Thursday, November 29, 2012

45 rpm records

I always like to brag that I have music in all formats. I have a few seventy eights, lots of singles, albums, cassettes and cd's. One thing I  forgot is how I got all those singles. The truth is that most of them  were not bought at the standard price when the records were on the charts. Most of them were bought when they were put in plastic bags. These records have little holes punched in them at the corner of the labels.

One summer day I was at the Modell's record department and I noticed something new. Plastic bags containing  singles were on sale for three for a dollar or thirty nine cents. The records varied and contained  different artists with hits and almost hits of the past year or so. You might find "I got you babe" or "Sweet talking guy" or a Solomon Burke single. Or Mary Welles, Petula Clark and the Kinks. The artists were very varied, but except for the one time I found "Ain't she sweet" they contained no Beatles, Stones, or Dylan. You never found a Capitol recording but otherwise I remember seeing all the labels. I even discovered three Jimi Hendrix records together.

The other day I spent an hour or so playing old singles. They still sounded good but getting up every three minutes to change the record is hard on the back. A lazy man's way of listening to old records is searching for the titles through You Tube. It's amazing how many records from that era are available there.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

the day after Thanksgiving

One of the weirder American holidays is the day after Thanksgiving, also known as "Black Friday". It is a day when  all school children get off but many adults have to work. I remember when I worked in Denver on that day. It was the day we got to see all the husbands of the key punch operators in the office. Mom would have to work, Daddy would be off, the kids would be off and the pay checks were given out at noon. One by on at twelve o'clock the husbands would all troop in with the kids to pick up the checks. It was fun matching up the families to the staffers. 

I wrote a newsletter column back then for the house organ of the company. I wrote how great it was to see every body's family on the day after Thanksgiving. That article must have caught the attention of somebody because the next year the company made that day a vacation day. I always felt is was my column that was responsible. 

Probably for me my happiest memory of this day is being home from college and seeing all my college buddies on that day. I remember taking the bus to New York with old friends on that day. I think we ate Chinese food. 

Nowadays the day after Thanksgiving has become the major shopping day of the year, "Black Friday". I guess getting up at three a.m to go to the stores is a ritual by itself. This year, however, the stores are opening on Thanksgiving night. More convenient but probably not as exciting. 

Thanksgiving being a Thursday can be traced to Washington. I often wonder why it isn't a Friday. Wouldn't it make more sense than creating an orphan day and a day care nightmare for millions of working parents? I guess in the good olde days Mother was home on that day, catching up on the canning.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Come ye thankful people come

I went to the same school from kindergarten to grade 6 in dear olde Hackensack. The day before Thanksgiving, every year, the 6th grade choir would march from classroom to classroom in choir robes and sing "Come ye thankful people come". Nothing being more sentimental than a fourth grader during a holiday period, I remember having moist eyes as I would hear the choir sing that song. As a sixth grader I got to wear a robe myself.

At that age I swallowed up elementary school traditions lock stock an barrel. It was a big event in my life, one that would repeat seven times through my childhood. When I was in high school I would tell you how school was meaningless and a symptom of an over regimented society but as a kid I was a true believer.

By fifth grade I knew the cynical version of the song. "Come ye thankful people come, blow the school to kingdom come, first the teachers, then the ... I forget the rest. Even school kids had their non believers.

Editor's note: Lock stock and barrel is a cliche, best avoided in writing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Morning television

The other day I was sitting in the dentist chair waiting to have my teeth drilled. It was early and I was staring in terror at the TV screen watching Good Morning America. I guess it was supposed to anesthetize me but it had the opposite effect. I can't believe it, everybody is so happy! Everybody is so hyped up and the audience is screaming with delight. The public in Times Square looked like a group of methedrine users topping off their highs with coffee and sugar donuts. And all the bright primary colors.

Later, home I turned on the TV and there was Rachel Ray. Again, everybody is smiling and so happy. The audience is cheering with bliss. I guess they must get free pastries. Next week she is premiering smell o vision and giving out smell cards. I would have missed that fact had I been at work.

Next I watched the View. This was a downer after the other shows. Barbara Walters was bitching about Lindsay Lohan turning her down for an interview. After Barbara had a notebook full of notes. The audience cheered at the notebook. At least the View panelists are almost like real people. Real hung over people.

Finally I turned on the news. The big story was the Petraeus sex scandal. America loves sex scandals. And apparently there are reams of incriminating e mails. I keep my incriminating e mails stored on a cd rom. If I ever need to turn them over I'll be ready.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Old white men

It's official. With the re-election of Obama, Old white men no longer rule our country. The new results show that women, atheists,  along with various non white ethnic groups, voted together against the class of people that has run this country from the beginning. Old white men.

Us old white men enjoy our privileges. We make more than anyone else does at the office and when we leave we head for the bar. After a few libations, we head home. There we are met by the wife, who, recently arrived home from work herself, is making us a nice supper. Then she does the dishes, then the laundry. She takes care of the kids and allows us to watch the game while drinking another beer. We yell at the tv and everybody puts up with us because we are in charge. We are old white men.

We like things the way they are and voted for Romney to keep things that way. Dag nap it. They ganged up on us and put that Obama back in office for four more years. We believed in freedom and the right for a man to make his own mistakes. Now we're going to become socialist, just like the French. The French. Dag nap it. Fere Jacques. Pardon my Hungarian.