Gray Flannel Dwarf


Uber Deutschland

Well, you heard it here first, folks, Donny Deutsch has officially jumped the shark with The Big Idea last night.

I don’t watch the show much, but I’d had the TV on CNBC earlier for Mad Money and dude’s show came on later that evening.

In any case, last night’s show focused on “Overzealous Sports Wives”. They talked about the recent Antonio Davis incident and had Anna Benson on as one of the guests.

Although I don’t expect hard-hitting news from Deutsch — although he’s certainly more watchable than either Rita Cosby or Nancy Grace — this episode can’t be described as anything but “inane”.

Never have I seen anything so resembing Jerry Springer on CNBC until last night.

cswiii @ 12:30 pm


Holiday movie list

Well, not really a list.

Saw two movies over Christmas/New Years — well, four if you include the DVDs of Forty Year-Old Virgin and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In the theatres, we saw Memoirs of a Geisha and Munich.

Geisha wasn’t bad. I felt stupid for not knowing sooner — like when I first saw the book appearing on shelves in 1999 or so — that it wasn’t a true/autobiographical account, but a novel by Arthur Golden. It wasn’t until the credits that I found out, dumbly, that it was fictional.

I did find it a little odd — and I know I’m not the first to make this observation — that a “Japanese” movie starred three of the biggest Chinese names out there: Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li and Michelle Yeoh. Actually, I was also a little miffed that Gong Li got a bit slighted in the credits, at least in my opinion. After crediting Zhang, Yeoh, and all the other major characters, they then had the “And Introducing” credits featuring (I think) Suzuka Ohgo and then Gong Li.

Gong got second listing after some nobody, in an “introductory” credits section? Granted she’s been in mostly Chinese movies for the most part, but this was not her first film seen in the West — Chinese Box had her starring alongside Jeremy Irons. Also, it’s not like she’s a forgotten name amongst the many different film festivals — she was a jury member at some of them!

In any case — the movie was beautifully shot and told an interesting story. It also will perhaps set the record straight for morons who think geishas were prostitutes. And despite the good performances by most of the actors/actresses, I like to think that they could’ve found real Japanese actresses to play the major roles covered by “the big three” above, for historical (and visual) accuracy’s sake.

Munich was pretty good too, though very long — a quality not ignored by the two rednecks who walked out of the theatre muttering stuff about the movie and disturbing everyone else in the theatre. It’s basically the story of a tortured undercover agent/bounty hunter hired by Israel, seeking revenge for the Munich Olympic incident. With certain bits of humour, it comes across at times like an Oceans Eleven, but really it turns out to be a quite bitter, scary and emotional movie… not that this wasn’t expected, to some degree… I mean, Munich was real; George Clooney’s tales of bank robbery glory is just schtick.

Both of these movies were worth seeing, each for different reasons, although I did like Geisha more — Munich was missing…something, and I can’t put my finger on it. Would probably be a bit too rich to watch both on the same day, though.

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 10:59 am


HAIL, Baby.

Tags: — cswiii @ 12:03 am


Randall was right.

People are bitching about the way that Randall refused the opportunity, as offered by Trump, to allow Rebecca to be hired as well. Last year that one dude was exempt from the boardroom and brought himself in anyway. Trump thought it was stupid to do such a thing and fired him for the stupidity.

Likewise, I think he would’ve told Randall something to the effect of, “wtf? I give you this chance, you won fair and square, and yet you still bring her on? I’ve changed my mind. Randall, you’re fired.”

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 2:16 am


new balance

Kudos to Mr. Bill Steigerwald, who has written what appears to me to be the most balanced appraisal of Fahrenheit 9/11 that I have seen, to date.

It’s true, as charged, that he grossly overstates the Bush family’s Saudi-oil connections, screws up the timing of an oil pipeline deal in Afghanistan to Bush’s discredit and portrays Iraq under Saddam as a happy playground for kite-flying boys.

And Moore no doubt encouraged the pitifully patriotic, Army-loving, Jesus-trusting mother to make her distraught pilgrimage from Flint, Mich., to the White House after her son is killed in Iraq. Hailed by some as the emotional climax of the film, the battle-hardened Hitchens more accurately described it as “nauseating.”

But slam Moore all you want for his political motives and manipulative methods. He didn’t make President Bush rush us off to an ill-advised war, act goofy in public or say so many embarrassingly dumb things on camera.

Moore didn’t make Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, et al. say things in Washington that could be so effectively discredited by cutting to images of maimed U.S. soldiers or grainy video clips of burned, wounded and dead children in Iraq.

Speaking of “balanced”, I’d be interested in seeing this film, if only to see the supposed “handful of memos” talked about in the review.

cswiii @ 2:18 pm


The SI Blogger

I hate to run the risk of sounding particularly redundant, busting the chops of pseudojournalists, but who the heck is this seemingly new columnist for, Josh Elliot?

