Musings: Franconia College Reunion 2000
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Wednesday, 30-Aug-2000 05:51:13 
To all the ships at sea:

Helas mes vieux, je voudrai vous annoncer un p'tite alerte: Preparer vous, parce que je suis about to rant. D'accord?

Un Chanson De Votre Ami Errant (trois movements)
A Song From Your Long Lost Friend (ditto)

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First Movement: "The Fricassied Complaint" (he states the case but offers no solution)

OK, I know that, in the end, we'll all turn into unimaginative chickens (I'll probably lead the pack) and plug the word(s) "FRANCONIA" or "FRANCONIACOLLEGE" (without the space - ugh!) into whatever web site domain name our gang buzzes to. Well Jeze Louise, can we POSSIBLY get MORE uninspiring? Somebody out there on the continent MUST HAVE a more exciting and meaningly raku color field community psychology chime clanging from the portico domain name idea or concept than the severely unadorned battleship gray phrase, "FRANCONIACOLLEGE" (without the space - ugh!). Are you guys going Mississippi Valley Conference on me? Am I going to have to attend Bowl games? 

Maybe I'm just strung out by all the tenderly sweet tomatoes my co-workers are now throwing at me but I'm not quite getting it, so please HELP me here. Doesn't "FRANCONIACOLLEGE" (or its evil twin, the ever more spiky "FRANCONIA") seem a tad FUNERIAL to you? Compare the fogbound "FRANCONIACOLLEGE" with the subtly etherial "ITSTHEHOWDYDOODYSHOW" for a moment - be honest, which of these domain names more enticingly suggests a possible encounter with creative magic, theatrical surprise, brain tickling satire, daring writing, alluring masks, inspirational sillyness, a leap of faith, really big adventures, laughter, friends, etc? Let's face it, domain name "FRANCONIACOLLEGE" doesn't cut it. Have we ALL been camel-humping around the Cony Valley diaspora for lo these last 22 to 37 years to come up with nothing better than this? This can't be. So hark out there, if there is anyone with knowledge of a SNAPPY or EDGY or (cough hack cough) ARTISTIC and COOL SOUNDING metaphor to describe our excellent new Forest Hills CyberSpace Dome Home-Without-Walls Thing, then get it in by Pony Express NOW because the concrete around the jock-and-cheerleader-school sounding domain name "FRANCONIACOLLEGE" (with no space, ugh!) is setting fast (we'll probably be able to buy "FRANCONIACOLLEGE" baseball caps at any SportsAreUs anytime now - they'll be between the Michigan State and Boston College hats.)

All right, all right, you get the point and I've warn out my first movement welcome. It's now time to sashay my butt out of this bombastic opening section and into a more domestically tender moment.

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Second Movement: "Out Of The Mouth Of Babes" (someone else hints at a possible solution)

About a week ago, my 14 y.o. son (a.k.a. "Mr. Savvy") mentioned to me that he had recently scanned through an old Franconia College catalog that I had left lying around after the Reunion and that he was curious about something. He asked me: "Dad, what was "WOMB"? I told him the truth. I told him that "WOMB" was the name of the Franconia College AM radio station. 

Seeing a bald-faced lie coming at him, he easily slipped it back to me: "Come on dad, give me a break." "Come on yourself, Mr. Savvy," I retorted gamely, "I'm telling you the truth - "W-O-M-B" (I spelled it for him) really was the call name that the Federal Communications Commission appproved for the Franconia College AM radio station." 

He blinked a couple of times, looked doubtfully at me, and finally said: "OK, you can let go now dad, I know when you're pulling my leg. Now, one last time, what was "WOMB", really?" 

Well, I love my son dearly and I knew that it was just plain wrong to con him any longer; so I fessed up and told him the real unadulterated TRUTH, just like he wanted me to. I told him that "WOMB" was really the name of the old Franconia College Web site before the school closed and that its URL use to be

He sort of paused for a moment, then lightly shook his head (has your dark-brown headed child dyed her/his hair Marilyn Monroe blonde yet?), a subtle Mona Lisa mini-grin/chagrin appeared around the corner of his lips, and then he leaned in toward me from across the kitchen table and quietly (but WOW seriously) said to me, "That is so totally fresh." Then he paused briefly, mulled something over for a few more seconds, and then said, "That is so totally perfect." And another short pause, then, "THIS, I've got to tell my friends!" 

