Tuesday, December 28, 2010

iPad myPad

If there's one thing I can do well it's pontificate and pronounce. No, wait, that's two things. Well, I do them a lot. I think of a brilliant idea, or notion, or theory and I turn it around in my head and then I pronounce. Prompted by a mere nod of your head I will go on (and on just a bit). I will polish the hypothesis then tell it afresh to someone else and someone else and someone else and unfortunately to you again (oops sorry). I'm especially insightful and eloquent if I've had a martini or two (and prone to tell an old theory again).

I have lots of theories that I hold on to tightly some times for years. Most of you have heard them. Many times. I hold on tight right until I don't. And then I've been known to drop the theory, take the opposite side and argue for it just as vehemently.

But I can't think of any of these golden nuggets I have ever dropped as quickly as I did on Christmas day.

So here's my original gem (as if you haven't heard it): On newspapers in print vs. electronic form: Ahem. I know it makes more sense to get your morning news on a computer and I see that my kids are pretty comfortable with that. And I know that the day is fast approaching when papers will not be printed. But electronic news is not for me. No sirree. I LOVE having my New York Times at the end of the driveway. I LOVE hearing it hit the driveway with a thump then go out in my bathrobe (no coat, year round, that is my rule, no matter how cold) and then come back to the counter and unsheathe it and dive in, coffee cup in hand. That's right. That's how I've always done it and that's how I'll always do it. Go ahead younger folk, kids, and early adapters--feel free to get your news on your silly Smart Phone or you goofy iPhone or your little laptop or whatever. But I will be sticking to the old newsprint. That's just the way I roll. I'm old school and proud of it. I love my print paper and I am so grateful for those who print it and deliver it to me every day.

Then on Christmas morning Jeff gave me an iPad. An iPad! I never even dreamed of having one. I mean it's cool but I'm the last one in the house to get anything electronically cool. I have a cell phone that's two-kids old (moms will know what that means) and I can't even figure out how to text properly on it. But there it was, under the tree--an iPad! In about ten minutes I had that puppy up and running and sliding my hand across it in that satisfying way they show on the commercial, making stuff bigger then smaller with magic spider fingers. Soon I was surfing Facebook from the couch (oh, THAT's how you get addicted to Facebook)

After a while we moved the post-unwrapping party into the kitchen for coffee and newspaper time. Jeff volunteered to shovel out to get the paper for me. While he was gone I leaned over, hit about three different buttons on my iPad and downloaded the free New York Times app. By the time he brought that stupid, enormous, environmentally unsound hunk of tree-pulp covered in snow behemoth to the counter I was already reading the front page in vivid color, in print big enough for my aging eyes, with that nice back light, on my nice little lightweight iPad.

I sipped my coffee and looked up at Jeff, as if I were surprised he'd bothered to get that relic from last century at all--"Thanks for getting that but I probably don' t need it now." In less than five minutes I'd converted. And the only thing it took for me to do this was to --wait for it--actually TRY it.

I then went on to enjoy my Sunday Times in a whole new way. I read entire articles because I wasn't flipping through pages, getting distracted and forgetting what page the story was continued on (whoever started that stupid custom?). I downloaded the crossword puzzle app and discovered the beauty of that (oh yeah, crossworders--you want to do this, believe me).

And there you have it. I don't want to cancel my print subscription just yet. I'd feel bad for Wayne, my paper deliveryman who I just tipped for the holidays. And the nice thing about the print version is you can share the paper. The kids do still look it over from time to time. Right after they check the news on the internet. I probably will keep getting the print version until I can figure out how my iPad can make a nice satisfying thump on the driveway. Maybe Jeff could set it out there for me and I could go get it in my bathrobe.

Whatever I decide at least you no longer have to hear me go on about why I prefer print to electronic newspapers.

Unfortunately, you're going to have to hear about how great my new iPad is.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Yesterday was the annual children's Christmas pageant at church and I can think of no other event that so clearly marks the passage of time. One minute your kids are among the preschoolers wearing sheep heads and donkey ears then you blink and they're an angel or a shepherd and after a few more weeks pass they're playing the big parts of Mary and the Wisemen. This year only Lilly was in the pageant and her big teenaged siblings sat in the audience-- a real sign that my kids are growing up fast.

Yesterday's event had it all: we had the cow who succumbed to a fierce bout of stage fright and burst into tears upon seeing the audience. The donkey next to him looked annoyed and tried to soothe him but it was no use. One of the adult wranglers had to go up to the altar and lead him to safety; we had the bossy angel (daughter of the children's choir director) who was exasperated to find a mic missing just before Mary's solo and stomped off the altar in search of a replacement saving the song just in time; and we had the perfect, tear-inducing solo, sung sweetly by Mary (oh, did I mention Lilly was Mary?)

When I went to pick her up from rehearsal on Saturday the pageant director shared with me that Joseph (an eighth grader) had suggested he put his arm around his wife when she comes to the manger. You can't blame a guy for trying. I mean here he has gone to the trouble to bring Mary safely to the warm stable and not only does he not get any credit for the birth thing but he has not one line in the Christmas play. Surely he had something to say that night like, "Can I get you some ice-chips?" During the rehearsal this Joseph tried to slip his arm around Lilly/Mary but she just shrugged it off without looking up from her script. I assume the first Mary was much more kind to Joseph.

I have seen many Christmas pageants over the years from the very modest to the slickly produced but I always prefer the slightly messy ones where angel's wings get tangled (one year one got set on fire) and sheep heads slip askew and Wisemen get a fit of giggles--the show that is far from perfect, kid-friendly, and full of hope and promise--just like the first Christmas at the manger.

Whatever kind of pageant you get to enjoy this year I hope it moves you to smile and be thankful for all the children, Sunday school teachers, church-lady seamstresses, and choir directors who bring us this little piece of magic every year.