>The Homeless Situation in Los Angeles

>

I write pieces on an ongoing basis that the homeless are growing in numbers.  The situation is not getting better.
Regardless of what the press reports in reference to the economy and to the employment situation, things are not getting better from my point of view.
Before I go deeper into this post let me just say a few things.
1.  Do you have a spare moment and want to take a few seconds to feed five people a full hot meal for $10?  Donate $10 to Union Rescue Mission.   Text the letters URM to 85944. You will receive a confirmation text message. Reply with the word YES to complete the transaction.

2.  Want to donate more or help in other ways?  Go to http://www.urm.org/ where you can learn more about Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles California.  Union Rescue Mission is the largest mission in Los Angeles and Los Angeles has the highest homeless population in the nation.

I wrote that things are not getting better.  Is this just my point of view or something that can be substantiated with data?
Well, here is a bit of data.  Let us compare January of 2010 to January of 2011 using data collected on some of the services provided by Union Rescue Mission. 
The first figure is January 2010, the second figure is January 2011.
Total Mental Health Clinic Sessions 100 / 123
Total Health Center Visits 627 / 675
Total Meals Served 98,675 / 137,806
Total Nights of Shelter (per individual) 26,914 / 44,876
Total Nights of Shelter (per family) 2,016 / 2,468

Breaking down one of the simple pieces of data above so people do not miss the point, in the month of January 2011 the average number of meals served each day was 4,445 meals.  That is like feeding the crew compliment of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier for a combat shift.  One difference,  URM does not have the funds of the United States Government behind them.  They rely on you and your donations.

URM served an average of 1448 people per night at URM, Hope Gardens , and the four Winter Shelter sites, with 150 of those being children. Included is an average of 80 families per night. There was an average number of 898 people sleeping at URM Downtown each night.

After this blog was published I received a bit of an update from Andy Bales, the CEO of Union Rescue Mission.  I am adding this information now 0n 3/10/11:  Thanks, Myles! The #’s reported are actually a bit lower than they actually were. We had an additional 9 families + kids and served approximately 2650 more meals during the month or nearly 100 more meals per day. I discovered it today. Blessings

People who have lost their home.  People living in cars and vans on the street.  People living in cheap motels who had a home their entire life.  Many of these people are just like you and me.  On Sunday night March 6, 2011 the show 60 Minutes aired this story which is one of many stories which illustrate the point:

Homeless children: the hard times generation

The broadcast can be seen from this link as long as it is an active link
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/06/60minutes/main20038927.shtml

Yes, services are at an all time high.  Donations are at an all time low.  Organizations such as Union Rescue Mission are the lifeline to many people in these troubled times.

Looking at just one segment of http://www.urm.org/, their Hope Gardens facility which houses mothers and children – 13,950 avg/day: 450 ( 29% increase).  In case you miss the point here, there were 13,950 meals served in the month of January 2011 at this facility alone which was a 29% increase over the same month last year.
I could provide figure upon figure and breakdown things to the most detailed level but I will let you draw your own conclusion and do some basic math by repeating the figures from above which are quite simple, direct and to the point:
Total Mental Health Clinic Sessions 100 / 123
Total Health Center Visits 627 / 675
Total Meals Served 98,675 / 137,806
Total Nights of Shelter (per individual) 26,914 / 44,876
Total Nights of Shelter (per family) 2,016 / 2,468

Take a moment to head to their website at www.urm.org where you will learn a lot more about what Union Rescue Mission does and who they are. 
Your contribution is fully tax deductible.
You can pay by just about any method including paypal.  Just click on the donate tab at the top of their website.
You can donate $10 via your cellphone via a text message – Text the letters URM to 85944. You will receive a confirmation text message. Reply with the word YES to complete the transaction.
A meal is $1.84.  $10 feeds a family of five.  Something to think about.  Last Thanksgiving a group of my friends all got together to sponsor meals at Union Rescue Mission.  Here is the link to that event: 
If you want to read some of my own views on Union Rescue Mission and the folks behind their work here are a just few links to some of my past commentary:
I could post dozens of additional links but I think these will get the general idea across.
Please give the folks at URM a hand.  You can help.  It only takes moments to help and make a change in a life.
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>Pictures, places, my thoughts

>

In this blog post are some of the photos I have taken in the last few weeks. Most were taken from my cell phone.  There are a few photos which have sent me from some of my friends as well.  The photos were put together in a little slide show rather than post them individually in a very long post.

The photos show a bit about some of the things I have been up to.   Some of my thoughts are posted below which are from comments on facebook in response to news items or in response to the comments of others or posts of others on my page.
There are many photos so I will post them in a single slide show below.  Some of the dialogue from facebook I will just cut and paste in this blog post. 

Every blog entry has a photo tied into the identification of the particular blog entry.  I thought this shot of Mike Franceschini would be about as good as it could get for an initial photo!  Mike is a great amp designer and amp tech.  I am a bit older than he is but I still learn things from him almost every day whether it is about amplifiers, life or humor.  If you have an amp that needs a bit of help you can find Mike in my friends list on facebook and send him a message.

I suppose I can be talked into some drinking since she is driving. – my thought on the night of 3/4/11.  My friend Cindy was driving.  She is a very bad influence.  Since I was just talking about Mike Franceschini I will comment that Mike has some of his own feelings on some of my friends.  He likes some of them.  He has some disparaging comments on some of the others.

There are about 70 photos in the slideshow below.  Not a lot by my standards.  You can view them all in a few minutes.  If you click on any individual photo you will be directed to the photo on flickr in my album where there may be more info.

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

On 3/7 I updated this post as I had received a comment to something I posted on Facebook.  On Sunday evening 3/6 there was a show on 60 Minutes about the number of children in poverty today.  A story of the homeless and the economic situation.  I posted the link to CBS piece that was posted on the Internet.  I was asked:  How do you think the situation would have been with a republican president? Better or worse?

The short answer?  Probably no damn difference at all.  Perhaps the biggest fault in my eyes of our system of government is that nobody is in a position of responsibility.  The buck doesn’t “stop here”, it never stops anywhere.  I am not talking money.  I am talking about leadership. 

If something goes wrong does the President take responsibility?  No.  He may be blamed by some but the news media and press will tell the story how one direction should have been followed but it was not possible due to Congress or the Senate or ….  

It took this country decades to fall to where it stands today.  Both parties held office.  Both had their high and low points.

In the past I have written about America.  We used to produce some of the finest products in the world.  Our cars were some of the finest.  Our electronics such as television and stereo equipment were some of the finest available anywhere.  Our design and engineering was at the pinnacle of the industry. 

Over the decades our elected officials cut education.  They removed art classes, vocational classes, music classes.  The classes that taught our youth to be creative.  Our education scores dropped in all subject areas. 

Schools became areas where parents expected teachers to watch over their kids.  School was a place to send a sick child as they could not be left at home alone.  Discipline was left to the teachers.  In the sixties teachers could punish students who were disruptive or misbehaved.  The tools of discipline were taken away.  Now kids bring weapons to class, listen to their iPODs and text in classes.

We grew into a nation that expected to be paid much more than an honest day of pay for an honest day of work.  $50 an hour with full benefits to turn a wrench to produce a second or third rate product.

We lost our basic education that taught us to be artistic and creative for the most part.  Thankfully there are some younger generation people who are developing their own technology via their own education via the Internet.  There are still some artists, writers and musicians but as a collective nation we are not in a very good place.

You can argue to me all you want but I have a lot of proof.  Look at the jobs which have been outsourced.  Look at the car in many of your driveways.  Where did your guitar or amp come from?  Your television, washer, furniture?  Most of you will be able to illustrate my point. 

This is not a government issue of Republican or Democrat.   None of you have taken responsibility.  Too many people on both sides of the political fence spend too much time defending some obscure position and stalling rather than working together for a solution to our nations problems.

It has taken decades to sink to our current level as a country but there are people in America that have spirit, ability and the desire to move forward.  Hopefully they can overpower the polical machine.  Seems as if that is being done in other parts of the world right at this moment.  Then again, it may take a bit longer to fix things here because there is no single person to blame as nobody takes responsibility.  That is a bit different than things are done in Libya as an example.  Perhaps that is why nobody in America is willing to lead the country by taking responsibility.  Safety in numbers.  Business as usual.

Back to my previous writing…

Rule number one. Always associate a name and a face to any target if you want to take things to the highest level of proficiency. 馃槈

latimes: Dow off 88 points, or 0.7%, to 12,169. S&P 500 off 10, or 0.7%, to 1,321. Nasdaq off 14, or 0.5%, to 2,784.

Dan Boul of http://www.65amps.com/ loaned speakers to my son. They sound great.

Darryn – once you run out of benefits on unemployment you are no longer counted. I once published the number at the time, I believe it was between 250,000 and 450,00 people EVERY TWO WEEKS that became what are dubbed “99ers”, no more benefits after 99 weeks of unemployment.

What did I say the other day about stock prices falling sharply after a big rise?

What did I say about our government leaders and country having no direction as the economy flounders? There is some nonsense about the employment picture getting a sliver better but by now you might all know that these reports are shown to be nonsense as real information comes to light.

Long marinated but cooked fast – Caption on a meal one of my friends cooked for me.

latimes: LAPD seeks felony charges against school police officer who faked shooting http://lat.ms/dKFpTj

Where’s Donna? If you want to take a guess where Donna is go to the post at http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2011/02/lookin-for-donna.html  and put your guess into a comment.

