Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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March 2005
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Woman gives birth in car before police pull her over at gunpoint

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 10:08 am

From CNN: One of the weirdest stories I’ve seen in a while; a woman rushing to a hospital to give birth hit a few stops along the way — first at a gas station where she delivered the baby herself, then when confused police ordered her out of the car at gunpoint.
Woman gives birth in car

You know, any comment I could make here wouldn’t possibly live up to the bizarre nature of this story…

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Multi-Talented and Much-Loved Jerry Orbach Remembered at Broadway Salute

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 5:12 am

From Playbill via Yahoo: Those who thought Jerry Orbach had skills enough-actor, singer, dancer, star of stage and television-learned of a few more hidden talents when they attended the March 24 memorial for the late performer, at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
Multi-Talented and Much-Loved Jerry Orbach Remembered at Broadway Salute

This is a man who seems to have been universally loved and respected…in all the reading I’ve done, I have yet to find anyone say a negative thing about him.

Try to remember…and if you remember, then follow.

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Orphan Works

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 12:31 pm

From Duke Law’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain: The Center has submitted the following two proposals to the Copyright Office on Access to Orphan Works and Orphan Films.

Orphan Works
The costs of an inadequate system of access to orphan works are huge: needlessly disintegrating films, prohibitive costs for libraries, incomplete and spotted histories, thwarted scholarship, digital libraries put on hold, delays to publication. In the cases where the work is truly an orphan work, those costs are tragic because they are completely unnecessary. This report describes the orphan works problem, and offers a proposal to fix it.

Orphan Films
The difficulty of access to orphan films is a matter of crisis because these works are literally disintegrating. At a time when digital technologies allow for more sophisticated and cheaper restoration and distribution of old films, uncertainty about copyright status has impeded restoration efforts. Worse still, in most cases the films are completely unavailable to the public even for simple viewing. This report describes these problems in detail.

Orphan Works

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‘Johnny Ringo’ Star Don Durant Dies at 72

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 11:20 pm

From AP via Yahoo!: ‘Johnny Ringo’ Star Don Durant Dies at 72
‘Johnny Ringo’ Star Don Durant Dies at 72

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Sci-fi and fantasy author Andre Norton dies

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:18 am

From CNN: Science fiction and fantasy author Andre Norton, who wrote the popular “Witch World” series, has died. She was 93.
Sci-fi and fantasy author Norton dies

I’m still running behind from my day off, and only noticed this today. I read many of her novels as a child in the 1960’s; she, along with Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, and others, kept my mind and soul soaring among the stars.

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This Cracked Me Up…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 8:15 pm

A friend emailed a comic from from April 3, 2003. Since I can’t find any good way of directing you directly to that specific graphic (I really hate websites that are too smart for their own good, not providing for permalinks), I’m going to link to the graphic…but please visit the website. Chris Muir is really funny biting satirical. Conservatives will love him, and liberals have to laugh at the strip, too.

Of course, as the wise guy my friend pointed out, this is particularly appropriate considering the approach of the Ides of March…

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If It Ain’t One Thing…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 2:38 pm

For the past week or so, I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to catch up from the three weeks’ worth of being sick…the good news is, I think I’m down to only have three or four people/companies ticked off at me for not having things done as promised.

Problem is, I’m rapidly climbing on top of my annual one-day vacation. I will leave the reasons for this firmly in the mists of time where they belong, but on the Ides of March each year, I spend twenty-four hours away from computers. For that brief amount of time each year, I do not touch keyboards, monitors, or CPUs.

And let me tell you, this is getting harder and harder every year. Is my PDA, which I use to carry books around with me to read, allowed because it’s an electronic book? Or disallowed because it has a microprocessor? My new cell phone…can I use it? Or because it can send email and receive instant messages, is it forbidden for the day? The DVD player has a more powerful microprocessor than those which got Apollo 11 to the moon and back…can I still watch old episodes of The Veil? Is it ok to change channels on the XM Satellite Radio, what with it being digital and connected to other computerized hardware? Even the coffee pot has sensors, timers, and processors…good lord, can I even get out of bed?

