Friday, June 29, 2007

You can't go home again

PICTURE THIS: You’re casually reading the newspaper, when you suddenly see an advertisement with the name of a favorite music group in it. (For the sake of this example, let’s say it’s the Carpenters.) The ad reads something like this:

GARAGE SALE: The house that used to belong to the Carpenters is having a garage sale. We will be selling items that used to belong to the Carpenters. Come one, come all.

Wow! What an opportunity! Would you try to be there? Well, guess what. It really happened. Carpenter fan Rod Reynolds actually went to such an estate sale recently. His post was republished on the A&M Records forum, and it demonstrates how important it is to not get too sentimental sometimes. Here are some excerpts from a very well-documented estate sale experience:

A few days ago, we got notice that the owners of the home that Karen and Richard Carpenter lived in in Downey were having a yard sale, advertising several Carpenters items. I picked Jeff up in Long Beach early this morning, and having no idea what to expect, we arrived at 9828 Newville Ave at around 9am. There were seven people there. As I said, having no idea what to expect, we were still shocked that there were only seven people there. We quickly sorted them into Carpenters fans (three) and yard sale people (four). One of the Carpenters fans was Joe from San Diego, who I have "known" for many years online in various Carpenters fan forums, but never met.

Since we were there so early, and there basically was no line up, we wandered into the back yard, which was gated but unlocked. It was truly sad. Jeff and Joe had been to the house a few times over the years, and they were appalled at the condition of the yard. I took several pictures, which I will show you in a minute. Complete disarray, what was once a meticulously maintained Japanese garden is now barren. The bridges are decayed, the foliage is all dead.

We were let into the house at 10am by a young latina woman, early twenties, with orange curly hair balanced precariously atop her head, and clearly overwhelmed by even the very small group of us. She initially wanted to let only five people in at once, but we protested quite loudly, and, while clearly exasperated, let us all in.

The seller led us through the house (only the recreation side, though, not the living side) and pointed out the few, over priced Carpenters related items. There was the Japanese bridge, disassembled from the back yard, in a pile on the floor in the garage, for $500. A nice piece perhaps, but rotted and unwieldy. There was an array of records, laid out on a table, which she said belonged to Karen and Richard, for which she was asking an outrageous 10 a piece. (I noticed when we were leaving, much later, that the sign had been changed to $5 each. Still, no one had bought a single one.)

There were a few lamps, four stained glass, one lamp from Karen's bedroom (missing the shade), and metallic pot lamps from the music room. She was asking $200 for the lamps, which I though was about 400% more than they are worth, even if they are from a pop star's home.

She was selling the Carpenters' pool table, which was in a room of it's own, and has a small gold face plate with an inscription, something like "built for the Carpenters." Not worth the $5000 asking price (or was it $3000, but still too much).

They also had a huge wall-sized storage of wine, and were asking $100-500 per bottle. One of the yard sale people was a wine collector and had come specifically for the wine. However, a quick inspection revealed that most if not all the wine had spoiled due to incorrect storage, and he deemed it worthless. Although, curiously, he did buy several bottles at $1 each. The fans then took his cue and picked up a couple bottles each at the same price, purely for sentimental value.

You can read more about this interesting (and sad) day in the A&M records forums under the “Estate sale at 9828 Newville Ave.” thread. And check out Rod’s great collection of photos from the sale in the bottom link.


On June 26, two of the sites in my links section went “silent.” Both Muppet Central and Old-Fashioned Christian Radio were “off the wire” for one day in protest of proposed legislation that would dramatically increase the price these stations pay to play their music. Here's how Muppet Central's Phillip Chapman described the issue:

On June 26, from 3 a.m. Pacific to midnight, all 10,000 Live365 stations launched from the website, and Internet radio broadcasts nationwide, will go silent. Free listeners who tune into stations will be redirected to a Day of Silence stream that offers an explanation, broadcaster testimonials and a call to action. VIP listeners will receive a Day of Silence PSA before being connected to the station's regular programming.

We understand the possible disruptions this can cause, but feel drastic measures are necessary. Joining together with all other Internet radio stations we will show what listeners can look forward to if things don't change quickly. . . Silence.

Internet radio needs your help. Take time today to contact your congressman through the link below.

This issue affects all web surfers to some small degree. It also demonstrates how desperate the music industry is. Not content with current fees that they are being paid, they're going to raise them again, for seemingly no good reason other than that they can. Even if you don't listen to Internet radio, you use the Internet. Don't try to deny it. I KNOW you use the Internet. And if we lose free Internet radio, we lose one of the great benefits of the Internet. Let's hope we don't.
For more about the perils of music royalties, check out the bottom section of this post about the “Happy Days: Season 2” DVD set:

I don’t know. . . This is a tough one. Who is my favorite female lead from the Muppet movies? I definitely like both Joan Cusack from “Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie” and Diana Rigg from “Great Muppet Caper.” Actually, I like Diana Rigg from her days in that tight leather suit from “The Avengers”. . . No not the comic book series, this is the British detective series where Diana and that guy were secret agents. Yeh. Great suit.

But I would probably have to go with Joan. She is certainly. . . wait a minute. What about Carla? Carla was one of the girls who tried to steal the Baseball Diamond in “Great Muppet Caper.” Dang, she was fine! Yeah! Carla! Hey, hang on . . . Brooke Shields had a cameo in “Muppets Take Manhattan.” BROOKE SHIELDS! How can we forget Brooke Shields! Rowr! Wow, how can we ever choose?

For more about this pressing issue, visit the post at the ToughPigs website: