Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The World's Greatest Invention

I'm lucky. I have one of those new-fangled gadgets called a television remote control. I'm sure you've seen them? Had it for a long time, actually. Long ago, I mastered the art of "mute" control and can successfully "zap" commercials filled with acidic clanging guitars and images of a band whose members appear not to have seen the inside of a shower stall for months as they all vaporize into silent grotesque mad men gyrating in an asylum. How sweet it is.

The high decibel count of most movie sound tracks also seems to reflect a significant erosion of the audio-intake capacity of today's sound engineers who most probably spent their idylic youth and entertainment dollars standing as close as possible to the Greyhound Bus-sized speakers de rigueur for any rock concert.

I was in the Mets' dugout for a Rolling Stones' Concert at New York's Shea Stadium. (That's a nice but long story I will happily relate at some other time.) I only mention it as a reference to the near-fatal assault on my fragile sense of hearing by quoting this insane statistic from The New York Daily News:

" .... the band almost erased the sound of the jets from nearby LaGuardia Airport, thanks to their 2.4 million watts of amplification." [Emphasis added] I'm sure some Staten Island residents and a few unfortunate New Jerseyites also heard the band from the comfort of their own front yards.

But why, I hear you plaintively ask, choose this as a focus for today's Blog? Good question. I was thinking about one of Mel Brooks' most famous characters, The 2,000 Year-Old Man. During his historic interview with Carl Reiner, he was asked if he would name mankind's greatest discovery. Quickly came the reply: "Saran Wrap! You can make a sandwich and it clings ... you can look right through it. The greatest thing that mankind ever devised. Saran Wrap." I dispute this claim. The greatest thing that mankind ever devised is The Mute Button!

Tomorrow, a Blog reprint of a famous meeting with Mel in my Greenwich Village apartment. You'll love it. I did.

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