Then he walked over to the computer in the other room, fired it up, and a minute later yelled out to me, "Hey dad, what's that URL again?" 

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Third Movement: "The Past Informs The Future" (like all codas, he's just having fun while drawing attention away from the apologies)

Just for the heck of it, take a moment and ask yourself: "What qualities do I REALLY want to see expressed in a F.C. web site?" OK, allright. So, now that you've got 500 things listed, take a moment and sit back in your easy chair, get comfy, stir your elegant cranial cobwebs about a bit, and unleash your long lost "WOMB" memories. Come on now, I know you have some stuff locked in there somewhere. Tell us the truth, what comes up for you? What, you're shy? You want me to go first? OK, but hold on to your hat - and remember, this is really only a blues riff (but note: this is also a take-off on Dan Soloman's "Thing's I Learned At Franconia College" [ref. Y2K Reunion Last Gasp Review]):

"WOMB" = tuning in, reaching out, connecting, being, listening, communicating, expressing, art, opinions, music, debate, exchange, more music, peace, style, Blind Willie McTell, voices, going too far, important old mythological cellars, trying to read Emanuel Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason" but quitting on page 49 after getting to the end of the third sentence (it could have been the 4th sentence), secrets, Pops the night watchman, sharing, sweat, much more music, ego, warmth, cold freaking North Country winter nights, herbal tea steeped in a little metal ball thingy, small psychically resonating spaces - often eerily containing pianos or dog-eared copies of "The Bell Jar", women who translate Pablo Neruda play kick out the jams 12-string guitar know their way around an 8-harness loam kick pedal pottery wheels for excitement think nothing of hitch-hiking across the freaking United States of America and think up cool things to say like "Do they ever shut up on your planet?", smiles, frustration, silence, excitement, Don Sheehan decanting Beatrice's leadership style as she and Dante hellishly stroll past way way too far lovers requitted once now buried up to their necks alive facing yearning - but no more touching sais Sister Mary Battle Ax - condemned a breath away in their special little terza rima rung in hell, people reading reading insanely long poems out loud, long front porch seat, going way way too far, immediacy, coffee you can't thank god get anymore, nerve, fertility, William Talen's "Roadkill", clarity, respect, pride, learning, too many people liking and thus spoiling William Carlos Williams, exchanging, trading, goofyness, mill grinding my own flour, Nich Howe watching a Bruins rerun at 1:30 a.m. (something about this guy named "Orr"), politics, heart, blood, soul, more bleeding, TatTwamAsi (-2 spelling) tamari, freedom, Pops the night watchman's dog, very bad food, interesting smelling smoke, vinyl records, le pissoir d'Eunix, more very cool music, harmony, very good food and men who love cooking, Jerry Corsi decanting Emanual Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason" for two hours and making mind-bending sense, William Congdon decanting Isaiah for 2 hours then getting to the punch line (I think it was about G_d raging because He really always and never will quit loving you), forgetting, relief, desperate edgy end-of-semester art openings, people who quit loving you, Bob Grenier's breathy 4 word novels, relief, friends, hugs, lead guitar players who go on jags when they think they're bass players, mistakes, apologies (BH, please forgive me for making it more difficult - I hope life is good for you; DS, please forgive me, I was not quite all there yet - you were a primo teacher and you should know that I've mucked around the Hiserluk mound about 8 times now; and hey you Bill who hand fired July 4th Roman candles from my lakeside dock one time, please forgive me for cutting the connection - we lost some major league big stuff along the way but it's now time to compare mythologies - in fact a lot of people want to compare mythologies with you - so blow a tube and surface - Mir Is Here), no one understands, letting go, moving on, Franconia College, raw, unadulterated, "your breath is my trade wind" if we dare close the lid on the old one, new again, way way late again, is that guy playing that scratchy record again?, a heartstring home that brings you the tunes, the tears, the fears.



Father of Mr. Savvy 

Wednesday, 30-Aug-00 11:17:09 

dear father of Mr. Savvy,
hey lighten up about the web name ok? I was someone who dj'd on WOMB. I actually have a poster for the station that I will be looking to make full sized copies of. If your son truely does not believe it existed this will settle the score. 

