Smokey and the Miracles went to a Go-Go

Not the greatest audio but a lot of fun to watch!


Video of failed bank break-in in France

A gang of masked thieves attempted a late-night heist at a bank (or some other building) in Pernes-les-Fontaines (southeastern France). They succeeded in partially ramming through the wall with a large flatbed truck, but then the truck got stuck. They ended up lighting the truck cab on fire and taking off in two cars. Someone caught the whole thing on video and posted it to YouTube.

It’s a scene out of one of Donald Westlake’s Dortmunder novels.

The Sounds of the Junk Yard, a 1964 vinyl record

Last week, I posted about The Sounds of the Office, a 1964 vinyl record released by Folkways Records of field recordings by Michael Siegel. This week, it’s The Sounds of the Junk Yard, another 1964 Folkways collection of Siegel’s field recordings, ranging from an Acetylene Torch to Alligator Shears to a Paper Baler.

As I wrote, in 1948, Moses Asch founded the incredibly influential Folkways Records label to record and share music and sounds from around the world. Along with bringing the music of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lead Belly, and Elizabeth Cotten to wider audiences, Folkways, acquired in 1987 by Smithsonian, also issued incredible sound recordings from the Ituri rainforest, Navajo Nation, Peru, and many other locations and indigenous peoples across the globe. (In fact, the label provided several tracks for the Voyager Golden Record, now 12+ billion miles from Earth! Researching that project with my partner Tim Daly, a DIY musicologist himself, I’ve become absolutely enchanted by Folkways. If any of you dear readers have Folkways LPs collecting dust, I’d give them a wonderful home.)

Along with music, Folkways released LPs with poetry, language instruction, nature sounds (frogs! insects), and other field recordings. The Sounds of the Junk Yard reminds me of an Einst├╝rzende Neubauten album but was issued a decade before the birth of “Industrial Music” was born.

“Some junk yard equipment is common to all of them, some is more specialized,” wrote Siegel in the album liner notes. “All these sounds were recorded in yards in Warren, Pennsylvania.”

Hear more samples at the Smithsonian Folkways page here.

5-pack of Wayfarer-style reading glasses for $7

I have a paid of +2.50 reading glasses, but they are not good for computer work. I needed some +1.00 glasses. I fund this 5-pack of 80s Reading Glasses for $6.70 on Amazon. One pair has shading. I got them and they are perfect for computer use, and they look good. They also have spring hinges so they don’t fall down my nose. Other lens strengths are available, but they cost $13 for a 5-pack.