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Merry Christmas - put your cheer, pics, memes, poems here


captaintrolley
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Every year I get asked to post this, so without further ado...

'Twas the Night Before Xmas and all through Westwood,
Not a single diesel stirred, it was no good.

They were road-weary from traffic and crowds at the store,
The diesels were dying, there were change-offs galore.

The Trolleys however said "D40LF's, step aside"
We'll show you how to serve and we'll do it with pride.

They carried the people from this mall and that mall,
whisked them away, whisked them away all !

They weaved in and out of the traffic all day,
shouting "D40LF's, get out of my way !"

The trolleys are tough, Swift, Silent and Strong,
they can serve the public all day and night long.

So back in the garage while the diesels were dying,
the trolleys were laughing so hard they were crying !

At 4 AM the first driver reported,
"What's all this noise?" he duly retorted.

The booker said " Look at these diesels, it's no use you see.
Duty calls and you must drive forth with a BBC."

From behind him there arose such a loud clatter,
he turned around swiftly to see what was the matter.

It's only the service man up on his tall ladder
making sure the shoes were more gooder than badder.

The driver sat in the seat and set the master control to night run,
Adjusted the mirror and said "OK, now let's have some fun!"

He drove away in the dark, with a whir, zing and spark,
May wires be used well and trolleys forever make their mark.

MERRY FROM TERRY.

35.JPG

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It’s just me and the cat.  All my friends are visiting their families and nobody’s around.  I went downstairs and flipped through some boxes of records to find some music for Christmas Eve and pulled these out.  These albums were my grandparents’.

E09306B4-4F54-427C-A6D2-4E0A2F6C20A5.thumb.jpeg.7b575a5b61b04fe3577314cd48cfb4bf.jpeg

My grandparents were big Vera Lynn fans because of what she and “There’ll Always Be An England” meant to them during the war.  If my family was at their house in Montreal for Christmas this record would be on the turntable.

19E79DEA-F515-488E-AE1F-7C9B954DB8E8.thumb.jpeg.920966620a9b987abbffb41d96ccfefa.jpeg

The Nutcracker was one of my grandfather’s favourite pieces of music any time of year but especially at Christmas.

1765FF96-99BD-456F-AA18-3190819CF033.thumb.jpeg.7e7189729b7160ee3295538f61316406.jpeg

This record just finished up. It was all instrumentals and I vaguely remember hearing it when I was a kid as well.

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31 minutes ago, Wayside Observer said:

 All my friends are visiting their families and nobody’s around.

I know the feeling. I have spent many Christmases alone (no doubt playing records also). Not a big deal. (Even tonight, just doing laundry and dishes like any other night). I was happy knowing that my friends were with their families and having a swell time. When my son was born, not much changed, only it was just me and him - alone but not alone. We would often go down the street a few blocks to a Chinese Restaurant and have a Christmas supper of sorts. Hey, they were always open !!!  Christmas is what you make of it. We had fun in our own odd little way.

When my mom and my aunt moved back into the city, we would (have) to go there, but it was always a strained and tense affair. My son and I both dreaded it really. Made us pine for the days when it was 'just us'. Now he is married with three adorable youngsters and I go there for Christmas day.

I can't wait to hug these smiling cherubs on Christmas day. 

Xmas 2019.jpg

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8 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

It’s just me and the cat.  All my friends are visiting their families and nobody’s around.  I went downstairs and flipped through some boxes of records to find some music for Christmas Eve and pulled these out.  These albums were my grandparents’.

E09306B4-4F54-427C-A6D2-4E0A2F6C20A5.thumb.jpeg.7b575a5b61b04fe3577314cd48cfb4bf.jpeg

My grandparents were big Vera Lynn fans because of what she and “There’ll Always Be An England” meant to them during the war.  If my family was at their house in Montreal for Christmas this record would be on the turntable.

