The Brits Have Arrived!

When I was a child, my family was so poor that at Christmas we exchanged glances.

Brian and Jan are flying today and likely will land late tonight so we will not see the whites of their eyes until Friday…jet lag you know!

It is Robin’s birthday today so we are going to try and celebrate.  We had planned to go to Disneyland like we always do but the rain put a kibosh on that plan…we are too old to walk around in the rain!

Our bIrthday girl with her family

Memory #5 – The Noisy Lights?

Growing up I was a ham radio operator I loved to listen to far away stations which in the city was tough because of all the electrical  noise (interference).  It was especially bad at Christmas because of Brownie (yes, Brownie Claus).

Mae and Brownie always put up a large Christmas display complete with Santa and Reindeer on their roof.  As part of the decor, Browie would hand lights around the front of his house of his house but he was NOT satisfied with a single color nor different color bulbs.  He was ahead of his time.

He was a senior cameraman at MGM in Culver City and he had the “guys” build him two mechanical electrical switches.  The first, as most noisy, was fabricated from a six inch diameter wheel with four electrical contacts on the edge.  The wheel was turned by a small electric motor. 

Around the circumference of the wheel was more contacts each of which were connected  to a string of lights…one red, one green, one white, and one blue.  In the day time it looked odd to see so many lights around the edge of the house but at  night, as the wheel would turn, with each revolution the four sets of lights would turn on and off in sequence.  Neat effect for 60 years ago!

The second switch was simmlar but it was connected to Rudolph’s nose and as the wheel turned, contact was broken many times with the circuit feeding his nose and of course it flashed.  Each time it flashed, electrical inteference was generated all over the radio spectrum. Good bye ham radio!

Today the same effect is accomplished with LED’s…a scientific concept unheard of in the 1950’s! In 1962, while working for General Electric, Nick Holonyak, Jr., invented the first visible-spectrum LED in the form of red diodes. Pale yellow and green diodes were invented next.

Problem here? YES!!  Everytime the electrical contacts were made or broken, it would create a spark and that means electrical noise.  When Brownie’s lights were going, ham radio…at least long distance reception…had to stop!

I had to wait until they went to bed…glad they were old…so they would turn off that crazy contraption and the noise would stop! 

It should mentioned that my Mom and Dad knew the problem well because when they backed out of the garage at  night with the radio on (we only had AM radio in those days),the radio had to be turned off as the speakers in the car would krakle and sputter and make horrible noises!

We had breakfast and then headed to the neurologist’s office to get Sue’s EEG done.

Did You Know? Electroencephalography (EEG) is an electrophysiological monitoring method to record electrical activity of the brain. It is typically noninvasive, with the electrodes placed along the scalp, although invasive electrodes are sometimes used such as in electrocorticography. EEG measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current within the neurons of the brain. In clinical contexts, EEG refers to the recording of the brain’s spontaneous electrical activity over a period of time, as recorded from multiple electrodes placed on the scalp. Diagnostic applications generally focus either on event-related potentials or on the spectral content of EEG. The former investigates potential fluctuations time locked to an event like stimulus onset or button press. The latter analyses the type of neural oscillations (popularly called “brain waves”) that can be observed in EEG signals in the frequency domain. 

Paul studied this and thinks he might be pregnant!??

After the test, which took about 30 minutes, we went home and then off to Old Ranch to finalize the New Years Eve party arrangements and await arrival of Mitch.  After a drink, Mitch called as was too tired, he heade directly for home.  Miss Charlotte joined us which is always quite nice.  She is a good friends and a nice person… plus quite beautiful!

Six years ago after a round of golf!

We got the flyer for the party and modified it accordingly.  We had to make sure people knew it was a PRIVATE PARTY held adjacent to the banquet facilities at Old Ranch.  We have about 106 friends and family joining us this year…seems it is pretty popular!

This is our second year of sponsoring a “Real New YEars Eve Party” turning back the clock to the a940’s and 1950’s… Popular with the dancers!

After a visit, we stopped by home, grabbed our secretary clipboard and headed to Santa Ana to meet up with the Zaitz and the other board members.   We had no idea about the traffic so we ended up getting there early which is a good thing as visiting Bob is always fun! The meeting went from 7:00 until 8:30 PM.

We were planning another stop of the way home but at 74 on a dark wet rainy night, we thought better of ourselves and headed home instead.  we’re old and cool and smart.

We did NOT watch a Christmas movie tonight but, instead, watched two NCIS’s plus Sue’s cooking show.

We crashed at 11:30 OM listening to the sound of the rain!


About Paul

Just an old retired guy trying to finish out my last years on this planet loving my best friend and wife, having fun, learning, and passing on helpful things to others.
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