If folks are wondering what the #music type of stuff is doing in my post it is a “hash tag” as this is also sent to twitter.

Mike Franceschini with timecopter radio. The console radio in Timecopter was developing a bit of static around 1954 or 1955 broadcasts. Mike did a bit of tweeking. It looks as if he is happy with the results of his magic. Before you ask, the answer is YES, he can make your guitar amp sound terrific too.
Okay … I don’t get it. Where would somebody wear this? Banquet? What if you dropped your bread? The theater? Looks difficult to sit in for a few hours. Social situation such as a party or event? No peripheral vision.
Pure nonsense. Read the comments at the bottom of this article. One more story in this never ending news nonsense that I point out week after week. Question: How many people do YOU know that have been out of work have jobs now? Shame on you AP for not looking at what you posted in the last month, or year.
I have adopted a new technique when it comes to dinner photos via cell to upload to facebook and twitter. Whoever has the best cell with a flash takes the shot and sends it to my phone and then I can post a better shot. I experimented with this with my boys when they got updated HTC phones.
Unrest in the Middle East and Africa — country by country – http://bit.ly/ge321D
Keeping Up With The Auto-Tune: Kim Kardashian Premieres Her Pop Song – Reality Rocks
Will the producer ever live this down? …”work for other artists includes Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” Mary J. Blige’s “Just Fine,” and Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body.” But sadly, it seems like Kim just dragged The-Dream down to her nightmarish level. He really should have known better.”

讗讬讱 讝讗诇 讝讬讬址谉 讬讬执讚讬砖 讗指讘注专 拽讬讬谉 专注诇讬讙讬注 讜讜讗指住 讟讜讟 谞讬讟 诇讗指讝谉 砖专讬诪驻旨, 拽专讗址讘 讗讜谉 讘注讬讘讬 爪讜专讬拽 讻讗址讝注专 – 驻诇讬讬砖 专讬讘住 讛讗讟 讗址 砖讜讜注专 爪讬讬址讟 讘注讻注住拽注诐 诪讬专 讗讬谉 砖讜专讛.

膼贸 l脿 m峄檛 con chim qu猫 b啤i ng瓢峄 d貌ng 膽峄 膽i峄乽 ch峄塶h m峄檛 m农i t锚n s峄.

Economy Improving? A few folks out of work yesterday and today
J&L FARMS, INC SALINAS 110 (people laid off)

LIFE TECHNOLOGIES CAMARILLO 2
LIFESPARC HOLLISTER 12
SUNDANCE SPAS, INC CHINO 92
HINES NUSERIES, LLC IRVINE 33

Lunch with Dan Boul of 65amps Special Guest Mark Loughman from BAE  Location: Ustream – http://www.ustream.tv/channel/london-pro-info

锘库19 more days. I am posting this here for Tammy Knight Gibbons and Ludovic Pierson who will be running. I will NOT be running, walking or doing anything associated with the event. I will be eating prior to the event. I will probably eat during the event and probably eat after the event. Yeah … a tuna shashimi marathon.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”. John F. Kennedy

Feed 5 people for $10 in seconds from your cell phone – donate $10 to Union Rescue Mission, text the letters URM to 85944 #hunger @urm

latimes: Dow off 168 points, or 1.4%, to 12,058. S&P 500 off 21, or 1.6%, to 1,306. Nasdaq off 45, or 1.6%, to 2,737. Not a good day.

I guess he is covering all bases?  Mr. Bernanke says while the turmoil in Libya is having an impact on the price of oil, it should be temporary and modest.  But he warned if commodity prices remained high they could threaten economic growth and price stability.

Just a few folks getting their final paycheck today:


CITY OF HOPE MEDICAL GROUP DUARTE 185 people
HITACHI GLOBAL STORAGE TECHNOLOGIES SAN JOSE 148 people
SUNDANCE SPAS, INC CHINO 92 people

Some things in life just come apart

latimes: DUI suspect accused of killing cyclist kept driver’s license despite 15 traffic citations http://lat.ms/gh1BVKSometimes I can actually find one example of our legal system working. Not this time.  With the banks, investors, scandals, Lohan, and stuff like this it seems I have not been able to find a single example of “the spirit of the law” working in a very very very long time. As far as “the letter of the law”, even using that criteria things don’t look acceptable either.

I think you get an idea from the above dialogue clips.  There is a lot more on my facebook wall.  I also post a lot of things to twitter as well.

– – –
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>Lookin’ For Donna

>

Donna is Donna Lararescu

Back in the sixties there was a musical, “Hair”. In the musical there was a song with a lyric about looking for Donna. I thought to myself, what a cool idea …. lookin’ for Donna….. Donna Lazarescu.

This is a fun contest.  This post will be updated on a somewhat regular basis, depending on when I have new cell shots. 

This contest is not open to friends of Donna who were with her or may have been with her when the photo was taken.  
So, I will be posting some cell shots in this post from time to time.  If you guess the location of Donna you will win a 12AX7 vacuum tube for your amp.  The tube will be vacuum curve traced and all specs will be documented and recorded. 
You need to guess the location / place / event / restaurant etc., where the cell shot was taken.  Not all of those things, those are just examples of what to answer.  The place would be fine if specific enough as one example.
In the case of somebody trying to pull a stunt such as if there is a shot in a restaurant and they answer “eating”, I reserve the right as the sole judge to say …. “nope, you lose” or indicate that your answer is not what I feel is the correct answer 馃檪
Where was this shot taken?
Only one guess per shot per person

The photo directly below this text block is the current contest photo
Please post your answer in the comment section at the bottom of this post

Maybe it is because I am three times your age but …. I REALLY need to buy you a new pair of shoes to go with that outfit! 

To see more of Donna, past location shots, the video and more click on “read more”

Looks as if it was a rough night for two of Donna’s friends.

Received from Donna moments ago; 3-3-11.  Any guesses where she is at the moment?

Your guess on this shot has to be extremely specific as there are too many clues to the general nature of the shot here.

I normally shy away from swimsuit shots as they are a way too common.  Everybody thinks they need 1,000 swimsuit shots in their portfolio.  If you look at the two shots below as head shots you might walk away with a great new perspective on looking at photographic work.

Black and White
Donna has a very wide range
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>Sprint versus AT&T

>

It looks like we are going to be able to see how Sprint customer service stacks up with the worst in the industry, AT&T.  Perhaps it will be learned that customer service is also something that cannot be expected from Sprint as well.  Perhaps Sprint will shine.
I have had a number of issues with AT&T which have been documented in a post at http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2010/11/at-so-wrong-is-every-way.html   This post is still being updated.  Since the end of November, as of today 50,261 people have read the blog post.

Maybe it is time to see how Sprint compares to AT&T. 

I have already read complaints from other folks but I tend to prefer my own observations.

My son switched from AT&T to Sprint a few weeks ago.  He moved to a new HTC 4G phone, and Evo.  His brother opted for the Evo shift.

The voicemail has never worked on the Evo. 

My son is pretty darn proficient technically on computers and smart phones.  He downloaded updates and config changes which did not help.

He was on the phone today with Sprint for over an hour.  They said they could not help, he needed to go to a Sprint store.  But … this was not before he was told to wipe his phone (and all his downloaded applications) to see if that resolved his other problem.  Other problem?  The other day his phone started to automatically turn on speaker phone when any incoming call was received.  Just what somebody needs, a broadcast of your incoming calls.

Sprint has been of no help.

So … I looked at this as a nice opportunity to see how Sprint stands up in the customer service department.  So far they are not looking very capable. 

I have asked my son to document everything that happens in the path to problem resolution.  I will take his information and add it to this post which will be ongoing.

I will also post this on Twitter as I have done with @ATT.  As a side note, I am now followed on Twitter by the AT&T Executive Offices in Dallas Texas, the Office of the President.

I am interested to see if Sprint is capable of providing service on their 4G network and on these new smart phones that they push with so much effort. 

Is their staff up to the task? 

Is their customer service little more than an obstruction between a problem and resolution as is the case with AT&T? 

In the next few days … or weeks … or possibly even months we shall see.

Day 1 since posting this blog and counting.  2/8/11

myles111us 2/8/11 8:45am PST

Nobody from @sprint or @sprintcare has contacted me. @ATT contacted me in half a day. So far things are not looking good for @sprintcare

When I had AT&T issues they had people contact me within six hours on twitter.

At this point I am thinking positive but I am also thinking that this post may eventually state that if you are unhappy with your cell provider and are thinking of going to Sprint for better service there may be a possibility that things are not any better.

This 4G competition between all the cell providers will probably uncover network weakness aspects as a secondary issue and the lack of customer training and problem resolution procedures.

At this point in time 2,437 people have read this post.  It has moved into the top 10 posts read for the rolling seven day period and is currently in fifth place.

2/8/11 8:50am – tweet from Sprintcare
sprintcare Sprint Care
@ @myles111us Saw your tweet. What’s going on?

I will send them the link to this post.

9:15am
sprintcare Sprint Care
@ @myles111us Pls send details (incl acct phn #, alt contact #, + PIN) to sprintcares@sprint.com and we’ll have somebody look into it.

myles111us Myles Rose
@ @sprintcare – I will forward this information to my son who is having the problems.

9:30am
myles111us Myles Rose
@ @sprintcare – my son is in class. He will email Sprint later today.

