Archive for October, 2011
There is no one who would consider me a sports fanatic. I don’t follow the BCS standings, watch any NFL games on Sundays, and I have never engaged in a fantasy league. There is one sport that has always captivated me and kept my attention. Baseball, dubbed “America’s Pastime,” is the one game I follow with great excitement and interest. Ever since I was very young there has been only a single team that owns my heart and that is the St. Louis Cardinals.
I have so many memories from my childhood about baseball. The sport seemed to dominate my free time and my imagination. There is something magical about the game of baseball. Outside of the excitement on the field it seems to act as a way for people to come together and generate a bond. Whether it’s a couple of Cardinals fans celebrating an Albert Pujols home run or a Red Sox fan and Yankees fan smack talking one another, baseball has a way of generating passionate conversation among people. The 2011 World Series has been so exciting that it has me reflecting on baseball’s presence throughout my life.
Before I ever participated in organized baseball I would play in my front yard. When the other neighborhood kids couldn’t come out I would still play. One of my favorite things would be to get a few tennis balls and have my own home-run derby. The object was to hit the tennis ball over the tallest peak of my ranch-style house that stood at the opposite end of the yard. I used the tennis balls because you could really launch that thing a long distance. In my mind I was in a jam-packed stadium with legions of fans. In reality I was alone in my front yard listening to a Will Smith CD on a boom-box. There was no legions of fans, except for the occasional neighbor who would pass by on a walk.
I mention that I am a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. A lot of my baseball memories involve my dad. He would take me to games at Busch Stadium. I still can remember the excitement as we drove to the ballpark. The entire experience of going to the game was amazing to me. Seeing all the people dressed in red excited me. I was certain at a young age that if I ever had to pick a last meal it would be a Hunter hotdog from the stadium and a bag of peanuts. My dad would always get a scorecard before we took our seats. I remember being confused as he filled in the boxes. I didn’t understand the mysterious codes he jotted down as symbols of what was going on in the game.
When we didn’t have tickets to actually go to the game we would listen on the radio. To this day I love driving around or sitting outside listening to the St. Louis Cardinals on the radio. The Cardinals
broadcaster Mike Shannon adds such a wonderful touch to the play-by-play of the games. What makes his broadcast so great is he truly loves the team. He may not always be the most professional but his sometimes eccentric calls add to the excitement on the field. If given the choice I think I would pick meeting Mike Shannon over any of the star players on the Cardinals roster.
To this day I can vividly picture my Little League coach. He was a fearsome man. If you would have asked me then I would have told you he was over 7 feet tall and could probably beat Mike Tyson in a fight. He had a strong passion for the game of baseball and my team was his own version of managing a professional squad. He would sternly give instructions on hitting and fielding behind the smoky shadow of a cigarette. Sometimes he would blow smoke out of his nostrils like an angry dragon. He taught me so much about the game but what I remember most is the fear that filled my body walking back to the dugout after striking out and not even swinging the bat. The man’s eyes could burn holes through the front of your jersey.
On year I got to attend spring training for the St. Louis Cardinals. I went with my grandparents who had signed up for a senior citizen vacation. I was the only one in the group of 30 who was under the age of 60. Despite the lack of people my age I was excited to go on the trip. I had visions in my head of all the autographs I would get. I could meet all my idols and bond with them. I even got the notion that maybe I would be asked to be a bat boy for a few games. None of this ever happened in real life but I still had a wonderful time. The only autographs I ended up getting was the pitching coach and the third baseman at the time, Gary Gaetti. He was a solid third baseman but what I remember most about Gaetti is that he looked like Templeton the rat from the children’s book ”Charlotte’s Web.”
My love of baseball has even walked hand in hand with my love of cinema. There are so many great films that center around the sport of baseball. “Bull Durham” and “Field of Dreams” rank as all-time classics. When my brother lived in North Carolina I got to visit the Durham Bulls stadium. Before Charlie Sheen was “winning” he was Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn in the “Major League” series. The second “Major League” movie ranked as my favorite movie for years. I am almost certain that if I was given an hour or so that I could still recite every line of dialogue from that film.
