Nostalgic Rumblings
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12/30/2012


SummersTime for the week of 11/12/2012

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 1:25 pm

First up, Kate plays an episode of The Whistler, I play the final episode in the series Frontier Gentleman, she lightens the mood with a funny episode of My Friend Irma, and I finish up with two episodes of the virtuoso Paul Frees performance series, The Player!

SummersTime is the Radio Once More show hosted by father-and-daughter team Kate and Charlie Summers. Our goal is to pick some awesome Old-Time Radio shows that we want to hear or share with each other, and then play them for you, too! Be sure to listen to this week’s broadcast - schedule posted both at the SummersTime website and at Radio Once More! (We return to the air New Year’s Eve at 6:00pm - listen to us then, won’t you?)

You may stream the show using the player below, or download it with the link. Remember, by subscribing to this blog with any podcasting client (Juice, iTunes, etc. - just add the the RSS link over on the sidebar or hit the button) the shows will be automatically downloaded to your computer or MP3 player!

icon for podpress  SummersTime Nov 12, 2012 [119:30m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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12/24/2012


We take pleasure in answering at once and thus prominently…

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 1:22 am

 
…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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12/19/2012


SummersTime for the week of 11/05/2012

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 9:00 am

This week, Kate starts it off with a New Adventure of Nero Wolfe, I join Orson Welles in The Black Museum, she plays fellow redhead Lucille Ball’s My Favorite Husband, and I close the show with The Casebook of Gregory Hood!

SummersTime is the Radio Once More show hosted by father-and-daughter team Kate and Charlie Summers. Our goal is to pick some awesome Old-Time Radio shows that we want to hear or share with each other, and then play them for you, too! Be sure to listen to this week’s broadcast - schedule posted both at the SummersTime website and at Radio Once More! We’re off the air until New Year’s Eve - listen to us then, won’t you?

You may stream the show using the player below, or download it with the link. Remember, by subscribing to this blog with any podcasting client (Juice, iTunes, etc. - just add the the RSS link over on the sidebar or hit the button) the shows will be automatically downloaded to your computer or MP3 player!

icon for podpress  SummersTime Nov 5, 2012 [119:30m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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12/13/2012


“You get what you pay for?” Retire that bromide!

Filed under: General, Reviews and Impressions — Charlie Summers @ 4:23 pm

A while back I asked via Twitter for help in converting the format of some “e-books” I have here; since a lifetime ago I used to have a Palm PDA (Personal Digital Assistant…geez, how quaint!) I have a butload of public domain books in various formats that worked on the Handspring, mostly PalmDOC .prc files, and wanted to convert them to the more modern ePub format (basically a ZIP file containing XHTML files and support files like graphics, etc.).

One of the responses I received was from a sales drone trying to sell me on a commercial web-based application for authors; it’s basically an on-line word processor and export application that charges a whopping $19.00 every time you export a book to .epub and .mobi format!

(This same company had started a micropay service in competition with PayPal. Never heard of it? Me, neither.)

Clearly I had and have no intention of paying $20 per book to convert a public domain .prc file to .epub…heck, I doubt this commercial service would even handle the input of .prc, so the response was inappropriate and nothing more than some sleazy salesguy searching Twitter for mentions of e-books. I admit I was annoyed, and called him out on it suggesting his “service” was massively over-priced; if you are an author of nitch books and want to convert to a non-DRMed e-book, there are much cheaper (read, free) ways of getting there, so this “service” depends on authors uneducated in the concept of free software.

The salesdrone responded, “You get what you pay for.” Which got me thinking about this old bromide, one I’ve used myself quite often.

In the world of the Internet, I think it’s time to retire this nonsense.

Hear me out…as a proponent of free (as in beer and as in speech) software, I know something about it, and can usually recommend some open-source or free software to accomplish almost any task. But the argument of the bromide is, the free stuff simply cannot be as good as the software you pay for. So let me throw out a few examples where the freeware alternative is near the equal of the commercial version, at least for the common consumer:
(more…)

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12/11/2012


I tried to like Primeval New World, but just can’t…

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 4:09 pm

The New World team.

First, let me note I know Primeval New World isn’t yet available in the United States; don’t know when we get it officially, but right now it is only airing in Canada. Fortunately, I have friends in Canada (all over the world, actually) who “smuggle” me copies of programs I normally wouldn’t be able to see (like the excellent and now canceled Insecurity, or the strange yet interesting Continuum), so I’m a little ahead of most folks here. And even though the last few series of the British Primeval weren’t its finest, I still enjoyed it enough to look forward to Canada’s “sequel.”

