Action Shot. 1960s Kodachrome Slide, Heavily Filtered

Touching up and filtering old slides seems to be my new OCD. This child is seen playing somewhere in Ohio. I processed it through a number of filters from the Nik Collection and Filter Forge 4. It’s a little rough around the edges but all in all I like it. The original image is below.

Action Shot. Kodachrome Slide, Heavily Filtered

Action Shot. Kodachrome Slide, Heavily Filtered

Action Shot. Original Kodachrome Slide.

Action Shot. Original Kodachrome Slide.

San Diego Street Scene, 1950s Kodachrome Slide

San Diego Street Scene. 1950s Kodachrome Slide.

San Diego Street Scene. 1950s Kodachrome Slide.

Lots of detail to be found in this old slide showing a San Diego street scene from the 1950s. I did not go all in on touching up and perfecting this slide, which had some stains and splotches. I could reduce the dust and noise a bit more. This is one of a series of slides most of which appear to have been taken from the passenger side of a moving vehicle. This particular shot might have been taken by someone standing on the street’s median. The original scan of this slide is HERE.

At the far left is a building on which only the words “SERVICE” and “FINANCING” appear to be distinguishable. After that, from left to right we find a neon sign advertising Texaco Top Octane Sky Chief Petrox Gasoline, described in advertisements of the day as an innovative fuel with MAXIMUM POWER that actually CUTS ENGINE WEAR.

An orange bus stopped at the Texaco station appears to be the ROSECRANS 191 line.

Behind the bus is a billboard advertising “The Flavor of the West – California Gold Label Beer”, a beer from the California Brewing Company that was new in the mid-1950s.

The beer billboard rises above Calabrese’s Civic Center Cafe, which has a “COCKTAILS” neon sign above its front door.

Above and behind Calabrese’s is a large sign for San Diego Gas & Electric. The set of smokestacks behind that sign is presumably part of a power plant.

An obscured sign shows only the middle part of a business: “…RKER & TH… [AS]SOCIATE[S]”.

The Civic Center Travel Lodge has its neon-lighted “VACANCY” sign lit — let’s get a room!

An unreadable billboard above the Travel Lodge might be for Lucky Strike cigarettes.

An obscured red sign with white letters appears to say “GAS”, and another partly obscured sign behind and to the right of it appears to say “STANDARD STATIONS”.

I don’t know makes and models of cars very well but there appear to be some Chevrolet’s. There appear to be three people in the teal-colored car at the bottom right. License plate # ZV 36880.

A couple of “NO U TURN” signs in the middle of the street rounds out the details I am able to distinguish.

This snapshot appears to have been taken at the 1500 block of Pacific Highway, Route 101. If Streetview is any indication this area has been completely transformed.

This Could Be Illegal Soon

Victor Chu, of Sky Tech One Aerial Photography, piloted a drone over all 5 boroughs to assemble this interesting video of New York City from a bird’s eye view. I don’t usually go for this sort of thing but I was especially taken by the drone’s entry into the Unisphere, at about the 4:00 point.

Last year I explored the possibility of doing exactly this: obtaining a high quality drone and flying it into the hollows and over the top of the Unisphere, that enormous steel globe which has been a fascination of mine since I first encountered it at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park many years ago.

The more I looked into it the more I understood the enormous amount of skill needed to maneuver a drone through an opening which is actually quite small considering the unpredictable flatulence of winds up there. The time expense — not to mention the financial cost of a high quality copter and camera — rendered the idea amusing but out of reach.

I also did not relish the prospect of owning an expensive device when using it could soon be essentially illegal anywhere in the 5 boroughs.

I guess you can’t keep a good idea down. A number of videos shot from drones flying over and around the Unisphere are to be found out there on that World Wide Web people keep talking about.

However unless it is lost on me (which is entirely possible) it appears that none of these drones actually penetrate the invisible crust of this steely earth, as Victor Chu so skillfully did in his flight. Mr. Chu’s video in its entirety is tremendously impressive just on the basis of how much concentration and work went into it.

The Unisphere served as a focal point of my disdain for a certain online encyclopedia. For over a year the opening sentence in that source’s article about the Unisphere claimed that the massive steel globe was also known as the “Globitron”. In the time that this patently bogus bit of vandalism lingered it was picked up by countless web site creators who simply scooped information in good faith from what a surprising number of people consider to be a reliable source. A search today for “Unisphere Globitron” turns up over 800 web pages claiming the Unisphere is also known as the Globitron.

I checked in on that encyclopedia entry every once in a while, amazed at how long the vandalism lasted. The word “Globitron” sounds laughable to anyone familiar with the Unisphere, but I have to give the vandal credit for coining such an innocuously believable term.

I imagined this insertion of the word “Globitron” and its subsequent travels to hundreds of other web sites was a preëmptive form of publicity, such that a rock band or television show was getting its name out there any which way possible before going public.

