Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Orchidopexy


I used to live at 2814 W. Cassia Street in Boise. You’re free to Google-map it right now. Mom & Dad moved out in the early 2000s but the house looks much the same as it did during the 25 years I called it home. Polk’s City Directory for Boise, 1955 to 1960 editions, lists Donald W. Lynch of the U.S. Forest Service and family living at 2868 Parke Circle Drive. In the David Lynch autobiography film The Art Life David describes how he was playing outside his Parke Circle home one evening when a naked woman appeared out of the night from the intersection of Shoshone and Parke Circle, and the fact that the inciting incident that turned a young Boy Scout into the future director of Blue Velvet happened not 100 yards from the house in which I grew up suggests there’s a subterranean deposit of weirdness particles that helped make he and I into the men we are today.

In August 1983 a windstorm came through Boise and knocked down three trees in our front yard. Boise’s a city of trees, and we had well over a dozen, including seven locusts lining the street. One big one toppled over in the storm and dominoed the other two. There’s a picture of me standing in the hole where it ripped up the driveway with its elevated roots. I’m wearing a yellow T-shirt and short blue shorts, legs together, hands together. Annoyed and scared, like a similar picture from that era where I’m posing with my local YMCA basketball team. Definitely a gay pose, but back then I had no idea. That day I’d been at Grandma’s when the storm blew through, and I was in her study with the loom where she made so many awesome textiles when I looked out the window and saw trees in the neighbor’s yard split and fall in the hundred-mile-an-hour winds.

Apart from the tendency to wig out whenever the winds picked up, the immediate side effects this storm had on me were mostly in the category of household chores. We had, in short, firewood. Lots of firewood. There are Polaroids of the family cutting wood, Dad wielding a chainsaw, me leaning on the log pivot and raising timber in the air. There’s also a color slide of neighborhood friends helping chop up the wood. Helping is one way of putting it. Fucking around is more succinct. They came over with little axes, mounted the toppled trees and hacked away. This was fun. In one slide you can see Luke.

Luke was missing one forearm. He lived a couple of blocks away and he was in my class at Monroe Elementary School. The one time I went over to Luke’s house was with some mutual friends, probably Craig (he lived on Shoshone) and Jason (he lived on Grover). We were all there in Luke’s bedroom with Luke’s older brother, and Luke’s brother was playing with a pellet gun. It was the usual hijinks with deadly weapons, pointing it at people’s faces and saying bright, logical things like “It couldn’t be loaded” and “Point it at my ass.” Luke took the gun and pointed it at my crotch. We were sixth-graders. Christ we were stupid.

After he pulled the trigger and I discerned that the gun had in fact been loaded, I had a choice. I could do nothing, or I could writhe in pain. Not being of the age when a shot to the balls would cause horrible death agony, I decided to feign mild discomfort. Laughter abounded and we all went home.

A year or so later during a routine physical a doctor reached for my testicles to do an inventory count. He counted only one. The other was eventually found recessed in, I think, the Inguinal Canal, where it had retreated following its terrible gun-induced shock. So I had an issue. I needed to get that gonad down. Several techniques presented themselves.

Already a fan of self-abuse, I was pleased to hear that one possible way of bringing the testicle back into the testicular sac was to massage the area in question. Days I massaged, and nights I dreamed of public masturbation, sitting on a bench with a hand in my pocket, protesting obnoxious innocence to passersby. “Hey—I have to do this!”

But mainly, on doctor’s advice, I waited. “You’ll go to camp this summer,” he’d said. “Ah yes, camp, physical activity, running around and so forth. Just you run around a lot and come back in a year and we’ll see if it comes down by itself.” I went to camp. I ran around. I built little rafts with candles and Episcopal prayers of goodwill written on them that floated across the lake and disappeared. The testicle did not come down.

In 1986 I took a day off from eighth grade and had outpatient surgery—an orchidopexy. The doctor was the father of a guy in my class at school. His son and I had gone to the same elementary school and at one time he had stolen my bike, a red thing with a banana seat, and brought it back later when he got bored. I went in for the surgery and counted backwards from 10, as they always ask you to do. Can’t remember how far I got before I went under. But I remember coming back to consciousness; I was shivering. So much nervous energy. Mom was holding my hand. They took me home. My crotch ached like hell.

That’s it, really. It hurt for a while, I got over it, and the runaway testicle is there right now, in the right half of my testicular sac. It’s a little smaller than its twin, so when one considers My Balls they aren’t exactly symmetrical. I’ve always been obsessed with sex—convinced that it’s everyone’s ultimate goal, that the more you have the happier you’ll be, that your sex frequency is a yardstick that measures how alive you really are. So the fact that I know so many people on Twitter who bust a nut twice a day while in my horniest weeks I only need to rub one out every two days at the most makes me think—if it had been in the right place all this time, would I be the sex machine I was meant to be, instead of the strictly average sperm donor I became? How alive am I, exactly? And am I still as sexually mature as that 14-year-old, who didn’t know any gay men, and wouldn’t know what to do if he met them? You can’t wish for more and better sex for a 14-year-old boy in America. But I wish that guy had found somebody sooner than he did. Someone he could get naked with and say “Look at my scar.” And laugh.


