Monday, July 30, 2012

Worst… Rip… EV4R

Back when I was a kid, growing up in New Jersey, there were only two radio stations on any of our radar: Z-100 (WHTZ / 100.3 FM) and Power 95 (WPLJ / 95.5 FM). Between the two, Z-100 was by far the better station (IMHO). Part of that was the fact that they gave away something in the realm of $50,000/week in prizes, including some $30,000 in cash. But the other part of it was their morning show, the original Z Morning Zoo. I understand the Zoo is still running, but it lost something with the departure of its lead deejay, Scott Shannon, who the network transferred to California to start up Pirate Radio (also at 100.3 FM). Sadly, Scott didn’t gel with the west-cost crowd and, after only a year or two, was back in New York. Happily for him, when Z-100 wouldn’t give him his old job back, he went to Power 95, made their morning show #1, and has been doing it, ever since.

But I digress.

The point of this post is not to give a history of New York City–area pop/rock radio. The point is that, at the end of each year, Z-100 would release a cassette, available at Sam Goody, featuring highlights from the last year of the Z Morning Zoo. And each year, my parents would buy it for me, which is why I now have volumes 2-8 of the series, spanning from 1986-1992.

But something happened, during those years, something that would change the face of music forever: the rise of the CD. For Christmas 1988, I received my first CD player. As such, when Christmas 1989 came around, my Z Morning Zoo “tape” was actually on CD. I also have the 1991 and 1992 installments of CD, but sadly, there has always been one missing: in 1990, my parents were unable to find the CD—it was apparently sold out—and got me the cassette, instead. (And yes, I did appreciate it. They explained the situation, and having the cassette was certainly better than nothing.)

Of course, 1990 was not only eventful in that my parents couldn’t find the Z Morning Zoo CD for me. Much more important is that 1990 is the year I met and began dating the woman I would eventually marry, my beloved Anna. And as we rang in 1991, I started making mix tapes for her, one of which would actually include some tracks from that fateful cassette. Fast forward a decade or so, and these old mix tapes were quite old and in great disrepair, so I did what any early twenty-first century man would do: I reconstructed them as playlists, in iTunes. But what of those tracks from my old, beat-up cassettes? Unfortunately, there was nothing to do but leave a few gaping holes in the reconstructions.

Fast forward to July 2012. I was going through the old playlists once again, purchasing several tracks from iTunes, to fill in these gaps. But of course, the Z-100 Morning Zoo album from 1990 is not on iTunes—big surprise. So, I checked online, and lo and behold, there it was, used, on Amazon. I grabbed it, and it arrived in the mail, last week.

After several days of sitting on my desk, I finally got around to sticking it in the computer to rip, this morning. As iTunes starts ripping automatically, I could hear it spinning up and being converted to 320kbps MP4s. The sound chimed, all was well, the disc was ejected, and I went to review the fruits of my labors.

There were two tracks.

It was not a mistake.

When the original CD left the factory, Z-100 apparently felt it should be burned not as the dozens of separate tracks included on the disc, nor even the mere fourteen tracks listed on the face of the disc and in the liner notes.

It was burned as “Side One” and “Side Two”.

And so the division begins….

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


This morning, I got a call that Caller ID brought up as “MCGRAW HILL COM.” The woman was barely intelligible, but began a conversation that went something like this:

“Hello, may I speak to [unintelligible] Drake?”

“Yes, this is Mr. Drake.”



“Is this Mr. Drake?”

“Yes, this is Mr. Drake.”

“Oh, okay. Hello, Mr. Drake. I am calling to talk to your about your computer, yes?”


“Yes, well, I am calling to talk to you about your computer, because as you know, there are lots of threats on the Internet, yes?”


“So what I want is to help you with your computer, yes?”


“So now the first thing you are going to need to do is go to your computer, yes?”

“Sure. I’m there.”

“You are at your computer?”


“Okay, Mr. Drake, and now I need you to turn your computer on.”

“It’s on.”

“It’s on?”

“Yes, it’s on.”

“Okay. Now, what I need you to do is look at your keyboard.”


“Yes, now I need you to look at your keyboard, at the lower left, and tell me what key is there.”




“Okay. And what key is next to that?”


“Excuse me?”


“Ah, yes. Do you have an AppleMac?”


“Ah, yes. Thank you very much.” [click]

Gotta love it.