>All that nonsense I spouted yesterday about the end of the world? Forget it - I've seen the future, and it is here! Ironically, the future met me at a bank at a time when banks are falling to shit left and right. On my way to Long Island for Rosh Hashana dinner, I stopped at an ATM center by Penn Station. Finding only envelopes, but not deposit slips, I stormed out muttering and walked across the plaza to the actual bank.

There were zillions of deposit envelopes by the ATMs in the bank, but still no deposit slips. However, unlike at the ATM center, there was a large sign on the wall and handouts in multiple languages (except, inconveniently for me, English) informing me that deposit slips and envelopes were no longer required in order to make ATM deposits. The large sign encouraged me to just follow the instructions at the ATM. Weary and skeptical, I approached the machine.

I slid my card into the slot. (That sounds ridiculously sexual, doesn't it? Sorry about that.) After telling the ATM that I wanted to make a deposit, it asked me to insert my check face up into a larger slot. "OK," I said and took a breath. The machine greedily inhaled my check like an asthmatic sucks down her inhaler during a bad asthma attack. Two seconds later, a scanned image of the check appeared on the monitor. A line of words appeared under the picture. "Is the amount of this check $400?" I had not even realized that I never entered the check amount. I could even print a receipt with a picture of the check on it.

Maybe I am easy to impress, but damn, what a miracle this was! I wished I had more checks to deposit. (Not only because the ATM was cool, but because I wish I had more money to put into my account.) The future met me at Chase Bank,* and I approve.

*When I pulled up Chase's website to see if there is any information about how Chase is introducing their customers to the future, I discovered that they are welcoming "WaMu customers to the #1 U.S. Bank in Deposits!" That brought me back to reality. Go Cubs!