It seems not to have been any such well-planned chicanery.

Other Unisphere-focused drone videos:

See my pictures of the Unisphere, and of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Unisphere, n.a.k.a. the "Globitron"

Unisphere, n.a.k.a. the “Globitron”

Centers Of Words

This is something that goes on inside my head. I see words and drill down to their center letter(s). The word’s center may be perfect, imperfect, half-reversed, stubbornly without a central nervous system, or anything else I more or less arbitrarily decide to label it.

Words with an even number of letters are the most inviting challenge. I find the middle two letters and rhythmically determine what letter(s) are alphabetically positioned evenly in between. The center of A and E, for example, is C. Other word games inhabit my brain. This one happens to be on my mind and once and for all I will send it to my hands.

This game has inhabited my brain since grade school. The mental search for center letters is sung to various tunes from Bizet’s “Carmen”, Beethoven’s Opus 111 Piano Sonata, cadences borrowed from high school marching band, and others. Most times I get to the center of any word put before me but sometimes I just give up. I’ve never discussed this out loud or typed this out until now.

I’ve imagined this game being taught in a grammarly fashion to youngsters in grade school. The centers of broadly separated letters such as A and V, or G and Y, might be memorized and recited by rote. A teacher would speak random letter combinations which the students would be expected to have memorized. Optimally their minds would be trained to instinctively know the center letters without taking the low road of straight memorization.

Teacher: “C, O.”
Class: “I.”
Teacher: “S, E.”
Class: “L, imperfect reversed.”

These words are chosen from things that are on my desk or on my mind.

KODACHROME – O
OBSTRUCTED CENTER OF KODACHROME IS EF.
FIRST 2 WORDS THAT START AND END WITH E…F ARE ELF AND ERF.
PERFECT CENTERS OF ELF AND ERF ARE L AND R.
PERFECT CENTER OF L AND R IS O.
THUS, THE PERFECT CENTER OF KODACHROME IS O.

MAGAZINE – C
OBSTRUCTED CENTER OF MAGAZINE IS MN.
MAN AND MEN ARE THE FIRST 2 WORDS THAT START AND END WITH M…N.
PERFECT CENTERS OF MAN AND MEN ARE A AND E.
PERFECT CENTER OF A AND E IS C.
THUS THE PERFECT CENTER OF MAGAZINE IS C.

PUBLIC – G
OBSTRUCTED CENTER OF PUBLIC IS BL.
PERFECT CENTER OF BL IS G.
THUS THE PERFECT CENTER OF PUBLIC IS G.

REFLECTION – D, IMPERFECT REVERSED
OBSTRUCTED CENTER OF REFLECTION IS EC.
AS E AND C ARE IN REVERSE ORDER THE IMPERFECT CENTER IS D, REVERSED.

GIRLFRIEND – L
OBSTRUCTED CENTER OF GIRLFRIEND IS FR.
PERFECT CENTER OF FR IS L.
PERFECT CENTER OF GIRLFRIEND IS L.

KEYBOARD – DIJ, PERFECT OBSTRUCTED
FIRST WORDS THAT START WITH H AND END WITH I ARE HADJI AND HAJI.
PERFECT CENTER OF HADJI IS D, OBSTRUCTED CENTER OF HAJI IS EF.
FIRST WORDS THAT START AND END WITH E…F ARE ELF AND ERF.
PERFECT CENTER OF ELF AND ERF ARE L AND R.
PERFECT CENTER OF L AND R IS O.
OBSTRUCTED CENTER OF D AND O IS IJ.
NO WORDS START WITH I AND END WITH J.
THUS THE PERFECT CENTER OF HADJI JOINS THE OBSTRUCTED CENTER OF HAJI TO FORM DIJ.

MARIGOLD – H, PERFECT REVERSED
THE CENTER OF I AND G IS H, REVERSED.
H REVERSED FORMS A PERFECT H.

HEADPHONES – L, IMPERFECT REVERSED
OBSTRUCTED CENTER OF HEADPHONES IS PH.
IMPERFECT CENTER OF PH IS L, REVERSED.

ROLODEX – O
PERFECT CENTER OF ROLODEX IS O.
SOME WOULD ARGUE THAT ITS POSITION BETWEEN L AND D MAKES IT PERFECT REVERSED, AS O REVERSED FORMS A PERFECT O.

MEMORIES – PQ, OBSTRUCTED, OR D, OR K IMPERFECT REVERSED, EXTENDED.
NO WORDS START WITH P AND END WITH Q, UNLESS THE ABBREVIATION P.D.Q. IS CONSIDERED, IN WHICH CASE D IS THE PERFECT CENTER.
AN EXTENDED SEARCH FOR THE CENTER OR MEMORIES WOULD CONSIDER THE SURROUNDING LETTERS M AND I. THE IMPERFECT REVERSED CENTER OF M AND I IS K IMPERFECT REVERSED, OR K IMPERFECT REVERSED EXTENDED.

