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

...am here to tap through the walls.

Tue Mar, 09 2004

How It Comes, Now & Then

While researching a point of economics last night, I remembered my father.

It's not as if I've forgotten him or anything about him. That is strictly impossible, of course. I'm talking about a love so ingrown in my existence -- all of it, always -- that it's sometimes wonderous that I could ever pay attention to anything else in my mind. There is a very tiny, extremely fine, selection among all the individuals who ever lived, who make it into this sacred vial of carriage worn always around my psychic neck on a priceless chain never to be taken off. The Old Man is a necessary seed-grain in that collection. That's how much of me comes from him, which can only die when I do.

I don't sit around keening and wailing about the fact that he's gone. I play his guitar, and in order to do that, I need to pay intense real-time attention to a lot more than the (to me) profound fact of history that it was his. In the week of this winter that we spent in temperatures more than ten degrees below zero, it did occur to me to think, "Wow, I wish Dad were here to see this," but I had to put the thought away in order to repair a couple of his water pipes blown out in the freeze. Of course, I had a place to safely put it. It's never very far away at all. Never.

The thing that's remarkable is how it sometimes jumps right up in my face, like a practical joke.

"Hey, guess what: you know that guy who was so crucial to so much of your life? You're never going to see him or hear his voice, ever again."

That's a page of Chris Sciabarra's 1995 book, "Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical". (I cannot recommend this book highly enough. And, BTW: yes, a pistol makes a fine page-holder, especially when one is transcribing from the page.)

I always annotate in black. (Parker Vector rollerballs.) Does anyone here recall when Papermate introduced their Flair felt-tip pens? I do. Instantly, Dad thought they were just sensational, and he used them all the rest of his life to annotate his books. He always did it in red. (In later years, I bought them for him by the case. That was a present always guaranteed to make him happy.)

On his visit to Atlanta one year, I handed him this book, and he went through it his usual way. And every time I open it (along with many others), now, I see a discussion that the three of us -- Sciabarra, Dad, and I -- had in this book, and which I will always have.

It's not what I would have if I could have things my way, but reality isn't concerned with that. It's an important element of All I've Got Remaining, however, and the task is to keep learning how to live with that.


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}