I am curious to see how many times this problem will be handed off to others.  I wonder if Sprint Customer Service people are empowered to make decisions and have the ability to do enact a change or fix without multiple phone calls which waste the customer’s time?  I wonder how often my son will be told to call another number or be left on hold?

So far the Sprint folks on the phone have not helped him.  They had him wipe his phone and lose his applications and the way his phone was set up to his personal preference.  He has already been on the phone with them with no resolution.

I wonder what will happen when he sends this email.  Is this going to me more effective than when he actually talked to their help folks live?  The live help was no help so I suppose it cannot be less effective.

Time will tell.

7:00pm

I talked to my son.  He sent me a copy of an email that he sent to Sprint with some information they requested.  He could not send the information sooner as he was in class all day.  I will not expect anything to be done this evening as it is past the close of business.

These are some excerpts from my son’s letter.

Hello,

I have been having some problems with my phone, especially the voicemail function, so far I have documented what has happened with the phone.

1/26/11 – Bought Phone (Evo 4g) from Best Buy for $200. Phone does not work, will not make calls, 3g/4g not activated.

1/27/11 – Call Sprint and am stepped through activation process, everything works except voicemail.

2/7/11 – Speakerphone now automatically turns on when a call is made or received. I call Sprint and talk to tech support but they are unable to fix problem. They transfer me to someone named xxxxx (Employee ID: xxxxxxx). Her solution is to wipe phone causing loss of all data on it. Wipe fixed the speakerphone problem but voicemail still does not work. After half an hour of trying to fix voicemail they give up and tell me to go to a sprint store. After I demanded a credit for the inconvenience of losing all my data a $25 credit is offered with the promise that more will be given upon the fixing of the voicemail.

I am quite upset that I spent $200 on a phone that was advertised as a top of line phone, only to have it suffer from numerous problems. I expect issues from a free phone but now I realize that Sprint has endorsed a phone that was not well tested and has problems that should have been caught before it ever went to market.

I was told that in order to fix the voicemail i would need to go to a Sprint store. This is very inconvenient and extremely unprofessional that a we are being charged when all of our services do not work. I have to pay the entire bill whether or not I use all services so it seems only fair that we pay none of the bill for months that not all services were provided.

Side note from me (Myles Rose):  Sprint bills on a monthly basis and sells and advertises their service with a feature set based on a plan purchased.  So far they have not lived up to their part of the agreement.

When I had issues with AT&T I was given a full month of credit.  That is what I also expect from Sprint for my son and his family as their plan is a family plan.
So far customer service has been nice but not particularly helpful, they took a long time to solve only some of my problems and even those solutions created new inconveniences.

My father writes a blog that has become very popular and part of it is the problems he has had with at&t. We switched to Sprint to get better service but so far it is just more of the same. He has started writing about Sprint now. Here is a link to the article: http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2011/02/sprint-versus-at.html

I hope this problem can be resolved soon and without too much wasted time.

Sincerely,

2/10/11 – 10:00am PST

There has been no reply or response to the email which was sent to Sprint which was requested by them.  The problem has not been resolved.

At 11:00am pst my son texted me that he received an email asking for additional details.  He responded at that time with the additional details.

9:30pm PST

A quick update before I head out for the evening…..

Once you open the can of worms you discover all sorts of things.

On the subject of my son and his voicemail not working:  The issue has been turned over to Sprint Engineering.  It seems as if they have NEVER seen this problems before!  Well, that is what he was told.  Makes me feel are warm, fuzzy and confident that a simple email issue is going to take a few days at best to resolve.

I also talked to my son’s mother.  Seems as if she has spent hours on the phone with Sprint herself.  She was promised a twenty or so dollar discount per month because she is a teacher.  She had this discount in the past.  In the past all she needed to do (on two occasions) was email them from her teacher email and the credit was active. 

Not this time.  She was passed on to at least three people today and this has not been resolved.

She also signed up for auto billing.  Seems that there was also a problem there.  She was told she would be charged on a future date but instead, her credit card was immediately charged.  More phone calls.  Finally somebody told her that the first time they set up this service it charges them instantly.  Once again, folks giving out bad information or not the proper information.

So now we have a family plan with various problems where perhaps a dozen different people have become involved, none of them doing anything to resolve the problem in a timely manner.  Over a dozen hours have been spent by two of the three people in the family.

I will be receiving documentation on some of these latest problems in the next few days and will post that information here.

In the meantime, I expect Sprint to issue a full month of credit in the next few days.  My family pays for monthly services to work not partial or prorated service.  I wonder how many folks at Sprint would accept partial kidney function after a hospital staff sold them hope of a full recovery?  How about a four cylinder car that only ran on three cylinders.

My family had Sprint two different times in the past.  Your service was not very good but it was better than it is doing at the moment.  Last time billing issues and discount issues were resolved with one phone call.

2/11/11 4:00pst

No resolution on the voice mail problem.  No update on the credit problem.  No word from Sprint Customer Care on twitter where they had talked to be before.  Looks as if these issues will continue over the weekend but if I hear anything from my family later this evening or during the weekend I will update this blog entry.

So far it seems as if Sprint is not doing very well in the area of problem resolution or customer satisfaction.  They have a bit of ground to lose before they can reach the lowest levels and be on par with AT&T but they are indeed, headed in that direction.

I find it hard to comprehend that a voice mail problem is taking them so long to resolve.

2/14/11 – One full week with no progress from Sprint.

It has now been one full week since I wrote this piece.

What has been resolved?  Nothing.

Voice mail on my son’s phone is still not working.

Credit for service problems has not been received or applied to the account in full.

The Sprint discount has not been applied to the account or confirmed when it will be applied.  In the past this was done with one phone call and resolved in moments with Sprint a few years ago.

2/15/11

No updates.  No communication.  Nothing has been resolved.

What I am learning is that Sprint has a different approach to customer contact than AT&T.  In the case of AT&T they did put out effort to keep the customer informed even when nothing was being accomplished.  They tried to make the customer feel as if they did care.  I had a half a dozen AT&T folks following me on twitter and received many direct messages.

In the case of Sprint, it seems they just go dark.  They just seem to turn off the lights and hope the problem will either fix itself or that the customer will just grow tired and go away.  I received a single direct message from Sprintcare.  Sprint has not kept me informed in any way as one can notice by the lack of response in this blog entry.  In the case of AT&T, one can read that blog piece and see scores of people trying to help or at least keeping the customer informed.

2:00pm PST

My son just called and told me that Sprint just got his voicemail working.  I will update the blog.  The only outstanding items remaining are credit and discount applied to the account.  I posted this status update to all the usual places.

2/15/11 6pm PST

I was told by my family that credit has been promised and account has been updated and they should see a change in their monthly bill. 

Sprint also sent a confirmation email on what was resolved.

This will be my last entry on this post unless there is a problem with the account, credit or billing or if there is another Sprint issue which I will track on this post.

2/21/11

I am currently having a problem with AT&T again.  I thought I would copy the most recent entry on my AT&T blog here as I mention Sprint.

As a side note, I recently had three problems with Sprint. I thought the problems were going to be a great opportunity to compare Sprint customer service to AT&T. There were some technical issues and two billing and accounting issues in regard to Sprint.

Bottom line, Sprint resolved things in short order. My family said their phone support was professional and helpful. They followed up with email confirmations and answers rather than the simplistic dialogue and excuses that you can read above from AT&T. Part of my family switched to Sprint from AT&T because AT&T no longer had an unlimited data plan. Sprint also has free calls starting at 7pm rather than 9pm. Sprint also has free calls from their cell service to all other mobil services. AT&T has none of these features.

My problems have been with Uverse which provides my Internet. I also have AT&T cell service as my contract has over a year left on the contract. My cell experience has been acceptable but the cost is typical AT&T practice … more $$$$ for fewer services. I will review the cell picture when my contract is complete. Even if AT&T can match the services of Sprint I may opt to leave AT&T based on their level of customer service over the years which continues to decline.

If you think I wrote a lot above on these Sprint issues feel free to check out the AT&T post at http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2010/11/at-so-wrong-is-every-way.html

Myles Rose is the founder of 锘縂uitar Amplifier Blueprinting which provides support services and training for touring bands and individuals as well as blueprinting services.   You may contact me from the link.  My direct contact information is provided as well as links to two of the Internet forums where I answer technical questions.  You may also ask questions in any post in this blog by using the comment application on each post.
When I am not doing something related to music I do what I can to support the homeless of Los Angeles either directly on the streets at night or through my good friends at Union Rescue Mission.
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>Vacuum tube post from the past – where they are made

>

I initially posted this as a note on Facebook in June of 2010.
There has been a bit of discussion on the post so I thought that some folks that subscribe to this blog might find this of interest.
Older photo which shows GT “made in USA” silkscreen. Aspen was called out on this with legal action so the silkscreen was changed to eliminate this statement.

Today I received an email from my friend Rob Hull over at TubeDepot. Rob is is their technical director. He is a great fellow and has produced a lot of terrific videos about amp service and videos on many technical subjects.

 
Below is Rob’s letter and my reply. Feel free to write Rob with tech questions as he is a great resource.
 
— On Wed, 6/2/10, Rob Hull wrote:
 
From: Rob Hull

Subject: GT 6L6 GE looking tube
To: “Myles S. Rose”
Date: Wednesday, June 2, 2010, 12:34 PM

Myles,

Do you have a link to where you describe where the GT 6L6GC tube is being made?
I don’t understand where these are being made and where the components came from. Any assistance you can offer is greatly appreciated.

