History Monday #17

Seventy years ago, the music found new life.

Another weekend comes to a close, and it’s Monday and that means it’s time for a history lesson. Today’s topic is history for me, but likely nostalgia for many of you reading this. I almost discussed the start of the War of 1812 & the Battle of Waterloo, but I like to discuss historical events that sometimes get overlooked as notable events on that particular day in history. By the way, feel free to comment and disagree with my take on today’s historical event — the introduction of the Long Playing (LP) record.

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That’s right, on this day seventy years ago the LP record was introduced by Columbia records at a press conference at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. For the music industry this was significant because it allowed pop artists to release an entire album on one disc. Columbia’s creation of the LP was meant to change the use of the 78-record.  Previously, the 78-rpm record allowed only songs less than 5 minutes on each side. These disadvantages produced by the 78-record were caused by the unique construction using shellac type material and a much larger groove than the LP. The LP record was produced in the 12-inch diameter and 10-inch diameter sizes to compete with the 78-record that was also 12 inches in diameter.

The LP record was revolutionary not because of its diameter or material, but because of microgrooves that were not as susceptible to static and destruction as the 78-record. Columbia’s invention of the LP spurred their competitor RCA Victor to produce the 45-record, and even though the 45 had more advantages over the LP, the 45 or Extended Play (EP), was only able to replace the 78-record as the preferred format for singles, and the LP was for full albums.

LP records quickly supplanted 78-records in less than five years, and become the standard for a full album, and as mentioned before the EP was the main format for singles. Both the LP & EP formats continued their dominance their dominance into the late 1970s and were supplanted by cassette tapes.

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The LP proved to music marketers that consumers wanted a format that allowed for multiple songs on one disc instead of the compilation album of discs that equaled a full album. This revelation in the music industry led to each successive format that contained more than one song on the format. Following the LP’s success, the cassette tape was an attempt to resolve issues with record player styluses and vinyl decay.  Cassettes took only a little time to challenge records as the format for automobile radios, but only were able to be competitive with records towards the end of the 1970s. Cassettes enjoyed only about a decade as the preferred format and were knocked out of the market by Compact Discs (CDs). CDs much like their predecessor the cassette were the major format for almost a decade until the mp3 format was able to become an alternative.

There are still music aficionados who value LPs and keep them with other valuables and collect them like unopened action figures and other collectibles. These aficionados also prefer the pops and clicks of vinyl as they contribute a more organic version of the artist than the sanitized and overproduced music of the current generation.  Although, I seriously doubt that they will ever change from anything but a collectible and may sadly be disposed of by those unaware of the LP’s significance. I wouldn’t be surprised if CDs eventually become much more like LPs and EPs and artists just release their albums as mp3s only and the tangible product goes away. It seems almost inevitable as everything becomes digital. I’d hate for that to happen obviously, but I’m just proffering my hypothesis.

What about you, how many LPS (or Eps) do you have in your house? Do you like original LPS or the remastered digital formats on CDs and mp3s?

Current Event Friday #20

It’s time for #CurrentEventFriday again

Another week is coming to an end, and that means it’s time for #CurrentEventFriday. Credit to my brother for this week’s discussion topic­ — California. Yep, the land of fruits and nuts is in the headlines again and for an unusual reason.

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If you aren’t aware, the last several months in the United States have been a time of Primary Elections. Primary Elections determine the slate of candidates for November elections but they also include important public resolutions. One such resolution making the rounds is the division of California into three distinctive states.

The division of the state is due to public dissatisfaction with decisions made by a government that may or may not be accurately representing its constituencies. The proposal included in the California Primary was approved to qualify for the November elections. If passed in November, the state would be divided into North California, South California, and California. The small strip that would retain the name of California would likely remain blue and continue the current Progressive policies of unified California.

