Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I Feel Better Than James Brown

Well, not really, because I'm struggling with yet another cold, but I heard that old Was (Not Was) song for the first time in umpteen years today as I was driving home. But not on the radio, where there is literally no chance you could find that song anywhere on any station. Rather, I heard it using some newfangled technology: the cassette deck. Reason being, the power antenna in my car is no longer functioning, so all I can get is fuzzy reception of WBCN, the so-called rock of Boston. I actually don't mind 'BCN these days, but I hate radio static and so I often just pop one of my 8,294 cassettes in the deck. I was a big fan of the mix tape back in tha day, and I've still got all the tapes I made over the years; even the ones I made in 1981 with my combination alarm clock/tape recorder. Most of my mixes were made in the late '80s and early '90s, so it's always fun to go back and hear what I was into back then. Sometimes the selections are out-and-out embarrassing (e.g., the Spin Doctors, Dweezil Zappa, or the absolutely horrendous Live), but for the most part, they're not bad at all. I never bought many prerecorded cassettes, preferring to pick up vinyl and later CDs, which I then taped for use in the car or my Walkman (remember those?). My home tape deck finally crapped out about five years ago and I've never replaced it. I finally got a CD burner a couple years back, so I make the occasional mix CD, but my iPod has definitely revolutionized my listening habits. Still, it's nice to be able to listen to those old tapes, hark back to my single days, and wonder, "Why the hell did I put that piece of crap on this tape?"

Speaking of the iPod, Apple's finally come out with a truly affordable model for the masses: the iPod Shuffle. It's amazing to see how many people got iPods for Christmas this year; just at the gym alone, they're everywhere. Now, with a 512MB version available for $99 and a 1GB version for $149, you're going to see 8-year-olds walking around listening to their iPods while talking on their cell phones. Hell, they're probably doing that already. Damn kids these days.

While the Yankees were signing Randy Johnson and the Mets landed Carlos Beltran, the Jays stayed busy, trading for Shea Hillenbrand and signing the likes of Corey Koskie, Billy Koch and Scott Schoeneweis. I'm not printing the Wild Card banners yet, but what do you expect on a $50 million payroll?

Well, at least one NHL owner says the season is done. I'm tempted to agree at this point. But check out this interesting concept floated by ESPN.com, the ESPNHL. Using flash animation, they envision a reinvented NHL with fewer teams, a shorter season, revamped rules, a tiered luxury-tax system, and other innovations. Sounds good to me. Drop the puck!

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