Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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May 2005
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Washington Post Confirms Felt Is ‘Deep Throat’

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 6:34 pm

From The Washington Post: The Washington Post today confirmed that W. Mark Felt, a former number-two official at the FBI, was “Deep Throat,” the secretive source who provided information that helped unravel the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s and contributed to the resignation of president Richard M. Nixon. The confirmation came from Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the two Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate story, and their former top editor, Benjamin C. Bradlee. The three spoke after Felt’s family and Vanity Fair magazine identified the 91-year-old Felt, now a retiree in California, as the long-anonymous source who provided crucial guidance for some of the newspaper’s groundbreaking Watergate stories.
Washington Post Confirms Felt Is ‘Deep Throat’

As one of the great mysteries of the 1970’s, I have mixed feelings about now knowing the identity of “Deep Throat.” On the one hand, it was an adrenal rush to read that article, but on the other hand, there are few enough mysteries in this crazy world that mean so little, and so much.

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We Really Need to Stop Rolling Over…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 11:00 am

As some of you know, I am suffering from an…odd medical condition; nothing life-threatening, just really annoying, and it’s slowing me down considerably. My ENT couldn’t find anything obviously wrong, so I was referred to the local pulmonary practice here in York.

The first contact I had with this WellSpan division (I’m beginning to think we should stop calling them “practices” and start calling them what they really are; profit-center divisions of large corporate entities) was a packet of information they sent, which included a cover page literally covered with yellow highlighter telling me what I “must” and “will” do. Gotta tell you, I kinda hate having people I am paying for service treat me like I’m either an idiot incapable of understanding simple English, or a sheep who needs to be lead; the whole, “Do this my way” cruft we’re taking from companies we pay is beginning to annoy me. But that wasn’t the deal-breaker…

There was also a HCFA waver form, holding WellSpan and the practice harmless for any privacy releases.


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The Boston Globe interviews Bob Edwards…

Filed under: News, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 10:44 am

From The Boston Globe: My View from Satellite Radio - An Interview with Bob Edwards told in first person.

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XM Satellite Radio hits Four Million

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 2:02 pm

For those of you who are not currently XM subscribers, XM Satellite Radio hits Four Million Subscribers. (If you are an XM subscriber, you probably already know this, since at least on XMPR the promos are runnung fast and furious.) Seven out of ten satellite radio subscribers are subscribed to XM, and it doesn’t look like the lead XM has over Sirious is going to fade anytime soon.

But then, with The Bob Edwards Show, what would you expect? ;)

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Free TiVo: Build a Better DVR out of an Old PC

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 3:40 pm

From O’Reily Make: How to use off-the-shelf components to build your own digital video recorder…one that actually allows you to burn the files to DVD.
Free TiVo: Build a Better DVR out of an Old PC

Although you can make a better and less expensive TiVo-clone by using linux and MythTV, for those afraid of using non-Windoze systems, this method should work almost as well.

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Bob Edwards Back Tuesday…

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 7:36 am

For those missing new shows on XM Radio’s The Bob Edwards Show, take cheer; he should be back with new programs on Tuesday after his unexpected and unavoidable absence this past week.

Not a moment too soon, either. Not that the encores haven’t been interesting, but I’m glad today is the last.

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So my aunt Sally died…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 7:32 am

Ok, ok, Sally Summers was not my aunt; she was technically my “second cousin, once removed” (she was my father’s cousin - my grandfather and Sally’s father were brothers). And she wasn’t really “mine,” she was everyone’s.

See, if you live in York, and are older than fifty, you know Sally, or at least know of Sally. She was an omnipresent force in this town, following whatever cause struck her whim or fancy and driving it to whatever resolution she felt necessary, usually behind the wheel of a convertable her petite frame could barely navigate. She was fiercely loyal to her family and friends, vicious to those who would hurt them, generous to those who respected them. I’ve long since lost count of the number of times someone in this area, when hearing my last name, would ask, “Are you related to…SALLY SUMMERS?” (Yeah, her name always seems to be in capitals when people outside the family pronounce it. Sometimes from inside the family, too.)

