My son just used the term “tone generator”. Being an educated, tech-savvy guy, I can make an educated guess that he was referring to some kind of hardware* designed to emit a steady tone. We called such an object a “tuning fork” when I was his age.

It got me to thinking about a few things.


Rockers of my generation used to buy their music on vinyl records and as a result, would refer to the newest release by a given band as an “album”. For example, a commonly heard phrase back in March of 1973 was, “Man, that new Pink Floyd album is a real head trip.”

But nowadays, if Panda has some friends over and I happen to mention how much I’m loving the new Gym Class Heroes album, they’ll all look at me like I have nipples on my forehead.

The terminology now is either "disc" or "CD". Noted.


In a couple years – April 7, 2009, to be exact – TV stations in the U.S. will stop transmitting their shows via 700MHz analog signals. This will effectively render rooftop and dipole TV antennas completely useless.

That means that very soon the term “Rabbit Ears” will only refer to either a set of children’s stories or a dirty joke involving pulling one’s pants pockets inside out**.


As a teenager, I owned an IBM Selectric typewriter. I've fond memories of the day my mom gave it to me and I was finally able to get rid of that manual, half-ton beast of a machine I’d been using. Then, sometime later, I acquired a Brother word processor and not long after that, a PC.

Soon, Liquid Paper will be nothing more than another nostalgic item on some idiot’s blog.

Ah… the good old days of holding the rabbit ears for pop while the noise of the television competed with mom’s clacking on the typewriter and junior’s screeching rock-n-roll albums.

*or software
**if you have never seen the joke performed, you’re missing out on a delightfully sophomoric piece of performance humor.

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About kirkstarr

I draw pictures for a living.
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18 Responses to Relics

  1. Charlie 5-0 says:

    i will sometimes ask friends "a/s/l"–referring to "age/sex/location" which people used to ask one another at the beginning of the Internet in chat rooms. I don't think anyone says it anymore in this MySpace era and the joke is lost on many.
    PS–The new GCH CD is AMAZING!! I just saw them a few weeks ago. Go to the show when they come to your town, the energy is soso great and it's such a mix of people you won't feel out of place.

  2. Choccie says:

    rabbit's ears? Think I've seen it performed, but wasn't called that, hehe

  3. Budd says:

    So, in a few years there will be no need to call it HDTV, just TV.

  4. Lurkertype says:

    Actually, we used rabbit ears to pick up one of our local HDTV stations. The others, we used the old loop antenna that you had to have for UHF. Which looked delightfully incongruous atop a giant hi-def television.(Now we have a big ol' house antenna for them all, but in the attic. Strictly for better reception — we liked using our old rabbit ears.)

  5. I think album at least will come around again if someone makes a intelligent and reasonably priced digital download service (itunes ain't there yet)

  6. Kirk says:

    Charlie 5-0: I think AMAZING!! sums it up pretty well, yeah. 🙂 I like quite a few of the artists on the Fueled by Ramen label. Good stuff.Choccie: It has to do with kissing a rabbit between the ears. Terribly clever, I know.Budd: I'm no expert, of course, but I do know that not all cable TV is HDTV.LT: Oh, fine. Shoot the hell out of one of my points. Did TK put you up to this? ;)fallen and Maureen: I know, huh? I didn't think the word "album" had gone dodo on us, but I used it one day and got the afore-mentioned "nippled forehead" look from the young people. Oh, how I so want to remain hip!

  7. Lauri says:

    Heee! Very enjoyable post, Kirk!Big snort for the nipples on forehead phrase. I think I'll use that if someone looks at me weird. "Quit staring at me like I have nipples on my forehead." I still say "album" all the time and then just rush on before anyone can look at me. :PI was telling a 23 year old student at work that my parents are "teatotlers" and she looked at me like…..well….like I had a teabag on my forehead. She had never heard that term. Wow, gone dodo. That's rather mindblowing. How long until people forget the dodo and we are saying "Gone rhino."? (hopefully never)

  8. Rev Stan says:

    I think album is still used a lot over here or CD but not disc but then I don't really mingle with 'young people' much so I'm probably out of date. Text messaging on mobiles is the big thing which has spawned a whole new language of abbreviations, most of which I don't understand. I've only just got my own personal mobile and still spell words out, punctuate and text two fingered rather than just holding the phone in one hand and using one thumb…

  9. I haven't seen the 'rabbit ears' performed but I have seen the dance of the cloth-eared elephant. I'll leave that one to your imagination.

  10. Lurkertype says:

    No he didn't, Kirk, but putting the antenna up instead of the rabbit ears was partly b/c the rabbit ears are SUCH FUN for kitties to readjust.EWQ: thanks for loadin' us up with that image.

  11. Cortadito says:

    I (along with most of my other musician friends) use the term record or album (mostly record). Saying CD or disc bothers me, because it's a description of the recording delivery format rather than the actual art contained therein. A collection of 10 or so songs that fit together in the traditional way will forever be either a record or album to me whether I've bought it on vinyl, cassette, CD, mp3, or had it simply beamed between my ears! Then again, I also sit in 'pretentious jackass' position on occasion so, take that for what it's worth!!

  12. Kirk says:

    "I also sit in 'pretentious jackass' position on occasion so, take that for what it's worth!!"Do accept my sincere apologies for the jackass line in the Beethoven post, Cortadito. I sometimes get carried away when I'm trying to get a laugh. I end up offending from time to time and I always feel bad. (Truth be told, I even found myself sitting that way at one point. I mean, the concert was over two hours long!)

  13. Brown Suga' says:

    Oi. I'm 22, and I say "album" (as opposed to "single"), and so does my 11-year-old sister. Who you calling obsolete?[assumes "badass" posture complete with high heels][pops knuckles]

  14. Budd says:

    I can't wait to see the look on my grandkids faces when I tell them that cars used to have wheels.

  15. Cortadito says:

    "Do accept my sincere apologies for the jackass line in the Beethoven post, Cortadito." Ha ha- no way, I was just kidding around – absolutely no apology needed!! 😉

  16. Kirk says:

    Hmmm… as it turns out, the term album is more widely used than I thought. Perhaps it is just my own children and their clueless friends who think the term "album" is passé.Technically, the terms album and record are both accurate, even in the digital age. Perhaps, then, I should alter the word "album" in the post above to "LP"? Because I think that pretty much signifies a vinyl recording… right? (I'm looking at you, Cortadito.)

  17. Cortadito says:

    Wellll…. LP does generally seem to refer to vinyl, but technically (wow I'm revealing some serious audio-nerd tendencies here) it stands for Long Play, which is simply a full album (as opposed to an EP, or Extended Play, which is usually a 4-6 song collection, or a single). I know that I still see bands put out EP's pretty regularly and call them so, but I don't really ever seem to hear LP except when used to mean vinyl. So I don't know what the answer is. I do know this: I see you've sent my letters back. And my LP records and they're all scratched.

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