• Metasonix as a Higher Power in Sobriety
      Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series of unusual stories and commentary, paired with modular electronic sounds and noises

      Welcome back to the show. This week, the discussion is on alcoholism. Not a fun discussion, but a drinking habit is like any thing else, you only get there through effort! I'm celebrating five years sober this month, and the positive effects are finally really appearing. One thing I like about recovery concepts is the idea of a Higher Power. Many people misinterpret this to mean sobriety requires religious conversion. It doesn't at all. It simply means to accept help from something unseen (or seen), and to ask for it. And for me, my higher power is vacuum-tube based electronics. Noise has kept me alive.

      I think the psychology of a higher power is pretty clear: Most people suppress emotions while drinking (it's sort of the point) and asking for a Higher Power opens up the idea of forming those pathways neurologically. It's a nice exercise.

      You can find a higher power in a TV show, in a poem, in a bag of garbage, it doesn't matter! And in the five years going sober, I've realized my higher power is electronics. Specifically, I find assistance and mental peace through the most purposefully offensive electronics maker in the world: Metasonix. Metasonix is a small operation based out of Lakeport, California. They make vacuum tube based electronics. The sounds out of their tube-based drum machines, filters, and synth voices are beguiling, extremely difficult to work with, aggressive – and, when you get it right – unbelievably beautiful. I don't especially like other people, so AA has never been an option. But the concepts are sound. My community has been electronic devices.


      Pictured: Five Metasonix RK7 VCOs. Each voice is erratic and unpredictable. They sound like Tesla coils. The drum machine is not to be unexperienced, too.

      I'm glad to say in five years, I've never f-cked up. On days when I've really needed a drink, Metasonix has been there. It is a primitive sound. A carnival noise that snake-charms into your head (I'm not kidding) and there is something completely unique to how lost one becomes interacting with their devices. You sort out your problems unconsciously while a hot thyratron pulse zips through your skull. In short, it calms like a drink calms, soars you to emotional euphoria just as similarly, and is as unpredictable, too. Despite the company's best efforts to offend, future generations will recognize Metasonix as being as significant as Moog and Buchla. (I can only think of SOMA Labs in Russia as being as creatively significant as the work Metasonix makes)

      So this week we have a tribute to Metasonix. There are numerous examples in the playlist, including Pink Clovers (a Metasonix instrumental). Drink up!

      TLDR: Ask for help and help happens.

      SWWE #69: "Five Year Sobriety Report" (Metasonix as a Higher Power)

  • My Room Is a Mess

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series of unusual stories and commentary, paired with modular electronic sounds and noises

    Welcome back to the show. This week, our room is a mess. Including a tribute to Vestax DJ Mixers of the 1990s and 2000s, and a two part demo of a rarely heard Moog 984 Four Channel Matrix Mixer. Watch where you step, our room is a mess!

  • HEAR: "Headlines Like These" — 1950's Spoken Word on 'Hopeless Teenage Dope Addicts'
  • Samsung's Big Leak: "Up to 763,000 gallons of sulfuric acid" spilled into an Austin TX tributary
  • Since 2018, Certs Mints have outperformed Bitcoin as an investment, nine to one.

    Hello welcome back to Spoken Word with Electronics. This week we discuss candy mints, or Bit-Mint. Sometimes the most ordinary things in the world are pulled off shelves for their ingredients. This happened to Certs Mints in 2018. Like most drugs, the after-market pricing on Certs has erupted since being banned. A bargain pack of Certs (expired in 1996!) now can be found selling for $200. That's a high ceiling, but there are hundreds of similar listings across the Dark and Frosted Candy Web, averaging out at $25/roll sold. Certs Mints are hot. Here at SWWE we run the numbers to see how much more mint you can make on mint. Or more specifically how much was lost by not buying mint in 2018.

