Sunday, December 28, 2008

Techno Evolutionary Downgrades, CDs to Cell Phones: Frank Stays on Vinyl in My House, Thank You

Lured into Virgin Records by 50% OFF signs, there were so few CDs marked down that I cracked to store clerks, “So what’s fifty percent off — Lawrence Welk?”

One of them laughed.

I was looking for DJ Krush and some other what they call electronia dance. $18.99? No way; you get the song that drove you in there but usually in a multiple cd box set stuffed with revenue-enhancing drivel. These stores, I keep reading, are in serious trouble. Evidently, they love being in serious trouble for they’ve not changed a thing.

I did find a Sinatra 3-cd set containing my favorite of his up tempo Capital classics, A Swinging Affair. At home, to compare, I played the CD and my old LP simultaneously, and switched my receiver back and forth. A CD still sounds a little tiny compared to vinyl. A record has more warmth and fullness. I cut short Affair. I’ll return to my 50-year-old (embarrassing confession) LP record. Frank sounds better on wax.

Cell Phones: Sure, how could I not get one what with pay phones vanishing as fast as Wall Street “experts.” I have a friend who calls me and often I end up asking him, “Are you talking to me from across the ocean through a bottle?” Then he does something so it sounds like a better amplified bottle.

Okay, what’s good? My new hi-def TV is Sharp, superb for nature, art and travel shows and the spectacular Olympics we just saw. Still, if my 19-year-old perfectly functioning Mitsubishi was still here, I’d not be complaining. Last Christmas, facing the digital future, I gave it away to some guys with a truck who offered to deliver it to a grateful family; this Christmas I found the exact same model abandoned on a sidewalk nearby, and I felt very sad wondering if this, in fact, is my old television. I even wrote down the serial number (!) but I no longer had the sales papers to compare DNA. I had the most protective feeling, wanting to retrieve it from the elements of indifference. Even a twinge of guilt. Perhaps some of you will, in pity, conclude that I have no children of my own. You are correct.

Like the way many people grow attached to their dogs, I get attached to the gadgets that serve me well and stay with them usually till the bitter end. I kept my PhoneMate around many years after it died.

I’m sticking with the vinyl albums I have. On the cell phone front (considering all the reports about possible radiation, among other dreads), maybe I can rig up my land phone to a shoulder strap-on affair and walk around wearing a dental x-ray bib. If nothing else it might get me into somebody’s budget clown alley. I’ll make a You Tube and send it to Pat Cashin.

Hey, you sound like a voice in a bottle lost in the Atlantic. PLEASE, speak up!!!!!

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