Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

Monday, 31 October 2005, 15:17 | Category : Other Stuff
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In case you wanted to know, yes the movie for the 5th Harry Potter book is planned and in pre-production. This site has a nice run-down on the major roles and actors.

My Favorite Halloween Cartoon Of The Day

Monday, 31 October 2005, 11:31 | Category : Other Stuff
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I should attribute it properly, but I don’t know who “Reynolds” is.

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Dumping the 8-track

Tuesday, 25 October 2005, 16:14 | Category : Other Stuff
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It was the Autumn 1972. One bright Saturday morning I walked out of my house to get in my 1960 Ford Falcon.

About halfway down the driveway, I realized the door was partly open. When I got to the car, I discovered that during the night, someone had stolen my Craig 8-track player and all my tapes. Craig wasn’t the best 8-track player – I don’t remember what the high-end players were – and it wasn’t the classic – that position was held by the Lear-Jet. But it was a good, solid mid-market line, and now mine was gone. I got a small check from the insurance company – after the deductible I think it was maybe $30. Now, as I said, this was 1972. The 8-track was the king of automotive audio. But there was one problem. Because each tape had 4 segments of equal length, if you had a long song it would sometimes not end before the segment ran out. So the music companies would record the song to fade out at the send of the segment, and fade back in on the next segment. One of my favorite tapes was Chicago II, and this happened right in the middle of the Make Me Smile/Ballet For A Girl From Buchanan suite. The music would be playing, then it would fade, then you’d hear this metallic clunk as the segment changed, and the music would fade back in. Pretty irritating, but that was the world we lived in. Until, for me, September of 1972. (For the record, I don’t blame Nixon for the theft of my 8-track player). There was a new thing, just out on the market – the car stereo cassette player. Now, obviously, cassettes had been around. I remember recording songs off the radio onto an old cassette recorder. But for some reason, before 1972, cassette players for the car didn’t exist. I think part of the reason was the perception that cassettes weren’t sufficiently high-fidelity for commercial success. But by 1972, there were some car cassette players on the market, and I decided to embrace this new technology rather than getting another 8-track player. It wasn’t an easy decision, because there weren’t many prerecorded cassettes available at the time. 8-tracks would continue to dominate the market for much of the decade. But I’d had enough of the fade-in/fade-out thing. I was now a cassette kind of guy.

What got me thinking about this was this post at Random Fate. Reading Jack’s reminiscences of cassettes and the Dolby Noise Reduction system, and his link to a page of images of cassette tapes (warning – this page takes a little while to load completely) brought back memories of my TEAC V5RX cassette recording deck, which I used to record countless albums I owned. I remember the decision process about which tape to use, TDK D-90 or TDK SA-90 (I was a dedicated TDK tape guy), and almost invariably used 90-minute tapes, because most albums fit nicely on a 45-minute side of a 90-minute tape. You never used the 120-minute tapes – they would tend to stretch and distort the music. But I would buy tapes in 10-packs, and use the D-90s for older albums with some pops and scratches, and the SA-90s for the better-condition albums. I spent many hours recording albums on that deck. So, anyway – I bought a cassette player – my memory tells me it was a Realistic from Radio Shack, no radio, just an under-dash cassette model, and embarked into the cassette world. When I sold that car two years later, I moved the cassette player to my next car, a 1968 Plymouth Fury II, from which it was stolen a few months later, again with the loss of all my tapes (stealing car tape players was a big thing in Jackson, Mississippi, in the late 1960s and early 1970s – it generally wasn’t a matter of “if”, it was a matter of “when”. I knew some people who would never buy anything other than cheap tape players because they just assumed it would get stolen). But I was firmly in the cassette world at this point. And still am – while my CDs get most play, I have a CD/cassette in my 2000 Ford Ranger, and use the cassette regularly. Some of the tapes I play are some of those I recorded on that old TEAC deck back in the late 1970s. And somehow, when the time comes to replace my Ranger, I’ll figure out a way to play cassettes in the new vehicle. I’m just a cassette kind of guy.

(crossposted to the Busy Day Linkfest)

New Old Music

Tuesday, 25 October 2005, 9:26 | Category : Music
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You know how sometimes you walk around for years thinking you want to buy a particular CD (or album, if you remember those)? You’ll hear songs from that CD on the radio and think, “I’m gonna go buy that”. But you never do. Or you don’t for a long, long time. A year. 5 years. 10 years. In my case, it was 14 years. The CD was Marc Cohn’s first CD, “Marc Cohn“. Finally ordered it last week, and I wasn’t disappointed – it definitely lived up to my expectations. So, what music is on your long-time “gonna-buy” list?

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Moon Pie Haiku

Friday, 21 October 2005, 21:13 | Category : Southern Stuff
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Niller is killer
Chokkit being also good
Nanner not quite so

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