Another aspect I loved about baseball was collecting all the trading cards. I have so many albums filled with cards. I even had a system worked out that organized all my cards by teams. I can remember going to many hobby shops in search of great cards. I was obsessed at looking into the glass cases where the high-priced cards were kept. It seemed similar to the security surrounding priceless diamonds. Some intense moments were shared between my best friend and me when we would trade cards. The conversations probably sounded like we worked for the front offices of the real pro teams. There was nothing more crushing than realizing that you got hosed after a trade.
I have had various favorite players throughout my years of following the game of baseball. My favorite players have always been St. Louis Cardinals. My two favorite players of all time are Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee. To me they are like the Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of baseball. The flamboyance of Ozzie in his prime was captivating. There was no other player who took to the field by doing a series of cartwheels and flips. McGee on the other hand was quiet and reserved. The key with Willie was he was always reliable. I also loved Willie because he was an outfielder, which was the position I wanted to play.
Baseball is truly something special. To me it is not only a sport but something that is responsible for so many great memories from my childhood. I have loved and followed the game ever since I was very little and probably will still pay the same attention to it when I am an old man. Now if you would excuse me I am going to go think about how much I want a Busch Stadium hot dog for the next three hours.
— Jordan O’Donnell
My mother is an avid runner and proud owner of two Jack Russell terriers. This past weekend she participated in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in St. Louis. In an effort to be a good son and make a little extra money I offered my services to watch after the dogs.
I had nothing going on that weekend so looking after a couple of hounds seemed like a decent way to fill my time. I also thought, ‘how hard could it be?’ All I have to do is walk them a few times, dish some food their way, throw the occasional tennis ball and Boom! I’d be well on my way to an easy payday. Like many things in life my adventure into the world of dogsitting proved to be not that simple.
I drove to my home in Hannibal, Mo., early Saturday morning. I made the mistake of getting McDonald’s breakfast. Not only was it not as good as I remembered, it also left me with the feeling that someone had punched me in the intestines. For the rest of the drive I did not feel so hot. I arrived home a little after 10 a.m. to find a giant green Dumpster parked in the driveway. My mom is clearing out the basement of unneeded junk. The massive Dumpster takes up nearly half of the driveway.
After surveying the Dumpster I went inside the house. My mom was busy doing some last-second packing. Her friends would arrive soon and they planned to carpool together to the hotel. With her bags ready by the door my mom informed me of my instructions for the weekend. ‘Walk the dogs’ was at the top of the list followed by reminders to ‘lock the door if I decided to leave’ and ‘keep a watchful eye on the Dumpster.’ My mom feared that with a couple of yard sales going on around the neighborhood that our Dumpster might become a target for divers in search of discarded treasures. I asked if I could confront the divers with the fake gun she uses to scare raccoons. My mother didn’t feel it necessary to justify my inquiry with a response.
Before I could fully get my bearings, my mom was walking out the door to load her bags into the trunk of her friend’s car. I didn’t even hear a car pull up due to my head still spinning at the thought of grungy Dumpster divers. Before she left she kissed me on the cheek and gave me a piece of paper with the phone number and address of the hotel. I wished her luck as she walked out the door. I turned around to see the two small dogs staring up at me. I was official now, I was dogsitting.
Lola is the older of the two terriers. She is extremely protective and affectionate. As she has aged, she has managed to obtain an odd level of elegance. When she lies on the couch she will cross her paws in a very lady-like manner. Mick Jagger is the younger and more rambunctious terrier. He has been known to have a short fuse. If he is petted the wrong way or if he feels his personal space has been infringed upon he will growl or snap. He can be pleasant at times but he is not one to cross on a bad day.
I’ve always been more partial to cats rather than dogs. Cats can show affection and provide companionship but for the most part they pretty much do their own thing. Dogs on the other hand, especially these terriers, seem to demand so much more attention. No matter where I walked around the house the terriers followed close behind. My mindless Internet surfing was ruined by the unbreakable stares from two sets of dark doggie eyes.
