Sunday, July 30, 2006


The talk at work turned to home computers some time back, and a man asked me if I could burn. I told him yes, I could - so that's why I use plenty of sunscreen outside.

As web-smart as I may seem, I didn't really know much about "ripping" and "burning" with computers until recently. I'd be burning inside when web pages came up too slowly - and ripping only seemed to happen when I went jogging too fast downtown.

But the approach of Power Frisbee of Georgia has changed all this. We want the atmosphere at our matches to be fun, so we're looking for appropriate music to play between quarters and games. And because most of the matches are on Sundays, we're not sure if any high school marching bands will be available.

Yet the search for fitting music is like they say during that Time-Life offer on Saturday nights after the 11:00 p.m. news - there's one good song on one CD, and another good one on another CD. And as much as I like that "Soul Ballads" infomercial week after week, I haven't ordered the collection yet.

Since my new more-powerful computer can hold a lot more music, I'm officially prepared to join the 21st Century and download songs online. In fact, I practiced for this last weekend -- by submitting a song off my CD for possible performance at an upcoming church convention. It was my first time "ripping" music. Some of us can remember when you simply broke vinyl records over your knee.

But it took me two tries to rip the song I wanted to submit - because the first time, the computer saved it as a .wma file. That's a file only Windows Media Players can comprehend. At moments like this, I start to understand why the Justice Department and European Union sued Microsoft.

After a good bit of searching in help directories, I adjusted the software so it would rip an .mp3 file for e-mailing. Yet I still feel a bit lost when it comes to online music - because whatever happened to the MP-1 and MP-2?

So now I'm "rippin' good," but what about burning music onto a CD? Well, first you have to save one onto your computer. For months I've held a card from a package of cookies offering me a free download. With the crumbs all licked off the wrapper, it was time to use it....

"REDEEM YOUR FREE MUSIC DOWNLOAD," the card from Wal-Mart promised - "Expires 7/31/06." So this past week I went to its music web site and typed in the special code. Imagine my surprise when the site declared the code was "no longer valid!" This was a "fast forward" which was quite unexpected.

If Wal-Mart is going to do this to me, I said, maybe I should look for music elsewhere. The top contender was "Yahoo Music Unlimited," which promises all the music you want for ONLY five dollars a month. But there are several catches to that package - starting with the drop-dead gorgeous photo of Shakira, which I was unable to save to "My Pictures."

Yahoo Music Unlimited costs five dollars a month IF you buy a full year of it. Otherwise, it costs about seven dollars a month - and a check of the fine print shows it only works with its special "music engine" software, which will NOT let you burn anything onto a CD. I suppose it's nice to find an engine that's burn-proof, but....

A check of Apple's "iTunes" appeared more promising - but much of its web site seems to be built around the iPod, more than the songs. Those devices can be expensive, you know. And unlike the Walkman, you can't tune in a radio to check the weather forecast when you see clouds outside.

Despite the code confusion, it appears I'll use Wal-Mart for music downloads for the time being. Its price is the least expensive, at 88 cents a song -- well, at least without me getting tagged by Internet police and risking arrest....

P.S. Believe it or not, a woman in my church congregation actually burned a copy of my CD to give to another congregation member. I found this out from the woman's husband, who came to me admitting it and paying for an original album. I should pray harder for this woman -- since we keep the commandments, and she tends to watch "American Idol" a lot.


We'll have NO blog entry Monday, because we'll be in Augusta promoting Power Frisbee of Georgia. Pre-season stops in Columbus and LaGrange are coming August 13. Learn about the new game people are calling "exciting" and "interesting" at the official Power Frisbee web site; then offer your comments about it at the P.F.G. blog.

E-MAIL UPDATE: Speaking of computers, the big local crime story of the weekend brought this one-line comment:

Makes you think...wonder how many Columbus will eventually catch.

Attached to that line was a story from Saturday's Ledger-Enquirer about the arrest of 20 suspected child predators in Harris County. It was one of those sting operations "Dateline NBC" often shows -- which makes you wonder if anyone told that program WLTZ NBC-38 doesn't have a news department.

