April 19, 1987 |
The music booms off the mirrored walls of the body mill, but the club members strapped into the white plastic Powercise machines are oblivious to the beat. They are hearing voices. With their ears pressed back between speakers and their eyes transfixed on a rising and falling light bar on a video screen overhead, members of the Living Well Fitness Center in North Dallas work out under the undivided attention of a new age of "humanoid" fitness machines - machines that tease, cajole and scold them into shape.
December 13, 1990 |
A move to ban most cigarette machines in the township has been given tentative approval by the Uwchlan Township Board of Supervisors. "Kids have enough temptation today," said Board Chairman C. Ward Braceland at a meeting Monday. "We don't want minors smoking. We don't want adults smoking, really. " He said that machines accessible to minors, such as those in stores, would be outlawed, although the ordinance would permit machines to stay in bars. The proposed ordinance, suggested by the American Lung Association, would need to be reviewed by the township's solicitor and advertised before going into effect.
July 25, 1996 |
Xerox copiers flash the message "please wait" as they warm up. It's not uncommon to see this today, but it's a major departure from the past. Consider such familiar messages as: Right Turn Only, Close cover before striking, No Parking and Keep off the Grass. Never a please anywhere. Nor a thank you. Just orders: Call our toll-free number, Clip and save, Drive carefully, Mail early for Christmas and Do not touch. Helpful, yes. Pleasant? Not. However, there is now a new etiquette in direction-giving.
April 22, 1997 |
ATM machines are starting to attract the attention of burglars. Thieves struck three Drug Emporiums in four hours late Sunday and early yesterday, absconding with two ATM's and abandoning a third after a burglar alarm went off. Police said this was a "new and unusual" crime and turned it over to the Major Crimes Division. 'It's too early to tell if they're connected but if I were a betting man, I'd bet they were connected," said one detective, who asked not to be identified.
March 1, 1991 |
This weekend's antiquing activity features a grab bag of goods, ranging from objects from British royalty to teddy bears. At the Antique/Collectible Show & Sale at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory in Northeast Philadelphia, the royal objects are among myriad offerings that include furniture, vintage clothing, classic arcade and gumball machines, jukebox literature, nostalgia items, china and jewelry. The $2.50 admission is good for both days. Children under 12 are admitted at no charge.
June 11, 1991 |
Beginning late next year, some Philadelphians will be able to cash their paychecks at selected MAC machines - even if they have no funds at all in their accounts. It's all part of a new wrinkle for automatic teller machines that CoreStates Financial has been testing at its Newtown branch in Bucks County. The new MAC Icon Services machines work like this: Customers register their payroll checks at the bank for a certain amount. Then, when they receive their checks, they can take them to the MAC machine and withdraw either a portion or the entire amount to the exact penny.
February 22, 2007 |
David Brooks is justly prominent as a thinker and writer who has contributed new thought and new language - "red state/blue state" - to our public discourse. In a recent column, reprinted here, Brooks performs a breathtaking feat: He warms up with Rousseau, sprints madly down the aisles of history, vaults through the burning hoop of genetics, and does a cannonball into the (for him, inevitably tragic and dark) pool of human nature. It's a great column. I'm glad he wrote it. I wish more columnists walked in such precincts.
October 1, 2012
This was going to be a rant. Then I thought about it, which was a mistake. As any experienced ranter can tell you, thinking about it has the unfortunate tendency of turning a good, clean rant into a muddy quagmire of fine points, conditional sentences, and digressions as delicately balanced as a Swiss watch. Such was the case last month when California legalized self-driving cars in the Golden State. Cali joins Nevada in allowing Google and other manufacturers to test "autonomous" cars on its roads.
June 28, 1987 |
The scene is common to most courtroom dramas: The defense attorney asks the witness a question. The prosecutor objects, accusing the attorney of leading the witness. Both attorneys engage in a heated argument over the merits of the question. The judge overrules the objection, and instructs the witness to answer the question. By then, the witness has forgotten what the question was, and so has the attorney. The judge asks the court stenographer to read back the question. In the courtroom of the future, such legal battles will continue to be commonplace, but are likely to have a different ending.
May 19, 1995 |
I once read somewhere that a luxury, if used often enough, becomes a necessity. No adage seems truer to me than when I walk through my house and note the modern conveniences that, if I were suddenly deprived of them, would feel as though I've been cast abruptly into the Dark Ages. I've lived with washing machines and dryers for most of my adult life, but there was a time in my middle 20s when I lugged trash bags full of soiled clothing to my mother's house. It gave me an excuse to visit.