Sunday, February 15, 2009

First Theft in Thirty Five Years

I've been living or doing business in Mexico for thirty-five years and I had my first theft in the last couple of weeks. Much to my sadness and dismay. I evidently failed to lock the car one day or night, and lo and behold, while driving to the beach, I discovered that the book of CD's (my favorites) was gone. Upon checking other things, I found that the cell phone charger for the car was gone and some new brake pads that I had just brought back from the states for the car mechanic to install. Darn.

More then anything though, I was grateful that they had not damaged the interior of the car or taken the paperwork that was in the glove compartment.

I am sad that cd's that can't be replaced are gone. As I began, in my cleaning frenzy this week, to throw away the empty plastic cases I realized that the commerative cd from my class reunion in 2000 of those rock and roll songs we used to dance to was gone. Also an old Tish Hinojosa cd, Eva Cassidy who is deceased , an old, old Merle Haggard cd and my entire four cd series of Doo Wop Music. Yes, I do have an eclectic taste in music. I know I can track down these cds and replace them, but geez, how much trouble is that? I will really, really miss the Eva Cassidy cds. In my humble opinion she had the purest voice I've ever heard.

Oh well, just another lesson in the fact that possessions are temporary often in life.


Bob Mrotek said...

The very fact that there was no damage done to your car leads me to believe that this was just petty theft and the person who took your things might just have been hungry. I am seeing more and more of this as the peso has fallen and the prices of basic commodities have risen and more and more people are unemployed. Don't worry too much about it and just take care. I feel your loss about the CD's because I like to sing oldies but goodies. As far as the brakes are concerned you can always just drag your feet :)

Calypso said...

Amiga - so sorry - such a violation to take your music. I have 12 Eva Cassidy CD's. I could make some copies of what you might be missing???

They are as follows:

Eva Cassidy ~ The Other Side (1995) (Eva Cassidy & Chuck Brown)

Eva Cassidy ~ Eva By The Heart (1996)

Eva Cassidy ~ Live At Blues Alley (1996)

Eva Cassidy ~ Songbird (1998)

Eva Cassidy ~ Method Actor (1998)

Eva Cassidy ~ Time After Time (2000)

Eva Cassidy ~ No Boundaries (2000)

Eva Cassidy ~ Imagine (2002)

Eva Cassidy ~ American Tune (2003)

Eva Cassidy ~ Wonderful World (2004)

Eva Cassidy ~ Somewhere (2008)

and this hard to find-
Eva Cassidy ~ Live At Pearl's (9-14-94) said...

Well, darn, it happens in driveways in my neighborhood so ain't a Mexican thing. Sorry about the Eva Cassidys being gone...she is great and you introduced me to her.

Steve Cotton said...

Babs -- My Daddy taught me at a very young age that we are merely the stewards of what we hold and that, even when stolen, the lost item may have had a greater purpose for the person who took it. Bob and my Dad (also named Bob) are correct.

Michael Dickson said...

I bet the majority, probably all, of that music is online for a pittance, and anybody with a CD burner can make copies. Such is the modern world.

You park on the street!!??

Michael Dickson said...

Website called MP3exclusive, which I use, has gobs of Eva Cassidy albums. Get their downloader on your computer (free), and buy for just pennies. Piece of cake.

With the money you save, rent secure parking.

Calypso said...

While what my esteemed colleague Senor Dickson writes is true - most MP3's will NOT give you the fidelity you get with an original CD.

The originals are available for the most pert or look for FLAC or 320kb copies (usually a lot larger than the MP2 50-60 mb size - more like 250-350 mb.

Babs said...

Bob, the only thing that seems to happen in San Miguel is petty theft. I can get more brake pads when I drive up to problem.
Calypso - how generous of you to offer to burn cd's for me. Let me see first if I can find someone to do it here. I'm touched by your offer.
Michael - I've parked on the street for 8 years, as do my neighbors with no problems at all.
I could park in the garden at night but I've never felt the need.
ANd Calypso I have NO IDEA what you are talking about on your last post! You do have the largest Eva collection of anyone I know. "Fields of Gold" was my daughter Jennifer's favorite song when she was alive. I loved hearing Eva sing that....Live @ Blue's Alley is wonderful too. I'll get back with you.......

Islagringo said...

So sorry to hear about this. Having had my house broken into or attempted to be broken into nine times, I know how you feel. The worst thing is the feeling of violation. It takes awhile to get almost over it. I agree though that you were not a target. It was a crime of opportunity and you gave some thief a chance. Again, so sorry but the comments prove once again how you are universally loved.

