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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Feedback and suggestions--printable and otherwise--always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Keep your iPods and MP3's -- I want my music on vinyl

By Amanda Mears

November 11, 2008 | On my 21st birthday something magical happened. No, it wasn't that I was finally allowed into the ever-elusive dive bar or even that I could finally gamble away my meager savings. Instead, on my 21st birthday I finally received a record player.

I had been dreaming of this day since I was 14. In anticipation I had begun collecting records, both old and new, of my favorite bands. I scoured thrift stores and record stores, squealing in delight every time I found a classic record hidden in the dusty bins. Unfortunately, each Christmas, birthday and other miscellaneous holidays worthy of gifts passed without that dream being fulfilled -- until seven years later, when I ripped the wrapping paper off of my new record player.

It turned out to be perfect timing, as my birthday falls on National Record Store Day. So, in lieu of this little-known holiday, I dutifully ran to the nearest Graywhale and stocked up on all kinds of vinyl goodies.

It seems silly in a world of mp3s and iPods to covet something so retro, but trust me there is nothing quite like listening to music from a record. Each sound is magnified and every crackle and skip makes it somehow more authentic.

Plus, my dad pointed out as we listened to his master copy of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon given to him by a roadie for the band, records force you to enjoy the entire album. Every song, every word, every note. There is no skipping with records, no picking and choosing. Rather than being bits and pieces made from hopeful hits, an album has to be cohesive and a work of art in it's entirety.

Unwittingly, my dad had imparted some of the truest wisdom concerning the state of music today. It's tailored for those with musical A.D.D. who want a quick 2:45 song that fits nicely in an iPod shuffle play list. As I searched through my music collection, I faced the sad truth: music just ain't what it used to be.

That's not to say all is lost, popular stores like Urban Outfitters are doing their part to revive the art of listening to records by keeping a constant stock of various record players. Another testament to the small, but thriving, audience who still believes in vinyl is that there are still quite a few bands out there who strive to make a record that exudes musical magic from start to finish. To them, I say thank you for making records worthy of playing from start to finish. Preferably on a record player.



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