Short about long, long about short

Continuing from previous.

This week I decided to go for gold in the short radio department. Archive has a huge set of the shortest “programs” of all. Produced by the Ripley empire, each is 1:05, divided into 10 seconds of intro music, 15 seconds of Story 1, 5 seconds of expandable pause for your commercial, 30 seconds of Story 2, 5 seconds of outro music.

Short about long: Many of the stories are about LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG-lasting practices or rituals.

A monk in China died in the 500s and promised to return, so his monastery has been changing the sheets on his bed every night for 1400 years. (I suspect this was halted in 1949.)

In 1253, a town in Germany foiled a conspiracy to kill the city leaders by setting the town clock 7 minutes ahead. There wasn’t time to warn the leaders, who were of course precisely punctual. The conspirators arrived before the mayor, and were met by police. Ever since then the town clock has been 7 minutes fast, which is a massive sacrifice for Krauts.

In Alabama a rich grain trader left a provision in his will that he wanted to hear the markets every day, so his estate had been sending a reader to the cemetery for 60 years. (I wonder how the reader described his job.  “Hey Leroy, what do you do for a living?”  “Well, it’s not what I do for the living, it’s what I do for the dead.”)

Long about short: Modern cable “news” soap opera beats Wagner all to hell (literally). Cable “news” can expand a four-hour riot or a one-second Incorrect Tweet into two years of continuous repetitive bed-wetting and grave-robbing.

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Later, another unique quality of these one-minute Ripleys. They’re all original. I’ve been reading and hearing books and radio features in this genre for many years, from Ripley and Hix and MacHarry. There are two dozen Big Stories that everyone covered from different angles, and another group that are repeated here and there. So far I’ve heard about 100 of these supershorts, and every single story is fresh.

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