Saturday, July 28, 2007


Ok, it's a valid word I have used for a long time, but I used it to some young college student workers this week and they had not a clue as to what a stereo was or what it meant.

So I began searching my mind for the word and when it became popular. My limited research reminded me that I have live through quite a bit of audio change in my 58 years.

Before we had a TV my mother and dad would listen to the radio at night. It was a huge post war plastic thing, that was on the kitchen buffet. (a piece of furniture no longer made or used in American homes, it was blonde wood and was supposed to house the linens for the kitchen, because only rich people had houses with dining rooms.)

When I was very young, pre- grade school, I had a phonograph that played 78's or 45's and it had a needle arm that you had to manually put on the edge of the record yourself to listen to the music. I used to listen to nursery rhymes like "Hickory Dickory Dock"and tunes like "She'll be coming around the Mountain when she comes."

The in grade school we had very limited AV equipment, and the 1st "record player" we had was an honest to God hand cranked Victrola. The catholic school nuns had us listen to folk songs, especially ones by Stephen Colin Foster and some classical music, which left a lot to be desired when it was so scratchy...

By the time I was in 4th grade we had portable radios, that actually weighed a ton and took about 8 batteries if you wanted to take them on a picnic or something and the power only lasted a few hours. Then in the early 1960's we got AM transistor radios. They were about twice the size of today's standard cell phone, only needed one 9 volt battery and came with a set of earphones for private listening. If you were lucky enough to own one you had it "made in the shade" because walking around with an earplug was VERY cool.

By the late 1960's we had Hi Fi music, that's short for high fidelity,the new record players had automatic systems so you could stack several records so that when one stopped playing the needle arm would disengage, move to the resting spot and the next record (a 45 or an album that was 33 1/3 rpm) would drop into place and the needle arm would then move automatically to the begining of the vinal record and start to play. I had a hi fi portable record player that weigher about 25 lbs. The top of the case was actually a speaker and it could be dislodged from the bottom and moved to as far away from the base as the wires would allow, so you could get the effect of having music from two directions. It wasn't quite stereo though.

Then came "stereo" with multiple speakers and individualized speakers for the kind of sound you heard. There were woffers, for bass tones, and tweeters, for treble tones. So they started selling albums with labels to tell you wether they had been recorded in monoral (mono) or stereo sound. You could play a mono record on a stereo but it didnt' sound as good.

After than came casette taped "records". No vinal discs, it was tapes and people needed tape decks to hear their favorite "albums". That was when individual 45's began to lose favor with the record buying public because a "single" could cost you as much as 99 cents for one record (and the flip side which was usually not a good song) OR you could spend $4.99 for an album, that usually had 10 to 12 songs on it. It was a bargain, and we started memorizing whole albums worth of songs (especially when the British Invasion hit.)

After casette tapes came the 8 trac players (we still have one that works and it actually plays two 8 trac tapes we managed to salvage after all these years. We played the ABBA tape on our 25th anniversary.)

Then came the CD. Same concept as records, but you had to have a different system to play them, and came surround sound, which has stereo stereos, then MP3's, and now you buy the right to download music onto your iPod.

By the time I am ready to die I assume there will be several other changes to the way we acquire and listen to music. But by then will I even want to listen to it? Or will I long for the little child's phonograph and "She'll be Coming Around the Mountain When She Comes"?

Sunday, July 22, 2007


They say that American's don't take their vacation time and it's bad for us healthwise not to.

I think TAKING vacations is bad for you.

If you travel with your family that means months of planning in advance. Reservations. Transportation, buying a new wardrobe. Who, living pay check to paycheck, can afford that?

Then if you are a mom you are worried about packing clothes, and making sure things are clean and tidy before you leave. Cancelling newspapers, finding pet sitters and all that other stuff that kids never think about.

So you take pictures on the beach and the kids look relaxed and having fun, and mom and dad look exhausted. Sure it's a vacation from work, but parents are "employed" 24/7 so that job never stops.

What ever happened to staying home for a week and doing nothing? That's MY idea of a vacation.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

the moon moved

Ok, I am not always awake when I actually get out of bed at 5:45 a.m. but I do manage to muddle around and get things done by rote - including making coffee and picking up the newspaper from the front lawn.

In the winter sky I gaze at Orion and hope that it's still there and I am not seeing shadows of a constallation many billion years destroyed.

In the summer, thanks to Daylight Savings, Eastern Standard time the sun is rising just around 6 so the stars are not visible.

What is visible is the moon, which should be off the to the west as it sets.

Today the moon was not to the West (behind and to the left of my house) as the sun's rays pinked up the sky to the East. But the moon was off to the NORTH, to the right of our house.

Why would the moon be there?

Is the earth tilting on it's axis and the idiots in power in every nation thinking common man needn't know these things? Are we being lied to yet again?

If West is North then North would be East, and East would be South, and South would be West.
And if that's what happening, in reality, we would really have some global warming...

So I will continue to watch the moon as it rises and sets, and see what the temperatures are like in New York.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Won't power

Spoiled kids.


Because parents have no "won't power".

What is "wont' power"? you may ask.

Well I will tell you.

Won't power is the power parents have to say "no".

Very simple concept.

Your child asks for something - usually prompted by peer pressure or some new advertisement.
The parent says no, but the child doesn't consider that a definate answer so they repeat the request, and repeat it and repeat it and repeat it until the parent gives in.

Instead, the parent should pull out her/his "won't power" and tell the child. I told you no once, and I won't change my mind no matter how many times you ask. And if you continue to pester me you won't be (add some suitable punishment like "won't be having ice cream for dessert tonight" or "won't be staying up late to watch t.v." or "won't be going to the park this afternoon".

But maybe some new parents don't understand won't power because their parents never applied it to them. So the cycle continues for another generation.

More's the pity.

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