19E79DEA-F515-488E-AE1F-7C9B954DB8E8.thumb.jpeg.920966620a9b987abbffb41d96ccfefa.jpeg

The Nutcracker was one of my grandfather’s favourite pieces of music any time of year but especially at Christmas.

1765FF96-99BD-456F-AA18-3190819CF033.thumb.jpeg.7e7189729b7160ee3295538f61316406.jpeg

This record just finished up. It was all instrumentals and I vaguely remember hearing it when I was a kid as well.

Nice 606. I used to have the 506 which looked almost identical. Great sounding turntable.

I don't have many Christmas records but I did spin these out of obligation. Original version of Here Comes Santa Claus from 1948.

 

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I grew up with Swan Lake myself. Not sure of the orchestra or conductor but the version I grew up with was one on cassette that I still have. For vinyl, my version is older from the 50s. And it combined my two favourite tchaikovsky suites.

IMG_20191225_061415.jpg

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So what did you all get this year?

I got:

-a pair of rollsigns off a decommissioned TTC streetcar

-DVD copies of the Audrey Hepburn movies Roman Holiday, Charade, and Mayerling

-two (by accident) posters of Roman Holiday

-an order for a scale 3D printed model of the HMHS Britannic (it's not here... I have no idea when it will be here either LOL)

-a new sports t-shirt and a hoodie

-various extras that I wrote off as a holiday expense, such as a book from the HCRR giftshop on all the classes of steam locomotives that had ever come into British Rail's possession by 1963

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On 12/25/2019 at 6:11 AM, Downsview 108 said:

Nice 606. I used to have the 506 which looked almost identical. Great sounding turntable.

I don't have many Christmas records but I did spin these out of obligation. Original version of Here Comes Santa Claus from 1948.

 

IMG_20191225_060223.jpg

IMG_20191225_060500.jpg

I grew up with Swan Lake myself. Not sure of the orchestra or conductor but the version I grew up with was one on cassette that I still have. For vinyl, my version is older from the 50s. And it combined my two favourite tchaikovsky suites.

IMG_20191225_061415.jpg

Very nice!

It’s interesting to think about the context of that 1948 “Here Comes Santa Claus” record, isn’t it?  The war had been over for a couple of years and things were getting better.  I can just imagine kids listening to that song watching that disc spin away on one of those big radio phonograph consoles in a 1940s living room complete with that hot dust smell that all running tube electronics seems to make, cloth covered strings of opaque Christmas lights on the tree, and a real wood fire burning in the fireplace.

My grandfather loved Swan Lake too but the Nutcracker was definitely at the top of his list.  The album I was playing had excerpts from both with pieces from Swan Lake on the other side.  Yours looks like it’s from the late fifties since it’s in stereo.  The 1812 Overture see,s to confuse a lot of people here who think it was about the War of 1812 in North America which would be a bizarre subject to inspire a Russian composer especially in the 1800s when the world was not as small as it is now.  Try explaining that it was actually about Napoleon and co. getting kicked out of Russia and see how surprised some people are!

What turntable were you using to spin the LP, by the way?  I’m also curious about the Garrard.  Does it have a dedicated cart with the 78 RPM stylus or is it one of those flip over kinds that has two tips which were quite popular when machines like that Garrard were new?

Some times the old ways are the best ways and to me, Christmas music has to be played from records.  That’s a tradition and it just doesn’t sound right otherwise, at least to me.

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11 minutes ago, Wayside Observer said:

Very nice!

It’s interesting to think about the context of that 1948 “Here Comes Santa Claus” record, isn’t it?  The war had been over for a couple of years and things were getting better.  I can just imagine kids listening to that song watching that disc spin away on one of those big radio phonograph consoles in a 1940s living room complete with that hot dust smell that all running tube electronics seems to make, cloth covered strings of opaque Christmas lights on the tree, and a real wood fire burning in the fireplace.

