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February 11, 2009


Mark O

Muzak: safer than beer!

Ruth H

Probably not enough elevators what with those open air malls and all.


It's an ill wind....

Mark O

Or an oboe.


Hey, lay off the oboe cracks.

Mark O

Only the oboe can play in the cracks of the piano, and you know it.


You force me to the harsh rejoinder that oboe is one of the few words that can be used, as in oboeist, to create a word in which the three vowels oei appear consecutively.


OK -- bassoons? Or fagottos?

Rick Ballard

I never expected to run into oboeism at JOM.


Desperate measures for desperate times, Rick.

Rick Ballard

"OK -- bassoons? Or fagottos?"

We don't talk about Barney here any more. And it's "one" for the superlative in reference to size... oh, you mean fagotti.


One of my tchotchkes is an old Muzak switchplate with a black control volume dial that came out of a wall of an old office building that was about to be demolished in Mpls. It's a great conversation piece. I personally love Muzak.


I personally love Muzak.

I really never thought I'd read someone with a Muzak fetish.



Well, fetish might be taking it a bit too far. Someone actually wrote a pretty decent book about it:

Elevator Music: A Surreal History of Muzak, Easy Listening, and Other Moodsong

Believe me, in a former life I was a serious music snob. But I don't care, I just like it.


you mean fagotti

Damn -- I am usually so careful with plurals, such as datum/data. I even caught an improper plural of proboscis.

I'm slipping in my old age.

And Barney has nothing to do with this. Long live Ignatz!

Mark O

Oboe: safer than beer.

JM Hanes

crayon (can't be picky here!)
oeil-de-boeuf (yes, this was a serendipitous find when I checked out oeil; it's an ox-eye window, not a stew :-)


Could someone tell me why B.Dalton and Waldean books no more good, Borders bankrupt vs Barnes & Noble bad?


Walden, I meant.

Soylent Red


I love those things. Olive Garden usually has a special on them around Easter. "Festival of Fagotti", or some such thing.

I might be mixed up about that...


Does the ONE OBOE have a government job or is it at Harvard?


In the seventies, when I was in college in Charlottesville, Virginia, I went into a K-mart on the edge of town. There was a gigantic reel to reel tape recorder, (and I mean gigantic, the reels were huge) near the front entrance, and a plaque that stated that this was one of the first stores in the country to play background music. Also, a couple of years ago, the New Yorker did a nice piece on Muzak; they play very hip stuff these days, not the elevator music you might think. Go into an Abercrombie or a Crate and Barrel, that cool music you hear? Muzak. But these days, any store can just hook up an i pod to a cheap amp and play music, so what's the point?

steve sturm

Muzak is profitable, it's just not profitable enough to carry the debt service incurred years ago... there's a world of difference between Muzak and the NYT (which also has too much debt relative to its cash flow) and the unprofitable companies like GM and Chrysler.

Muzak as a company will survive, but its shareholders will take a hit in the restructuring so don't worry about having to ride in silent elevators.

Manuel Transmission

IIRC, Muzak is the answer to the question nobody thought to ask: do the RIAA and other thugs in the music-control industry get paid a royalty whenever music is played in a public space?

It turns out that popping your iPod into the background music at work or on your office phone violates all kinds of laws. It is considered the same as having Rush broadcast 15 seconds of a song for bumper music.

Charlie (Colorado)

Damn -- I am usually so careful with plurals, such as datum/data. I even caught an improper plural of proboscis.

Got it by a nose.

More seriously, the reason Muzak is gone is all of a piece with the financial troubles of the rest of the legacy media. I can pay Muzak's rates (which were pretty astounding as I recall) for their "scceintifically selected" drek, or I can tune iTunes or even a web browser to any of thousands of web radio stations, reveiing better quality audio, more to my taste, for free.

Charlie (Colorado)

And lay off the double reeds. Those are not easy instruments to play.

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