Michael Dickson said...

Babs, what on earth do you drive around in that has brake pads unavailable in Mexico? That reminds me of a woman I know near Fort Worth who plans to move to Mexico. She was thinking she´d have to bring tires down here. Tires.

Like you, I have absolutely no idea what my esteemed colleague Señor Calypso was writing. You know what that means? He is one of those stereo elites.

I am sure he is correct in that MP3s do not have exactly the same sound quality as a commercial CD. But it´s something only the elites notice, not us normal folks.

Take this opportunity to move beyond commercial CDs (so yesterday) and into cyberspace for your music. You are highly unlikely to notice any difference in sound quality. Tunes abound online for next to nothing. Cheap, cheap and legal.

Have to get yourself a good MP3 player that you can plug into your cigarette lighter in your car with a separate cable. Newer cars simply have a plug. And in your house, you can choose from a wide variety of speakers that you just connect your MP3 player to, and off you go, dancing and humming.

It does require some initial financial outlay, but it´s not excessive and once you get the basic gear, you never have to fool with CDs again.

Babs said...

Michael I drive a 98 Nissan Pathfinder. The mechanic here in SMA tells me what things to bring back from the states - I just assumed he couldn't get things here. Tires sure are cheaper in the states!
My grandkids have MP3's and IPODs. You KNOW I'm just getting this blog stuff down, NOW you want me to learn something else technological. OY VEY.
You know Wayne, I didn't feel violated like you do when it's your house. I blame myself for having forgotten to lock the car and although I wish I had my CD's, I don't get excited about the small stuff much anymore........Universally loved? Wow, I like that!

Calypso said...

I hate to be dismissed because I know what I am talking about and others don’t. My purpose is to insure that Babs gets the best possible outcome from a bad event – chiefly having her music stolen.

In a former life I was a recording engineer and music producer. I worked with all the Beatles (individually), The Beach Boys, Barbara Streisand, Phobe Snow, Quicksilver Messager Service, Buck Owens, Glen Campbell,Johnny Rivers, The Cleavland Symphony, Seiji Ozawa, Pink Floyd, Steve Miller, - well let’s write a lot of people in the music business. I worked for Capitol Records for ten years and so on. This was many years ago. But I do have an engineering degree and know something of what I speak – as my wordsmith amigo Michael is eloquent and highly capable of dismissing me, reducing my comments to that of an elitist audio snob. I assure you that is true – but I can help those beneath that sonic status – really.

In as much as Babs is one of my personal favorites (as I believe she is Micheal’s as well), my interest here is her best interest musically speaking. Oh and I worked with Merle Haggard by the way. ;-)

So name dropping and credentials aside – before you dismiss being concerned about bandwidth, MP-3, MP-4 or FLAC – you should know with a little bit of information and no extra cost you can enjoy the music you like in better sound quality. I think Babs shows excellent taste in even knowing who Eva Cassidy is – something I would expect of fair Babs.

You don’t have to have $10,000 in your sound system to appreciate the differences between say FLAC copies and MP-3 – really. If you don’t believe me get a few tunes in both formats and listen to them. I think you will find on even a $400.00 boom box you can discern a noticeable difference in quality.

I am happy to answer any questions or help in any way I can Babs – Eva Cassidy Live at Blues Alley should NOT be listened to in an MP3 format if it can be avoided. ;-)

Babs said...

Oh dear Senor Calypso, I hope you didn't think I was dismissing your knowledge about those things.
I have NO technological knowledge about such things. You'll cringe when I tell you that my cd player in this house was one of my kids when they were teenagers! It is mucho cheapo. BUT the speakers in the car are Bose and ahh, when turned up is muy bueno.........WHAT A LIFE you have had! Very interesting. There is a guy here, Buzz Brokaw from California who was an engineer at one of the LA stations, I think. He has a whole production studio set up in his house. He did burn some Leon Redbone cd's for me and if he's around I'll see if he has Eva Cassidy. In your opinion, knowing that I love her, who else should I ask him for?

Steve Cotton said...

There is no way I am staying out of this bar fight. Babs got me interested in music, again. And I will do my part to honor her ears.

I agree with Calypso. Babs will find far more enjoyment with the depth that she can get with her CDs and Bose speakers in her car. In my opinion, MP3s compress far too much information out of the electronic reproduction.

