Friday, February 26, 2010

today'$ $hit li$t: Capital One


yes, there is snow on the ground.
and yes, some light snow is still falling.
and this morning the city changed its seemingly determined mind by closing schools for the day, which does let you know that this is more than a slight dusting.
but . . .

every bank in the neighborhood of Astoria is open, except for . . .
(wait for it)
Capital One.

and not just one branch.
the Capital One branch on the corner of Steinway and 31st Avenue (one block from a subway stop serving the R, G and V lines) is closed.
no note on the door.
no working pens at their outside ATM (in case, you know, you might want to do some banking on the last Friday afternoon of the month).

the Capital One branch on the corner of 32nd Street and Broadway is also closed, despite its proximity (less than one short block away) from the running at or close to scheduled above ground N and W lines.
closed.
no note on the door.
no working pens inside their unlocked vestibule (in case, you know, you might want to do some banking at their ATM on the last Friday afternoon of the month).

and worse yet, the gentleman at the Subway across the street (32nd and Broadway (give 'em some business, leave 'em some tips)) who graciously loaned me a pen so I could fill out the ATM envelope (the rest of my deposit - signed checks and filled out slip - was already prepared) said that the bank had been open until around 1.
HAD BEEN OPEN.

damn, the worst is over, campers.
it's all down hill from here.
there are children on every single street out playing in the snow.
so if you made it into work, you certainly can make it home from work because THE WORST IS OVER.

let me repeat: EVERY OTHER BANK IN ASTORIA, Astoria Federal, Chase, et al, is still open.

but Capital One decided to close the doors on its customers on the last Friday afternoon of the month with no notice, no announcement and no explanation (and no working writing utensils anywhere near their ATMs).

a long time ago I was taught that retail banking is a service industry.
the folks at Capital One, at least in Astoria, don't seem to have been taught the same lesson.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

from today's Toyota hearings on Capitol Hill



"After six miles, God intervened."

- Toyota driver Rhonda Smith of Sevierville, TN (just down the road from Dollywood)

I am not a patient man


unless an hour and three minutes in a waiting room with no available chair, followed by another 22 minutes in the examination room by myself but with an empty table AND chair, is truly an unreasonable amount of time to wait for a doctor's appointment
(is it? or is it just me?).

the one positive is that I don't seem to be dying at any more rapid a rate than I was before entering (and I got some reading done - about an hour and 25 minutes' worth).

house party veteran


Will Kimbrough releases his latest this very day.
go buy a copy.


and in one of my better recent segues, Will Johnson and Anders Parker have announced a springtime house party tour through the Southeast and up the East Coast and then down through what I guess is the Midwest even though most of it is still east of the Mississippi (I was not a geography major) and they're looking for volunteer hosts.
I swear I would be all over this if I had a larger apartment and fewer neighbors (screw the parking), even if it meant extra therapy of getting over my fear of strangers in my home (this fear has never actually manifested itself (well, not since the Green House days in Tuscaloosa), but I bet it would if I ever put myself in a position to allow a bunch of strangers in my house).
of course, I think there's a very strong chance that Will's band Centro-matic may well be the best band in America.
my recommendation for a starting place: Fort Recovery

Monday, February 22, 2010

speaking of Fozzy . . .


Amazon is offering a free download of their song "Let The Madness Begin" (can you tell Fozzy's a metal band?) today.

it's been a while


since I've been up early enough to catch (out of the corner of my eye) a full episode of the West Wing.
which doesn't, you know, mean I'm relaxed.

if I was Twittering personally rather than, say, professionally (more on that later) I would hasten to mention that the new Smackdown heavyweight champion is Fozzy lead singer Chris Jericho and the new Raw heavyweight champ (though he wasn't even entered in the Elimination Chamber) is Batista (one of my brushes with greatness: in a San Francisco Walgreen's (boy, that makes me sound worldly, doesn't it?)).

currently reading: Padgett Powell's The Interrogative Mood (same with my spouse)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

the last book I ever re-read


"He hated it when you called him a moron. All morons hate it when you call them a moron."

"She didn't look like any dope to me. She looked like she might have a pretty damn good idea what a bastard she was the mother of. But you can't always tell - with somebody's mother, I mean. Mothers are all slightly insane."

"If I were a piano player, I'd play it in the goddam closet."

"If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she's late? Nobody."

"The whole thing was sort of funny, in a way, if you thought about it, and all of a sudden I did something I shouldn't have. I laughed. And I have one of these very loud, stupid laughs. I mean, if I ever sat behind myself in a movie or something, I'd probably lean over and tell myself to please shut up."

"You should've seen this one old guy that was about fifty."

"Finally, what he did, instead of taking back what he said, he jumped out the window."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I very much doubt


a dishwasher exists that can satisfactorily clean pots and pans in a single cycle, even if it is termed "a pot scrubber."

I very much doubt there's transcription software that can really and truly "provide up to 99% recognition accuracy," but we're giving MacSpeech Scribe a shot anyway.