    • Proposal: If you'd traded your Bitcoin for Certs Mints in 2018 (when still on shelves), you'd now have nearly 10 times more money in Retsyn-based commodity than sticking with Bitcoin.
    • Bitcoin's price in 2018 was $6500.
    • Bitcoin today is $37,000.
    • Due to having partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, Certs Mints was discontinued in 2018.
    • Certs was marked down for quick sale to 50¢ a roll, or a nickle a mint.
    • Today, in collector mint circles, which can also include candy mint addicts, that same roll of Certs often sells for an average of $25/roll:
    • Takeaway: Had you taken the $6,500 in Bitcoin and purchased 13,000 rolls of Certs in 2018, your value in Certs today would be (13,000 x 25) $325,000.
    • Certs Mints outperforms Bitcoin as an investment, nearly 9 to 1.
    • This episode of SWWE, we break it all down into the Mint-Haves and the Mint-Nots. We also discusses the Ukraine crisis, Nuclear Weapons, and provides a useful tutorial on how to use a Drawmer Noise Gate, a Trapezoid Envelope Generator, and Pitch Shifting for the News.
    • SWWE #65: "At Least it Isn't Omi-Crohn's!" (and: The Price of Mints)

  • DEA releases chart of 'Dangerous Emojis' used to buy drugs

    The Drug Enforcement Administration announced this week that emojis, once thought to only entice sex through peaches and eggplant, can now also be used to buy drugs. In a chart that is printable for your wall, they have posted an "emoji drug code guide." This informs parents that their child's use of emoji is very possibly a secret screen language for purchasing drugs and communicating with drug dealers. For any child unclear on how to do this, or which emoji to use, the DEA has also provided a menu. Here's a bit of audio playing with that:

    There is a measure of good intention here with the DEA. Many pills bought off the street are currently laced with Fentanyl, which is a complete horror to consider. But no kid wants to take Fentanyl (unless they order it with a clear 'smiling face with tear', of course).

    Instead of encouraging distrust and resentment with parents and kids, the real push from the DEA should be to provide your kids with no-questions access to Fetanyl test strips – Similar to just giving your kids condoms, a simple test for them to know what they're about to ingest would likely impact the death rate on laced pills. If you're already snooping on their messages for a text code (a code that can easily change, incidentally) you might consider speaking candidly over Hallmark Channel espionage.

    The DEA has a history of this, and it's always comical in terms of effort and effect. Synonym addicts will enjoy their word-packed 2018 PDF on Slang Terms and Code Words (which introduced me to the term 'whiffle dust', thanks for that) or for fans of visual aids, there is the diagram-packed 1960s/1970s "Diagram of a Drug Abuser".

    All of this is the DEA's way of saying: "Welcome to 2022!" This new episode of Spoken Word with Electronics tackles the emoji issue.

    SWWE #64: Dangerous Emojis and Fornicating Ants

  • Hear Mariah Carey and Alien Sex Fiend sing a Xmas Duet

    Happy holidays to you from us at Spoken Word with Electronics. Primary music in track two is goth santas Alien Sex Fiend, whose Stuff the Turkey should be sung around every chimney. We also review an Electro-Voice RE20, whose flat frequency curve at 5K makes it the far better microphone for this show than any Shure product. That mic comparison (RE20 vs SM57 vs SM7B) is discussed in the introduction. Enjoy the season. Oh, Mariah!

  • "I'm Terrified & Lonely" – Read this newly unearthed 1955 interview with Marilyn Monroe

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series of unusual stories and commentary, paired with modular electronic sounds and noises — and, in this episode, rare archives of underground counterculture newspapers

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. A few episodes back, SWWE began to republish John Wilcock's Other Scenes. This is a huge trove of material, dating back seventy years, and it includes much of John's personal copies for material he created. One of the rarest of these items is his interview with Marilyn Monroe. This interview with Monroe was the basis for one of the first Wilcock comics, and near the end of John's life he rediscovered his own copy of the original article, from Liberty Magazine July 1955. The original interview is now scanned and available at The Other Scenes archive. It's a wonderful example of how capable John Wilcock was as an interviewer, too, as he transforms a normal promotional press piece (Marilyn was paired with John to promote Billy Wilder's Seven Year Itch). The resulting text focuses on Marilyn's ambitions for legitimacy and her depression. This was during the collapse of her marriage to Joe DiMaggio who found the famous skirt scene from Seven Year Itch to be intolerable.

    John's entire interview is available at the archive. As it's his personal copy it is attached with two 65 year old paperclips. The entire article is eight pages (with photos and other content) of highly sought after content of Monroe at both the peak of her career and the sad and tragic beginning of her unraveling.

    John's memory of the encounter survived nearly verbatim when interviewed for his biography to what is printed in the interview itself, though there are a few lines from the original piece that he'd never mentioned that would have been great to include in a comic panel. This is discussed in this episode's Other Scenes Inventory Report.

