December 23rd, 2008

Good Omens

So it DOESN'T come true...

...I'll say a thought I've thought.

So KINK FM 101.9 is wrapping up its "KINK XL" celebration of 40 years on the air, where for 40 days it's devoted the whole day of programming to songs from one particular year, from 1968 on. Today is nothing but 2007's music; Christmas Eve will be devoted to 2008; and Christmas is the station's 40th anniversary.

I started to worry that Dec. 26th it will suddenly lay off its entire air staff and become either an automated "we play EVERY SONG!!!!!!" station or an "all commercials all the time" format or something. (You think I'm joking, but that format's actually been tried.)

I'm superstitious enough to figure that thinking the thought but not saying it makes it more likely to become The Horrible Truth. This entry should nip it in the bud.
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    Amy Winehouse, "You Know I'm No Good" (released in the U.S. in 2007)
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Good Omens

"Well, what about..."

Reporting from home (yes, I made it home for lunch)...

Give an inch, they take a mile. Anyone who's worked with customers is aware of that: with certain customers (not many, thank goodness), answering more than the absolute minimum of questions will generate more questions, of the "Well, what about..." variety, and it keeps growing like topsy on Jenga: clingy and wobbly and likely to collapse. (That's the weirdest analogy I've come up with lately.)

I spent nearly nine minutes on the phone with someone needing to get from Point A to Point B via Transit Leg 1, Transit Leg 2, and Transit Leg 3. She actually knew most of what she needed to do, but was hung up on how to get from Leg 2 to Leg 3. And she was asking questions based on what two particular bus routes usually do, but one of those routes is cancelled for the day and the other one is detoured (and she knew this), so why was she using those for references? At one point we were going around in circles enough that I finally asked "Ma'am, ask me your question again; I want to be sure I'm actually answering your question, because I don't think I am answering your question." A litte bit of straightening out later, I brought up an online map of downtown Portland and told her the simplest way I could think of to get from Leg 2 to Leg 3, which involved walking seven blocks. "That's a long walk," she said. "They're short blocks," I said. I added that she would be near the Hawthorne Bridge, "and that's your landmark." "Well, what about when..." and she was back to asking about the bus routes that didn't matter today anyway.

*headdesk* I actually headdesked. I rarely actually headdesk. (I love that the Net has made "headdesk" one word.)

I wanted to tell her "Where's your sense of adventure? Walk! Pretend you're in Dr. Zhivago! Seven blocks in Portland is nothing! Do what you already know what to do and you'll see the Hawthorne Bridge! You'll want to head towards the Hawthorne Bridge. Please tell me you actually recognize the Hawthorne Bridge. It's one of the most iconic bridges in Portland. It starred in a movie. (A bad one, but still.) You already know 90% of what you need to know to get to where you want to go, you can figure out how to get there!"

And what I should've said was: "This line's open, that line's open, that other line's open. That's what you need. Figure it out from there."

I now vow not to still worry that maybe she got lost in the black hole that's apparently the part of downtown where she'd have to walk.
Whale fluke

The Rick Emerson media support program

Rick Emerson's current cool gesture has made the news.

To deal with the recent layoff of his longtime newsman Tim Riley, Emerson asked fellow laid-off Portland media people to come to his studio at KCMD (970 AM) Portland and be the news person for a day. coffeeinhell, Dave Walker and others have taken the chance, and now Peter Carlin has written a well-done, sympathetic column about the gesture.
Laid-off radio hosts get a chance on KCMD-AM
By the way, one of the people Carlin interviewed was Heidi Tauber, late of KPOJ (Portland's Air America affiliate; she'd been Thom Hartmann's co-host), and she details the erasing of her role at her previous station that's Standard Operating Procedure in radio. And, interestingly enough, this week she's also the fill-in morning news reporter on KINK FM 101.9, which is part of the same radio conglomerate at Rick Emerson's station. I wonder if her appearance on Rick's show got her the temp gig at KINK...

Harlan Ellison on how to respond to Anti-Semitic jackasses

More Harlan Ellison adventures:

Sara Slaymaker, a reader on the HE-affiliated forum Unca Harlan's Art Deco Dining Pavilion, recalled her stunned-into-silence response to Someone who revealed their dumbassedness, meaning: said Someone used the phrase "jew you down" with her, and Slaymaker was flummoxed into non-reaction, because what the hell do you say to someone who actually says that?

Harlan had something to say:
- Tuesday, December 23 2008 10:51:39

Pursuant to your expatiation re the lady who trumpeted her virtue at not having "jewed you down," I offer this m.o. that ALWAYS works wonders for me:

I'll tell it thus:

I was at a comics/media convention in Novi, Michigan, suburb of Detroit, a number of years back. With Susan. Huge venue. A great empty space five times the size of an aircraft hangar; the size of the LA Convention Center; a size only slightly smaller inside than the Chicago Convention Center where they hold Political Nominating Get-Togethers. Big, is what I'm saying here; a big, echoing, sound-carries-for-ten-blocks gigantitorium wall-to-wall with ex-tv actors signing their photos for ten bucks each, with small comic book publishers hawking their wares, with grunge bands blaring their CDs for sale, with a cacophony so oppressive and mind-numbing it would make the carillons of Hell resound like Donny & Marie.

And after sitting there in just such an agora, trying to SELL my books (which most of the slavering children and a few of the goofier adults thought they ought to get for nothing because wasn't I sitting there downwind from actors who were only charging ten bucks for a PHOTO???) I felt the need to micturate, excused myself, and hied me hence to the pissatorium.

On my way back, I passed the site of a small independent comic book artist whose now-defunct magazine had been something I'd collected; and I saw the one issue I was missing. It was perhaps five or six years' gone, and selling (if anyone wanted one) for about 35 cents, according to The Overstreet Guide.

So I paused to speak to the dude sitting there all alone, sketching idly, who was obviously the comic artist himself, and I introduced myself, and I said I'd like to buy issue #whateveritwas. And he said, and this is approximate, but accurate: "That'll be fifteen dollars." To which I exclaimed, not merely a bit taken aback, "You're not serious, are you?"
To which HE said--and this IS telephonically accurate--"Are you trying to Jew me down?"

To which, without losing a heartbeat, I replied...

in that gimungous cavern





There ensued an appreciable drop in ALL the noise not only in OUR crowded area, but rippling outward like the inner circles of Dante's Inferno. And EVERYONE looked at this dude, and he actually paled, and thrust the comic at me and blathered, "Here, take it, for free, just take it and go away!"

And I said, again VERY VERY VERY loud, so they could hear me in Detroit, "As one poor Jeeeeeeew, I thank you for your Gentile charity," and I walked away with the fairly useless blue ribbon of that encounter.

Ten minutes later, as I sat signing, a kid came up and said, "That guy over there, the one you yelled at...he's gone."

I have no idea what transpired after I walked away, but ten minutes later the guy had packed up his shit and was gone.

Sara, I offer this phrase to you: "Don't goy me down," or "Don't try to goy me up." Either one, that should emerge from your face, phone ringing or not, the instant the loathsome jingo "Jew me down" emerges from the face of ANYone, and the more crowded the locale, the better. Malls, supermarkets, ballgames, town hall meetings, Church socials...

But, I'm sure you get it.

Yr. Pal, Harlan
*Edited slightly for spelling and to combine two posts*
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    Matchbox Twenty, "How Far We've Come"
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