Excavating the crates at my favorite vinyl emporia has left me a little light on lettuce this week, so I had to go begging to Mom when I saw this portable USB turntable on Woot. I explained how, at only fifty greenbacks, I'd be able to pay her back with the proceeds from just ten nights of deejaying. And really she'd be investing in my career. Of course she starts in immediately with the questions: What's it do? What's it for?
Mom, I said, it's a turntable. You know, a record player? And she goes: You have a record player. Yeah, I know! But this one can plug into a USB port on my computer so I can convert my LPs and 45s to mp3s! I'll be able to take my whole treasure trove of wax tracks with me wherever I go!
So then she says she thought the whole point of my vinyl fetish was that analog recordings are superior to digital recordings, and isn't that what I'm always carrying on about?
I was like: First of all, Mom, never use the phrase "vinyl fetish" around me. I just got the most disturbing picture in my head. I'll probably have to go into therapy for it. And second, since when do you listen to anything I have to say about collecting records? Only when you can use it against me?
The fact is, a lot of my favorite records are oddball, out-of-print albums by deservedly obscure acts from the '60s and '70s that I found at Goodwill for a quarter apiece, and they're scratched all to Hades anyway. Or else they're seven-inch singles from teenage punks with meager musical aptitude and even meagerer engineering budgets. There's nothing in these records for the hi-fi devotee. They sound like crap. Digitizing them is not going to hurt.
Plus, says I, there's a line-in jack so I can plug it into a tape deck, too, and make mp3s of all my albums on cassette. No more tedious fast-forwarding!
Well, she said, it would be nice for you to be able to get rid of all those shelves and shelves and boxes full of records and tapes.
ARE YOU KIDDING? I shouted. (I shouldn't have shouted, but you can see how I wouldn't have been able to help it.) NO, NO, NO, you never get rid of the original. Are you mad, woman?
Then she goes: Oh, but won't you have to do the archiving in real time? It'll take forever. Sure, you can download that free EZ Vinyl Converter program with Gracenote® MusicID and see how good a job it does automatically adding the album, artist, and song information--but aren't you probably going to have to go through and painstakingly correct all that stuff by hand?
I said, I'm not going to have to. I'm going to loooove to. The idea of spending hours upon hours standardizing the genre tags and typing in artist info for track after track from stack after stack of LPs as I convert them to mp3? Momma, that's my idea of heaven.
She looked at me, visibly confused and maybe a little disgusted at the strange, obsessive creature that her loins had brought forth. She doesn't understand me at all. But she loaned me the Hamiltons anyway.
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We don't pretend to know why the French call their paramours "my little cabbage" when far more sensual veggies are available for metaphorical duty. Call us your little radish and we're yours, yours, madly yours, you fool. But hey, far be it from us to lecture the French on affaires de l'amour, or affaires de l�gumes.
Fortunately, they finally decided to share. Until 2007, the Creminelli family's artisan meats were strictly a sub rosa phenomenon. Their family business, Salumificio di Vigliano, was widely hailed in the Piedmont region of Italy but unknown on this side of the world. Family legend says they've been using the ancient process of sweet-curing meat to produce salami and sausage products since the 1600's. Grandpa Ugo Creminelli served as the personal chef for the general who took over Italy after Mussolini was ousted, and Umberto Creminelli was the one who took the family meat business into the big time in the 1970s and 1980s.
So what was left for Umberto's son Cristiano to conquer? America. But since U.S. import restrictions prevented Creminelli from simply selling their Italian line in the States, he had to come over here himself to do it. Cristiano found some family farms out West who fed their hogs a special diet and raised them free antibiotics or growth enhancers. Cristiano took this fine American pork and sweet-cured it, a process that requires intense human effort but that eliminates the need for foul-tasting acid starters. The natural cured flavor of the meat is thus fully developed, fully present, and fully awesome.
Of course, if he's going to all that trouble, he can't just let somebody else shave the imported Italian white truffles for his White Truffle Salami, can he? Especially when it's the first time he's offered this delicacy to American palates. So Cristiano took that sensitive task, along with personally selecting each cut of meat to be used for this Produzione d'Eccellenza, and staying up 'round the clock to tend to the sweet-curing.
Either this guy loves making salami or he's some kind of tireless sausage-making cyborg from a future where salami has evolved to take over the world. Once you taste the Creminelli White Truffle Salami, you won't care which. You'll be lucky to still be speaking in coherent sentences. It's that good. Creminelli's Salami Sopressata is produced with pork every bit as high in quality. But instead of white truffles, the coarsely-ground pork is laden with garlic. Like, fistfuls of garlic. Buttloads, even. Some of it dissolved in wine.
Wrap it all up in natural beef casings and suddenly America's swinging to the same sweet salami that our Italian pals have been grooving to for years. Who needs Oscar Meyer?