Death of the jukebox hero

 Hate is a word to avoid.

It is the opposite of love and that’s all that needs to be said.

Before I get to caught up in thoughts on hatred’s ugly manifestations, let me say that I hate digital jukeboxes in bars. They don’t even deserve to be called jukeboxes, a term originally attached to sex, because there is absolutely nothing sexy about them.

Can you picture The Fonz stepping up to that flat computer on the wall and leaning on it? I didn’t think so. There’s nothing to lean on – and forget watching him hit it to get a song to play – if you hit that screen on the wall it will just go blank.

Not everything needs to transform into a word with the letter ‘i’ in front of it. As I stepped up to a jukebox in a local establishment recently, it was as if I was standing in front of a three-foot by three-foot smart phone.

Why is it now necessary to glide my fingertip across a large screen to find a band? I want to look at the artists, choose from the songs and push a button.

What a bunch of nonsense. I don’t want to choose from “local favorites”, “genres”, or whatever other categories are listed, tap my finger on an icon and sort through subcategories before I can find an album.

And even when you do find that album there are only two songs to choose from – - neither of which you want – - and the only option is to shell out more money in to find the song.

After all this it would only seem logical that the songs you pick would come on. Not these days.

People just pull out their smart phones and skip the songs you just put cash in a computer for. They completely disregard your four or five songs? Douche bags at the bar, in total anonymity, can play their favorite Toby Keith or Katy Perry song, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

It’s all evolved over the past several years. When establishments were first starting to switch to computers instead of jukeboxes, they provided the option to have songs played next for an extra credit.

The computer on the wall even has an option to put more money in to hear your song next, for those people out there who can’t hide behind their smart phones. As much as I don’t understand that option, at least it requires making a public statement that you are a selfish jerk with no respect for others.

I’m sure it’s all tied to the recording industry. Wall-mounted, flat screen musical computer boxes probably ensure more profit for record executives and recording artists.

I’m not advocating switching back to 45 records for a dime. I’m willing to put $1 in for two or three songs, and I’m not even completely against digital jukeboxes.

But why does the format of everything need to change? Why not have digital jukeboxes the way they were when they first came out? The icons mimicked albums in alphabetical order – - at least it was the same concept.

Why does everything need to be computerized? Even if you want to refill your pop at Burger King you have to stroke your fingers across a screen to choose your pop. What was wrong with putting your cup against a lever to retrieve a beverage?

What’s next? Soap dispensers in public restrooms that require touching a screen to choose which scent you want?

I just want to wash my hands – I don’t need a computer to do that.

But that’s the way it is. There are no more jukebox heroes. There are only smart phone nobody’s.

Why I love newspapers

Yesterday I was reminded why I enjoy working as a newspaper reporter.

A call came into the newsroom from a woman asking the editor if he would be willing to send someone to take a picture of a snowman her family built.

It wasn’t just any snowman, she told the editor, and it was 15 feet tall. I was sent because our photographer was busy.

The house is in Lorain, in a part of town known for crime.  A woman once called in and told me she had been keeping a log of all the arson cases and drug activity on her block.

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Cyber crap I’m back

It is quite obvious that I let this blog go by the wayside for the past few months.

There may be a reason I haven’t been writing on here — it’s likely the same reason writing has been a sporadic activity for me since the time I decided to pursue it.

When that time was is hard to say.

You’re witnessing the process that goes into transcribing thoughts to – - – - well I can’t say paper, so I guess I am transcribing some type of code converted into alphabetical characters by someone in a remote location who operates this particular area of cyberspace.

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