Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

School's Out for Old-Schoolers

Amidst all the hoopla surrounding Super Bowl 2 Million and the local interviews of everyone who could even spell "Green Bay," was a tidbit that brought a touch of sadness...another passing...another element that will never come back...the end of an era.
It seems that no longer will any automaker design a vehicle with a cassette player as either standard or optional equipment! That is, of course, a major blow to all of us old-schoolers who made mix tape after mix tape (face it, "mix CD" just doesn't cut it) just so we would not have to listen to the inanity that has become FM radio or the whiny voices on talk radio.
Face it, when the interior of my vehicle surpasses the fidelity to most headphones, I want to hear quality music, and I'm not talking Black-Eyed Rutabaga here. I put these tapes together with the highest quality equipment (granted, it was 20 years ago), and I want to be able to listen to them with all the tape hiss included.
Oh, sure, some melted when I left them on the dash, and some tapes got so stretched out from continual play that they ended up wrapped endlessly around the tape heads, requiring the skill of a heart surgeon to extricate them without leaving pieces inside, but to folks like me, the cassette tape was the first real opportunity to express myself musically for 90 minutes without interruption...even if that meant driving several times around the block waiting for the last cut.
The Philips company issued the death knell of the 8-track when it introduced the cassette format in the 70's, and we all welcomed the change, especially those of us trying to make mix tapes. No matter how hard I tried to watch the meter on the recorder, the tracks ALWAYS jumped ahead in the middle of a song...MY song...and it was infuriating.
CD, MP3, Sync Entertainment System (Ford's product which now streams Pandora!) are fine for most folks, but for me, I want to hear the hiss, the pop and sense the euphoria that came with playing a tape at max volume, singing and pounding the dashboard and/or steering wheel. Satellite radio couldn't duplicate it, and neither can the new format that streams Pandora, allowing me to select only the songs I want onto a playlist, just like it does on my computer. Nope. Not for me.
If radio actually DID kill the radio star (first song played on MTV--when MTV actually played music videos), new mobile technology killed a part of me; oh, I have a iPod shuffle for working out, and an iPod Classic for airplanes, but nothing makes me want to play air drums or sing at the top of my lungs like a cassette mix tape blasting from the speakers in my '96 RAV4.
As a side note, the last remaining vehicle with the cassette player as a standard feature was the 2010 Lexus SC 430.
The king is dead. Long live the king...sigh.


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