You may recall Cunningham as the grizzled, heart-o’-gold throwback whose square yellow glasses framed perpetually tear-filled eyes. Cunningham’s tears came furiously on Feb. 8th, ’00, when the Chiefs’ All-Pro sackmaster, Derrick Thomas, was killed following a car accident. Thomas’s death hit Cunningham hard; he told The Blog during the ’00 season he often found himself reflexively looking for Thomas on team planes.

Yes, he seems to affectionately call his column “The Blog”… he uses a variant on the phrase at least three times in this, what appears anyway to be his first column for SI.

I can’t figure out whether the Gen-Xish rambling in here is either really contrived, or the guy actually talks like this. “losing that new-blog smell?“… “prepare yourself for an epic cry-off between Vermeil and Cunningham“… “And now, I beat a hasty retreat to the prison of my own mind. …” Come on now?

Seriously, SI, give me a shot at writing some of these columns!

cswiii @ 6:22 pm


Now, I guess the headline of this article is slightly amusing on its own, but it was even funnier, in my mind, as I misread it to say “Omish” (Amish).

cswiii @ 1:54 pm


Love thy neeiiiigghhhbour

Reuters: Man Fatally Bitten by Sexually Aroused Horse

Gives a new meaning to “horsin’ around”, eh.

cswiii @ 4:14 pm


If you’re a liar and you know it, clap your trap


Omarosa, whose apparent sense of entitlement and bad attitude seems to increase daily, left the show’s studio about 22 minutes into the live telecast because a lie-detector had been set-up on stage for a comedy sketch, Kimmel said.

Man, there’s not much I can say to this one, except “Payback is Hell”. During the live finale, Ereka busted her chops while sitting right next to her, she was the target of a few jabs when on Larry King with other Apprentice cast members, then she get the axe from a Clairol commercial spot… and now this. She’s opened her mouth enough times in the past, trying to catch a few flies, it’s good to see that she’s getting more than her share of bitter indigestion.

It’s all very deliciously amusing really… almost as amusing as the WHOIS results for “”.

cswiii @ 7:55 pm



I’d like a nucular double-skim latte with confidential strategery notes, please.

cswiii @ 10:38 pm

A Question of Intent

Initially, the administration said an invasion was necessary to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction that Iraq possessed and was prepared to use. With none uncovered, the White House now says the war, in which more than 500 U.S. troops and thousands of Iraqis have died, was justified by Saddam’s alleged intent to build and use such weaponry.

“We are looking for weapons, we’re looking for production equipment, we’re looking for the decisions by the regime to sustain a capability … but we have not found existing stocks of weapons as some had expected,” Duelfer said.

Duelfer, appointed by the CIA in January, guides the on-the-ground hunt by the Defense Department’s Iraq Survey Group of about 1,300 personnel. He said they regularly receive reports of hidden weapons which are then checked out, “but we haven’t found any at this point in time.”

It’s been said from the beginning that the US was making Saddam prove a negative, prove that there were no WMDs… and now they’ve all but admitted there are none, so they’re now backpedalling and using the term ‘intent’.

Ergo, the criteria for initiating war was not met, and did not exist.
Ergo, Bush’s war cannot be considered bellum justum

This war was never a “zero-sum game”. It came at the expense of the Iraqi people and lives of American soldiers, and will have repercussions for decades.

Tags: , , , , , — cswiii @ 11:21 am


Kids these days…

…are Hooked on P^HChronic.

cswiii @ 3:08 pm


Friend(ster)s in High Places

This turn of events raises myriad questions, but one jumps immediately to the top of the list. A year after making its public debut, Friendster has attracted, according to Abrams, a whopping 5 million users. At the same time, it has yet to generate a dime of revenue. Of all the lessons of the Internet bubble, maybe the most incontrovertible is that metrics such as site traffic and pageviews are meaningless in and of themselves; they matter only in conjunction with a credible plan for turning eyeballs into cash flow. So the question is, Does Friendster have a plan, or is this 1999 all over again?

I dunno why Business 2.0 needs to even ask that question. I’ve been saying for quite some time, when Friendster first came out (when it was still in Beta) that this had been done before. Remember Sixdegrees? We all know what happened to that.

By the spring of 2002, Abrams says, he was “unemployed, not doing well financially, and certainly not looking to do another startup.” Then he came up with the idea for Friendster, hacked up a prototype, and watched in amazement as the thing went viral.

“Came up with the idea”, eh. Because it was the first of its kind, more “revolutionary innovation”?

As for Friendster’s service, I took a look around, got bored, and deleted my account to avoid any of the inevitable politics that were coming down the pike regarding “friend networks”. I’ve signed up again to one of these things, Orkut this time, but again, it’s nothing fantastic.

