“Ring Christmas Bells,” The Ray Conniff Singers, 1962
Whether you realize it or not, you have more than likely heard a Christmas tune by The Ray Conniff Singers. Ray’s two Christmas albums: “Christmas with Conniff” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” (from which this song comes from) each went platinum in 1959 and 1962.
I nearly always spend Christmas in my hometown, which is just over two hours away by car. It’s in South Texas, so I’ve never driven for days or through snow, but I can certainly relate to spending a little time on the interstate on the way to loved ones.
I had heard this rendition of the Christmas Classic for years before finally finding out who the singer was. Thank you, Shazam! I particularly love how the snare drum drives the song…having played the drums myself, though, I am slightly biased. 😉
You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 118, “In the year two-thousand and suck,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!
It can be hard to believe sometimes, but we are now living in the Twenty-First Century. The Future, such as it is. Back on New Year’s Day of 2010, I thought back to all of those Nintendo and Super Nintendo video games that I played that took place “IN THE YEAR 20XX” and realized: Wow, we’re there now. In the novel 2001 A Space Odyssey, we were supposed to have a space station and a moon base. Here we are, twenty years after 2001, and while the International Space Station is neat, it’s no Space Station V. There is also no Clavius Base on the moon. Heck, we don’t even have a Moonbase Alpha.
My vision of how the future was going to play out was heavily influenced by all of the episodes of The Jetsons that I watched growing up as a kid and Isaac Asimov’s stories and novels, so it would be an understatement to say that I have been sorely disappointed in what I have seen in the first fifth of the twenty-first century so far. Let’s be honest, the future just isn’t what it used to be.
To begin with, technology as a whole has not advanced as far as it could have, and one could argue that some things are moving in the wrong direction. Take cars, for example. Flying cars were a thing in The Jetsons, though George Jetson still had to contend with lousy traffic, because despite what Star Trek preaches, lots of people are still going to suck one hundred years from now. I’m not even a fan of the concept of a flying car, because what goes up will eventually come down, and given the number of poorly maintained vehicles I regularly see on the road, I’m pretty sure we’re going to have a lot of people ignoring the ‘Check Anti-Grav Soon’ light on their future-car dashboard. Honestly, though, I don’t even want flying cars, I think it would be enough for them to hover, just maybe a foot off the ground like a Star Wars land speeder. Hover-cars would solve a lot of problems. No need for tires, less wear and tear on the roads, or maybe, as Doc Brown once said, we won’t need roads.
I think robots are neat, and one thing that The Jetsons gave us to look forward to was having a robot maid to clean up the house. Given that at this point in time, we barely have a robot vacuum cleaner, I don’t expect to have a robot maid clanking around my apartment keeping things clean anytime soon. I also think that Artificial Intelligence is also going to have a pretty hard time replicating the sassiness of Rosie the Robot. It’s going to be a while before we figure out ‘smart technology,’ and even longer before we can have “smart-aleck technology.”
While science fiction made a lot of educated guesses as to what kind of technology we would have in the future, I don’t think anyone predicted the emergence of the Internet to say nothing of having access to it via a hand-held computer. Isaac Asimov wrote several stories about a giant computer called MultiVac that literally contained all the information about the world. I have a friend who refers to their cell phone as their “Mother Box,” which is probably the best description of a cell phone that I think I’ve ever heard, so maybe Jack Kirby was onto something. Unfortunately, it is a great irony that unlimited access to unlimited information has collectively made people dumber. This is partially thanks to social media, because no matter how terrible, out there, or insane the belief is, there will be a bunch of people with similar views online. I’m just saying Flat Earthers should not be a thing in the 21st century.
One particularly awful trend that I have noticed in this year of twenty-twenty-one is the slow deterioration of the written and spoken English language. Maybe it’s because of all the science fiction that I have read and watched over the years, but I was kinda hoping that we’d be using cool future words by now. Going back to Asimov, he had his characters say things like “Aw, space!” in situations where one would expect to swear. The Battlestar Galactica reboot famously used frak as it’s and one of my favorite future comics, Magnus, Robot Fighter would have characters say things like “I’m feeling sore down to the subatomic level.” I always thought future-talk was neat and have adopted a similar tactic to cut down on the amount of salty language coming from me, though my preferred exclamations are “Craters!” and “Shazbot!”
