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    Listening to MSN Radio

    I have lately been listening to MSN.com radio on the Internet. What’s really cool about it is the fact that you can choose the artist you like the best and at first that artist will come on with a selection, then more songs will follow of the same type of music – often by virtually unknown artists that you wouldn’t otherwise have known about.

    For instance, I put in Cat Stevens, as I’m writing this to you. First came a couple of his songs, followed by one by REM then songs by Hall and Oates and then came singers I’d never heard of: Cary Judd, Heatmiser and Belle and Sebastion.

    Let me tell you how to customize your own personal station: Simply go to the MSN.com Web site, click on “music,” then “radio.” A window pops up with the word “Pandora” and you just pick an artist or song and the Web site does the rest.

    Of course, you will want a good set of speakers hooked up to your computer to listen to music like this. I’ve a pair of awesome speakers and bass woofer that came with my computer for only $30.

    With my home stereo system I have BSR speakers (no longer made) and a BSR monster woofer that shakes the windows. I often watch my favorite TV shows with the sound through the stereo system so it has a theater quality sound.

    The truth of the matter is I have no idea of how to do technical kinds of stuff like that and I’m not sure at all how it was done. Bottom line is, it works. I simply told Herman that I wanted theater surround sound and he figured it out.

    I just heard a song by the Kinks in my Cat Stevens genre radio, and I really liked it, and don’t normally like them. It just shows how you get exposed to songs you wouldn’t have otherwise by listening like this.

    I’m not normally exposed to pop music at all in that I generally listen to classical music stations. Now, if you ask me about Antonio Vivaldi or Mozart, I could go on endlessly. But I certainly don’t know the latest pop singers.

    Right now as I write this another Cat Stevens song is on called “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” from his album “Footsteps in the Dark” and I don’t know if I ever heard it before, but I really like it.

    Let me make one comment to you about Cat Stevens. I have read that he has embraced Islam and for 20 years has had no releases because of supposed religious convictions. He and his family live in England and I also read he was not allowed access into the U.S. According to Wikipedia: At the height of his fame, Stevens decided to become a convert to Islam (when I was about 17) adopted the name Yusuf Islam, leaving his music career to devote himself to humanitarian causes in the Muslim community. He now goes as Yusef Islam and his latest album is called Another Cup. I have listened to some cuts from it and I like it a lot.

    A detailed report on why he was not allowed in the U.S. can be found on the Wikipedia Website, another free source I have found on the Internet.

    So, happy listening and researching on the Web!

    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com