Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Only Friend through Teenage Nights

I got a little too organized getting out of my car the other evening when I came home from work. I was a little weary of the music I had in the CD player so I ejected all of the discs in the reverse alphabetical order in which I loaded them (all of my music be it CD, long player, cassette, single or extended play, is organized alphabetically by artist, and then arranged chronologically by release. Anal, moi? Please!).

I brought all the discs into the house and returned them to the larger collection that takes up most of the walls in our living room. The collection and the equipment to play it drives my wife crazy because of its amount, size and the degree of sprawl that comes with it. She regards it, I fear, as entertainment kudzu and the day may come where I return home and she's going at my collection of Beatles' pictures discs with a weed whacker. Remember, you read it here first.

The plan was, after dinner, I'd pick out a new favorite bunch of discs. I mentioned I was a satellite radio fan and might still be if, after the two separate services merged after promising Congress they wouldn't jack the prices on subscriptions, they did exactly that. Despite a slogan that began as 'you can't put a price on being able to hear exactly what you want...' it turns out somebody sure could, and they most certainly did.

I added Slacker to my smartphone and used one of those hands free things that talks to an unassigned FM frequency on your radio so I could listen to the programming over my car stereo.

That arrangement seemed to work fine--okay, it's not as easy as satellite radio because it has more buttons to push, knobs to twiddle and requires more patience on my part (never a good idea). Quite frankly, the whole thing is way more attractive in theory than in practice (the marketing phrase 'you'll have lots more musical choices' is the equivalent of the dating set-up 'and has a great sense of humor').

Long story short-or in this case, still long-I forgot to pull CDs. Of course I remembered when I was behind the wheel the following morning on my way to work and had no time to recover from my brain cramp and decided to live with the FM radio (not sure why there is still AM radio and why anyone listens to it. Just me or are all the talk radio stations on AM all the way over on the right side of the dial?).

We live in the largest city in the region, and yet, as friends used to suggest, 'it's not the end of the world, but you can see it from your house.' (those Palins make my hair hurt, especially Michael). When you turn on the FM radio around here, it's not that you're spoiled for choice. We have guys who think they're a Mike Joseph station (epic fail) we have folks offering sweet hits and soft rock that cause me, as a diabetic, to risk coma after listening for more than ten minutes, and we have a Classic Rock station owned by one of the casinos that's too painful to listen to.

I am a bigot (I know that surprises you)-I hate classic rock stations. Not the music, the idea of a decrepit juke box that cranks this crap out 24/7. Seriously, how often do I need to hear Bon Jovi's Dead or Alive? Or Journey or Loverboy or any of the stadium rock dinosaurs that I still dearly enjoy and regard as a guilty pleasure. My problem with them on the radio is they leave no place for new music to get heard which means in ten years where's the next wave of classic rock supposed to come from? Katy Perry? I rest my case.

What a singular experience and I'm not being complimentary--listening was an audio assault akin to a scrotum kick; actually the kick might have been preferable. They program music the way old people fu--dance, let's leave it at that. Suffice it to say, I won't be caught without CDs in the car ever again. My brain refused to believe what my ears were telling it as after a cluster (stop set) of ten commercials ('spots'), to include a 'propellant' (tech word for jingle) that took us from a sixty second to a thirty second spot for competing automobiles, Kevin, 'your DJ,' shotgun-sequed from U2's New Year's Day directly into Grand Funk Railroad's Some Kind of Wonderful. Not hardly, Kev.

With enough super glue I'm pretty sure I can get the on/off knob I snapped off in my had to go back on the radio and stay there. Just not sure I should take that chance.
-bill kenny

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