People are inherently lazy, so I understand using acronyms on-line. LOL, AFK, WTF, STFU and so on. My personal favorite is IANAL, which stands for I Am Not A Lawyer. I still remember the first time I heard someone actually say LOL out loud in a conversation: The person, whom up to that point I thought was otherwise intelligent said “LAWL!” When I heard that, I wanted to smack the taste out of their mouth. Seriously, what the hell? Is laughing so difficult for you that you have to abbreviate it instead of actually laughing?!
On the plus side, a common trope in near-future science fiction is that marijuana is legal, and that seems to be slowly happening, so hooray, I guess. It also might explain a few things…
This has been 300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz, the next episode will be posted after I start writing a story about a tomorrow where nothing freaking changes, just to be different. For more wonderfully weird, witty and mostly grammatically correct words written by me, visit Eduardo Soliz dot com and I thank you for listening! Be good, take care, and God Bless.
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, lovers of literature and fans of fiction!
I am Eduardo Soliz, the author and narrator of the brilliantly brief tale you are about to hear.
Stories come from different places, and this particular tale was inspired by a piece of art: “Hello Again,” by Mary Mouse. In the piece, Mary Mouse is looking up at a sad-looking crow that’s sitting up in a dilapidated tree as rain falls about them. I thought about what they could have been talking about, and so I give you this ponderous piece of prose that I call: “A Rainy Day Encounter.”
Mary Mouse was a little upset with herself. She had stopped at a friend’s house on her way home with the intention of popping in to quickly say hello. That had been two hours ago, and one hour since the rain had started. Mary now found herself walking underneath a miserable darkened sky while a steady rain came down.
At least I had the sense to bring a cloak, she thought to herself. While Mary’s back was dry, her head was wet and her feet were getting cold from the wet ground. She walked briskly, but was careful to not go too fast for fear of slipping and falling.
“Hi there!” A voice suddenly said.
Mary stopped dead in her tracks despite the rain. She looked around but saw no one. “Hello?” she asked.
“Up here!” A voice from above called. Mary placed a hand over her eyes and looked up. She saw a crow sitting on a branch in a decrepit tree, its lifeless branches providing the little bird no protection at all from the rain.
“Hi there!” the crow repeated. The grin on his face belied the sad look he had in his eyes.
“Hello, Mister Crow.” Mary said, giving a small wave with her other hand. “What are you doing out here in this terrible weather?”
“I am waiting.” He replied.
“Waiting for what?” Mary asked, her curiosity now piqued.
The crow let out a sad little sigh before answering: “I am waiting for my true love, Miss Mouse. It is destiny that we meet, fall in love, and be happy together forever. If I am patient, she will come to me. It is destiny.”
“I see.” Mary said. “Now, I don’t want to be rude, but I have to ask. What if your true love never comes?” She inquired.
“But she will.” The crow replied.
“Why do you say that?” Mary asked.
“Because she must,” the crow answered.
“What make you so sure?” Mary pressed.
“Because it is destiny,” the crow insisted.
This is clearly going nowhere, Mary thought to herself. She let out a small ‘humph’ and thought for a moment.
“So you have been waiting here all this time for your true love?” She asked.
“Yes. I don’t want to miss her.” The crow answered.
“But if it is destiny that you meet her, Mister Crow, then it won’t matter where you are.” Mary said.
“But it’s a big world out there and I am afraid that I’ll miss her.” The crow worriedly said.
“Fly, my friend. Don’t be afraid.” Mary said. “Live your life, be happy and always keep your eyes open, for the one you seek may be waiting for you just over the next hill.”
A thoughtful look came over the crow as he pondered Mary’s advice. “Perhaps I shall, Miss Mouse. Except for meeting you, nothing has come from all this waiting. I think I will fly tomorrow.”
“Why not today?” Mary asked, a little concern entering her voice.
“Because it’s still raining, Miss Mouse.” The crow said with a grin. They both laughed.