Robert Hull
Technical Director
TubeDepot.com
877-289-7994
Rob,

All the GT 6L6 tubes (6L6GE, 6L6CHP and 5881C) were from the Shuguang factory in China. The short bottle TAD also came from the Shuguang factory and at times there were problems when the Chinese took GT plates, bases and pins and used them in the TAD tubes. The Chinese would blacken the plates and punch vent holes in them but in the end it was just the GT 6L6GE.
The GT EL34M xf2 reissue was also from the same Chinese factory as was the 6CA7GE. The 6CA7 GE reissue never worked properly and was never produced as per proper design. One of the two grids was wound backwards and was in parallel with the other grid as most other tubes but the design of the General Electric 6CA7 had the two grids cross so alignment was not an issue. This was not done so the GT version was something of a time bomb (with a very short fuse as a side note).
The GT 12AX7M was also from the Shuguang factory in China. Early runs were great but each run was worse. In the few years of production the tube was the most unreliable and inconsistent 12AX7 ever made in the history of vacuum tubes. It also had the lowest gain of any 12AX7 ever made, in a high percentage of cases lower than the gain of a 12AY7. The plate resistance was typically below 35k ohms where spec is 62.5k ohms. This caused a lot of issues depending on amp design as side A and side B of the dual triode would let two areas of a circuit bleed into each other which caused crosstalk, jumping volume levels when the amp was turned down, clicks, pops and other problems. The low plate resistance also produced very high plate current with generated a lot of heat and also dropped the gain of the tube dramatically.
I am going to post this as a note on facebook as a lot of folks might also find this useful. I will post your contact info and website as well as you folks at http://www.tubedepot.com/ have a great selection of tubes, great prices, terrific matching and great service.

Hope this helped …

Myles

Update after Rob sent me another email – my response:

At one point GT would ship plate material ( 5 clad ) from the USA to China. Bases and pins were also shipped but these were not GE bases, they were bases used on all GT octal based tubes. The micas were originally stamped by the USA company that made the micas for GE back in the day but the supply train derailed all the time. The majority of the parts were Chinese, grids were wound in China and assembly was done there . At GT we tried to get the USA tube equipment operational but this really never happened. It was more of it being a matter of tons of iron that Aspen used for PR. The 6L6GE was a great tube. It sounded great and had a nice long life but the Tung Sol reissue stuff today out of Sovtek is terrific as are the winged C Svetlana that always gave the GT 6L6GE a run for the money in many folks point of view.

There have been a number of comments on the original facebook posted note.  I responded to some of them.  I will copy these comments below up to the last comment.

Brad Spence

Myles,

Thanks so much. I’ve always wanted to try the GT 6CA7GE. I’ve heard they sound great, but don’t last. Now I know why.

As for the Chinese 12AX7s, I totally agree with your assessment. I’ve replaced them in all of my amps that had …them. (Actually, only 2…) But BIG difference.
I haven’t had any LAX overnights since I changed domiciles at work. But when I get one, I’ll let you know. Hopefully, we can hang out for a few. Sushi and rum are on me!

Brad – the last runs of 6CA7 tubes would fail within 15 minutes at anything over 300 plate volts. Spec is 700+. The failure rate was over 90% on the final run. The 10% that did pass would fail at 350 plate volts. The bias was adjusted d…uring the test so the tube output was only at 70% of 25 watts of output. The 6L6GE though was a great tube and may go down in history as the only tube Groove Tubes brought to market as a reissue that worked. The Mullard Reissue ( EL34M ) was an xf2 reissue. It was a successful tube for some folks but in the last six months of GT being a company there were more complaints from some amp makers who tried to use the tube. Rick Benson, the sales manager at GT, would bring me tubes that failed and we were just getting to understand reported problems that looked as if they may have been caused by the factory changing things or switching to substandard materials perhaps. I never discovered the problem and GT closed its doors 8/15/2008 after Aspen pulled what may go down as one of the greatest smoke and mirrors acts in music history as he sold GT to Fender. This is just my own take on things and just personal opinion from my own observation. When Fender bought the tube test gear my first thought was …. reminds me of airplanes … today there are only two folks in the cockpit and the engines, nav systems and fuel management is all computer controlled. FADEC, DDEC and all sorts of cool stuff. Today there are tube testing devices such as the Maxi-Matcher that match to 1/10 of a milliamp in moments where little expertise is required to run the machine. The GT system broke a spread of 100-150 milliamps or even a wider spread, into 10 rating numbers. Not very precise. The tubes had a 45 second warmup and were hit for half a second to be measured. Not great when tubes were unstable. Back to the airplane train of thought … complex, old tech, inefficient and needing trained people …. Aspen sold Fender a fleet of old Boeing 707s and DC-8 airplanes, again from my own point of view which just might be shared by a few others 馃檪

Kevin Miller
So, Myles, what 6CA7 type tubes WOULD you recommend these days?

Myles Rose

NOS. The new ones are usually little more than big bottle EL34s and there is a bit difference. Maybe talk to Mike at http://www.kcanostubes.com/ as he may have some real GEs, Sylvania or Phillips.

Brian Dietrich
Guys. I have some NOS 1958 Brown Base Milspec 6V6’s that will blow your minds. Contact me and we can work out an arrangement. I have RCA tube as well.

Kevin Miller
Hey, since we’re talkin’ NOS 6CA7s, any idea what type of 6CA7s Eddie Van Halen was running back in the early VH album days?
Myles Rose
Kevin – I can tell you exactly which 6CA7 he used … the General Electric. He used to come to GT and buy them directly from Aspen Pittman. When GT closed there were a lot of originals in a dark red file cabinet in the warehouse area. Some of those originals were destroyed on purpose to be used with the original engineering drawings when GT tried to recreate the tube.
Gregg Hopkins
Miles – Great info. Thanks for posting. Would you agree that SOME productions of Chinese 12AX7s for Ruby have been good to great? Always interested to hear what those in the know think about current productions. NOS can only last so long and many out there are rejects that keep getting sold over and over.
Bobby Vogel

Hey man, I still own four matched quad sets of the Jan-Phillips 7581, 6L6. These tubes have never been in an amp. I can’t find them anymore.
 

Gregg –
There are a lot of GREAT tubes out of China. Ruby Tubes has some spectacular stuff. They have an EL34 that has always been one of my favorites. Tom McNiel of Ruby Tubes works in concert with the Chinese and produces great stuff.  There are other folks that do not work well in concert with the Chinese and have history of problems when they try to impose their viewpoints and the most ugly side of the “Ugly American” culture on them. Not a good working relationship and not a good foundation when trying to develop a specific idea or product. If you look at the timeline of the 6L6GE which was a great tube to the later GT offerings you can see the inter personal relationship take a toll. As the GT relationship declined (this also applied to their microphones …. the ribbon mic was a failure big time … and their high end audio gear (watch out for “the brick” as there is possible electrocution) …. the well established relationship that Ruby Tubes had with the Chinese stayed strong. Ruby has terrific stuff.
 
As far as NOS … yes, we are hitting the bottom of the barrel so be sure to know and trust your vendor. I love Mike at KCA … http://www.kcanostubes.com …. and for you Bobby Vogel, if anybody can find more of thise 7581s he can.
 
Kevin Miller
Re: Bobby Vogel- Oooh, I had some of them yeeeaars ago; they were awesome in the Fender Twin I put ’em in!
 
Bobby Vogel
I bought Mike’s last quad set a few years back. I have 4 untouched and think I will hang on to them. Myles you once told me that tubes don’ t have a shelf life.
 
Myles Rose

Bobby … they do not have a shelf life. Look how many NOS tubes are out there which are older than I am and still “new” in how they work when plugged in. I am not new when I am plugged in anymore 馃檪 As Toby Keith says …. I’m not as good as I once was, but I’m as good ONCE as I ever was.

Side note from Myles …. For those of you who do not know who Bobby Vogel is, he knows tone.  He is a stellar player.  He is also the music director for Loretta Lynn.

Leonard Rodriguez
Not knowing alot about tubes I use JJ’s in my HR Deluxe. I hope im making a good choice. 
Leonard – the JJ 6L6 is a nice robust 6L6. I find them more suited to harder rock than some other 6L6 tubes as they have a bit of an edge. Folks who have Mesa Recto amps and 5150 amps tend to like them.
If you want a smoother and more vintage tone try a duet of real Svetlana, winged C tubes biased at 60-62 mA using the Fender test point which sums the two tubes.
For the rock tone with your JJs you can bias a few mA higher, 64-66 is nice.

Leonard Rodriguez
Where can one get real svetlana’s. Are these readily available?

