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Human progress, myth of, show, doo dah, doo dah.


Here is last night’s (2013-01-25) Memo of the Air show on KNYO ready to download for free.

Ten or twelve years ago I made several really nice shock-mounted vocal microphones, based on condenser mic pills with FET preamplifiers built right into them (cheap from HSC Electronics in Rohnert Park– they still sell the parts), and mounted them on swing-arm lamp swing-arms. Famous painter Eduardo Smissen still has one, I think. I used two of them in KMFB-that-was, and then they spent a year in a carboard box in a damp garage, and then a few weeks ago I rewired them for unbalanced inputs and fixed the broken and rusted parts and put them up in KNYO. Last night to test them I just impulsively plugged one in at the last instant and used it for my show.

It worked really well until at 12:40am it began to whine at about 1000 Hz. In the recording you can hear me fumbling around trying to figure out what’s happening and how to solve it, and explaining this over the noise, which was especially confusing because it sounded just like a test tone.  I thought it was somehow acoustic feedback from the monitor speakers, and then I thought it was something wrong with the mixer. Eventually I gave up, unplugged it and used the normal mic, and of course that just worked. And this is the part that interests me: the plug for the second homemade swing-arm mic was right next to the one I was using. I could have tested to see if the problem was the two mics’ power supply or just that one mic, and then I’d know, and it would only take a second. But that didn’t occur to me while I was around the back looking right at it nor at any time during the rest of the show. That’s what I slap  my forehead about now, not that I, say, didn’t try the mics properly before depending on them, but a point of procedure, something that makes me worry that I’m losing an edge that I probably never had. Also, why haven’t I installed the new limiter yet? Because I’ve been rewatching the original Star Trek series, that’s why. No, bad Marco; if you’re so special, be special.

There’s a lot of depressing material in this show, including the May, 1995 Sacramento Bee newspaper article –that my old friend Dan emailed me a link to on Wednesday– reporting on the court case of the boys (age 18 in 1994) who shot our friend Randy to death (age 37 in ’94, and forever). I hadn’t had the whole story before, just what little I was told by Mike Bell, who called me in 1996 as a result of the phone tree rounding us all up for our twenty year high school reunion. I said, at the time, on the phone, something like, “I’m not going. There aren’t a whole lot of people I really want to see from high school. Except maybe Randy. I’d like to see Randy Ramsay.” And Mike said, “Didn’t you know? Randy was shot to death two years ago.” And then a few details. “He was stopped on the side of the road and some boys killed him with stolen guns.” Now I have a lot more of the details, including that his mother is named Colleen (and why should that kick me in the stomach, but it does), that he had a wife and four children (see how much realer it becomes here, just add a wife and four children), that his gentle rock of a father stood up in court and said to the killers, “I just hope you rot in hell.” (But they didn’t get the death penalty. They’re still in prison. They’ll be in prison for the rest of their lives.)

I’m just breathing here for a minute. If I were to start talking about how amazing Randy was, how much better a person he was than I, and about all the amazing adventures I had and all the things I learned because of being friends with him, it’d be a couple of days later and I’d still be talking. And why did I lose touch with Randy? And why did I never contact his parents to say how sorry I was to hear what happened– but I didn’t find out until so much later, and what good would it do? Should I call now? Of course not.

Also, when I stopped at my house on my way to the radio station from Juanita’s, to compile and organize and print my show to read from and to print a paper list of all the music special to this show, I found my electricity off again. Apparently my repairs didn’t hold, or something else happened. So I couldn’t get the right Boston Blackie show from my home computer. I did my organizing and printing at the theater company. Why am I telling you this? Because instead of playing Boston Blackie I played a noisy, scratchy, low-fi recording of lisping creepy-but-grand self-revelatory psychonaut Terrence McKenna explaining or rather painting a verbal picture of his DMT machine elves to/for a small audience in, I don’t know, the middle 1970s. That’s near the very end of the show. It’s worth the wait. Or skip straight to it and miss out on The Myth of Human Progress.

Here are some things to read and/or just look at while the show is downloading (I mean besides the fine websites and web comix whose links are to your right):

How a key works.–5QMEEisAMI/UP8zE9UY0tI/AAAAAAAAmBg/Ng65i0b70e8/s1600/keyy.gif

“How’s that Fox-y News-y thing workin’ out for ya.”

How beliefs resist change.

Two religious radio chuckleheads discuss the millions of “selfish narcissistic family-destroying college-educated feminist whores” who won’t go out with them.

The nerves in your brain are disturbed when your head aches.

–speaking of which, figure this out.

Not a place to live. A place to leave.

Will Wheaton, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Kristen Schaal, Eugene Mirman.

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