Saturday, March 29, 2008

One Hundred Years From Now...
Funny what a person thinks about when his mind wanders...

I suppose this post was inevitable. After all, this blog is a reflection of things both external and internal; so, okay, here's something that's been bouncing around the vast empty caverns of my mind...I suppose this all came about since I became aware of some long-forgotten singers from many, many years ago. There is so much music from yesteryear I haven't heard; it's a whole 'nother world. A person could spend hours and hours on YouTube or various other sites, trying to hear everyone. But once you've heard a few singers and musicians from the past, then you come to find there are many, many more out there, lurking in the past, preserved on film or on disc, and it's amazing. All that music.

So you can look at all the different music, fads, musicians, songs, dances, forms of entertainment or whatever, over the last 100 years, and it's staggering. We've come all the way from primitive acoustic recording, where musicians gathered around a big speaker horn and played as forcefully as possible, all the way up to the point where almost anyone can have a studio in their home, which is equal to or surpasses professional studios of yesteryear. Look at all the fads...The Charleston...flappers...big band..."race" music (that's what Music by black artists was called waay back when)...the Duck-Tail...Folkies...Hippies...The Continental (a big dance craze of the '40s)...The Twist...The Beatles...Woodstock...The Aquarian Age...Disco...Punk...slam-dancing...Hip-Hop...Techno...and so on, and so forth. Paul Whiteman. Lee Morse. Frank Sinatra. Elvis. The Beatles. Led Zeppelin. Huey Lewis & The News. Hootie & The Blowfish. Ice-T. Tone Loc. American Idol. The New Christy Minstrels. The Dead Kennedys...and the many artists who are popular today; it's getting hard to keep with all the new faces...

Or, how about different modes of recorded sound? Evidently someone has made an audio recording of an old "Paper" recording, which pre-dates Thomas Edison by 20 years (roughly, the 1880's, I believe). Think about it, though...wax recordings on cylinders...the first "flat" one-sided 78rpm record...the first double-sided 78...then, long-playing 33rpm albums and 45rpm about the antiquated 4-track tape...which led to 8-tracks...then Cassette tapes came along (along with record company ads saying 'home taping kills music')...the demise of the phonograph record as CD's came along (many replacements for records had been launched unsuccessfully; I had a feeling, way back in 1983, though, that CD's would be the thing that (almost) obliterated vinyl...for many, the audio cassette is now a thing of the past, because CD recorders are widely available, but wait...there's mp3's out there, doing the same to the CD that the CD did to records...and who knows what else lurks out there in the wide wonderful field of home electronics?

And I haven't even touched upon other things which are hallmarks of eras past...gosh, where to start...The Model T. Doughboys. The Great Depression. The Roaring '20s. Prohibition. McCarthyism. JFK. RFK. Ford "Mustang". Martin Luther King, Jr. The Marlboro Man. Watergate. Reaganomics. Read My Lips, No New Taxes. Monica. Cheney's hunting accident. WPA. NASA. AFL-CIO. UPI. ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, and all of a sudden TONS of other channels. The Theater. Multi-plex theaters. VHS. DVD. Blu-Ray. Typewriters. Line-o-type. Pony Express. Western Union. Waiting a month for a letter from England. Computer chatting to people in any country you choose in real time. Pinball. Pong. Space Invaders. Pac-Man. Atari. X-box. (I'm starting to get dizzy here, what with all the 'rewinding' and 'fast-forwarding' I'm doing in this post...)

Okay, so what is the point of all of this? First of all, I don't claim to be any kind of innovator or visionary, but I look back at the many things that have happened since I was born, a little over a half-century ago. And as I backtrack further, into the early 1900's, all of a sudden it becomes obvious how much has been INVENTED...and the pace of innovation doesn't just double or triple, it increases exponentially, faster, faster, smaller, faster, more, more, more, all the time. And the point I am getting at is, over the last 100 years, so very much has been invented, so much has happened, so many issues, problems, policies, treaties, and on and on and on. We tend to think that this moment in time, the moment that we're in, the 'now', is the big thing. We think of the 20th century as the biggest-ever century because so many things came along in that time span...but...everything that we know, or operate, or associate with, utilize or program, has come along in just a small BLIP in time, soon to be outdated.

An old love song from the '40s, I believe, says something along the lines of, 'let's make the most of things now, because our small problems won't matter One Hundred Years From Now'. And, 'what is a hundred years'? In Cosmic Time, Not A Whole Heck Of A Lot. In a hundred years, everything we know NOW will be outmoded, outdated, packed away in mothballs, stored in attics, tossed away, discarded and pulverized. In another century, one day, someone will find the shell of an old laptop computer, similar to what I'm typing on right now, and think to himself, "my, how did folks manage to get by, way back in 2008?" I've been reading over all the trippy stuff I've typed here, and I 'spose there's only one logical way to end this post...enjoy the following song...which came out way back in 1969. (Forty years ago next year!)


...but we are okay in our shiny new car...look at us now, you can see we've come I am playing Electric Guitar...Look at the Progress...we've made...
--Lyrics from "Editorial", a 1968 song by Chad & Jeremy ("Of Cabbages & Kings" album)


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