My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

seventy-seven double-you aye bee see

When I was a teenager, I was an avid listener of AM radio station WABC in New York City. Day and night, it was loud and clear in The Brass City and my radio was tuned to 770 kc most of the time.

I recently purchased a DVD titled 1960’s WABC Radio Airchecks. In addition to airchecks, the DVD contains 75 hours of pure nostalgia from 77 WABC including “Actual Broadcasts By Big Dan Ingram, ‘Cousin Brucie’ Bruce Morrow, Ron Lundy, Scott Muni, Chuck Leonard & More,” like the Cousin Brucie theme song sung by The Four Seasons or the old Palisades Amusement Park commercial.

Seventy-five hours is a little much to listen to in one sitting, so I loaded the contents of the DVD into my iPod (by way of iTunes) and I hear random selections during my daily commute.

Yesterday, I heard a 16-minute segment from October 7, 1964, with Dan Ingram spinning the platters. It was very entertaining and enlightening.

Here are some items of note from the broadcast:

* Telephone numbers still used two-letter alphabetical prefices, for example, “PL 5-1516″ instead of “755-1516″ (in this example, the “PL” was short for “plaza”).

* Mailing addresses still used one or two-number postal zones instead of ZIP Codes, for example, “Waterbury 6, Connecticut” instead of “Waterbury, Connecticut 06706.”

* Firestone advertised snow tires: $24.24 for a pair.

* During the broadcast, Dan Ingram announced score updates from the World Series. On the air, he admitted rooting for St. Louis (against the hometown Yankees). Can you imagine an on-the-air personality rooting against the hometown team today? (I can’t.)

* This broadcast was during the height of Beatlemania and there were two commercials in a row: one for a contest to win a Beatles poster, followed by a commercial for the Beatles’ appearance on Shindig! Both commercials used snippets from the Beatles’ hit She Loves You. Following the commercials, Ingram says, “Well, I guess it was inevitable” and the next song you hear him play was She Loves You.

Fun, fun, fun!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Surfin': Bird’s Eye Viewing

This week, Surfin’ visits a Web site to take a different view of your Amateur Radio station.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

will Mad follow National Lampoon into extinction?

In case you missed it, Mad magazine becomes a quarterly instead of a monthly starting with the April 2009 issue.

This does not bode well for the future of the magazine. National Lampoon was a monthly for years, but then its publication schedule became sparser and sparser until it ceased publication all together.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Hard Day's Write

I am a fan of Beatles’ music. I have all their recordings including vinyl and CD LPs, EPs, 45s, DVDs, bootlegs. I even have a few LPs on cassette tape that I acquired when my sister abandoned that format. I also have most of their solo artist recordings.

My collection includes a few rarities… not that I collect rarities; I bought the stuff at the time the stuff was released and some of the stuff became rare over the years. Who would have thought?

Over the years, I have bought and read a lot of books about the Beatles’ lives and music. I am more interested in their music, but most of the books concentrate on their lives.

I received a late Christmas gift from my sister on Saturday, a book titled A Hard Day’s Write by Steve Turner, which is “a lavishly illustrated, rollicking account of the real people and events that inspired the Beatles’ lyrics.”

It is the third edition of the book originally published in 1994. I don’t how I missed it until now, but it is very good and I have been reading it whenever I had free time this past weekend. It is easy reading; you can pick the book up anytime and time-permitting, read the story about a particular song or a particular album.

The book only covers songs written, recorded, and released by the Beatles; it does not cover songs they did as solo artists, although a few of those (like “Teddy Boy”) slipped in as demos by way of the Anthology albums.

Each chapter covers the songs by album (the British versions) starting with Please, Please Me and ending with Anthology 1-3. The Live at the BBC and Anthology album chapters only cover the songs on those albums that did not appear on their earlier albums, whereas the other chapters cover all the songs on each album written by the Beatles.

I recommend the book to any Beatle fan who wants to know more about their music.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

a Groundhog Day moment

The Pies: Pumpkin Pie and Q.T. Pie

About 8 AM yesterday, I walked The Pies on the one-mile loop that we’ve walked every weekend morning (weather permitting) ever since The Pies were old enough to walk.

As we cleared the top of the hill at the half-way point, I saw a blue Subaru wagon parked at the end of the road. It belongs to a retired gent, who hikes with his dog through the woods every morning. Next, I saw the gent and his dog exit the woods. The gent opened the back hatch of his wagon to let the dog in the car and as the gent got in the car, he waved to us, then got in the car and drove away just as The Pies and I reached the location where he was parked. Just as he pulled away, a low-flying, single-engine prop airplane flew overhead in a southerly direction.

This morning, I walked The Pies again at about the same time and the exact same things happened, i.e., saw Subaru parked at the end of the road, saw gent and dog exit woods, gent lifted hatch for dog to get in car, get waved, then got in car and drove away as a low-flying, single-engine prop airplane flew overhead in a southerly direction.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Surfin’: Serving the Public

This week, Surfin’ suggests visiting the Web site of Web sites for public service.

Friday, January 16, 2009

how far away is the horizon?

Read the answer here in an interesting blog post.

Surfin’: Inauguration’s Communications

This week, Surfin’ finds Amateur Radio on the air for the inauguration of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Surfin': Getting Heathkit Manuals and Getting Smart

This week, Surfin’ looks for old Amateur Radio manuals online and finds a ham radio in a recent flick.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Surfin’: Check Out One Heck of a Mode

This week, Surfin’ visits a Web site devoted to the Hellschreiber facsimile Amateur Radio mode.