Myles Rose
Yes … here is a good link…

http://www.tubedepot.com/ is a good one as this initial post was written after Rob Hull from Tube Depot and I had a discussion.
I also like http://www.kcanostubes.com and http://www.dougstubes.com Just tell them you want “real winged C” tubes. There are tubes with the Svetlana name that are not the same tube which come from a different factory.
John Clark
Were you referring to the Ruby EL34B-STR tubes Myles? I read your review on your web page about them & you really seem to favor them. Also, do you think the Ruby EL34’s are as good or superior to the Svetlana Winged C EL34’s for a vintage hard rock sound?
John,
The Ruby EL34B-STR is one of my two favorite EL34 tubes that are in production. You mentioned the both of them.
The Ruby that I love had been around a while and as good as it is, Tom McNeil added a second EL34 offering. The EL34BHT tu…be. This is a more robust tube and higher output tube than the EL34B-STR. Think of this as a rock tube for the 80s and later and the B-STR for the more vintage tones from the 60s-mid 70s. That is just my take on it and other folks may make different conclusions.
Life expectancy is very high on the BHT. Life on the B-STR is about 10% lower than the =C= (about 300 hours less when my rig is set to kill an EL-34 in 3000 hours). In either case life is very long and the BHT may end up being longer once I get them tested. When I life test tubes I run them until the plate current drops by 15% or until the tube fails.
Data on Ruby’s tests indicate used 600 V on the plates, 540 V on G2 and a bias setting of 鈥54V. The tubes idled at 25ma each. The power output from a pair of EL34BHT tubes using these voltages was 70 watts at clipping.
As a side note, no EL34 made today other than the BHT can take more than 450 on the screen (G2). Anything over 500 volts on the plates of other tubes made today is risky even though EL34 spec is 800 volts.
These BHT tubes meet spec from the past. Here is a Mullard and Telefunken set of links to the respective data sheets:

http://www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com/files/mullardEL34.pdf

http://www.guitaramplifierblueprinting.com/files/TelefunkenEL34.pdf

There are some new high end rock amps that now supply the Ruby EL34 as standard issue and folks love it.
The =C= Svetlana is also a winner. It sounds and traces like a Siemens EL34 from the golden era of tubes. The Ruby traces like a Mullard xf4. Each a touch different. No better no worse, total personal preference.

Bobby Vogel
Hi Myles, interesting stuff. Myles I still have several matched quad sets of the Sylvania 7581 6l6 tubes. What do you think of these? Thanks, Bobby
Myles Rose
Bobby – those are all outstanding. 6,000 plus hours general life if you push them very hard. They sound great, are ultra reliable and just terrific in every way.

The above comments are some of the comments.

2/10/11 addition:
Here is a question from today on a forum and my reply:

Myles,
Without going into what I’ve been going through the last year both physically and mentally, let’s just say I’ve missed some things I’ve tried to keep up the best I can. One thing I missed is what happened to GT after Fender bought it. I know you went to 65 Amps and a lot of other guys left, but what happened to GT? I still see their tubes at GC and Sam Ash; the web site is still up and seems to be active. I notice that my Delta’s favorite tubes (GT KT88SV) are $198 a PAIR from Amazon.
So are the tubes still the same quality? Are they still made in the same plants? Did the EL34LS that I have in my KT-45 and SRZ go away?
I’ve been buying my tubes straight from Bob at Eurotubes. I was just curious what the fallout from the sale of GT was.

GT was sold to Fender 8/15/2008. GT tubes are now being rebranded at Fender. Most of the GT exclusive tubes are no longer in production.

Rick and Kathi are at 65 Amps. I have my own shop in the 65 Amps complex where I continue doing consulting for amp folks and try to keep touring acts on the road with technical help and training of their staff.

Tubes are made by the same plants for the most part but as I said, some are no longer being produced.

Quality has generally dropped which is indicated by my testing and what I see every week. Bottom line …. KNOW your vendor/tube supplier.

The E34LS was a GT exclusive tube and not the same as the JJ E34L regardless of what some profess. Look at the plate structure and the difference is visible where the plate pieces join, there are heat sink wings. Fender still shows the tube on their GT website.

As a side note, on the http://www.groovetubes.com/ website Fender still lists the SAG kits. This is amusing as this was my product and these kits were made by me on my own equipment. I never passed on my number system or how the balance of plate resistance, transconductance, plate current and true gain in circuit were put into my formula. These kits were a Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting development prior to my days at Groove Tubes. Groove Tubes had no right to sell my own intellectual property to Fender but I am not surprised as the line of folks where Aspen Pittman sold or took credit for the ideas of others as his own is a long line. At least I am in good company.

This is only a partial list from a screen shot of some of the “SAG” tubes that are noted on the scrolling page of the Fender website.  If some lawyer wants to sue Fender or Aspen feel free 馃檪

The matching system that Aspen sold to Fender was a great system in 1985 and earlier. Today it is out of date and quite inaccurate. There are devices out there today that match much more quickly and are far more accurate.

I copied the below piece from an area of my own Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting website:

CURRENT GLASS ELECTRON TUBE MANUFACTURERS

Updated 8/5/05

We currently estimate that the demand for audio tubes is growing 10% to 20% per year. Audio tubes are over a $200+ million  dollar industry in the USA and possibly $500+ million dollars worldwide.

Note: this list shows all the small glass audio tubes believed in production at this time.(not counting exotic devices, such as photomultipliers and microwave devices)

RUSSIA

Reflector Corp, Saratov
Makes most of the tubes marketed by New Sensor Co. of New York under the “Sovtek” brand name. Some of these are old Russian types, others are made especially for export. Types in production: 2A3, 300B, 12AX7 (3 variations known), EL34 (3 versions), 6CA7 fat, 5AR4, 5881, 6922, 6EU7, 6L6GB, 6V6GT, 6072A, 6973, 7199, 7591, 7868, EL84 (2 versions), KT66, KT88, KT90, 6P15P. “Sovtek” also markets 5U4G, 5Y3GT, 6SN7, 6SL7, three 12AX7s and a few other types made at other factories.

Note: there is no “Sovtek” factory. “Sovtek” is only an American brand name owned by New Sensor. New Sensor now owns the Svetlana brand name and is using on tubes manufactured by Reflector. The Electro Harmonix tube are also made by this plant. In 2005 New Sensor bought the names of Mullard and Tung-Sol and are placing these names on tubes of their New Sensor banner.

Ryazan Plant of Electronics, Ryazan
Makes power triodes for RF and audio applications. Some are sold outside Russia by Svetlana Electron Devices. Ryazan has also made large thyratrons and pulse tubes. Types in production: 811A (popular and sold all over the world), 812A, SV811-3, SV811-10, SV572-3, SV572-10, SV572-30, SV572-160, GM-100, others. SV types and 812A are made especially for Svetlana Electron Devices.

SED Winged C, St. Petersburg
A major Russian power-tube manufacturer. Formerly a part of the huge Svetlana collective factory, now independent. SED tubes are now distributed in North America and Europe by PM Components. Types in production: EL34, SV6L6GC, SV6550C, 300B, EL509, EF86, 6BM8, 6AS7, 3CX300A1, 6D22S, GP-5, and a long list of large power types for amateur radio, broadcast and industrial uses. KT88 and 12AX7 are have been recently introduced.

Ulyanov, Ulyanovsk
Large state-owned factory specializes in military equipment. Also makes tubes for use in military aircraft electronics. Types in production: GU-50, GU-13/813, 6S33S-V, 6S19P, 6S41P, others. 6S33 is becoming popular in high-end amplifiers in America and Japan.

Voskhod, Kaluga
Large collective factory, makes many ICs and other semiconductors as well as receiving tubes. Types in production: 6N1P-EV, 6AX7, 12AX7WA and WB, 6SN7, 6SL7 and a few other types sold by various firms outside Russia, such as New Sensor/”Sovtek” and Svetlana Electron Devices.

CHINA

Shuguang Electrical Factory No. 1
Owned by Korean firm Samsung. Shuguang makes most of the popular audio and guitar types, which are frequently rebranded by importers and OEMs. Types believed in production: 6L6GC, EL34 (3 types), 6550, KT100, 5AR4, 2A3, 807. Possibly 211, 845–unconfirmed. Shuguang’s low-cost tubes are often seen in guitar amps. (Thanks to Chris Beeching for info.)

Liuzhou
Makes many types which are marketed abroad. PM Components, a British firm, has “Golden Dragon” types made by Liuzhou. (Thanks to Chris Beeching for info.)

O&J Enterprises/Valve Art
Makes the following: 6L6GC, EL34, 6550A, KT88, KT100, 300B, 300B-C60 (graphite plate 60w), 5300B (graphite plate 80w 150mA), and 6300B (graphite plate 80w 180mA), plus possibly other types, at a factory in Changsha, Hunan. (Thanks to Wilfred ter Borg for type list.)

“Sino” factory in Beijing recently stopped making 12AX7, 12AT7, 12AU7, 6GH8, 6AN8 and other small tubes, due to a poor market and tough competition from Sovtek/New Sensor. It is said that Sino made the popular, low-cost 211s and 845s often seen in SE amplifiers; this cannot be confirmed. Sino is apparently no longer making any tubes. There are other tube factories in China. Most keep a very low profile. Some of these lesser-known factories specialize in transmitting tubes such as the 811A, 812A, 813, 3-500Z,4-400, 100TH, 833 and others. Such transmitting types are often branded with old American/European brands and sold without notification that they are Chinese-made, as are the audio types.

SLOVAKIA, CZECH REPUBLICS

JJ Electronic, Cadca, Slovakia
A spinoff from now-defunct state factory Tesla factory. Outside of Slovakia, JJ tubes are often sold under the Teslovak or Tesla brandname. Groove tubes is a major distributor. Types in production: GZ34, KT88S, EL34, E34L, ECC803S, ECC83/12AX7, EL84, 2A3, 6L6GC, 6V6GTS, 300B, 7027A, 7591S. Some of the power pentode types are available in red or blue glass.

