Will so much technology make our brains lazy?

NIAGARA, Wis. — I recently read a book titled “The Passengers,” written by John Marrs. It told the story of several individuals who found themselves captives within their driverless cars. They had no control over where they were being taken, but each had been told by a faceless voice that upon reaching their destination, they would all crash and die. However, one would be spared, and the public watching this adventure unfold over the internet would vote on who should be saved. As you can imagine, the internet went crazy as people from around the country gave their opinions. We, as readers, learned each character’s back story. And we came to realize that the book also provided commentary on how much technology is really necessary in our lives.

Our household is pretty low tech. We still have a landline; I am not a big fan of cell phones. We have one that we share and really only use it when we travel so we have a means to call for roadside assistance if necessary. In general, I have always believed cell phones to be intrusive and find it really pretty sad when my husband and I are out at a restaurant together and see couples sitting there each on their own phone. Using this time away from kids or other distractions strikes me as a nice opportunity to reconnect with your partner.

I surprised my sister once by texting her during a Packers game. She was flabbergasted! Now, during the football season, we group text throughout our family as the green and gold play their games. It is fun as we each weigh in with our opinions about the latest play. So, with cell phones at least, I am getting a little better. And I do like the GPS assistance when we are traveling to unfamiliar cities. That is one computer voice I appreciate.

In general, we do not jump on the bandwagon when new technology is released. Remember when “The Clapper” was introduced? With a clap of your hands, you could turn on the lights in your home. I mean, really, how necessary is that? Then came Siri, the woman on your cell phone who could find an answer to any question you had in a matter of seconds. She was followed by Alexa, another female voice on a device, who could remind you to pre-heat the oven at a particular time.

The one technological “improvement” I found to be the most ridiculous was an actual refrigerator that had a glass front, which allowed you to see inside to determine what you were running low on so you knew what to pick up on your next trip to the grocery store. Then it was taken a step further, and the refrigerator actually told you if you needed to buy milk. Honestly, I have used a magnetic note pad placed on the side of the refrigerator to make my own manual list as things are running low. This has served me well for decades at a fraction of the cost of a talking refrigerator.

Throughout history there have been thousands of inventions that have made our lives easier. I belong to a study group, and my lesson this year was the history of agricultural development. I chose it because my grandparents had a farm, and worked very hard to make a living off the land. At one time in our country’s history, more than 90% of Americans were farmers. They eventually grew enough to sell and trade. And, the unique physical characteristics and weather patterns of each geographical region of our country determined which crops were grown.

Inventions were made to make the physical labor of farming easier. The first steam engine that drove a plow saved the farmer from a lot of backbreaking work. And it made the need for maintaining horses and oxen much less necessary as one engine took their place. Steam engines helped in breaking more ground and in actually planting crops. But their use in harvesting proved too dangerous to be useful. Fire-driven steam engines and hay crops were not a good combination.

Next came internal combustion engines that powered John Deere tractors with a variety of attachments. Some were used to break ground and make the furrows into which another attachment dropped seeds. Harvesting could now be done with a different attachment without fear of setting fire to the mature crop. More and more acreage could now be planted and harvested because machines had replaced the physical labor previously done by both men and animals.

Our nation’s history is full of other inventions that saved men and women both time and energy and simply made life physically easier all around. In times gone by, streetlights had to be manually lit by men climbing ladders and using torches. People once had the job of “knocker-upper” by going from door to door and waking up inhabitants by physically knocking on their doors. Then alarm clocks were invented along with electricity, and life improved.

Think of the many household appliances that have made domestic life easier. Refrigerators and freezers that make their own ice and safely preserve food. Electric and gas ranges, along with microwave ovens, that have made making a meal so much easier and safer. Washers and dryers have made laundry day a breeze compared to what women went through to wash clothes in centuries past. Steam irons, and eventually different fabrics, made wrinkle-free clothing much easier to attain.

All of these inventions and improvements throughout history have made our lives mean more than hours of physical labor. In short, as a variety of inventions have been developed, our physical lives have been made easier and our minds have become enriched as we have used that extra time to immerse ourselves in life: we now enjoy time to travel, recreate and pursue other interests.

In today’s world of technological advancement, however, we are faced with a bit of a dilemma. We now have the time to use our minds to pursue our interests, but will our brains be helped too much by the very technology that has given us the extra time? We have learned that our brain is like a muscle and, like other muscles, we either use it or lose it. As advancing technology actually allows us to think less, we run the risk of losing our mental capacity. When we no longer have to think — because an array of devices is actually doing our thinking for us — will we lose the ability to think and to reason or to make decisions?

