He just drifted into town and stayed all alone

A couple of programming notes:

I’ll have an all-new show on Saturday (March 25) but I will be pre-recording it. If you have a request, “queue up early,” as Phil Musick used to say. You can leave a request on the studio hotline voicemail at 412-385-7450, email jaythurbershow@gmail.com, or post it in the comments section here.

I’ll be at the Arsenal Bowl on Sunday night (March 26) for our monthly Sunday night oldies party, spinnin’ the hits that give you fits in the Burgh of Pitts, to quote Jack Bogut. Someday soon I’d like to start bringing some vinyl with me and playing 45s. I have a suitcase turntable and I need to get it working one of these days. For now, we use those new-fangled compact discs.

Did you see, by the way, that in 2022, vinyl records outsold compact discs for the first time since 1987? It’s true:

There appears to be several factors at play in the vinyl revival, including burgeoning interest among younger demographics like Gen Z and millennials. According to Luminate’s 2022 annual report, Gen Z listeners were 25% more likely to purchase vinyl records than the average music listener. 

The pandemic, too, played a role in vinyl’s reawakening, as homebound Americans sought out new hobbies, Jason McGuire, general manager of the record label Stones Throw, told the Los Angeles Times in January 2022.

“Lots of folks were stuck at home working or received stimulus money early on in the pandemic and couldn’t spend it on the same things as before, so they invested in their living spaces and home listening setups including turntables and hi-fi,” McGuire said. “I think that’s still carrying on today, almost two years into the pandemic.” (Business Insider)

That all rings true for me. I rebuilt three turntables during the pandemic lockdown, in part at my wife’s request; she’d bought several new LPs and wanted to be able to listen to them.

Surprisingly, digital download sales — MP3s from Amazon and Apple Music — account for less revenue than the sale of physical media. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, in 2021, digital downloads accounted for $587 million in music industry revenue. CD sales accounted for $584 million and vinyl records accounted for $1 billion.

I suspect a lot of us have had the frustrating experience of buying a digital MP3, only to find it out a few years later it’s no longer playable because the service has lost the rights to share it with us; or finding out the file we downloaded is actually a “sound-alike” and not the original. At least when you buy the CD or LP, you know you own the music permanently, unless it’s damaged or lost.

I’ve never been one of the people who thinks vinyl necessarily sounds better than digital music. I’ve heard some really crappy vinyl records and some really good digital transfers. But I have vinyl records from the 1930s which are still perfectly playable, and digital files from 10 years that I can no longer open because the software is no longer made.

Before I forget, there’s a new conspiracy theory and if you’re like me, you’ll want to grab some while it’s still steaming hot.

The far-right-wing and the Republican Party (but I repeat myself) is now spreading a rumor that U.S. Sen. John Fetterman is dead and is being replaced with a body-double, as you can see in these screen shots from Elon Musk’s House o’Nazis & TERF Barn:

As you probably know, Fetterman, who suffered a stroke while campaigning for his U.S. Senate seat, began showing signs of clinical depression and in February checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment.

But that, of course, is just a cover story according to our intrepid twits, and if you can’t believe the intellectual powerhouse known as Catturd, who can you believe?

(Catturd, who according to Rolling Stone Magazine is actually a 50-something crank in northern Florida, naturally, has 1.5 million followers on the twit app. He’s even been re-tweeted by the boss turd himself. Can 1.5 million people be wrong? Actually, yes, they can.)

This is how stupid the conspiracy theory is: If Fetterman were to become incapacitated or die in office, the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, would appoint a new U.S. Senator to serve until the next federal election. Shapiro could appoint anyone, but he would undoubtedly appoint a Democrat. (That’s what happened when U.S. Sen. H. John Heinz III died in a plane crash in 1991. The then-governor of Pennsylvania, Bob Casey Sr., appointed Harris Wofford to fill the vacant seat.)

You don’t even need to be a resident of Pennsylvania to be a U.S. Senator. He could appoint Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton if he wanted to.

So: What would be the motivation for finding a “body double” to impersonate Fetterman?

And it’s easy to say, “well, it’s only Twitter, who cares,” but as we’ve seen from countless other crackpot theories, they start when they’re spread by random assholes on the Internet. Then they’re picked up by local talk radio stations. Then they wind up on Fox News. From Fox News, it’s a direct pipeline into the mouths of Republican elected officials.

Roy Edroso, The Daily Show and others have documented that this is how the right-wing bullshit machine works, and it’s why our entire political discourse is now driven by fruitcake nonsense, including “the Democrats are drinking the blood of children” and “the election was stolen by Ukrainian hackers.” It starts with “Catturd2,” and in a couple of weeks (or less) it’s coming out of the mouth of Tucker Carlson.

Finally, I leave you with this bit of wisdom, gleaned from the back of an Ethernet cable tester I purchased a few weeks ago. Do not use it beyond usage. And do not change it on your mind.

Now, who can argue with that?

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