My grandfather loved Swan Lake too but the Nutcracker was definitely at the top of his list.  The album I was playing had excerpts from both with pieces from Swan Lake on the other side.  Yours looks like it’s from the late fifties since it’s in stereo.  The 1812 Overture see,s to confuse a lot of people here who think it was about the War of 1812 in North America which would be a bizarre subject to inspire a Russian composer especially in the 1800s when the world was not as small as it is now.  Try explaining that it was actually about Napoleon and co. getting kicked out of Russia and see how surprised some people are!

What turntable were you using to spin the LP, by the way?  I’m also curious about the Garrard.  Does it have a dedicated cart with the 78 RPM stylus or is it one of those flip over kinds that has two tips which were quite popular when machines like that Garrard were new?

Some times the old ways are the best ways and to me, Christmas music has to be played from records.  That’s a tradition and it just doesn’t sound right otherwise, at least to me.

That's true about the post-war context of that song. Still, seems weird that a country singer would help usher in the new age of capitalism. LOL. The living room you described sounds like the one from A Christmas Story. Back in the days when Christmas was a fire/injury hazard. 😂

"March" and "Trepak" are my faves from Nutcracker. Especially the latter with the use of the ratchet. I used to think the 1812 overture was about the War of 1812 as well. It didn't help that they played it on every 4th of July celebration I ever saw on PBS. LOL.

The LP is being played on a Pioneer PL12-D from 1973. The Garrard I bought for $15 at Value Village but it didn't have a cartridge. It cannot take a 1/2" cartridge without an adapter so I just bought a Sonotone 3509 ceramic cartridge that uses the flip needle and rigged it in there. Sounds good to my ears buy those sapphire needles don't last.

I agree about Christmas music on vinyl. I am not a fan of these newer Christmas songs to be honest. I grew up listening to Christmas records on vinyl. I even used to have James Brown's Christmas album. LOL. Unfortunately I lost that one.

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1 hour ago, Downsview 108 said:

That's true about the post-war context of that song. Still, seems weird that a country singer would help usher in the new age of capitalism. LOL. The living room you described sounds like the one from A Christmas Story. Back in the days when Christmas was a fire/injury hazard. 😂

I think A Christmas Story got a lot of things from the era right in terms of the setting.  When I think about it, Christmas in the house I grew up in wasn't that far off the mark since it was built in 1936 and hadn't been updated much.  The sound system in the living room was a stereo receiver and a turntable so a step or two of evolution from a postwar radio phonograph console and had a wood burning fireplace too.  My family still had all the old cloth covered wire fire hazard Christmas lights as well that dated from the forties and fifties with an assortment of old bulbs.  You just don't see the huge variety of Christmas light bulbs anymore and there were old styles in those strings that like-for-like replacements couldn't be bought and modern bulbs went in over time as burnouts and breaks happened.

The whole business with stacking up outlets as well.  That house had only a 60 amp electric service and very few wall sockets so they'd get stacked up with splitters.  When I think about some of the stuff my friends and I did in that house and the one after that still had knob and tube wiring and the original fuse boxes etc. with tons of Christmas lights, sound systems, electric heaters etc. all going at the same time, I have no idea how we got away with what we hooked up without blowing fuses or starting a fire.

One year, our family's Christmas dinner was at my aunt and uncle's place in the annex.  We drove down, parked, it was a bit above zero and snow was melting but when the sun went down and the temperature dropped, everything froze and our car was frozen to the road and my dad and uncle and grandfather couldn't get it loose no matter what they did.  My uncle ended up driving us home.  A couple of years later, something similar happened at their place and the car had flat tires.  We ended up taking the TTC home which ended up being a late night ride on a PCC across town to the subway, Gloucester up Yonge St. and then a Nortown red and cream Flyer trolleybus the rest of the way home so that mishap had a very Christmas Story-esque start to it with the PCC on Dundas.

