Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Body at Rest Tends to Stay at Rest. Then the Asteroid Hits.

An asteroid just hit my house.

I am, of course, speaking metaphorically. Nothing has crashed from space. My house is undergoing a long-planned renovation, the first step of which is to demolish the existing den.

Emptying the room of its contents, as well as emptying shelves in an adjacent room along a shared wall, revealed how much custom cabinet space was unnecessarily allocated to the bodies of physical media that have been at rest for years, surviving only because there was nothing to threaten them.

Now the cataclysm has come. Which physical media species will go extinct and which will emerge to re-populate the new living spaces?
  • Extinct: Hardback Fiction. Read them all. Enjoyed them to varying degrees. Unlikely to read again. Now mere decoration, and I've held enough garage sales and visited enough estate sales to see how uninterested buyers are in fiction titles, even at deep discount. Resolution: donated to local library.
  • Emerge: Physical Music. All the CDs have been ripped to 16-bit WAV and nearly all of the LPs have been dubbed to 24-bit WAV. (Still working on the fringe titles.) Despite the fact that our library listening is exclusively weightless digital, these backup copies need a home. Resolution: rack them out of sight in the electronics hub (or "wiring closet,") planned for the new basement, alongside the wireless router, multi-zone audio distribution system, etc.
  • Extinct: Theater-Related Books. My interest in theater started at the University of Michigan and continued through my early career at Bell Laboratories, living adjacent to New York City. Now living in Detroit, my interest has waned and these books, having been shelved when I moved into this house, have rarely been disturbed beyond looking up character names for crossword puzzle answers. Resolution: donated to local high school drama department.
  • Emerge: Shakespeare. No home should be without a good set.
  • Extinct: Paperback Fiction. Most purchased as vacation and airplane reading, digestible in a few hours. Resolution: given to my sister to refresh the beach-reading collection at her cottage.
  • Emerge: Art, Design and Humor Books. These are the books that I often return to, that inspire me, amuse me, that guests at parties and family gatherings might idly thumb through. Resolution: devote reclaimed shelf space to them.
Scientists say that occasional cataclysmic events are necessary to foster future growth. That didn't work out so well for the dinosaurs. My new living spaces, on the other hand, will thrive.

             Vinyl-to-Digital Restoration #67             

Artist: Was (Not Was)
Title: Born to Laugh at Tornadoes
Genre: Dance
Year: 1983

Before he was a Grammy-winning producer and President of Blue Note Records, Don Was (with collaborator David Was) put out offbeat, eclectic dance records under the name Was (Not Was). Among the many pleasures of these productions were the guest stars the duo could lure into the studio. Born to Laugh at Tornadoes features Mel Torme, fellow Detroiter Doug Feiger (of The Knack), and Ozzy Osbourne. Mr. Torme is particularly pleasurable, playing it straight, crooning the ridiculous "Zaz Turned Blue" in his signature style. Give a listen.

© 2014 Thomas G. Dennehy. All rights reserved.