Another thing you need to understand is how odd it is that Sally and I would have been as close as we were. Years and years ago, there was an auto accident involving the two brothers (my grandfather, her father), and they stopped speaking…as with many goofy family feuds, the details are lost to time, but the results are that there are very few contacts between the two sides of the family…except for me, that is.

Sally found me when I was doing high-school and local theater…she asked me to join a local production of a theater piece she had written, “York’s Immortal Year,” as the young boy deciding to join the revolutionary army (back then, I was probably nineteen, and looked fifteen-sixteen tops - even into my late twenties, I was being cast as a teenager). It wasn’t a stellar production, woodenly directed, and a little sappy, but it was a paying gig and I got to kiss the girl, so I was in.

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MPAA circulating draft legislation on broadcast flag

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 6:41 pm

From Ars Technica: Advocacy group Public Knowledge has unearthed what looks like language for the shot-down-FCC-mandated-broadcast-flag legislation. Drafted by the MPAA, the ill would give them everything the original broadcast flag would have, and then some.
MPAA circulating draft legislation on broadcast flag

Serously, folks, if you care at all about the ability to time-shift your television, or to tape-and-keep those TV specials, now is the time to contact your Senators and Representatives and let them know that the MPAA is going way too far in trying to control modern culture.

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Industry Group Looks To Stem Cookie Deletion

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 1:32 pm

From TechWeb: An industry group hoping to reverse the trend toward cookie deletion by consumers plans to begin work next week on a plan to help improve the image of the technology used to track Web activity.
Industry Group Looks To Stem Cookie Deletion

Yeah, according to the story:

The idea for followed research that showed an increasing number of consumers were regularly deleting cookies from their web browsers, which greatly diminishes the advertisers and publishers ability to monitor the effectiveness of online advertising or how visitors are using a particular website.

…which means they are afraid they won’t be able to constantly watch everything you do on the Internet.

Here’s an idea…tell the websites who arbitrarily add cookies to your browser that you are tired of their intrusive monitoring, and will use browsers like FireFox which allow you to expire marketing cookies after every session…or simply refuse them from the worst third-party offenders.

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Court blocks TV anti-piracy rules

Filed under: Television, News — Charlie Summers @ 3:54 pm

From The AP via MSNBC: A U.S. appeals court on Friday threw out new federal rules to require anti-piracy technology that would have limited how consumers could record and watch their favorite television programs in the future.
Court blocks TV anti-piracy rules

Also see: Broadcast Flag Regulation Shot Down on Corante

Also see: Court on Broadcast Flag: You Can’t Hide Elephants in Mouseholes on Corante (this one cracked me up)

Thank heavens there’s one court with a little common sense in this country. Of course, now the entertainment industry will go to Congress, shoveling out wads of cash with which to rent out your elected officials and have them apply these restrictions to what you can reasonably and fairly do with off-air recordings.

Instead of attacking the pirate, they’d rather restrict what you can do with off-air broadcasts. All the while charging $100 for one season of Star Trek. Bah.

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Vic and Sade…Friend or Foe?

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 12:42 pm

In the most recent Internet OTR Digest, Ron Sayles lept into the lion’s den by listing a series of his nominees for worst OTR programs, and including such shows as “Vic and Sade,” “Easy Aces,” “Lum and Abner,” and “Amos n Andy.”

You can almost see the torches coming over the horizion, mob enraged, demanding the death of the monster. Some folks have already posted wondering if Mr. Sayles is suffering some form of senile dementia…even Elizabeth McLeod, someone with whom I am lothe to disagree about anything, so vast and deep is her knowledge, has posted that this is her preferred format.

Ron’s dementia must be going around, though…because in many ways, I agree with him. And there are more of us out here than you think.

The “character pieces,” including “Vic and Sade,” and “Lum and Abner,” are not as universally loved as those who appreciate the pieces seem to convince themselves. Yes, yes, I’ve heard it over and over by proponents of the series; the dialog is poetry, the writing is sublime, yadda-yadda-yadda.

