Tidying Report or: Does Vinyl Still Spark Joy?

I’ve been on a tidying kick for quite some time. Today I won a major victory by getting my daughter to join in. She went through her bathroom and filled up two bags of stuff to be discarded. Yay!

Tonight, while sitting in my entertainment room after watching a movie, I glanced at my vinyl collection. I wondered if it was time to do something bold: Get rid of all my records.

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I know how audiophiles always say that the sound from vinyl is superior. So I decided to do a scientific test to help me make my decision. I would listen to one of my favorite songs on vinyl, then on compact disc. If the vinyl version sounded far superior, I might want to keep my records. If I couldn’t tell the difference, or if the CD sounded better, then yay, lots of records to discard.

I had to select the right song for the test. I didn’t think about it too much, and I chose “Here Comes the Sun”, by The Beatles. I have this song on both vinyl and CD versions of the album called “1967-1970”, also commonly known as “The Blue Album”.

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I decided to listen to the version on vinyl first. Of course, I had to go through all of the ritual. First, I took out the album from the shelf. I pulled out the sleeve, and the record slipped out, because the paper had come apart. Yeah, I remember that. The record sleeve is far from indestructible.

I put the record on the turntable, cued up the tone arm, used my velvet dust brush to make sure the record was pristine, and finally lowered the tone arm onto the record. I noticed that the strobe indicator showed that the speed was off. The record was going a bit too slow. So I adjusted it until the speed was exactly 33 ⅓ revolutions per minute. Or as close to it as I could get.

Now it was time to listen. The record sounded OK. Back in the early 1980s I had played this record a lot, and as happens with vinyl, the grooves had worn down and the sound was a bit flat. But it still sounded good. No crackling or skipping. I had taken good care of my records.

Next it was time to listen to the CD. I had to remind myself how to use the CD player. I hadn’t used it for a long time. There was a way to select a single track and optionally tell it to repeat. I didn’t quite remember how to do that, so I just decided to select the track and hit play. First, I had to look at the CD box to find out what the correct track number was. Eight. The track number on the Blue Album CD for “Here Comes the Sun” is eight. On disc number two.

Just a few seconds into listening to the CD version was enough to convince me what I needed to do. To my non-audiophile ears, the CD sounds was far superior to the vinyl sounds. Goodbye records!

Then something happened. About a quarter way through the song, the CD player started playing “Come Together”, the next track. Track number nine. What happened? I thought maybe I stepped down on the floor to hard and caused the CD to skip, so I tried again, restarting “Here Comes the Sun”, track eight. And it happened again! I realized that it would be impossible for me to listen to the entire song on the CD. The CD was not scratched or anything, Just by sitting on the shelf all these years, the CD had deteriorated to the point of making it unplayable.

Boo. It seemed that all the money that I invested over the years in CDs was now sunk. I didn’t even want to try listening to any of my other CDs, for fear of being disappointed again.

Apparently, CDs are an inferior technology. A record could get scratched, maybe crackle a little, but at least, unless you really abuse it and scratch it deeply, the whole record will play. My father has old 78 rpm records from almost 100 years ago, and they still play (if you can find a turntable that plays that speed). But a CD, just because of its age, becomes a circular brick. It seems that entropy is not kind to CDs.

So, I think I won’t be discarding my vinyl collection just yet. Or maybe the answer is to dump all of the physical discs, both vinyl and compact, and just stream my music. Alexa, play “Here Comes the Sun”.

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Let It Be

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What was the first Beatles song you heard on the radio? For me, it was the first and only Beatles song I ever heard while it was on the charts, Let It Be. I wasn’t a Beatles fan. I was only eight years old. I didn’t even listen to the radio, but I heard it when my parents had it on, or when it played in a shopping mall. Even so, I remember that I knew Let It Be was a phenomenon. It was more than just a song. I sort of knew that there was a group called “The Beatles” and this was their last record.

I remember that my sister bought the 45, I assume a few years later. I have it now. I also remember that my grandfather would often say the words, “Let it be”. I don’t know if he was quoting from the Beatles or was even aware of who they were or the name of the song, but he said it quite often.

I remember becoming a fan of pop music around 1973-1974. The first record that I bought was “Seasons in the Sun”, which was number one for quite some time in 1974. After that, the next number one song was Hooked On A Feeling, AKA the ugachaka song. The radio stations that I listened to, WFIL and WIBG in Philadelphia, never never played the Beatles anymore. Once in a while they would play a song like Kodachrome, from 1973, and they would call it an oldie.