Ok, so I’m mostly joking; I don’t really agonize over these things (except maybe a little on the Ides of March, since then I have the time), and have a sensible way of looking at the day. I’ll listen to The Bob Edwards Show first thing in the morning, since it’s the only way I know to start my mornings. I’ll buy real honest-to-paper books and read them, pick up a copy of The New York Times instead of reading it on the Internet, and I’ll burn a bunch of current events and Old-Time Radio programming onto a couple of CD-RWs (since I won’t be able to operate Audio, the computer hooked up to the FM transmitter I use to time-shift radio and Internet programming)…and there’s always the traditional two-or-three episodes of Star Trek watched from laserdisc (haven’t yet decided which this year, although I am leaning toward “Conscience of the King,” which guest-stars my old friend from The March of Time, Arnold Moss; and I’m betting that “Spock’s Brain” won’t make the cut yet again this year). And I have to be honest enough to tell you there’s usually an afternoon nap involved (the older I get, the sleepier I get when I read for prolonged periods), so it’s usually a pretty full day.

And then there’s the beard…it gets shaved off on the Ides of March, not to begin to reappear until next November first (again, the reasons are ancient and personal)…last year, my daughter spent most of the evening staring at me, trying to reconcile the clean-shaven guy with the “Grizzly Adams” of the oh-so-recent past.

Yeah, yeah, I know, the Ides of March are supposed to be a solumn day, what with that whole Caesar thing in 44 BC. But the Ides of March is also significant as a day of monumental change; that’s clear from Cicero’s letters from the months after the Ides of March - he even says, “The Ides changed everything.” Every year, I take one day off to remember exactly why it is I do what I do the other 364 days…I stay away from the things I love and hate, and by 11:30 pm of the evening, I’m longing for the comfort of a mouse in my right hand. Hardly a “rebirth,” but it’s a surprisingly refreshing way to spend an all-too-short, or far-too-long, twenty-four hours.

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Got a New Telephone…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 2:03 am

Those of you who read this blog routinely know that I’ve been determined to move my cell service from Verizon ever since the sales drones at my local Verizon Wireless store became too lazy to take my payments, instead requiring me to do the clerical work (entering the payment into their computer system at a terminal kiosk) for them. Well, I finally got the service transfered, and now have a tiny yet inexpensive new telephone, the Sony Ericsson T237.

Only problem is, gathering information on the phone outside of the sales stuff on the Sony Ericsson website is neigh-on impossible. The phone does cool stuff (multiple format ringtones, games, WAP browsing, etc., etc.), but figuring out how to get it to do that cool stuff ain’t easy.

Ok, ok, I understand that they want to sell ringtones and games, so saying that the polyphonic ringtones are standard MIDI files might cut into their sales, or that the phone accepts standard morphin games might again screw things up for the sales end…but gees, guys, let’s be honest here. Even when we buy a cheap phone, we still want to ring the bells and blow the whistles, you know?

I am slowly gathering information (most of it by raw trial and error, frankly); once I get enough of it together, I’ll post a detailed document here that hopefully future folks buying this telephone can use to make their lives a little easier.

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A Depressing Anniversary…

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 7:54 am

I have it on excellent authority that today is the anniversary of NPR firing Bob Edwards from the host spot of Morning Edition.

In reviewing my notes (mostly on this blog), I first learned about his leaving the show much later, on March 24th in the evening when I went to the KUOW website and saw a small note pointing to an NPR press release. When I first blogged about it, I seemed a little lost. It wasn’t until the next day when I discovered the removal wasn’t Bob’s idea as the press release seemed to imply, and I got ticked off about it. (FWIW, I’m still miffed.)

Over the next few days, stretching into weeks, my electronic clip file of news articles and commentary about the bone-headed move grew larger than I could have imagined, and I griped and posted pretty consistently about it. But all this means that for at least two weeks, Bob and his family had to deal with his removal alone, not realizing that shortly a literal army of NPR listeners would storm the castle d’NPR in outrage over the injustice. For those weeks he wouldn’t receive the job offers, the cards, letters, and emails of his devoted listeners. He had to feel a deep depression, sorrow even, and yet none of it was apparent to those of us who listened to him daily. He had no way to know that over the next few months he would learn what a powerful hold he had over his listeners, and how much respect and affection they would show him on his book tour. Those weeks must have been terrible.

