The PopCulteer
September 10, 2010

The Doctor Is IN!

If you saw our Sunday Evening Video last weekend, you saw the debut of Doctor Curmudgeon, the latest musical experiment to escape from the laboratory of the mad maestro, Chuck Biel.  This progressive metal trio, which also includes Vince Biel and Zack Shawkins,  pours forth some of the most exciting music my ears have heard–and my ears have heard a lot of fantastic music.

The official debut of Doctor Curmudgeon will be October 31 at The Empty Glass, sharing the bill with The Scrap Iron Pickers and John Lancaster. If you didn’t get enough of The Doctor last Sunday, after the jump you will find a SECOND “bootleg” video from last Friday’s preview show.

I could write volumes about how great this band is, but my words pale next to the music. Check out their website, and watch the video below the jump in today’s Popculteer.

Vince Biel on drums, Zack Shawkins on bass, Chuck Biel on guitar

Doctor Curmudgeon Bootleg Video Leak #2 from Rudy Panucci on Vimeo.

In Case You Missed It

I wrote a lengthy post about the beloved 1960s comic book, The T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, and how my brother and I almost published our own version of this classic back in the days of CODA.  It was going to be the lead item in today’s PopCulteer, but since it clocked in at over 3,000 words, I decided to post it as a stand-alone article here in PopCult a couple of days ago.  At some point in the coming weeks, Wednesday will be the regular day for comic book-oriented posts here in PopCult, but we have secret projects that we need to clear off of our desks first.

FYE Invades Your Privacy

I won’t shop at FYE, the entertainment store in the Town Center Mall, from now on. They have a policy concerning credit cards that not only puts their customers at risk of identity theft, it also violates their vendor agreements with the credit card companies. Repeated attempts to contact the corporate office about this issue have been met with silence.

Basically, if you purchase from FYE using a credit card, they demand to see your driver’s license, or another photo ID, before they will process your purchase. They claim that this is to protect you from having your stolen credit card used by a thief, but in fact it actually puts all your private information in the hands of the clerks at their stores, leaving you much more vulnerable to identity theft.

This is why Mastercard has the following policy as part of the agreement to which FYE is supposed to adhere: “9.11.2 Cardholder Identification
A merchant must not refuse to complete a MasterCard card transaction solely
because a cardholder who has complied with the conditions for presentment
of a card at the POI  [point of interaction] refuses to provide additional identification information, except as specifically permitted or required by the Standards. A merchant may require additional identification from the cardholder if the information is required to complete the transaction, such as for shipping purposes. A merchant in a country or region that supports use of the MasterCard Address Verification Service (AVS) may require the cardholder’s ZIP or postal code to complete a cardholder-activated terminal (CAT) transaction, or the cardholder’s address and ZIP or postal code to complete a mail order, phone order, or e-commerce transaction.”

If you have a Mastercard, and encounter a merchant who is violating the terms of their agreement by requiring you to present your driver’s license, you can report them here.

It’s what I did.You can read more about credit card privacy policies here.

You would think that, in this poor economy, with the music businesss in serius decline and competition from the internet, AND with a Best Buy rapidly taking shape not too far away, that FYE would be bending over backwards to keep their loyal customers.

But they aren’t.  A few weeks ago I popped into FYE during a trip to the mall.  I’d left my driver’s license in my car, but had my trusty debit card on me. I found fifty bucks worth of DVDs that I wanted to buy.

I was turned away. I have been a customer of this store dating back to their days as Camelot Music almost thirty years ago. I spent money there almost every week.  But because I could not let them see my driver’s license, possibly sneaking a cell phone photo so they could steal my address and social security number, they would not sell me the fifty dollars worth of merchandise.  I guess they didn’t need my money.

I drove home and found the same DVDs on Amazon, for much less money, sales-tax-free and with free shipping, and had them in my hands three days later.

Let me repeat that–FYE refused to sell me DVDs that I was then able to buy cheaper from Amazon. And they wonder why the chain is struggling. They’re actively driving customers away.

And this time, I’m staying away. I may go in there and browse, but I won’t buy anything there. I’ll just go home and find the same stuff cheaper online.

Parking Update

Last week’s rant about parking downtown attracted a lot of comments, many of them on  topic. The mayor even chimed in, and an actual dialogue could result.  Something may come of this.  Maybe it’ll just be a slight roll-back of the hours that metered parking is enforced, and maybe it will just be the city keeping the parking buildings open long enough for people to use them, but the mayor is willing to listen, so I hope to report that the city’s merchants will take him up on that.Something positive could actually come from this.

Which is a shock to me. I was just bitchin’ about how bad parking has gotten downtown.

Weekend Stuff

Friday night Blue Million will be performing, cover-free, at Bruno’s on Leon Sullivan Way, starting at 9 PM.

Sasha Collette will be at The Empty Glass starting at 10 PM with a five-dollar cover charge.

Saturday night, Stratus will be performing at Sam’s Uptown Cafe, beginning at 10 PM. The cover charge is four bucks.

Jubal Kane will be at The Empty Glass, at 10 PM, with a five-dollar cover.

That’s it for this week. PopCult starts again with videos on  Sunday.