Gray Flannel Dwarf


the Zaurus is a sick pup.

When using the handwriting recognition software on the Zaurus, it pops up words, based on the characters you’ve written so far, in an attempt to give you a shortcut.

I was finishing up typing a domain name. .org

It gave me these, and only these, options.
org orgy organ orgies orgasm organs

Stupid LJ interest of the day: apathy

cswiii @ 11:17 am


Digital Slums.

The light spot on that map is where I live. The yellow and green dots are WAPs people have set up in my area — presumably because they have broadband. It seems just about everywhere in Loudoun is getting it these days. Of course, the red line separates Loudoun from Fairfax, who has had broadband for a while now, but that’s neither here nor there.

What irony.

No, I didn’t find these on my own, already with the Zaurus — I have WiGLE to thank for that.

cswiii @ 2:59 pm


Teeedz ur geeke!11

I recently made a purchase on eBay, a Zaurus SL-5000d PDA. Linux based, it’s the developer version of the SL-5500.

The guy selling it also included a wireless ethernet adapter, so maybe I’ll have some fun roaming around the neighborhood. Well, at least as much fun as one could hope for, in an area as broadband-deficient as mine.

Stupid LJ interest of the day: papa roach

cswiii @ 2:35 pm


da moy drook

M said he was gonna head over to the russian market today, asked if I wanted to go. I thought it was a damn good idea.

After coming back, dinner was simple, yet delicious….

I boiled up some veal pelmeni, and some other dumplings, whose name I can’t remember, filled with cheese. While waiting for them to cook, we nibbled on some whole wheat bread and some salted russian fish. When the dumplings were done, they were dipped in a spicy, tomato and carrot-based red sauce. All of this was accompanied by a good czech pilsner.

Finished off the dinner w/ some russian chocolates left in M’s car by his sister’s friend.

Yum yum.

Does my journal bore you? Well, I’ve decided to add a new feature.

Stupid LJ interest of the day: tagging

Stay tuned for more!

cswiii @ 7:24 pm


A Cook’s Gore

For the past few nights, I have been reading Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour, and have found it just fascinating. It’s a whole lot more mellow than its predecessor, Kitchen Confidential, but I think I’m starting to like it better. Just about everything he talks about in the book sounds delicious, even some of the grosser things, and certainly the seafood — something of which I’m not much a fan.

Really kinda makes me want to get into cooking, big time. It’s no fun, however, when there’s no one around who can really appreciate good, quality ingredients and “artful presentation”.

I have a bit of an esteem issue right now, though, too… every year at Thanksgiving, we go to the beach and cook dishes; Most people do seafood, and I did in 2001, too, but this past year I did a dessert. The first time, it was salmon, this past year it was something akin to fried banana-coconut crepes.

Now, I have never ruined a meal that I’ve cooked… somehow. Furthermore, I’ve generally received quite a bevy of compliments on my cooking. Nonetheless, I always got the nagging feeling that, for each of the meals at Thanksgiving, I screwed something up, and that no one really liked what I cooked. Grandma always said she did, and she’d eat it… but then again, grandmas always do that sort of thing.

I didn’t want to come off sounding like I was digging for compliments when I cooked, but I did want to know what people thought, and I just never heard much of anything. Anyway, it’s not worth analysing, but it’s something that has kinda always stuck in my mind, esp. when I cook for family, now.

cswiii @ 10:22 pm


Ghost writer

Dearest Charles,

Thank you for your greetings. I feel terrible about your current predicament; I hope to come to your aid soon enough.

The new year was spent at the old pub, as we have done in years past. However, I’ve got something terribly heavy on my chest right now, and I hope you can aid me. I met this woman at the same pub, the same evening. She was moderately soused at the time; I think she was on other unknown substances as well. She is quite attractive, but seems something of a mental case; Upon conversing with her, I was quite afraid she would go to drive off into the channel at any moment! Unfortunately, in a moment of weakness — although I am sure the whisky had something to do with my decision — I went home with her, upon her request.

The next day was most awkward, but then again, those moments always are. It has been a few days since, and I hadn’t spoken to her. However, during my tea yesterday, she rang me up, asking for for several hundred pounds in assistance.

Now, on one hand, I’m not inclined to do this sort of thing; On the other, considering my recent financial windfalls, I almost feel obliged. There is something about her that makes me want to do something that would normally go against my constitution.

I come to you for counsel… what is your recommendation? Please contact me at your earliest convenience, and do tell me more about this petitioner, in your next correspondence.

Warmest wishes,

cswiii @ 4:45 pm


Bring out your dead! *clang*

Per CNN:

FBI investigating 35 vials missing from Texas Tech laboratory. City official says some vials contained bubonic plague. Details to come.