My brother suspected that if passed, the borders of the state would be redrawn and undermine the proposed borders to benefit current Progressive policies. While that’s completely possible, I seriously doubt it would pass because as much as the majority of California’s power is concentrated on the coast, they still would want the rest of the state to support their lifestyles and provide land for continued urban sprawl. Additionally, the agricultural production and mining interests of inland California provide much of the income for the state’s coffers. I also suspect that as Hollywood and Silicon Valley are taking over the state’s income shares, the inland regions likely don’t have power cities to sustain themselves after splitting

The split would be unprecedented too. The last state to split over such divisive political issues was West Virginia separating from Virginia in 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War. Sure, there have been rumblings of states dividing since then, but nothing has ever come of it. Even states like Indiana & Illinois that were noted for a prevalence of Confederate sympathizers in their Southern regions never separated. Texas could also have separated into various states during its admission into the Union but never did.

It could happen since there is such a large political division in California by region, unlike other states who are well known for a disparity between political beliefs with rural and small towns and larger population centers. Illinois has often been blue in recent elections despite the downstate attitudes that mirror Midwest sensibilities while Chicago exemplifies Progressive policies. Yet there’s never been a split. Similarly, states like Wisconsin and the capital of Madison, Kentucky and Louisville, Indiana and Indianapolis, Ohio and its tri-Cities deal with this island of blue in a sea-of-red phenomenon. Often these progressive cities can swing the entire state one way depending on the state’s population density and gerrymandering. Still these states don’t split.

I also think the split of California is unlikely for a much simpler reason, any of the three regions will want to claim the name California without distinguishing between a directional modifier. The only workable solution would need to be more Solomonic in nature to receive the necessary widespread approval. Basically, none of the three regions would be able to claim the name California. So, basically California got to be a U.S. state for about 170 years and then be dispensed with prejudice and only exists across the border in Mexico. I doubt my proposal to do away with the name California would also pass. So most of this discussion about a split is moot.

In the end, we’ll wait and see what the Golden State decides. There’s always a possibility that the state could become much more purple as the runoffs for government office might eliminate Progressive candidates who will dilute the pool of available candidates. Since California’s primary is not a closed primary that determines who the respective Republican and Democratic candidates are by which one earns the most votes in their party’s respective elections, California can have let’s say 15 candidates for an office. Of those 15 candidates, let’s say 10 are Democrats running on a progressive platform, and 3 are Republican candidates running on centrist and conservative platforms, another candidate is running as Communist, and a final candidate is a libertarian this could work against the progressives. The voter doesn’t have to declare which ballot they want, they just rank their top two candidates and turn it in. So those wanting to select Progressive policies, they might struggle and not come with a clear Progressive winner, and the more conservative candidates rise to the top. So, if California ends up with more conservative leaders, the outcry against Progressive policies will be unnecessary.

 

Let’s see if the Golden State ends up with a red wave at the polls or if they decide to erect a sea wall for the current blue wave along the coastal region.

You’re a Grand Old Flag

O say can you see what day today is?

Today is flag day, a day to commemorate the approval of the flag of the United States in 1777. Additionally, the U.S. Army’s birthday is also celebrated on this day in recognition of the creation of the Colonial army of the United States in 1775.

Flag Day is not technically an official U.S. Holiday, it is officially provided for by legal means thanks to Pres. Woodrow Wilson. I’ll give Pres. Wilson credit for this, something I’m not usually inclined to do thanks to much of his Progressive actions.

Flag Day is celebrated throughout the country by parades in various cities around the country. Several cities celebrating Flag Day parades claim special status as either the largest or oldest parades. Those claiming special ages of their parade and other festivities include: Appleton, Wisconsin; Fairfield, Washington; Troy, New York; Quincy, Massachusetts; and Three Oaks, Michigan.

Washington, D.C. celebrates Flag Day much the same way as other cities, but in honor of one of the leaders of celebrating Flag Day-Clyde Thompson, citizens of the nation’s capital also smoke meats in the areas of Washington, D.C. where Thompson represented.

The Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia is the main hub of celebration for the day in the city of Brotherly Love. Additionally, the city of Baltimore, Maryland recognizes the significance of the flag in the creation of the national anthem and includes celebrations of the flag.

