Monday, March 27, 2017

Time To Move

I've made a decision to once again leave the Binghamton area. This was not an easy decision. I'll be leaving behind friends and family.

I'm excited, though, at the idea of exploring someplace new. I'm moving to Las Vegas. My trip is booked and paid for and my living arrangements are in place.  I should be able to find a good job
in my field of work.

My bus leaves on Saturday morning.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Nothing Is Forever

A week ago, we had three feet of snow on the ground. Most of it is gone, now. Much of it was cleared off the sidewalks by the state Department of Transportation. A lot more of it melted in today's warm weather.

I'm old enough to have seen things that almost everyone never expected to disappear do just that.

Pay phones used to be everywhere. You would often see whole banks of them, with as many as a half dozen phones lined up in a row.

W.T. Grant stores are another thing long gone. When the company went out of business in the mid-1970s, its bankruptcy was the largest ever for an American corporation.

Radio Shack is just holding on, barely. The Binghamton area once had five stores, but the last one is now closing.

Burger Chef, once a very large chain of hamburger restaurants. They had good food at good prices but just kind of faded away in the late 1970s.

The point here, and I do have one, is that you should take very little for granted.  Also, it's easy to say so, but we all should treasure the good things in life. Especially the little things. By themselves they don't matter all that much, but together, they combine to form a large part of our lives.

Wishing you the best, dear reader.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

At The Mercy Of The Weather

As I write this, Broome County is under a state-wide state of emergency. Our County Executive has closed all roads to all travel. The snow is coming in bands of varying intensity. Where I am, we have about eighteen inches of snow right now. Just a mile and a half away, they have twenty-three inches. In the Glen Aubrey area where I lived as a teenager, they have just six inches.

By the time all this is over, where I am will have anywhere from two to three feet of snow.  This is the worst snow storm the area has seen since 1993; I remember using a yard stick to measure the snow in my front yard. It was twenty-two inches deep.

I am well prepared for all this as I went to the nearest supermarket last night and bought a week's worth of just about everything I could need or want.  The cashier apologized for the long wait in line and I told her it was fine, as they had every register open. They were doing the best they could.

And, using my store discount card, I got $60 worth of groceries for $45, so that was good.

If you are anywhere where this winter storm is hitting hard, please, just stay indoors where you're safe.

And, as always, thank you for reading.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

As Promised, A Link To The Show

The first show is now published. Here is the link. You may need to cut and paste into a web browser.

Also, I'm not sure if I made a mistake somewhere along the line or not, but I'm not seeing a complete track list. So, here it is.

1st Hour
Truckin' - The Grateful Dead
H.I.S. Slacks Radio Spot - Jay And The Americans
Let's Stay Together - Al Green
The Girl From Ipanema - Stan Getz (featuring Astrud Gilberto)
In The Year 2525 - Zager & Evans
Wasted Days, Wasted Nights - Sir Douglas Quintet
This Girl's In Love With You - Dionne Warwick
El Paso - Marty Robbins
Mind Games - John Lennon
Let's Spend The Night Together - The Rolling Stones
Come Alive - Pepsi
Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross
Kentucky Rain - Elvis Presley
Hawaii Five-O Radio Spot - The Ventures
Papa Was A Rollin' Stone - The Temptations

2nd Hour
Big Ben Chimes Midnight - Tema Digital Media
Chances Are - Johnny Mathis
On The Beach (In The Summertime) - The 5th Dimension
Texaco Star Theme - Texaco
Cry To Me - Solomon Burke
Your Turn To Cry - Betty LaVette
When You're Hot, You're Hot - Jerry Reed
It's Got To Be A Miracle (This Thing Called Love) - Four Tops and The Supremes
H.I.S. Slacks Radio Spot - Jay And The Americans
For The Good Times - Ray Price
Midnight Confessions - The Grass Roots
Things Go Better With Coke (A Man And A Woman) - Otis Redding
Love Makes A Woman - Barbara Acklin
Just Like A Woman - Bob Dylan
Signs - Five Man Electrical Band
Mr. Businessman - Ray Stevens
Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut - Almond Joy And Mounds
Games People Play - Joe South
MacArthur Park (Parts 1 & 2) - Four Tops

An Oldies Show For You To Enjoy

I haven't posted in over a week because I've been busy with a lot of different things. One of them is
doing the preparation for an oldies show I'm now going to be doing on a somewhat regular basis.

