Sep 172014

Went to Monaco Pictures last night with Dad and clan BamaDan to catch Guardians of the Galaxy. (Fun film.) I hadn’t been to the north end of Bridge Street in some time. All of the structure for the new parking deck adjacent to Belk appears to be in place.


Now given my longstanding affection for Madison Square Mall and my contempt of the (in my view, unnecessary) sadistically slow decay it is experiencing, I’m perhaps a bit predisposed to dislike the idea of closing the Madison Square Belk to open this one. And there is the fact that Bridge Street, being a particularly heinous example of a peoplequarium, had a lot of winning over to do with me in the first place. (It’s been open seven years; can you believe that?)

Still, I’d made my peace with the place, and mostly even on its terms. Yes, it looks like a shopping area at Walt Disney World. No, there’s not much in here I want to buy. But it’s a nice place to walk, the best place to see a movie in town, and it’s not too hard to find a pleasant meal either.

That said, this new construction is abominable. It’s a dissonant monstrosity. It feels as if Bridge Street is suddenly right next to the interstate—and I don’t mean conveniently located, I mean directly in the space surrounded by the exit ramp and the overpass. “East Germany with nicer cars,” Dan and I mused together, which prompted a few Gotcha! quotes. (Mmm, Linda Fiorentino. Meeoooowwwrrr.)

Bridge Street had charm. It was corporate and contrived, but it was done well enough to win you over, at least somewhat. Now, they might as well build a roof over the place and be done with it.

 Posted by at 7:59 am
Sep 082014 debuted its first smartphone a month and a half ago. The Fire phone is a robust piece of hardware running’s forked and highly modified Android operating system. It has cool features like Dynamic Perspective,’s near-instant video customer service Mayday, and of course very tight integration with the entire ecosystem.

It bowed at $199 with a two-year AT&T contract. just dropped it to $0.99. (I didn’t suggest anything quite that radical, but I did say $199 was too much.)

From this move we can deduce two things. The first is that is trying to steal whatever thunder it can from Apple’s next-generation iPhone announcement. The second is that Fire phone sales must be pretty awful.

Ah, but there must be some significant number of people who plunged at $199, and these people are likely to be some of’s greatest customers and fans. Think they’re feeling rooked?

I don’t have a Fire phone, but I have been a loyal customer for 15 years. Most of what has kept me in the fold has been impeccable customer service., you have an opportunity to extend that reputation right now.

Every single person who became a Fire phone owner at $199 should receive an gift card for $198.01.

Yes, smartphones are technology products, and we don’t expect them to stay at the same price forever. But a 99.5% price cut 46 days in is a bit much to swallow., do the right thing. Make your $199 Fire phone customers whole.

 Posted by at 7:25 pm
Sep 072014

“I’m not drinking again until I don’t hate my body anymore.” So said I, a week ago today. Labor Day was the first day in practice. I’ve never pushed that particular button. Feels like an ICBM. To be sure, I’m doing several other things anyone trying to lose weight should be doing, as well. But [...]

 Posted by at 5:08 pm
Sep 052014

My friend Carol recently expressed frustration that we’re all running around babbling about stars’ naughty bits and football team nicknames, and the ostensible leader of the free world is golfing and hobnobbing as it burns down. (That’s not exactly what she said, but I suspect she’d be fine with that account of her concern.) To be [...]

 Posted by at 11:35 am is using WP-Gravatar