Ahhhhh, Saturday. What to do?
Easy. Seraphim and I made a sojourn across the river to Hardeeville to get Kitt's oil changed (the dealer does the first one free). Hard to believe it's already been nearly 4,000 miles we've traveled in her ... no, wait. That's about normal. We put lots of miles on our two carriages.
Well, after Kitt's crankcase enema, we took advantage of our proximity to Bluffton's Golden Corral -- far better than the mediocre GC we have in Savannah. There's rumor of Rincon getting one. We can only hope. Now, if only we can get a @#$%ing IHOP in our neighborhood. Please?
And after a most satisfying lunch, the two of us made a little side trip to the Salvation Army thrift store just down 278 from the 'Corral. Not much to speak of here, except for some curios I found in a cassette rack. For one:
It spoke to me. And I heard its voice. It said "Taaaaaaalmadge. Saaaaave me. Rescue me from this salvatory purgatory."
I looked further. And I found a total of five (5) such Ford cassette (pronounce: CASS-ette) tapes.
You remember cassettes ... don't you? They were about the size of your average iPod, except for being analog, storing far less amounts of music, and its uncanny ability to occasionally puke brown ribbons of retarded silly string whenever they got sick.
Somebody from the area (could it have been that goat from the O.C. Welch commercials?) dropped off these "demonstration" tapes at the Salvation Army. And I decided, at the price of 25 cents per each, they were all going home with Talmadge. (PS to Bolivar: "That one's going home with Franklin!")
Ford included these tapes with all new cars which had cassette decks installed. I remember one which Gran Lera had in her '86 Crown Vic station wagon (a/k/a "The Q.E. II"). Evidently other automakers did the same thing. Seraphim told me one came with her Hyundai Excel years ago. What I remember about the one GL had was that it contained samples of everything from classical to hard rock.
So, what about the cassette-equipped Ford head units? You know, the contraption containing the rectangular orifice into which you inserted the tape.........
Above is Ford's basic stereo radio/cassette deck, circa 1984-1992. A/K/A "KICKIN' SOUND SYSTEM!" And, having experienced this very model on a couple of different occasions, I can tell you that were you to have pulled it out and replaced it with the cheapest aftermarket unit you could find (rhymes with "Craig"), you'd be making a dramatic improvement in your sound experience.
And the frequency display on Mom's '86 T-bird and Dad's '87 Bronco -- both with the same type of factory unit seen above -- eventually burned out!
"So what station are we listenin' to again, Bubba?"
"I dunno. Our luck, it's that commie NPR stuff."
The tape deck's range was pathetic ... middling high-end, and hardly any bass. Trust me. I bought LPs back then (CDs beginning in 1986), and dubbed 'em onto TDK "SA" or Maxell "XL-II" chrome tapes, the Coke & Pepsi dual standard, for listening while in the car. Both tapes offered far superior dynamic range, even recording with a budget-line Realistic component tape deck, to the laughably horrid tape stock found on prerecorded tape albums.
The TDK and Maxell tapes (I leaned Maxell) shined in my car's Pioneer SuperTuner-III deck. Boy, that thing was a beauty. Great radio reception, too.
But those same tapes didn't sound so well when played in my mother's Thunderbird. Dad, though, was driving an '84 GMC Jimmy prior to buying the Bronco. The Delco tape deck in the Jimmy was quite good. GM radios, in general, could hold their own. Dunno about Chrysler. But Ford's radios from the late '70s into the 1990s were awful.
Fortunately, it appears that FoMoCo got on the ball. I rather like the audio system in our '08 Escape.
Oh, and look what else I bought!
The original price tag for this two-pack of BASF tapes: $1.90.
Salvation Army Value Price: 25 cents.
Net savings from circa-1992 asking price: $1.65.
The confidence I'll sleep with tonight, knowing that my ass is covered just in case CD/Rs go out of style and the cassette tape becomes the in thing again: Priceless.
Hey, you never know when you'll need old-school blank recording media!
I'll dig into those Ford tapes and give the lowdown on the rundown in a future post, or two.
Ciao for niao.
--Talmadge "Have you listened to a cassette ... lately?" Gleck
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