Always Read the Fine Print

I called Citibank to ask why my Thank You Points didn’t post to my account for October. Mrs. Wife and I accumulate points by using our credit card and checking account. They’re great! You get free stuff! In September we used our points for a round-trip ticket to London.

Citi Rep: Mr. Banishment, you have reached your 75,000 point per year maximum.

Me: What maximum?

Citi Rep: It’s in the agreement you signed. You can only accumulate 75,000 points per year.

Me: So, for my fourth quarter purchases, including Christmas shopping, I’ll earn ZERO points?

Citi Rep: That’s correct. It was in the agreement.

Ah, well. I suppose it’s my fault. But Citibank took advantage of my unwillingness to read the fine print of a contract. Shame on them.

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I had a last-minute replacement masseuse last week. Getting a massage is such an intense, personal experience. When you’ve been married for as long as I have, taking all of your clothes off in a dark room and having a strange, young woman walk in and rub you down from head to toe is a bit unsettling. Not unpleasant. Just a little disconcerting. Familiarity breeds comfort. Using the same masseuse all the time alleviates the anxiety. Plus, she gets to know where the knots are. Having a replacement thrown into the mix at the last minute is a bit jarring.

She didn’t seem to care. I suppose I was just another client to her. You walk around thinking you’re one in a million but the truth is you’re just a dime a dozen.

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Well, that was an utterly meaningless post. Sorry, folks. Sometimes you smack it over the center field fence and other times you tap a dribbler to the pitcher’s mound.

Very Good Theater

Last night I saw the revival of David Rabe’s Streamers at the venerable Roundabout Theater.

stream1Unlike last week’s fiasco, this show was compelling and perfectly cast. I don’t recall ever seeing a bum show at the Roundabout Theater Company. Those guys have the magic touch.

The story takes place in an Army barracks in 1965 Virginia. The Streamers of the title is what you see when you jump out of an airplane and your parachute fails to properly deploy. I’m sure that’s a metaphor for something integral to the plot but that stuff always gets by me. Four soldiers await orders to Vietnam but the play has very little to do with war. It’s a clash of culture, education and race. There is unrequited love, blood and death. Really forceful stuff. I liked it.

Streamers originally opened in 1976 at Lincoln Center and was directed by Mike Nichols. In 1983, it was made into a movie directed by Robert Altman and starring Matthew Modine. David Rabe wrote the screenplay as well. I haven’t seen the film. Do you know if it’s any good?

R.I.P. Dolemite

Cleveland, my home town, is mourning the passing of ex-Clevelander Rudy Ray Moore. He played Dolemite in the 1975 blaxploitation film of the same name and its sequels, The Human Tornado in 1976, The Dolemite Explosion and the 1994 documentary The Legend of Dolemite.


In his New York Times film review, John Leland said: Dolemite remains the ‘Citizen Kane’ of kung fu pimping movies. That’s high praise, indeed! If you have a free moment and are in need of some spiritual uplift, read this obit. It’ll restore your faith.

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Speaking of pimps: I never get sick of watching Napoleon Dynamite when it plays on Comedy Central. Is that something I should be ashamed of?

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The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox and will play in the World Series. What a shame. A dull team representing a dull city. Tampa Bay: God’s waiting room.

Mind Meld

7-Year Old Daughter had the day off from school so I took a vacation day and brought her into the city. The brainwashing program that I have been developing since her birth is officially underway. My intention is to raise her with the notion that New York City is not a loud, foul, occasionally dangerous place (which it is). Rather, I would have her grow up believing that the city is filled with opportunity and hidden beauty.

We went to the Museum of Modern Art for the Van Gough and the Colors of the Night exhibit. It’s a series of paintings whereby Van Gough uses light to convey night. It’s a fairly small show—about 30 paintings in four galleries—and it was PACKED. Van Gough always draws a big crowd. I had to pick her up on a few occasions so she could see the paintings over the heads of the crowd. She was able to name Starry Night on sight, which is a good sign.


My favorite was The Sower with its green luminescent sky.


I met Sharon there. She’s an artist. I have always advocated visiting an art museum with an artist in tow because that way, you get your ignorant ass schooled. She spoke of brush stroke techniques, history and influences. Daughter got much more out of the trip than if I had brought her by myself.

Here she is trying to make sense of Pollock’s drip masterpiece.


Here, I’m trying to convince her that although painting a soup can is not difficult from a technical standpoint, successfully convincing people that it’s legitimate art is an innovation.


After the museum, I fed Daughter her very first New York City dirty water hot dog. I know what you’re thinking, but I had to do it. It’s part of my brainwashing program. Nurse H met us for lunch. She always makes a big fuss over Daughter. Daughter, being a megalomaniac, is always especially pleased to see her. I wish I could spend my days doing stuff like this and not waste so much precious time chained to a desk doing work that is only occasionally inspiring. My plight is not unique. It’s part of the human condition.

Come N’ Get It

Here’s what you can order at Wildwood Barbecue on Park Avenue and 18th St.


For real. All you need to do is call a couple of days ahead of time and cough up either $400 or $650 (depending on how big of a pig you need) and they’ll wheel this bad boy right up to your table and carve it in front of you and your horrified guests. It’s got an apple in its mouth and two cherry tomatoes in its eye sockets. You can’t see it in this pic but the tongue is hanging out of its mouth.

Look, I’m a meat eater and I always will be, but when I saw this photo in this week’s Time Out New York, I almost heaved into my keyboard. I can eat bacon and pork chops because it doesn’t look like a pig. A juicy porterhouse doesn’t look like a cow. But this? Eww. No, thank you.