AVVT, Prague, Czech Republic
Run by former Vaic Valve Co. founder Alesa Vaic. Manufatures audio power triodes for high-end hi-fi amplifiers. Types in production: AV300B SL, AV32B SL, AV62B SL, and others.

KR Enterprise, Prague, Czech Republic
Formerly Vaic Valve Co, now operated by Riccardo and Eunice Kron. Manufactures power triodes for high-end audio amplifiers. Types in production: VV30B, VV300B, VV52B, KR1, a single-plate 2A3 and other types.

YUGOSLAVIA

EI Electronic Industries, Nis, Serbia
Former state-owned factory, makes all types of electrical products, still making tubes using some old Philips production tooling and equipment. Marketed outside of Serbia by Edicron Electronic Components Ltd, UK. Types in production: 6CA7, 6CG7, 12AT7, 12AX7, 12BH7, 12DW7, EL34, EL519, PL519, KT90, KT99, EL84, EL86, possibly a few others. Latest reports indicate that the EI factory was not destroyed in the 1999 Kosovo conflict by NATO missles. (as early 2011 I still do not know if this factory is back in operation.  Myles)

UKRAINE

Poljaron, Lvov
Makes 833A and some Russian power types, plus related products such as vacuum capacitors.

USA

Richardson Electronics, LaFox, IL
Makes a 300B, 845 and 50 sold under the Cetron brand for high-end audio, as well as a KT88 sold under the National brand.

Richardson has large quantities of tooling obtained from old American tube factories when they shut down. Also makes some larger transmitting and high-voltage types. Richardson markets many tubes, obtained from other factories worldwide, under their own brandnames; such as Cetron, National and Amperex.

Westrex Corporation, Kansas City, MO
Makes the reissued Western Electric 300B for high-end audio. Claims to be developing a KT88, WE308, WE274A and other old WE types for future manufacture. Corporate and sales offices are located in Atlanta and Chattanooga. Also has sales office in UK. Tube manufacturing facility was relocated from Kansas City to Huntsville, AL. This firm is independent of AT&T Corporation and has licensed the brandnames from AT&T.

MU, Oceanside, CA
Small contract factory, makes occasional runs of unusual glass and metal-ceramic tubes for military use. Still makes some of the old “Bendix Red Bank” tubes, such as the 6094 and 6384, in occasional lots.

Triton Services ETD, Gaithersburg, MD
Makes some Eimac and Litton glass power types, using equipment from the original manufacturers. Recently discontinued some glass types, such as 4-65A, 4-125A, 250TH, 304TH/TL, etc. (these types are now only available from China).

Great Tube Makers of the past – This information is from Vintage Tube Services. They have a great website at http://www.vintagetubeservices.com/

AMPEREX
Located at 79 Washington Street in Brooklyn, New York, Amperex was a long established manufacturer of transmitting tubes when they were acquired by the giant Dutch firm, Phillips in 1955 or so. Phillips continued to improve and enlarge the transmitting plant in New York, but also used the Amperex name to distribute their fine new line of Dutch made minis, (12AX7, 12AU7, 12AT7) to feed the booming U.S. Hi-Fi market. These sweet & airy, but still full and solid sounding tubes have been the favorite of music lovers for 45 years! Classic Hi-fi brands such as Marantz, Fisher, Scott, etc… owe a large part of their great sound to these tubes. In the line up of the three sisters, the three European sisters that is, the Amperex is like the fair-haired Dutch blond. The Telefunken is the tall, well built, sandy haired blond in the family, and the Mullard is the ravishing black haired, British brunette. These are of course just slight “hues” in the perspective that these tubes present, as they are really all extremely transparent units. And of course we can’t forget the 6DJ8, 6922 & 7308 frame grid tubes. Developed by Amperex in 1958 when transistors were already starting to take over the electronics industry & originally developed for video & radar use, the 6DJ8 has come into heavy use in audio over the last 15 years. And Amperex definitely made some great ones like the
Original “Bugle Boy” series with it’s seemingly, magical ability to filter out noise like the Mullards do, and the later, map versions with their full, balanced sound, black background, and great sound staging.

TELEFUNKEN
Telefunken of West Germany, founded in 1903 is the standard bearer of tonal neutrality in the 12AX7, 12AU7, 12AT7 series of tubes. These tubes are (along with the other European four) THE “Start of The Art” in miniature tubes, long prized, and now rare and expensive, dropping a couple of these under the hood of your pre-amp or power-amp can show just how bad today’s 9 pin minis really are! They also made a good 6DJ8, 6922 & 7308 though the real ones are quite rare. Note; This does not apply to East German E88CC & other 6 volt mini’s that were made behind the Iron curtain during the cold war years and many are sold by others, as the real thing, at top dollar. These tubes sound dark and hard, and are very sub-standard. They have been flooding the market ever since the Berlin wall came down. V.T.S. I has identified these tubes and you will never have to worry about ending up with these. There is more on these makers with photos and old artwork at http://www.vintagetubeservices.com/  which is where this vintage tube information came from.

MULLARD
Mullard was founded by Captain S.R. Mullard in 1920 and was from the beginning one of the finest tube manufacturers in the world. Mullard tubes have a rich, warm, presentation that still supplies all of the detail and information that any “state of the art” tube does but with a suave European flavor that is perfect for many of today’s more forward systems. The EL34, EL37, & Mini tubes 6DJ8, 12AX7, 12AU7, etc are some of the longest – lasting, toughest, finest sounding tubes ever made! Mullard is one of the few tubes that have the almost magical ability to separate the noise from the music, and the ability to present the two in different places on the soundstage. This is something that transistors never do! Mullard did go into a gradual slide, correlating to general “efficiency & modernizing” starting on the late 60s and got pretty bad by the late 70s. It was all over by 1981. There also seems to be a good number of tubes coming to the surface that seem to be made by someone else, but on the same machinery that are completely sub-standard. They seem to be from the early 80s. The “other guys” sell these as the real stuff and YOU suffer.

Myles:  in 2008-2009 a group of folks tried to bring the old Mullard plant back into operation.  They had a few new design tube offerings that looked very promising but could not get the funding to continue.

M & O
Marconi – Osram later known as M&O Valve was founded in 1919 by the joining of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co., and The Edison General Electric Co. (Osram). This formed, what was at the time one of the largest pools of electron tube making experience in Great Britain. They continued making fine radio tubes, mostly for use in Europe until the Post WW-2 Hi-Fi boom hit in the 1950s and audio began to be big business. Big beam-power & pentode business like the 6L6 by R.C.A. and Tung-Sol’s 6550 in the U.S. and the EL-34 in Europe. Well M&O was not one to be left behind, so they sat down and carefully designed three, direct drop-in competitors for all three of the new high-power audio outputs. These were of course the KT-66 for the R.C.A. 6L6, the KT-77 for the EL-34, and the KT-88 to compete with Tung-Sols 6550. These tubes are some of the most suave, rich, classy pentodes ever made period. They have the real-thing greatness that is so rare these days. It has offended me for 14 years that the Chinese, Russians and their American distributors have had the audacity to put the designation KT-66, 77, & 88 on any and all of the JUNK that came down the pike! And, by how many members of the U.S. audiophile press were and still are to this day, standing in line to glorify the emperor’s new clothes. For the entire first half of this century, the very finest minds in the world were applied to making these tubes, starting with Thomas Edison. To give you an example of what goes onto the making of these tubes let me relate an event that happened a couple of years ago. I had a visitor from Germany who is a super sharp chemist and hangs out with the aristocrat types in Europe. He is a member of the Royal Academy of Science but doesn’t know, or care much, about tubes or audio. So, he is sitting in my living room having coffee and he looks down at some tubes lying around and launches off about how one of his elderly friends at the Royal Academy used to be one of the chief chemists at M & O. They used to talk about corporate culture, trade secrets and how closely guarded many of the chemical & metallurgical processes were, as they had been worked out over the proceeding half-century. He mentioned that the old guard, Edison & Marconi, (and the next generation after) set the example of guarding important formulas & processes because of the patent wars they had fought all their lives. Even at that, he said with all of the equipment in front of you and everything running well, that the ticklish nature of making the finest tubes (inconsistencies in raw materials etc.) is more like cooking than anything else and they knew that someone without their experience could never make tubes quite the same.

Well all I can say is that these guys had it because it is now 1999 and damn near of all of the hundreds of real KT-88s, 77s & 66s I have distributed over the last 6 years are still making sweet music for their purchasers! This includes 20 KT-88s that run in a pair of Jadis JA-200s that were tubed up in 1995. Not only have they not missed a single beat but they still all measure and look almost NEW! I have had my own personal set of 4 for 16 years and they are still perfect. M & O made these tubes from 1957 until 1976 or so and then re-introduced them in 1982. Unfortunately these later ones were, of course, not up to the previous production quality, and it was all over for good in 1988.