Yeah, it’s what in the *other* vials that has me a slight bit concerned.

cswiii @ 1:43 pm


I had to go to

I had to go to the dentist today. All was fine, but my appointment was at 2.00 PM; Their lunch break ended at 2.00, so I was sitting there, reading a magazine, etc., waiting.

Meanwhile, it was loud in their back room… insane giggling, laughing, cackling… one would’ve thought that there was some kinda jell-o wrestling going on.

Sugar-free jell-o, of course.

cswiii @ 3:26 pm

Saddam Targeted Early On

I like this article from yesterday’s Post.

U.S. Decision On Iraq Has Puzzling Past

Opponents of War Wonder When, How Policy Was Set

By Glenn Kessler

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, January 12, 2003; Page A01

On Sept. 17, 2001, six days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush signed a 2½-page document marked “TOP SECRET” that outlined the plan for going to war in Afghanistan as part of a global campaign against terrorism.

Almost as a footnote, the document also directed the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq, senior administration officials said.

The previously undisclosed Iraq directive is characteristic of an internal decision-making process that has been obscured from public view. Over the next nine months, the administration would make Iraq the central focus of its war on terrorism without producing a rich paper trail or record of key meetings and events leading to a formal decision to act against President Saddam Hussein, according to a review of administration decision-making based on interviews with more than 20 participants.

Instead, participants said, the decision to confront Hussein at this time emerged in an ad hoc fashion. Often, the process circumvented traditional policymaking channels as longtime advocates of ousting Hussein pushed Iraq to the top of the agenda by connecting their cause to the war on terrorism.

With the nation possibly on the brink of war, the result of this murky process continues to reverberate today: tepid support for military action at the State Department, muted concern in the military ranks of the Pentagon and general confusion among relatively senior officials — and the public — about how or even when the policy was decided.

The decision to confront Iraq was in many ways a victory for a small group of conservatives who, at the start of the administration, found themselves outnumbered by more moderate voices in the military and the foreign policy bureaucracy. Their tough line on Iraq before Sept. 11, 2001, was embraced quickly by President Bush and Vice President Cheney after the attacks. But that shift was not communicated to opponents of military action until months later, when the internal battle was already decided.

By the time the policy was set, opponents were left arguing over the tactics — such as whether to go to the United Nations — without clearly understanding how the decision was reached in the first place. “It simply snuck up on us,” a senior State Department official said.

The administration has embarked on something “quite extraordinary in American history, a preventive war, and the threshold for justification should be extraordinarily high,” said G. John Ikenberry, an international relations professor at Georgetown University. But “the external presentation and the justification for it really seems to be lacking,” he said. “The external presentation appears to mirror the internal decision-making quite a bit.”

Advocates for military action against Iraq say the process may appear mysterious only because the answer was so self-evident. They believe that Bush understood instantly after Sept. 11 that Iraq would be the next major step in the global war against terrorism, and that he made up his mind within days, if not hours, of that fateful day. “The most important thing is that the president’s position changed after 9/11,” said a senior official who pushed hard for action.

“Saddam Must Go”

A small group of senior officials, especially in the Pentagon and the vice president’s office, have long been concerned about Hussein, and urged his ouster in articles and open letters years before Bush became president.

Five years ago, the Dec. 1 issue of the Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, headlined its cover with a bold directive: “Saddam Must Go: A How-to Guide.” Two of the articles were written by current administration officials, including the lead one, by Zalmay M. Khalilzad, now special White House envoy to the Iraqi opposition, and Paul D. Wolfowitz, now deputy defense secretary.

“We will have to confront him sooner or later — and sooner would be better,” Khalilzad and Wolfowitz wrote. They called for “sustained attacks on the elite military units and security forces that are the main pillar of Saddam’s terror-based regime.”

In an open letter to President Bill Clinton in early 1998, Wolfowitz, Khalilzad and eight other people who now hold positions in the Bush administration — including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld — urged Clinton to begin “implementing a strategy for removing Saddam’s regime from power.”

Many advocates of action were skeptical that Hussein could be contained indefinitely, even by repeated weapons inspections, and they viewed his control of Iraq — and his possible acquisition of weapons of mass destruction — as inherently destabilizing in the region. Many were also strong supporters of Israel, and they saw ousting Hussein as key to changing the political dynamic of the entire Middle East.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Bush and Cheney’s position was not as clear-cut.

In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” about one year before the Sept. 11 attacks, Cheney defended the decision of George H.W. Bush’s administration not to attack Baghdad because, he said, the United States should not act as though “we were an imperialist power, willy-nilly moving into capitals in that part of the world, taking down governments.” In the current environment, he said, “we want to maintain our current posture vis-Ã -vis Iraq.”

