast?

    betty

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    1. Hello Betty, "How did things change so incredibly fast?" I look around and wonder that myself, it doesn't seem that long ago to me that no one owned a computer, now they basically are carrying one around in the palm of their hands.

      We still have a land line also, for now anyways.

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  24. What a delightful piece of writing Jimmy!

    enjoyed all you shared about past that has less technology though but answering your question thta yes it was little hard but BEAUTIFUL .
    technology has created distance between people which we call "space"
    in those days biggest fun were family gatherings ,conversations and sharings of heart to each other .

    yes we used to have rabbit ears with our first black and white t.v in 1984 i think.

    When remote came i remember the fighting over remote by kids which were irritating and we had to buy another t.v to avoid them.

    My eldest son can operate t.v through smart phone but we can't do this as no idea.
    Lovely photo of little angle! loved looking at his carefree sleepy mode .

    Like your Cindy when my younger son who is very naughty broke lots of my crockery and spoiled quite part of important stuff as then (12 years back) we lived in joint family with only tow rooms where my younger son was champion of destructions

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    1. Thank you so much Baili, Things were simpler before all of the technology, like you mentioned everyone got together with their families and talked face to face, that doesn't seem to happen any longer, although one positive is that we can communicate with and make friends completely across the world which is still fascinating for me.

      Thank you for the compliment on our grandson Benjamin's picture.

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    1. Good morning River, Thank you my dear friend, I'd love for you to meet him in person, he is a little charmer.

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  26. Boy, I remember those days like it was yesterday, and we too were the designated remote people. Sometimes those rabbit ears were really tricky sometimes. I remember being able to watch Truth or Consequences and I Dream of Jeannie. I was able to get away with a lot of my practical jokes because there was no Caller ID or *69 back then. (lol) Hugs...

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    1. Hey RO, Those rabbit ears were really tricky at times, isn't it funny how you could get a decent picture one day and nothing but snow the next?

      Oh yes the old telephone pranks are a thing of the past, before you could even try today they already know who you are ha ha. It's good to see you RO.

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  27. Great post Jimmy! Oh the memories! I remember all of those things Jimmy! It seemed like we never actually had a knob on the channel selector. So we always had a set of vice grips around the little metal part to change channels. I'm sure it wasn't always, but it sure seemed like it. Also, as far as the "rabbit ears" goes, it seemed like one of the "ears" always got broken off. So we'd have to adjust one ear, and one metal clothes hanger. Too many boys in the house causes a lot of damage. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The first TV I remember at home, was a big (it seemed big anyway) glass tube thing, that sat on top of a wooden box.

    I hated phones back in the day, and I still hate them. Do you remember "party lines? You might be too young. Several houses around you all shared the same line. It was common to pick up the phone to make a call, and there would already be a conversation going on. You are right about the land lines. We haven't had one for years.

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    1. Hey Pat, I do remember using a clothes hanger to make up for one of the ears that "fell off all by itself" it seemed to work just as good though.

      I do remember having a party line once, the biggest thing I remember was Mom blowing up one day because Mrs. So and So had to listen in every time Mom got a call, she went out the door to go and have a talk with her ha ha, a lot of times she would be talking and say "Mrs. So and So are you listening, then she would laugh and say she hung up"

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  28. I don't trust spellcheck though. It puts some very strange words in my text when i don't notice on occasion.

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    1. Hi Liz, Yes you have to keep an eye on spell check because it does go down the wrong road at times.

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  29. And I use my dictionary to check that a word means what I think it means or to find out what a word means. You can't beat a proper book!

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    1. You are right Liz, It is best to have a good dictionary on hand, a proper book is always a good choice.

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  30. Jimmy,

    I do remember rabbit ears. Heck, we still use an antenna on our plasma TV because we do not have cable and can pick up all of our local channels super well. Well...we do have basic cable but not the cable box. We only have it so we can get the price break on our high speed internet. Thankfully, we can use our Roku or Apple TV to stream content. Anywho, back to the good ole days when remotes were few and far between and you had to have an antenna to tune the picture. I betcha you remember having to adjust the TV set from the backside of the tube, too. My folks had a small B&W TV when I was young and that thing would roll, and roll and I turned that tiny knob a zillion times to make it stop. lol I also remember how those old things had a delay in completely turning off. Do you remember how slow the tube was to cool down and you could see a small glow for several seconds after you turned it off? Technology has really changed and kids (many adults) don't get how easy they have it. Shoot, we even take it for granted until we have a flashback like...after reading posts like you shared. So, thanks for the memories! :)

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    1. Good morning Cathy, I do remember making adjustments from the back of the TV, most times your arms weren't long enough to both make the adjustment and see the results you were getting at the same time, this was always a two person job on the big TV.

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  31. I remember rabbit ears. We now have rabbit ears again, except they are not rabbit ears. It's a "digital" antenna and looks a bit like a thin, flexible iPad or so. Between that and Amazon Prime, and Netflix, and Hulu, we get more stuff than we used to on cable, for a fraction of the price. Except it's so complicated that I don't even know how to turn on the TV any more. Hah!

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    1. That would be my fear remembering how to get everything turned on and going ha ha.

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