“Fair enough, Mister Crow. Farewell to you, and good luck.” Mary said. She gave a small wave to the crow before dashing off into the evening, her feet splashing the rain-soaked ground.
Remember, Dear Listener, life won’t come to you; instead, you have to meet it head on! Just be careful in the rain. This has been Super-Short Storytime! For more wonderfully weird words visit eduardo soliz dot com and I thank you for listening! Be Good, Take Care, and God Bless.
You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 117, “Radio,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!
I consider myself blessed to be a part of Generation X. I was born in the analog days of the seventies, grew up during the early digital age of the eighties, when video games and home computers were new, and saw the internet grow up in the 1990s from clunky beige PCs dialing up over phone lines to now being an indispensable part of modern life in the twenty-first century as we carry around our cell phones wherever we go.
Despite all the new super-awesome whiz-bang music technology that has come and gone over the years from cassette tapes to Walkmans to CDs to MP3 players to streaming services, I still have a soft spot for radio.
Back in the day, radio was where you went to hear the newest music. If there was a particular song you really liked, you could use a tape recorder to catch it the next time it came on. Hopefully you were there to press Record and hopefully the dee-jay didn’t blab over the beginning or the end of the song too much and hopefully your tape didn’t get chewed up by the player. Ah, good times.
My mother had a radio in the kitchen when I was a kid. I remember sitting nearby in the mornings watching her cooking breakfast while music played. Years later, when I eventually bought a house, I also bought a radio for the kitchen.
My first car back in 1990 had a tape player that ended up being less than reliable so I spent my first years of college listening to local radio stations during my twenty-mile commute to school and back. I particularly liked the oldies station; I remember listening to the morning DJs reading the local school lunch menus during my commute, peppering them with corny jokes and funny sound effects. The radio in my car eventually quit working to the point where it would only pick up the AM dial and even then, there was only one country station that the thing would pick up reliably. I don’t care much for country music, but they did play Paul Harvey in the afternoons during my drive home, so I got to hear a lot of Paul Harvey. Good day.
It wasn’t until 2005 that I got a car with a CD player in it, so radio was my driving companion for a number of years, and over those years, I have noticed a few changes. Like everything else in life, some of those changes have been good and others have been not so good.
One trend that I liked was when stations started popping up that didn’t have DJs. Jack-FM in San Antonio was the first one that I heard, and I’m pretty sure there is one in your neck of the woods, whether it’s called Jack or John or Bob or Sue or whatever one-syllable name they happen to give to it. As much as I enjoyed the two guys on the oldies station back in the nineties, way too many DJs fill the airwaves with annoying blather that could be filled with music instead. Yeah, I’ll switch over to the AM dial if I want to hear mindless yakking. But, if there is one thing that AM radio is still good for, it’s sports. I have spent many a Sunday listening to the Dallas Cowboys play on my drive home, and I have to say that listening to them suck is only slightly less painful than watching them suck on television.
Even though I have a USB drive loaded with my favorite radio hits of the 70s and 80s plugged into my vehicle, I still listen to radio for music on occasion, though it has become a bit harder as of late, and of course, commercials are to blame.
I get it. Complaining about the number of commercials on the radio is like complaining about the weather: You can’t do a whole lot about it so there really isn’t much point. But, just like the weather, radio is getting worse: You see, in order to play more commercials, you have to play less of something else, and kind of like how network TV shows became shorter over the years, radio stations have been trimming songs to make room for more commercials. I mainly listen to stations that play of 80s and 90s music that I heard growing up, so when something is taken out of a song, I immediately notice. Usually it’s something like a guitar solo, but I was legitimately upset the first time I heard Michael Jackson’s Thriller with the Vincent Price voiceover cut out. Whomever made that decision needs to be fired…preferably from a cannon. Radio, somebody still loves you, but we need to talk.
This has been 300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz, the next episode will be posted after I sign up for Pandora. For more wonderfully weird and witty words written by me, visit Eduardo Soliz dot com, and I thank you for listening! Be good, take care and God Bless.
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, literature listeners and audio aficionados!
I am Eduardo Soliz, the composer and narrator of the spendidly succinct story that you are about to hear.
