Every so often I receive an email that references the good old days and asks people if they can still remember when we depended on some now obsolete items. I can still remember when:
- Milk was delivered to our house in Brooklyn in glass bottles that were left in a box near our front door.
- Before the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge was erected, I used to ride my bicycle from our home near Marine Park down to the Narrows, take the ferry from Bay Ridge to Staten Island, take the Staten Island ferry across New York Harbor past the Statue of Liberty to South Ferry (at the tip of Manhattan) and then return home.
- Back in the 1970s, some people actually planned which recreational drugs they would take during the course of an evening according to the color and side effects of each pill (with no concern about possible drug interactions).
- For 50 cents you could buy a visitor's pass to go aboard an ocean liner prior to its sailing from New York Harbor (the following shot shows my sister and I on the deck of the M.V. Roma at the exact moment the ship's horn signaled a half hour prior to departure on a summer day in1954).
- Back before the invention of the ATM, a person often had to spend half his lunch hour waiting on line to have a bank teller cash a check.
- In order to open certain tin cans, a person had to peel a key away from the can and then use it to slowly unwind a strip of tinplate.
- A Saturday afternoon spent in the grandeur of a local movie palace offered two full-length features for 25 cents.
- In order to dial a long distance phone number, you had to call the operator to ask for her help.
- The second most important key in a child's life was the skate key that tightened the foot clamps on his roller skates.
- Once upon a time, long before Sesame Street, a children's book could open up a child's imagination to a world of wonder and awe.
Three and a half years old and already precocious
Those days are long gone, as are so many devices we once thought we couldn't live without. Steve Almond notes that, in an age of digital technology and easy accessibility, The Trouble With Easy Listening may well be that the mere act of listening to music is no longer a sacred experience. Film critic Roger Ebert is in the process of launching a blog that will not just review films, but examine how changes in distribution channels are reshaping the film industry.
Three short films that were recently screened at the San Francisco Asian-American International Film Festival were unusually successful in lending a personal touch to business practices. Two marked the demise of a beloved tradition. The third marked the start of something new.
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Mr. Shanbag's Shop, a 15-minute video from India that received its world premiere at the festival, took a look at the plight of the independent bookstore. However, rather than facing competition from major retail outlets, the store depicted in Asha Ghosh's poignant short captured the essence of clutter, the joys of finding unexpected treasure, and the end of an era in used book sales.
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The Haenyo statue on Jeju Island
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Although I'm not quite sure how a film about brewing beer in Palestine made it into the San Francisco Asian-American International Film Festival, Buthina Canaan Khoury's short tells the story of how her family's business was born and how her family has tried to serve their limited market while championing its cultural appeal for Palestinians. Thanks to local politics and religious taboos, the distribution challenges faced by the Khoury family may be unique.
More than a simple industrial film about the Taybeh Brewery (the only beer brewed in Palestine), Taste The Revolution shows how a beer business can blossom in a politically-scarred landscape. You can watch Khoury's film in its entirety in the following clip. Believe me when I tell you that the Walker family (from ABC's soap opera, Brothers and Sisters) never had to deal with distribution problems like these!