Father of the Cell Phone

“An inventor is one who can see the applicability
of means to supply demand five years before it is
obvious to those skilled in the art.”
Reginald Fessenden

Our cell phones have the capability of a supercomputer. They can perform as a cell phone and instantly they are a computer, television, music playing device, camera, video camera, library, GPS, and a gaming system.

What I find interesting is that I use it less and less as a phone. My monthly cell phone bill shows zero actual phone minutes used and thousands of kilobytes used for data.

For example, at the DMV the other day, the line was hours long. So I pulled out my cell phone, and began reading a book from my OverDrive account.

When I looked around the long line of people, I noticed they too were engaged in cell phone activity. I began to wonder, how did cell phones first get started? So, I pulled up Google on my trusted cell phone.

The cell phone dates back to its early inception of the shore-to-ship radio telephony during the Second World War. The inventor, Reginald Fessenden probably never anticipated the huge impact he would have on society. An inveterate tinkerer, Fessenden eventually became the holder of more than 500 patents. His rendition of ‘O Holy Night‘ from a 1906 broadcast was the first coherent audio transmission to be received.

The telephony developed into mobile phones that were first used for automobiles in the 1940’s. The early mobile phones of the 1970’s to the 1990’s were bulky, consumed high power and the telephone network supported only a few simultaneous conversations. The first cell phone I used in 1993 could only be used in the car and was the size of a man’s size 12 shoe.

I wonder how Reginald Fessenden would react to the huge success of his invention? No doubt he would be proud. But, I bet he would of had no idea how far his inventions would take us and that he would become the father of the cell phone.

Shine On

Persistent Illusion


“People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction
between past, present and future is only
a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
Albert Einstein

Shine On

The Art of Selfies


“In 2021 pet vanity is the latest trend.”
JR

A selfie is one way to show off your impeccable fashion, as well as proof that you did something or met someone cool. It’s even turned a few lucky, ordinary people with no special talent, into having a profitable career.

Selfies have been around for more than thirty years. It became popular after Paris Hilton and Britney Spears posed for a selfie.

I was surprised to learn, the first selfie was taken in 1839 on a daguerreotype camera by Robert Cornelius in Philadelphia. Cornelius was an amateur chemist and photography enthusiast. He took the image by removing the lens cap and then running into frame where he sat for a minute before covering up the lens again.

As if there isn’t enough selfie competition, lately the animal kingdom has gotten into the game. Animal selfies are not only amusing, but they might even make you a bit jealous. Some of them are indubitably photogenic.

From wild animals to domesticated pets, these creatures have perfected the art of selfies. 

Shine On

Good Writings to Read


“I find television very educating.
Every time somebody turns on the set,
I go into the other room and read a book.”
 Groucho Marx


This year I decided that I spend too much time in front of the television, so I finally cut the cord. Not that I don’t enjoy watching all my favorite shows, but most of these shows I can watch on other noncable outlets. For example, my library has watching apps such as Hoopla, Kanopy and Pluto TV, all free if you have a library card.

Last year I promised myself that I would read a book a week. I came very close to that goal and missed it by only three books. Actually, I would have exceeded my goal if I had not watched so much television.

Most of the books I read last year were from my public library. This library is a beautiful old Spanish style building from the 1920s, situated on exquisite grounds with peacocks wandering throughout the property. I love visiting this library because of its picturesque setting and because it is rarely busy. I’m always able to get whatever books I want to read without having to wait weeks or days, even during a pandemic.

My favorite way to read is using my iPad for its ease of reading. If I want to read a magazine, my library has them for free using the app, Flipster. However, most of the books I read are downloaded to my iPad from the library using the app, OverDrive.

Whichever means of reading magazines and books I choose this coming year, I will have my plate full of good writings to read.

Shine On

Words Cannot Express

“Art is the lie that enables us
to realize the truth.”
Pablo Picasso

Since the death of Sean Connery a few weeks back, I’ve been rewatching all of the James Bond movies in chronological order. I noticed that the majority of the Bond movies were distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. I’ve been watching MGM movies my entire life but just now noticed the words, “Ars Gratia Artis” used as a motto by MGM and appears in the circle around the roaring head of Leo the Lion in its logo.

Curious lady that I am, I looked up the meaning of this Latin saying, Ars Gratia Artis which translates to, Art for Art’s Sake.  It is a phrase that dates back to poet Théophile Gautier from the 1800s. The phrase was also used by poet Edgar Allan Poe in his 1850 essay, The Poetic Principle.  These men argued that “. . . art for art’s sake affirmed that art was valuable as art in itself; that artistic pursuits were their own justification; and that art did not need moral justification, and was allowed to be morally neutral or subversive.”

With so many forms of art in our society, I dove even deeper into this subject and discovered writer and philosopher, Alain de Botton who is the founder of  The School of Life, where he examines the many purposes of art.

In Alain’s book, Art as Therapy he points out how art can be a form and a source of therapy and self-help. He explains how art has the ability to resolve our psychological shortcomings and ease our anxieties about our imperfections. Art can be used as a great tool that serves a complex important purpose in our existence. The highest achievement of art might be something that reconciles the two: a channel of empathy into our own psychology that lets us both exorcise and better understand our emotions.

There are many areas in our life that art enriches including how art helps us feel less alone in our suffering. de Botton believes art can also save us time as well as save our lives, through opportune and reminders of balance and goodness that we should never presume we know enough about already. He also says that art is our new religion and our museums are our cathedrals. We all have reasons for our tastes in particular works of art and that can reflect how we are feeling emotionally at particular times in our lives.

Art gives us a language for communicating to others. It can explain why we are so particular about the kinds of art we surround ourselves with publicly.  A sort of self-packaging we all practice as much on the walls of our homes as we do on our social media pages. A cynic might interpret this as mere showing off, but de Botton believes that the art we admire peels away this superficial interpretation to reveal the deeper psychological motive.

The art we admire can show our true desire to communicate to others the subtleties of who we are and what we believe in a way that words cannot express.

Shine On