SIEMENS
Siemens & Halske was a quality German tube manufacturer from way back. They made an excellent 12 volt series of tubes (12AX7, etc.) but nothing that special. However those of us that go back 20 or 30 years with the 6DJ8 know that when it comes to frame grid tubes (6DJ8, 6922, 7308), Siemens really shines and has always been one of the very best. This is not surprising, as that part of the world (Germany & Holland) produces some of the world’s finest machinists. And that is what you need because the 6DJ8 tube uses a very tightly strung tungsten grid wire that is 0.00029 inches in diameter! This is the smallest tungsten wire that can be drawn consistently and is not even visible to the eye without a close look! But this was not new to Siemens as they had been experimenting and producing a tube, which was a predecessor to the frame grid back in 1926, it was the OCK tube, developed for undersea cable amplifiers. Well, what does all this experience and intrinsic skill give your music? A very quiet, smooth and neutral tube that has as much or more mid and high end detail as anything else ever made. The Siemens are particularly good at being free from noise & mic. and staying that way for a good long time. (I am talking about early production, not the mid- and late- 70s stuff) The only problem I have ever heard voiced about a Siemens 6-volt tubes would be in a system that was already too far on the light side and really needed a richer tube.

R.C.A.
Centered in Harrison New Jersey on the sight of Thomas Edison’s original lamp works and not too far from Menlo Park where his “invention factory” started it all, R.C.A was the backbone of the receiving tube industry in the U.S. R.C.A. was a very well run corporation from the beginning, and was in many ways the cornerstone for tube manufacturing worldwide. I say this because they developed and (if by no other means than sheer volume), standardized most of the basing system worldwide.

Consistency is an R.C.A. herald and this consistency showed in their tubes all the way from the 1920s to the 1970s! R.C.A. tubes have an accuracy that is never hard, just accurate! Tonally the mini’s, 12AX7, etc. seem to be just a hair on the softer side of a Telefunken if you could give them any kind of label at all. The power tubes from the 6L6 to the 845 also have this broad balance from top to bottom with all the natural detail and sweetness of the real thing. R.C.A. never tooled up for the 6DJ8 so any such tube labeled as such was made by someone else. Unfortunately the entire R.C.A. receiving tube division was liquidated in a 12 day auction during the fall of 1976, this basically broke the back of the tube manufacturing industry (and the supporting industries) in the U.S.A.

Western Electric
The mother of all Electronics Companies. Western Electric always did a pretty good job of documenting it’s activities, & here we see the setting of the stage upon which some of the finest electron tubes ever to be made would appear. By it’s 50th anniversary (1919), Western Electric had already been making telephone repeater tubes for 5 years. 1919 was also the year the first large-scale public address system utilizing tube amplification was demonstrated. (Peter Jensen was also doing systems but at a much smaller scale.) The event was New York’s “Victory Day” celebration after WW-1. This system used 113 loudspeakers and approximately 66 tubes! Eighty-five years later thousands of Western Electric tubes & speakers still make beautiful music.

TUNG-SOL
Tung-Sol was an old hand at electron tubes and such. Starting in 1907 they developed the first successful electric headlamp for cars, they followed that in 1913 with the two filament high and low beam headlight in a single bulb. They also developed the flashing turn signal, and made that little thing that goes click, click under the dashboard for almost every American car until the 1970’s, yes, we all grew up listening to Tung-Sol. In the 1920’s they entered the electronics field and applied their basic company policy “make the best that can be made.” They were leaders along with R.C.A. in the development of sophisticated, statistical quality control systems and one of the greatest qualities of Tung-Sol tubes to this day is consistancy!

Tung-Sol’s greatest contribution to the world of audio was the 6550, conceived and developed for Hi-Fi and introduced in 1955 this tube is still powering many of the world’s greatest sound systems 45 years later! Tung-Sol was a privately held company and was run like a laboratory this gave T-S tubes some of the best metallurgy and chemistry that has ever been pulled off in actual production. Tough as nails and as sweet as tupelo honey, all Tung-Sol tubes are as accurate, neutral and dynamic as you could ask for, very much like a Telefunken which is what they remind me of.

SYLVANIA
Sylvania electronics of Emporium, Pennsylvania was the second largest receiving tube manufacturer and R.C.A’s arch rival. As with most of the “New Jersey” bunch, Sylvania got its start in the light bulb business. Yes it was the light bulb manufacturers who had the skills and experience in glasswork, metallurgy & high vacuum that are needed to make a fine tube. Like the rest of the NJ bunch, Sylvania sought out and retained the most skilled men and women available, including former Edison employees. They also lured away R.C.A.’s chief tube engineer of seven years, Roger T. Wise in 1927. This was a real jewel in Sylvania’s crown, and was reportedly announced with much fanfare. It’s hard to say why he did it for sure, but he moved out to Emporium and built a beautiful house 5 months before he took up his post at Sylvania which makes me think that part of the reason for the change was he just wanted to get out of the smoke and clatter of NJ to start his new family. He was having his first child and Sylvania’s tube plant was nestled in the beautiful, wooded, rolling hills outside Emporium, PA, a point they stressed in their recruiting efforts. Another one of Sylvania’s main philosophies was to start with the highest quality materials possible, and they were very good at it. They were so good that by 1948, they were the largest supplier of getters, wire and other internal tube components in the industry. Their getters were so good that most major tube manufacturers in America used them and their wire was good enough to be used extensively in Western Electric tubes! This emphasis on material and employees showed in the final product to. Even to the casual observer, Sylvania tubes manufactured during the golden years (1920’s-1950’s) simply exude an intrinsic beauty with their large, sweeping, mirror-finish getters and often, optical-quality micas. In certain tube types, the early Sylvania simply blows away everything else. Unfortunately, good things often don’t last and Sylvania was one of those. The tooling held out pretty good up until the late 70’s maybe even the 80’s but the chemistry and intrinsic quality of the entire package went to hell in the late 50’s. Of course, some 96 percent or so of what is out there for sale today is the horrid sounding mil. spec. Phillips branded stuff from the 70’s and 80’s but you won’t have to worry about that here.

Myles:  Unfortunately there is no information in this piece on Raytheon who made my favorite 12AX7.  This information on the vintage companies cane from Vintage Tube Services. There is MUCH more information, great photos, old advertisements and lots of great things at http://www.vintagetubeservices.com/

– the end-

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>Perhaps the most impressive person I have ever met?

>

Update on February 7, 2011.  Andrew Bales has been named Fundraising Professional of the Year.  The story can be seen here: 

Most anybody who has read this blog has seen me write about Union Rescue Mission and their CEO Andy Bales on many occasions.

I would guess that most folks that have met Andy through nothing more than my blog entries and the reposting of his blog entries are pretty darn impressed with the man.
I thought I would take a few minutes to post the last two pieces written by Andy Bales.  I will also post the direct links.  Some folks don’t follow links so that is why I will also post things here.
Skid Row in Los Angeles is a tough neighborhood to say the least.  If you talk to the L.A.P.D. they will tell you that San Julian Street between 5th and 7th just might be the most dangerous street in Los Angeles.
Yes, it is a rough area.
The rear entrance of Union Rescue Mission ( http://www.urm.org/ ) is on San Julian St.
Back to Andy Bales.
So there are a number of you that are impressed with this man who packs 28 hours into a 24 hour day?  Personally, I could not have kept up with the man when I was 20 years old.
Impressive?  You have no idea.
Take a few minutes to read this post from the end of January by Andy.
After Some Tough News, Moving Ahead

by Rev. Andy on Thursday, January 20th, 2011, Filed Under Rev Andy’s Blog

I have to admit I have had a bit of a blog writer鈥檚 block for the last few weeks as I have wrestled with some bad news. Right at Thanksgiving, during the overnight event where we deep fry 200 turkeys for our Union Rescue Mission Thanksgiving Feast, my kidneys failed, and within 12 hours I gained 20 lbs of fluid, mostly in my feet, and as I later learned, in my lungs. I made it through that big 24 hour event and helped serve 4500 precious people Thanksgiving Dinner. I struggled through the holidays, kept going, but sensed that I was losing my 40 year battle with Type 1 diabetes and the 12 year miraculous effort to keep my kidneys functioning adequately enough to get by. I feared the worst, contemplating what life would be like on a disability income and even more scary, apart from URM.
I went through some tests, and prayed a lot, quietly. My fantastic Dr. Kumar tripled my meds and helped me shed 25 lbs. of fluid quickly. After some struggles adjusting to the medications, the quick drops in my blood pressure that had me wondering whether I could even get up and speak at public events or have the strength to walk two blocks to the drug store and back, the news from the tests was a bit encouraging as learned I still have 16% kidney function. 15% and below is considered kidney failure.
The most encouraging words to me came from Dr. Kumar, in front of my wife Bonnie. He not only told me that I can keep working at URM for now, but told me that even when I go on dialysis, probably by July or August of this year, I can keep working! I can do dialysis at home 10 hours each night during my sleep. In fact, he said, 鈥淵ou need to keep working until you drop! Going on disability will not keep you alive! It will kill you.鈥
I am working with the Union Rescue Mission Board of Directors and leadership team to select a right hand person to carry on just in case things go awry, but God is giving me the strength and the help to carry on in this wonderful job He has placed me in, serving my good friends who are experiencing homelessness on the streets of Los Angeles. When I shared my tough news in Chapel at URM, I was touched by the number of guys who sincerely came up to me offering to donate a kidney to save my life. The guys here check on me every day.
I have signed up to receive not only a new kidney but also a new pancreas! I am officially on a waiting list. Doctors prefer to do both a kidney and pancreas as getting only a kidney will not be as life lengthening as receiving both. I am a bit apprehensive, fearful, and have had to work up the nerve to move ahead, but since the alternative is not so good, I am moving ahead. Thanks for keeping me, my family, URM, and our precious guests in your prayers.

The original post can be seen at

Not impressed enough yet?

