The Vintage Automobile Club of Ocean County, NJ welcomes you.
In 1975, a co-worker bought a Sony Betamax Console for $2495.00. He bragged incessantly how he could now
watch movies at home with no commercials. I admit, I was jealous. I wanted a Betamax too. But I could
never afford so much money. Then, the following year VHS was introduced along with a VCR. Still, this
PB (poor boy) couldn’t afford a VCR (video cassette recorder) to play a VHS (video home service) so it
was TS for me. It wasn’t until 1980 that the price of a VCR came down to $400. We bought one.
Suddenly my whole life changed. Imagine the convenience of inserting a VHS tape into a machine and sitting
back to watch an uninterrupted movie on our 19” portable TV. As my father used to say, “What will they think
of next?” And all you had to do was to drive to the nearest video store, search the shelves for a half hour
for that perfect movie, pay two dollars, drive home, insert the tape into the VCR and enjoy (?) the romantic
comedy your wife picked out. And the next day, all you had to do was to drive back to the video store and
return the tape. Woe unto you if you were a minute late because you now had to pay a late fee of the exact
price you rented the tape for. And God forbid you didn’t rewind the tape when you were finished. That cost
you another dollar. Be kind, rewind, became the battle cry of every former banker, lawyer, marketeer, or
other professional big shot who figured they’d quit their jobs and make a killing renting video tapes to a
movie crazed society, most of whom were turning their households into a mini Sodom and Gomorrah.
Over time, renting movies gave way to the Dish, or Netflix, or some other cable provided convenience where
all one had to do was point the remote at the TV and you had 300 channels to choose from, and of that 300
channels, you only watch four because you’ve already watched all those other TV shows and movies. For years
I was happy watching TV on a now expanded 27” screen with the sound emanating from whatever speakers that
were built into the TV. I thought, ‘What could be better?’ Well, technophobe that I am, I needed my sons
to point out the error of my ways. Now when I watch TV, I am surrounded by speakers. They’re in the walls
and the ceiling, and there’s some box called a sub-woofer that makes me think a thunder storm is
approaching—all the time! And the TV screen? Seventy inches! When I used to sit in the back seat of my
father’s 1939 Plymouth at the Livingston Drive-In I saw less than I see now.
Well, enough about TV. Let’s talk about computers; or, let’s not. I don’t know anything about computers.
I use one; all the time. I’m typing this letter on a computer. And my computer is so smart. It tells me when
I misspell a word or when I use incorrect grammar or syntax. I can use my computer to talk to my friends,
or to search for that much need car part like a muffler bearing or a piston return spring. I can travel
the world via google earth, and even see what my house looks like from outer space. I hope my neighbors
don’t look at my yard. And again, if it weren’t for my kids, I’d be sitting in front of the computer
yelling things like, “Turn on You Tube!” I think it’s actually against the law for someone to buy a
computer unless there are kids in the house to instruct you, over and over, on how to get past the on/off button.
In the space remaining, I want to mention other technological advances I’ve known in my lifetime. Cell phones,
ATM’s, color TV, personal computers, microwave ovens, frost free freezers, grocery scanners, 24 hour television
programming, Viagra, (I just put that one in to see if you were really reading this) and most importantly,
the one invention you could never do without, and one that above all others, you would never give up: the
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John Mahoney - President
Gary Stabile - Vice President
Denny Derion - Secretary
Everett Ross - Treasurer
Marge Kurtz-Cusack - Sunshine
Denny Derion - Membership
Bill Bottorff - Editor
Rob Mahoney - WebMaster
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TOMS RIVER, NEW JERSEY 08754-1135
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