    Other material in this episode includes SOY SAUCE PRANKS and a visit to The Blue Eagle Bar in this installment of The Recovery of Charlie Pickle.

    Spoken Word with Electronics #61

    Connect with SWWE on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google . Thanks and have a good week.

  • Remembering the Wife Swapping Crisis of the 1960s

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series of unusual stories and commentary, paired with modular electronic sounds and noises.

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week we discuss Wife Swapping. It's a book reviewed by John Wilcock in OTHER SCENES #2, 1967. You'll find a full PDF of the review, along with other interesting capsules of the underground era, in this recent update of a new feature on Spoken Word with Electronics: The Other Scenes Inventory Report. Wife Swapping, or sharing partners, or swinging, still exists (of course) – But there was a brief moment in the late 1960s/early 1970s where it became a bit of a small suburban fad. The book "Wife Swapping" by Thomas J.B. Wilson, PhD and Everett Meyers presents itself as a kind of Kinsey Report for the delicate act of trading your women:

    It's my perspective that partner sharing almost always never works out. Doubt and mistrust are things that can develop over time. Worse, fear or resentment can be unexpectedly created in the moment itself, even if the initial experience is fun. It's often a sign of the end of a relationship, rather than a new chapter, if swapping is introduced. Of course, it depends on who is doing whom. The friends of mine that swap partners successfully only did so through meeting each other in freely sexual locations (sex clubs, etc), so it was part of their identity as a couple. But to casually dip your toe into the endeavor (say, one person urges the other to try it) can be needlessly reckless. Still, it's terrific to see a book like this from 1967 properly catalogued in the inventory of weird things from John Wilcock's notebook.

    The Other Scenes Inventory Report is an intention to archive all the available issues of John Wilcock's Other Scenes, a 1960s counterculture newspaper. I'm providing audio commentary for each update. This issue also includes a wonderfully scathing poem from John Sinclair on a Detroit narcotics officer who busted him on a marijuana charge. The 'Poem for Warner Stringfellow' is from the 1967 issue of Other Scenes. A year later, Sinclair would co-found The White Panther Party (a supportive white organization for The Black Panthers) and a year after that, he'd famously be charged with a 10 year prison sentence for offering two joints to an undercover policewoman.

    Also in this update: Issue five of Other Scenes, April 1967. Hot dog, Maggots! This includes one of the more collected single sheets of Hunter S. Thompson's early writing career. Often referred to as "The Ultimate Freelancer", Thompson's tribute to mentor Lionel Olay is a riveting blast of good HST. Most of the Internet gets the origin of this piece to be incorrectly attributed to The Distant Drummer, which reprinted it in November 1967. But the original article ran as a letter to John Wilcock in O.S. #5. (It was also described here on Boing Boing in the John Wilcock comic) – The upload of this original page of Hunter Thompson writing should delight many of you.

    You'll find links to scans in full PDF with OCR of both issues and audio commentary in this week's episode. Also, there was a call for feedback last show and we're happy to include some lovely listener submissions in track two, Listener Feedback. To quote Outer Limits: Thank you, Listener!

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #60: Listener FEEDBACK and A Bag of Screws

    Connect with SWWE via Partner Swap and Newsprint Scanner on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google . Thanks and have a good week.

  • The Realist Archive Project launches a sequel: "The Other Scenes Inventory Report"

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series of unusual stories and commentary, paired with modular electronic sounds and noises — and, in this episode, rare archives of underground counterculture newspapers!

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. While this show is a podcast about electronics, it is also a sort of Audio Magazine where I share other projects. I've been archiving and uploading odd material onto the web for 20 years now, the standout moments being Comics with Problems and The Realist Archive Project. To a discerning vintage audience, those links might raise a smile. (And hello if you've never visited either, too) Both projects represent early Internet efforts to scan and upload material, far before social media robbed people of their independence to do so on their own, and both projects have an interesting history regarding where uploaded content got shared. This episode of SWWE introduces the third archive project of the site, which is a direct companion of The Realist Archive: The Other Scenes Inventory Report.

    To counterculture historians and rare paper collectors, OTHER SCENES is widely considered among the best underground newspapers published in the 1960s. It was a daring and no bullshit ride into drugs, politics, race, sex, and news. It is playful and it is a lot of fun. It also has been largely forgotten by time, as competitive papers like Rolling Stone survived. (Rolling Stone not only copied Other Scenes format, incidentally, but it also copied its contributor pool, namely Hunter S Thompson, who contributed to Other Scenes, considering its editor John Wilcock a colleague). You'll get a chance to read all of this O.S. material soon.

