Another reason to scorn cells
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Nov 08, 2012 | 998 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It was none other than Albert Einstein who said: “I will regret the day when technology surpasses our humanity. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

Smart man, that Al.

Technology hasn’t just crept into our lives. It has arrived with the speed of a lightning bolt. And my disdain for cellphones is cited as the most common problem.

Those of us who use email as a means of regular communication are very much aware of what is referred to as spam. We live with it, try to avoid it as much as possible and are on the lookout for those messages meant to defraud.

So what have the spammers turned to? You got it — cellphone spamming.

A recent study shows that email spam messages meant to defraud in some manner have dropped to 10 percent of all spam messages sent — a decrease of 82 percent in a year.

And at the same time, messages meant to scam you have risen to 70 percent of all spam messages sent via cellphone. Not only that, but it often costs you money to receive them.

The next time you get ripped off by a cellphone message, just remember that Ol’ Ron forewarned you.

From here and there

A caller last weekend pointedly asked: “Is a seat on the Patterson City Council a partisan position?” In other words, do candidates run as Democrats or Republicans?

“No,” I answered, and then asked, “Why the question?”

It seems that a flier was left at her door urging a vote for Obama, Hernandez, Gray, Luis Molina and Sheree Lustgarten, with the latter highlighted in yellow.

“I was going to vote for Sheree (for City Council), but I’m a Republican, so I’m not going to,” the caller said.

I think she meant it.

I received the same flier left at our door and read the “Lu$tgarten for Patterson City Council” sheet stapled to it. I question the advisability of picking up endorsements from such personages as both the Riverbank and Oakdale mayors, former Congressman Gary Condit and State Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani, none of whom represent the Patterson area. I can understand the labor unions (six endorsements were listed, as well) getting involved in local politics, for they have something to gain in electing certain candidates over others. But mayors from the other side of the county? Please advise if I’m missing something here.

One of the recent visitors touring through Patterson’s downtown museum was a young man from Chile. Despite speaking little English, he was most interested in our community’s unique history.

Visitors regularly continue to stop by the museum for a leisurely browse, but I’ll bet more than three-fourths of Patterson residents have never been inside. Any takers?

By the way, gifts and loans to the museum of historical items have this year averaged more than three a week. Who says old isn’t new?

Someone asked how I stood on Proposition 34, the initiative to end capital punishment in California. Because it has cost taxpayers over $4 billion since 1978 to house prisoners on Death Row and death penalty trials are 20 times more expensive than trials seeking life in prison, the dollars-and-cents argument alone is mighty strong. And the argument that the death penalty is a crime deterrent just doesn’t hold water. I would have voted twice for Prop. 34 if I had been allowed.

Over on our block, a streetlight has been on 24 hours a day for more than three months. Anyone having a similar situation in their neighborhood should contact the Public Works Department at City Hall. After all, we’re paying the bill, so let’s turn off the lights during the daytime.

From the mail bag

Mr. Swift: I read with interest about your recent trip to Turkey. What was your most exciting moment? — Armchair Traveler

Dear AT: That one’s easy. On our final night in Istanbul before our flight home, I stepped on the digital scale in our hotel room. The reading was 77.6. I was more than pleased.

For the sports fan

After watching the Oregon Ducks run around, over and through USC last Saturday, I fear the new scoreboard in Berkeley may blow a fuse when the fast-paced Ducks are in town this Saturday night to play Cal.

Oregon scoring 100 or more points is not out of the question.

And finally…

What did people strolling through shopping malls do for entertainment before the invention of the cellphone? Does anyone remember?

Really, I’d like to know.

Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at

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