After the failed stove installation, I was told they’d call me that day to reschedule the delivery. They did not. I called the next day, and got an answering machine; they called the next day to say I had to call another number. This I did.

I explained my situation: need to get back on the ol’ delivery schedule, my good man, so I can cook meals again in an oven. What’s the next slot?

The fellow on the other end - in Maryland, as it turned out; we had time to chat about these things because the system was really slow today. I wanted to say “no, you’re working at home, streaming a movie,” but I didn’t. He found the order, eventually, and said:

“Okay, the next opening looks like . . . April 19th.”

I chuckled. Ha! No, that would not be. Well, gird up, because here we go again. I explained that perhaps I might get in earlier, due to all the complications this order had created, and while that wasn’t his fault at all, no sir, I was a Total Premier Utterly Shiny Tech Pro level customer (I bought the package to defray the cost of the oven, and I am damned glad I did). He said it was really out of his hands, but he could escalate it to an RTDO Team, whatever that meant. I said that would be fine and he said he would contact them, and get right back to me.

Hold for five minutes.

“Hello,” said the person who picked up. “Can I have your first and last name please?”

Uh -

“Actually, I was transferred to you? I was speaking to another scheduler, and he said he could talk to the team who could force-schedule, that was his term, and he was going to talk to you about it.”

“I’m so sorry! I don’t know anything about that. He must have transferred you.”

“Yes; yes he did.”

“Well I’m so sorry but we have to start over. Can I have your first and last name?”

Eventually she found the order - the system was really slow today - and said she would talk to her supervisor about force-scheduling. Do you mind being on hold for a few minutes? Not at all.

I was on hold for 24 minutes.

Then, silence.

Then, beep beep beep.

Then, dial tone.

I went to the office restroom and painted half my face blue. I made a cup of coffee upstairs in the special Editorial Department Keurig, and went back to my desk. Called the number.

The third person apologized deeply and said he would try to help, and asked if I minded if I put him on hold while he looked for my order. I said I had watched the entire “Lord of the Rings” extended edition the last time someone put me on hold, so “just a minute” would be a cakewalk.

Eventually he found the order - sorry! The system is really slow today - and said the April 19th date was hard and fast, because the oven I’d ordered wouldn’t be arriving until then.

Stay calm. Focus. It’s not his fault. He doesn’t know.

“Actually, no, it’s here. They brought it out of the truck, and were going to install it, but there was a problem with the gas. They took the box off. I saw it through the window. It exists. It is here.”

“Okay let me look into that. Do you mind if I put you on hold?”

“Of course not.”

He came back after four minutes and said he’d found it in the warehouse. Turns out it had been scanned incorrectly, as a return. I don’t know why that meant I had to wait until April; perhaps they were fed into a metal compactor if they came back uninstalled, because that meant they were failures with bad karma.

“So, how does February the 17th look?”

“That being two months earlier, it looks fine. Now, may I make some notes to give to the installer?” He said that was fine, and I said that the gas pipe needed reconfiguring, and they should send Michael, but not Michael B, who installed it. The other Michael.

He read this back and I had to explain that there was nothing wrong with Michael B, but the Other Michael said he would fix the pipe for free.

And that is the Stove Tale of the week. No doubt the last difficulty before the stove is installed.

I mean, what else could possibly happen?


Nothing in new construction today.  Our Old Segment for the week:

"The Great Metropolitan Bank Building." When they moved out, Pillsbury took over, and made the handsome building its HQ. Later it was absorbed into the Northstar Project. At some point in the 80s, I think, its windows were rehabbed to give it a modern look. It was chic at the time, but it was a mistake.

An ad from the Twenties reminds you that you ought to be saving for it the sake of saving, but since you're heedless moderns with no thought to tomorrow, we'll provide an incentive.

"Safe Deposit Vaults." I know there's still a vault in the basement. There has to be.


Do we have a serial killer here? Is Lance interrogating the fellow in the picture above?

Really amazing super-surprising answer is here.



I think I should turn this into a contest. Minimal instruction or explanation, just a question: why did this catch my ear?


It has to do with something else, and how it's odd that it shows up here, but not really, and yes: even though it's familiar, we'd never heard it before. Answer next week in this spot!

This year we're counting down the top hits . . . of 1922. Why not? We'll get back to thift store records some other time, but why not use Fridays to educate ourselves on the pop music of a hundred years ago?

I knew this one right away from somewhere else. Some other cover.



Variety estimated he made between 6,000 and 10,000 recordings in 45 years under a range of different pseudonyms, selling up to 300 million records, a record at the time

He'd fall out of favor as the 20s went on and tastes changed. This would seem hokey and mannered in a while.


It's 1936, and brother, have they got smokes to sell.



G'wan, name another one-man operation that gives so much! Just try! Okay besides that one.



Thank you for your visits! Hope you found them worth your time. See you Monday.




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