With this in mind, maybe it is time to ask ourselves if some technology needs to be developed at all. Do we really need a talking refrigerator to tell us when we are out of milk? Must we have Siri or Alexa as assistants or do we train our minds to remember some things for themselves?

This question reminds me of the movie “Jurassic Park.” In that movie — as you may recall — animals that had long been extinct had been brought back to life and were inhabiting a special zoo. Things go terribly wrong, and at the end of the movie, Jeff Goldblum makes the million-dollar observation … “Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.”

Just something to think about … while we still can.



Freeman Nursing and Rehabilitation Community



They welcome anyone who would like to entertain the residents. Volunteers are also needed to help with crafts and other activities.

Sunday: Church on TV/resident self-activities, 10 a.m.

Monday: Morning perks, 10 a.m.; art,10:30 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; dice club, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Morning perks, 10 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; music on YouTube, 11:45 a.m.; bingo, 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Morning perks, 10 a.m.; Uno, 10:30 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; movie time, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Nail love, 10 a.m.; music on You Tube, 11:45 a.m.; cheese ball toss, 2 p.m.

Friday: Morning perks, 10 a.m.; book club, 10:30 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Resident choice; color a nice picture, 1 p.m.; CNBC “Undercover Boss,” 7 p.m.

Iron County Medical Care Facility

Crystal Falls


Sunday: Room visits, 8:30 a.m.; Pictionary, 9:30 a.m.; chair exercise, 10:45 a.m.; afternoon matinee with popcorn, 1:30 p.m.

Monday: Crafts, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.; jokes and cocoa, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Coffee social/book club, 9:30 a.m.; Amasa Senior Center, 10:30 a.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; travel club, 2 p.m.; action movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social/web browsing, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1 p.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; happy hour with music, 2 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; room visits/monthly birthday party, 2 p.m.; western movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: ICMCF word search/spelling bball, 9:30 a.m.; geri-gym, 10:45 a.m.; social hour, 2 p.m.; romance movie, 6 p.m.

Optalis Healthcare



Sunday: File and style, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; Flip-o, 1 p.m.

Monday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; exercise, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; flower craft, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; name five, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; root beer floats, 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 10 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; bingo, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; chair yoga, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; Yahtzee, 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Chips and chatter, 9 a.m.; Arbor Day facts, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Devotional, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; what’s that smell? 1 p.m.

Maryhill Manor Nursing Home

Niagara, Wis.


Families are allowed to attend activities and are encouraged to join in.

Sunday: Pamper and polish, 10 a.m.; delivery of communion, noon; bingo, 2 p.m.; church service, 2:30 p.m.

Monday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; wildflower seed bombs, 10 a.m.; board games, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; coffee with a side of laughs, 10 a.m.; jokereno, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; secret service assignment, 10 a.m.; spring picnic, 2 p.m.; evening prayers, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday: Rosary, 9 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 9:30 a.m.; Uno, 10 a.m.; tall tale adventure, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Friday: Ladies Breakfast; short stories, 10 a.m.; C&R happy hour with Jim on the piano, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Yahtzee, 10 a.m.; prize bingo, 2 p.m.

Northshore Healthcare

Florence, Wis.


Sunday: Independent activities.

Monday: Card games/Uno, 10 a.m.; group puzzle, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Coloring for adults, 10 a.m.; manicure, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Exercise, dancing, 10 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Bible study with Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; fact or fiction, 2 p.m.

Friday: Catholic communion, 10 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Independent activities.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain


Sunday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.

Monday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; trivia and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Saturday: Juice time, 10 a.m.

Pinecrest Medical

Care Facility



Sunday: Morning visits and reality orientation; bunco, 10 a.m.; trivia and coffee, 11:15 a.m.; church services, 1:30 p.m.; coloring pages; daily chronicles.

Monday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; pondering prompts while wetting your whistle, 11 a.m.; bowling, 1:30 p.m.; Yahtzee, 4 p.m.; daily chronicles.

Tuesday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; karaoke sing-along and refreshments, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; kickball, 4 p.m.; daily chronicles.

Wednesday: Morning visits and reality orientation; casino outing, 9:30 a.m.; say what? 11 a.m.; crafty Wednesday-beaded bracelets, 2 p.m.; sensory, 4 p.m.; daily chronicles.

