Saturday, November 15, 2008

We Take Things Apart So You Don't Have To

I don't watch much "commercial" television. I've never seen NCIS or Desperate Housewives or Seasons Two, Three or Four of Big Love. I missed The Office, unless it's still on the air, in which case, I'm still missing it. But I do like the "practical" channels - Food Network, Discovery, Science, Investigation Discovery, DIY Network. With the small amount of television I actually do watch, I have to question why I just bought a 42" LCD HDTV, pictured (get it? get it?) here. I'll make the excuse that I won't be getting any Christmas gifts this year, probably, or anything for the big Five-Oh (my god) coming in Janvier, so there! En-e-wayyyy . . .

Specifically, I really like Mythbusters, Deconstructed and ex-specially, How It's Made. How It's Made is a Canadian production that covers, end-to-end, the making of such things as cell phones, mediaeval swords and phonograph records. They've also covered the printing of playing cards, newspapers and folding boxes. I ran a business involved in both printing and the making of phonograph records and CDs and tapes, too. The record sequence was done at an ex-competitor located right here in the Garden State who closed their doors last summer. It was interesting to see some of my equipment from my closed business in their plant, still running, still using my inventions (automation and process control.) Now I'm in the printing business and what's most intersting to me is seeing what gets left out as, I'm sure, the Average Joe would be bored with that level of detail though the producers seem to understand what's basically important to what they're covering. It's great.

Deconstructed is a program that highlights an item, say, night vision goggles, and then takes it apart and thoroughly explains it, step-by-step, both from the theory of operation and practical construction standpoints. This is how I learned about machines, by taking them apart to basically verify what I could see with my x-ray brain. In other words, I can see the innards of a thing in my mind based on how it should operate. It's a brain feature that I really enjoy!

I started very young when I took apart my Dad's Big Ben alarm clock one boring Saturday and simply had to get it back together before he got back from work as no other clock would successfully wake him at 3 AM to get to market and besides' he'd be really, really pissed. I did it, with no parts left over, and he never knew the difference. What's more, that clock is still running, after 44 years. You see, I was six when I flirted with death in this manner. I've chosen other encounters with the Grim Reaper since then, naturally.

This innate and highly non-Jewish skill has made me the go-to guy for VCR clocks, digital watches, computers, TVs, toaster, garage doors, cars, electric skillets, plumbing, high-pressure hydraulics, electrical and electronic circuits, pneumatic circuits, plastic molding (injection and compression,) nickel and copper plating, aluminum depostion in a plasma field, pianos, guitars, recording equipment, video gear, lighting, lightning, wood, steel, brass, plastic, paint, lacquer, rubber, sorbothane, cloth, reed, paper, rock and yes, scissors.

So, I guess that makes me the opposite of James Taylor. Not so good for the ladeez, unless they need something other than a broken heart fixed. In retrospect, I would have rather been the King of Hearts.