Bush, during the campaign, focused more on the dangers of nuclear proliferation than on the removal of Saddam Hussein. In a December 1999 debate among GOP presidential contenders, Bush backtracked when he said he’d “take ‘em out” if Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Asked by the moderator whether he had said “take him out,” Bush replied, “Take out the weapons of mass destruction.”

“Transformed by Sept. 11″

In the early months of the Bush administration, officials intent on challenging Hussein sought to put Iraq near the top of the administration’s foreign policy agenda. Many felt frustrated by the interagency debate. Defense officials seethed as the State Department pressed ahead with a plan to impose “smart sanctions” on Iraq and, in their view, threw bureaucratic roadblocks in the way of providing funds to the Iraqi opposition.

“Even relatively easy decisions were always thrown up to the presidential level,” said a Defense official.

Meanwhile, at the White House, officials worked on refining the administration’s Iraq policy, focusing especially on how to implement the official U.S. stance of “regime change” articulated by the Clinton administration. Bush was informed of the deliberations, but nothing had been settled when the terrorists attacked the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

“Certainly, different people at different times were arguing for a more vigorous approach to Saddam,” one senior official said. “But nobody suggested that we have the U.S. military go to Baghdad. That was transformed by Sept. 11.”

Iraq, and its possible possession of weapons of mass destruction, was on the minds of several key officials as they struggled to grapple with the aftermath of Sept. 11. Cheney, as he watched the World Trade Center towers collapse while he was sitting in front of a television in the White House’s underground bunker, turned to an aide and remarked, “As unfathomable as this was, it could have been so much worse if they had weapons of mass destruction.”

The same thought occurred to other senior officials in the days that followed. Rumsfeld wondered to aides whether Hussein had a role in the attacks. Wolfowitz, in public and private conversations, was an especially forceful advocate for tackling Iraq at the same time as Osama bin Laden. And within days, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice also privately began to counsel the president that he needed to go after all rogue nations harboring weapons of mass destruction.

But these concerns were submerged by the imperative of dealing first with Afghanistan. “I remember the day that we put the map on the table, and the color drained from everybody’s face,” one official said. “Afghanistan is not the place you would choose to fight.”

The Pentagon, while it was fighting the war in Afghanistan, began reviewing its plans for Iraq because of the secret presidential directive on Sept. 17. On Sept. 19 and 20, an advisory group known as the Defense Policy Board met at the Pentagon — with Rumsfeld in attendance — and animatedly discussed the importance of ousting Hussein.

The anthrax attacks, which came soon after Sept. 11, further strengthened the resolve of some key administration officials to deal with Iraq. Cheney, in particular, became consumed with the possibility that Iraq or other countries could distribute biological or chemical weapons to terrorists, officials said.

Though Cheney’s aides said the vice president has been consistently concerned about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, others perceived a shift. “To his credit, he looked at the situation differently after Sept. 11 than he did before,” one senior official said.

Because the culprit behind the anthrax attacks has not been found, some administration officials still are convinced that Hussein had a role in the anthrax attacks. “It’s hard to get away from the feeling that the timing was too much of a coincidence,” one official said.

Officials close to the president portray the Iraq decision as a natural outgrowth of concerns Bush raised during the presidential campaign, and they say he very quickly decided he needed to challenge Iraq after the terrorist attacks.

But he didn’t publicly raise it earlier because, in the words of one senior official, “he didn’t think the country could handle the shock of 9/11 and a lot of talk about dealing with states that had weapons of mass destruction.”

“What a Fixation”

In free-wheeling meetings of the “principals” during October and November, Rumsfeld and Cheney emphasized their suspicions of ties between rogue states, such as Iraq, and terrorists. Some of the conversations were prompted by intelligence, later discounted, that al Qaeda may have been on the verge of obtaining a “dirty bomb” that would spread radioactive material.

By early November, Wayne Downing, a retired Army general who headed counterterrorism in the White House, on his own initiative began working up plans for an attack of Iraq, keeping his superiors informed of his progress. A Pentagon planning group also kept hard at work on possible options.

“The issue got away from the president,” said a senior official who attended discussions in the White House. “He wasn’t controlling the tone or the direction” and was influenced by people who “painted him into a corner because Iraq was an albatross around their necks.”

After some of these meetings at the White House, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, skeptical of military action without the necessary diplomatic groundwork, would return to his office on the seventh floor of the State Department, roll his eyes and say, “Jeez, what a fixation about Iraq,” State Department officials said.

“I do believe certain people have grown theological about this,” said another administration official who opposed focusing so intently on Iraq. “It’s almost a religion — that it will be the end of our society if we don’t take action now.”

“Axis of Evil”

Much of this activity — and these concerns — were hidden from the public eye. Bush barely mentioned Iraq in his address to the nation nine days after the Sept. 11 attacks. In fact, the administration did not publicly tip its hand until Bush made his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, 2002. Even then, officials did their best to obscure the meaning of Bush’s words.

