Saturday Single No. 252

On an evening about two months ago, the Texas Gal and I had a date night. We went out to dinner – Mexican, I think it was – and then, having seen nothing showing at the local cinemaplex that piqued our interest, we came home to watch a couple more installments from the box set she gave me a few years ago: The West Wing – The Complete Series.

I turned on the DVD player and saw the blue welcome screen, and I dropped the disc into the player and turned to do something else, waiting for the familiar sounds of The West Wing theme to fill the room.

Silence.

Puzzled, I turned back, and the welcome screen was still visible along with the little icon that shows up when the DVD player is reading a disc. I waited a minute or two more, then re-opened and re-closed the disc holder, thinking that might move things along. It didn’t. Nothing we tried that evening worked, from unplugging and replugging the unit to blowing air into its interior. (We do have four cats, and despite our well-intentioned efforts, cat hair finds its way into many places that would be better served without it.) No matter what we tried, the DVD player showed no signs of comprehending what it said it was reading.

So we turned off the player and put the box set away. I think we watched a movie on pay per view that night. And there we let the matter rest, at least until last night.

We’d gotten good service out that DVD player. We bought it in the latter days of 2002 to ensure that I could use one of my Christmas presents that year: The extended version of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. And from late 2002 into mid-2011, we used it frequently. Since we bought it, of course, we’ve also upgraded our computers. Both of those now play DVDs, and we take advantage of those capabilities. But fairly often, we like to watch something together. So we knew we were going to get a new DVD player.

Not having been in the market for a player for the past nine years, I’d paid no attention to the prices of DVD players. We’d paid something like $110 for ours in 2002, I think. It was a bulky thing, about the size of the VCR players I’d wrestled along with me during my moves in previous years: 17 inches long, 11½  inches wide and 2½ inches tall.

When we went to the nearby electronics superstore last evening, I think both of us were surprised by what we found. DVD players – which may, I suppose, be eventually made either redundant or useless by other technologies – are much smaller and much less expensive. We dithered over a couple of models for a bit, and wound up bringing home a unit that measures about 8 by 12 by 1 inch. (A brief break for math.) That means that the new and slender player takes up only a fifth of the space that the old one required. And it cost less than half as much as our first DVD player did.

Oh, I know that kind of shift has happened with so many things – technological and otherwise – over the past decades. But, for me, it’s still kind of neat when I notice it.

So when we got home and got a bit of housework done, we hooked up the new player and resumed watching The West Wing. Other stuff will follow, no doubt, and in keeping with the idea of watching stuff, here’s a 1994 performance of Muddy Waters’ “Stuff You Gotta Watch” by The Band. It seems to have come from the group’s performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and it’s today’s Saturday Single.

Video deleted.

Afternote
Our pal jb at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ has devoted a good portion of his blogging efforts this summer to thoughts on the summer of 1976 and its importance to him. This week, he offered a post summing up his reflections on that long-ago summer. Among the many gems he’s offered over the years, this one glows brightly. You should read it now.

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2 Responses to “Saturday Single No. 252”

  1. jb says:

    Kind of you to speak so highly of my post, sir. You said something to me once along the lines of, “Sometimes something perfect doesn’t need a reason.” That hasn’t stopped me looking for one.

  2. Paco Malo says:

    Great post-Band cover — no Robbie Robertson, no The Band — of Muddy’s classic. But my dear friend, the weekend single for the East Coast of the U.S. has got to be Neil Young’s “Like a Hurricane” from his 1977 American Stars ‘n Bars” album.

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