COSTCO – C
OBSTRUCTED CENTER OF COSTCO IS ST.
FIRST WORDS THAT START AND END WITH S…T ARE SAT AND SET.
PERFECT CENTERS OF SAT AND SET ARE A AND E.
PERFECT CENTER OF A AND E IS C.
THUS THE PERFECT CENTER OF COSTCO IS C.

COFFEE – N, SEMI-PERFECT HALF-REVERSED
OBSTRUCTED CENTER IS FF.
FIRST WORDS THAT START AND END WITH F ARE FIEF AND FLUFF.
IMPERFECT REVERSED CENTER OF FIEF IS G, PERFECT CENTER OF FLUFF IS U.
AS G IS IMPERFECT REVERSED THE CENTER OF G AND U IS N, SEMI-PERFECT HALF-REVERSED.

HEADPHONES – L, IMPERFECT REVERSED
CENTER OF P AND H IS L, REVERSED.

 

 

205-632-0015 – magicJack Telespam

Robocall from Alabama area code. I need to look this up again but my understanding is that when a robocall asks you to “Press 1 to hear more” or to “Press 2 to be taken off our *SPECIAL* list” they are essentially throwing out a telephonic fishing lure. If you hit any button then you are considered to have opted in, regardless of whether you hit the 1 or the 2 button. Press one button and whoever is behind the robocalls has full privilege to bombard you with future calls.

A few years ago I called Verizon from one of the phone booths at the New York Public Library to cancel the landline account. The call proved to be unnecessary, as opening the magicJack account itself automatically initiated the cancellation of Verizon. I keep magicJack open mostly for old time’s sake, to keep the old landline number alive. All it gets is crap calls like this.

Happy To Hear You, Scott

Listening to the radio this morning I found WCBS 101.1 FM, which I usually tune in to during afternoon hours. Nightowl that I’ve been the past years I rarely catch morning drive time radio any more, unless I stayed awake past sunrise.

Listening at around 8:30am I thought “this dude sounds familiar.” He was funny and gruff, and most impressively to me he spoke from obvious experience about the world of music and radio over the past several decades.

I listened to FM radio in Tampa almost religiously in the 1980s. Stations came and went but I still remember Q105, 98 Rock, Magic 96…

Wondering whose voice sounded so familiar I looked at the info screen on the radio and couldn’t believe it was Scott Shannon, a childhood hero of mine who inspired me to seek a career in radio.

I did not want to be like him or mimic his style. As a youngster I was just impressed by his self-confident celebrity and ability to influence opinion and be a tastemaker.

I was listening to Q105 the moment Shannon first aired Charlene’s “I’ve Never Been To Me”, that sappy, once-forgotten song from the 1970s that sold nothing on its original release but became something of a global phenomenon upon its re-issue in 1982.

Before airing the song Shannon said something to the effect of “This is gonna be big.”

Minutes after “I’ve Never Been To Me” ended Shannon returned to the mic to report on listener response. He played back recorded phone calls that almost immediately started pouring in from people asking what that song was and could you please play it again… and again… and again. It was my first experience with a song being massively overplayed.

In those days I and two other students from my grade school got rides to school from the 7th grade teacher, Ellen. Any time that song came on the radio we all had to shutup so Ellen could listen to it. I played “Never Been To Me” for my mother and remember her fidgeting, trying not to visibly identify with the song and instead saying (in so many words) that she felt manipulated by Charlene’s tear-jerker.

I could be off about this but Shannon gave the impression that he was solely responsible for the song’s revival. Whatever my thoughts about the song I was impressed by one DJ’s influence. (Keep in mind that I was 12 years old. I can’t imagine falling into hero worship today.)

It was good to hear that the show in New York is actually pretty good, too. The wisecracks sounded unscripted and Shannon seemed entirely in control of the show and its seemingly free-wheeling format.

In 1982 Shannon left Tampa for the big time: New York City. This seemed like a big, huge, honkin’ deal at the time, with hackles of “SELLOUT” filling the local papers — or maybe that was just my mother talking. She thought he was an asshole, and from what I could discern she was not alone. But I admired him. He did things BIG.

I didn’t have a problem with him moving on to so-called bigger and better things — it may have helped inspire my secret childhood fantasy of living in New York — but I was sorry to see him go.

His teary-eyed farewell speech (which my mother said was phony) was televised on a local news show.

When I moved to New York in 1990 I tried to find Scott Shannon on the radio. I never did, learning later that he’d moved on to California just a year earlier. It was no existential crisis for me, but establishing just one bit of harmless continuity between my years growing up and moving on to New York might have helped me feel a little bit more at home.

I made a couple of WRBQ/Q105 airchecks in 1981 & 1982, when I was 13 & 14 years old. Too bad neither of them captured Scott Shannon. Instead they got his colleagues Cat Sommers and Mason Leroy Dixon. You can hear them below.