Sunday, December 25, 2011

Coming in 2012: Jacqueline Susann's Valley of the Dolls 1981

UPDATE: This was a teaser entry for my pop cultural thesis, The Dolls Less Taken.

Happy late 2011 holiday celebrating season to all! Here's a teaser for an upcoming 2012 entry.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sharing Out-of-Print Content Through File Hosting

This article assumes anyone following this procedure is sharing ONLY out-of-print content that can NOT be bought in your local mom-and-pop retail store or online vendor. Neither the article nor its writer advocates the downloading of copyrighted, in print media of any type because, simply, it is illegal and you can go to jail.

If you aren't able to find the out-of-print media you want after reading Sharing Out-of-Print Content Using BitTorrent, a file hosting server or cyberlocker might be the answer. (Wikipedia goes so far as to call them one-click hosting servers but I click way more than once to get through the process.) Those who upload files to a cyberlocker for storage usually pay for an account; you may upload files for free but it is removed from the server after a short period of time - usually thirty days. Those who download files from a cyberlocker may or may not pay for an account; you are allowed slow downloads without an account but the best downloading features are available only after paying. The following sections have more information.

What is File Hosting?

A file hosting server is hard drive space, connected to the internet, on which users can store files, and from which users can download said files. Individuals and corporations use these cyberlockers for personal or business backup that offers international file access and file distribution. Users can upload files to a cyberlocker and share them publicly or privately by assigning a password to the file. The following list is not exhaustive but contains the names of many cyberlocker companies.

Finding Downloads

Lots of people use cyberlockers for lots of things so it is somewhat of an art to find what you want on them, especially if searching for out-of-print media. Following is a list of shared file search engines. These search engines specialize in crawling large file hosting servers for links.
The unfortunate thing about using a shared file search engine is that often the files are named ambiguously or mysteriously. I recently downloaded files that were named numerically from 1awr.rar until 8hwr.rar. The art of the search enters when you want to find the original posting to which these ambiguous file names belong. The owner of the out-of-print media has often discussed it in a blog or disseminated the links in a forum posting.

Searching for content written up on a blog is often just entering your search terms appended with a popular blog platform name. For example, enter ritchie family all night all right 1983 blogspot if seeking a digital rip of The Ritchie Family's 1983 LP. With this particular search, the first result is a link to a FilesTube page with a download link for the All Night, All Right 12 inch rip. The third and the fourth results are links to entries on Blogspot that had links to a digitized version of this out-of-print disco album and probably a little information about the artist.

You can also register and join forums (bulletin boards) where downloading is discussed and links disseminated. Often within the threads of links to illegal (read copyrighted) downloads there is a lowly thread for out-of-print media or VHSrips (where much of the content is out-of-print). Sometimes you might be able to find forum pages (with download links) without registering as a member of the forum using Google's cache option or just clicking through a returned link; it is easier though to register and have full access by virtue of a profile. Registration is free. These download forums include:

The End

The end of the article anyway. The beginning of a search for the treasures that remain unbelievably and hopelessly out-of-print. Ask if there are any questions. I assume people have their own search tips and tricks.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Remembering Morgan (And It's Not M*A*S*H)

With the news of Harry Morgan's passing, I remembered the first time I saw him act; it was in a 1951 potboiler-type film and his name was Henry. In fact, years later when Mr. Morgan popped up on M*A*S*H I thought Harry? That's Henry, the guy from The Well!"

What a smile!

I was 8 or 9 years young when I saw The Well in the late 1960s on WPIX-TV New York. The film is a racially charged drama that pits white against black amidst the investigation into the disappearance of a black female child. From gossip-mongering townsfolk to prejudicial police officers, violence and beatings erupt as the evidence points to Mr. Morgan as the kidnapper. (The line ...a thing like this could ruin me... and the age of the protagonists imply sexual molestation but in 1951 that's all they could do.)

The Well is uncompromising in its depiction of mob violence, crowd mentality, and the prejudice from which they are incited. Although the idiocy of the white racist characters comes off the worst, the film does not pander by putting the black characters on a pedestal. In fact, The Well puts everyone's warts out there - excepting Mr. Morgan.

Maidie Norman is heartbreaking

The film's actors are uniformly excellent with Morgan and Maidie Norman standouts as the suspect and the missing girl's mother, respectively. (Ms. Norman may have had her greatest success as the housekeeper in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane but she'll always be Dorothy, Olivia de Havilland's assistant, in Airport '77 to me.)

The best thing about The Well is it brings to life Anne Frank's famous quote, Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart. Yes, you've seen this type of thing before; life imitated art a little over a decade ago. But The Well still never ceases to make me well up - with anger and with joy.

RIP, Mr. Morgan.