Whatever Happened to TV Westerns?

Back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, there were more than twenty western shows on TV at one time. Each one had a gimmick. There was Bat Masterson with his cane and derby hat, Chuck Connors with a sawed off shotgun, Richard Boone with his unique calling card, Nick Adams wearing a rebel hat and so on…

wyattearp batmasterson havegunwilltravel maverick

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Soy milk comes from vegetarian cows?

When I was young, not even ten years old, my digestive system as well as my psyche told me that I did not like milk. It’s not easy for a kid to tell his parents that he doesn’t want any dairy products. The process of eliminating that stuff from my diet was a slow wean. I quickly stopped drinking regular white milk, eating butter, cheese and related ichy edibles. I still drank chocolate milk, chocolate shakes and sodas and ate ice cream cones into my early teens. I even gobbled up milk chocolate candy bars until my thirties. And then I stopped cold turkey.

I remember at age six my father trying to force me to eat a cream cheese sandwich and I practically glued my mouth shut until my mother came home from wherever she was to save me.
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Can You Really Have A Best Friend?

When I was younger, I had a best friend named Perry. He was a buddy for close to twenty-five years. What killed our friendship? I found out that he was doing nasty things to me that until then I chalked up to coincidence.

The demise began when he announced he was getting married. We had been sharing a place so I knew everything he did. This included going out with the same woman for close to ten years while he was actively pursuing the dating of others. At the time, I didn’t understand why he was so two-faced. If he didn’t think he could make a go of it with the steady, why not just end it?
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My First Job at the Factory

Like death and taxes, everyone has a first job. I’ve had a few first jobs. The “first” first was a taste of what it was like to get bossed around by somebody other than my parents or school teachers. It happened in the summer of 1970 after I graduated high school.

I knew where I was going to college in the fall but had no idea what I was going to do for the next eight weeks or so now that I was a free man. (College wasn’t like grammar or high school because it wasn’t mandatory. Well, it was, if I was looking ahead to getting a good job when I was 21, presuming Uncle Sam wasn’t going to get to me first. Luckily, it all turned out okay as my selective service lottery number was 344 which meant that aliens, children and women would be picked ahead of me.)
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Working Mothers vs. Stay At Home Moms

Women who raise a family as well as work in a job outside the home are called Working Mothers. This gets the dander up of the ladies who raise children and do not work an outside job as well. After all, taking the responsibility to care for a household is just as much work, if not more, than going to a job and getting paid for it.

Technically, my father was the breadwinner in the family while mom stayed at home, washed the dishes, cleaned the house, did the laundry, made our lunches and babysat those who were too young to venture out to school. Somehow, they made enough to live on while sending their five kids to private school and the accompanying tuition costs. They didn’t buy their own place until my father was 45 but it was paid for and still under my mother’s control.
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My First Airplane Flight

By Larry Teren

If you were born in the 1970’s or later, there is a chance you don’t remember much about your first airplane ride. You were a kid or maybe even a baby. I, who  was born when Truman still had a couple of months left in his presidency, didn’t go higher than the thirtieth floor of a skyscraper until after I graduated college.

In the 1950’s and 60’s, flying was relatively expensive. It was mostly for business travelers or those who had money to burn and needed to get somewhere quickly. The rest of us either took a train or went by car. If you don’t count taking a commuter train or the Chicago Rapid Transit (yah, sure) , I’ve never, ever been on a train to go from one city to another.

My first flight was in 1978 to go to a resort in the Catskill Mountains in upper state NY. In those days, the FAA did not prevent air traffic over the downtown areas of major cities. I requested and got a window seat. I remember as we were still rising, floating maybe ten thousand feet in the air, that I looked down over the Merchandise Mart along the Chicago River marking the northwestern edge of the Loop.
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I’m Just an Old School Guy, What About You?

“Old school” or “New school”? What does that mean?
My nieces and nephews call me “old school” and they’re probably right.

I guess I’m old school because I went to one. Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, my grammar school was housed in a decrepit ancient mansion that could have passed for the Munster’s home. They remodeled it by the time I got to second grade bringing it up to code including overhead fire sprinklers in every area of the building. This was not too long after a famous fire in a Chicago Catholic school where several kids lost their lives.

My parents moved our family out of the neighborhood before the start of school in the fall of 1968. The school had already closed for good the previous June. Within a couple of short years, the building is demolished due to urban renewal and a monstrous multi-story school administration building now sits in its place.

There is something called an old school of thought as wells as a new school. The old school of thought tells me to eat whatever I want because I am going to burn it off in a few nights of athletic contests over the following week. The new school of thought warns me that even looking at the food is going to cause me to gain weight.
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You Phone but I don’t iPhone

I bet that if you are under 30, you do not have the newspaper delivered to your place of residence unless you still live with your mommy. Nor do you go to a drug store or supermarket to buy the paper. If you want to read what is going on, you pull out your iphone or blackberry and read it online. Or, you sit at your computer at work or home, go on the internet and surf news sites.

Now, tell me that I am wrong. Of course, you could be old-fashioned and actually read a hardcopy of your favorite newspaper. As for me, the old fuddy duddy- I no longer subscribe to a paper or even buy one at a store. The only time I pick one up is when I go to my parent’s house or a friend’s. Otherwise, I get my news fix by going to the least objectionable website that gives me the news, sports, whatever.

What do I mean by “least objectonable”? I’m not talking editorial content and persuasion, but how long it takes my browser and internet connection to bring up the site and click into the information. I have no patience for wading through screens that take awhile to load with a whole bunch of ads. Nor do I want to wade through tens and even hundreds of comments that are most likely spam and not relevant to the purpose of the article just read.

Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, there was no internet and like everyone else, I had to wait to get a hold of a newspaper to see a boxscore of a sports event, or even the latest installment of a comic strip. I’d go to a corner newsstand which was a wooden shack. The city of Chicago permitted these and licensed them out. My mother would sometimes send me to go get the paper and I would take a slow walk back home, sure to read the entire sports section. Otherwise, I would not get to see the paper so quickly as I was a low man in the pecking order.

The newsstand owner was protective of his investment and probably the payoff he had to give to city officials to protect his “cash” business. His stand stood just outside a drug store at the corner of Central and Madison in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. The drug store was allowed to sell newspapers only when his stand was closed up for the day.
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Baby Boomers vs. GenXers Comfortable Shoes vs 42 inch Plasma TV

I’ll take a pair of comfortable Rockport shoes over a 40 inch flat panel tv.

What would you rather have, a huge plasma or LCD TV or a nice pair of walking shoes? I guess it depends on how old you are, right? In the 1970’s and 80’s, when I was in my twenties or thirties, I didn’t give much thought to shoe comfortability. And the big thing for me in those days was buying my first portable 16 inch color tv. All those tv shows that I had seen in boring black and white now came to life in “glorious living color”, as the promo ran on NBC.

When my favorite shows were in black and white, I concentrated on the plot. Nothing to distract me. With color, I spent more time looking at the clothes the actors wore and the background scenery on such shows as The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

It didn’t matter to me about the size of the picture. But, to Gen-Xer’s or what ever they call the people who are supposed to give me their seat on bus, it’s a different story. That is, the tv story is not so important, it’s how they watch it. Like other unmentionable things, it’s all about size. This person has a 40 inch set, that one a 50 inch, and so on. Tv is no longer a bulky device that sits on a special table. It’s like a picture that hangs on the wall. Instead of looking down, you look straight out. Hmmm… maybe when the younger folk get to my age, they won’t have sagging chins.
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