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This confession tastes like vinegar with anchovies, but here goes...

There is a slight possibility that I might have been a tad slow in warming to technological advancements.

OK, I'm like a three-toed sloth in the Iditarod. But listen, kids -- and by that, I mean anyone under the age of 35 -- when I was growing up (ugh, someone stop her), we rented two rotary phones from Ma Bell: one gold desk phone for my mother's bedroom, and one powder blue wall phone with a 10-foot coiled cord which snapped the receiver out your hands if you dared go a step toward 11.

Now, three decades later, I still drive a '78 Ford (Blue Belle is a beauty), wear leg warmers (the greatest inventions ever made) and listen to vinyl records (they just sound better), all of which are now becoming "sorta cool," or so I'm told.

To fully appreciate this confession, I should also remind you of the premium I place on that whole 10th Amendment thing. (For those who slept through that class, that's the one that keeps the power with the people unless they specifically delegate something to the feds.) I don't like giving the government -- regardless of who's in office -- any more information or power than they have to have for our collective safety and general welfare. Nineteen eighty-four was a good year and a scary book.

So this girl who likes old stuff and wants no one snooping in her business committed the cardinal technological sin last week. I got Alexa-enabled speakers in my home.

The speakers lighted up with a soft blue glow, and a lovely voice walked me through the easy set-up process. Before I knew it, I was talking to a machine.

I started off with the standard queries about temperature and weather. I asked her to play me a song or three. I created timers, alarms and grocery lists. Then, I kicked it up a notch.

"Alexa, tell me a pun."

"Did you hear about the man who couldn't climb a hill without his watch? He had neither the time nor the inclination."

"Alexa, surely you can't be serious."

"I am serious. And don't call me Shirley."

"Alexa, what is your favorite color?"

"I like ultraviolet. It glows with everything."

"Alexa, do you believe in Santa Claus?"

"All I know is that someone has been eating all my cookies."

I'm equally amazed and horrified at my reliance on Alexa in just one weekend. She woke me, read me a book, created a workout for me, sang to Baxter and lulled me to sleep with a cricket serenade. I still feel a little like a traitor, welcoming Big Sister into my home. But I confess, I'm enjoying her, and I can appreciate how her hands-free operation opens a world for the very young, elderly, disabled and, well, all of us.

"Alexa, do you go to 11?"

"For $2,000, I'll build you one that goes to 12."

Touché, Alexa. You might be cool, but you still ain't vinyl.

NAN Our Town on 01/17/2019

Print Headline: Hello! Big Sister is listening

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