Good-bye, CD Player

The time has come to take the leap to an iPod and one of those cute little docking stations. After eleven years of service, our Sony MegaStorage 50+1 CD jukebox with five speakers and the coveted Variable Attenuation Control System, whatever the hell that means, has gone brain dead. The on/off button only actuates Cassette A. It beckons, “Come out, come out, it’s time to play!” But in response, Cassette A flashes a message across the panel, saying, “Eject,” and then the unit shuts itself off. Before that happens, there’s no selecting another function: the radio tuner or CD player. No command button has any command. It’s a case of electronic recalcitrance that came about vengefully and without warning. So we’re playing CDs in the laptop and listening to the radio in the kitchen. As for the basket of cassette tapes, we don’t even know what’s in there any more.

Last night I took the fifty CDs out of the Sony and put them in their cases and thought about all my old vinyl discs that have disappeared from this world and all the old record players and hi-fi’s that have come and gone. When we bought this Sony for about $400, we were moving up from cassette tape to CD. Now that CD is an outmoded format, I’m wondering what to do with items like the one that’s hand-labeled “The Teenage Emigrant,” by or perhaps from Frank and Kieran Coyne, which no one domiciled within these walls has ever listened to. There’s also the Michigan Opera Theater’s “Casualties of Love” preview of the 2008-2009 season. The cover offers no clue as to the selections on the platter, at least not by name although there are small inset photos, one showing a woman with a rose in her teeth, another with a butterfly, and another with a baby and a lily, and yet another with a vial of poison, and I know it’s poison because no one would pour balsamic vinegar into her mouth with that abandon. Some season at the Opera!

It would be no easier to part with “NPR Driveway Moments: Radio Stories That Won’t Let You Go,” which came home with Susan and may never have been played. On the other hand, this is the perfect opportunity to conserve our meager resources by putting Janice Kapp Perry and Joy Saunders Lundberg’s “I Walk by Faith: Values for Youth” on an ice floe and watching it drift away toward the North Pole.

But here I am ridiculing my wife’s choices. The strangest thing that has come into our collection through my hands is Phillip Kent Bimstein’s “Garland Hirschi’s Cows,” which samples a southern Utah farmer’s voice talking about his cows over a goofy, repeated electronic rhythm. At least, that’s what I remember, having only listened to it twice. Janos Starker’s solo cello recordings haven’t been played too much, either, and the same is true for Hilary Hahn’s Bach partitas and sonatas—although looking at the cover reminds me that we witnessed the sixteen-year-old prodigy perform the Brahms concerto early in 1997, demonstrating impressive fluency, and Amy the Philosopher, who had accompanied us with her young son, said afterwards, “I was thinking she probably hasn’t even had sex yet.”

While I might not have the CD around here too much longer, I still possess the ticket stub from that concert, but it only mentions “Andrew Massey, Conductor” and offers no word on whether young Hilary had taken up with a horn player.

2 thoughts on “Good-bye, CD Player

  1. Ah…but that’s the joy of the ipod…you don’t have to say goodbye to CD’s anymore…just load them onto your computer, and no matter how obscure the title (bootleg Guns ‘n Roses anyone?) the computer stores it.

    The downfall of the ipod however is the preservation obscure tunes, especially ones your spouse may enjoy. For example, you’ve got the ipod on shuffle mode, and go for a jog and you are engergized by AC/DC. The next song comes from deep within the bowels of your combined collection: Fernando by Abba. You furtively reach to switch tunes before an enjoyable jog becomes drudgery. If you’re lucky Rolling Stones or John Hiatt. If not, it’s “99 Luftballoons” or “Walk Like an Egyptian.”

  2. hi – this is a test – did my other response make it through to you?

    Phillip –
    I just rec’d your “This is a test” message, and that’s the first I’ve heard from you. What’s up?

    hi ronald, it’s good to hear back from you, but darn, after reconstructing what i jotted to you over the weekend and posting it again – after the test – it apparently didn’t make it through again. please let me know whether or not you got my subsequent message, and if not i will jot it out again and send by regular email.

    All that I’ve seen from you is what’s in this message. Maybe it’s in your “Sent Messages” and you can just copy that into your reply and I’ll post it on the blog.
    – Ronald

    hi again, ron! you don’t need to post this on your blog. i was just amused when i received a google alert that brought me to your entry about my cow music, and thought i’d send you a little missive. funny how it didn’t make it through but my test did – maybe it’s because my message included a couple of links? fortunately i was able to track back and find it so i’ll paste it below.

    anyway, it was nice to visit your site and see what you’ve been up to. i hope you are well!


    amazing how your blog entry concerning your cd with my cow music zapped right thru to me!

    we met in zion many moons ago, thru lyman hafen and the zion natural history association (who are graciously supporting my “zion canyon song cycle,” based on oral histories; come back to zion may 9 and see our tv special premiere concert as part of zion’s centennial celebration!).

    i hope you don’t put garland’s cows on that ice floe, as southern utah moos don’t sound so warm at the north pole!


    ps: if you’d like to hear a little bit more of my zion music without spinning a cd, you can go to, or to the recent npr “all things considered” story at the top of

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