Listing Iraq, Iran and North Korea, Bush declared, “States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred.”

“I will not wait on events, while dangers gather,” Bush warned.

State Department officials puzzled over drafts of the speech and ultimately concluded the words did not represent a policy shift, though some were worried the rhetoric would have diplomatic consequences. Powell “thought it rang an alarm bell since it would send waves out there to colleagues around the world,” a State Department official said.

Powell expressed concerns about the language to the White House, he said. “But he didn’t push it hard.”

Briefing reporters at the White House, officials played down the importance of the “axis of evil.” One senior White House official advised “not to read anything into any [country] name in terms of the next phase” of the war against terrorism. “We’ve always said there are a number of elements of national power” in the U.S. arsenal, the aide added, including diplomacy and sanctions. “This is not a call to use a specific element” of that power.

Yet, in this period, Bush also secretly signed an intelligence order, expanding on a previous presidential finding, that directed the CIA to undertake a comprehensive, covert program to topple Hussein, including authority to use lethal force to capture the Iraqi president.

Speculation continued to run high in the media that an attack on Iraq was imminent. But within the administration, some of the advocates were becoming depressed about the lack of action, complaining that it was difficult to focus attention on Iraq, especially as the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians spiraled out of control. In March, Cheney toured the Middle East on a trip dominated by questions from Arab leaders about the Israeli-Palestinian violence. But he also stressed the administration’s contention that Iraq was a problem that needed to be addressed.

“I Made Up My Mind”

Then, in April, Bush approached Rice. It was time to figure out “what we are doing about Iraq,” he told her, setting in motion a series of meetings by the principals and their deputies. “I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go,” Bush hinted to a British reporter at the time. “That’s about all I’m willing to share with you.”

At the meetings, senior officials examined new but unconfirmed evidence of Iraq’s programs to build biological, chemical and nuclear weapons and considered connections between Baghdad and Palestinian terrorism. They argued over which elements of the Iraqi opposition to back, ultimately deciding to push for unity among the exiles and within the U.S. bureaucracy.

By many accounts, they did not deal with the hard question of whether there should be a confrontation with Iraq. “Most of the internal debate in the administration has really been about tactics,” an official said.

Powell sent his deputy, Richard L. Armitage, who had signed the letter to Clinton urging Hussein’s ouster, to many of the meetings. As a way of establishing Powell’s bona fides with those eager for action, Armitage would boast — incorrectly, as it turned out — that Powell first backed “regime change” in his confirmation hearings.

Serious military planning also began in earnest in the spring. Every three or four weeks, Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander of U.S. Central Command, would travel to the White House to give Bush a private briefing on the war planning for Iraq.

On June 1, Bush made another speech, this time at West Point, arguing for a policy of preemption against potential threats. “If we wait for the threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long,” Bush said. That month, two major foreign policy headaches — a potential war between India and Pakistan and the administration’s uncertain policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — were also resolved, freeing the White House to turn its full attention to confronting Iraq.

Only later did it become clear that the president already had made up his mind. In July, the State Department’s director of policy planning, Richard N. Haass, held a regular meeting with Rice and asked whether they should talk about the pros and cons of confronting Iraq.

Don’t bother, Rice replied: The president has made a decision.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

cswiii @ 10:52 am


I’m guessing it won’t be “AOL Time Warner” much longer…

Case Resigns as AOL Time Warner Chairman

NEW YORK (Reuters) – AOL Time Warner on Sunday said Steve Case will step down as chairman of the company following the shareholders’ meeting in May, but remain as a director of the company with joint responsibility for corporate strategy.

Case, the architect of the troubled mega-merger of America Online and Time Warner, in a statement said his role as chairman had become a “distraction” for the world’s largest media company in the face of disappointment with its post-merger performance.

The company said Case notified Chief Executive Dick Parsons and the board of directors of his decision over the weekend. Case will remain a member of AOL Time Warner’s board of directors and continue as co-chair of its strategy committee.

The embattled executive said that under a new leadership team AOL Time Warner could focus on executing the company’s various strategies.

“Given this progress and the fact that we’re moving into more of an execution phase, this seems like an appropriate time for me to announce that I will step aside,” Case said.

cswiii @ 7:18 pm


Angie the Bartender

Gypsy gal, the hands of Harlem

Cannot hold you to its heat.

Your temperature’s too hot for taming,

Your flaming feet burn up the street.

I still drive by the place, every once in a while; I gave it a quick
glance the other evening, like I always do, when I passed it on the way
to Jimmy’s tavern. We went there a few weeks ago. It’s now a
Bolivian joint, and we were the only English speakers in the place.

Donde tu–where would you like to sit?”

How things change.

