Screw Modernity

Whenever I’m stuck to describe how I feel about something, I almost always resort to the classics, because every situation in modern times has occurred, sometimes often, in the past, and we’re just experiencing reruns.

I had to go to WalMart for an emergency purchase — they don’t sell gin, but they do sell tonic — and as I saw the usual tragic shoppers pawing through the worthless clothing, fall-apart utensils and cheap furniture, my mind wandered off to the tragedy of the current “pipeline” issues which are making people fearful that they won’t get the plastic toys for their kiddies in time for Xmas (not Christmas), or which are forcing people to wait an extra week for their must-have cheap kitchen appliances (avg lifetime:  months, not years), and it stirred within my memory this immortal poem, written in 1902:

by John Masefield

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amythysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

Substitute “rusty Chinese container ship” for the dirty British coaster, and you have the modern take on the earlier perspective, in a nutshell.

Then I heard on the radio some guy moaning about the fact that his car’s “management” chip had recently failed, thus rendering his Mercedes into an immobile, upholstered metal/plastic cube, and I thought longingly back to the days when a car’s management system was its driver, not some multi-pronged Chinese piece of silicon.

I fucking hate the modern world.

I think I’ll take the Mauser for a trip to the gun range.  No batteries to fail, no chips to malfunction, its technology tried and tested for over a hundred years.  Only its old and imperfect management system can screw things up.  And I prefer it that way.


  1. Alas, dear Kim, so do I.

    Every step these days thru this thing called life is a hackneyed labor of fail.

    Get your car looked at, an estimated price issued, repair done, price is 30% higher. Ask why, get a litany of “job took longer than we though”, “Parts was more expensive than our estimation software”, and the ever popular “I dunno…”

    I stopped this AM for breakfast at McDonalds, and placed my order. Went to pay, gave the young lady a $20, and she palmed back some coins and receipt. I asked where the missing $10 was; she replied “you only paid with a $10”. I fired back that it was the money I had in my phone, and it was folded when I issued it to her. Boss was called, and he agreed with her, and held up a $10 from the till. That is the last order the Kroc family organization will pilfer from me.

    Its all rot these days – lousy customer service, bad manners, impolite stature, Me-Me-Me! attitudes, poor clothing choices (its 28deg this AM here in the (less than) Free State and the young men are walking about in shorts and sandals), and on and on.

    I’ve always wondered why my grand-pap was surly around people, and really didn’t do much but go to work, come home, tend his garden and land, and listen to radio while he read his crime magazines. As I grow older, I’m seeing the wisdom in his actions, and how he dealt with this civilization.

    1. Same thing happened to me when I was 12, but back then in 1957 it was 50 cents versus a dollar.

  2. Two reactions:

    One, I’m glad for the advances we’ve made in science and medicine, but saddened at some of the uses we’ve put them to. We carry wonders in our pockets that were beyond the science fiction of my day, and we use them to post pictures of ourselves doing stupid and illegal things, and to share our most private things with the world. We have unlocked some of the secrets of life itself, and we use it to edit the genetic code of viruses in a Chinese lab, because such work is (rightly) illegal over here.

    Two, your Walmarts don’t sell gin? Mine does. They even have a few overpriced rifles in Sporting Goods.

    Personally, I’ll let my wife have her modern car, with digital everything, lane assist, emergency braking, and backup warnings. It makes her comfortable. I’ll drive whatever company car they give me until I retire, but my own vehicle is a 1989 Chevy pickup with an old-style 350 engine and a carburetor. I can keep that thing running until I fall apart. If I have to, I can rig it to run on propane. And if I’m changing lanes and you’re in a car made after 2000, you’d best get out of my way.

    1. You’re absolutely right.

      One Walmart near me sells rifles and shotguns. They’re rather cheap.

      I have a newer truck but wouldn’t feel short changed if I could get my 2002 tacoma back.

      I’m sick and tired of utter imbeciles at restaurants and stores who cannot make proper change. I was taught in the 80s at McDonald’s to lay the tendered bills across the till, make the change then count it back to the customer. If there was any discrepency, the tendered bills were across the till rather than mixed in with the till. That technique is not taught anymore unfortunately and the cashiers haven’t learned elementary school arithmetic yet you can rest assured that their self esteem is higher than it should be



      1. Some of the ones I’ve encountered have never learned how to use the “Amount Tendered” (AT) button.
        In my world, any transaction that “AT” is not entered would be a terminal offense.

      2. Making change is one of the easiest things you will ever do with numbers
        and I too have seen ‘kids’ struggle with something they can do and should
        be able to do in their heads !
        Count Up from the amount of the bill to the amount of money you were
        handed. What in the name of Whistling Geronomo could be easier.
        I try to feel sorry for these kids headed out into the world without
        knowing anything, anything at all about anything.

        1. My wife gets on me when I do something like handing over a five, a one, a dime and two pennies when the bill is $5.87. About half the time the clerk can understand what I’m doing.

  3. I do basically agree with you 100% but regarding the poem I would play devil’s advocate and say yes but whilst the beautiful cargoes of antiquity were enriching the elites and everybody else was essentially enslaved ‘ the dirty British freighter (keyword, British) was helping enrich EVERYBODY via the industrial revolution…

      1. Because put in modern terms the sandalwood and oriental perfumes would be for hillary Clinton Bill Gates the Head honchos at the EU and the UN, and the likes of Kim and Jack would be busting our balls in the fields from Dawn to dusk with small chance of enjoying a trip down the range or doing anything other 5han dying of hunger and exhaustion at the age of 50 . The industrial revolution sonsigned that to history for most of us. Don’t get me wrong I loath Chinese tat and factory food as much as the next man, and thanks to the aforementioned I.R. I can afford to choose and enjoy better stuff. So yes, consider me a fan of the industrial revolution although like all revolutions not everything that comes out from it is good, but this one less malevolent than most.

  4. I occasionally receive cash gifts or gift cards from friends or relatives. I always use those gifts to buy something that won’t wear out or go out of style (clothing) or rapidly become obsolete (electronics).

    Knives, optics, good quality hand tools, reloading gear, and old school steel and walnut firearms pretty much last forever. When’s the last time you wore out a ball peen hammer or a good pair of binoculars or a hundred year old Winchester Model 94?

    The wife says that “I’m hard to buy for”. She likes shiny stuff – jewelry – and I like shiny stuff too. My shiny stuff is made from stainless steel and might say “Smith and Wesson” or “Ruger”

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