Truth is, either you “get it” or you don’t; and if you don’t, like me, even after listening to large blocks of these shows expecting some kind of spiritual epiphany, you find the shows overblown ramblings with no point nor purpose; boring excursions into meaningless meanderings; a love of language over any attempt to engage. This doesn’t mean this is the “right” answer, it only means the “Vic-and-Sade-is-finest-writing-ever” contingent isn’t “right,” either. The problem is, those so in love with the “poetry” of these shows are completely blinded to the idea that anyone with an IQ larger than an eggplant might not want to waste any more time listening to them. The same people who can cheerfully disagree about any other show become completely unhinged when confronted with the idea that some of us find these shows…painfully boring.

I don’t understand that. The cool thing about OTR is that there’s something for everyone there. And folks will cheerfully argue for hours who was the best Johnny Dollar, or which Jack Benny castmember was most irreplacable (been involved in both, and a whole lot more esoteric, besides), but when it comes to these character shows, the proponents cannot imagine anyone not finding them the epitimy of audio performances.

Mob, settle down. No monster here, just a valid differing opinion.

Oh, and before I forget, Happy Birthday, Orson!

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If You Need More Evidence…

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 11:24 am

…as I type this, Scott Simon is being interviewed by Dick Gordon on “The Connection” (from WBUR Boston, and available not only on various terrestrial public radio stations, but also on XM Satellite Radio), Note that this interview program is running at the same time as “Morning Edition” (at least in the Pacific timezone), and therefore is competition, just like The Bob Edwards Show. But this show is clearly ok for Scott to appear on, where the Edwards Show isn’t.

Could the pinstripes running NPR possibly be any more juvenile? I wonder if the Apologist…er…I mean…Ombudsman…will bother addressing this issue? Na, he’s already found “closure.”

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Let’s Not Forget David D’Arcy’s Firing…

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 3:20 pm reminds us that the corporate stupidity of NPR goes far beyond not allowing Scott Simon to be interviewed on The Bob Edwards Show. David D’Arcy was fired by NPR because of complaints from the Museum of Modern Art on his hard-hitting arts reporting (nope, I’m not making this up; see this LA Times article for more details).

Although after reading the assinine response NPR had to the Edwards/Simon flap it’s apparent that NPR has gone completely over-the-edge in its personal pique, we can’t forget that Edwards is not the only person NPR has treated shabbily.

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Free Buzz Blitz Earns Rebuke

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 9:00 pm

From Wired: In a bid to boost its public profile, the Creative Commons nonprofit has partnered with BzzAgent, a leading word-of-mouth marketing organization. But the unlikely partnership has upset supporters of Creative Commons, some of whom find it hard to believe the copyright reform organization would team up with a viral-marketing company with a somewhat dodgy reputation.
Wired News: Free Buzz Blitz Earns Rebuke

Even Professor Lessig is backpeddling away from this one on his blog.

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More on NPR’s Vindictiveness

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 11:37 am

According to Richard Leiby’s column, “Reliable Source” in today’s Washington Post, Bob Edwards is furious because NPR barred his old colleague Scott Simon , host of “Weekend Morning Edition,” (Actually, “Weekend Edition Saturday”) from appearing on his XM Satellite Radio show last week to promote a book. “This is clearly just pettiness directed at me,” Edwards told Leiby yesterday. “It baffles me that they are going to these petty extremes, especially when I am still an outspoken supporter of public radio and NPR specifically.”

See the whole story, including the typically-bewildering response by an NPR spokesman, at Bob Edwards Learns NPR Isn’t Done Hitting the Off Button - then write the “Ombudsman” and complain about this petty nonsense. I mean, doesn’t Jay Kernis have better things to do than to sit awake nights in fear of a satellite radio show?

Update 4:45pm: This story is also being reported on the Outside the Beltway newsblog. The only comment there as of this writing is from someone apparently raised by wolves with no sense of taste nor decency; perhaps readers here might consider countering this person’s post.

Another note of some relevance; Scott Simon has been on XMPR (XM Satellite Public Radio). Back in February, he appeared on “The Kalb Report” when they discussed baseball in the Nation’s Capital. So apparently NPR doesn’t have a problem with XMPR, it’s only The Bob Edwards Show they don’t want Scott to appear on. Damning evidence that this is personal pique and not sensible decisionmaking…

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