Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Flato's Guitar and the Underground Satellite

(56) Flato’s Guitar and the Underground Satellites

Flato bought a cheap guitar and an expensive amplifier and he plays those old timey songs like angels were humming, and no one understands how he can get such music out of such a cheap guitar even though the amplifier is expensive, although not the most expensive one you can buy.
Flato explains it by saying that the music is in his head and in his hands and not in the cheap guitar or even the expensive guitar. He wants to know if you think Les Paul or Chet Atkins or Wes Montgomery sounded lousy when THEY had cheap guitars. The answer he gives is "no." What about Segovia, Julian Bream, Trio Los Panchos and Tony Motolla? Same answer.
The people at the Big Guitar Company don't like this answer. They are in the business of selling expensive guitars.
The people at the Collectors'
Guitars Mega Center do not like this either, because they are in the businss of selling OLD expensive guitars. This is very very bad for business. They are trying to silence Flato with bribery. They say they will have a "Flato's Choice" corner at the Collectors' Guitar Mega Center, where they can charge high prices for cheap guitars that Flato recommends. Make a 1967 Harmony flat top, now selling for $75 go for ten, maybe 15 times that. Flato says no.
The people at the Big Guitar Company want to make a "Flato signature model," from their bottom of the line series and charge ten or maybe 15 times what it's worth because it has Flato's name on it. Nope.
Flato's just going to keep making angelic music from cheap instruments, even though he's not getting a lot of work, and the Big Guitar Company and the Collectors' Guitar Mega Center can go to hell.
But Flato is not taking any chances. If you see a guy with a cheap guitar, and an expensive amplifier on the street and there is a bulge in his pocket and a rear view mirror on his amp, that's Flato.
They are now figuring out how to use TeraLites, which are underground satellites that are much easier to catch when they fall out of the sky, because they don't fall out of the sky, because they're never IN the sky. So, they've stuck a few of these things belowground here and there and they're trying to get signals into and out of them, and so far it is not working.
Hiring a crew to kind of dig trenches between them has worked. But trench placement is a tricky business, and right now, TelTerra, the company behind all this is negotiating with the Archdiocese of New York for the right to dig a trench under St. Patrick's Cathedral to feed a TeraLite signal from its headquarters on 6th Avenue to the patrons of the Palace Hotel, which is to the east of the Cathedral, across Madison.
So far, the negotiations are stalled. TelTerra has offered free service to the Cardinal's house, and even to the Cathedral itself, but the Archdiocese Real Estate Advisory Board says that's not enough to let dig holes under the buildings.
The Palace is getting a little impatient as well. It wants service pretty soon, or it is going to stick an antenna on the roof and just bring the signals in for free, and too bad about the TelTerra Traffic Channel, which they were offered as a free extra bonus because it was taking more time than expected to dig a trench under the Church.


Hannigan figures Drug O Rama is a clean shop, which is not mobbed up. This is because you can't buy a stick of gum in under 20 minutes. Hanningan walks into the Drug O Rama on 7th at 38th, and he's after a few small items: some shaving cream, a tube of toothpaste, just a few small things. So he goes into the store and picks up the stuff and there's one open register and there's a crowed up around the checkout.
First woman has big stuff: a Giant Economy Size Woolite, a Giant Economy Size Listerine (mint flavor,) a package of Pampers, a box of Malomars, and a bunch of little things that you can't see because you are too far back, and you need hawk eyes at that distance.
The checker-outer can't get the scanner to pick up the bar code on the Giant Economy Size Woolite, and keeps rubbing it on the thing that's supposed to do the reading.
Stuff keeps falling down among the gum and breath mints in front of the register. Behind her is a guy with nothing. Probably wants a pack of Marlboro or maybe a Hershey Bar.
In back of him are a man and a woman having a big fight about where to go for lunch. Hannigan wonders if they'll get out of here before lunchtime.
Then there's Hannigan with his stuff.
Hannigan thinks if the mob ran this joint there'd be five checker-outers, and a lot less big stuff.
And someone would have cleaned the scanner glass before leaving yesterday.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.™

©wjr 1999, 2006

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