Radio, Music, Magic

There are few things 
These days
Left to the imagination
In this League of Nations
Radio, Music, Magic

Send a signal
Into the Aether
For all the world to hear
There's nothing quite so queer
Radio, Music, Magic

Turn your attention
To writing songs
A whole world exposed
Magic head to toe
Radio, Music, Magic

Over here
soothing elixir
That doth sooth thy soul
Your imagination is gold
Radio, Music, Magic

Radio Poseur

I am loving writing songs that are stories about American Oddballs . . . .

Lee de Forest
Radio huckster
Circuit breaker
Legal mucker

Copycat maker
Legal loser
Copyright faker
Self promoter

Made the triode
Accidental hacker
Tweaked a diode
Radio Quacker

Opportunist
Co-operator
Minor player
Grand parader

Some folk do
While Others talk
Some skip steps
But doers walk

Let us raise
Our glasses high
For the doers
On Radio KRY

Chorus
Radio Quacker
Self promoter
Legal mucker
Radio poseur

in a nutshell

  • Lee deForest accidentally invented the Triode – adding a grid to Fessenden’s invention
  • If he wasn’t so boastful and litigious he would not have lost so much money and reputation
  • He tried to Shanghai others patents – and spent too much time in legal battles
  • He totally screwed over Major Edwin Armstrong – a true inventor hero like Tesla
  • “Empire of the Air” painted him in a terrible light – darker than most history books do
  • Even Radio KRY gets in on the fun!

discussion

One of my favorite tech books and documentaries is “Empire of the Air”, which is about the invention of radio. Two characters emerged that I did not care for – Lee deForest (Larry Bud Melmans great uncle) and David Sarnoff – president of NBC. These guys were not portrayed in a flattering way in that documentary – you should watch it or read the book – its fascinating.

In many ways, deForest is / was very similar to Donald Trump – a narcissistic opportunist big mouth – who would have done much better keeping their big traps shut and staying away from so many lawsuits. These guys were their own worst enemies – they drew attention to themselves that achieved exactly the opposite of what they set out to achieve – and like deForest, Trump will be seen as just another crazy American character that was more myth than legend. Flying under the radar for these guys would have kept their myth alive as a legend. It would have been great for their ego . . .

theme

American inventor who crossed a bridge too far – like Mary Trumps book “Too Much and Never Enough”. A classic age old tale.

conclusion

I would have believed that he was a great inventor and father of radio – but when you read about Armstrong, Marconi, Chandra Bose, Fessenden, Maxwell and many others – deForest comes across in a very negative light. HOWEVER – I loved his great nephew, Calvert deForest, aka “Larry Bud Melman” on the David Letterman Show. Calvert was a comedy hero for sure!

Your Eye in The Sky

Bill Gurly
In the KAW whirly burley
For your night time drive
Your eye in the sky

All the hits
All night long
AM 770
We play YOUR songs

This show brought to you
By Hayek's Market
In house butcher and food
Plenty of free parking

Radio Twin Lens Reflex

Radio Twin Lens Reflex
All the hits
All the time
The greatest scene
On the ground glass screen

Radio Twin Lens Reflex
First lens
Second lens
Watch the parallax
Get The KNAC!

Radio Twin Lens Reflex
The music
Of our lifetime
So far away
Until we play

Radio Twin Lens Reflex
Automatic reaction
Makes us happy
Radio Photo romance
Get up, let's dance!

The Statue of Foreign Nations

When I was a kid
I listened to the radio
All the stations
From foreign nations

I'd listen and look
For their position on the globe
All the stations
From foreign nations

Deutsche Welle, BBC, RSA, Radio Australia
So many more I still can hear
All the stations
From foreign nations

I feel lucky and am so glad
That I listened to
All the stations
From foreign nations

Radio Ghost Train

My second song with Cello.

All aboard
The Ghost Train Special
Pulling out of Station Zero
Morse Code Tapping
Pistons Rapping
Guess it's time for us to go

Destination
Is the future
We will get there when we do
Morse Code Tapping
Pistons Slapping
The night air is cool

Band aboard
This Haunted Train
Playing sad songs from the past
Morse Code Tapping
Pistons Rattling
Through a tunnel in the mountain pass

There's no light
At the end of the tunnel
Or in this long dark shaft
Morse Code Tapping
Pistons Cracking
A loud ghosts shrieking laugh



Radio Tombstone

Radio Tombstone
Late at night
Hear her distant cry
Through the static
And the fading
Spooky Lullaby