The day was moving very slowly so I decided I would go to a movie. The film that fit perfectly into my time schedule was “Paranormal Activity 3.” I’ve been excited to see this film and am a big fan of the first two. Before I left, the terriers and I went on a nice fall afternoon walk. The two dogs dragged me around the neighborhood. When a squirrel went running by, Mick immediately took notice. He tried to engage in a chase but his pursuit was cut short due to his leash. Though his capture of the squirrel failed he did succeed in almost ripping my arm out of the socket.
A tip to the wise, no matter how brave you think you are, it is never a good idea to see a movie about a mysterious evil demon that terrorizes people at night when you know you will be spending your evening all alone in a big dark house. Initially I was disappointed with “Paranormal Activity 3″ and deemed it inferior to the other films in the series. I changed my tune about the film once I got home. The film did its job at making some awful imagery stick with you. The dark house was too much for me to take so soon after the movie so I gathered the dogs and went on another walk. For now I couldn’t be confined to that house with the thoughts of being dragged down stairs by an invisible force so fresh in my mind.
Once the terriers and I returned from our walk I noticed that one of them had made it a mission to turn over every trash can in the house. I really wasn’t mad. As long as the terriers did it and not an angry demon I was going to be cool with it. As I walked from room to room a new overturned can awaited me. The garbage been yanked out and littered the floors. As I attempted to clean, the terriers of course followed me.
After all the trash was cleaned up I settled in for the night. I had promised myself a relaxing quiet evening. There was a “zombie pub crawl” going on in Quincy that was tempting but I remained committed to my initial mission. I thought a nice human/terrier activity would be lying on the couch and watching Game 3 of the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. This proved to satisfy both the terriers and me until Albert Pujols decided to make history. Every time Pujols slammed another home run and I would leap from the couch and cheer with joy. Somehow the terriers took my yelps of glee as a move of aggression. Every time I cheered the terriers would also jump from the couch and bark at me loudly. Mick even growled and snarled a few times. By the time Pujols knocked his third home run of the game I just nodded in approval. I didn’t want to anger the dogs again.
After the game I took the terriers on one last walk of the night. While I had no visits from Dumpster divers that day I did encounter one unwelcome guest. As the terriers and I walked out the back door a very large raccoon was roaming around the porch. The raccoon just stared at the dogs and I blankly. His expression was almost like he was irritated we interrupted him. Before the terriers could cause any more trouble I quickly put them back inside. With the terriers secure I turned my attention to the raccoon. I ran in his direction and shouted loudly. My efforts were met with indifference from the raccoon. He seemed unfazed by my attack. After several minutes of jumping and wildly shouting the raccoon finally sauntered off into the night. I was out of breath and extremely irritated. Inside I corralled the dogs once more and we finally went on our walk. When we returned from a successful journey outside I rewarded the terriers with a piece of bologna. It seems nothing makes these dogs more excited and happy than a nice chunk of bologna. One reason why I really do like these dogs is because it is refreshing to see how they enjoy the simplest things in life.
To close out the night I grabbed a blanket and pillow and set up camp on the couch. The terriers seemed to know that the night was drawing to a close so they also made themselves comfortable around the living room. I always sleep with the television on. I noticed the Kristen Wiig movie “Bridesmaids” was playing so I turned to the station. I had never seen the movie. What followed made me feel like a crazy person. For the next hour and half I howled with laughter. When you realize you are alone and laughing uncontrollably it does kind of make you feel like a lunatic. After my mental institution-worthy laughfest I finally closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Sunday morning I awoke in a panic. Ever since I began working at a television station on weekends I wake up convinced I have overslept and am late for work. I ran around the house trying to think of excuses and gathering my clothes. Finally my brain clicked on and remembered it was not a work day. I tried to lie back down but my stirring had awoken the terriers. They were ready to start their day and going back to sleep was no longer an option. I fed and walked the terriers then moved on to roughly five cups of coffee and the Sunday paper.
