Aug 182015

At some point—I’m going to guess 2003, mostly because I’m not sure that any research I’d undertake would get me any closer—Charles and I saw Sammy Hagar and the Waboritas in Nashville.

(At Starwood, which doesn’t exist anymore, and that’s also where I saw Steely Dan with Tonya, which was at least top three for me for live music experiences. But that’s another post.)

And the Waborita was seriously a thing. It was a margarita, but made with Sammy’s truly exceptional Cabo Wabo tequila, and with all sorts of options available. Most of the costliest ones had to do with extra shots of Cabo hanging off the side. Charles decided he’d get me one for my birthday with whatever boxes I wanted checked, and I saw him peel off three $20s and a $10 and say keep the change, so I must have checked off a hell of a lot of boxes.

Most expensive drink I’ve ever had, dwarfing my sample of my dad’s Johnnie Walker Blue, which I enjoyed but honestly, much less. (I’m not a Scotch guy.)

So, the practical, on-the-ground result of this drink was that when I felt like the crowd was insufficiently involved in the current song, I’d run up and down the aisles, raising my hands like a madman and imploring, at the top of my lungs, people to get up and scream. I did this often enough, and competently enough, to draw more than one crowdmate coming down to high-five me in person.

I was effective.

So how do I be that effective for the 2016 presidential race?

 Posted by at 10:23 pm
Aug 142015

I enjoyed very few deliveries as an adolescent and young adult more than the initial Columbia House box. Digital has finally killed them. I guess the biggest surprise for me hearing that was that they were still actually around in 2015.

For our younger readers, a brief explanation. Columbia House was the larger of two music/movie clubs that would ship you a decent Christmas morning’s-worth of merchandise for a pittance, in exchange for your commitment to purchase some specified amount of additional selections (typically six or eight) at regular price during a set timeframe (typically two or three years).


Regular club prices were high. I remember an album on cassette being a total of $12.14, and it seems like a CD was $17.44.

The whole package was still quite a good deal—if you paid attention. You see, you had to opt out of a shipment every single month. If you didn’t, you received and were billed for the selection of the month.

Why this seems so widely remembered as a “ripoff,” I have no idea. The business model is pretty obvious, and as I said, if you kept up with it, no worries. When you fulfilled your obligation, they stopped the negative option shipping, because you were now a “preferred member.”

But you had to be a real sap to hang around and be a preferred member, because the thing to do was get out and get right back in again. They would let you do that as many times as you wanted. In the latter days, you could cancel and get right back in on the same phone call. I was in for cassettes and CDs probably a dozen times, and nearly that many for DVDs. It was a killer way to build a library, particularly after I was old enough that it wasn’t such a big deal for me to drop the cash for the commitment in one shot.

It was the HD revolution that killed my interest in Columbia House. For a long time Columbia House didn’t do anything at all with Blu-ray, and when they finally did it was really mediocre—nothing approaching the cost-per-unit benefit of the DVD or CD agreements.

So I quit dealing with them, I dunno, eight or nine years ago? I’m amazed they bumped along for this long. I’ll always remember them fondly.

 Posted by at 9:38 pm
Jul 312015

Today, my visitors, for whom I hold significant adoration, I shall bang out a post from start to finish whilst totally avoiding our most common linguistic symbol. (Not really, but I did manage an entire, meaningful sentence. Wow, writing without the letter E is pretty hard.) Not sure what I’ve got for you today, […]

 Posted by at 9:45 am is using WP-Gravatar