When I was a kid, one of my favourite things to do was to listen to AM radio. Very early on I had a Radio Shack crystal radio — a magical device that required no batteries and that pulled in radio signals from all over the place. Later I got a bigger full-blown Radio Shack radio that pulled in the TV audio as well as FM and AM.

My most favourite thing was to lie in bed, after everyone thought I was asleep, with an earphone plugged into the radio. I would scan up and down the AM dial for far-flung stations, usually being able to listen for only 2 or 3 minutes until the cosmos shifted and the signal drifted out of range.

One of my more confusing finds was a radio station that identified itself, at least to my ears, as “threedoobee.” I had to listen for many months until I finally realized that their call letters were WWWE, and that they announced this as “three-w e”. WWWE was out of Cleveland, which was across Lake Erie from where we were, north of Hamilton. The mystery was solved.

Thanks to the insane obsessiveness of the web, you can now hear something like what I heard back then — an announcer for “The Monster on the Lake” doing a station check.

Sadly WWWE is now called a much more generic WTAM, so the pre-teen post-bedtime listeners of today will have no such mysteries to solve.

If you’re interested in this sort of thing, then the K/W Call Letters in the United States page might strike your fancy.

The superficial and fleeting pleasures of the senses

The CBC is reporting that Pope John Paul II is advising his followers to “choose Christ, not money and sensual pleasures”. Apparently, says the Pope, Jesus is “…counting on you.

Well that’s all very well and good, and far be it for me to suggest that the Catholic faithful shouldn’t take his advice to heart seriously and with vigor.

I’m in for the “fleeting pleasures of the senses,” though — it sounds too good to pass up. See you in hell.

Eddie's Lunch is Dead. Love live Vivas!

Imagine our surprise this evening when, in a post-Compass frenzy of hunger, we headed to Eddie’s Lunch for dinner only to find the familiar Eddie’s shining beacon replaced with an oaken cask emblazoned with “Vivas.”

Yes, it’s true: Eddie’s Lunch is no more. The final stages of the year-long renovation of Eddie’s are in progress, and the old Eddie’s Lunch name has given way to Vivas (Vivian, I am led to believe, being the name of the friendly capable post-Eddie hostess).

As much as I loved Eddie’s Lunch as a name, I am quickly becoming very fond of the new name. This is mostly because I am fond of short names that can be said declaratively.

Tantor (the name of Tarzan’s elephant), for example, is one of my favourite names.

“To Vivas!” is something I can imagine shouting in exultation in the same way the Bruce Wayne would shout “To the Batmobile!”

There is the added bonus of “Vivas” meaning “Alive” in Spanish and Portuguese.

To go with the name change comes a small menu addition — meatless Boca Burgers join the burger family — and the final absence of any vestiges, save the under-counter chocolate bars, of Eddie’s former life as a variety store cum restaurant.

To Vivas!

Delete the Universe

Here is the start of my daily routine: open Microsoft Outlook to read email, start reading email, find email I want to delete, press the Delete key to delete said email, get the following error message:

I get this error message because I haven’t properly unselected the Inbox and selected the actual message I want to delete — even though I am reading the actual message I want to delete.

This is one of those examples of extremely annoying default software behaviour: I will actually want to delete my Inbox, well, probably never. I will actually want to delete a message, say, 200 times a day. Outlook would be able to figure that out, you would think: “hey, he’s reading an email and he pressed delete — he probably doesn’t want to delete his Inbox, so I’ll delete the message he’s reading.”