The day dragged by and I was starting to feel bored. My mother wasn’t due back for another hour or two so I needed to fill my time. In honor of the time of year I decided I would carve a pumpkin. Though I enjoy pumpkin carving I have never been good at it. It baffles me how people can make intricate designs or portraits on pumpkins and I cannot even make two eyes the same size. I completed my pumpkin and of course the face was lopsided as always. Nevertheless I proudly displayed it on the outside table on the back porch.
My mom finally returned late in the afternoon. She looked very tired but proud of herself with what she accomplished. Her race went amazing and she finished the half marathon in under three hours. Hearing about the course made me tired and wanting a cigarette. I ended up sticking around for dinner. We went to a restaurant in Hannibal known for its breakfast. I’ve always loved breakfast for dinner. Scrambled eggs sound good to me no matter what the time of day.
After dinner I hit the road for home. It had been an interesting and educational weekend with my mother’s dogs. As I drove I listened to a sports talk program on the radio. My mind started to reflect on the events of the weekend. The conclusion I came to is I do not want to be a fulltime pet owner or parent anytime soon. Maybe in the future my mind will change but for now I will leave those duties up to my peers. I really don’t think any dog, cat, or human baby wants a Black Sabbath-obsessed, horror movie-loving, vegetarian as their caregiver.
Some people will do anything to cash in on their 15 minutes of fame. Venues like reality shows and the Internet have made it incredibly easy for the everyday person to achieve some level of celebrity. Very few are ever recognized as legitimate stars. The teen sensation Justin Bieber managed to become an superstar when he skyrocketed to stardom after his videos on YouTube were discovered. Though Bieber achieved international success, most who come to the spotlight through reality shows or the Internet only enjoy brief moments of fame before vanishing into obscurity.
A British man has recently raised the bar on what one is willing to do to capture fame. The catch with this man’s situation is unlike Snooki of the “Jersey Shore” or the singing star of the viral video “Chocolate Rain,” he will not be alive to enjoy his moment in the limelight. The man’s debut as a reality star comes after he has taken his last breath.
According to AOLtv.com, a recently deceased man who died due to a terminal illness signed on to participate in an outrageous reality television special. The man’s body will be the subject of an experiment attempting to recreate the ancient Egyptian form of embalming known as mummification. The show titled “Mummifying Alan” is set to air on the British network Channel Four.
AOLtv.com reports the network posted a controversial advertisement back in 2010 in search of someone facing a certain death that would be interested in contributing their remains to a television show about the process of Egyptian embalming. Apparently the yet to be named man answered the call. The Daily Mail released a story saying the man’s family will soon give press interviews explaining why he made the decision to participate in the show. It is believed the man himself held a fascination with Ancient Egypt and mummification. AOLtv.com also reports that Channel Four did not pay the man or his family but did cover all expenses for the mummification process.
When the show airs on Oct. 24 it will mark the first time a scientific embalming experiment has been shown on television. The mummification experiment will be conducted by a team of scientists from one of the UK’s top pathology labs.
AOLtv.com states that little is known about the ingredients used in the mummification process. It is believed that to complete such a process takes up to 70 days. Forty of these days are spent on drying out the body. The scientists followed the same procedures used to preserve King Tut. One of the world’s most famous mummies, King Tut was found well preserved in his tomb in 1922 nearly 3,000 years after his death. In the case of this reality show it has been reported that the experiment was a success. Upon completion the man’s body was said to be in “excellent condition.”
In the world we live in where people can achieve fame through Twitter, YouTube, or dressing like an idiot for an “American Idol”audition; the man involved in “Mummifying Alan” takes the desire for stardom for a new level. What this upcoming reality show proves is that long after this man’s digestive system has shut down he is still hungry for fame. Zombies may look to feast on brains and vampires thirst for blood but this mummy lusts after celebrity. This deceased British man has given a whole new meaning to the Lady Gaga coined term “Fame Monster.”