Thursday: Morning visits and reality orientation, open room, 9:30 a.m.; “Jeopardy,” 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; “Price Is Right,” 4 p.m.; daily chronicles.

Friday: Morning visits and reality orientation; Catholic Mass, 10:30 a.m.; lunch outing, 10:45 a.m.; who, what, where, 11 a.m.; off to the races/soft pretzels, 2 p.m.; short stories, 4 p.m.; daily chronicles.

Saturday: Morning visits and reality orientation; noodle ball, 10:15 a.m.; drinks and trivia, 11 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; daily chronicles; activity packets.


Alpha-Mastodon Center


The center at 415 Main St. is open four days a week, serving soup and sandwich meal from noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays, fish fries from 4 to 7 p.m. Fridays, pizzas from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturdays and dinner from 2 to 3 p.m. Sundays.

Amasa Center


Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Turkey and cheese wrap, spinach side salad, yogurt, string cheese, sack lunch.

Wednesday: Pot roast, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn, whole wheat dinner roll.

Thursday: Chili, cornbread, side salad.

Breen Center



Open for dine-in eating Monday through Thursday, serving at noon. Friday and night meals are on hold indefinitely. Carryout meals are available. Soup and salad bar are also available.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Pasty, coleslaw, corn.

Tuesday: Chili dog, baked fries, macaroni and cheese.

Wednesday: Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, candied carrots.

Thursday: Hearty beef stew, pickled beets, whole wheat dinner roll.

Note: All meals served with a choice of skim milk or juice and fruit.

Crystal Falls Center

Head cook: Elizabeth Peryam

Assistant cooks: Debbie Bigalski and Shannon Stapleton


The center serves meals for dine-in or takeout — call the center by 1 p.m. to make reservations or to place an order. All food is purchased from local vendors. All dinners include warm vegetables, salad bar, soup, homemade desserts, coffee, tea, or milk. Salad bar begins at 4:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 5 p.m. Pickup for takeout meals is 4 p.m. — call ahead and leave a message with a phone number. A volunteer will deliver meals to homebound citizens only.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Sloppy Joes, tater tots.

Tuesday: Chicken tetrazzini.

Wednesday: Pizza, garlic bread.

Home-delivered meals (prepared by DICSA – independent from above menu) —

Monday: Spaghetti with meatballs, green beans, garlic toast.

Tuesday: Scalloped potatoes with ham, Brussel sprouts, dinner roll.

Wednesday: Garlic salmon linguine, steamed asparagus, whole wheat dinner roll.

Thursday: Chicken Florentine casserole, buttered peas, baby carrots.

Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency


Iron Mountain

906-774-2256, ext. 230 or 235

This is a Meals on Wheels program only. Home-delivered meals only — call to make arrangements.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Spaghetti with meatballs, green beans, garlic toast.

Tuesday: Scalloped potatoes with ham, Brussel sprouts, dinner roll.

Wednesday: Garlic salmon linguine, steamed asparagus, whole wheat dinner roll.

Thursday: Chicken Florentine casserole, buttered peas, baby carrots.

Friday: Chicken salad on a bun, hard-boiled egg, granola parfait, string cheese, sack lunch.

Note: All meals include a choice of skim milk, juice, or no beverage.

For more information, call Christine McMahon at 906-774-2256.

Crystal Lake Center

Iron Mountain


Schedule for the week:

Monday: Les Artistes art club, noon to 4 p.m.; woodcarvers, starting at 9 a.m.

Tuesday: Cards — Pinochle and cribbage, noon to 4 p.m.; Happy Quilters, noon to 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 1 to 3 p.m.; cards cost 25 cents, with 10 games played

Thursday: Spinning Spools quilting, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Friday: Cards — smear, noon to 4 p.m.

Felch Center


Open for dine-in eating — call for serving times. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Monday: French bread pizza, side salad, fruit crumble.

Tuesday: Barbecue chicken wings, baked beans, whole wheat dinner roll, coleslaw.

Wednesday: Cheese tortellini with meat sauce, broccoli, garlic bread.

Note: All meals served with skim milk or juice.

Home-delivered meals —

Monday: Spaghetti with meatballs, green beans, garlic toast.

Tuesday: Scalloped potatoes with ham, Brussel sprouts, dinner roll.

Wednesday: Garlic salmon linguine, steamed asparagus, whole wheat dinner roll.

