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Being that it's Flag Day, here's some interesting sites devoted to Vexillology: In last month's flag entry I regretted having no DDR flag.

  DDR flag
  This is what it looked like.

small blue square Today on-base they unfurled the biggest American flag again. As I left the gymnasium after working out this morning I drove around to the wrong side of the airship hanger and could see a bunch of people walking around two aircraft parked on the tarmac, big 4-prop P3 Orions. I figured one got a better idea of the flag looking at this picture from last year, and it may not have even been entirely unfurled when I was there. I had other plans so I didn't join the patriotic, symbol-bedazzled throng. (Was behind one of them on the way in - their car's stern was plastered with "Impeach Clinton Now" bumper stickers.)

small violet square Listening this summery afternoon to all my tasty finds at Big Al's Record Barn's closing out sale. I first discovered Big Al and his densely-packed "barn" (actually just a strip-mall space on El Camino in Santa Clara), during my brief reconnoiter to the Valley in 1995. His landlord is of a sudden raising his rents outrageously, so after 17 years the raspy old Al is shutting down his used record store. All the formerly high-priced goodies are going for a pittance.1 Although he had regular sales, Al's prices were high, for example: used 45's generally between $4 and $15 - but now they're all $2. Here's a sample of what I got yesterday:

    "With A Girl Like You"
    The Troggs
    "What Is Truth?"
    Johnny Cash
    "The Big Hurt"
    Miss Toni Fisher (was $10)
    "You Are My Starship"
    Norman Conners
    "They Live"
    soundtrack LP, $5 (was $15), sealed cut-out - first time I'd ever seen this. (I have the movie on video, and have made dubs of its music)
I like Big Al's because it's kinda timeless. You'd drive up off the highway ('cause his shop's set back a ways) and none of his neighboring stores are open that late. Since he's to cheap for AC the door is blocked open; he does have a fan running. The old standard he'd be playing would be wafting out into the parking lot as you switch off the engine and walk up to the door, posters of Elvis in the windows. You can hear crickets and the cars passing by behind mixing with Al's big-band music. Inside it's hot. A few geeky customers are flipping through the albums, the narrow aisles crammed with floor-to-ceiling vinyl, all meticulously priced ($20 - $30 - $50 LPs not uncommon), and Al himself sitting behind the counter up by the door. Before whenever the stench from Al's cigarette also contributed to the back-then ambiance. He's dropping his prices again next month (45's a dollar) and then that's it. Already the store has a stripped look, and there was a slight feeling of frenzy to the air. I was lucky to check in when I did. I'll probably slip back over there during lunch sometime this week.

AC - air conditioning
DDR - Deutsche Demaokratische Republik (East Germany)

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<1> Amoeba's LP prices are far more reasonable, but they're primarily a CD shop and have few singles. Back