— Jordan O’Donnell
It’s Halloween time and the Quincy area has plenty to offer. There are several haunted houses open if you are looking for a good fright. Those looking for something more family friendly would probably feel comfortable visiting a corn maze. It can be fun for everyone to weave through the stalks of corn and find a way to freedom. Corn mazes can be a good way to make great fall memories with the family. For one Danvers, Mass., family a corn maze has given them a memory they would rather forget.
Connor’s Farm in Danvers, Mass became the site of a police rescue mission. The farm, which features a sprawling corn maze in the shape of the headless horsemen, was swarmed with squad cars and a k-9 unit in order to rescue a family of four. MSNBC reports the story of a family who entered the maze, became lost, then moved to the next logical conclusion which is call 911 for help.
MSNBC transcribes the call:
Woman: “Hi, I just called. I’m still stuck at Connors Farms. I don’t see anybody. I am really scared. It’s really dark and we’ve got a 3-week-old baby with us.”
Dispatcher: “Just relax. Calm down. Your husband is with you right?”
Woman: “Yes, but my baby?”
Dispatcher: “OK. I understand and the police officer is on the way.”
Woman: “We thought this would be fun. Instead it’s a nightmare. I don’t know what made us do this. It was daytime when we came in. And I never take my daughter out. This is the first time. Never again.”
The overreacting family was eventually rescued and brought to “safety.” MSNBC also conducted an interview with the owner of the farm who said the maze generally takes about an hour to get through and they let people work through at their own pace and not rush anyone through. The story which has garnered national attention led the farm owner to say “I have a funny feeling it’s going to be a busy season.”
The family’s rescue from the maze seems to have been a fairly easy procedure. No helicopters or SWAT teams were called in from what I understand. Once on the scene, the police located the family in about a minute. The nervous family had only been 25 feet away from the exit. I understand the family’s concern a bit because of the 3-week-old baby but one has to ask; who brings a baby that young to a corn maze anyway? What was the other option, taking it to the ball-pit at McDonalds? If the family had picked the ball-pit at least it would have given the authorities an opportunity to follow up on another big case. The “Hamburgler” is still at large and as of publishing time of this blog he has yet to be apprehended.
Do not let the experience of this Massachusetts family deter you from attending any of the fine corn mazes we have in the area. Getting lost is part of the fun. With a bit of constructive thought you and your family and friends will make it through. Calling the police while lost in a corn maze is a completely unnecessary reaction. The boys in blue need to be available to handle other Halloween related problems. There will be plenty of pumpkin smashers that need their attention so take a deep breath and find your way through those corn stalks.
— Jordan O’Donnell
I live alone and I am always looking for new hobbies to fill my time. I’ve tried many things but nothing has stuck yet. I can’t seem to find that one hobby that passes time and is something I find enjoyable or relaxing.
I’ve tried going to toy stores and buying large, complicated puzzles. For some reason they always lose my interest. I will get the border put together then become distracted and never return. Also I’ve tried playing video games. It seems impossible but I am awful at every video game ever invented. It does not matter if it’s a gun shooting game or a sports game, I cannot achieve any success. Failing at video games only raises my blood pressure and puts my television at a major risk of getting a controller chucked through it. Then there is my brief stint at attempting to play guitar. When I was not at Jimmy Page’s level after the first two weeks, my fat fingers and I lost patience.
I have a long and growing list of failures but still no hobby. I keep my eyes open for anything that might catch my fancy and solve this problem. A new book recently translated from Japanese to English may be the solution to my hobby needs.
“Crafting With Cat Hair” is a new do-it-yourself book giving ways to make fun arts and crafts out of the hair that a cat sheds. According to the Washington Post, cat bloggers around the Internet could not be more excited about the book’s release.
If you have a couch covered in hair from your kitty this book may be for you. Some of the crafts included in the book are tote bags, finger puppets and picture frames. According to the book’s description on Amazon.com, all the crafts require no special equipment and can be made in under an hour.
