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On account of Bennigan’s closing down yesterday,  it seems the appropriate time to see what else could be close to extinction.   Like
the old saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone,” not to
be confused with the Cinderella song, which is a good tune to play only
if you’re on a mission to drink yourself to death.

Walletpop.com recently featured a a list entitled “Top 25 Things Vanishing From America.”    And now, a few highlights:

The Family Farm

Since
the 1930s, the number of family farms has been declining rapidly.
According to the USDA, 5.3 million farms dotted the nation in 1950, but
this number had declined to 2.1 million by the 2003 farm census (data
from the 2007 census hasn’t yet been published) (MB/editor’s note:  big surprise). Ninety-one percent of the U.S. farms are small family farms.

Who amongst us has not secretly fantasized about living on a farm?   It’s a nostalgic, sweet thought : no more suits, ties, business-casual wear, supervisors, or cubicles.  The 9-to-5 taking orders from “The Man” is over.   The family farm, with all it’s sweaty labor, is sort of like the American Dream. 

Pit Toilets

By
the 2000 Census, the number of Americans who lacked indoor plumbing was
down to 0.6%. Even though that’s still an awful lot of Americans using
an outhouse or pit toilet — 670,000 households or 1.3 million people
— it’s a huge improvement from 1950 when 27% of households (and over
half of rural households) didn’t have complete indoor plumbing.

I can’t say this is a bad thing to vanish.  Good riddance to outdoor commodes!

Yellow Pages

This
year will be pivotal for the global Yellow Pages industry. Much like
newspapers, print Yellow Pages will continue to bleed dollars to their
various digital counterparts, from Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs), to
local search engines and combination search/listing services like
ReachLocal and Yodle. Factors like an acceleration of the print “fade
rate” and the looming recession will contribute to the onslaught. One
research firm predicts the falloff in usage of newspapers and print
Yellow Pages could even reach 10% this year — much higher than the
2%-3% fade rate seen in past years.

This one’s not really a tragedy either.  One phone book is semi-useful to keep around; a stack of them in the hall closet is a pain in the arse. 

 Classified Ads

The
Internet has made so many things obsolete that newspaper classified ads
might sound like just another trivial item on a long list. But this is
one of those harbingers of the future that could signal the end of
civilization as we know it. The argument is that if newspaper
classifieds are replaced by free online listings at sites like
Craigslist.org and Google Base, then newspapers are not far behind
them.

In my early teens, I’d read the “looking for love” classifieds in the Pennysaver.  Hundreds of little blocks, 20-30 words each.    Even then, I was shocked that people would look for romance in such a fashion.  After I got the various acronyms down, I’d always look for the most scandalous ad.  But mostly, they were picky and I wondered who would want to put themselves through this?   “35-year DWM of 3 young children ISO SWF.  Preferably petite, athletic, who enjoys taking care of the house and family.  D/D free seeking the same.”   

Now
we have websites like Match and EHarmony, which are a little less
scary, and I know several people who have had great success with these
things.   But if you think about it, even Myspace is sort of like the classifieds.  

 Dial-up Internet Access

Dial-up
connections have fallen from 40% in 2001 to 10% in 2008. The
combination of an infrastructure to accommodate affordable high speed
Internet connections and the disappearing home phone have all but
pounded the final nail in the coffin of dial-up Internet access.

Good riddance.  Not much to miss about staring at your computer screen for 5 minutes.

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs

Maryland’s
icon, the blue crab, has been fading away in Chesapeake Bay. Last year
Maryland saw the lowest harvest (22 million pounds) since 1945. Just
four decades ago the bay produced 96 million pounds.The population is
down 70% since 1990, when they first did a formal count. There are only
about 120 million crabs in the bay and they think they need 200 million
for a sustainable population. Overfishing, pollution, invasive species
and global warming get the blame.

..

Now, THIS is like a kick to the stomach.  If you do not live in the DC metro area, you may as well skip down to “Answering Machines,”  because you won’t understand.   Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs are the very heart of Maryland, and summertime.  Any true Marylander will agree with me on this.   Forget  Alaskan “crab legs,” they are for the whiners that complain about how hard it is to pick real crabs.   It’s not.  You have your crabs, and you have your beer.  You’ve got melted butter, vinegar, and Old Bay.  Pick, dip, eat, drink.    It is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a warm afternoon.  

..

Answering Machines

The
increasing disappearance of answering machines is directly tied to No.
20 our list — the decline of landlines. According to USA Today, the
number of homes that only use cell phones jumped 159% between 2004 and
2007. It has been particularly bad in New York; since 2000, landline
usage has dropped 55%. It’s logical that as cell phones rise, many of
them replacing traditional landlines, that there will be fewer
answering machines.

Answering
machines became inconvenient when it came to the uncomfortable moments
of hearing your personal voices messages broadcasted on loudspeaker,
while not alone. 

Cameras That Use Film

It
doesn’t require a statistician to prove the rapid disappearance of the
film camera in America. Just look to companies like Nikon, the
professional’s choice for quality camera equipment. In 2006, it
announced that it would stop making film cameras, pointing to the
shrinking market — only 3% of its sales in 2005, compared to 75% of
sales from digital cameras and equipment.