Problem is, it just isn’t very good.

Let’s look at the overall concept, created by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, names I vaguely remember from some forgettable Star Trek novels. They have apparently decided to get as far away from the premise of the original Primeval as possible, managing to make Canada look pretty silly in the process. Where in England there is an entire governmental agency to handle the anomalies and the travelers through them, in Canada the government is blissfully ignorant, leaving it to a rich dot-commer and his rag-tag bunch to handle these time-portals. It’s as if Canada’s government is collectively the most stupid bunch of politicians on the planet, worse even than America’s Congress. Yipe.
(more…)

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12/10/2012


FLASHBACK - 2009 FOTR Convention; Yep, More Pics

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 11:44 am

I am slowly digging through old post drafts for the blog, looking for interesting things to talk about, edit, or revise. I found this post complete, and cannot help but wonder why I never posted it in the first place. But here it is, only a few years late, with my apologies. –cfs3

These photos were taken Saturday, October 24, 2009, and are mostly of the Gotham Radio Players. This is a group based in New York led by Steven Lewis that routinely appears on WBAI radio, and each year at the Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention.

They have a core group of players, yet also involve other guests of the convention in their performances; this year, they enlisted the services of Simon Jones (best-known as Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) to perform the title role in an episode of The Saint.

The software I use for the photo galleries is a little limited on the amount of space I can use in the descriptions, so let me note now the Players - from left-to-right in the performance pic down there, James Jockle, Ron Weitz, Ted Ferber, Simon Jones, Sandi Sherr, Melissa Kalt (obscured), Lucien Dodge (obscured), and Bill Zarro. Anne Marie Hendrickson and Paul Curtis are the sound effects artists, and Mike Mandel (not pictured) handled the live music.

If you get the chance, give this group a listen. I’m not usually excited about contemporary groups performing old-time radio scripts, but these folks are really good.

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12/9/2012


Fixing the espresso machine…

Filed under: Electronics Disassemblies — Charlie Summers @ 6:27 pm

My espresso machine, a Saeco Sirena, started leaking a few months’ ago…water coming out the back of the machine implies a broken hose, and also suggests continuing to use it could get the operator, and that’s me, electrocuted, since water and electricity rarely mix.

Now a sensible person would have sent the machine out for repair, but since sensibility is not my strong suit, I decided to disassemble the machine and fix it myself. I found a place on-line who sold a hunk of replacement hose at a wildly-inflated price (but then, it isn’t like I needed a thousand feet of the stuff, either), so I picked one up.

Disassembling the machine wasn’t difficult, but when I looked in I saw these weird little hose clamps…for someone more used to the common screw-tight clamps, these Oetiker things seemed to come from Mars. They are a crimp-type, requiring a special tool to properly clamp them.

I looked for the tool, and was a little horrified to discover it was in the $30-range, and not immediately available anywhere locally (although, oddly, only Staples stationary store could deliver one to my local store for pickup the next day). And I admit it bothered me a little to pay that kind of money for a tool I was unlikely to use more than two or three times within my lifetime.

So…I made one. Photos and such after the jump.
(more…)

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12/8/2012


SummersTime for the week of 10/29/2012

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 1:05 pm

It’s our Halloween special, broadcasting direct from the Nostalgialand Cemetary, where entertainment media are buried! Kate picks an episode of The Witch’s Tale, I spook up the school with Our Miss Brooks, she thinks Father Knows Best (boy, don’t I wish!), and I close up the show with Quiet, Please!

SummersTime is the Radio Once More show hosted by father-and-daughter team Kate and Charlie Summers. Our goal is to pick some awesome Old-Time Radio shows that we want to hear or share with each other, and then play them for you, too! Be sure to listen to this week’s broadcast - schedule posted both at the SummersTime website and at Radio Once More! We’re off the air until New Year’s Eve - listen to us then, won’t you?

You may stream the show using the player below, or download it with the link. Remember, by subscribing to this blog with any podcasting client (Juice, iTunes, etc. - just add the the RSS link over on the sidebar or hit the button) the shows will be automatically downloaded to your computer or MP3 player!

icon for podpress  SummersTime Oct. 29, 2012 [119:30m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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