Aging and Disability Resource Center

Florence County, Wis.


Director: Tiffany White

Menu for the week —

Monday: Chicken and stuffing stuffed shells, roasted sweet potatoes, side salad, fruit.

Tuesday: Porcupine meatballs, mashed potatoes, creamed peas, fruit, cookies.

Wednesday: Hamburger stroganoff over noodles, broccoli, peach cobbler.

Thursday: Toasted cheese sandwich, tomato soup, chips and salsa, fruit.

Friday: Stuffed pepper casserole, carrots, bread sticks, fruit.

Note: All meals served with whole grain bread, butter and milk.

Fence Center/Town Hall


RSVP for meal at 855-528-2372

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on Wednesday only.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

RSVP for meal at 715-528-4261

Open Monday through Thursday serving at 11:30 a.m.

Reservations for a meal onsite need to be made 48 hours in advance by calling the above number.

Tipler Town Hall

RSVP for meals at 715-674-2320

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on second Thursday only.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

RSVP for meals at 715-589-4491

Same as ADRC menu, served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Barb Peters


Center is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Meals are served through the Menominee-Delta-Schoolcraft Community Action Agency in Escanaba. Meals-On-Wheels program for those who are homebound is available.

Monday: Barbecue pulled pork sandwich, whole wheat hamburger bun, vegetable, oven potatoes, pears.

Tuesday: Tater tot casserole, seven-way mixed vegetables, whole wheat bread, peach cobbler.

Wednesday: Swedish meatballs over noodles, beets, peas and carrots, fruit cup, birthday cake.

Thursday: Chicken breast with gravy, parmesan potatoes, broccoli, whole wheat bread, pineapple.

Friday: Chili, copper penny salad, cornbread, fruit ambrosia.

Iron River Center


Dine-in meal served at 11 a.m. Salad bar is available. No night meals at this time. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Monday: Turkey burger with bacon, roasted potatoes, broccoli with cheese.

Tuesday: Hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes, buttered carrots, dinner roll.

Wednesday: Honey mustard chicken, potatoes, apple crisp.

Thursday: Scalloped potatoes with ham, Brussel sprouts, dinner roll.

Niagara Senior Center/Cafe


Dinner is served at noon Monday through Thursday. Reservations are required one day in advance. Suggested donation is $5 for those older than 60 and $11 for 60 and younger. Bingo played on most Wednesdays. Transportation is available.

Tuesday: Vegetable lasagna, hot bean salad, whole wheat dinner roll, warm applesauce.

Wednesday: Polish sausage, sauerkraut, parsley potatoes, glazed carrots, wheat bread.

Thursday: Chicken fillet, spinach tortellini, side salad, stewed tomatoes, pineapple orange fluff.

The center will have bingo on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this month.

Norway Center

Director: Joyce Olesky

Head Cook:  Brian Gutkowski. 


Dine-in eating begins at 11:15 a.m. Salad bar available from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Takeout meals available for pick-up from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Let staff know if planning to dine in or pick up.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Chicken bacon alfredo, vegetables, garlic bread.

Tuesday: Ham, baked potato, vegetables.

Wednesday: Liver or burger and onions, mashed potatoes with gravy, vegetables.

Thursday: Beef chop suey, rice, Oriental vegetables.

All meals include milk, juice, fruit, bread and dessert.

Center activity schedule:

Mondays and Thursdays — Exercise at 10 a.m. and card bingo after the meal.

Monday through Thursday — Card game 101 from noon to 3 p.m. Call Joe at 906-563-5587 for information.

Tuesdays — Quilting and sewing.

Wednesdays — Ceramics and crocheting.

Last Monday of each month — Book club at 9 a.m.

Second Thursday of each month — Birthdays and bingo.

Sagola Center


Dine-in meals served, salad bar opens at 11 a.m. and meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Carryout meals also available.

Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Biscuits and sausage gravy, oven-roasted potatoes, spiced pears.

Wednesday: Chicken cacciatore, parsley buttered noodles, dinner roll.

Thursday: Cheeseburger, baked fries, baked beans.

All meals served with an option of milk, juice or no beverage.

Home-delivered meals —

Monday: Spaghetti with meatballs, green beans, garlic toast.

Tuesday: Scalloped potatoes with ham, Brussel sprouts, dinner roll.

Wednesday: Garlic salmon linguine, steamed asparagus, whole wheat dinner roll.


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