What makes my show any different from all the other ones? A few things, honestly.

I use professional audio processing, specifically, the "Big Iron" preset in Breakaway One. This preset is designed to make the music sound as though it's being played on an AM radio station in the late 1960s, and believe me, it works.

I take a lot of time to find the best mastering of each record. Every single record I play falls into one of four categories. It is the stock mono single that you would have found in a record store,  or the promotional mono single sent to radio stations, or the stock album, or the promotional album. You will never hear me playing a stereo mix nor a mixed-down version of one.

In other words, as a general rule, I insist on total authenticity. If there is a difference between the U.S. and U.K. mixes of a record, I determine which sounds better, and which was more likely to have been played back in the day. There are some exceptions to this rule, mostly in the form of Beatles records, because many of the U.S. versions were remixed with way too much reverb. Also, there are some records where for the U.S. version, the U.S. mono mix isn't available on compact disc, whereas the U.K. mono version is available.

Do you get the feeling I spend a lot of money on music? Because, I surely do.

I use vintage jingles and commercials. I freely admit that I do use some modern public service announcements, because that's something an actual modern day oldies station generally does. I do live reads of commercials for local businesses that either are no longer in business, or are ones I've made up.

I've decided to post the shows to Mixcloud. That covers licensing, and also allows shows to be posted at a bit rate of 320 kilobytes per second. Most of the streaming services have limits of 128 kps. That rate is often referred to by such services as "CD quality", which is just so not true.

The first show is finished. I'll upload it later today and post a link to it here. I really don't want to post a full list of what records I played here, but Mixcloud does allow you to see such a list.

What I will do here is briefly talk about a few of the records in each show.

For this first show, I tried to have a good mix of records almost any oldies fan will recognize and some more obscure singles.

I played "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green, using the promo mono mix. It's a good mix.

I played "Wasted Days, Wasted Nights" by Sir Douglas Quintet. They cut this in 1972, so it was not an attempt to cash in on the success of Freddy Fender's  hit version, which he cut in 1975. Rather, it's a resurrection of Fender's 1959 fairly obscure original recording. I like it!

I played  "It's Got To Be A Miracle (This Thing Called Love)" by  Four Tops and The Supremes. It's a nice record, but it's not very contemporary sounding at all for its time (it's also from 1972). The Supremes, of course, were down to one original member by that time (Mary Wilson) and two replacements (Cindy Birdsong and Jean Terrell).

I also played another Four Tops single, namely, their recording of "MacArthur Park". Sadly, the mono single version of this that's currently available is mastered much too loudly and is clipped as well. I was able to make it better sounding by running it through a good declipper effect and a vinyl record simulation, but even after all that, it's still a little rough sounding. Just letting you know, before hand.

As I say, I'll have the whole two hours uploaded later today and then I will post a link here on the blog. I hope you have a chance to listen, and that you like what I've done. I can, and will, do requests and dedications so, if you have one, shoot me an e-mail at and I will do my best. I currently have 2000 records in regular rotation, so there's only a very small chance I don't have the record you want to hear.

I had a lot of fun doing the show, and I think that shows.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Thoughts On Possible Futures

This is an interesting time to be alive. There are so many different things that are changing. Some of the changes are very positive and some are so negative that they literally give me nightmares. In the next ten to twenty-five years, these are some of the things that could very well happen.

1. All antibiotics could become completely useless against so-called "super" bugs. This is because antibiotics are currently being over used and abused. For a long time, the main problem was when doctors proscribed them for conditions not even requiring them, just to keep patients happy. That has become far less of a problem, but agricultural use is a very large problem. Factory farms raise thousands of animals at a time, in insanely crowded conditions and therefore, disease can spread very quickly.