The thought of a tote bag made from your feline’s hair may be weird to some people but I think it’s amazing. I’ve lived around cats my entire life and know full well how irritating the stray clumps of hair can become. Throughout Catholic school I am almost positive there was not one day of school where my navy blue uniform pants were not covered in cat hair. I currently own a long-haired black cat named Mr. Nippers. His dark, thick coat is accented by a small tuft of white hair right below his neck. The look makes him appear like he is wearing a sophisticated tuxedo. As much as I love Nippers dearly, his shedding has always been a problem. With the help of this book I can take Nipper’s once irritating shedding and turn it into a tool for a new constructive hobby.
Author Kaori Tsutaya gave an interview about her book and a portion was referenced in an article by Bendbulletin.com. She says she wrote the book to “share the fun and happiness these cute crafts have brought me.” Her suggested method of hair collecting is to gently brush a cat. This will help get your supply for the crafts and help the cat with hairball problems. Tsutaya makes it very clear, “Do NOT shave your cat.”
It’s a good thing I read this full interview because I was charging my hair clippers. Mr. Nippers can breath easy now.
“Crafting With Cat Hair” is published by the offbeat Philadelphia-based company Quirk Books. The publishing house is most known for bringing the world “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and the “Worst Case Scenario Handbook” series. According to Quirk’s website they strive to publish “innovative and buzzworthy books that entertain, amuse and inform.” They definitely have accomplished all their goals with “Crafting With Cat Hair.”
Those interested in starting some of their own cat hair projects can purchase the book on Amazon.com for $9.07. This is a tremendous value considering all the valuable skills and lessons you will learn from this book.
Personally I cannot wait till my copy arrives in the mail in the coming days. I am eager to start on my cat hair tote bag. I’m sure I will be the envy of everyone next time I go to the gym. My cat hair tote bag will be perfect for caring my tennis shoes and shorts. I can see the jealous stares already.
In addition to my trusty paranormal themed apps I look at my phone and I have others that give me a thrill. The “pull my finger” app has come in handy on several occasions. Also the lightsaber app makes me feel like I have all the strength of Luke Skywalker when I swing my phone about and hear the famous clashing noise.
I frequent the App Store and look through the selection with wonder. To use a cliche, it makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. There are just so many options. The apps range from the useful; all the way to the extremely pointless yet entertaining. Since I spend so much time using and researching apps I never thought to look beyond and find a new way to turn my phone into an entertainment device. Right outside the universe of the conventional apps comes a new texting service that could solve many problems for men. It has slipped under my radar for a while but now that I’ve discovered it I think I might have to give it a try.
Coming from Fake Girlfriend.co (http://fakegirlfriend.co/) is a revolutionary service that is somewhere between fantastic and creepy. The goal of this website is to offer a helping hand to men everywhere who live in shame that they cannot score dates. No it does not offer advice to the lonely gentlemen on how to get a lady or interact in social situations. This website offers a texting service that will give an illusion that there is a loving woman sending affectionate text messages to the user’s phone. This is primarily so the user of the service can then show the text off to his buddies and prove he is a hit with the ladies and not the Star Trek nerd they thought he was. (No offense Trekkies!)
The service works very easily. Fake Girlfriend.co gives you a phone number to save into your phone. You are instructed to save the number under the desired alias you have chosen for your phony partner. The site then instructs that “when you are out with friends” that you send a text to that number. After that Fake Girlfriend.co will send a text back that is “girlfriend-esque.” The final instruction the site gives is for you to say how great your girlfriend is to the group. Some might consider the last step optional but judging from my personal past experience in my youth with imaginary friends I know fake people like compliments.
Little did I know there was so much intrigue beyond my precious App Store. Fake Girlfriend.co has opened up a whole new world to me of mobile phone fun. For those of you who may be interested in the service it is free of charge but not of shame.
I am tall. I am 6-foot-6. No, I don’t play basketball.