Yes, it was overpriced — anyone who requested one of their $6 cans of
Guinness would tell you the same thing. The food was good, but the
bands were terrible, and the atmosphere variable. Really, I was
surprised to see the place stay open as long as it did, and everytime I
went there, I half-expected it find it closed.

One day, Revolution finally did just that. For all of its
idiosyncracies and questionable business plans, though, I still miss
it. Most of all, however, I miss Angie.

I am homeless, come and take me
Into reach of your rattling drums.

Let me know, babe, about my fortune

Down along my restless palms.

While I no longer remember her surname, birthday, or any of the little
details that used to be so clear, I can still recall her finer features.
Part Italian, part Cherokee, she had a Jersey attitude and a
bohemian spirit. Maybe that’s why she disappeared the way she did.

Now, we all know the Cardinal Rule of barhopping, of
course…Thou shalt not covet thy bartender nor thy
. Generally, I never had any problem with this; when it
came to Angie, however, all those rules flew out the window.

Gypsy gal, you got me swallowed,

I have fallen far beneath
Your pearly eyes, so fast an’ slashing,
An’ your flashing diamond teeth.

I started going for java, but it wasn’t long before I gave up my coffee
cup for a pint glass. Shortly thereafter, Angie joined the staff. My
first interaction with her was when I ordered a Bass, along with my
Guinness… she brought me my beverages, and a crooked
little spoon.

“Will this help?,” she asked, and, for the first time, I caught a glance
of those eyes, that grin… traits that became so
familar, in the months to come.

The night is pitch black, come an’ make my

Pale face fit into place, ah, please!

Let me know, babe, I got to know, babe,

If it’s you my lifelines trace.

Now, I feel it’s necessary to clarify something: I freely admit that, from the beginning, my desires to know Angie were anything but pure; It was unrequited eros, plain and simple. I wasn’t the only one, either… there were plenty of guys that passed through that bar who, after catching a glimpse of those leather pants bent over the ice chest, had similar thoughts.

Regardless, the longer I knew her, the more I enjoyed our conversation, despite the fact that, in retrospect, it would be ridiculous to have entertained any consideration that I’d ever be with her. I still have no regrets about the money spent, time wasted — or time spent wasted — in that dimly-lit, copper-tinged bar, under her watch. Angie was a great conversationalist, and despite my introversion, I found it easy to talk with her.

I been wond’rin’ all about me
Ever since I seen you there.

On the cliffs of your wildcat charms I’m riding,
I know I’m ’round you but I don’t know where.

Angie was no lady. She’d buy and toss back shots of Grand Marnier
with me when the coast was clear, and never once did she have qualms
about giving someone a royal, verbal shellacking if they were
belligerent. When I ended up there, during a weeknight, for one
particularly lonely birthday, she aided me with more than
a few choice words as we together berated the crummy band for wishing a

“Happy Valentines Day” to this bunch of single saps, drinking by

Angie bought my drinks for me that night. She also kissed me.

Happy Birthday, hon,” she whispered. If I don’t remember
much else about that night, this moment was nonetheless etched in stone.

It was also the only time this happened.

You have slayed me, you have made me,
I got to laugh halfways off my heels.
I got to know, babe, will I be touching you

So I can tell if I’m really real.

Things began to go to hell at Revolution, shortly thereafter.
Angie accidentally served a minor on a frenzied night, despite looking
at the girl’s license. One of the waiters got caught smoking weed
outside the bar, by one of the owners. In general, the karma of the
place was getting worse by the day. They tried new menus, new music,
but by then, it was too late. The whole thing even got to me, one of
their most frequent customers. I decided I needed a break.

About two months later, I decided to stop by. I drove down there,
got out of my truck, walked up to the door to discover a sign.


I still kept in touch with some of the others I used to see there, but
never saw Angie again. Jessica went off to college, and we’d talk every
once in a while, whenever she was in town. Sometimes she’d IM me.
That eventually faded with time, too.

Months have sinced passed. I’ve been with my current girlfriend for
well over a year now, and things are very happy. Jessica messaged me
the other day, though. It’d been a while, but it was good to hear from
her. She asked me if I’d ever heard from Angie. I said that I hadn’t;
Neither had she. Seems strange, the two of them used to chat all the

Temporarily, our discussion made all those memories come flooding
back. I have a feeling that no one really knows where Angie went; She
used to talk with me about getting out of this town, and I have a
feeling that she took Revolution’s closing as an opportunity to do so.

They say that amputees sometimes get a phantom itch, where their
arm or leg used to be. Sometimes, when I’m in a dusky bar, drinking a
Guinness, I still feel that if I look up from my drink, I’ll see Angie
there, giving me grin, waiting to make some wise-ass remark.