    You might recognize John Wilcock's name from the comic that ran on Boing Boing here for about ten years. This archive is meant to be additional material for the collected print edition of those comics, but the depth of this material likely far exceeds the comic itself.

    It is called 'the inventory report' as I have a large box of material from John, which needs closer scrutiny now that the comic is complete. So each two weeks, as part of Spoken Word with Electronics, there will be four OTHER SCENES items added, including audio commentary. You can download nicely restored PDF copies at the archive. Each PDF copy is free for you to non-commercially distribute and is OCR scanned for searchable text. This first installment includes rules on how to attend a San Francisco Sex Party in 1967, along with a garden party that Wilcock attended with Alan Watts at the Aldous Huxley estate.

    The goal here is to upload the entire run (or a very close percentage) of OTHER SCENES. Much of this material has not been seen in more than fifty years. It's a ton of fun to read. As Wilcock's biographer, I'm most excited about providing audio commentary, going through all the material.

    This first posting of the Other Scenes Inventory includes Issue #1 ("Fuck Hate", 1967), Issue 3 ("The Scene", 1967), a "Diagram of a Drug Abuser" (reference material, TX Dept of Public Safety, Narcotics Service), and the original 1966 advertisement Wilcock ran in the Village Voice when leaving both The Voice and The East Village Other to strike it out on his own.

    Here's this week's commentary track:

    The remainder of the show asks you for your feedback. Feedback is on our mind this week, as the headphones in our studio had a slight leak in them. This is a fun trick to learn how to purposefully do, as your headphones can cause amplifier-rattling feedback with just the slightest tilt off your ears into a microphone when recording. And if this is something you love doing too, I'm interested in hearing YOUR feedback! Send any screeching howling tones, or drones, or walkee talkee scratches, etc, to our Soundcloud page via Direct Message, and we'll include your feedback (with credit) in the next episode. All feedback welcome!

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #59: "I'd Really Like Your Feedback" (ANNOUNCING: OTHER SCENES!)

    Connect with SWWE via Good Endeavors and Other Scenes on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google . Thanks and have a good week.

    — Make your mind happy, Visit the OTHER SCENES ARCHIVE Today!

  • ELECTRIC TOOTH! Hear a Synthesizer recreate getting a Dental Crown

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series of unusual stories and commentary, paired with modular electronic sounds and noises.

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week the subject is dentistry. I've always been good about going to the dentist. Give me the chair, man! It's like getting a tattoo every six months on your teeth. But due to the pandemic I hadn't been able to get a cleaning for seventeen months, and one of my few fillings (the silver kind from the 1980s) didn't survive. So, pandemic delay accepted, I received the rough prognosis: I NEEDED A CROWN. So this week is dedicated to that very noisy drilling procedure.

    Make your own tooth: Using a blend of contrasting highly modulated voltage into filters and pitch on a few synths, we emulate the musical scraping and drilling of the experience. Eurorack and event generators provide a good amount of variety to add in sounds of water, random bits of flying pieces, suction, etc. Dental crowns are fascinating, really. Not too painful, but it turns your mouth into a lego set. The mouth is like a small workshop in your face. There's nothing it can't do, or become! Hear our electric tooth tribute in this week's introduction.

    Contrasting the discomfort and humor of the dentist, audio this week is a montage of some of the best parent protests against forcing masks on their children. Hand a microphone to a pissed off parent and there's no end to the surprises! You find that in the raw audio section of this week's episode.

    We also visit a coin fountain and travel back in time. But there's no time travel for teeth! Don't miss your cleanings. In between, be sure to floss!

    Postscript: In memory of video artist NANCY CAIN

    This week's show is in tribute to Nancy Cain, who passed away on Sunday August 22. Nancy is well known to video art activists for her work in Videofreex. (If you make ANY non-corporate video, from art to a tiktok post, you owe her a thanks for paving the way for your access to such ideas) I knew her as Paul Krassner's truest friend – his long time wife of many decades. She was 81 and an incredible human. Here's to you, Nancy. Read her book, incidentally: It's incredibly vivid and inspiring.

    (Fellow Videofreex artist Skip Blumberg confirmed this sad news of Nancy's passing)

    Connect with SWWE via Dentist Procedure and Replacement Cap on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google .

    Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

  • Would you send $1000 to this 1990s Televangelist?

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This last year (or two) has been a fun dip into Hell, and it's rekindled my interest in Televangelism. I used to record a lot of them on VHS tapes in the 1990s and so this week I thought I'd share my favorite one. I originally labeled it "Reverend Hellfire" on the VHS label. It's an amazing story that is literally rags to riches, from preaching in front of trash dumpsters 45 years previous, that suddenly erupts into a constant flood of thousand dollar bills. He actually talks to God. Do you have $1000? Do you have a phone? CALL NOW!

    Side B continues the Charlie Pickle serial, with "The Daily Worry".

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #57: TWENTY DOLLAR HELL and The Lost Emotional Sound of Dating on Landline Phones

    Here's the entire episode:

    Connect with SWWE via Hellfire and Bandpass Filter on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google .

    Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

  • Have you heard Abbott & Costello's 'Ten Year Old Child Bride' joke from 1941?

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week we meander back to the more innocent times of 1941. Universal Pictures released a war film titled "Buck Privates" starring Abbott and Costello. It's mostly silly gags throughout but there's a slightly notorious joke hidden in there about a 40 year old man marrying a ten year old girl. The duo would continue the joke for some years, short-titled "You're 40, She's 10":

    To Costello's credit, though Abbott urges him to pursue his infatuation with the 10 year old, the math on their age isn't right. It sets up the comedy, based on fractions and percentages: When will she be old enough? The duo are best known for other logic problems (like Who's on First?). Here's the entire routine:

    Abbott: You're 40 years-old and you're in love with this little girl that's 10 years-old. You're four times as old as that girl and you couldn't marry her, could you?

    Costello: Not unless I come from the mountains.

    Abbott: All right. You're 40 years-old. You're four times as old as this girl, and you can't marry her, so you wait five years. By that time the little girl's 15 and you're 45. You're only three times as old as that little girl. So you wait 15 years and when the girl is 30, you're at 60. You're only twice as old as that little girl.

    Costello: She's catching up.

    Abbott: Yes, yes. Now here's the question. How long do you have to wait until you and that little girl are the same age?

    Costello: Now what kinda question is that? That's ridiculous!

    Abbott: Ridiculous or not, answer the question.

    Costello: If I wait for that girl she'll pass me up. She'll wind up older than I am.

    Abbott: What are you talking about?

    Costello: She'll have to wait for me!

    Abbott: Why should she wait for you?

    Costello: I was nice enough to wait for her!

    It's not a terrible abstract math joke but certainly might concern modern audiences. The title for the film "Buck Privates" doesn't help!

    Appropriately, this week, we also conclude with our series of mail-order psychiatry records from the 1960s, and continue our audiodrama/radio program "Charlie Pickle" with an introduction to the manager of The Clarence Coffee Cup, "Angela Simmons".

    Connect with SWWE via 1940s Rationale and Collective Reasoning on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google .

    Incidentally, with the Abbott and Costello joke being written 80 years ago in 1941, this year we can celebrate the birthday of the girl, who probably just turned 90! Lou Costello died at age 52, indeed making him much younger. Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

  • Re-entering society after 15 months in isolation

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. A few weeks ago I received my second vaccine shot. Ten days later I knew I was largely free to re-enter much of the world. I'd taken self-isolation pretty enthusiastically for fifteen months, to the equivalent that it felt like a space station in our home. Parts of me really loved it, other parts (like my socialized mental health) knew that the farther I got away from general society the more painful it would be in re-entry. So the process started this past week. I got an eggs benedict at a favorite local diner. I won't lie: The food felt great, the crowd felt tough. So a discussion on that, along with egg yolk facts, is on the menu for this episode. Life is like an egg yolk.

    (more…)

  • Listen to this 1946 informational on the wonders of post office work.

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week, the focus is on warm weather! Few things say spring or summmer to me more than the sound of lawn mowers. Lawn Mower season came in with a big bang (or buzz) this month, and it is given a tribute in our introduction — It's Lawn Mower Season.

    The main audio for this week is a terrific 1946 audio informational from the U.S. Post Office, titled "Meet the Mailman" — You'll find untouched audio here with a re-imagined narrative of Glen Tucker, the bed ridden boy, here. Lots of incredible people, from Charles Mingus to Charles Bukowski (okay, incredible people named Charles) have worked for the USPS over the years, and with Trump threatening its existence and most of us surviving off deliveries for over a year, now is a good time to celebrate the Mail Workers! I love physical mail, and this week is a tribute to that. Great narration on the informational track, too.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #54: LAWN MOWER SEASON! and Government Informationals on Mailmen, 1946.

