Saturday Stew: Beginnings, Endings, and Rebirths

Observation StewThis has been a busy week, with lots of meetings, travel, and the exhaustion that comes with travel. Still, I did find a few stories to share; but alas, I never could find 3 or more on a coherent theme. As a result, they’ve been thrown in the news chum crockpot for your weekend cholent:

  • I Yam What I Yam. This week brings an overlooked birthday: Popeye the Sailor turns 85 this week. Here’s an interesting article on how Popeye (a Santa Monica sailor) got started.
  • Say Cheese. Here’s another origin story for you, this time related to a shortage. You probably think of Velveeta as a petroleum product, extruded for food use. But that’s not true. Velveeta harkens back to a time where processed food was seen as good, and it was developed as a way to prevent having to throw away broken blocks of cheese.
  • The End of Film. The last two articles have focused on the beginning of things; this one focuses on the end. In this case, it is the end of film as film, as Paramount has become the first studio to go to 100% digital distribution of new releases. Although this is cheaper for the studios, it is bad news for film purists and historians. Digital distribution means there will not be prints to preserve, and preservation of digital means also preserving the software that can read and translate the digital image, and preventing “bit rot”. I’m sure there are also film purists who will insist that the analog image on the celluloid media is better and warmer than the cold digital image, just as music purists insist that the sound from vinyl is purer and warmer than the sliced and diced sound from CDs. The main advantage of both analog media is that you can tinker with it: projection/turntable speed, audio cartridges, lenses and filters, and such.
  • Finding Vinyl. So as we’re speaking of vinyl, here’s a list of what CBS in LA thinks are the best vinyl stores in LA. Some of these I highly recommend (Amoeba, Record Surplus); others I still have to try. But there are other places I know that just aren’t on the list. For example, I’ve had some great finds at Brand Bookstore, with some equally great finds at the Goodwill across the street. Closer to home, there are tons of records at Orphaned CDs in Northridge, but they are badly organized in shelves on the walls. Still, the vast number means there’s a good chance of great finds. There’s also CD Trader on Ventura in Tarzana, where I’ve found loads of stuff. Looking for an old fashioned record store? I seem to recall seeing vinyl at Canterbury Records in Pasadena. There’s also a great collection of used vinyl at Nerdboy Records in Whittier. One thing all these places have in common is that they are inexpensive. I went to a few used record stores in San Diego (Nickelodeon, Folk Arts Rare Records), and almost every record I saw there was priced starting at $7-$9. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to pay CD prices for vinyl I have to digitize and that might turn out to have an unrecoverable skip, unless it is only available on vinyl.