Friend networking should work. It’s something people have talked about for years. It’s a natural progression of things. However, I don’t think it translates to business very well, and it’s certainly never been implemented very well, Friendster included. LiveJournal does it in a sort of different, low-level way that kind of works, but even then, it’s not the main focus of the site.

One theory I have is that no one has taken into account the inevitable conflicts that occur in real life. If Joe Bob is friends with Group A and Group B, but the two groups do not necessarily get along too well, Joe Bob can usually navigate his way between the two with only minor difficulty. With friend networks, you wear your decisions on your sleeve… and I have no doubt that this can only lead to antagonising situations.

I’m not talking “gang warfare” on the web, by any means, and am not saying that the politics that the hypothetical Joe Bob has to play in the above real-life is even the right way to handle things — but it’s nonetheless how things happen.

Friendster is just one of several examples of sites which show that, evidently, we never learned our history — because people and companies are obviously repeating it.

cswiii @ 10:01 am



STATESBORO, “Georgia (AP) — A couple who got into a dispute over a theological point after watching “The Passion of the Christ” were arrested after the argument turned violent.”

These things just write themselves, folks.

cswiii @ 9:45 am


A View from the Inside

“While this commandeering of a narrow segment of both intelligence production and American foreign policy matched closely with the well-published desires of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, many of us in the Pentagon, conservatives and liberals alike, felt that this agenda, whatever its flaws or merits, had never been openly presented to the American people. Instead, the public story line was a fear-peddling and confusing set of messages, designed to take Congress and the country into a war of executive choice, a war based on false pretenses, and a war one year later Americans do not really understand. That is why I have gone public with my account.”

Tags: , , , , , , — cswiii @ 5:46 pm


Thug Life.

Hm.. looks like the Baltimore Ravens are vying heavily for that coveted “Bad Boys of Sports” title. I guess that’s okay… the Dallas Cowboys have held that title long enough…

cswiii @ 5:52 pm

Movie Critics are not Theologians.

Today, Mel Gibson’s (in)famous movie opens in theatres, The Passion of The Christ. Obviously I haven’t seen it, yet. The movie may well warrant criticism, I do not know.

What continually annoys me, though, is to see these news anchors interview other newspeople or movie critics, and ask them theological questions regarding the history of the crucifixion.

Movie critics are not usually theologians nor Bible scholars, and I’ve seen two very fine examples of this in the past week. I can’t remember which the first one was; it was on Fox News or MSNBC, I think. I watched them ask questions to some talking head who’d just gotten out of the theatre… and watched this woman field questions about which she obviously knew nothing. Credit to her, however, is that she at least knew how to pronounce the term “Aramaic”, which wasn’t the case for the newcaster.

Last night’s example, however, was even more fitting. Paula Zahn had some movie critic on, talking about the accuracy of the movie. This guy proceeded to ramble on about some pretty incorrect assumptions. He mentioned that Pontius Pilate was this big, bad voodoo daddy that the locals, mostly Jews, feared. He said that the Jews were terribly persecuted under Pilate. Basically, the point he was trying to make was that the movie might have been pinning more than a fair share of blame on the Jews, as opposed to Pilate.

Hold on, hold on! Step off your high horse, man! Let’s look at some more accurate historical assessments!

* Under the Roman empire itself, the Jews were not “terribly persecuted” — at least, not a lot more than those of other cultures and religions that had been conquered by the Romans. The Roman empire had a specific policy of tolerance, and would not punish religions, per say, unless they interfered with state matters.

* That is not to say that Herod, the King of Judea, per Roman appointment, wasn’t cruel. there is plenty of historical evidence to support this. During his reign over Judea, Herod had tens of thousands of Jews slaughtered; of this, there is no disagreement. However, in Jesus’ case, Herod wasn’t simply going to kill someone off for the sake of “having the opportunity” to kill a Jew. Herod had more important things to do, and besides, what good would this serve? Besides, why would Herod, with his history of cruelty to the Jewish people, suddenly appease them? He was well-aware of their mutual (and well-placed) distaste for him, and knew that nothing could make him any more “honourable” in their eyes. Finally, Herod was a political opportunist — if it wouldn’t go to further cement his power base — why trifle with it?

* Now, if I am not mistaken, Pilate, on the other hand, was not a particularly powerful “governor”. That term is a bit confusing today, if people associate it with the modern concept… but Pilate was something of a “City Manager”, maybe a bit higher. He dealt with the administration of the region. The people under him didn’t particularly “fear” him. I am thinking that the movie critic from above was confusing Pilate with Herod, who was pretty cruel all around. Regardless, Pilate wasn’t a terrible force with which to be reckoned.

* In the district where Jesus was taken before the people, the Saducees were in power; For a local government, it was pretty powerful religious aristocracy that was in charge. They did not have the specific power to execute a man for a crime, however, which is why Jesus’ case was taken up the chain of command, to Pilate and Herod. The idea that Jesus was a “dangerous political activist” was the key claim that was made, so that the higher levels of government would even entertain it. If it was just some religious oddball, Rome, or its subordinates, would have little to say.

