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December 29th, 2009

Happy holidays.

The season has been marginally festive, here at Casa de dos Quesos.  #1 is back from college, enjoying the large pile of rock, metal and ska music that I got him.  #2 got a robot arm. Because as he told me, when he hinted for it, “Who wouldn’t want a frickin’ robot arm?”

I could not argue with his logic.

I also got him a molecular gastronomy kit.  This is cooking, for food chemists, and will allow him to turn potentially healthy foods into foam, caviar balls, gel spaghetti or pop rocks. 

It flies directly into the face of #1’s liberal, hippy college plan to eat only unprocessed foods.  For home made pop rocks, I am sure he will change his mind.  Are they not a food group?  If not, they should be.

I hit EBay and got the DH a vintage game which was unfortunately missing a few pegs, and an inlayed backgammon board that was not.  The DH got me a stereo system that can dupe tapes and vinyl to a jump drive, for transfer to IPod.

At first, I was dubious about the need for another gadget in our tech laden house.  But this means that, after many years of hoping, I will have access to old music that I have almost given up hope of hearing again.   

I can copy, the Wayne tape.

I have no idea who Wayne was.  I worked with a Wayne, as did the person I copied this tape from.  Lori had in turn copied the tape from Wayne, hence the name.  But she assured me, her Wayne was “Not that Wayne.” 

But whoever Wayne is, where ever he is, I must thank him, for creating a mix tape so powerful that it can fix bad moods and flat tires, breathe life into a dead party, freshen breath, whiten grout, cure cancer, and boost the economy.

I am not actually sure about some of those claims.  But it has been years since I’ve listened to this, and the world is in a mess.  So we don’t really know, do we?   

What I can tell you is that it is 90 minutes long, leads off with Bobby Darin singing Mack the Knife, and segues from Jerry Lee Lewis to the Beatles, to the themes from Peter Gunn and Hawaii Five O.  It hits what, in my opinion is an all time high at the beginning of side 2, with Lorne Greene singing the theme from Bonanza.  But it also has War (god God, ya’ll HUH) It’s My Party, and Aretha Franklin.

It violates a cardinal rule in this house of not pirating intellectual property, and compounds it by being a dupe of a dupe from some guy I never met.  Over here, we try to watch listen and read with sensitivity to the source of the material, and not to filch things that we can locate and purchase legally.  I figure, as a writer who doesn’t want her stuff pirated, it is a case of “Do onto others” and raised my teens to be Napster free.

But The Wayne Tape was made in the era of vinyl, so with a good sound system, you can hear the snap and crackle of the old crappy systems we all used to have, and the sound of the needle drop on the record.  It has historical significance.

It is an ethical conundrum. 

And The Holy Grail of mix tapes.

If global warming suddenly clears up, you can find Wayne and thank him.