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May 3rd, 2006


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01:13 am
They done told me Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac" is now available as a "podcast" or whatever you kids want to call it these days. (Christ, it's just a daily MP3 with a little RSS on the side. Let's not get too crazy here.)

I don't think I could listen to it that way. I just couldn't. Because it's no longer six years ago.

Six years ago, I had myself a bit of a commute, you see. I'd warm up the car on cold Sunderland winter mornings around 6:45 or so, crunching around the frozen mud, taking an ice scraper to all windows while the engine ran with the radio on and Bob Edwards' muffled voice mingled with the engine noise. I'd leave Sunderland (and a beautiful woman inside the apartment, still wrapped up in her blue bedsheets and blankets, all tangled red hair and drowsy smiles) about 15 minutes later. You knew the car was ready when you tapped the accelerator and the engine revved down. Oh, don't you run that engine cold, Mr. Spatch. That ol car's a cranky beast and a half as it is.

Off I'd go, 90 miles to DEC's Compaq's ginormous MRO facility, an NT 4.0 workstation named CYCLONE and an AlphaServer named frodo. Route 63 to Route 2 to I-495 to Marlboro. And always, somewhere in the swampy part near Orange or Erving, still on the two-lane state highway and in the middle of nothin but bare frozen saplings and low-lying brush, I'd hear the Writer's Almanac. By that time the windshield ice had melted slowly around the dashboard heater vents and the coffee mug in the cupholder. My fingers would finally thaw themselves out, too, and I could finally actually see out the side windows, just in time for Garrison Keillor and his soothing voice. He sounded better than even ol' mellifluous Edwards. Keillor would list a few obscure birthdays, read a few lines from Edna St. Vincent Millay or Robert W. Service, or maybe a translation of someone I'd never heard of from the 15th century -- and then sign off with "Be well, do good work, and keep in touch."

The job's gone. So's the woman, the apartment, and the car, even. Everything changes.

It would break my heart to discover that the Writer's Almanac hadn't.

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:ivorjawa
Date:May 3rd, 2006 05:47 am (UTC)
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2000 was a good year. And a bad year. And a good year.

And Spooky Cat just opened my goddamned underwear drawer again.
[User Picture]
From:annilita
Date:May 3rd, 2006 06:39 am (UTC)
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That is pretty much what it's like, yes.

I love when you talk NPR.
[User Picture]
From:semer
Date:May 3rd, 2006 06:41 am (UTC)
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Oh man, Spatch. I love you for knowing DEC. My daddy used to work for DEC, back when it really was DEC, and... yay. :)

Digital FO' LIFE, man.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 3rd, 2006 02:01 pm (UTC)
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I so miss the Digital environment. It was great. I worked for 'em under the Compaq name, but at least in Maynard and Marlboro, the DEC culture still existed and we learned to quietly roll our eyes at the things that "Houston" told us to do. My entire department was DECies. The agency I worked as a contractor for was founded by former DECies. And every few months we'd have big dinners out, either in the North End or in Newburyport and once we even took a boat up and down the Concord River. I didn't get to work at the Mill, as monster.com had already taken that over when I started work in 1999, but I did start in Parker Street (PKO represent) before they moved us over to Marlboro. It was awesome.

Where'd your dad work?
[User Picture]
From:arielblue
Date:May 3rd, 2006 12:24 pm (UTC)
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Man, I still miss Bob Edwards. Waking up with other men just isn't quite right.
[User Picture]
From:muse0fire
Date:May 3rd, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC)
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Was just thinking the same thing. His soothing dulcet tones were the perfect accompaniment to a commute... the New Guy is too nasal for my taste.
[User Picture]
From:ladivinafemme
Date:May 3rd, 2006 01:25 pm (UTC)
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Damn, Spatch, that made me feel nostalgic. I used to wake up to Writer's Almanac, before the MPR Morning Show came on at 6. The morning show is streaming on the web, but I keep forgetting to listen. It wouldn't be the same hearing it in New England, anyway.
[User Picture]
From:fancycwabs
Date:May 3rd, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC)
(Link)
But as a podcast Garrison can now recite "There Once Was a Man from Nantucket!" in his warm baritone.

"Here's a poem today by an anonymous author..."
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 3rd, 2006 08:25 pm (UTC)
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"This verse was first discovered scrawled on an ancient Roman latrine wall near Pompei: A lady in Halicarnassus..."
[User Picture]
From:heathbar27
Date:May 4th, 2006 02:51 pm (UTC)
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It's funny... I read this post yesterday, being unfamiliar with Writer's Almanac, and then later that night heard it on KPCC for the very first time. Weird.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:May 4th, 2006 04:56 pm (UTC)
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It just appeared out of nowhere!
[User Picture]
From:pecosy
Date:May 16th, 2006 07:32 pm (UTC)
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It would break my heart to discover that the Writer's Almanac hadn't.

But it has changed. It's a podcast now. Duh!

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