1 hour ago, Downsview 108 said:

The LP is being played on a Pioneer PL12-D from 1973. The Garrard I bought for $15 at Value Village but it didn't have a cartridge. It cannot take a 1/2" cartridge without an adapter so I just bought a Sonotone 3509 ceramic cartridge that uses the flip needle and rigged it in there. Sounds good to my ears buy those sapphire needles don't last.

I agree about Christmas music on vinyl. I am not a fan of these newer Christmas songs to be honest. I grew up listening to Christmas records on vinyl. I even used to have James Brown's Christmas album. LOL. Unfortunately I lost that one.

Nice Pioneer!  I think the 1970s were the high point for where turntable quality peaked and intersected with affordable prices.  I've never found anything good like that Garrard at a Value Village.  It's all been total junk or in one case, I picked up a Sony HFP-200 Beta hifi processor that would've mated with an SL-HFR## model Betamax deck except the VCR was already gone.  Some bonehead saw the Beta deck the hifi module would've been paired with and scooped it right away to flip for big bucks on eBay no doubt without realizing they were leaving box that turns it from a crappy mono linear audio track VCR into a full blown hifi VCR behind.  I bought that for $5 in case I find a hifi ready Beta to go with it.  Anyways, the shellac compound they used to make 78s contains some abrasive material.  The idea was that gramophone needles were either made out of thorns or soft steel and were sacrificial; you were supposed to use them for one play and then throw them away and put a new one in which would be worn into the shape of the groove within the first couple of turns of the record on the lead-in.  That way, the needle would be perfectly shaped to minimize wear on the grooves containing the music but it meant the needle would be done by the end of the record.  That abrasive material is why 78s wear needles quickly, especially soft sapphire or even worse, osmium tips.  I think sapphire tips were rated for about 200 plays but osmium tips were only good for 50.

The thing about Christmas music now is that it's the same little talentless Pro Tools wonders that have been dropping Christmas albums in addition to the usual garbage they put out these days.  I honestly didn't expect any of their Christmas music efforts to be any better than their regular music.  So I do the same thing and spin many of the old records instead.  It's a shame about losing the James Brown Christmas album.  I don't think I've ever heard that one.

Back on Thanksgiving when I was visiting some of my friends, my friend's dad showed us a copy of the Elvis Christmas LP he bough brand new when he was a kid back in the fifties and he told us that one way to tell if it was a Canadian or US pressing was to look at the RCA Nipper dog on the label.  The Canadian ones were printed in black and white but his was an imported US copy which had the Nipper dog in colour.

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On 12/26/2019 at 10:44 PM, Wayside Observer said:

I think A Christmas Story got a lot of things from the era right in terms of the setting.  When I think about it, Christmas in the house I grew up in wasn't that far off the mark since it was built in 1936 and hadn't been updated much.  The sound system in the living room was a stereo receiver and a turntable so a step or two of evolution from a postwar radio phonograph console and had a wood burning fireplace too.  My family still had all the old cloth covered wire fire hazard Christmas lights as well that dated from the forties and fifties with an assortment of old bulbs.  You just don't see the huge variety of Christmas light bulbs anymore and there were old styles in those strings that like-for-like replacements couldn't be bought and modern bulbs went in over time as burnouts and breaks happened.

The whole business with stacking up outlets as well.  That house had only a 60 amp electric service and very few wall sockets so they'd get stacked up with splitters.  When I think about some of the stuff my friends and I did in that house and the one after that still had knob and tube wiring and the original fuse boxes etc. with tons of Christmas lights, sound systems, electric heaters etc. all going at the same time, I have no idea how we got away with what we hooked up without blowing fuses or starting a fire.

One year, our family's Christmas dinner was at my aunt and uncle's place in the annex.  We drove down, parked, it was a bit above zero and snow was melting but when the sun went down and the temperature dropped, everything froze and our car was frozen to the road and my dad and uncle and grandfather couldn't get it loose no matter what they did.  My uncle ended up driving us home.  A couple of years later, something similar happened at their place and the car had flat tires.  We ended up taking the TTC home which ended up being a late night ride on a PCC across town to the subway, Gloucester up Yonge St. and then a Nortown red and cream Flyer trolleybus the rest of the way home so that mishap had a very Christmas Story-esque start to it with the PCC on Dundas.

