Tuesday, November 04, 2003

And you're spinning your new 45s, all the misfits and the losers...

Ah, Amazon. I really should stop bad-mouthing them, since I get money if you buy something through one of the links on this page. But really, they're getting silly.

I'm still a big fan of Amazon's prices, and in this case the fact that two of the things I wanted were tricky to find elsewhere, but after the last debacle with UPS, I had the latest order sent to my friend LK's office (and my former office) in Times Square. So of course I've been home all week and could've easily received it here. Oh well. The really strange thing is that LK emailed me this morning to let me know that the box had arrived, when Amazon's website says it hasn't actually shipped yet. I took its early arrival as a nice surprise and went to pick it up.

But I should have known it wouldn't be so simple. One of the five CDs I'd ordered was missing from the shipment. Since Amazon often splits orders up for mysterious reasons, I didn't give this much thought until I read the invoice, which listed the missing CD as being in the box and said "This completes your order" on the bottom.

I called customer service, who told me that according to their computers my order hadn't shipped yet.
"But I'm looking at my order. I'm holding it in my hands."
"Right, but we can't do anything about the missing CD until your order ships."
"How can a CD be missing if the order hasn't shipped yet?"
"We have to wait until the estimated delivery date before we can put a trace on the missing CD. There's obviously been a mistake, but the order might not be showing as shipped because that other CD is still on the way."

It's totally not a big deal, and as long as Amazon thinks the order hasn't shipped it also means they haven't charged me. But I just love that the comedy of errors never seems to end.

I also don't really care about any of that, because I finally have my copy of Wig in a Box: Songs From And Inspired By "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." I think it says a lot that the most exciting album I've heard in ages is of new recordings of music that's five years old. I'd love a new Stephen Trask album, but in the meantime these new recordings of old songs are pretty fabulous. Some of the tracks are very faithful covers, others are slightly more daring and work just as well. Whomever asked Fred Schneider (of the B-52s) to sing backup and do the monologue on "Angry Inch" is a sick genius. The new songs (three of them) are all great. Ben Kweller and Rufus Wainwright do really pretty versions of "Wicked Little Town" and "Origin of Love," respectively. (Normally the sound of Rufus' voice makes my ears bleed, but I guess the reviews of his new album that say that he's, you know, learned to sing are true. He sounds an awful lot like a hoarse John Cameron Mitchell, actually.) Cyndi Lauper's curiously angry-sounding take on "Midnight Radio" is the most weirdly beautiful thing I've heard in a long time; it gave me chills as I listened on the subway home (as that song is meant to do). I really can't recommend strongly enough that you buy this album. If you're not familiar with the show or the film it's a great way to introduce yourself to some really fine "neo-glam-punk" songwriting. And all the proceeds go to a terrific cause.

I also got a couple of cast albums and the new Bowie. I'll report on them later. It's kind of nice to write about some pop-culture other than TV.

In other news, I voted today, and I'm embarrassed to say that I had no idea what I was voting for. It's all minor stuff this year, and I never got a voter's guide in the mail or saw much about the candidates (though I did seem to find a special radio station that only played New Jersey campaign commercials). Even though I don't think I've ever voted for a Republican, and there were no Independents on my local ticket, I don't like voting down the Democrat line just because it's the Democrat line, without knowing anything about who I'm voting for. But I also feel obligated to vote, especially these days, so that's what I did.

There were several interesting-sounding propositions on the ballot, but they all had sneaky clauses worked into them that either gave the Mayor more power or made the city government less accountable. It's a shame, because some of the overall proposals were good ones. And it's scary, because I'm cynical and doubt that many people stand in the voting booth reading as carefully as I do, especially in my neighborhood where a lot of people aren't native English-speakers. And I know, I know it's politics, but I just wish they wouldn't be so sketchy and try to sneak things in like that, especially when it hurts what might be potentially good changes. Fortunately, I just checked and from the early numbers it looks like nothing iffy is going to pass.

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