There Is No Cat

A huge orangupoid, which no man can conquer

Saturday, September 21, 2002

A sense of priorities

Doc Searls is moving to a new house, a mere 15 months after he moved into his current house, and he's doing it for a reason I can really vibrate to:

Better radio reception.

I particulary love this quote from his post: "Once you've been in radio it's a hard passion to shake. It's like some kind of mental herpes: you never get rid of it." Guess I'm stuck with it for life.

One of the reasons I wanted to rent the house we live in now so badly was that it had a big stand of woods in back of it that was never going to be developed. What's that got to do with radio? Well, it means that I have room to erect a large antenna for my shortwave radio of a kind I've never been able to before. I've got 250 feet of wire pointed directly at Africa, and it means that I can hear things like the UN telling the people of Sierra Leone how to cast votes in their first post-civil-war election. When I was home in the afternoons, before I got my current job, I tuned in almost every day to Radio Tanzania Zanzibar to listen to taarab music in mid-fi. The two Congos are the birthplace of the most popular music on the African continent; Radio Congo from Brazzaville is here loud and clear in the late afternoons playing some of it. After midnight, the music of western Africa comes through amazingly well from places like Guinea and Ghana, well enough that I occasionally dub CDs of old 1950s highlife music or more current kora tunes from their broadcasts. My ability to hear difficult-to-hear stations is so much greater here than any other place I've lived.

I really want us to own a house of our own, but it's going to be hard to leave this place. When we were out looking for a place of our own a few years ago, the first thing I would look at was the property, because I want room for antennas. So Doc, good luck with the move. Know that you're not the only radio geek out there who places a premium on reception conditions when looking for a place to live.

Posted at 12:32 PM

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This site is copyright © 2002-2017, Ralph Brandi.

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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