R. Busan 

Re: Re: 
Wednesday, 30-Aug-00 18:52:48 

R. Bussan - Thanks for the feedback - I said what I had to say and it's gone out there now, passe, an old voice in the wind. I am now officially lightened and I feel tres tres cool, breezy even. 

May I offer this aside to anyone who may be concerned: please don't worry if I rail on a little about the domain name thing, it only means that I am engaged enough with the issue that I care to plug in some thoughtful input (no matter whether anyone else thinks it's thoughtful or not). You should also know that, in return, I won't take offense if disagreement comes my way - what the heck else would I EXPECT when I occasionally use capital letter words? 

But just so that people don't get the absolutely wrong idea - this connection (Forum, home page, future cyber whatever) is very important to me - more important than owning land - and I will help support($$$, etc.) anything that comes down. My love for the baby is unconditional, no matter what mom wants to call it.

A note about rants: A few are truly vicious and are meant to hurt. BadBADbad. Most rants, though, are utterly benign - a whale surfacing to clear its blowhole and suck in some badly needed oxygen. And there is at least one other kind of rant that I've always found interesting, the so-called "rant-notrant" (something that isn't a rant but is deliberately disguised as a rant). Some of the time these "rant-notrants" are actually well thought out comedy routines or social satire sketches in look of an audience; other "rant-notrants" appear to be deliberately crafted literary guerilla art performance pieces perhaps intended to mock, amuse, teach, liven the landscape, or otherwise get some kind of message across. Since they are in disguise, they may be misunderstood - a deflection generally intended by the guerilla poster (or guerilla disc jockey). I was at Franconia College for four years and I came to the conclusion that the “rant-notrant” was the everyday lingua of the place. In the end, though, all I'm willing to say about my own rant is that is was not a BadBADbad one.

And, R. Bussan, before I forget, I just wanted to tell you that I'd like to get in on a small pile of those WOMB posters when you finally get them out on the market. Pacem en Terris.

Father of Mr. Savvy  

Re: Re: Re: 
Wednesday, 30-Aug-00 22:46:45 

I loved the lit refs, some familiar, the tone one for all ages of Franconians, much of your rant was obscure (to me) but fun to read nonetheless. I'm going to sit down one of these days and try my own. If it satisfies me I'll get it to one website or another. Thankyou, father of savvy, for that big rush. 

Ann R. 

Re: Actually we looked at setting up WOMB-FM 
Thursday, 31-Aug-00 04:03:45 

Way back when, I was asked to look into converting WOMB into a REAL FM radio station.
The FCC was still granting low power FM licenses
at the time, they stopped granting them in 1978.
The initial idea was to go with a low power grant
with a 10 or 100 watt transmitter feeding a
4-bay ring radiator antenna on the roof of the
main building. The FM transmitter would include
a multiplex generator for stereo but initially
the broadcasts would be mono with the same baseband audio fed into both channels of the
multiplex generator. When WOMB upgraded to a
stereo board, then true R + L audio could be fed
to make a true stereo broadcast. But I thought
about going a bit farther by licensing WOMB-FM
as a "class B, non-commercial" station with
transmitting facilities atop Cannon Mt. at 5Kw
ERP fed from a 900 Mhz STL link from the Franconia campus. New Hampshire did not have
a statewide public radio system at the time and
I thought that grant money might have been had
to set WOMB up as a full-power NPR affiliate.
As such, WOMB would have been receivable over
the northern 2/3 of New Hampshire as well as
sizable areas in Vermont, Maine, and Quebec.
NH State Parks already had plans in place to
upgrade the Cannon Mt. tramway system, so I
thought the time was ripe to approach them
with plans to integrate WOMB-FM transmitting
facilities with the new liftway shed they were
planning to build on the summit. My idea was
to integrate the facility into the shed as much as possible thus minimizing environmental impact and keeping RF radiation low at ground level on the summit as the antenna would be integrated
into the roof of the shed and the RF radiation
would pass harmlessly overhead. But it was too
little, too late, NH State Parks went ahead with their plans and a new tramway and liftway shed
were completed in 1980. What might have been if things hadn't fallen apart down in the valley. 



Musings: Franconia College Reunion 2000
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