Meta Physics

I start the new week with the energy that accompanies a new week but somewhat unfocused: Given a white space and a blinking cursor, my mind assails me with any number of directions to take.

If you live not far from the waters of Green Bay, you probably spend a portion of your Sunday watching a football game this time of year. This week the Packers were leading 10-3 and their opponent scored a touchdown to make it 10-9 — but their kicker missed the extra point that would have tied the game.

“That could come back to haunt them,” said the announcer, the implication being if the two teams played evenly the rest of the way, the Packers might win by that single point. As it turned out, the Packers lost by one point, surrendering a 24-12 lead in the fourth quarter and dropping a 25-24 decision. So much for ghosts.

I spent a couple of hours Friday going through one pile of 100-year-old records in the attic. The exploration will probably become this week’s episode of Uncle Warren’s Attic. I’m drawn to these moments in time from a century ago with people who are no longer living.

Musicians gathered around a megaphone and recorded a memory, preserved it on shellac, and left it to be enjoyed for generations unborn. That may not have been their prime motivation, but it’s the result. This box of records from 1913 to 1920 is essentially a time machine.

There were no radio stations when these records were produced, either. The musicians had a much bigger challenge if they wanted to be heard by a wide audience, but the technology of these shellac disks gave them a tool that was not available to the traveling vaudevillians of a generation earlier. 

As they sang and played into the megaphone, who would have guessed their performance might one day find its way into a podcast that could be downloaded or streamed from nearly anywhere on the planet? In 1913 it would be 70 years before anyone even knew what a podcast is.

Thank you for reading to the bottom of this meandering page. Now, go make this an amazing week! Happy Monday.

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