Consider the fate of Giordano Bruno, a 16th-century astronomer who challenged Ptolemy's notion of Earth being the center of a finite universe—and in doing so went head to head with the church of Rome. Bruno's scholarly diligence and fearlessness were rewarded not with fame, riches, or accolades from his colleagues, but with a hot-lead enema, after which he was burned at the stake. Next heretic in line, step right up, please.
When some people record music, they make an effort to record the ambient sound of the hall or other performing space along with it. On the other side of the coin, some engineers work to capture only the sounds of the performers, so the recordings they make sound comparatively dry. And, of course, there are engineers who don't make an effort one way or the other, and whose work contains whatever hall sound does or does not come their way by accident.
I didn't care how the stuff measured, and I wasn't terribly worried about the sound. When the single-ended triode movement crossed my attention eight or nine years ago, I simply thought: That's for me.
Autumn comes to the Cherry Valley Feed & Seed. The 50-lb sacks of sawgrass and lime give way to mulch and sand for local drives, and the swing sets and folding chairs and posthole diggers and bug zappers and flagpoles have been brought inside until next spring, which is scheduled for mid-June.
Make the wussy-wussy sound: Merely because of the way it looks, I didn't think I'd like the Simaudio Moon i-3 integrated amplifier ($1750). But the Moon prevailed (I resisted writing rose) over whatever prejudice I had against it, and so far it's been the biggest and best surprise in my ongoing and casual survey of affordable integrateds.
In the town where I grew up there were two places to buy records: a family-owned department store and the local Woolworth's, both long gone. The first record I ever bought, the 45rpm single of Roger Miller's "King of the Road," came from the former in 1965. I was 11 years old.
In my column for Stereophile's March issue, I criticized a handful of records for combining very good sound with very bad music. A few readers expressed dismay, wondering what gave me the right to call music good or bad, especially since virtually all music is loved by someone (its mother?). But as far as I know, the magazine received a total of zero letters wondering what gave me the right to call sound good or bad. Hmmm.
I'll spare you my thoughts on the matter—they're guessable anyway—and simply say that the war with Iraq has given me and my family the jitters, just as it seems to have done with millions of other people. But rather than giving 10 more dollars to Henkel Consumer Adhesives, my wife and I have taken a different tack: We made up a Road Box. A Road Box is a cardboard box full of things for us to take from our home if we have to leave in a hurry. We keep it near the door that leads to the garage.
Moderation, like a natural death, is what most thinking people roll toward, if only because extremism requires too much energy: Extreme points of view are hard to hold without a certain amount of self-delusion, and the brighter you are, the harder your self-deluder has to work.
We were having trouble with the power in our home—the wall current, I mean, not the dynamics of our marriage—so I called the local utility. While the technician was here, he let me watch what he was doing. I had a chance to look inside our meter box, which is the junction between the utility's power lines and the circuit-breaker box in the cellar.
If I wrote a column for a car magazine and I learned that the magazine's readers were using their cars to run over kittens, I would be deeply troubled. I would beg them to stop. Failing that, I would find another line of work.