The Free Press, Mankato, MN


January 5, 2013

Krohn: Hobbies break up digital assaults


It’s partly the tangible joy of holding an album, appreciating the cover art, carefully setting the needle in the groove.

But it’s also a growing realization that there is something special about the sound coming out of vinyl — a warmer, soothing experience.

It’s a reminder that new knowledge and technological advancements don’t necessarily create the best human experience. Crystal clear, digitally mastered music — through its very purity — loses something.

Or as the Rolling Stones’ keyboardist put it when praising vinyl: “Digital is zeroes and ones, man, anyway you look at it.” 

Nostalgic hobbies aren’t always a harmless, enjoyable retreat to our youth. Sometimes it’s deadly.

The University of South Florida reported that retired baby boomers are dying in record numbers on motorcycles.

The 60-year-old might revel in reliving his easy rider days of yore, but his reflexes, eyesight and overall bike skills have eroded, said the university.

But in the search for a more tactile experience in a digital age, there’s something more at work than mere nostalgia.

When grandkids come to our house, they more often bypass the computer games and noise-making gadgets and dig out a barn, buildings blocks or Etch A Sketch.

A 6-year-old can’t have nostalgia. They, too, instinctively find the experience of hands-on creativity compelling. 

Tim Krohn is a Free Press staff writer. He can be contacted at 344-6383 or

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