Twinkie Therapy

Is the snark and snarl of Twitter getting to you? Does the daily reporting of misogyny and misbehavior have you down? If so, it may be time to indulge in a little Twinkie therapy.

Yep, that’s right, skip the news stories and turn to the comics pages. This week they seem to be featuring Twinkies—that gooey cream-filled snack—to bile it down a notch and put a smile on our faces. When we’re laughing, particularly at ourselves, it’s hard to be angry at someone else.

In cases of extreme distress, when all you can think of is lashing out at feckless politicians or your fellow man, unwrap a Twinkie and stuff it in your mouth. The calming sweetness might just release some endorphins, and let’s face it, you can’t really yell at someone if you have a fistful of Twinkie in your mouth.

So in these troubled times, remember what your mother said: “if you don’t have something nice to say about someone, don’t say anything.” Or as Calvin put it: “we’d probably be dead now if it wasn’t for Twinkies.”

Twinkie, anyone?

Farewell to Microfilm

A recent announcement by FamilySearch heralded a new era in research technology:

“FamilySearch … plans to discontinue its 80-year-old microfilm distribution service. The transition is the result of significant progress made in FamilySearch’s microfilm digitization efforts and the obsolescence of microfilm technology. … Online access to digital images of the world’s historic records allows FamilySearch to service more people around the globe, faster and more efficiently.”

I read the announcement with some trepidation. I’d researched our Scottish ancestors for a number of years using microfilm at the local Family History Center (FHC) and I wasn’t sure how the transition to digital imagery would impact that research.

It turns out the new technology is a quantum leap forward.

Microfilm wasn’t cheap to use, costing $7.50 per roll to borrow. And since our ancestors came from a number of parishes, there were several rolls involved. Once delivered to the local FHC, the rolls had to be threaded into microfilm viewers in a darkened room and the reels turned by hand to look at the pages sequentially. Copying down the information, or printing or photographing it, was time consuming. The copies were of poor quality.  And the loans were for about a month, putting time constraints on the research.

With digital technology all those problems went away. There is no fee. You’re not confined to looking at only one parish at a time. It’s faster and easier to skip through the images. And the quality of downloaded images is superb compared to their analog predecessors.

Neil Livingston-Janet McNair Marriage from the Craignish Parish Register

Yes, you can still only find the parish records at a Family History Center. But all in all, it’s goodbye (and good riddance) to microfilm technology, and a welcome hello to digitization. In the near future I’ll post the family’s parish records to the DAEDALUS feature on our web site.