Crusaders No More: Go Valpo Dunehawks!

My undergraduate alma mater, Valparaiso University, has been in the news lately for its decision to retire the “Crusaders” as the name of its athletic teams, as well as the Crusader as a mascot. I see that there’s also been some effort to document past objections to the name “Crusaders,” with one blog post tracing the…

Window Reversal: A Quirky Technique for Distorting Audio

Here’s another Griffonage goody for connoisseurs of the sonically strange, of the acoustically audacious, of arrant eeriness for the ear.  Back in July 2017, I blogged about an audio distortion technique I called window reversal, explaining that it involved reversing every successive group of x samples throughout a source recording.  Extremely short windows have little effect, while…

“Uncle Josh Stories”: Cal Stewart’s Other Book (1924)

Many people who know about the phonographic storyteller Cal Stewart are likely also aware of his book Uncle Josh Weathersby’s “Punkin Centre” Stories, first published in 1903, which contains texts of most of the selections he was then performing for the talking machine.  That book sold well and is easy to find on the antiquarian…

The First Published Accounts of the Reis Telephone (October 1861)

In case you didn’t know, Philipp Reis invented an electric telephone in 1861.  The big question has always been, as Silvanus Thompson puts it in an exhaustively researched biography published in 1883, “not whether Reis invented a telephone—that is not denied—but whether he invented the Telephone” (p. 36).  The title of Thompson’s book is Philipp Reis: Inventor of the Telephone,…

The Phonographic Funeral of Baby Burr

In the latter half of 1895, newspapers around the United States relayed the startling news that a phonograph had just conducted a funeral service in place of a live clergyman. The very idea of putting a machine to such a use grated with some critics’ sensibilities, and even the Phonoscope, a trade journal ordinarily eager…

The Art of Face Averaging: 2020 Edition

Digital face averaging has been a perennial topic on this blog, and in this post I’d like to share some of my latest results, which I think far outmatch what I was able to do just ten months ago.  I’ll discuss techniques below, but let’s start by letting the images speak for themselves.  Click on…