Monthly Archives: May 2010

Thank you for harmonising with my conclusions

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Albany Fire Department in 1901

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Albany Fire Department 1901 from All Over Albany on Vimeo.

From the wonder that is the Library of Congress’s American Memory project, rare film of Albany as it was in 1901. Or at least of the Fire Department as it was in 1901. This was filmed by the Thomas A. Edison Co., and is described as “A sidewalk crowd on a main street of Albany, N.Y., watches as
fourteen pieces of horse-drawn fire equipment quickly pass by.”

The stately elms and horse-drawn fire engines are long gone, but make no mistake: those Belgian pavers are still there, and they crop up to the surface with astonishing regularity. And some streets in Albany are still entirely paved in granite block.

Click the pic for video! And don’t miss the intrepid cyclist chasing the horse-drawn engine down the pavĂ© on his bone-rattler starting at 1:14.
(Thanks to Greg and Mary at All Over Albany for being smarter about embedding video than I am. Since video is the tool of the devil, I try not to learn too much about it.)

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Piano Fighter

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Where can I download free, officially sanctioned recordings of Warren Zevon live performances from throughout his career? Amazingly enough, there is such a site. Most of its free music relates to jam bands, which couldn’t interest me less, but there are a couple of surprises in its collection, including Cracker (and Camper Van Beethoven), Cowboy Junkies, and Zevon. My favorite so far: Live at the Bluebird, 1996. There’s also a nice little set from the Austin City Limits studio.

There are thousands of other fascinating things at the Internet Archive as well — it’s a great browse. Its search engine is unreliable though — I’ve found things there on Google that I can’t locate with the internal engine or directories.

No need to thank me. Just go.

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Not only New Jersey

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“Parts of New Jersey, as you know, are under water, and other parts are under continual surveillance by the authorities.”
 – F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Dice, Brassknuckles & Guitar”

First Church, Albany

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First Church, Albany, originally uploaded by carljohnson.

First Church, the Dutch Reformed Church in Albany, dates to 1642, making it the oldest church in upstate and one of the very oldest in the country. This building dates to 1799, when the congregation moved from the stone church at Broadway and State Street to the outskirts of town, at Clinton and Pearl.

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You know what you don’t see much of anymore?

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Mimeographing 1940, originally uploaded by carljohnson.

Mimeographing services. For decades, mimeographing reigned supreme as the cheap, easy way to make quality copies of printed materials, and every office of any size had one. A typist would set up a stencil, which would then be attached to a spinning drum. Ink would be squeezed through the stencil and onto the sheet of paper. They’re now often confused in our nostalgic minds with dittos, the fragrant medium of school tests that also went by the name of “spirit duplicators.” Dittos worked more like offset, with a mirror-image wax-coated master that printed where the wax wasn’t, usually in a purple ink. Both technologies suffered a bit from the rise of the Xerox-style photocopier, but were truly put to death by personal computers and printers. They are still in use in the developing world, apparently because they don’t require electricity.

You don’t see a lot of typewriting services, either. And the bottom dropped right out of the multigraphing market.

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