2002 Year End Thoughts
For me, the two best musical moments of 2002 were not connected to any album, song, or concert
or me, the two best musical moments of 2002 were not connected to any album, song, or concert; rather, they were connected to baseball and shortwave radio.
Moment #1 (Saturday, August 3): My purchase of the Grundig YB-400PE, one of the better portable shortwave radios around, enabled me to hear my first Numbers Station broadcast. Numbers Stations are encoded spy messages transmitted all over the world through shortwave radio, usually as a series of (seemingly) random numbers read off by an unidentified voice. These sounds are fully documented on Irdial's 4-CD collection, The Conet Project: Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations (which I encourage everyone to buy). It's the freakiest and most amazing music you'll ever hear—and if you don't think it's music, you're wrong. Since listening to that collection, I've been eager to hear the signals for myself. However, shortwave reception in California (where I live) is generally pretty weak. Shortwave signals travel better at night, but by the time night comes to me, it's already into the early morning in Europe, so it's difficult to pick up many of the really juicy NS signals. Thanks to my new shortwave and the fact that Cuba is only three hours ahead of California, I was able to both hear and record a creepy, 45-minute long Cuban numbers station broadcast. In a year punctuated by mediocre music, this was a very memorable musical moment indeed.
Moment #2 (Saturday, October 5): "Go Home, Yankees." This was the cheer that went up at Edison Field in Anaheim, California during the tail end of game 4 of the division playoffs, as the Angels were about to kick the New York Yankees (baseball's own Evil Empire) out of the playoffs. The fans were mimicking the traditional "Let's Go Yankees" cheer that the New York fans always scream at the top of their lungs during the playoffs. It was a great moment to hear that cheer thrown into the faces of the Yankees, especially by my own people. You see, I'm a life-long Angels fan, and until this year, being an Angels fan was akin to being a fan of Greenland (that is, pretty pointless). I went to my first Angels game back in the early 1970s, and I've gone to at least two or three games each year since that time, so the fact that they made the playoffs, won the Yankee series and, eventually, the World Series was a dream come true for me. But, as I look back on that specific moment in early October, I realize that there's a lot more to this event than my own personal pleasure. It was a moment when the nation, which for a year had pretended to love New York because of 9/11, realized once again that it was okay to root against the "greatest city in the world."
Reviewed by: Michael Heumann
Reviewed on: 2002-12-31