Thomas Edison was a genius.  His inventions changed the 20th Century.  Did I say he was a genius.  Well, he was.  He was granted 1093 U.S. patents in his lifetime.  Famous for the incandescent light bulb, he was also the inventor of the dictaphone, relay magnets, the kenetiscope, and the electrographic vote-recorder.  That last item could have been put to good use in Iowa last month.  In 1878 Edison also invented the phonograph; a way for reproducing and projecting sound.  What a boon for the Columbia Record Company.  My brother and I took some of our hard earned money from passing newspapers and became subscribers to that company.  Our dad approved, with reservations.  We could only order two records a month; which fulfilled our obligation to Columbia.  The Beatles, Herman's Hermits, The Mamas & The Papas...  Oh, I forgot, the sales pitch for subscribing for at least a year was a "free phonograph."  Battery operated with an adapter for a wall plug.  It was red and came in its own case.  We could take it to parties.  I remember going to sleep with my mom's record of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" playing over and over and over.  Thank goodness for the wall plug in.  Now, that red phonograph has long been trashed.  The LPs of our favorite groups are long gone.  I don't even have a phonograph anymore.  We've moved on to cassette tapes and 8 tracks and MP3s and now our phones.  By the way, Edison was granted multiple patents for improvements to Alexander Graham Bell's telephone.  While the method we use to listen to our music has changed over a century and a half, the pleasure of listening to music never ends.  Whether it's Chopin, Caruso, Gershwin, or Mama Cass or Beyonce or Taylor Swift or Johnny Cash, our music marks us and enlivens us and reminds us we're creatures who share the pleasure of listening.  Would we did more of that than the screaming and criticizing and threatening that seems to fill our TV news.  Thank you, Thomas Edison.