“Spanish Harlem Incident” lyrics by Bob Dylan,
(c)1964, 1992 Special Rider Music.

cswiii @ 11:32 am


Silly Fools. has always been a good site to get the rundown on all those urban legends that you get in your email. However, I was quite amazed at the sheer number of Sept. 11-related hoaxes.

Note: The ones prefixed with a red bullet are the false ones.

cswiii @ 10:10 am


Two websites:


Comparing You to Other Toyota Tacoma Owners

Boy oh boy, corey, you picked a vehicle which is just about perfect for you. Congratulations! For example, when compared to other people who own a Toyota Tacoma, you’re just about the same in terms of your educational level, status consciousness, and your income.

Car-O-Scope Makes Suggestions for More Compatible Vehicles

Despite the fact that your personality profile pretty much matches that of Toyota Tacoma owners, Car-O-Scope would like to suggest some alternative vehicles–should you be thinking of making a change.

Note: some of these suggestions might surprise you. But try to keep an open mind. It’s quite possible that the car-o-scope has discovered some hidden and/or repressed aspects of your personality.

1. Plymouth Duster
2. Buick Skyhawk
3. Dodge Colt Vista
4. Volkswagen Beetle
5. Toyota Van

So, let’s look at your compatibility profile vis-a-vis the Plymouth Duster. If you dumped that Toyota Tacoma and got yourself a Plymouth Duster, you’d be a lot happier.

For example, you’d be almost perfectly compatible in terms of your gender, your tolerance for taking risks, the extent to which you’re a cheapskate, status consciousness, and your grasp of reality.

In addition, you’d have pretty good compatibility in terms of your age, your educational level, and how much you really care about your car.

Here’s a little info on these personality characteristics. Read ‘em and weep.

Risk-taking: your tolerance for taking chances

Some people are complete wackos when it comes to taking risks. I have a friend (who shall remain nameless), and when Tony goes on vacation, he immediately starts looking for the bungee-jumping sites. A nut case of the first order.

On the other hand, some of us are complete wusses. (Is this how you spell woosses? I’m not sure, but I’m afraid to look it up. Oh, my God, I might be wrong. Oh, my God!) You’re compatible on this score.

Cheapness: your degree of–ahem–shall we say “frugality”?

Your score on the cheapness scale puts you pretty close to the average for Plymouth Duster drivers. Of course, utter and complete cheapness can be an asset (right!) People who believe this call it “frugality.” But they’re really just hopeless cheapskates.

Like myself, though, some folks are quite magnanimous. The milk of human kindness oozes from their pores. “Generous to a fault,” one might say. Mightn’t one? (Of course, one might also say, “Too stupid to know any better.” Think whatever makes you feel good.)

Status consciousness:

I know a few people who will go to any lengths to impress others. (“Oh, yes, I went to Haahvaad.) I love them, don’t you? Neither do I. The kind of people I like to have coffee with are “jamokes.” Are you familiar with this term? No? Well, I guess you didn’t go to Haahvaad, now, did you?

Reality check:

You have a pretty good sense of what’s real and what ain’t. You aren’t one of those “head in the clouds” types–like some people I know. On the other hand, there are worse places your head could be–I guess.

Here’s a more detailed look at your compatibility scores for the other vehicles on the list.

Good luck. And thanks for consulting the Oracle of Car-O-Scope.

And don’t drive like my brother.

That’s amusing. My car “alternatives” are a little, but not much, better than those of kewlnonutz, who showed this to me, in the first place. A Plymouth Duster, for crying out loud!

You can take this analysis, too:

Note that it takes a long time to get your results.

Secondly, 1332 sent me this link yesterday:

It has some interesting tests, although I think the way they present them might be a little skewed itself. Still interesting, though.

cswiii @ 7:22 am


Vivid Dreams

On its face, this dream is going to appear to be a stream of the absurd genre (get it published, kldwriter!). At the time, though not now, it seemed prophetic. Honestly the most vivid, colourful, narrated dream I’ve ever had — which is really the only reason I am posting it.

It was the commencement of a new civil war in the USA — however, it began in, of all places, some sort of resort — perhaps a celebrity resort, if the number of celebrities in this one is any indication.

I can’t remember the exact cause for the rift, though it seems to have been across party lines, somewhat. Simply enough, the two warring factions — although, to this point, I don’t think any blood had been spilt — had segregated themselves, one faction calling itself “The US” and the other calling itself “America”. The USians were a more fiscally conservative bunch; The Americans were a very relaxed, laid-back liberal movie/tv actor crowd — although, as you’ll see, both had celebrity backings.

The USians garbed themselves in black as a way to promote solidarity; The Americans wore a more traditional red and blue garb — although neither faction wore uniforms, per say.

The Americans were really not the militant bunch… as I said before, it was a pretty laid back crowd. Really, it is hard to remember or determine why there was even a split in the first place. The USians were the hardliners.