    Connect with SWWE via Postal Scale and Stamps on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you podcast.

    Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

  • How to turn a broken dishwasher into a synthesizer

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week we remember Bob Fass, who passed away on April 24th (the first night we recorded this current episode, on a three week cycle this week) – Fass was an radio innovator, turning a regular control booth into a soundboard for politics, yippie activism, and genuine bizarre antics, even said to influence WFMU's switch to freeform as a format. This episode is dedicated to Bob Fass.

    In a practical matter, our discussion this week describes a useful currency exchange system where broken appliances are turned into synthesizers. Our clothes washer's bearing broke a few years ago, initiating a lot of other possible damage to the hardware. The repair was more costly than a replacement unit – but there was a lot of machine unaffected – so before I junked the older machine, I decided to sell the individual working parts (circuit boards, front panel, glass lid, cables, screws, rubber feet, etc). I ended up with more money than the old washer cost new, able to replace it, along with over a thousand dollars in extra money. So check in on our tutorial for a number of suggestions. You likely have many things in your home that can be parted out and sold, turned into Synth Coin.

    This is even more advantageous for you now, as we're in a global components shortage and many of your broken appliances have lots of possible components and chips inside. It's environmentally beneficial, as well, as it keeps giant appliances out of the landfill. You can look forward to your appliance dying because you'll be able to sell it for parts.

    Regarding turning a dishwasher into an actual synthesizer – this is also possible! – Some small ovens and appliances maintain a 19" rack standard. You can turn an oven into a synthesizer, for example. Or use the oven as an enclosure.

    Trivia: If you were to build a $600 dishwasher, part by part, from the manufacturer, it would cost $4000. This is because individual parts are grossly overpriced and there's a huge market of people (and repairpersons) looking to buy knobs, boards, etc. See what sells before you junk your stuff. I've been doing this for decades – there are a few important seller rules (like accurately describing condition and if it is broken) – and you'll be surprised at how honesty often makes you more cash. And more cash means more synthesizers. At the very least, take the lid off and sell that. Most lids go for $200 or so, and that's a free eurorack module.

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #53: A Broken Appliance Buys You a Room Full of Synthesizers (Tutorial)

  • "Puff It, Swines!" A memory of smoking Hunter S. Thompson's favorite weed.

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week, we give tribute to John Wilcock, who was the subject of the properly titled John Wilcock comic here on Boing Boing for close to a decade. A collection of the book is on Kickstarter this month – get a copy! – and if you're clicking this due to the headline, you might be curious about what pot Hunter S Thompson seemed to enjoy more than any other bag. The answer: John Wilcock's pot!


    check out John Wilcock on Kickstarter

    John was one of the earliest proponents of marijuana being legalized, and his credentials speak well to his taste in quality pot, too. He worked with Tom Forcade to publish National Weed in the 1970s, which became the better known High Times.

    John visited my home for a week in 2010 and he arrived with the world's most perfect slender brown-paper rolled joints. We worked on the Wilcock comic for a week, and every time we smoked, it was intensely perfect. I would not call it brain-bashing pot, more specifically a very cognitive weed, with a perfect flavor (kind of a mint or cinnamon, common to very fresh good crop).

    I'd known of John first through reading Hunter S Thompson's correspondence collections, there are a few letters to John in there, and apparently the pot John smoked had been consistently the same quality/strain of bud for decades. I suppose once you find your perfect blend, why fuss around for others?

    When I asked about Hunter, John would chuckle, "Oh, he was always after me for as much of my pot as he could get." This is saying something, as Hunter clearly had access to tons of pot, everywhere, so why the focus on John's? John would extend the joint looking at it affectionately. Asking him if it was the same stuff, he nodded. It was extremely lucid weed, with a little pep, yet lightly calming. I was drinking at the time and it paired perfectly with bourbon and beer. Cigarettes, too. I've had a lot of pot and this stuff felt genuinely different. Lower THC content, so you could just devour puffs of it, and more focusing, too, at the same time. It was the kind of pot you want to write to, or work with, and we got the entire Wilcock book timeline established in less than a week. The quality of the actual rolled paper joint, too, felt like time travel in a way. Authentic "old guard" pot.

