Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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December 2008
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Best Christmas Present Ever…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 9:30 pm

Look, I’ve received some really cool gifts over my lifetime - from the Santa-delivered “Major Matt Mason, Mattel’s Man in Space” a whole lot of years ago, to this year’s Jack Bauer action figure my wife and daughter knew I would be tickled with, Christmastime has always meant receiving something special. But this year, the big guy in the red suit outdid himself. This year, there was…

Silly String. Actually, three cans of the stuff.

St. Nick dropped a can of Silly String in each of our stockings this year, something my daughter had never experienced before - indeed, the poor kid looked confused about an aerosol can containing string. (And if you don’t know what it is, and welcome back from spending the last half-century in Siberia, by the way, check out the How Stuff Works website.) And as she was manning the camera when the first barrage came her way (*innocent look*), the record of the event is quite spotty. But suffice it to say that within about two minutes there was so much of the stuff around the living room (and, of course, over the three of us) that it took the better part of an hour to clean the mess up. I admit, some of that time was wasted giggling and laughing about it, but still, it was quite a sight.

Thanks, Big Guy. It made Christmas a real hoot this year.

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We take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 12:03 pm

…the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor, I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says “If you see it in The Sun it’s so.”
Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon
115 West Ninety-fifth St.

VIRGINIA, Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, not even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

— Editorial page of the New York Sun, September 21, 1897

From our entire family to yours - Annie, Katie (who knows perfectly well there is a Santa Claus), and yours truly; no matter what you are celebrating at this truly amazing time of the year, Happy Holidays!

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Grevious Festivus!

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 9:40 am

Ah, listening to rebroadcasts of interviews with Dan O’Keefe and Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller on The Bob Edwards Show (remind me sometime to tell you how Stiller and Meara once practically caused me to wet myself when they made their entrance into the ballroom when I was videotaping The Joe Franklin Show at FOTR…oh, nevermind, I just did) prompted me to send you this “holiday” wish.

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Majel Roddenberry, ‘First Lady of Star Trek,’ dies

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 8:27 pm

From USA Today: Majel Roddenberry, ‘First Lady of Star Trek,’ dies

(*sigh*) Goodbye, Number One.

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The Bob Edwards Show 7:00 AM Conundrum and How To Work Around It

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 3:16 pm

I’m actually a little surprised, but there seem to be a whole bunch of people annoyed at the loss of the 7:00 AM EST prior-show replay of The Bob Edwards Show on SiriusXM. Even though one-third of the weekday airtime is now programmed with that one hour, replacing it with the insipid The Takeaway has riled some folks who are used to listening to the show during the 7A timeslot. The purpose of this long post is to help you reclaim that listening time (as well as giving general suggestions for time-shifting satellite and Internet radio).

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XMPR Schedule - Readable, even Update

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 9:13 pm

I’ve made a major update to the no-frills, plain-HTML, made-with-Notepad++, we-don’t-need-no-stinkin’-spreadsheets XMPR Schedule to include the major changes applied without any warning on Monday morning. For chuckles, I also highlighted the hours wasted by re-broadcasting programming already available on the neighbor channel, NPR Now (channel 134).

Nice to know the New York Sirius overlords who have taken over the programming duties aren’t any more interested in warning anyone that their favorite shows might be moving or eliminated as their XM counterparts always have been. And yes, once I get some spare time I’m going to post my thoughts about the changes, the channel in general, and why I’m sorry to see the experiment die, but not right now. Hey, I wrote the schedule page, anyway.

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The Cinnamon Bear Calendar

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 7:28 am

If you’re like our family, you end up missing an episode or two of The Cinnamon Bear and need to catch up later…if this happens a few times a week, sometimes you even get a little confused about which episode you’re supposed to be listening to.

So I put together a little calendar in iCalendar format with the episodes and the dates; you can import it into almost any modern calendar application (phpCal, Sunbird, etc.) and always know what episode you should be listening to…and maybe even how many episodes you’re behind. ;)

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Free Rentals Using Redbox Codes!

Filed under: Films and Video — Charlie Summers @ 4:58 pm

Because the guy running the biggest RedBox Free Rental Code website is getting seriously slimy about forcing his users to divulge personal information just to get the codes, I’ve started a new webpage tracking RedBox free rental codes. Check it out, and help out if you can, since I can’t afford to spend a lot of time personally searching out the codes.

And to get your started, the code for today only, Monday 8 December 2008 is 23MJT7 - how-to-use info and other stuff is available at the Redbox Codes - Free Rentals! page.

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Don’t forget The Cinnamon Bear…

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 4:46 am

Now that our friend Dennis Crow can no longer remind everyone, it’s up to me; don’t forget to listen to episodes of The Cinnamon Bear each evening during this holiday season. Today’s episode is episode 4, so if you haven’t started yet, you have some catching-up to do if you want it to end, as it should, on Christmas Eve.

Dennis’ legacy is intact, though, as the packet he put together for everyone is still available here; it includes song lyrics, a map of Maybeland, and other goodies. And the first episode of the four-inch-high bear’s story is also available below, although it contains my personal note from earlier this year when Dennis left us far too soon.

The entire series is available in amazing sound quality from First Generation Radio Archives - if you want to hear this series the way it was meant to be heard, buy this set. You and your family will enjoy it for decades to come.

icon for podpress  The Cinnamon Bear - Episode 1 [16:29m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Anne Fadiman on The Bob Edwards Show

Filed under: Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 11:26 am

A heads-up I should have posted earlier; the daughter of Clifton Fadiman appears in an encore broadcast of The Bob Edwards Show today, and she spends some time discussing him along with an excerpt from an Information Please episode with guest Red Barber. This is a rebroadcast from June 11, 2007, and is available on the satellite services (XM and Sirius) this evening at 8p east, 5p west, and again tomorrow morning at 7a east, 4a west and all day on the online services of the sat broadcasters. From the Previous Guests Calendar at the The Bob Edwards Show/Bob Edwards Weekend Discussion Forum:

Regular Monday guest David Broder of The Washington Post talks politics (NEW), then author, essayist, editor, and teacher Anne Fadiman talks about her career, her famous father (Clifton Fadiman, host of Information Please), and her latest book, At Large and at Small: Familiar Essays (originally broadcast June 11, 2007).

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