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Archive for February 26th, 2009


(Shown below is what is purported to be an actual letter that was sent to a bank by an 86-year-old woman. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the NY Times.)

Dear Sir:

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it.

I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire pension, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for eight years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank. My thoughtfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways.

I noticed that whereas I personally answer your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, pre-recorded, over-charging faceless entity which your bank has become. From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person. My mortgage and loan payments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.

Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope. Please find an Application Contact which I require your chosen employee complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof. In due course, at MY convenience, I will issue your employee with a PIN which he/she must quote in dealings with me

I regret that this number cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further.

When you call me, press buttons as follows:

1. To make an appointment to see me.
2 To query a missing payment
3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
4. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
6 . To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.
7. To leave a message, a password is required. Password will be communicated to you at a later date to that Authorized Contact mentioned earlier.
8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7 may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.
9. Press ~ for English.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement. May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous New Year?

Your Humble Client

Source:  Old Horsetail Snake

Blogged with the Flock Browser

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While I was scanning the Casco Viejo (Old Quarters), looking for interesting scenes for Lingua Franca, I practically bumped into two eye catching metallic statues.  One statue showed a lady concentrated over an old sewing machine and the other was a street peddler pushing a cart.  They appeared out of nowhere right where people walked in the area of Las Bovedas in the Plaza of Francia (France Plaza).

To me, they looked like surrealistic pieces of art in the style of André Breton or Salvador Dalí. I always enjoyed Dalí’s paintings.  They looked so…different. Surrealism as a visual movement had found a method: to expose psychological truth by stripping ordinary objects of their normal significance, in order to create a compelling image that was beyond ordinary formal organization, in order to evoke empathy from the viewer.

I needed to capture these sculptures with my camera.  And I did so in my own amateurish way of taking pictures.  To make them look decent, I sent them to my friend Michael Moore who has the skills of creating polished photographic images like I hadn’t seen before.

Michael Moore is a professional photographer, member of the Dallas Professional Photographers Association. He has other college degrees as well. This is how he defines himself at his photo Web site, Biographies of the heart Photography:

“I’ve attended the USAF School of Photography and served my country as photographer. I’m a member of the Dallas Professional Photographers Association. I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in business and several professional certifications.

I shoot portraits (on location or in my home) and those events and people that have special meaning to you. While I provide the standard photographic services like other photographers, I specialize in creating video biographies about the special events in your life through the language of photographs and music. I’m located just east of Dallas, Tx. You may contact me at bothphoto @ gmail.com (remove spaces) for references, session availability, pricing and a sample slide show….regards…Michael”

These are the photographs of the metallic sculpture that Michael, like a modern Mandrake, pulled out of his magic hat.  Enjoy.

This is what I saw at the Plaza de Francia in front of Las Bóvedas.  It grabbed my attention immediately.

This is what I saw at the Plaza de Francia in front of Las Bóvedas. It grabbed my attention immediately.

The statue is now shown in black and white and the change is dramatic, in search of a better word.

The statue is now shown in black and white and the change is dramatic, in search of a better word.

Michael exhibits his photographic skills to show us a sculpture that has an interesting liquefied appearance.

Michael exhibits his photographic skills to show us a sculpture that has an interesting liquefied appearance.

The appearance of this picture  reminded me of the movie  “The Terminator”, portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger.   In the movie, Robert Patrick played a lethal, liquid-metal, chrome T-1000 cyborg terminator.

The sleek, modern android was composed of poly-mimetic metal, meaning it could take on the shape, color, and texture of anything it touched (such as a porcelain-tiled floor), and could also mimic human behavior, such as imitating the voices of its victims; it could transform its hands into jaw-like blades, and completely absorb shotgun blasts to its midsection or head. In one remarkable scene, the T-1000 was shattered into pieces, but then the pieces reassembled themselves.

This final picture resembles a French impressionist painting typical of the 19th century.

This final picture resembles a French impressionist painting, typical of the 19th century.

My visit to Casco Viejo was a breath of fresh air in the middle of a normally chaotic city.  I’m sure I’m in for other surprises if I keep my eyes wide open and my camera handy.  Life is so beautiful if you only stop your rush and appreciate your circumstances.  Good Day.

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