    Smoking John's pot, it made sense why people like HST would seek it out over other strains of weed. When Hunter visited John's home demanding more of it, John happily obliged. As HST got up to leave, some other friends showed up. A funny recollection from Wilcock was the new visitors looked down at the half-smoked joint in the ashtray. Hunter, who made as good an exit as he did an entrance, bellowed "Puff it, swines!" – and out the door he went.

    May you all have a good 4/20 and puff it, swines, to one and all!

    Enjoy this week's show, a tribute to John Wilcock, our friend, and underground icon:

    Connect with SWWE via Levitation and Paraphernalia on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google .

    Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

  • Would Alan Turing even WANT to be on a £50 Bank Note?

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week, we explore the wonderful world of Alan Turing, whose work in cryptography (i.e. code breaking) helped save the world in WW2. He then conceived the basic structure for computers and saw the future of artificial intelligence. He was celebrated in his lifetime by being condemned by the UK government for sex, spending the last year or two of his existence undergoing forced 'chemical castration' by way of experimental estrogen treatments.

    The UK has done some good work to remedy the ugly errors of its past, directly addressing it in prepared statements with the bank note itself, which has some very cool details and design:

    But this week discusses a basic truth: Government Symbolism, especially its currency, is complicated. To be candid: after someone is abused, as Turing was, they might not want to be the face on their abuser's money. Or the errors of such violence should be on the bill itself. For example, in the margin of the bill, the words "Alan Turing (1912-1954)" are stated, and with ample empty space. Simply adding: "— with apology for his unkind treatment by the UK government", or something equally observant, would make the Fifty Pound note less propagandistic and really mean something.


    The white space on the note allows for an extra message in the margin. Make it friendly with a happy font, even, but say it!

    The story of Alan Turing is a deep and interesting one, however, and his accomplishments far outshine his tragic ending. So we discuss the variations on this problem with our discussion this week, which also discusses how a Turing Machine works, which is a fun thing to learn.

    Following that, for musical purposes, this week includes a demo of the eurorack version of The Turing Machine. It's an interesting interpretation. A normal Turing Machine edits a code of tape until it is a solved problem, and the eurorack interpretation gives you random notes until you lock in a sequence of sounds, solving the random generation into melodies. We use the Dead Man's Catch version in this week's demo.

    Also, Mark was very cool to already post this, but if you read the John Wilcock comic on Boing Boing over the last ten years, we have now completed a collection of the series and it is running on Kickstarter this month. (video posted below) – Price of one copy will cost you only one Alan Turing, or less!

    Connect with SWWE via Bad Government Behavior and Time on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google .

    Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

  • A 1970s tutorial on repairing vinyl wood decals for your car

    Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

    Hi, everyone, welcome back to the show. This week we look back at the finest era in car design: The WOOD AND FAKE WOOD PERIOD. This is when most family cars had wood paneling – or, if you were sporting, fake wood paneling.

    The transition from 1960s real world materials into the 1970s dealt with numerous synthetics, and the automobile industry felt this very directly. You'll see the interiors and outer shell of cars begin to lose many metal, wooden, and leather comforts, with a big boom in SYNTHETICS in the 1970s, with plastic everywhere. And that meant big business for VINYL DECALS. Of course, vinyl wood grain decals are far less robust than wood paneling itself – So this week, we share filmstrip audio on VINYL DECAL repair from the 1970s.

    A lot of life mantras can be taken from this tutorial. Namely: Use a squeegee to iron out all those bubbles and blisters – Use a heat gun for stubborn blisters – And if life gives you bubbles, use a pin to pop them!

    Additionally, the show opens this week with a police scanner report of a TOOL FIGHT at our local Home Depot in Austin TX. Reportedly customers versus employees. Stay safe out there, customers and employees! – Especially in the drill, nail gun, and hammer section.

    Audio for the 1970s vinyl repair has been reconfigured into this week's Side A: "Caring for Your Domesticated Human in a Post-Covid Petting Zoo" and you'll find part 32 of Charlie Pickle continued here with "The Sunday Morning Cartoons".

    SPOKEN WORD WITH ELECTRONICS #50: TOOL FIGHT! and 1970s VINYL DECAL REPAIR

    Connect with SWWE via WOOD and VINYL WOOD DECAL on Bandcamp, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google .

    Thanks and have a good week, Ethan

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