Thursday, April 23, 2020

WCBS-TV: Camera Three presents Conversations with Editors - Gerard Piel

James Macandrew, host of Camera Three, a public affairs show that ran for over two decades on New York's flagship CBS-TV affiliate WCBS, talks with publisher Gerard Piel about taking editorial control of Scientific American and his mission to publish a science magazine with enough depth to meet serious scientific standards but enough clarity in the writing to be understood by the layman. As far as I can tell this is the only record WCBS ever released.

Audio & artwork

DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Electronic Industries Association: The Sound Connection

This industrial promo double-LP from 1977 contains a series of interviews with industry reps talking about the practical considerations of buying home audio components. Much of their advice still holds up, because the analogue world and the home entertainment media associated with it never really left us (except maybe open reels). On a personal note, it’s also a useful reminder that, from my earliest days shopping for components in the late 1980s to the present day, I’ve had zero patience for the process. Components sure are shiny, and there are a trillion models of equipment from reputable manufacturers that sound fine (I still have an irresistable desire to own anything manufactured by NAD!). However the “stadium not included” rule remains in full effect: it doesn’t matter how many thousands of dollars you spend on a home audio system if you don’t have a good, quiet environment in which to install it. Speaking as someone who rents and doesn’t expect to own a house in the future, my world is one where outside sounds will get in and inside sounds will get out; so I do all my listening on headphones (Sony MDR-7506, to be specific). As a rule, someone with $50,000 available to spend on a turntable is by definition someone who can afford a well-insulated, quality acoustic space to fill with the sounds from that turntable. That person is probably also an asshole who has the wrong priorities! Anyway, the interviews on this record are a good refresher on hi-fi jargon, as well as a peek into the minds of consumers from the 1970s, when there was a now-extinct cassette format called Elcaset that hi-fi enthusiasts needed to know about (but probably don’t anymore).

More fun and certainly more deserving of your creative re-use are the groovy disco-era a cappella jingles, Donna Summer testimonials, Moog riffs, and generic instrumental music beds that will slam you right back into the Carter administration.


DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Custon Fidelity, Inc. Presents 24 Golden Hits For Your Station!

"Take two high-quality stereo LPs, put then in a full-color jacket, add a beautiful sexy gal on front, and candid photos of the KQ jocks inside, put 24 all-time KQE Oldies on the two LPs, and YOU'VE got a BOMBSHELL!" Custom Fidelity of Hollywood created this LP circa 1970 to send to American radio stations to convince them to press their own branded double-LPs with 24 hit songs from the years 1961-1970 to sell to their listeners. Because popular music is popular! At least 14 stations went for it (you can find a list of their records here). Side 1 contains a ten-minute sales presentation, and side two is all music beds with collages of bits from the 24 hit songs in question, strung together in the classic minimum-duration-for-recognition style from which GenX and all who followed learned that American hit music of the past existed only in the form of single verses quoting the titles of the songs! It's an operators-are-standing-by cornucopia of allgoldgreat24solids!

Record audio & artwork

DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

Monday, April 20, 2020

CBS Radio Network: The People Who Reach People

In this short 1971 promotional record the CBS Radio Network, feeling the pinch from TV competition, tries to sell itself to potential advertisers by convincing them CBS is a good way to spend less money on ad buys while simulatenously reaching more people. "The average listener listens to the radio 3 hours a day!" Historical ad fetishists won't want to miss the big 60-second collage of vintage commercial taglines at the 7-minute mark.

Audio & artwork

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Foundation of Human Understanding: How...Your Mind Can Keep You Well

I do not give a shellacked shit sandwich about this Buddha-with-Christ-sauce religious self-help record. This is an example of OCD-based record restoration that I did only because it was the least painful of all possible activities for me that day. Pity me, and stop me before I kill again.

Record 1: The Preparation - Lesson One
Record 1: The Preparation - Lesson Three
Record 1: Concentration-Observation Exercise - Lesson Two
Record 2: Discussion
Record 2: Concentration-Observation Exercise

Album audio & artwork

DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

United Methodist Church: Guess Who's Here? GOD!

This record is a Negativland sample source (they used it on A Big 10-8 Place and Helter Stupid) so I was curious to hear it in its original context. It’s a bit of a slog, full of Jesus folk and tedious educational drama, but it was worth it to hear track nine, “God Is More”—a track where we learn that, in addition to our many ideas about God, who is unknowable (therefore guaranteeing that all our ideas are wrong), we also have some ideas that are incorrect! A true/false test follows. The answers are not included with the record, which is pretty much the last thing that ever needs to be said about religion.

God Is Yahweh
Game Instructions
Mission Possible
Come Down, Lord!
God of Hosts
Immortal, Invisible
God Is a Spirit
God Hears Prayers
God Is More
This Is My Father's World


DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.