dclarion: (Default)
As I have previously posted, I'm not a television person.  To me, television is unnecessary when I can have things like that which I have now: a chance find of the albums Maynard Ferguson recorded while he was living in London, in the early 1970s.  I had had these albums when they were shiny, new, and pressed from black vinyl.  That was nearly forty years ago.  Lost in a move, many years ago, I was without them and the stratospheric register of Ferguson's trumpet until a few days ago, when I happened to see rips of them on a torrent site.

As I listen to these songs, the memories they bring back are bittersweet.  There are the memories of a hellish young adulthood punctuated with the occasional happy moment.  There is the memory of my astonishment at learning that my father actually knew who Ferguson was; it turns out that back when he was a nice guy (there's a funny story about that), he was quite the fan of Stan Kenton, in whose band Ferguson had played.

As I write, I am listening to an arrangement of James Taylor's Country Road.  The arrangement is free, the sound is clear, even brilliant.  I can imagine myself driving some insignificant road in the middle of West Virginia in a convertible, the sun on my face, the wind through my hair.

These memories, these images, and the stimuli that evoke them, show me to be the old lady that I am.  But given the chance to trade them to be twenty-five again, I would politely decline.  "Six weeks older than Sputnik, and proud of it" isn't just a humorous quip, it is part of that which defines me.

dclarion: (Default)
I own a television set. This should not be surprising, since there is at least one television set in approximately 97% of US households, and the average US household owns 2.25 television sets (I will not, at this time, treat the subject of how one would watch a quarter of a television set). What most people do find surprising is that this television set is in my Back Office, connected to nothing but a DVD player; that it has not been powered up since the middle of September; that when it was connected to a satellite feed, it was turned on approximately six hours per week between April and September and extremely rarely between October and March; and that most of that 6 hr/wk was devoted to listening to, rather than watching Indians, Nationals, and Dodgers games. In short, I am not a television person.

I am a child of the '60s and '70s, so much of my youth was, indeed, spent in front of the glowing box otherwise known as the Boob Tube. It is, perhaps, a testament to the entertainment fare of today that when I do spend time with video, it is with Twilight Zone or Fireball XL5 rather than Grey's Anatomy or Real Life. It is also, I believe, a function of my aging and development that has kept the TV power switch in the "OFF" position.

Even as I may appear snobbish, I do not wish to do so. It is simply that, as I have aged, I have become a more auditory than visual person. I still appreciate the visual, surely, but it is not easy to find a clear, moonless, seventh-magnitude sky in Pittsburgh; and as I do not own personal transportation, driving into the middle of West Virginia is not an option. But the visual sense is, in its own way, overwhelming. With sound, I can use my "mind's eye" to add a picture, if I so desire. I can, while listening to a baseball game on radio, imagine the action unfolding on the field of play; and when there is the occasional unassisted triple play, I know where to go to find footage of it from literally dozens of camera angles. I can, while listening to Beethoven's 6th Symphony, fill in a pastoral scene synthesized from fifty years of observation.

Neither does television do much to satisfy my synesthetic sense, gained from tripping my brains out in my younger days.  I can taste the color blue -- it is quite delicious, incidentally -- but rarely is there a blue panel on the Small Screen, or any screen, for that matter, long enough to appreciate the flavor, nor does one often find there the exquisite subtleties of the varying shades in a stand of morning glories.

I often wonder how people like my folks can do the thing with the television going from waking to retiring.  I know that my folks do this, incidentally, because they are stone-deaf.  When I call them, I can hold the handset a foot from my ear and hear Dancing With the Stars blaring in the living room while they talk to me from the kitchen.  Of course, my father derides me for not watching said Dancing with the Stars, so I suppose that, in a way, we are even.

May 2013

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