The dream took place at some clubhouse on the resort, where, on one side, the USian were congregated in a dining area with a bunch of diner tables and benches, etc. On the other side was an outdoor pool/lounge area, populated by the Americans. The two partitions were divided by a kitchen area that resided in the middle.

Crude diagram of clubhouse:


cswiii @ 8:38 am


M: I guess we should

M: I guess we should pray for that sonofabitch.

cswiii @ 10:59 pm

Wag the Dog

Is your country having a slow news day? That’s ok, you can always do some sabre rattling to send your entire country into fits of fear before the New Year. Of course, this is not the first time we’ve had fear induced by false reports, either.

The case of the five vanishing suspects


Saturday, January 4, 2003 – Print Edition, Page A1

Like the posthumous Elvis Presley, Canada’s five mysterious terror suspects seem to have popped up everywhere.

They were at Akswesasne, being smuggled into the United States by natives. They were at Toronto’s Pearson Airport, where they slipped into Canada by claiming refugee status. One was seen on a bus entering the Lincoln Tunnel. Another was spotted on a West Coast ferry.

By the middle of this week, they had starred in hundreds of newspaper and television reports and had been on the lips of everyone from U.S. President George W. Bush to Senator Hilary Clinton, who announced at a press conference that they had entered the United States through Canada.

But yesterday, the FBI admitted that the most important ingredient in the story — that is, the proof — is nowhere to be found: “There is no border-crossing information that would say they’re here,” FBI spokesman Ed Cogswell said. “And to say they came in from Canada is pure speculation.”

Mr. Cogswell’s comments are the latest wrinkle in an odd, highly hyped saga that began on Dec. 29, when the FBI announced that it was launching a national manhunt for the five men. Although details were sketchy, the five were believed to have come to Canada from the Middle East before entering the United States on some unstated mission.
Arriving just three days before New Year’s, which provided an obvious peg for terrorism-related stories — and right in the middle of the holiday “silly season” — the tale of the five mystery men quickly assumed tremendous energy.

“Frankly, we were surprised at all the coverage,” said Sgt. Paul Marsh, a spokesman with the RCMP. “It was amazing, really.”

What Mr. Marsh had expected to be a relatively minor item soon became a lead story. By Dec. 30, it was the top item on the CNN newscast, with anchor Paula Zahn introducing it as “the big FBI story.”

The press rushed to fill the obvious gaps in the story, such as how the five were supposed to have entered the United States. The New York Daily News, for example, reported that they had been smuggled across the border at Akwesasne, southwest of Montreal. Grand Chief Raymond Mitchell angrily pointed out that there was no evidence to support the story. Other news reports offered different accounts: Some, for example, said the five were spirited across at road checkpoints.

A shortage of official information, coupled with pressure to produce scoops on the developing story, resulted in heavy cross-pollination among the media.

By this week, the story had taken on something of a surreal quality. On Wednesday, a Pakistani jeweller whose picture is among the five released by the FBI emerged at his shop in Lahore to say he has never visited the United States. An Associated Press photograph of Mohammed Asghar taken at his shop was a near-perfect match for the one included on the FBI list under the name Mustafa Khan Owasi.

Mr. Asghar, 30, said he was surprised to open a local newspaper and see his picture with another man’s name beneath it. “I am a Pakistani and am living in my country, but American authorities have released my picture among those who are being traced by the FBI for entering America,” he said. “I have no links with any terrorist organization.”

Mr. Asghar’s bit of dissonant information was part of the story’s general unravelling, which was virtually complete yesterday when the FBI admitted that there was no proof that the five had come from Canada, that they had crossed the border, or that they were connected with terrorism.

“We don’t know if they ever entered the U.S.,” Mr. Cogswell said. “And in fact we’ve never linked these guys to terrorists. Most of what we have here is an unknown, and even with these individuals we don’t know if they are true names with those photographs.”

“We’re chasing rumours,” a senior RCMP officer said. “We don’t know if these five men were ever in Canada and we certainly have no proof whatsoever that they crossed into the United States either legally or illegally.”

Asked what might have triggered the initial FBI allegation about the five Middle Eastern men entering the U.S. from Canada, the Mountie replied caustically: “It was a slow week at the White House. They needed something to stir the pot because nothing was happening in Iraq.”
Copyright © 2002 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

cswiii @ 1:51 pm


My belated New Years post

This will probably be the most boring thing you’ve ever read.

I’d called B on the 30th already, since I had the day off… I was gonna talk with him about doing lunch, I think… I was also going to talk w/ him about catching a ride down for New Years. I didn’t have any firm NYE plans, having already been invited to parties hosted by kewlnonutz and aguohong and/or their significant others.

Before I had a chance, he asked me, “what are you doing for new years?” From there, we had a nice segue into coordinating times to get down there. He’d come over on the 31st, from work, and we’d head down.