President Franklin Roosevelt amended the celebration proclaimed originally by his mentor Pres. Wilson to celebrate the United Nations during the remainder of World War II. Pres. Roosevelt wanted to foster a spirit of cooperation between the Allies during the conflict. Upon the completion of the European operations in World War II, United Flag Day/United Nations Day reverted to the traditional Flag Day of the United States.

Strangely, most are relatively unaware of Flag Day mostly due to other patriotic holidays bookending the holiday in May and July — Memorial Day and Independence Day respectively. But, since it commemorates the adoption of the flag and the birthday of the U.S. Army I think it’s worth celebrating at least to some extent.

Do you, or have you ever celebrated Flag Day?

 

p.s. This is also President Donald Trump’s 72nd birthday, so he’s got that going for him…   

Poetry Wednesday #9

The latest original poem entitled, “Breakfast.”

“Breakfast”

Arising for my lauds on this morn,

Frying up rahsers of fatty bacon.

I work to pop up like the rows of corn,

Early from my bed I was rudely torn.

Stomach ready for the food I’ll take in.

Open egg’s shell, there’s albumen and yolks.

Forthwith, and I will surely awaken.

Wham! the day shall soon be undertaken.

Liquid sugar, the plate it soaks.

Pancake topping as sweet as toffee.

Eating all the meal, helps me deal with folks.

Syrup on plate, made of maples, not oaks.

Everything washed down with hot coffee.

Ready for the day’s choreography.

© Ryan Stroud 2018

History Monday #16

Almost 70 years ago, a country legend made a debut on the Grand Ole Opry.

If you didn’t see last week, viral country sensation Mason Ramsey covered Hank Williams’s hit song “Lovesick Blues.” This song went viral at the apex of country music in 1949 with the aforementioned country legend. That’s what we’re talking about today on #HistoryMonday.

 

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Just like Mason Ramsey, Hank Williams was not the original writer or singer or “Lovesick Blues” but made it popular during 1948 and much more popular after its release by MGM records in 1949. Also, like Mason Ramsey, Hank Williams was quite young when he shot to fame with this song and much of the rest of his catalog. Williams began his singing career around the age of 14 and by the age of 23 had a recording contract with a major label in MGM records.

Hank had tried to audition for the Grand Ole Opry in 1946 but was rejected. Even after the popularity of his first record with MGM Records, Williams was still declined admission into the Opry. Many of the directors and promoters for the Grand Ole Opry were reluctant to allow Hank to perform due to his well-known struggles with alcoholism. In response to the rejection by the Opry, Williams chose to perform on the Louisiana Hayride where he debuted his version of “Lovesick Blues” to adoring fans.

As the Grand Ole Opry saw Hank’s success with the Hayride, they decided to extend an invitation to him to perform for their show at the Ryman Auditorium. Hank’s performance ranks in the most popular performances of the Grand Ole Opry. The performance included much of Hank’s catalogue of songs and six encores of “Lovesick Blues” per the audience’s demand. Even after the sixth encore, Opry hosts had to admonish the crowd that Hank needed rest and there were other acts that would like to showcase their own talents.

Hank William’s debut performance at the Grand Ole Opry on this day in 1949 was able to earn him regular spots performing at the Ryman for the Opry. The Opry was willing most of the time to overlook Hank’s alcoholism during the continued appearances at the Ryman until 1952. The reason given for Williams firing from the Opry was attributed to his habitual drunkenness and the no-shows for his performances that the drinking caused. Sadly, only a few months later Hank Williams died at the age of 29.

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How does this affect us today? Well for those of us who have a vast knowledge and appreciation of historic country, it’s worth remembering the glory days of Hank Williams, Sr. It’s also significant for those same fans to see what this meant for Hank, Jr.

It’s also important to note that even today, country artists aim to meet expectations as Hank Williams, while hopefully avoiding his tumultuous tenure and unceremonious exit. The Grand Ole Opry is the recognition for emerging country artists to see their efforts are worth it. Artists are even more excited when they are inducted into the Opry. I’ve watched the videos on the Opry’s social media accounts of modern and even historical artists being inducted into the Opry, and the emotions they produce.