From the time I started listening to music in 1973, until 1980, I wasn’t a fan of The Beatles. They were older than oldies. It wasn’t cool to listen to them. I guess those seven years were my Beatles latency period. I did listen to Wings. Because some people want to fill the world with silly love songs. And what’s wrong with that? But Wings were not The Beatles. I don’t even know if I was aware at the time that Paul McCartney was a former Beatle. I remember listening to Elton’s John’s “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”. Someone told me it was originally recorded by The Beatles, but I still considered it to be an Elton song.

I thought of all this tonight on the way home from yoga class. So when I got home, I had to dig through the 45s and look for Let It Be. I found it, snapped in the yellow adapter, put it on the record player, and listened to it. And boy, did it sound bad! Lots of scratches made it continuously pop. Warping made the tempo speed up and slow down. But when it was done, I listened to it again. And then again. And then again. And it made me happy.

I Just Need Someone To Love

I’m trying something new for my dating site blurb. Instead of saying that I like to eat vegetarian food and sushi, and that I enjoy yoga, hiking, long walks, and board games, I thought I’d try something different. So here it is. I’ll probably change it back tomorrow.

I get by with a little help from my friends
I get high with a little help from my friends [1]

While this is true, and I am extremely grateful for my friends, I want something more.

I want somebody to love
I just need someone to love [1]

I see a lot of profiles that say something like this:

I am happy with my life, and I don’t need a romantic relationship. But, it would be a nice addition.

They say that a romantic relationship would be “dessert” or “icing on the cake” or “the cherry on top”. I don’t feel that way. For me, a romantic relationship, or what I’d prefer to call a primary relationship, is not dessert; it’s the main course. I want a partner who also wants a main course, who won’t think of me as dessert. I want to be the priority in her life, as she will be in mine. Friends, relatives, kids, they all have (or will have) their own families to keep them busy, who are their priorities. My partner is the person who will stand by my side through the remainder of my life, the person who will be there for me whenever I need her, the person who will always be available when I need to talk, the person who will pick me up if I fall. She will be my soft place to land. And I will be all these things for her.

Even though it’s likely been torn out and trampled on many times, as has mine, the partner I am looking for will be brave enough to wear her heart out on her sleeve, as I will with mine. She knows that it’s a big risk, but the potential payoff is what will make life worthwhile.

When we find each other, we will both want to say this:

You’re just too good to be true
I can’t take my eyes off you
You’d be like heaven to touch
I wanna hold you so much
At long last love has arrived
And I thank God I’m alive
You’re just too good to be true
Can’t take my eyes off you [2]


[1] Lyrics by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
[2] Lyrics by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

Evolution of a Relationship (In the words of Lennon and McCartney)

I wrote this a while ago, before I had a blog. Sharing with you all now. All words copyright of Lennon/McCartney.

Evolution of a Relationship
In the words of Lennon and McCartney

Meeting
And please, say to me 
You’ll let me hold your hand

Contact
And when I touch you I feel happy inside

Infatuation
Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you
Tomorrow I’ll miss you

Love, Phase I
I can’t explain, the feeling’s plain to me, say can’t you see?
I love you

Love Phase II
She says *she* loves *you*!
And you know you should be glad!

Love Phase III
Love is all you need

Love Phase IV
Woman I will try to express
My inner feelings and thankfulness
I love you
Now and forever

Resentment
I don’t wanna sound complaining
But you know there’s always rain in my heart
I do all the pleasing with you
It’s so hard to reason with you
Why do you make me blue?

Sadness
Though tonight she’s made me sad
I still love her
If I find her I’ll be glad
I still love her

Codependence
My life has changed in oh so many ways
My independence seems to vanish in the haze
But every now and then I feel so insecure
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before

Quarreling
You say yes, I say no
You say stop, I say go
You say high, I say low
You say why, I say I don’t know

Communication breakdown
When I call you up
Your line’s engaged
I can’t get through
My hands are tied
We have lost the time
That was so hard to find
And I will lose my mind
If you won’t see me

The end is near
Here I stand head in hand
Turn my face to the wall
If she’s gone I can’t go on
Feeling two-foot small

The end
And in her eyes you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years

Carrying on
And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on till tomorrow
Let it be