Of course, it’s been quite a year. His new show on XM Satellite Radio is enjoyed by those of us who simply cannot imagine starting our mornings without his understated voice to guide us gently into the day. I doubt many have gone as far as I have, no longer listening to NPR’s “Morning Zoo” and instead listening to the BCC World Service (in the same block on Channel 131) at 7:00am eastern to get my fix of news around the world while getting the Katester ready for school, then switching to XMPR to hear The Bob Edwards Show with my first cup of coffee or tea. I haven’t bothered with All Things Considered for quite a while, long before the year past, because I found it to be bland, boring, and, frankly, I got tired of the whole “host reporting from some place a working reporter would better serve” mentality…especially when hosts I could trust left the show to voices and personalities I didn’t care for (unlike Bob, they weren’t honest enough to tell me they were removed against their will). I’m literally down to listening to three NPR-produced programs every week (and even those shows I’m paying less attention to than I used to), a mear five hours, and another smattering of NPR-distributed programming (although my sources for those shows don’t involve NPR).

More and more, I’m listening to quality public-radio programming from non-NPR, sources; Here and Now at noon is one show I rarely miss. As It Happens, the CBC show I listened to many years ago over shortwave now comes to me with crystal clarity on XMPR. The aforementioned BBC for a global perspective unrivaled by the much smaller operation of NPR. What NPR desperately needs is serious competition in the domestic public radio market…it needs to learn that it cannot continue to think of itself as “public radio,” because it ain’t. It’s just another corporation looking for ratings and money by taking the “short-attention-span” approach to news reporting. If I wanted that nonsense, I’d listen to my local Clear-Channel station.

And the “Ombudsman,” Jeffery Dvorkin, who is referenced in this article as a “journalist” but should instead, I believe, more accurately be described as a “news organization executive,” keeps side-stepping the issue. He consistently says NPR “mishandled” the Edwards dissmissal…but that’s not at all accurate. The dismissal wasn’t “mishandled,” it was a mistake. This is a huge semantic difference, one the chief apologist for NPR cannot bring himself to admit.

No, I doubt many people have managed to ween themselves from suckling at the NPR teet the way I have, but then they managed to alienate me completely a year ago today, when they decided that a Barbie-and-Ken happy-talk team could possibly fill the shoes of a Radio Hall of Fame inductee. Bob has been overly-generous talking about how we need to support NPR and its member stations…but I strongly disagree with him. We need to support the upstarts, like XMPR (think about it a second…a commercial public radio station - what a radical concept!); stations who are willing to supply an alternative to NPR’s nonsense. I feel no differently than I felt almost a year ago - NPR no longer serves me, and indeed has decided they don’t want me as a listener. So I sure as the devil have no intention of financially supporting an organization so cheerfully eager to slap me in the face.

I just hope in this past year Bob learned how important his calm voice is for so many of us first thing in the morning. Even if we still deeply miss him intoning, “The time is nineteen minutes past the hour…”

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Grounded: Millionaire John Gilmore stays close to home while making a point about privacy

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 8:30 pm

From the Pittsburg Post Gazette: Millionaire John Gilmore stays close to home while making a point about privacy.
Grounded: Millionaire John Gilmore stays close to home while making a point about privacy

Here’s a guy who puts his money where his mouth is.

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Been feeling pretty lousy lately…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 8:56 am

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling pretty crummy. Seems my beautiful daughter decided to bring home a cold (this after the illness that caused her trip to the hospital), which she shook off in a few days, and laid me low for weeks.

Oddly the d*mned thing seems to have lodged in my throat, like a bad meal that just can’t be swallowed. I don’t talk, I squeek. And I’m having a heckuva time sleeping…I don’t know if there’s such a thing as flu-induced apnea, but every fifteen minutes or so I wake up with the terrifying sensation that I can’t breathe - in or out, it seems pretty catholic in its effects. After a night’s “sleep” like that, about the only thing I’ve been good for during the day is to fall asleep in front of the computer…of course, I have this built-in alarm clock to keep me from napping too long; the sensation that I can’t breathe is a powerful inducemnent to groggy wakefullness.

Annie, bless her hide, decided to try a treatment used on asmatic children to see if it would help; worked like a charm, thank heavens. Last night I got the best sleep I’ve had in quite literally weeks. Of course, I won’t be able to join the Olympic team with the whiff of steroids in my system, but anyone who’s met me and knows my body type can be pretty sure I won’t be making anything other than maybe the bowling team anyway…

So maybe over the next few days I can catch up on some of my sleep, and get back to actually getting some things done around here and around the website. In the meantime, if anyone discovers a cure for the common flu, lemme know. I’m in the market.

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