It’s also exciting to attend shows at the Grand Ole Opry at either the Ryman or the Grand Ole Opry House and see top country acts. I’ve been able to visit the Ryman Auditorium during a National Honor Society field trip and stand on the same stage where legends such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, George Strait, and others. I would’ve liked to also attend a show at the Ryman during that same field trip, but we weren’t able to do so. I’d also like to attend Grand Ole Opry at the Grand Ole Opry House and watch one of the shows, but as with much of my concertgoing ideas, I have to consider I’m fairly tapped out on cash to really feed those desires. Maybe, one day I’ll have the means and opportunities to really enjoy music in concert. But until such day, the concerts are limited to me singing along with my favorites in the car driving down the road. 😉

Also, of not Hank William’s debut at the Opry provided him the opportunity to continue his influence in country music with other hits over the next 3 years including, “Kaw-Liga”, “Cold, Cold Heart”, “I Saw the Light”, and “Your Cheatin’ Heart” along with others in his complete discography.

Current Event Friday #19

#CurrentEventFriday deals with name changes today.

The week comes to an end again, and that means #CurrentEventFriday. Today’s installment deals with some particularly ridiculous virtue signaling and feigned outrage. No, it has nothing to do with Trump or the Left being particularly incensed about something he did. That’s pretty much an everyday occurrence and is almost always a current event. So, take heart reader I’m not discussing that. This is something I regard more than your political worldview — breakfast.

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That’s right the International House of Pancakes® is changing from their familiar name IHOP® to the newly-branded name IHOB®. Fans of the diner style restaurant known almost extensively for it’s fluffy flapjacks and multiple syrup flavors is changing its name. The outrage was not even based on party lines, with both blue and red fans being upset about the name change.

Frankly, I couldn’t care less. I’ve always been more of a Denny’s fan, but I can remember visiting IHOP in Terre Haute during undergrad more than a few times late at night. I can also remember visiting the IHOP in Columbus, Indiana for my brother’s rehearsal dinner (mostly because there were only 5 minutes of rehearsal and they were cheap and didn’t offer dinner). I also am not surprised or upset about this, because I’ve seen sweeping name changes of other companies and organizations and it doesn’t stop people from referring to them by their well-traveled name. Recently Domino’s® rolled out an announcement they were dropping Pizza from their name because they offer more than pizza. Sorry, but I’m not calling them for their Pasta, Wings, or Cheesy Bread. If I call Domino’s I’m calling to order pizza. I will admit their non-pizza offerings are really good, but it’s a pizza place at the end of the day. Of course, since most people already shortened their name to Domino’s from Domino’s Pizza it’s not a stretch, but the announcement was silly. Just recently as the Boy Scouts of America have agreed to accept scouts of any gender they have renamed their organization Scouts of America BSA. Again, fairly unnecessary since the former name was abbreviated as BSA prior to the sweeping enrollment requirements being changed. Also more than a little confusing. Why use BSA? Because either the S & A are redundant abbreviations for Scouts and America or they’re nonsense letters that stand for nothing. The FFA had already made a similar change in 1988 from the Future Farmers of America to National FFA Organization, even though the letters no longer were abbreviations representing the original words and FFA only stands for the letters themselves.

Locally, many got upset a few years ago at the renaming of the local children’s hospital after an affiliation with the local Shriners’ Charity ended. Growing up much of my time spent undergoing surgeries and tests for my heart condition was spent at Kosair Children’s Hospital, but when the Kosair Charity ended its affiliation with the hospital it reverted to Norton Children’s Hospital. Somewhat out of spite and obstinance, myself and others who’ve known the hospital by its former name continue to refer to it by that name rather than recognizing the name change.

I’m perfectly fine with businesses and organizations changing their names for legitimate reasons and to reflect an innovative approach or new pursuits, but sometimes the changes cause more confusion, particularly when they use an abbreviation from their earlier days as part of the new name that becomes redundant or nonsensical. AT&T works because they didn’t change their name from American Telephone & Telegraph Company to AT&T American Telecommunications, Inc. They just changed it from their abbreviated form and kept the incorporation designation as their official name and still remain known by only the abbreviation. I’m also okay with people choosing new names for themselves to signal a difference from their parents or a past life or adopting nicknames to show that they are cool. Biblical examples include Jacob to Israel, Simon to Peter, and Saul to Paul. All these name changes reflected an encounter with God who changed the trajectory of their lives and they recognized that their lives had been changed.