Are MP3s good? Sure. Michael is correct that for casual listening, the mind will fill in what the MP3 process strips out. But the sound is not as good as CDs. Just as CDs are not as good as vinyl.

But this is all incidental to the fact that Babs brings good into our lives, and we simply want the best for her.

Bob Mrotek said...

Wow Babs! It must feel good to have so many guys fighting over you :)

Calypso said...

Bob - I am a happily married hombre - but Babs is a Blogging friend of some importance surely.

If you get MP-3's with a high bandwidth 320 kilobytes per second (320 kbps)then you will have good fidelity - but most MP3's are less than that and therefore squashed or compressed - compared to store bought CD's they will be a disappointment.

There is so much great music - but if you haven't tried Diana Krall - you should - she is in the same genre as Eva.

I didn't take offense, really - just jibing Michael a bit - he is a tough hombre ;-)

Michael Dickson said...

Ah, Señor Calypso, I was not dismissing you in the slightest! If it came across that way, and God knows I can irritate people, I apologize.

My point was that you obviously are a connoisseur of sound. I was going to use that word in the first place, but I wasn´t sure how to spell it. You have made me look it up! Yes, a connoisseur, which most of us are not.

Like the younger generations, I´ve given up altogether on music CDs, having gone completely to MP3s online. I find this is very convenient in Mexico where large music stores are less common.

No doubt CDs sound better, but I would put serious money on a wager that most people don´t really notice and, if they do, they don´t really care. They, like me, just want to tap their toes or have pleasant memories brought back to them.

Music CDs will go the way of tapes and vinyls. Bet on it. It´s happening now. And the era of music CDs will be briefer than either the tape or vinyl epoch. We are already well into the new era of digital sound.

I used to buy loads of music CDs. Now I buy none. I get it all online, and I am hardly alone. It is the future, somewhat diminished sound quality aside.

Señor Cotton: CDs are not as good as vinyl? Are you totally nuts?

Whoops! Pardon me.

Babs, with time you will be getting your music online via MP3s, like it or not. Might as well jump in now.

And not to be outdone, Mr. Music Business Calypso, I once interviewed Little Richard in a hotel room in downtown New Orleans. He had his hair up in curlers. And he was very happy to see me.

And I sat right on the stage at Vanderbilt University in 1962 as Chuck Berry duck-walked right by me. He smiled at me. So there!

Babs said...

Hey Bob! This ALL has nothing to do with me - my blog has been taken over by three of my most favorite people on earth and I'm just LOVIN' it!
I won't say I won't have an MP-3 player some day - but remember guys, I fought the darn digital camera for two years. I still miss having photos to show to people.
By the way, on the outskirts of Baton Rouge used to be the Bantam Club where, when I was in high school there, we would go out and hear these kinda "unknown" guys called Fats Domino,B.B. King and Chubby Checkers - I think I was 14 or 15 - man, those were the good old days. AND I did meet Merle Haggard, a zillion years ago at the Houston Livestock of the sexiest men I ever met!

Michael Dickson said...

Babs, you are without hope. You "miss" having photos to show people due to the digital camera.

Right here in godforsaken Pátzcuaro, I can (I don´t, but I can) take the little card from my digital camera to the photo store and, right there past the entrance, I can stick the card into a machine that spits out real photos you can show people in just seconds and for just pennies. Well, a couple of pesos.

You can do it in your town too, I´ll bet.

Calypso said...

Senior Dickson - I am hardly thin skinned enough to really be bothered - as you know it is sometimes hard to get one's state of mind across by this medium. I am fine and remain an admirer of your talents as well as flatter myself to feel a kindred spirit.

By the way Steve is very accurate in stating CD's are not as good as vinyl. I could explain why - but I already lost you and Babs at the MP-3 level - so I will just agree with Steve as would any audiophile.

I can top your Chuck Berry story too - I was busted with Chuck Berry in Moline, IL (forget the year circa 1971-73?) We were innocent - ;-) A couple of cases a beer to the Policeman's Benevolent Society and a substantial donation got us back to the gig a half hour late - but the show went on.

I am hazy on the details = you know what they say if you remember the 60's/early 70's you probably weren't there ;-)

One last point CD's can be put to hard drive in full quality - they are after all both kust a bunch of 1's and 0's - it just takes a BUNCH of space to load them full bandwidth - in layman's terms not compressed. I don't use CD's unless I am buying some new music - even in the car I usually just play my iPod into an FM transmitter and listen to the music on the radio - so sure I sell out for convenience - but when I want to get serious about listening I have the facilities.

