My wife asked what I wanted for my birthday. I said, "A record player." I spent some time at my friend Justin's house in May. He had a record player and a stack of albums that were purchased for very cheap from thrift stores. It made sense. The Salvation Army outlets sell record albums for a dollar a piece. That's about a dime a song compared to $.99 that iTunes charges. And the special bonus features that comes with playing a record; the crackling sounds that people now add to recordings on their own, the big jacket artwork, and the joy of watching the record label's logo spin round and round. Mezmorizing. I hit up the thrift stores before my record player arrived. I left with a Carpenter's album, the Miami Vice television soundtrack, an old Roberta Flack jazz/soul record from 1969, and the landmark recording, "We are the World," which was in great shape and complete with vintage 80's advertisements for their USA for Africa products printed on the record sleeve. My record player arrived on my 40th birthday and I showed my kids how their mother and I used to listen to music when we were kids. The next day, it was "listening to records family time." My oldest daughter, Julia, wanted to listen to the Carpenter's album. I put it on for her and the track "We've Only Just Begun" played while she settled into the chair right next to one of the best birthday presents I've ever received, and she just stared at the album cover as she listened. She sat through the whole first side of that album with her eyes locked on Karen and Richard Carpenter, and I took it in. My daughter was listening to records! It was quite a moment for me. I had introduced her to something from my past and she was enjoying it. My sister-in-law sent me some albums for my birthday, one being an old Elton John record. I played "Crocodile Rock" for my kids and the rest of the night was filled with "La la la la la's," coming from my kid's mouths. There are things we do together as a family that are very important; We got to church together, pray together, eat dinner together, all very vital. Now added to the list is "listening to records." That's my spin on it.