FIVE THINGS I’M THINKING ABOUT TODAY

1) It’s Tuesday, February 3, 2015. It’s the birthday of the love of my life, and is therefore a very special day. Pitchers and catchers report in 16 days, when it’s also Chinese New Year.

2) Vaccinations are extremely un-fun. I remember one time when my daughter was a toddler and in a good mood, giggling as the pediatrician gave her an exam. And I have never, ever seen a smile melt into painful tears as fast as when the doctor stuck her with that needle — the facial expression change seemed almost fluid.

Vaccinations are un-fun for the kids, for the parents, for the nurses, for the doctor, for everyone in the office, for people on the street who hear a kid continue to scream after the shot.

Here’s what more un-fun: Measles. Mumps. Rubella. Chickenpox. Whooping cough. Tetanus. Everything else they give these kids shots for. They’re painful, uncomfortable and occasionally lead to much more serious problems.

My kids never had most of these afflictions. (My daughter got a mild case of chickenpox before the vaccine became available) Which means they didn’t suffer from them, and we didn’t have to find out if there was something about them that made them potentially lethal. And, just as important, my kids didn’t spread these diseases to other kids, or to elderly people, or to other people with compromised immune systems.

There’s a reason these vaccinations are mandatory (or should be). It has nothing to do with a jackbooted government flexing its power, or greedy physicians and drug companies making a buck. It has to do with being responsible — for yourself, for your family, for a community, even for a state and a nation.

The parents who went to Disneyland with kids who didn’t have measles shots are idiots. And any attempt to classify them as freedom-loving idealists making some kind of choice, as the governor of New Jersey did yesterday before his people tried to walk it back, is just another example of the pro-stupidity movement. 

3) When I bought a new Mac last year, or when I finally got my iPhone6, I did not go back to the Apple or Verizon stores to buy the cables I needed to transfer files from my old computer or the case to protect the phone. I went to RadioShack.

I’m not into building electronic gear the way my friend and former boss Chris Peacock is. But whenever I’ve needed some electronic connection to tie old machines to new ones, or just for new batteries, RadioShack has been my go-to place.

For somebody my age, RadioShack is like the Post Office. They’re institutions more than businesses— where else are you supposed to go? I guess that’s a reason both are in such dire shape — they’re anachronisms at a time when things are virtual and can be shipped from a Web site in 48 hours.

If RadioShack goes down, and all signs point to that, I don’t think I’ll be sad — it isn’t that big a deal.  At least until I need to connect a mini plug to a USB port to get some old cassette recordings onto my Mac — and won’t be able to drive a couple of miles to get the remedy.

4) It’s interesting that the sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird” was actually written by Harper Lee before the novel that made Atticus Finch a great American hero.

It’s also kind of nice to think that the hottest book of 2015 is likely to be something with some redeeming value. Looking forward to it.

5) I’m droning on today. I’ll try to keep things shorter.

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