The Linear Canvas
This journal is about the wrongs and rights of the world, as I see them.

The Linear Canvas

My Cousin, Robby

March 6th, 2012 . by Alexander Fisher

IMG_0006Today I got word of my cousin Robby Fyffe’s death. He was in his mid-50’s. Too young to go. The last few days had me thinking of the times we spent together. Generally that was only once a year during the summer as children. Robby and his twin brother Andy were a few years older than me. Older than my oldest sister by about a year. Being twins makes you think they were a lot alike. Besides being brothers, at times the only thing I think Robby and Andy had in common was a birth date and living in Red Bush, Kentucky.

In the summer of 1964, everything was, as it  always had been, as far as I knew. I was between kindergarten and first grade in school. My family was in Red Bush because my grandmother, Martha Fyffe Kelly (Mammaw) was seriously ill and would soon pass away. Besides the fact that she was in the hospital at nearby Paintsville, nothing seemed any different to me.

My parents had gone off to the hospital to see my grandmother with my Aunt Berenice, mother of the twins and my cousin Steve who was a teenager and a star basketball player, already in high school. They had left all of the younger children at Mammaw’s house together. The oldest kids were Andy and Robby, at about ten. My sister’s Cara and Cathy were around nine and eight years old, respectively. I was six. As odd as it seems to leave children that age alone, I think we were safe from any predators in that part of the Appalachian Mountains, except for maybe wild animals. But we were never really safe from the collective and individual antics of the twins. Our older cousin Steve was just down the road, so if there was any real trouble, he was only a phone call away. I felt safe. Regardless of the facts. When they left us to go visit my grandmother, they also left us with a large frosted chocolate cake to eat. Just what we needed, more sugar.

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West Jefferson (Ohio) High School Choir, 1968-69 – Do You Hear What I Hear?

December 25th, 2011 . by Alexander Fisher

West Jeff town hallMy brother in law Ron Fuller from West Jefferson, Ohio brought over an audio CD made from an LP record that was created by the West Jefferson High School Choir in 1968-69 that he was a part of. There are several good songs on it, but as it is Christmas I thought I’d post this song from that recording, Do You Hear What I Hear?

I think the recording seems professionally done and the performance is top notch. Much better than I’d expect for any high school choir. I believe Ron said his cousin Jeff Fuller was involved in that process. Except for some crackling from the LP surface and 40 plus years of wear, I think it sounds pretty good. I ran it through a pop and crackle filter and did a volume maximization. It does sound a little bit better.

Do You Hear What I Hear? by the West Jefferson (Ohio) High School Choir, 1968-69

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Cover Songs with Heather Cox – Jonas and Ezekiel

December 19th, 2010 . by Alexander Fisher

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My niece, Heather Cox, came to my house once when I lived in Ada, Ohio in the 1990’s. She stayed long enough to record a few tapes of me playing guitar and her singing. I took those tapes and recorded some other instruments and voices with the songs we recorded. I mixed it all up and distributed it all on cassettes. So Hi-Tech…

I have been working on all of my analog tapes and converting them to digital and remixing them. I had always thought  our version of the Indigo Girls song Jonas and Ezekiel was done pretty well. The other day I decided to update the recording. I cut and pasted some of the song to other places and made it seem like there was more of this song than I had recorded. It certainly sounds bigger.

Jonas and Ezekiel

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The analog tracks were originally recorded on a Yamaha MT-100 II 4 track cassette recorder using high speed (3.75 IPS) and dbx noise reduction.

I played electric guitar on a Fender Stratocaster. The acoustic Guitar was a Takamine. The bass was a Rickenbacker 4001. The drums and cymbals, plus some analog editing, are from the original recording using my Boss Dr. Rhythm drum machine sounds and a Yamaha MIDI drum pad.

This song was written by Amy Ray. Heather sang lead and background vocals and I sang background and played all of the instruments. I processed it with Cakewalk Sonar 8.5 Producer and Sony Sound Forge 9.

Finding My Boy

November 11th, 2009 . by Alexander Fisher

This story is true and whether any of this adds up to anything, you can decide for yourself.

Let me start out by saying, I don’t believe in magic or any afterlife. I am definitely an evolutionist that believes in the scientific theory of the creation of life. That said, I won’t rule out the possibility of some kind of creator that used evolution as its tool to spawn life on our planet.

I must say though, that this story makes all of my scientific theories wobble a little bit in my mind.

