Sunday, June 30, 2024

Technology: 1966, 2006, 2023.

 In 2013 I wrote a blog to celebrate Lance's 50th birthday by contrasting what things were like when Lance was 10 to when he was 50. That post is here.

But life has even changed from 2006 to 2023. I will tell three stories, one from 1966, one from 2006, one from 2023. They all have to do with my hobby of collection novelty songs; however, I am sure there are similar stories in other realms

1) On Sept 21, 1966 there was an episode of Batman with special guest villain The Minstrel. He sang several songs in the episode that I thought were funny. My favorite was when Batman and Robin are tied up over a rotisserie, the Minstrel sings, to the tune of Rock-a-bye baby. 

Batman and Robin Rotate and Resolve

As the heat grows, your bodies Dissolve

When its still hotter, then you will Melt

Nothing left but your Utility Belt. 

I LIKED the song and WANTED it. So I found out when the episode would re-run and set up my tape recorder to record it. I still have the tape, though I don't have a tape player (see my blog post here) however it doesn't matter because a compilation of the songs in  that episode (actually two episodes) is on YouTube here.

2) On March 6, 2006 there was an Episode of Monk Mr. Monk goes to the dentist which has in it The Randy Disher Project singing Don't need a badge. This was great and I wanted that song. At the time I was buying the DVDs of Monk. When the DVD of that season came out I assumed the song  would be included as an extra. It was not :-(.  By that time I was busier than in 1966 so I  didn't have the time, patience, or tape recorder to track it down. But that does not matter since 8 years later it was on  YouTube here. But I had to wait 8 years.

3) On Aug 23, 2023 there was an episode of ST-SNW entitled Subspace Rhapsody that had NINE songs in it, sung by the crew (actually sung by the actors!)  I don't have streaming so I didn't watch it but I heard about it (people know I am interested in novelty songs so they tell me about stuff like that). I spend about 30 minutes on YouTube finding ALL NINE and putting them in my file of novelty song links, see here. And it was worth the effort- three of the songs are GREAT and the rest are pretty good (in my opinion).


1) Also easier to find now then it was in 2006 and certainly in 1966: Everything. Okay, lets list some examples: Music (not just novelty), TV shows, Movies, Journal articles, Conference articles, books. But see next point. 

2) Big Caveat: For a recording from 1890 to have survived it would have to be on wax cylinder, then vinyl, then CD, maybe back to vinyl (Vinyl is having a comeback), and perhaps mp3, streaming, You Tube, or Spotify. Some music will be lost. I would like to think that the lost music is not the good stuff, but I know of cases that is incorrect (my blog post here gives an example). For journal articles there is also the issue of language. Some articles were never translated.  And some are written in a style we no longer understand. And some you really can't find. And there may be some songs where the only copy is in my collection.

3) Corollary to the Big Caveat: Some things are on YouTube one day and gone the next. There is an SNL short video Conspiracy Theory Rock which seems to come and go and come and go. I don't think its on YouTube, but I found it here. Lets hope it stays. I have that one on VHS tape but I don't have a VHS tape player. And modern e-journals might vanish. See my post on that issue here.

4) Some of my fellow collectors think they miss the days when only they had access to (say) Weird Al's Patterns which he sang on Square One Television (a math-for-kids show on PBS which I discovered and liked when I was 45). The song is on YouTube here. I find this point of view idiotic. The PRO of the modern world is I can find lots of stuff I like and listen to it (and its free!). The CON is a loss of bragging rights for people like me. Really? Seems like a very minor CON. I do not miss the days of hunting in used record shops for an old Alan Sherman record (ask your grandmother what a used record shop is and what an Alan Sherman is).

5) When I played the song Combinatorics (see here) in my discrete math class the students liked it (for some reason the TA hated it, oh well) and the students asked 

Is that a real song

I asked them to clarify the question. They couldn't. To ask if it ever came out on a physical medium is a silly question- it didn't, but that doesn't matter. Did it make money? Unlikely, but that would be a rather crass criteria. There are lots of VERY GOOD songs on You Tube (whether Combinatorics is one of them is a question I leave to the reader) so the question Is that a Real Song is either ill-defined or crass. All that matters is do you like it. 


  1. That's like the worst picture quality of Combo Jombo, try this:

  2. (Bill) Thanks! I have replaced the link I had to a fuzzy picture to the link you provided which was much better! I also replaced the link in my file of math-parody-links with yours. This will make my students like it more, though, alas, my TA will still hate it.

  3. "Some things are on YouTube one day and gone the next. ... Lets hope it stays." - Why not just download the video from YouTube so that you have it with you forever?