I get it that if your corporation has sunk millions of dollars into such an operation, you want to protect that investment.  But the idea of widespread use of such drugs to keep animals healthy is a bad idea for humanity, because bacteria can and do evolve to resist the drugs.

2. The scientists and engineers who work in the field of space flight think they are fifteen to twenty-five years away from developing faster-than-light travel. Now, the existence of a drive system that would allow a space craft to exceed the speed of light is not, in and of itself, the only component needed for space travel. Someone will need to develop sensors, and shields, at the minimum.

But, the drive system is the key to it all.

3. The technology to transfer human consciousness to some kind of electronic system is very likely to exist within the time frame of these other potential developments. What will it mean to be human when your consciousness no longer resides in a physical body? If my consciousness is in a device of some kind, will that system be able to replicate emotions? Will it be able to give me the physical sensation, or equivalent thereof, of how I get a spine tingling chill when listening to the very best music?

4. Robotics is another field where huge advancements are coming, and coming quickly. The Japanese are on the frontier of all of this, as they work to develop robots that are self-aware and capable of learning. Some of the most intelligent people on Earth believe we will one day have a world in which such robots have control over civilization.

Such a world, these people believe, would have humanity reduced to the status of beloved pets, or worse yet, animals kept in zoos.

Do I personally believe this will happen?

No, not at this time. But I do believe that it's something that could happen.

5. Geopolitics have changed drastically in the 21st Century. Old alliances are being questioned while new ones are forming and evolving. Vladimir Putin is trying to form a new version of the Soviet Union. The United States of America has elected a president who is transforming the nation into a fascist state. The leaders in Japan want very much to be able to reconstitute an active duty military. China is starting to have economic problems but is also doing some great work in the area of solar technology and other alternative energy solutions.

And, that's just a small snapshot of everything taking place across the globe.

In closing, as I said, it's an interesting time to be alive in. I do find great enjoyment, security and comfort in living what is a late 1970s/early 1980s life style. But, I also do make a serious attempt to be as aware as I can be of how the world around me is changing.

As always, I thank you for reading what I've written.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

This is NOT Entertainment

I've thought about discussing something for a long time, and the time is right, now. I want to talk about the state of television, which, from my point of view, isn't all that good. There are so many shows that depict things that are in bad taste, and it saddens me that so many people have no problems with that at all.

Take "The Big Bang Theory", for instance. I've never watched the show, so its popularity is something I can't begin to understand. I do, on a regular basis, hear an audio clip that's part of a promotional spot for the show on TBS. That audio has one character talking about needing somewhere to wriggle his naked...well, you know. There's also a reference to his "junk".

I do watch "Family Guy" and "American Dad"; the episode of the latter that is a spoof of the Bond films is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. But, both shows often depict a certain thing that happens sometimes when a person has an upset stomach. I've never seen the humor in that.

It's lazy writing, made all the more painful to watch because the writing on both shows is often so good.

I want to say, at this point, that I'm not one of those people who think that television was perfect in the past. A lot of shows that were very successful in decades long past do not hold up well. But some of them hold up very well. The series M*A*S*H has just returned to the cable network TV Land and I'm having a lot of fun watching it again for the first time in several years.

One of the research projects I had to do when I was in college the first time, getting a degree in Communications and Media Arts, was to study the long term effects of watching television. It was at that time that I really came to believe that, speaking metaphorically, "you are what you eat". Meaning, that if you consume a steady diet of garbage, it does change who you are as a person.

 It changes the way you look at the world. It changes how you deal with people.

I try to limit my television watching to something along the lines of three to four hours a day. The only time I go over that limit is if I find a good movie to watch on Turner Classic Movies. There are days when I sit and watch two or three movies in a row. But what I'm watching is very high quality material.

I hope I've given you something to consider.

And as always, thank you for reading.