* The act of crucifixion in Rome was reserved for non-Roman citizens. Romans could be, and were, put to death via any number of methods, sure, but this most brutal method of punishment was never used on any person considered a citizen under the Roman empire. Thus, the punishment given to Jesus was done against Roman precedent and was, indeed, done with a fair amount of hesitation.

* All this said, Pilate was plenty hesitant to crucify this man, which is why, in a wishy-washy manner he (wrongly) brought Jesus before the court of public opinion. It should be noted that more evidence of religious toleration, particularly Jewish, can be found in his actions of bringing Jesus to the people; when Pilate brought him before the crowds, it was a recognition of the Passover tradition of letting one prisoner go free. Regardless, he left Jesus’ fate in the hands of the crowd, rather than commute this sentence of death that he knew was unjust. In the extended portion of this entry below, I have included the synaptic Gospels’ version of Pilate’s exchange with the people.

Finally, simply put, the “blame”, as it were, for Jesus’ crucifixion spreads far and wide. The crowd called out for his death, and Pilate bowed to public pressures rather than doing the honourable thing. But to say that either Pilate or Herod were sole or joint catalysts for Jesus’ death, as this movie critic was implying is downright incorrect. As it stood, neither Herod nor Pilate had much at stake in getting rid of this guy. Now, the historicity of the Bible is debated by many, and probably will be for eternity, but, assuming Gibson was trying to emulate The Passion, using the Biblical texts below, I don’t really see how making Pilate out to be any more “to blame” would be any more accurate, given the perspective.

Until I see the movie, I can’t make my own assessment of how it handled these issues, but my (rather long) point in illustrating the above ideas is that TV personalities keep interviewing people who are obviously pretty lacking in knowledge, when it comes to theology or Biblical study, yet they are being treated as scholars in such. They are asking these people “what the Bible says”, and how it compares to the movie, and thus are getting totally incorrect answers which just furthers misunderstanding amongst everyone!

Sometimes I wish TV news anchors just could just buy a clue, but I am not sure where the blame lay. Anchors? they’re probably just asking questions? What about the people who scheduled the interview? Didn’t they do any research?

This line of blame keeps going… and can go right up to the heads of the news organisations, as far as I’m concerned.

cswiii @ 11:14 am


SCOX and Lehman Brothers: A Wall Street Wake-Up Call?

Ok, so there’s always been the paranoid supposition — or not even necessarily paranoid, but a wary realisation — that financial institutions wield great power regarding the movement of securities, currencies, even entire economies. Should one not consider this possible, one should merely read Jim Cramer (Confessions of a Wall Street Addict) or Tom Friedman (The Lexus and the Olive Tree) to find fine examples of how this happens. Be it vengeful, a wake-up call, or just a side-effect, it’s happened, and it can be done.

This said… for a long time, the Street has been pretty darn kind to SCOX. However, now that it’s public knowledge that SCO has rebuffed one of Wall Street’s own, what are the chances that SCOX and that pond scum CEO might get rocked a bit?

I dunno how possible it is, seeing as SCOX is so thinly traded, but it’s an interesting theory I’d like to notate, should it occur.

On a somewhat related note, it’s my opinion that Rob “vroom vroom” Enderle should cut the crap, get outta IT analysis and into critique of the newest issues of Hot Rod magazine as they come out. At least then, maybe his love for the “WAV file of a Ferrari race car revving its engine” would be a bit more appropriate.

cswiii @ 12:40 pm

“…A Cellular Mesh of Lies” (Jack Kerouac)

So it looks like my mobile provider will be going the way of the little orange guy soon. Not sure what I think of this. I’ve heard of a lot of people who have had problems with both ATTWS and Cingular — then again, I hear about that with every mobile phone provider. Personally, I’ve had fewer problems with ATTWS, in most respects, than with any other provider I’ve had… specifically Verizon and Nextel.

At very least, I think this would mean that I’ll get better coverage than before. We’ll see what happens.

cswiii @ 9:45 am


Everything Old is New Again.

The song was a soulful limerick from the “Purple Rain” days of Prince, whose voraciously fey Jheri-Curl Lothario act worked its spell even on the most suburban set. It was, at the time, the dirtiest song we knew.

Way back when, my aunt dubbed Purple Rain for me. Man, I forget how old I was, but it must have been around third grade, because I remember listening to this bad quality tape (it was recorded, literally, from one boom box to a tape recorder, over open air) in my friends basement, in the old neighbourhood.
During those years, I thought it was “master bedroom in a magazine”. I thought she was flipping through an old issue of Home and Gardens, or something, from the lobby. :D

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 9:42 am
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