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Bright Week            Friday, April 20 2001

Music research

Again, my apologies for the clog in the email line caused by the failure of my Verio email account and its flooding us all hours later, as I feared would happen.

The two previous entries wouldn't have been possible without the research capabilities of Napster, so again I want to commend and recommend this Internet application, one that ranks in my opinion with the Google search engine in particular and email in general. Since none of you have mentioned even trying it, I feel constrained to keep pushing my point (under the "do unto others" norm). How else would I have been able, yesterday, to compare versions of Suddenly There's A Valley (or anything in audio file form)?

It's obvious to those of us using it nearly daily that Napster is shrinking. At first, the correlation between subscribers online at any given time to song files available ran about 100 to one...if there were 8,000 users plugged in, there would be approximately 800,000 song files available. Now the figure usually hovers about 200,000 files below the former ratio. Obviously, more and more titles and performers are being blocked. I mentioned the blocking of Elvis Presley earlier; that continues and seems even more effective now than earlier. Ricky Martin (who hasn't released anything I would download, but whom I checked out of curiosity) is totally unavailable. Still, except for Presley, most releases of several years in age seem available. (Unlike Elvis' body of work, most other recordings stop selling almost entirely a few months after their initial popularity.)

I made a few other experiments, inspired by what I found with Suddenly There's A Valley. Just picking a singer of the 1940's ("before my time," but close enough to have heard about), I tried Al Jolson and got 100 files displayed immediately. Eddie Duchin, the pianist whose tragic love story was the tear-jerk film of the mid-'fifties (with Montgomery Cliff and Kim Novak?), also has as many files immediately available (I loved the movie at the time, but don't know that I've ever heard any of his real recordings). The same thing held with Kate Smith, considered a national treasure in World War II, for her pro-allies propaganda efforts, and one of television's first superstars a decade later.

Ironically, it's a safe bet that many of the most dedicated users of Napster are musicians. What a resource for working in their field. No wonder so many of them testify of their appreciation of it, even if it cuts into their sales or potential sales. Some of them deliberately contribute files of their CDs to get Napster's exposure.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

"Real" Signs - 2

In a podiatrist's office: "Time wounds all heels."

On a fence: "Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive."

At a car dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment."

Outside a muffler shop: No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."

In a veterinarian's waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! ... Stay!"

In a restaurant window: "Don't stand there and be hungry. Come on in and get fed up."

In the front yard of a funeral home: "Drive carefully. We'll wait."

Sign over a gynecologist's office "Dr. Jones, at your cervix."

Sent by Mike Harrison

Third Graders Know

This was allegedly written by an 8-year-old, Danny Dutton of Chula Vista, CA, for his third grade homework assignment. The assignment was to explain God.

EXPLANATION OF GOD

"One of God's main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn't make grown-ups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way He doesn't have to take up His valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

"God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because He hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in His ears, unless He has thought of a way to turn it off.

"God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn't go wasting His time by going over your Mom and Dad's head asking for something they said you couldn't have.

"Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren't any who come to our church.

"Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of Him preaching to them and they crucified Him. But He was good and kind, like His Father and He told His Father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

"His Dad (God) appreciated everything that He had done and all His hard work on earth so He told Him He didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So He did. And now He helps His Dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones He can take care of Himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

"You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

"You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God. Don't skip church or do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway.

"If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when you're scared in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.

"But...you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and He can take me back anytime He pleases. And...that's why I believe in God."

Sent by John Golias
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