What bothers me is companies and organizations changing their names and making big official announcements about the name change when in my mind there was nothing that really should have precipitated that change. Basically, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

 

Anyways, back to your regularly scheduled programming, I chased the old ranting coot out of here. Enjoy your weekend.

It’s a Boone for Business

Guess what day it is? It’s one for the Gapper.

Hey hey, kids it’s Daniel Boone Day today. Yes, I know any kids reading this likely have no idea who Daniel Boone is or why he has a day devoted to him, but I wanted a funny hook.

Today really is Daniel Boone Day and it’s important particularly for mid-Southern and Midwestern residents. Daniel “Dan’l” Boone was an important pioneer in both of those regions and his name litters the landscape of those regions in memory of his contributions.

I’ll admit, I’m a little bit more familiar with Daniel’s brother Squire Boone, Jr. Squire Boone resided south of Corydon, Indiana and a system of caverns located on property previously belonging to the Boone family bear his name.

Anyway, back to the more famous Boone brother — Daniel Boone. Daniel Boone began his adult years serving in the British army in the French & Indian War and his unit was commanded by future president George Washington. Boone would subsequently after the war relocate to North Carolina. It was during this time and during his military service that he learned about the existence of a passage into the frontier lands of Kentucky.

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Daniel Boone had learned how to hunt, fish, and trap during his formative years in his native Pennsylvania. The frontier skills he learned in the appropriately named Penn’s Sylvania meaning (William) Penn’s Forest that Boone would later use in the wild and untamed lands of early Kentucky. Daniel and Squire Boone were able to find the passage between Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky known as the Cumberland Gap along with several other North Carolinian and Virginian explorers. Unfortunately for most of the other explorers, they met untimely deaths at the hands of various Native American tribes, especially the Shawnee. The Boones were the only frontiersmen who managed to escape relatively unscathed in the exploratory parties.

Daniel Boone spent much of his life in Kentucky and its frontier and was able to guide others to make their way into the relatively unsettled region. Boone was again eager to serve in the military and fought for the Americans in the Revolutionary War and he was able to survive various dangerous skirmishes during the war and retired again to Kentucky.

As more settlers began settling in Kentucky, and Boone’s ill-fated decisions regarding deeds and land titles, Boone chose to move from the land that had provided him notoriety and a new home. Upon departing Kentucky, Boone traveled to the next American frontier located in the Louisiana Territory. Settling in Missouri, Boone was able to receive official positions in the Spanish territory of Louisiana before the American ownership of the lands. When the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from the French, Boone spent the next decade working to get official recognition of the ownership of lands in Missouri. He lived the remainder of his days until his death in 1820 in Missouri and is buried there. Yet, Kentucky has a grave connected to Daniel Boone that supposedly contains a plaster casting of Daniel Boone’s skeleton, but historians debate whether the skeleton that was cast in the plaster was actually that of Boone or an unknown slave.

Boone’s legacy of course lives on today in Daniel Boone Day, as well as Boone counties in Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, West Virginia, Missouri,  Arkansas, and Kentucky. As well as towns named Boone, NC and Boonesborough, KY and the Daniel Boone National Forest. Additionally, Boone’s legacy and legend grew thanks to John Filson’s book The Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucke which included a section titled, “The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon.” Writers like James Fennimore Cooper adapted events in Boone’s life in The Leatherstocking Tales and Lord Byron’s poem Don Juan. Much of the lore provided by Filson, Cooper, and Byron about Boone likely took artistic liberties and tall-tale characteristics in describing Boone’s exploits. While the actual individual events described in these events may be suspect, Boone’s shrewd lifestyle of a frontiersmen is not debated, and his cunning survival instincts are admired by Americans and celebrated as part of the pioneering spirit of America even to this day.