I Got A Rock

(c)1966 United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

(c)1966 United Feature Syndicate, Inc.

There’s nothing laugh-out-loud-funny happening in It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. In fact, except for a couple of wry comments geared toward an adult’s sense of humor (Lucy reneges on her promise not to pull the football away from Charlie Brown by noting that the contract she has signed hasn’t been notarized), there are no jokes in it at all. So when my son laughed while he was watching it, I looked up from my laptop to see what was funny. Charlie Brown and the gang were trick-or-treating in their neighborhood.

I went back to my work and when my son laughed again, louder this time, I asked him, “What’s funny?”

Owen looked up at me, a big grin on his face. “I got a rock!” he said.

“Oh,” I said.

I’ve seen It’s The Great Pumpkin probably twenty times in my life, and I always enjoy it. Many people possess a vague, hazy memory of this holiday cartoon as some sort of heartwarming, uplifting family entertainment. But I’ve seen it enough to know it’s nothing of the kind.
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Vinyl Dreams in the Age of the iPod

ipod-vinylFor Christmas, I bought my daughter an iPod.

My wife seemed mildly surprised that I would buy an iPod for a seven-year-old (eight in April), but I didn’t see where I had much choice. My daughter has already outlasted her first portable CD player, a SpongeBob SquarePants model, and I saw no reason to invest once more in a “hard copy” disc-based technology that will surely have all but disappeared from store shelves by this time next year.

It’s a bright pink iPod nano, and she seems very happy with it. I also purchased an elegant little iPod-compatible boombox radio, for her room. I loaded up the iPod with a “starter set” of about 75 or 80 songs, and we all managed to be content with ourselves until April, when my daughter started asking for a cellphone.

Still, though, I experienced a small pang of regret, even as I was wrapping the iPod and boombox in Christmas paper. See, I own an iPod myself. I’ve already encountered first hand how an iPod changes the way you relate to music. So I knew that my daughter will never experience music the way I did when I was in my teens and 20s and 30s.


Some people have dreams about falling. Or having their teeth fall out. Or that dream
where you’re back at your old high school, dreading an exam on a subject you know nothing about, and you realize you’re naked.

I have dreams about record stores.
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