"Don't sit under
The Apple Tree
With anyone else but me"
It's too late
He's found a new mate
When you became deceased

Halloween 666 Series #6: Halloween Bicycle Parade


The Full Set and Cast
Balcony Ghost Player Piano
Beautiful Bike!
Two Clowns on a Tricycle. Nice Entry!
OK – Brooms are Acceptable as Bikes
Last Train Leaves the Station Soon
Late Entry in the Parade
Drama Queen . . .
The Circus Seems to Have Unicycle Entry
The Raven is Perched on the KAW Radio AM-666 Microphone
Butterfly With Angel Wings – This Years Parade Winning Entry!
High Above The Madding Crowd

This was fun – I pulled out all the stops this year because I am so relieved (and eternally thankful) that we are healing from last year with its Smoke, Pandemic, Trump / Politics, Power Outages due to Fire Danger – have I left anything out?

Now lets pray for rain. I expect to do one Thanksgiving / Christmas set and photo shoot – but my thing is Harvest Festival and Halloween – and Thanksgiving – which is a Harvest Festival. I’m a Pagan I think . . . .

The Haunted Radio

A Tear Stained Eye, a Ghost in the Machine

It’s now been 1 1/2 years since I started playing music. I did play guitar and keyboards in the 80’s, but that was maybe 6 years out of that decade. I did have some piano and song writing classes and I was in a rock band that played at The Hotel Utah in San Francisco. Amateur, but serious amateur I suppose.

Back then, because I didn’t push myself to play more than a handful of chords (bad pun intended) I very quickly ran into a total writers block. I just didn’t understand how much work it takes to become a decent musician and song writer. Plus, my “day job” and career paid the bills and took off very nicely. Away went music.

A tear stained eye
A ghost in the machine
Every time I walk by
Her face in a dream

Her beautiful face
The ships it set sail
Falling from grace
Dead men tell no tale

New age Medusa
Writhing with snakes
Men are reduced
To deathly heartache

Don't touch that dial
Her siren song sings
Like death in a vial
Your end it will bring

Walk by her fast
That haunted machine
If you don't pass
Let out a scream

This time around I’m much more of a very serious student and use fantastic Cubase to record myself – daily. Recording is like a quiz – you have to be on time and be ready. Its not as casual as sitting on the sofa noodling and goofing around. I’m also pushing how many instruments I’m playing – guitar, bass, mandolin, lap steel, violin and theremin. Making the attempt to arrange all of these parts is great practice, but I need to draw a line where playing is more like noodling and it ruins a decent song structure. The best example is 70’s jam band rock – especially The Grateful Dead – I just never have understood why people like them. Some of their songs could be good, and Jerry Garcia was best when he did bluegrass with David Grisman, but his incessant jam noodling just got boring. Many like it though ….

From now on, I’ll put more effort in the instrument I’m writing a song with and be a lot more sparse with the accompanying instruments. This is because when I play too much it gets muddy, and my song idea and intent gets washed out. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but a guideline I’ll remember to at least consider. For me, incessant noodling just ruins it.

Sometimes (in very few cases) playing a lot is what is needed, sometimes not. I think in most cases less is more.

One phrase that I love is a Buddhist phrase “Do Nothing Extra”.

R.I.P. Radio

Video Killed The Radio Star and The Internet Disposed of the Body

The movie “Contact” was both good – and bad, but most of it was good. I especially liked the opening scene where Radio and TV signals were travelling out into outer space – to be heard by aliens I suppose. They were from every decade since radio was invented – but more so commercial radio.

When I was a kid there still was music even on AM radio, but FM was where the cool kids hung out. AM had local news and I remember listening to WHO from Des Moines and “The Farm Report” and WSM and The Grande Ol’ Opry. FM had “album rock” which was great.

I know FM was still good through the 80’s, but with syndication, talk radio and then even MTV switching to “reality shows”, that was it. Radio, and even TV as we knew it was strangled and left for dead. I think in the 90’s.

Luckily, College and some PBS stations kept a very thin candle burning.

From 2001 – 2016 I relived what was the absolute last gasp of my personal radio romance. It was fun and I’m so thankful I squeezed every last drop out of my Ham Radio hobby.

YouTube and Satellite Radio is excellent for finding new music and internet “radio” has way more selection than AM or FM, but there was that indescribable “charm”.

Anyway, tomorrow – or Sunday – I have another photo shoot lined up – the third in the 666 series. The theme is a Halloween inspired theme, where the spooky headstone is for Radio.