Dateline NBC rented a vacant house in Harris County, and used it as a bogus meeting place for adults to meet teenagers they encountered online. These men simply can't do this the old-fashioned way, can they? You know - cornering teens at the mall or the football stadium.

The predator sting was suggested by Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley, who worked with a web site called "Perverted Justice." And all this time, you thought that phrase applied to U.S. Supreme Court rulings....

Officers say one suspected predator tried to run from the Harris County house, and was stopped with a Taser. Some of us wonder if the proper punishment for these men shouldn't be a second round with the Taser - aimed (ahem) somewhere below the belt.

Some of the suspected predators traveled to Harris County from southeast Georgia - so Muscogee County Sheriff Ralph Johnson hinted he may set up a similar sting in the future. Indeed, who knows how many could be caught in Columbus? But at least they could help our economy first, by staying overnight in a nice local motel.

We have one other message, from a Lee County contributor:

If you or I made 5 to 6 billion in 2nd quarter profits, there would be millions lined up the next day to do the same thing I was doing.

So why cannot more americans go into the Oil business?????

The same reason why Outsider's are allowed to enter the U S illegally and walk our streets without being arrested !!!!

Am i in the wrong business,,looks that way

Smiths Station Council agreed to allow lot sizes to go smaller again..why in the world in having zoning when all they do is allow what whomever what's to do...cheeezzz

The Smiths couple that was in Israel when the noise started is back,,glad the media kept that one quite......I do not think Smiths Station residents could have gone over their on the own to do a rescue...we would have to have flipped them a burgger or two...

No where in the area can you find the roads being made bigger to handle the over flow of traffic coming to Smiths station are they going to move around...maybe canoe's from the overflow of sewage??? follow the green turd road...follow the green turd road...

I'm not sure if you can get into the oil business in Lee County or not. What are the rules about having slurry pits in your backyard?

During the years I lived in Enid, Oklahoma, the city commission actually approved an ordinance allowing people to drill for oil inside the city limits. But I don't think anyone ever found any. At least, I don't recall driving by any homes dripping with black paint.

What's so bad about Smiths Station having different sizes for lots? After all, some people have Hyundais to park in their driveway while other people have Hummers. Assuming, of course, they're actually being parked IN the driveways....

I never heard about any local effort to go to Lebanon, and pull out the Lee County couple which was stuck there. In fact, I keep waiting for a Columbus synagogue to announce a local recruitment program for the Israeli Defense Force.

And about that "green turd road" - if Weird Al Yankovic turns a Brooks and Dunn song into a parody with that title, you really should sue for damages....

Now let's clear the highway of other leftover weekend items:

+ Columbus had rain on Saturday evening for the third week in a row. If this keeps up, some band at a club on Broadway will start singing, "Saturday night's all right for flooding."

+ My pastor at church preached against 60-month car loans, citing a neighbor's advice to a child. "Do you know how many days that is?" the pastor quoted the neighbor as saying. But hey, look at it another way -- it's almost one month for every book of the Bible.

+ The Columbus Chamber of Commerce announced we're now in an "entrepreneur friendly city," one of 22 in Georgia. In fact, Mayor Bob Poydasheff promises to hug every entrepreneur personally between now and Election Day.

+ The Port Columbus museum hosted an etiquette class for young people, teaching the "social graces." As if Confederate sailors thought about proper dance steps, as they were fighting the Union attackers....

+ Instant Message to WRBL: Huh?!?!? I turn you on for news at 11:00 Saturday night - and instead, you're showing a rerun of "Who's the Boss?" May I assume the boss is not anchor Heather Jensen?

BURKARD'S BEST BETS: Gas for $2.85 a gallon at Reese's Marathon on Warm Springs Road.... FREE open house Sunday afternoon at the new Summit Hospital in Phenix City.... but who put egg nog in the Wal-Mart SuperCenter skim milk? It sure tastes strange....

COMING THIS WEEK: Why an e-mailer wants me to get out of bed at 3:00 in the morning....

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