Bank of America

Posted in Economics on September 13th, 2007 by Дмитрий

I’m not going to really complain about a bank that wants to gauge non-members with ATM fees. If one finds one needs to often use a certain bank’s ATMs, or finds that one’s own bank has insufficient ATMs in one’s area, one needs to switch banks. Being someone who travels often, I also don’t see spending a few bucks here and there in order to access cash as needed as too big a deal. Charge whatcha want - if I banked at BofA I’d assume this meant that they’re looking out for their members and trying to encourage growth in those numbers.

But as a shareholder, I would be a little freaked at being an industry leader in fees. With the withering of loan income, banks are relying more and more on fees to support their profits. That’s a real scary pattern, since the fees that banks are most likely to levy are those which are basically volitional for members or nonmembers: you can avoid fees by behaving slightly differently. It’s rare that banks raise nonvolitional fees such as maintenance fees and per-check charges on members, since this would encourage attrition. So making fee hikes a fundamental part of one’s business model doesn’t see entirely reliable a guarantor of growth or profitability.

We’ll see, I guess.

Fuck Art.

Posted in Geekdom, creative clASS on September 18th, 2007 by Дмитрий

For the record, I’d like to state that I hate anything which has ever been referred to as “The Arts”.

“Art” is something you buy. A museum is the showroom for the gift shop at the end of the tour. “Art” is not something with intrinsic value to be lauded and subsidized and revered beyond its productive and marketable profitability. It’s a product like any other. Those who say otherwise are either part of its lobby (and thus probably dependent upon the constant drip of tax dollars funneled to their particular fetish), or simply hate their own occupation or have some unrequited sense of worthlessness in their own life that they use art to fill.

I think that I was especially offended by this PSA Campaign just because I think of myself as one of the more liberal and sensitive types around when it comes to tolerating what others choose to admire or create in their lives. But I’m also a business analyst and number-cruncher by profession, and an urban planning and suburban gardening fetishist by avocation; and this campaign seems to say that what I’ve chosen to do with my life is a waste, and the only way to redeem myself is to solicit those fields which give me no enjoyment or pleasure (which seems oddly to be the only shared trait all things they call “the arts” have in common).

I just don’t see how such a group can be seen by anyone as anything but self-righteous elitists - yet they seem to be saying that they have the moral high ground, because they think “art” (meaning, essentially, performance and low-tech media art) is somehow objectively better than other vocations. Personally, when I see a clean, well-balanced Income Statement, an intricately detailed Execl spreadsheet, a well-thought-out database, a balanced and functional streetscape, or a productively diverse garden; I think of it as very artful - the person who manages that project must be talented in their craft.

Who are they to tell me that my delight in managing money and playing with maps is any less valuable than their enjoyment of watching people dance or sing or paint?

Most-Played Discs of 2007 (So Far)

Posted in Music on September 24th, 2007 by Дмитрий

  • Tracey Thorn: Out of the Woods
  • Siouxsie: Mantaray
  • Faith & the Muse: The Burning Season
  • Interpol: Antics
  • Beth Gibbons & Rustin man: Out of Season
  • A Perfect Circle: Thirteenth Step
  • This Will Destroy You: Young Mountain
  • Soundtrack to The Last Unicorn
  • Team Sleep
  • Milk for the Morning Cake: Winter Formal
  • Russian Circles: Enter

Make of it what you will. I’m thinking mix CDs will accompany this year’s Xmas cards.