Is it possible digital cameras have been the downfall of america?   Or at least greatly contributed to the vanity problem these days?   Cameras using film captured moments much more…genuine.  Sure, some of these moments were…unflattering.  But…pictures were meant to capture something real, not so rehearsed, right?   Opening that envelope of freshly developed photos was magical and full of surprise.  


 Stand-Alone Bowling Alleys

BowlingBalls.US
claims there are still 60 million Americans who bowl at least once a
year, but many are not bowling in stand-alone bowling alleys. Today
most new bowling alleys are part of facilities for all types or
recreation including laser tag, go-karts, bumper cars, video game
arcades, climbing walls and glow miniature golf. Bowling lanes also
have been added to many non-traditional venues such as adult
communities, hotels and resorts, and gambling casinos.

The Big Lebowsky would be mortified!!!   Leave the bowling alleys alone!   And whatever happened to roller skating rinks?   There’s nothing quite like rolling around in circles to “oooh Heaven is a Place on Earth.”    I think those are going out of style fast as well.

Hand-Written Letters

In
2006, the Radicati Group estimated that, worldwide, 183 billion e-mails
were sent each day. Two million each second. By November of 2007, an
estimated 3.3 billion Earthlings owned cell phones, and 80% of the
world’s population had access to cell phone coverage. In 2004,
half-a-trillion text messages were sent, and the number has no doubt
increased exponentially since then. So where amongst this gorge of
gabble is there room for the elegant, polite hand-written letter?

AHEM.   I said this three weeks ago, in a little blog called “Sealed with a Kiss”  http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=117952&blogID=412730505

Not tooting my own horn, but honk honk.  Perhaps we need one of those organizations to get on this one.  Bring back handwritten letters!

 Personal Checks

According
to an American Bankers Assoc. report, a net 23% of consumers plan to
decrease their use of checks over the next two years, while a net 14%
plan to increase their use of PIN debit. Bill payment remains the last
stronghold of paper-based payments — for the time being. Checks
continue to be the most commonly used bill payment method, with 71% of
consumers paying at least one recurring bill per month by writing a
check. However, on a bill-by-bill basis, checks account for only 49% of
consumers’ recurring bill payments (down from 72% in 2001 and 60% in
2003).

Anyone
who’s ever stood in line at Walmart for 30 minutes may agree automatic
debit/check cards and paying bills online is a step forward. 

 Drive-in Theaters

During
the peak in 1958, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theaters in this
country, but in 2007 only 405 drive-ins were still operating. Exactly
zero new drive-ins have been built since 2005. Only one reopened in
2005 and five reopened in 2006, so there isn’t much of a movement
toward reviving the closed ones.


I’d love to hear from anyone who’s ever enjoyed one of these.   They look awesome in the old movies like Grease.  

News Magazines and TV News

While
the TV evening newscasts haven’t gone anywhere over the last several
decades, their audiences have. In 1984, in a story about the
diminishing returns of the evening news, the New York Times reported
that all three network evening-news programs combined had only 40.9
million viewers. Fast forward to 2008, and what they have today is half
that.

Checking the news online is easier and usually free.  Visiting CNN.com keeps one up to date on all the major headlines.   Still, reading magazines and newspapers comes with its own merit.    This one gets 2 thumbs down.

 So there you have it, see all 25 items at :  http://www.walletpop.com/specials/top-25-things-vanishing-from-america.  

FOCUS:   What else are we missing?  

What other things are vanishing from our daily lives?

6 Comments Add yours

  1. This really only has to deal with the bennigans part of it – my bro worked at one in MN, he was called at like 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning by the manager and told to come get his cheack and pretty much anything else he wanted from the place, as the city would be coming at 11 to lock the doors.  He got there and people (old employees) were carring out coolers of food, beverages, tables, chairs and all kinds of shit. He said that he had NEVER seen anything like it.

  2. Marybken says:

    OMG!
    thank you shortie,
    this is good to know, i was wondering what exactly happened, since word was that all 800 closed w/o prior notice.
    I actually dedicated a blog to the closing of Bennigan’s on the day of. 

  3. @Marybken – Well, apparently Bennigan’s hadn’t paid rent on the space they were in that my bro worked at in over 2 YEARS!!!  Also apparently the district manager of his knew that shit was going to hit the fan, as he had been embezzling money for the past 6 months!!!  They are apparently going after him soon for it.  It is a very crazy messed up thing. 
    Any bennigan’s that is franchised, can stay open, but only has 30 days to change it’s name. 

  4. Marybken says:

    will they still serve the same food?Please please please say yesi love their monte cristo

  5. Marybken says:

    @RAZOR897 – hey razor!!no i’ve never been but i like to hear your stories….that sounds awesome.those dsl commercials are hilarious, i love the turtles. so dry.

  6. @Marybken – I would asume that they will…considering that they already have the menu and everything BUT the thing is that they will have to find new distrubuters OR make a deal with the distrubuter they currently have.  As they would have been using the deal that bennigans set up previously.  I’m pretty sure that as long as that PLACE had been paying it’s bills, then the distrubuter would be willing to still deal with them, but you never know, if they got burned by someone once they may be like “f-U!”  Kind of a wait and see game right now.
    I know that the one my bro worked at is closed down and NEVER coming back.  He is still owed 3 weeks pay and is pissed!  As are most of the employees!

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