Radio Song


(From a Plinky.com prompt: “Do you ever listen to the radio anymore?”

Car Radio

Ah, radio. My old friend. We do have our moments, don’t we?

I tend to go through phases with radio. At times, I listen relatively frequently. Other times, I don’t listen at all.

My relationship with radio at this point is centered entirely around my car. I do not remember the last time I turned on the radio in my house. If the radio’s on, I’m driving. That’s all there is to it.

But even then, it varies from time to time. For the longest time, I had two or three radio stations that I listened to regularly. If I was in the mood for country or contemporary Christian, I was probably listening to the radio. If I wasn’t, I wasn’t.

In cars past, a lot of my driving time was spent listening to the iPod. My current car, unfortunately, was made in an unfortunate point for iPod-listening — too new to have a tape deck for an adapter, too old to have an audio input line to hook up to. I can listen to my iPod, but I have to do so through a radio transmitter, and that requires enough set-up time to be a commitment.

Which means, in this car, the choices are radio or CD, and that gets into a mood thing. The CDs are a known quantity. If I’m in the mood for one, I listen to it. If I’m not, I don’t.

The latest development in my love/apathy relationship with radio is the launch of Journey 93.3.

Back when I was in high school, 93.3 was one of the two leading rock/pop stations, and I listened to it frequently. Then it became the Possum, and at the time I had no interest in country, so it dropped off the dial as far as I was concerned. By a few years ago, it had changed a time or two since, and was a different country station, the Wolf. I was listening to country then, so I listened to 93.3.

And then, one day, I turned on the radio, and they were playing songs that had no place on the Wolf. The first one I thought was a fluke, but after the third one, I realized 93.3 had changed formats yet again.

Now, it’s what once would have been called a classic rock or oldies station, playing stuff that’s 10-30 years old.

Meaning that 93.3 is once again playing a lot of the same music it did when I was in high school. And, embracing the fact that I’m apparently officially old, I’m listening to it now just as happily as I did then.

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Still Crazy After All These Years


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I remember when Steve Jobs came back.

I was working in Indianola  then, and was still very much one of the Mac faithful, despite it being a very dark time.

There was no reason that his return should have brought hope. Apple was, in fact, in bad shape. (Wired’s famous “Pray” cover was during this era — after Steve’s return, even.) And Steve’s latest venture, NeXT, while apparently technically competent, wasn’t exactly revolutionizing the world. (Nor yet was his side venture, a little company he’d bought from George Lucas named Pixar.)

But bring hope it did.

At first, the signs Apple was different, was more Apple than it had been being, were superficial. For all its grammatical offensiveness, “Think Different” just felt right. As did the underdog-fodder “Here’s To The Crazy Ones.”

And then came the more concrete signs. It was easy to believe change had arrived when the first iMacs appeared, with their convention-defying bubble shape and friendly colors. But we knew things were different when that same design aesthetic started appearing in everything from power strips to kitchen appliances. Apple was relevant again.

Over the next decade, relevant would become an understatement. Apple not only influenced, it shaped and eventually dominated. The company never returned to its first-Steve-era place as the leader of the home computer market. Instead, it made that fact unimportant. Rather than try to recapture that particular market, Apple simply repeated the same trick — creating new markets, and dominating them. And, this time, it learned lessons that had cost it the PC market, and avoided the same mistakes.

We’d been mocked. Now, the Apple logo was ubiquitous, and Apple became the most valuable company in the world. For the faithful, it was vindication. For Steve, I can only imagine.

I have confidence in Tim Cook. He has demonstrated that he can provide strong business leadership for Apple.

And right now, Steve remains on as chairman at Apple. His voice is still present; his insight still contributed.

And this is good.

Because while I have no question that Apple and its current leadership will have no problem maintaining the same levels of business acumen and technological genius, it’s the intangible I worry about.

Steve’s greatest unparalleled and world-changing skill since his return has been the ability to see what is, and to see what it could be. To look at a Walkman and see an iPod. To look at a cell phone and see an iPhone. Apple’s future is ultimately going to rest in whether the company can continue that almost-counter-intuitive innovation.

The news may have struck me differently on a different day, but yesterday, after hearing about the failure of a Soyuz rocket that morning and some of the vagaries of my personal life, it hit me hard when I heard on my way to church last night that Steve had resigned.

And it ultimately came down to this —

The world seems a little less magic.

“For Hate’s Sake” — Angry Birds Fanfic


If you haven’t played the Angry Birds game, you’re missing out. It’s very fun, and rather addictive. That said, it strikes me as the Moby Dick of the modern generation; a tale of an obsession with vengeance so deep that it no longer considers the cost.

From hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.

“We die.”

Red Breast and I watched as Yellow Wing was flung toward the fortifications; the horror that we had once felt now replaced by a dull, shell-shocked emotional aching.

The canaries had proven during the conflict to be the bravest of us all, or at least the most dedicated. Not content with the momentum imparted by the terrible catapult, Yellow Wing mustered the last of his strength, driving himself with all the velocity he could find faster and harder into the walls protecting the pigs. There was a crashing, a shattering, of wood and glass and stone — and bone — and with that, Yellow Wing was gone. His life had been exchanged for that of the mother pig, helmeted and protected deep in the protective structure with her baby before our attack had begun. Earlier sortees had claimed the life of her husband and torn down the walls that were to keep them safe.

And now, it was but Red Breast and I, and the piglet that remained alive in the shattered ruins, protected now not by the walls that had been erected to keep him safe, but by the debris that had fallen during the attack, landing in such a way not to crush him but to shelter him.

The two of us, and a baby pig. Our leaders would say that it was only fair; the life of their young in exchange for ours, the eggs that they had stolen from us that had launched this conflict. But the truth was, it had long since stopped being about the eggs, we had paid a far higher price in our own eggs than they ever had taken from us. My own beloved had dropped three of our eggs, three of our unborn children, on the pigs, using them to knock down walls, to kill our porcine foes, before she finally sacrificed herself bringing down a fort. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

The general said that she chose to give her life because she thought it was the only way to take down the wall. I suspect she could no longer go own killing her own children for the sake of this war; a war she, like so many of us, fought not out of belief in the cause but purely out of loyalty.

This was no longer a war.

This was genocide.

The pigs’ initial attack had been repaid in their blood and our own a hundred times over, and yet still we persisted. The pigs had stopped fighting back, and had turned purely to defense, and yet still we persisted. We killed, and continued to kill, and died in the process. Our generals sent teams that were poorly equipped for the tasks they were given; blue birds died en masse bringing down walls that would have been simple for one blackbird to take down. But the generals didn’t care; they were far more interested in haste, in fighting a war on a hundred fronts than they were in our lives. If they could have shed enough of our own blood to drown our enemies in it, they would have, and gleefully. They would not be content until either all of the pigs were dead, or until we were.

“We die,” Red Breast repeated in empty monotone, as he climbed into the dreadful catapult himself. He launched himself toward the rubble, and toward the piglet hidden inside.

I heard the sick thud and snap of his neck breaking as he hit the wall, splintering it with the force of impact.

As the dust settled, I surveyed the results. The piglet was still alive. Red Breast was dead.

But with his death, he had shattered the last of the debris that protected the baby pig, leaving him exposed.

A child. An orphan. An innocent. A child, not unlike the eggs that had been stolen to start this conflict.

My squadron was eliminated. It was only me. I could leave. Go home. I’d lost my beloved, our children, but I could go home with my life. And in doing so, refuse to take the life of the innocent child before me.

I loaded myself into the catapult.

“Aye, we die.

“But we take pigs with us.”