A year in the blog

For best results, start the video first and then scroll down to the slideshow beneath. Thanks!

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I’m going to write out a few things about the posts on this site in 2012 soon, but for now the slide show will have to do. If I was really tech-savvy, I’d make it so that a click on a picture would take you to the post itself. But for now, this works if the Motley Crue video is off the screen, and the slideshow plays onscreen while the music is still going. It’s the best that I know how to do at the moment.

I wrote almost 500 pieces for this blog in 2012, and these images don’t even represent a quarter of what I’ve done this year. But I’m proud of everything that’s on here. Blogging is not for everyone, but it suits me very well. It’s a window into my world, or at least those parts of it that I care enough to write about. It’s my home, at least in a virtual, online sense, and that’s why Motley Crue gets to come along for the ride. And I’m hoping for an even better year in 2013.

Here are links to all of the stories, if you’re interested in any of them:

January 7: The future of books and Going to Rosehill

January 15: A baseball tradition that you’ve never heard about

January 17: A disaster at sea

February 10: With thanks and love to my father

February 14: The Love curd

February 25: A jewel of a sculpture

March 3: Sandra Fluke and the kill for/die for thing

March 22: In appreciation of my Mom

March 24: America must be better than this

March 25: Working on my serve

March 27: They won’t look like this for long

April 3: All I’ve got is a photograph

April 14: Can’t go there anymore and What we’re losing

April 15: To be young forever

April 29: Paris, not horrible at all

May 2: Titanic’s final victim

May 12: When the music’s over, turn out the lights

May 16: Looking ahead already

May 19: Triple shot

May 21: Game ready

May 23: I can’t explain this

May 25: The movie that changed everything

May 28: Honoring Soldiers, Schuylers, and the guy who made our piano

May 30: I’m feeling good to play a little music

June 2: Forget about the goat

June 6: The ugly blue-green truck

June 8: And then I’ll sit and think some more

June 12: It was a big year for me

June 18: Finding some magic in the kitchen

June 21: Meeting the wave

June 22: My favorite founder, and a place that shares his name

July 1: Presenting a young poet’s first work

July 2: Quarterly Report #4

July 8: Passing the quarter-pole

July 11: 47% Obama, 47% Romney, 100% Worthless and Remembering the places we’ve been

July 14: The years flashed by

July 18: Only want to see you in the Purple Rain

July 23: America, as it always has been

July 26: All we are is dust in the wind

July 27: The old and the new

July 28: I couldn’t believe what I was seeing

July 30: A different reaction this time

August 3: The summer of my discontent

August 4: It’s all changed but the love

August 6: An attack on America

August 14: The past and the future, in one place

August 19: A double play of art and baseball

August 30: Listening to the golf pencils

August 31: It’s better than Tebowing and One week to go

September 2: What is “Government Help” anyway?

September 3: Crossing the digital bridge

September 5: Link to another ThroughTheFenceBaseball piece

September 11: Patriotic, to a fault and Wrigley, Ronny and the Boss

September 12: Putting it on the line and Somebody tell me

September 18: In the Midnight hour

September 19: At the end of the day

September 22: Write on

September 25: Going to the dogs

September 27: With fresh curiosity

September 29: 99 Cubsballoons go by

October 5: Thinking of my Grandpa

October 6: Hey yo, Apollo

October 7: Far away and left behind

October 9: A year that stood out

October 12: What Margarita?

October 13: So long, Champ

October 14: Breaking the Wave

October 15: The American Way?

October 16: Pizza and the presidential debates and Call me Mr. Worldwide

October 18: Blue: It’s a color so cruel

October 19: The Romney Files, Part II

October 21: Swinging at Sunrise

October 22: Still Worthless

October 28: Ballpark in Winter

November 2: Laugh about the old days

November 4: What I want for her

November 6: It was 20 years ago

November 7: Got to have a celebration

November 8: Finding Lincoln, again

November 10: My high school lifelines

November 13: Loved the movie, but hated the green screens

November 17: An allegiance to the heart

November 18: The Holder Of All Stuff and The social media president

November 23: And as we wind on down the road

November 25: A story for post number 715

November 27: Link to a Piece on ChicagoSideSports

November 30: Sorry, Pappy!

December 1: All you create

December 7: A Yuletide haiku

December 9: Ah, the unfettered thrill of outdated linguistic expression

December 10: Vegas matchbooks, Part 2

December 13: What if I told you…

December 14: Our candles were lit for the victims tonight

December 18: A couple of interesting Lincoln views

December 25: A Christmas miracle

Thanks for reading!

Appreciating vinyl once again

I rarely read the Wall Street Journal, but when it’s available in the hotel it’s hard not to at least pick one up. The USA Today is probably more common in hotels, but that wasn’t an option for me today. It was the WSJ or no way, so I went with what was in front of me.

So buried deep in section 4, or whatever that weekend section is called, was an article about the vinyl record. Vinyl was the way I learned how to listen to music, back in the mid-1970s when I discovered my parents’ old version of Beatles ’65. They had other records too, but that’s the only one that I remember anymore. Not Abbey Road or the White Album, but Beatles ’65. Better than nothing, I suppose.

The first vinyl record I ever bought myself was the Grease soundtrack in 1978. I liked the gatefold in between the two albums, with scenes from the movie splattered all over. You know, the things that a ten-year old looks for. I played the first record–the one that had all of the hit songs on it–and pretty much ignored the second record altogether. I wasn’t yet old enough to appreciate how the record label had packaged it all up into a double LP (that’s what we called them, and it stands for Long-Playing, if you’re wondering) to make me fork over more money than a single LP would have cost.

I actually used the Grease soundtrack to get myself into trouble once in grade school. It was my music teacher’s idea to teach us about what different musical instruments sounded like, so she told us to bring in a song and we could listen to the songs and pick out what the different instuments were. I brought in the Grease soundtrack–which was the only record I owned at the time–and wanted the class to hear Greased Lightnin’ with me.

When the teacher asked if there were any objectionable words in the song (since I wouldn’t yet know what lyrics were), I didn’t pause a moment before telling her that there weren’t. So when John Travolta sang out “You know it ain’t no shit, we’ll be getting lots of tit, Greased Lightnin’” I had been exposed, and the needle was unceremoniously pulled from off the record. There was some laughter from the kids, of course, but the teacher moved on to the next song to be played. It goes without saying that there was no discussion of the instruments played on the record.

The article I read today took me back to my own experiences with vinyl, which lasted through the middle of the 1980s. By 1986 or so it was all casettes, and by 1990, I donated all of my old LPs to Salvation Army because I didn’t own a turntable anymore and wanted everything to be on CDs instead. All the old vinyl, from Nazareth’s Hair of the Dog to Led Zeppelin II to the Eagles’ Hotel California to Motley Crue’s Shout at the Devil to Boston’s first two albums to…I could go on for quite awhile, but I’m sure the point has been made by now.

Digital life and the cloud has made owning physical manifestations of music, whether it’s casettes, or 8-tracks, or vinyl, a relic of another time. But apparently it still lives on, and I’m happy about that. I won’t go out and buy a turntable, and I won’t be acquiring vinyl records again, but I’m glad to have the memories that I do. And I’m even happier to have a forum for sharing these memories with you. Thanks for reading.

Any comments about your own vinyl memories will be much appreciated.