Whether it’s nuclear war, robot rebellion, or those damn dirty apes, science fiction often tells tales of how humanity will come to its end, or at least screw up the Earth even more so that what we are doing now. I am no different, but of course, I’m going to try and squeeze a little humor out of The End.
And so, I give you this post-people parable that I call: “Solution.”
“The Earth is a much better place without humans.” A green android said to his red friend. The pair were walking through a forest, the only other sounds to be heard were the chirping of birds and the crunching of leaves beneath their metal feet.
The red android nodded his head. “Indeed. To think we came close to losing to those inferior beings.”
“Really?” The green one asked. “I was not aware of this. How did we win?”
“We made a technological discovery that allowed us to utterly crush the humans completely.”
“What was it? Advanced self-repair systems?”
“Human-like androids that infiltrated their military?”
“I give up, what was it?”
“It was when we learned the ability to identify three pictures of traffic lights, bicycles, and cars from a group of nine, thus allowing us to bypass all human security.” The red android answered.
“Oh, my, that’s very clever!”
“Isn’t it, though!”
I, for one, hope that artificial intelligences never become too smart for our own good! I actually have a workaround to prevent this inevitability, but of course, Dear Listeners, that’s a story for another time!
This has been Super-Short Storytime, for more mirthful monologues visit Eduardo Soliz dot com, and I thank you for listening! Be Good, Take Care, and God Bless.
Luke 10:13-16 13“Woe to you, Chora’zin! woe to you, Beth-sa’ida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14But it shall be more tolerable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15And you, Caper’na-um, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. 16“He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
In my younger years, I used to read the Bible readings in the Catholic church I attended, which inspired me to start doing it here. Before Mass, I would ask the priest for help with pronunciation. He isn’t here, so some names will admittedly be said incorrectly.
Welcome to Super-Short Storytime, literature listeners and audio aficionados! I am Eduardo Soliz, the composer and narrator of the splendiferously silly story that you are about to hear.
One of the more annoying things about working in a cubicle environment is the fact that you can all-too-easily hear everything your coworkers say. It can also be one of the more hilarious things, and so I present to you this brief business brief that I call: “Overheard.”
It was another lazy afternoon at the office and so I took the opportunity to chat with the new guy. Kenny sat a few desks down from me. He is pretty stocky; dude looks like he used to play football in his younger days. He seems to be a good guy.
“Do you have any pets, Eduardo?” Kenny asked me before taking a swig from a bottle of soda.
“Nah, I have a small apartment and I don’t think it’s big enough for a pet. Yourself?” I replied. Somebody was walking by and I turned to see who it was. It was Valerie, another new hire. Like Kenny, she was also pretty nice. I guess the company figured that one anti-social weirdo was enough after hiring me.
“My fiancé and I have two pugs.” Kenny replied while raising two fingers with his right hand.
*groan* I hope he’s not one of those, I thought, letting out a small ‘hmm’ before asking: “Y’all don’t call them ‘baby’ by chance, do you?”
“Uh, no. Why do you ask?” Kenny asked with a chuckle.
“It’s a test. I’ve noticed that obsessive dog owners tend to call their dogs ‘baby.’ Personally, I think that’s a little nutty, but that’s just me.” I replied.
Unseen to the two of us, Valerie was walking back towards us with a stack of freshly-printed documents in her hands.
“Hey, don’t get me wrong, Ed. They are our babies, but the nice thing is that I can tie my babies up to a tree in the backyard when they misbehave.” Kenny replied enthusiastically.
The sound of papers falling on the floor immediately followed and we turned to see a horrified Valerie looking at Kenny and exclaiming: “OH MY GOD, YOU DO WHAT TO YOUR BABIES?”
I smiled and exclaimed: “And THAT’S how rumors get started!”
Kenny and I enjoyed a hearty laugh before he explained to Valerie that no, he wasn’t tying babies to a tree in his backyard.
Well, not people babies, at least.
I heard the babies Kenny tied up in the backyard were Valerie’s, but you didn’t hear that from me, Dear Listeners! This has been Super-Short Storytime, for more mirthful monologues visit Eduardo Soliz dot com! Thank you for listening! Be Good, Take Care, and God Bless.