I very much doubt the University of North Carolina's men's basketball team will reach this year's field of 64 (they lost again today at Boston College), especially since overall record, conference record, RPI and strength of schedule are all supposed to count more than birthright.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

it snowed here last night


and it snowed again today.
all wet and slushy and occasionally beautiful.

which was not the forecast for Mobile, Alabama.

happy Mardi Gras!

Monday, February 15, 2010

happy President's Day


the History Channel has been broadcasting their Presidents series since 8 a.m., but for some reason cuts it off around the Civil War.

most interesting tidbit thus far: Dolley Madison's (not a President, by the way) favorite flavor of ice cream was oyster

second most interesting factoid: First Lady Rachel Jackson married Andrew Jackson before she divorced her first husband (so the first bigamist to live in the White House was not actually a U.S. President)

song of the day: Great Plains' "Rutherford B. Hayes"

oh, and we're back from Orlando.

Monday, February 8, 2010

now that the New Orleans Saints are Super Bowl champions,


what are you going to do?

well, like Drew Brees, we're going to Disney World.
or maybe not Disney World, but definitely Orlando.
(anyone have suggestions for things to do in Orlando?)

and again, since all play and no work isn't really something that I do all that well, if you or someone you know lives in the Orlando area, knows how to talk and is ready to use that knowledge, and is either 49 years of age or has lost a job in the past two years, holler at me.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I still believe The Who


were a curiously uninspired choice, even considering that curiously uninspired is a Super Bowl halftime specialty.
but I thought they acquitted themselves quite admirably (certainly eons better than the Up With People halftime performance at Super Bowl XVI).
and let's bestow extra kudos to the stage designer.
well done, dude.

like everyone else in America


or at least everyone else in America outside of Indiana (where folks will be cheering for the Colts) and Louisiana (where folks probably think the Saints will win), I'll be pulling for the Saints but expecting the Colts to win.
here's hoping I'm wrong.
who dat!?!

(boy, Carrie Underwood didn't catch a break when she had to follow Queen Latifah, did she? I'd say QL more than covered the spread.
I certainly hope the game is closer)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

today:


Scott Brown took the oath.

the Dow lost more than 2 1/2% and the S&P 500 lost more than 3% (not saying there's necessarily a connection).

I received an e-mail with the subject heading: "Major Kenny Rogers Announcement"
and it wasn't a joke.

IFC showed Manhattan, a movie that's definitely taken on a different patina since Woody took up with Soon-Yi.

I bought disposable razors when I didn't need any (yeah, it's amazing what all can get lost in such a small dwelling).

and the Times ran a piece based on a rare interview with Don DeLillo.
his new book, Point Omega, was triggered by a summer 2006 visit to MoMA and sounds a lot more interesting than the title would have you believe.

further fallout


from the attempted Taylor Swift/Stevie Nicks duet: "The Assassination of Stevie Nicks" by Tony Gervino (yes, the posted clip has been pulled because of a copyright (rather than embarrassment supposedly) complaint on behalf of the Grammys, but I'm betting you can find it easy enough)

Harvilla interviews (a rarity): the muchly deserving Merrill Garbus, a/k/a tUnE-yArDs

easily the best song on the I'm Not There soundtrack: "Goin' To Acapulco" by Jim James & Calexico

speaking of: My Morning Jacket has announced a quick jaunt through the Southeastern United States and a couple points further north, beginning, oddly enough, in Birmingham at the Alabama Theatre, a/k/a The Showplace of the South (they're also hitting St. Augustine; go figure).
tickets go on sale this Friday and Saturday.

excellent music to wash dishes by: Hold On Now, Youngster by Los Campesinos! (also touring this spring)

last movie I ever saw: The Treatment
though not an end-of-film cliff dive like, say, Ray (seriously, I still can't believe they had the man OPEN HIS EYES!), the dialogue certainly got stiffer (extra starch, I'm guessing) for the big finish

a couple movies before that: Closer
overwrought dialogue pretty much throughout. like, Hey, look at me and how well I can write!

I'm still: looking to interview folks who have lost a job since January 1, 2008 as well as people who are 49 years old (two completely different projects)
holler if you can hear me!

Monday, February 1, 2010

wow

that YouTube embed takes up a bit more room that I figured.
but do I care enough to go back and "fix" it?
not right now, I don't.

wow.
three posts in the past four hours.
something must be going on.
yes, Virginia, something's going on.

I am trying desperately not to begin a new blog.
why does one start a blog?
I know not why (though this guy has some interesting ideas).
why does one continue a blog?
ditto, Jim Bob.

but the purgatory of the Tusk book should soon be over (and if it's not over naturally we'll put the sucker down like they do in Texas) and I am itching to, you know, begin anew.


how relevant is Fleetwood Mac?


or maybe the question should be, how relevant is MTV?

when writing about the Taylor Swift/Stevie Nicks Grammy duet (the cover of "Rhiannon" is truly, truly awful), mtv.com called Nicks "the former Fleetwood Mac singer," not only in their text but in the sub-heading as well (remember when MTV stood for Music Television?).

did Stevie quit again and everyone forgot to tell me or does mtv.com have music writers (in this case Eric Ditzian) who fail to possess even an elementary knowledge of music history?