“Tommy Touchdown”

“Tommy Touchdown”

© David Burton 2020

Son of Eliyahu

     Who the hell is Tommy Touchdown? What is his significance?

     Back around 1949, I was just becoming a teenager, and entering the 7th grade of the Carter School in Chelsea, Massachusetts. For some unexplained reason, I joined the student staff of the school newspaper as a copywriter, i.e., I edited submitted articles. But, somehow, the writing bug infected me. I wrote and submitted a whimsical article, titled “Tommy Touchdown” in support of the school’s junior high football team. The article won “great acclaim” and, although I didn’t know it at the time, started me on a lifelong passion for writing. Today, some seventy years later, I am still writing.

     After some five years attending M.I.T. and receiving my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Aeronautical Engineering, I spent the next forty-years working as an engineer, while my wife and I raised two daughters. During my engineering career, I had more than fifty papers published and, in addition, I wrote or contributed to uncounted proposals, reports, and other documents. My reputation as a prolific writer resulted in one marketeer telling me that I wrote so much because I had “diarrhea of the pen”! In 2005, some four years after retiring, I decided to indulge my passion for writing by starting a blog – this one, “The Son of Eliyahu”. For those of you who are curious, “Eliyahu” was my father’s Hebrew name – usually shortened to Eli. His English name was Elias. Now, some fifteen years later, I have put out well over 400 blogs or articles on the Son of Eliyahu web site.

     In addition to creating this web site, I set up and, for the past 15 years, have maintained my temple’s web site. I also generate most of my temple’s newspaper articles and advertisements, all of the temple’s announcements on our community television station, and nearly all of the temple’s posters and mailings.

     Over these many years, I progressed from pencil and paper to a manual typewriter and paper, and ultimately to a computer with its word processing software. My editing career started with an eraser and a red pencil, evolved to a pen with red ink and white-out, to today’s computer and its word processor editing power. I’ve seen printing go from a Smith Corona manual typewriter to an IBM Selectric typewriter, to the early dot-matrix computer-driven printers, to today’s powerful HP Printer-Copier-FAX machines. Along the way, I’ve consumed untold reams of paper, ink cartridges, as well as a few computers and printers.

     When I first started generating documents, my research was done at the local or school libraries, then at technical libraries where I worked, or through the use of printed government and industry reports. Today, much of my research is conducted on the internet with some coming from printed matter – newspapers, books, magazines, etc.

     My first home computer was a Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 desktop microcomputer that I bought in the early 1980’s. The first computer-driven printer that I used was a 7-pin dot matrix device that printed out on a very long roll of 8-1/2 inch wide paper – not on 8-1/2 x 11 inch individual sheets of paper. There was no word-processing software available at the time - that came later.

     My TRS-80 microcomputer had 64 kilobytes (kB) of memory - of which only 48 kB was usable. Today, the memory of home computers is measure in gigabytes or terabytes. This TRS-80 had no removable memory like a CD or DVD drive or a USB flash drive.

     Little did I suspect when I composed ”Tommy Touchdown” so long ago what I had set in motion. So much has transpired over the intervening years, especially the mechanical process of writing, editing and publishing that has been enabled by the advent of the computer and all that is associated with it – printers, electronic storage media, display devices, transmission technology, software, and more. While my education and career were intimately tied to the engineering sciences, I always respected knowledge of the proper use of the English language and have always tried to utilize correct English in whatever I have written.

     As I’ve written on my Home Page:

     “I am David Burton {not my real name}, the son of Eliyahu and I reside in the Greater Boston area of Massachusetts. I am using this web site to share my thoughts with you, biased as they may be. Most of what you will find on this web site are my ramblings, thoughts, prejudices, etc. on whatever topic that occurs to me at the time. This is not a forum, so what appears here is what I want to say and will not reflect what readers might want to have said. You are invited to e-mail your comments to me should you be so inclined, but don't expect a timely response. In fact, I may not feel like responding at all.
     “If you want to use any of the material I have written, feel free to do so, but please provide attribution if you do.
     “You don't have to agree with what I have to say. But, I hope that what I have to say will, at the very least, get you thinking.”

     To those of you who may have enjoyed one or more of my perhaps too-frequent rants, I hope to put out a few more that will capture your fancy. I write simply because I enjoy writing. I hope you enjoy reading what I write as much as I enjoy the writing. In my case, the writing process is as much enjoyment as the finished process itself – maybe more.

  2 October 2020 {Article 439; Suggestions?_52}    
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