Isn't this fine fun - using Bab's bandwidth instead of our own. Senor Dickson - over to you.

Michael Dickson said...

Yeah, but you never sat in a hotel with Little Richard in curlers!

How anyone can say vinyl records going round and round, scratchy-like, making music via a needle produces a sound superior to a music CD is a total mystery to me.

Babs said...

Hey Everyone! Isn't this hysterical? I've lost control of my own blog - as if I ever had any!

Thank you Michael for pointing out that I am "without hope" - would that be hopeless? I did NOT know I could take that card to the photo shop. I learn something new every day.

And Sr. Calypso - Diana Krall, ah yes, know her well.......Is she the one who did "Popsickle Toes"?

Calypso said...

Fair Lady Babs – yes she did Popsicle Toes ringing another bell – Michael Franks – the write of that tune. Krall’s Live From Paris (or something to that affect is a terrific performance as well as an excellent recording.

OK Michael here is the short version – digital quality is very much a function of bandwidth – how wide a path can be provided to convert complex analog wave forms into a digital ‘picture’. Good vinyl is not scratchy and can remain that way with the better turntables and proper care (granted much harder to do then storing ones and zeros). The needle track (vertically and horizontally co,plex ANALOG wave forms etched in the vinyl. And to date with greater accuracy than the conversion of analog to digital.

When you start to analyze sound in complex wave forms they have harmonics upwards to five times and beyond the highest fundamental frequencies that give the sound presence and realism. Computers are just starting to be able to handle the upper range harmonics of analog sound waves.

Then there is presence edge smear which is a problem in the original recording storage medium and beyond. There are not instruments to measure certain qualities of sound – essentially tangible but immeasurable qualities of sound. Imagine that Beethoven wrote music when he was deaf – yet he could hear it in his head. Like digital photography digital sound technology continues to raise the bar – but it hasn’t reached the heights of its analog sources.

The best sound system remain driven with tube amplifiers (solid state power supplies – but the music goes through the tubes). You would be amazed at how well old recordings from the 40’s and 50’s hold up compared to today’s technology which is as much or more about marketing as it is technology. In the end it is about the music not the technology – I think.

Bob Mrotek said...

I am feeling really bad right now because I never met anybody famous. Anyway Babs, I have a suggestion for you. Just do what I do. It doesn't matter what source of music you use if you just hum or sing along and that will smooth over the rough spots and the harmonics and the tweeters and the boozers in the music :)

Michael Dickson said...

What we have here is David Niven explaining champagne to Johnny Paycheck. While Niven is unquestionably correct, most of us are Paychecks.

Mrotek, like me, clearly is a Paycheck. The nuances of champagne elude us. Slide me another brew, and don´t forget the beer nuts.

Bob Mrotek said...

Sorry Michael but I am not a Paycheck. I am a Pollack!

Billie Mercer said...

These comments are hysterical. I'm sitting here reading this and choking on my coffee when I laugh outloud. Babs, write another blog entry to keep 'em stirred up.

Michael Dickson said...

And furthermore: The Boy from Powers, Oregon, is even more a Niven than the grizzled rock ´n roller who hides in photographic shadows in Veracruz. And that is why only San Miguel will fit the Oregonian, not a breezy beach, nice as that surely sounds.

I neglected to mention earlier that I once sat on the stool next to Kris Kristofferson at the airport bar in New Orleans. So there, again!

And I walked by Tina Turner and Pierre Trudeau on Montreal sidewalks back in the 1980s, not at the same moment!

Now, will somebody drop a coin into the slot and let´s hear Merle Haggard or Dead Can Dance. It won´t matter none to this Paycheck boy if it´s vinyl, disk or digits. It all sounds the same to me. If I can hear it, I´m happy. More beer nuts, barkeep! I´m buying for the whole house.

Babs said...

Michael, that has ato be one of the funniest comments I've EVER read. Made me laugh out loud. I like to say, "I haven't had this much fun with my clothes on in years!"
Billie, I agree, it's hysterically funny and truly has NOTHING to do with me.
BTW, Calypso, my Diana Krall CD is gone too! Boo hoo.

Steve Cotton said...

Babs --

"It's hysterically funny and truly has NOTHING to do with me."

I have troubling imagining who could have better hosted this exchange. You are the virtual Perle Mesta of our community.

Anonymous said...


As a Canadian I can get you a Diana Krall and a Celine Dion et un Alana Morrisette and a Avril Lavigne and a Shania Twain and of course Anne Murray