Saturday, December 31, 2016

An 1872 Christmas, courtesy of The Little Corporal

Below: A Santa right out of Miracle on 34th St., only from 1872.  The poem is straight out of the progressive Christianity of the day.  I'm guessing the last stanza is Santa himself talking.... 

From the same issue, a comic book-style novelty ad--The Magnetic Fish.  Only 30 cents (actually, 30 cents was some money in 1872).  This predates the birth of Johnson Smith.

Magic Hoops!  "The exercise is so light that the most delicate ladies can excel in the game with pleasure."  Well, that's good to know, especially when the weather becomes too cold for croquet.  And dig the manufacturer: Milton Bradley & Co.!

An 1872 Christmas tree,  property of Bessie.

I'd set these aside to post and forgot all about them until now, with a whole hour and six minutes to go until... 2017. (Bells, party sounds, "Auld Lang Syne," balloons everywhere, cheering.)


What a year! Church, VinylStudio

I'm doing a late year-in-review series at my rarely-used Text blog, because I know people want music here (understandably!) and not the cynical musings of Lee Whatshisname.  So, I'm putting them over there.  Except I seem to have lost my first post.  (What the...?)  It's no longer there.  So much for linking to it.

Maybe I only imagined I typed it.  This is crazy.  Oh, well.

In music news, the organ--a cool Thomas electric, circa 1970--has been fixed at the church where I'm volunteering.  I can't wait to hear it in its fixed state.  It had been sitting around for something like sixteen (!!) years before I warmed it up.  Most of the keys were working, but the volume pedal had major issues.  Then the thing started humming--loudly.

The repairman found frayed wires, and he had to either replace the volume pedal or do lots of work on it.  Anyway, Thomas was the brand used on the Lawrence Welk show, so that's good enough for me.  I always loved that organ sound.  All the rhythms have been deactivated, which is fine with me.  Nothing's quite as unnerving as accidentally activating a cha-cha beat in the middle of Blessed Assurance.  ("Blessed insurance, please pay on time...")

It's a very charming old (I mean, old) country church about a 20 minute drive from here.  And I thought I had an exterior-shot photo ready to post, but I don't.  (Maybe it vanished along with the Text post.)  Here's the inside:

As you can see, it's a church.  (Not sure why the balloons.)  We have a massive congregation of about 30.  I must get an exterior shot, because the building is awesome looking.  I'll do that tomorrow, if it's not too overcast.

It was cool this year having Christmas on a Sunday--and, now, a Sunday New Year's.

Music news, Part 2: VinylStudio, my great new toy (received early from Santa) is giving me the kind of 78 rpm results I've always dreamed of.  After some practice, it's becoming almost second nature to modify playback curves to my liking--sometimes, all it involves is choosing the high and low freq. turnovers, though often it's more complicated.  But not much more.

Inverting the RIAA (LP) playback curve yields a far clearer signal, and from there it's a matter of using a preset (if one is there) or going from scratch.  It's not the time-consuming task I anticipated--I can usually rip and fix seven or eight tracks in one sitting.  Here are eight from the past few days:

I'm in Love Again (Arr: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1927

Red Hot Chicago--Waring's Pennsylvanians, 1930.

Precious (Arr: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1926

Moonlight on the Ganges (A: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman Orch., 1926

Her Beaus Are Only Rainbows--Waring's Pennsylvanians, 1926

Bolshevik--Waring's Pennsylvanians, 1926

Wherever You Go--Whatever You Do--Nat Shilkret, Victor Orch., v: Lewis James, 1927

Collette (A: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman and His Orch., 1927.

Happy (almost) New Year!


Saturday, December 24, 2016


Apologies for the false links on Zippyshare--they're a major pain.  I refer to the way that, the moment we so much as tap our mouse, Z. takes us to another page, one containing a download we didn't ask for.  Anymore, this is standard internet practice.  Sometimes, of course, it's simply blackmail to get us to "upgrade" to spam-free service.

However, I've found a way to get around the page hijack.  It doesn't always work (it's failed me once so far), but clicking within the  arrow circle on "DOWNLOAD NOW" (instead of the rectangle itself) should get the proper download started:

My browser is Google Chrome.  I haven't tried this on IE or Firefox.  Malware scans reveal nothing on my PC that could be doing the page-hijacking, but scans aren't perfect....


Friday, December 16, 2016

Me, cats, winter

 Sergeant (top), who owns Daddy.  Plus Savio (l) and Tommy (r), who co-own Daddy.

 Sergeant, going in for her close-up, plus Savio, Tommy, and Daddy.  No, my chair is not a prop from Jack and the Beanstalk.

Our newest feline, Mingo, who lived in our yard for six months while Daddy bonded with him.  Now he's an indoor/outdoor cat, with an emphasis on the former during this cold, cold weather.

Mingo, looking adorable.  Cats have evolved to do that.  That's why they snuggle up in boxes.  (It's science, I tell you.)

Mingo again, looking imperious in front of the new cat window.  ("It's mine.  MINE!")  Mingo has an inverted eyelid condition but is otherwise quite healthy.   And quite smart.  Meet my best buddy.

In our back yard--subtle signs that winter is approaching. When you've lived in the country for a while, you can sort of sense these things.

Arlo in a "His Master's Voice" pose next to our ceramic tree atop the TV stand.  (Actually, the TV's up on the wall, safe from, um, territorial marking.)