Nice Pioneer!  I think the 1970s were the high point for where turntable quality peaked and intersected with affordable prices.  I've never found anything good like that Garrard at a Value Village.  It's all been total junk or in one case, I picked up a Sony HFP-200 Beta hifi processor that would've mated with an SL-HFR## model Betamax deck except the VCR was already gone.  Some bonehead saw the Beta deck the hifi module would've been paired with and scooped it right away to flip for big bucks on eBay no doubt without realizing they were leaving box that turns it from a crappy mono linear audio track VCR into a full blown hifi VCR behind.  I bought that for $5 in case I find a hifi ready Beta to go with it.  Anyways, the shellac compound they used to make 78s contains some abrasive material.  The idea was that gramophone needles were either made out of thorns or soft steel and were sacrificial; you were supposed to use them for one play and then throw them away and put a new one in which would be worn into the shape of the groove within the first couple of turns of the record on the lead-in.  That way, the needle would be perfectly shaped to minimize wear on the grooves containing the music but it meant the needle would be done by the end of the record.  That abrasive material is why 78s wear needles quickly, especially soft sapphire or even worse, osmium tips.  I think sapphire tips were rated for about 200 plays but osmium tips were only good for 50.

The thing about Christmas music now is that it's the same little talentless Pro Tools wonders that have been dropping Christmas albums in addition to the usual garbage they put out these days.  I honestly didn't expect any of their Christmas music efforts to be any better than their regular music.  So I do the same thing and spin many of the old records instead.  It's a shame about losing the James Brown Christmas album.  I don't think I've ever heard that one.

Back on Thanksgiving when I was visiting some of my friends, my friend's dad showed us a copy of the Elvis Christmas LP he bough brand new when he was a kid back in the fifties and he told us that one way to tell if it was a Canadian or US pressing was to look at the RCA Nipper dog on the label.  The Canadian ones were printed in black and white but his was an imported US copy which had the Nipper dog in colour.

Cloth covered "NOMA" lights. You gotta wonder sometimes what they were thinking with certain things back in the day. Was there a layer of asbestos under the cloth as well? LOOL I wonder if they outlawed those lights because, like you said, you can't get bulbs for them any more. I miss those lights and I don't really like the LED ones we have now even though they last longer. I remember one of the last years we used NOMA lights that ONE bulb actually melted the control box for the musical lights we also had. Our home growing up was more like a 70s nightmare (believe me if you saw the furniture and drapes). We did have one "antique" and that was our old Coronette console stereo with built-in BAR! LOOOOL. It has a Fisher receiver/amp and a better quality BSR turntable with a 16RPM speed. Unfortunately that stopped working when I was a baby so it was a TV stand for many years.

I'm surprised we didn't burn down our original apartment as well. It also had the old school fuse box where you had to change them out. Even the sockets didn't have the one side longer than the other. Building wasn't that old at all (1968) so we never had any problems.

A Christmas ride like that back then must have been dead. That's a classic trifecta of iconic TTC vehicles. Plus those days were more "Christmasy" than today so I can imagine that being a memorable ride today. Two out of three of those vehicles would have that nice, incandescent glow to them which I miss.

