Since the Great Access War in the early 1990s (as documented in The Death of Fayetteville Open Channel, occasionally shown on C.A.T.), a lot of the original video library from FOC has been lost to the ages. Since that time, thanks to the Herculean efforts of the staff at Community Access Television, a certain portion has been located.
It’s impossible to underestimate how valuable this material is. Like much of the current C.A.T. library, it documented the community - the diversity, the richness of our various faiths, political beliefs, our talents, and the ways we lived and loved our community. Like the C.A.T. library, it is an invaluable tool for those wishing to research the life of a community.
Slowly, tapes have come in from different sources. You just never know where you might find something.
One day I was sitting around, doing nothing of any particular importance - one of my favorite activities - and I suddenly realized I had about 20 short FOC tapes in my possession.
When my show first began, way back in the 20th Century - before we had a Moonbase and personal jet packs - my show was done live, with two guests per hour. At about 20 minutes past the hour, we’d take a quick break, and the staff would play something from the FOC library while we switched guests and had fast bathroom breaks.
With a start, I realized that those FOC tapes are still on my old tapes - which should put to rest once and for all the ugly rumors that all I do on weekends is watch my old shows, over and over again - otherwise I’d have remembered this long before now.
I’m in the process of transferring these to DVD for the C.A.T. library.
The whole purpose of this story is that you just don’t know where an old FOC tape might be in your house, especially if you were an old FOC producer or if you taped something that you really liked a lot on FOC and forgot that you had it.
While most of the tapes may be lost forever - I still gnash my teeth over that - I believe that there may be quite a few out there among us, yet to be discovered.
Quote of the Day
There is no escape - we pay for the violence of our ancestors. - Frank Herbert
Winter’s Tale: Trying to do this book justice
It is always a special honor when someone pushes one of their favorite books into your hands, and wants to share the experience with you. It is always an iffy thing; what if we don’t like the book? Will it offend our new friend or lover? And if they don’t like what we foist off upon them, will we look at them in a new, slightly less favorable light?
“Read this book,” a friend of mine said as she placed Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale in my hands several years ago. “You will benefit from it.” Though that sort of phrase is along the lines of “Eat your cabbage, it’s good for you.” Yeah, and so is wheat germ.
Winter’s Tale, I am happy to report, is no cabbage.
It is almost impossible the describe exactly what this book is about - wow, better call a more competent book reviewer. On one level it is the story of a middle-aged burglar, and his love affair with a doomed young woman in the late 19th Century. They meet, they love, and she is lost. Casting call for Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw?
But Helprin’s work is much more than that. Though this book begins at the close of the 19th century, in a New York that probably never existed outside the realm of fantasy, it travels to the close of the 20th century, and the lives of those who would control and influence the mighty city.
And that ends the thumbnail sketch of Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale, a novel which defies any attempt to adequately describe. What I can tell you is this - Winter’s Tale is one of the finest books I have read in my life. It is at once comic, spiritual and heart rendering. I know that try as I might, I will never have a fraction of Helprin’s writing ability. But I’m far from jealous. Rather, I rejoice that there writers like Halprin still in the world.
Helprin’s command of the English language makes the reader feel as though they were fellow travelers on a voyage to world where the merest of sentences can bring tears to the eyes, or make you want to grab the phone and read parts aloud to your friends.
I give up. I have tried to review Winter’s Tale and failed miserably, as I suspect many reviewers have. So here I am, putting one of my favorite books in your hands. You’ll benefit from this book, perhaps in a different way than I did, but in a very real sense, nonetheless.