This weekend I was in St. Louis, Mo. for a national conference for Student Government Association. It was been a terrific experience to exchange ideas, learn more about student senate at other schools, and meet people from other universities. There was one strange moment for me, however. On the first night of the conference one male student said to me, “Wow, you’re probably the only person here taller than me.” That comment took me off guard for some reason; I didn’t expect to hear it at a semi-professional student conference.
Yes I am tall. I am taller than most people I meet or run into on any given day. I also realize this fact. I accept it. It is normal for me. However, I am also surprised when people announce that fact to me with great astonishment.
When people exclaiming with shear wonderment their disbelief about how tall I am, I get uneasy. If a stranger is dumbfounded by your physical proportions you tend to feel a twinge of anxiety. My mind conjures an image of villagers rallying in the town square, preparing to chase me with pitchforks and torches.
The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that publically commenting on someone’s height is a unique thing. Reacting in surprise to height is one of the only socially decent comments a person can make to a stranger about the stranger’s body. Imagine: what if someone said to you, “wow, you’re probably the only person here who has bigger hands than I do.” You would probably think they are an absolute creep. Likewise, any comment about a stranger’s weight, male pattern baldness, excessive smell or abnormal earwax is generally looked on as uncouth.
I guess being taller than normal is preferable compared to most other physically distinguishing characteristics. Maybe since height is commonly associated with athleticism and authority I shouldn’t complain.
I’ve been tall for awhile; I should be used to this treatment by now. Please though, if you see me or anyone else breaking 6-foot-3, don’t automatically single us out for being tall. Instead, maybe, complement us on our impeccable timeliness or how well we wear a watch.
I beg you… no, I implore you; please don’t ask us if we play basketball. Everyone else already has.
For some time, I have had this odd fascination with old-fashioned things. There is something strangely appealing about objects that are throwbacks to yesteryear. For some reason, I am captivated by anachronisms from the past. I like to wear a watch; I am fascinated with bow ties; I prefer using my pocket thesaurus to simply right clicking; and I like buying old editions of books.
The most notable manifestation of this fixation came last year when I started to buy audio cassettes for my car. I drive a 1992 Subaru Legacy, a car which I love. It features some of the best technologies that the early ’90s had to offer. The car is fully equipped with power windows, locks, and seat belts — the kind that automatically draw themselves across your chest when you turn the ignition or close a door. The lack of functional air conditioning, ABS brakes and air bags is made up for by the state of the art sound system.
The built in cassette player AM/FM radio is, like the rest of the car, obsolete and outdated. I love it nonetheless. Last fall for fun, I bought an audio tape from People’s Choice Thrift Store, located at 120 N. Fifth St. That first cassette that I picked up was Supersonic by J.J. Fad, an all female hip hop group from the late ’80s; it cost me 75 cents. The tape featured such classics as “My Dope Intro,” “Let’s Get Hyped,” and “Blame it on the Muzick.” On the whole, it’s pretty indicative of the campiness of early hip hop; though it should be noted the album was produced by Dr. Dre.
I bought Supersonic originally as a joke, something to play while driving around with my friends. We would play it with the windows down, just to goof off. Eventually, however, I realized that buying cassettes was actually a really good deal.
A single song on iTunes can cost anywhere between $0.99 and $1.29. I bought Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” for $1. On iTunes, a similar recording would cost $6.93. Yes, I do understand that an mp3 has much more versatility than a cassette; I could put that same recording on both my computer and my iPod.
Still, by purchasing this cassette I am only paying 14.43 percent of the iTunes price. The only restrictions are that I have to listen to it in my car and that I have to listen to the songs sequentially.
Over the past year, whenever I visit one of the thrift stores in town I always peruse the cassette section looking for a good find. I have so far amassed a collection of 12 individual tapes they comprise an eclectic collection of music.
I have cassettes from many different genres; some notable titles include: “70 Years Of Hits With Frank Yankovic,” “The Banjo: A Collector’s Treasury” (tapes 1-3), “Biz Marke: Doin’ The Mud Foot,” “Rick Astley: Whenever You Need Somebody,” and best of all,
“Christmas Disco Party.”