Archived Posts of Yore
Here you will find older digressions, faithfully restored in all their rambling glory.
Yesterday, President Bush marked the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion with a speech hailing its success, calling it a "major strategic victory."
Really? OK, let's review the apparent criteria for success… by looking at the FACTS: read more.
Obama delivered this speech with intelligence, eloquence, and blunt honesty - elements sorely missing in the political landscape of today. read more.
No supermarket? No pizza parlor? No problem. But no bar? NO WAY! Good old Tuxedo (yes, my hometown) looks forward to the re-opening of a local watering hole. "Little town" news, but no small concern for us who still hold Tuxedo dear to our hearts.
Interweb and the Greek Telecom, Part II (well... as documented, at least)
More weeks roll off the calendar, and the Greek's national telephone company, OTE, continues to astound me with their snail's pace in delivering what back home is fairly basic service. But this is Greece, after all - so everything is siga, siga - slowly, slowly. Plus, OTE is a monopoly - lack of competition makes for mediocrity.
To review: within the first couple of weeks of my arrival back in April, I inquired to get a phone line and DSL. I was told by a not-too-friendly OTE clerk (she was either having a bad day, didn't like me b/c my Greek is broken at best and asked her to milate anglika - speak english - so I was just a stupid American, or both) that we first needed to provide several types of documentation to apply for a phone line, one of which was a tax ID number. OK, fair enough - we'll play.
Getting the tax ID took another week. We went back with that and the other documents, and put the order in for the phone line. They said we should here from a technician in 7 to 10 days, and if not we should call. A week then 10 days go by, and nothing. I try calling the numbers - mind you, these are the telephone company's phone numbers - and they don't work! The comedy (if it didn't hurt so much) begins...
I stopped by the OTE office soon after - now over two weeks since the original request - to see what happened. A different not-too-friendly OTE clerk (perhaps suffering the same issues as the first one encountered earlier) told me that it would take much longer than 2 weeks, and whoever told me that was wrong (how I wish her compatriot was at the desk, so I could point to her and say "she's the one who told me that" and then let the two unfriendlies hash it out). She told me it would take at least another month! I implored that there must be another way - to which she tersely said I can go to the technicians building and ask them directly to expedite the order. Huh... if that's the case, wouldn't everybody just go and ask for quicker service? But the siga siga rule again plays a hand here - most Greeks won't bother to ask and will just wait. Good for me.
I arrived at the technician's building, not a far walk across town, and find the place to be seemingly abandonded. After wandering around the hallways and following the sound of voices, I found a few people "working" - they were all sitting around a few desks, talking and smoking cigarettes. Very laid back. With no Greeks demanding timely service, I suppose the technicians have plenty of free time! Until I arrived...
to be continued...
Interweb and the Greek Telecom
A week and change later, and I've found the Internet. Unfortunately, it will be a while before I get broadband access in our apartment in town, as the National Greek Telephone Company moves at the same pace as all other things Greek - that is, "siga, siga" - slowly, slowly... v–e–r–y s–l–o–w–l–y.
But the Greeks are also very patient (one must be if everything moves at a snail's pace), and this quality works in my favor. For the price of a coffee, I can sit practically all day in a local cafe that, joyously for me, also offers free Wi-Fi access. The connection is fast, the waiters are friendly, and seemingly they couldn't care less that I hang around all day with my Dell, using their hotspot and order only coffee - that's what most of the Greeks there are doing, anyway, minus the laptop.
I still long for the über-convenience of anytime access from home (where I can work in my underoos if I want), but this is a decent interim solution while I wait for the phone company to deliver interweb goodness to my doorstep. Then, at least within the confines of my home, via a hopefully fast broadband connection, I can temporarily escape the otherwise pleasant pace of Greek life. "Siga, siga!"
Spidey 3 - Overseas Release!
In honor of the release of Spiderman 3 - which opened here today, a full 2 days before release in the US of A - I proudly introduce an encore presentation of The Superhero Quiz. Guess who I am?
Hello from Crete!
I finally made the jump - having arrived last week in Chania, Crete. That's one of the Greek Isles. Yep... I'm waaaay over here in the Mediterranean for the next few months. So... yeah. Here I am. "Ime edho" (let's be hooked on phonics - my keyboard don't type no greek). And yes, it's spectacular. But where oh where did the Internet go? I'll explain more... once I answer that question for myself.
Stanley Clarke @ Blue Note, NYC
I am going to see the legendary bass player tonight! I'll post a review of sorts here later - should be great!
UPDATE: OK, I still need to write that review. But to sum up: it was frickin' awesome. He was incredible, the band was incredible. I got an autograph and a photo, to be posted soon!
Bx3 @ NYC
12:55am - Wednesday, 2/28/2007
I just got back from the incredible Bx3 show at B.B. Kings in Manhattan (8pm show, Tuesday 2/27). They bill the show as "Three Legendary Bassists... One Extraordinary Night..." - that about spells it out. Incredible!
Stu Hamm and Jeff Berlin were of course phenomenal. But Billy Sheehan, IMHO, took the crowd to another level - he was jaw-droppingly intense! And I have to mention Jude Gold on guitar and John Mader on drums; these two guys played all night, for three sets with three top-shelf bassists playing in different styles (Jeff = Jazz | Stu = Rock | Billy = SHREDDING INSANITY!) - and both Jude and John more than held their own.
Last night's show was the second-to-last gig on the Bx3 Tour, and it was in front of a NYC audience. So I think it's fairly safe to say that those in attendance (which included my bro John and buddy Mike) witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime stellar performance by this three-headed bass monster.
NYC Rats Like KFC
This is a surprise? Come on, remember the "roaches in the taco" stories? These tales are more urban and less myth. Infestations can't be avoided in a city this big and overpopulated. While most any city eatery will have some pest problems (I could tell you a tale!), common sense and simple observation of typical sanitary conditions will tell you that fast food eateries are definitely going to be the worst. If you find a few rat droppings in your KFC, serves you right for eating that crap in the first place, I say. Anyway, this is just what NYC vendors call "natural flavoring." Mmmm - bon appétit!
NYC Gives One Helluva Snow Job
Sanitation Department really blows...
If you live in New York City and have a car, then you know the city did not suspend alternate-side of the street parking rules following the Valentine's Day snow storm. Mayor Mike said the Sanitation Department needed the cars moved so it could plow the streets.
Fine, we all all want to help out - the sooner the streets are cleared of snow the better. And nobody but the city's Department of Finance likes parking tickets.
So here in Brooklyn, we did our part on my block, moving our cars for alternate-side of the street parking between 11:30am to 1pm. But our streets are still covered with snow, now frozen solid. Why? Because the Sanitation Department's plows never came through. The city did manage to get their tow trucks out on time, however, rolling through at exactly 1pm to tow away any double parked cars. Now that's service!
UPDATE: In a rare apology and reversal on policy, Mayor Bloomberg announced that he was wrong to not suspend alternate-side street parking rules after the snowfall, and that all tickets issues would be void. You can rip them up! Though, maybe it might be best to hang on to them just in case, knowing how the city's Dept. of Finance works....
Meanwhile the city's plows still haven't shown up to clear the streets, even though we all again moved our cars to the other side of the street specifically so they could get to the snow. But I guess we're asking for too much.