MIDI - April 18, 2014

We at the American Treasure Tour blog have, after many hours of meetings and some intense debates, decided to take a bit of a break from our "Faces of the Tour" series.  We want to maintain your interest, certainly, while also sharing information that relates to our wonderful destination near Valley Forge.  So today, we are going to discuss MIDI, an acronym for "Musical Instrument Digital Interface."  

MIDI is a technological development that makes it possible for a wide variety of electronic musical instruments, computers, and other related devices to communicate with one another.  It was first introduced by Robert Moog in 1982.  Moog produced the first commercial synthesizer in 1964, so it only made sense that he would introduce this new technology at the dawn of the personal computer era that would make home music production much more affordable.  It also can be adapted for use with automatic musical instruments - or, more specifically, band organs and nickelodeons.  The ATT has installed a MIDI system into our two Wurlitzer 165 band organs in the Toy Box.  It coordinates the two large machines to complement one another and create a stereo affect.  Not only does it not damage the integrity of the machines, but it means we do not have to worry about paper roll malfunctions.  Yay MIDI!

QUESTION:

What destination in the United States has on display - and operational - three Wurlitzer 165 band organs, including the two in the image above that work together using a MIDI system?

a)  The Treasure Tour of America

b)  The Tour of American Treasures

c)  The American Treasure Tour

d)  The Treasure America Tours

e)  The America The Tours of The Treasure

Answer Below

HISTORY TODAY:

April 18th marks a VERY bad day in San Francisco.  Up to 1906, things were going amazingly well for the city.  Wooden buildings and houses had been built almost overnight after the discovery of gold not too far away, and San Francisco became the most populated region of California.  It still was at 5:12am, when the earthquake hit.  It didn't last long - maybe two or three minutes all tolled - but it was long enough.  Buildings fell and gas mains ruptured.  Then the fires started.  They lasted for three days, burning approximately 250,000 buildings on 490 city blocks.  The city was almost completely wiped out, and the newly-homeless established tent villages where it was safe.  Some people lived in tents for years as the city was rebuilt from the ground up.  Rather than seeing the destruction as the end of a city, it was seen as a chance to make a better city.  It worked, as many would agree that the San Francisco of today is one of the more beautiful destinations in the United States.

The ATT blog tends to honor American war anniversaries in silence, but what happened today in 1942 definitely deserves recognition.  It was called the Doolittle Raid, and it was a brave, almost foolhardy, and ultimately very deadly effort to show the Japanese war leaders that their attack on Pearl Harbor the previous December was not going to be tolerated.  Lieutenant-Colonel James Doolittle took 16 American B-25 Bombers from the U.S.S. Hornet  aircraft carrier over Tokyo on what the pilots knew would be a one-way trip to exact vengeance for the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Although the raid caused minimal damage to the Japanese mainland, it did much to improve morale in the United States.  15 of the planes made it to China, where civilians hid them, while the last plane landed in the Soviet Union.  The Japanese military pursued the Americans, and killed an estimated 250,000 Chinese civilians during their search for the pilots and crews.  A few of the Americans were captured, only three were executed, and the rest returned to the United States as heroes.  

BIRTHDAYS:

On March 19th, we celebrated the birthday of the famous lawyer and presidential also-ran William Jennings Bryant, who technically won the day at the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925. Today, we happily acknowledge the birth of his counterpart in that trial, and "sophisticated country lawyer" Clarence Darrow.  Born in rural Ohio today in 1857, Darrow became famous for taking on legal cases that no one else would.  Darrow represented many controversial clients during his career, working to defend union organizers, socialists, and known murderers.  Of the 100+ murder trials in which he participated, only one of his clients was executed.  (Times were different then.)  Darrow's long, distinguished and controversial career made him one of America's most famous lawyers.

1947 was the year James Woods entered the world in Vernal, Utah, although he became a Rhode Islander at a young age.  Academically exceptional, Woods had ambition to attend medical school, but got distracted during his time at MIT.  Pursuing a career in political science, he dabbled in drama, only to drop out of college to pursue acting under the guidance of a stage manager at the Theatre Company of Boston named Tim Affleck (father of Ben).  Five decades into a career that includes historical and political dramas, horror, comedy and Disney films (the voice of Hades in the animated movie Hercules), Woods has developed a reputation for his diversity, commitment to the art, and his sense of humor.  Happy 67th!

QUOTE:

I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure. - Clarence Darrow

Answer:  c)  The American Treasure Tour. If you didn't know that one, you're silly.