(second block, fourth letter of the prisoners' quadratic tap code...)

...am here to tap through the walls.

Tue Jun, 13 2006

The Vampire State

By way of crying the coming Spitzer disaster, Thrutch points out a New York Times story about the lights going out above the Rockland-Putnam line in The Vampire State. Let me put the thing to you this way:

I cannot remotely imagine that a reporter for that newspaper could possibly impart the scope of the disaster up here. In fact, I'm tempted to just call him "Sam Duranty" and press on.

Just in my little village, the flight has been traditional for thirty years. Bradley's in Nashville and has been forever. Amy is at The Trib. Charlene ran off just about instantly to Phoenix and lives well on the escape. Brian went to L.A. and made his name with Pro Piano, and so did his brother Bernard. Everybody in my family went away for a long time, and Agnes and I are the only ones dumb enough to live here now. It's interesting to me in all kinds of morbid ways, but they're also tragic, too: this is the most beautiful place in the world to me, except for all the stark ruinous bullshit that the kommissars constantly rain upon it, like they have for at least as long as I've known it.

Really: there is no serious hope here. It's just a disaster, if you've got your life ahead of you. You come back here after you've done something Out There In The World, for odds & ends reasons when you look at some of those who've done it, but the whole thing, added up, is really about Home just getting stomped out.

I was taken with Buffalo this last time, at my cousin's funeral. I hadn't hung there in a while, and I would say the whole thing would be shocking if not for understanding it. The only thing I don't understand is why anyone with a brain in their head would live there.

...except for my cousins, of course. It's home, to them. So, they live there, watching it going dark.

It's a really horrible thing to see, and I see it from the crowded Erie shore to the way people almost never wave to strangers anymore out here on the cow-lanes.

"There's a feelin' in the sky tonight
Tough as nails and I feel the cold wind start to bite
Folks I meet seem so cold
Blown like leaves their faces hard and set in stone..."
(Little Feat -- "Changin' Luck", 1988)

Been coming a long time.


Various guitars I see floating by, mostly Gibson and mostly eBay.

Early Norlin ES-335 -- 1970, in Walnut ("ES-335TDW"). This is a period-piece look and feel, and arguably the sound as well but that's to cut things very finely. A "classic" 335 would be the original of 1958 in the Sunburst or Natural finish, or the Cherry Red of 1959; the Walnut of 1970 (second year of that finish offering) is not really a "classic" 335. In the history of the Gibson aesthetic, this is analogous to, say, vertically-striped polyester bell-bottoms or Bahama Blue shag carpeting. None of this is to say that they're not cool guitars, and this is a nice one. Excellent photographs.

Chrome hardware, featuring the trapeze tailpiece (like my L-47 and I've always liked it) and ABR-1 bridge with period-typical nylon saddles. Bound rosewood fretboard, with small block markers, and then the crown inlay at the machine head. These would be the T-top Humbuckers. Vintage Nazis would moan that the upper bouts are pointy (the body templates were wearing-out in the factory) and the fourteen-degree machine head with the volute signals a sometimes not-fun era of the line, but these things really do rock or moan or whatever you want a 335-type semi-hollow to do. ...which, of course, is because it really is a 335.

In the months since I've let AxeBites languish all to bleedin' hell, Gibson's Robot Guitar technology has sifted out to other models than the original Les Paul application. I don't know how it's going: I still haven't even seen one of these self-tuners. I don't see piles of them burning on the sides of the highway, nor reverent hangings in display cases over bars, so who knows? This 2008 Robot SG is ready to rock in the Metallic Red. Nickel hardware; it's the stoptail wired for data to send to the tuners, with dual Humbuckers. It's a bound rosewood fretboard, but I really like the single-bound machine head with the crown inlay. That's a real cool old-school look, right there, to set off that crazy-ass color. {nod}