My Two Kittens

I got two new kittens in 1984. My first cat died of feline leukemia about six months previously. I always hated cats until then and had little patience for animals or humans. I’ve always said my first cat helped teach me how to treat other people better. We were heartbroken when he died. It was one of the first times I lost something I personally cared so much for. My father had  Boypassed away the year before and of course, it had affected me in a similar manner.

We were waiting on a new kitten from someone that my wife Jill knew. It still hadn’t been weaned yet, but we just couldn’t wait any longer. We went into a pet store in a Columbus, Ohio shopping mall, and found they had only one kitten left. It was already getting a little big and had probably been there for a while. It was a black long haired cat. It was so beautiful that I bought it immediately. The clerk said it was a female and had all of its shots. We took her home and for some reason named her “Amy”.

A few weeks later the other kitten was ready to come home. It was also a black female cat, except with short hair. She was easy to name as she went around the house crying , “Mao, Mao, Mao”. So I named her China. They were so fun to watch. China was so much smaller than “Amy”. It was funny to watch them play together. I wish I had a camera back then, because I have no photos of either kitten at that age.

Amy or Amos?

A few weeks later, Jill took “Amy” to the veterinarian. When she returned, she had some startling news. The vet told her that “Amy” was really an “Amos”. We had just trusted the pet store and because the kitten’s hair was so long, I had never noticed it had little boy parts instead of little girl parts. I did not think Amos was a very good name and decided that I would name him “Boy”.

Boy was a fairly large cat after he grew up that was always the master of his own domain. He just tolerated most people, but always treated me with deep affection. I’ve always felt that most male cats were more attracted to people that gave them space and didn’t treat them like babies. Boy always followed me around the house. He sat at the computer with me. He would sit beside me on the couch. He loved me as much as I did him. But he had a streak of wildness that was usually initiated by trying to get him to do something he didn’t want to do. Brushing his long hair, giving him a bath, or taking him to the vet was always bound to draw blood from someone, even me.

Once we took Boy to the vet for a minor procedure. When we picked him up, the vet’s staff told us that even though they had sedated him they were too scared to do the procedure as he growled at them fiercely even while he was unconscious.

We lost China at ten years old to an illness, but Boy lived on to the age of sixteen. He had a stroke when he was about fifteen, but recovered. Later his kidneys began to fail. He became sicker and by July 2000 the end was very near.

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My Dad At War

March 2nd, 2009 . by Alexander Fisher

My father worked many different jobs in his life. He fought in a war and traveled all over the world and our country. All of this before I ever knew him. I talked to him many times about his life but in retrospect, I should have asked more about his experiences. Gerald D. Fisher

He would talk about his adventures in World War Two when the subject was brought up.  Many kids had fathers that had been in Korea or had missed both conflicts. His was a generation that sacrificed enormously for us all. Truly the greatest generation of our time. I was always very proud of his service to our country in World War Two.

My dad would tell me stories about the war but more often than not I was asking the questions. Many were inspired by the TV shows in the late sixties and early seventies that glorified American soldiers in Europe and Asia in the 1940’s. My dad’s all time favorite war themed TV program was called Bah Bah Blacksheep. It was based on a real WW2 fighter pilot, Pappy Boyington, in the South Pacific conflict. He would watch Combat!, which was about the American infantry in Europe , but being an Army Air Corps veteran, he preferred TV shows about fighter’s and bombers. There was a program on in the 1960’s about bombers called Twelve O’clock High that he liked. But he always complained that the featured B-17 bombers on the show, got all the publicity, but that B-24’s did all of the work.

America had been attacked and the U.S. government did a terrific job getting recruits for the war. My father was a little older at 28, than most recruits when he joined in the Army in 1942. He was trained in several parts of the country at being a soldier, repairing airplanes, and shooting large caliber machine guns. Because of that Army experience, when employed at a prison during the riots that followed the death of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, he was given a position on a large machine gun pointed at the prison door and told to kill anyone that came through it.

My dad was a right wing gunner on a B-24D Liberator and rose to the rank of Technical Sergeant in the Army Air Corps, which later became the Air Force. He was a tall man, so service in any of the confining turret spaces was right out. That was probably lucky for him. He was trained as an airplane mechanic. I know he had some mechanical experience from his jobs previous to joining the Army. I am not sure what help it was being a mechanic once you were on a bombing mission. He mentioned that the pilot allowed him to fly the B-24, but wouldn’t let him land it.

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