Agreed. These tables are still going strong and that Pioneer is no exception. The person who sold it to me said it had been in storage since 1981. So it was not used for 36 years until I tuned it up and now it plays flawlessly. It's funny you call that Garrard good. It was indeed the nicest turntable I found at VV but many owners have said this series was some of the worst Garrard turntables ever made. I find that odd because out of all my tables (the belt drive pioneer and my CEC made direct drive with speed control) the Garrard has the most accurate and consistent speed. Keep your eye out for Betamax stuff because they still sell for a premium today. I wouldn't have sold my mint condition SONY Betamovie that I found for $10 if I had a deck to go with it. Making those tube "light trail" effects digitally is an extremely hard process. Some 78s had different coatings. The later ones seem to be less abrasive and cold to the touch as earlier ones and I do have some actual vinyl 78s. I guess those were made when the sapphire needles came out. For what they are and how they work, 78RPMs sound really good.

LOL "pro tools" wonders. So true. It's very hard to draw meaning from the "carols" today when that sort of sentiment, feeling and spirituality is pretty much not a thing anymore. It's all about disposability, quick bucks, etc. No conflicts over the C-word back then. Maybe it's still good for kids but I personally don't see how they can get much enjoyment out of all these digital and electronic toys. I liked the simple, manual, D-I-Y shit they had like a Slinky. I wanted one of those so bad. It was a damn bedspring LOL. How about light bright. A box with a lightbulb in it. Any Christmas feel I want I have to create myself and older music helps with that (except jingle bell rock. A song I believe should have its tapes, masters, and stampers all destroyed LOL). Yeah the James Brown record was a loss but I'll probably eBay that one.

Actually Canada did have some RCA labels with the full colour dog. Some 45s had the outline of the dog. But I haven't seen any with a black and white photo of the dog.

IMG_20191228_034054.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/28/2019 at 3:42 AM, Downsview 108 said:

Was there a layer of asbestos under the cloth as well? LOOL I wonder if they outlawed those lights because, like you said, you can't get bulbs for them any more. I miss those lights and I don't really like the LED ones we have now even though they last longer.

It’s a possibility.  Asbestos would frequently be used as a layer of insulating material or sometimes woven into the fabric itself if it was a single layer.  The best one I saw was a specification for high temperature cabling in a controller.  I can’t remember if it was for a PCC or something else but it called for cable with high temperature Aroclor infused asbestos.  PCB soaked asbestos.  It doesn’t get more toxic than that!

I’m not a fan of the LED Christmas lights either so I don’t use them.  See below...

On 12/28/2019 at 3:42 AM, Downsview 108 said:

A Christmas ride like that back then must have been dead. That's a classic trifecta of iconic TTC vehicles. Plus those days were more "Christmasy" than today so I can imagine that being a memorable ride today. Two out of three of those vehicles would have that nice, incandescent glow to them which I miss.

I know the rest of the family wasn’t too thrilled about the car being stuck and having to take this unplanned TTC romp through the Annex and up to North Toronto but it was a totally iconic Christmas Story ride starting out with that PCC car and continuing with the Gloucester train.  The trolley bus was nice but as you mentioned, lacked that beautiful after dark incandescent glow.  All three were practically empty too.  Even by the off hour loading standards of the early/mid 80s when this happened every vehicle was practically empty.

On 12/28/2019 at 3:42 AM, Downsview 108 said:

It's funny you call that Garrard good. It was indeed the nicest turntable I found at VV but many owners have said this series was some of the worst Garrard turntables ever made.

I meant by Value Village find standards that’s good even if the Garrard itself isn’t so grand.  It’s better than any of the smashed clock radios and destroyed mini systems that are invariably missing one of the speakers that are all I’ve ever come across.

Anyways, I agree about Christmas being more Christmasy back then along with the requirement to use one’s imagination.  So for one final piece of Christmas cheer before everyone goes back to work tomorrow on the first real day of the business year, here’s the last night of the Christmas lights at my house:

1D62FB39-38EA-4A56-8D02-917761A6D89F.thumb.jpeg.d4f0ce331e02c6e0107b429f39c4c781.jpeg

It’s all retro turn the clock back to the old days opaque coloured lights.  C9 bulbs on the house and C7s on the cedar tree.

I hope everyone’s had a great Christmas and all the best for the new year of 2020 that’s just come in.

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