Whenever the temperature rises above 85 degrees on the streets of Skid Row the folks at Union Rescue Mission hit the streets with cold water bottles.  This shot above was taken by Don Garza on the hottest day in Los Angeles recorded history.  It was 113 degrees when this shot was taken.  The cart of water weighs 1,500 pounds, 3/4 of a ton.  Andy is pushing the cart.  For some reason that eludes me, the man is smiling.
 
Moving along, here is Andy’s latest from today:
 
Remarkable Work on LA鈥檚 Skid Row

by Rev. Andy on Tuesday, February 1st, 2011, Filed Under Rev Andy’s Blog

I was recently pushed off of a panel on LA Homelessness, put on by KPCC Radio here in Los Angeles. My guess was that some did not want to hear my views on homelessness in Los Angeles, especially regarding the effectiveness of LAPD鈥檚 Safer Cities Initiative. This is what I would have shared:
Much has been made of the good work of Common Ground and others in New York for reducing homelessness, specifically their work to clean up Times Square and get everyone experiencing homelessness off of the streets and into permanent supportive housing. It was, indeed, good work. However, to draw the conclusion that the good work that has taken place in New York some how discredits the effectiveness of the work being done through LAPD鈥檚 Safer Cities Initiative and other work here is extremely na茂ve. The circumstances leading up to the much touted success in New York need to be put into perspective. When the initiative to clean up Times Square was launched, there were 55 people experiencing chronic homelessness on the streets. In essence, Common Ground鈥檚 excellent work reduced the numbers from 55 to 0 or 1 or 2 occasional people on the street.
During a similar time period, Los Angeles made an effort to bring order, clean up, and reduce homelessness on the streets of Skid Row. A powerful series of articles by Steve Lopez of the LA Times titled 鈥淟ife on The Streets鈥 shed a much needed light on the desperate situation precious people were experiencing on Skid Row.
Part of the response to the desperate situation Steve helped all to see was the LAPD鈥檚 Safer Cities Initiative. 50 officers were added to the force to exclusively focus on crime in Skid Row, which at that time was accurately described as 鈥淢ardis Gras on Crack鈥! If you鈥檝e seen the chaotic scene from the movie 鈥淭he Soloist鈥, let me assure you that this was no exaggeration of the conditions on Skid Row at that time. Union Rescue Mission supported and still supports the Safer Cities Initiative. We helped train the officers on responding to people experiencing homelessness and dealing with mental health issues. We joined the officers and carried on outreach while they enforced the law. Before officers carried out maximum enforcement, we were sent ahead to offer folks the services URM provides. This was all an effort to change the culture of Skid Row from lawlessness to a culture of somewhat order. And it worked!
Before Safer Cities was put into action, I would often leave the building at URM and find myself needing to jump in to an altercation to save someone from being beaten to death with pipes or worse. One episode had me standing above a man with my feet on each side of his head to protect him from vicious kicks and hits with pipes coming from the 2 men and 3 women attacking him. I shouted 鈥淚 think you鈥檝e made your point. I think he gets it鈥 as I ducked the kicks and the swings. This was not an uncommon occurrence.
Before Safer Cities, during the two times a year when 300 young volunteers from URM would deliver care packages, we call them boxes of love, to the surrounding SRO鈥檚 and hotel rooms they would be laced with racial slurs, cussed at, threatened, and see things that made them sick to their stomachs and cause them to return to URM early and retreat to their homes. After Safer Cities, the beatings described above became less common, and our young volunteers no longer get threatened, or called racial slurs, or see things that make them ill.
While there is still much work to be done, the culture of Skid Row has changed. Many other efforts along with Safer Cities have been carried out to bring about the change. Union Rescue Mission opened a place for women and children and Senior ladies, Hope Gardens Family Center, far away from the mean streets of Skid Row, and worked with others, including LA County and Beyond Shelter, to make sure there were no women and children living on the streets of Skid Row. URM doubled our capacity, moving from housing 500 to housing 1000 precious people. While some agencies and missions responded to the recession by reducing the programs and services they offered and cut staff, since the fall of 2008, URM not only increased capacity, but tripled the number of meals served each day. We opened a wing on a floor to assist two parent families and single dads with children and focused resources to help families experiencing homelessness for the 1st time. In fact, URM is the only mission in LA that serves men, women, single moms with children, single dads with children, two parent families with children, and accepts families with teenagers!
We have not been alone. Skid Row Housing Trust, SRO Housing, and Volunteers of America built permanent supportive housing 鈥 100鈥檚 if not 1000鈥檚 of units 鈥 and housed some of the most vulnerable of people on Skid Row. URM played a key role, with the city, to stop the dumping of hospital patients and patients from mental hospitals on the streets of Skid Row. Stopping the faucet of people pouring into Skid Row has allowed us to focus on the folks who are already here. We also played a key role in bringing about an injunction against the top gang leaders and drug dealers on the streets of Skid Row. Removing the predators preying on the precious people of Skid Row also helps us to focus on helping the people already here.
In all, together we鈥檝e reduced the number of precious people living on the streets of Skid Row from 2000 in 2005 to 750 today. That is remarkable! I need to ask, what is more remarkable, going from 55 to 1 or 2, in Times Square, or going from 2000 to 750 on Skid Row? Don鈥檛 you think that LA should receive some credit for this transformation鈥t least as much as New York does?
Without question we have a long way to go. There are still too many precious vulnerable people on the streets. We should not rest while there is even one precious human being on the streets of our city. We need to live up to our name, the City of Angels. We need more services, in and out of Skid Row. We need to regionalize services so that each neighborhood, each city, each region provides opportunity for their own neighbors who are experiencing homelessness. We need more well run, permanent supportive housing, in and out of Skid Row.
URM is transitioning from emergency beds that can be merely enabling to a Gateway Program that is much more empowering, holding guests accountable for sobriety, offering case management, allowing them to pay a portion of their way rather than frittering away all of their resources and allowing them to rest in their bunks at any time and offering a place to store their valuables in return.
We need stronger law enforcement, not less. We need the officers of the LAPD to get out of their cars, off of their megaphones, and walking a beat on Skid Row and dealing with precious people face to face, community policing. We still have too much drug trade and too much violence on Skid Row. I want to share an example from this past Saturday. I was sitting in the URM lobby and I overheard a man coaching another man on how to collect money from the girls working on the streets. His advice was 鈥渢o be tough and firm, brutal to those girls.鈥
I recognized him as muscle for the gangs on the streets. He was using the foulest of language and I could not believe he was even in our building, let alone coaching another man on how to be a strong arm debt collector. I鈥檝e seen he and other guys chase down folks who owed them money and beat them into submission and rescued a camera crew from a beating a couple of months ago by stepping in between them. I said to him, 鈥淵ou can鈥檛 talk like that in this mission. You can鈥檛 talk about that in this mission.鈥 He answered, 鈥淚 have a 1st amendment right to speak to my friend.鈥 I said, angrily, 鈥淢aybe on the street, but not here. What are you doing in here? GET OUT!鈥 I chased him and his friend out the front door. On his way out, he said with expletives, 鈥淟ife is a @#^*&#, and then YOU die!鈥 Stuff like this still goes on every day on Skid Row. People are preyed on. Gangs take over the SRO鈥檚, occupy corners, prey on people鈥檚 addictions, and violently collect debts. It will take even more remarkable and herculean efforts and a stepped up Safer Cities with strong community policing and an intolerance of mistreatment of human beings by all of us to move to the day when we live up to truly being the City of Angels.
The original post:

In closing, I just want to say that the two people that have impressed me the most in my life are Captain Nemo and Andy Bales.  Andy Bales is real.

Myles Rose is the founder of 锘縂uitar Amplifier Blueprinting which provides support services and training for touring bands and individuals as well as blueprinting services.   You may contact me from the link.  My direct contact information is provided as well as links to two of the Internet forums where I answer technical questions.  You may also ask questions in any post in this blog by using the comment application on each post.
When I am not doing something related to music I do what I can to support the homeless of Los Angeles either directly on the streets at night or through my good friends at Union Rescue Mission.
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>Two parents that have the magic

>

Last weekend, one of the daughters of two of my friends had a birthday party.  My friends are Dan and Wendy Boul.  Dan is the co-owner and founder of http://www.65amps.com/ but this is not abount amps.
This is really about how two people can raise children in today’s world that are such amazing kids in so many ways.  Rather than elaborate on the qualities of Dan, Wendy, their children, their dogs and their home which has made so many feel so welcome I will just take a moment to mention the birthday party.
Dan and Wendy’s daughter is in elementary school but has more empathy and is more observant than many adults. 
Her daughter requested that she did not want conventional gifts for her birthday.  She asked for donations for Union Rescue Mission to help the homeless.  Today I spent a bit of time telling Dan the best way to accomplish the donation.  Going to http://www.urm.org/ and hitting the donate button would step him through the process where he could put his daughter’s name in the form so she would receive the thank you letter from Union Rescue Mission herself.
Don’t assume that the Boul family are strangers to the homeless situation.  I stopped counting how many times they have helped me buy the snacks and items I take down to skid row in the evenings.  I’d like to take a moment here to just once again say thank you to the Boul family and to the folks at 65 Amps who have also helped individually and collectively.
Wendy and Dan Boul

Thank you again to Wendy and Dan.  You are darn impressive parents.  I cannot impress on you how impressed I am with both of you and your entire family.

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