On the 31st, before B came over, I decided I needed something flashy to wear to the party… so I went over to the local thrift store and picked out a quality blazer for twelve bucks.. and saw a snazzy vest that cost $4. Unfortunately, they didn’t go together all that well, but it was still cool.

B made his way over, a little late, but this wasn’t too big a deal, since we just decided to throw out a stop we’d considered making along the way. We pack up and head out.

On the way over, B tells me that Toddy’s place is just off the highway. As we got there, it occured to me that, truly, it was just off the highway!

What an eccentric house! That’s about all I can say of the place! It’s crazy, but cool…. in both senses of the word. I was colder inside than out, strangely enough. But once the liquor started flowing, who cared about a chill?

I’d been there, oh, about 20 minutes, when in trounced this wacky lad wearing a kilt!

Much of the night is a blur. I never got too drunk, but was in enough of a daze… Much of this had to do with the fact that there were a lot of people at the party who I’d never known, and equal numbers of people who I kinda sorta knew by name. I spent much of the evening wandering between conversations and laughing my ass off. Much revelry, some foosball, and a lot of party food. Damn, that apple pie was good, wasn’t it?? The man in the kilt had at one point donned a blue caving helmet — thus, I dubbed him Megaman. He wore this through much of the evening, and through him I learned more about Michael J. Fox than I ever thought possible. He also recited movie lines and did impressions all night, that had me rolling.

I spent much of the night worrying because I’d forgotten the phone # of the gf’s family, and was ticked off at myself for forgetting it. She called, though, a few minutes before midnight, and kinda shared the new years with me. I also was the recipient of far too much thanks, that evening, including the first toast of the night, for work that others had no small part in doing. We had a few more toasts, and then counted down the new year on a random watch. In fact, based on what I heard over the phone, we were about 10 seconds later than the rest of the east coast — but that’s OK! Celebrating with good friends is more important than celebrating with the world.

There was a minor altercation that evening; I saw it all because I was trapped in the corner behind the two. Luckily, it was defused, although it bummed a few people out for a while.

A lot of reminscing went on — stories told, photos flipped, museum artifacts remembered. I brought in my guitar at one point, and I played a little music, as did others.

The next day was a relatively quiet, rainy event, with the remnants of the group heading to the CB for brunch. The food was real good there, too, for some reason. The remainder of the day was a lot more foosball and snowboarding on the PS2, before things finished up.

On the way back, B and I got stuck on the highway — or off it, more accurately, with a major accident having occurred outside Charlottesville. We almost took that route down to the party, but due to a navigational error on my part, we went the regular route. We’d talked about stopping at one of the “scenic views” on 64; B recommended that we could do some sit-ups there or something. Sure enough, as we were coming back, the traffic stopped just before the exit for the scenic view, so we decided to pull over and wait out the traffic… and we got out and started doing sit-ups!

That traffic didn’t move for two hours or more — there was a grisly accident which, after passing the wreckage, had me thinking the driver of the little car had probably been killed. This said, I can’t help but be cynical that one of the reasons the whole thing took so long was bureaucracy: the other vehicle involved was a VDOT truck.

We also watched a guy zoom by us at one point, on the way up 29. B was already driving around 65-70; That guy had to be close to 100. A few minutes later, coming up and over one of the hills, we see blue lights, and the same car pulled over with two cops questioning the driver. Very satisfactory, somehow.

We finally got back around 2.00 AM… and that’s the story of my New Year. Hey! Wake up, dammit!

cswiii @ 8:28 pm


As if you weren’t tired enough of this…

Canada rules even more, now.

Pot possession not illegal, judge rules

Finally a nation who is on the right track, it seems.

Pot possession not illegal, judge rules

From Friday’s Globe and Mail
Friday, January 3 – Online Edition, Posted at 5:23 AM EST

Possessing marijuana is no longer illegal for anyone in Canada, an Ontario judge ruled yesterday.

In April, police arrested a 16-year-old truant in a park carrying five grams of it. He was charged with possession of marijuana. Yesterday, he was cleared of that charge when Judge Douglas Phillips of the Ontario Court in Windsor agreed with the young man’s defence: Federal laws against marijuana possession are no longer valid.

The decision does not bind other judges in similar cases, but defence lawyers are expected to pick up the argument.

    Marijuana timeline for Canada
    1923: Marijuana banned in Canada under the Opium and Drug Act
    1961: Canada’s narcotics laws were amended to increase the minimum penalty for marijuana cultivation to seven years and that for importation and exportation to a minimum of 14 years.
    1973: The federal government’s Le Dain Commission called for an end to charges for marijuana possession and cultivation.
    1992: Umberto Iorfida, president of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Canada(NORML), was charged under section 462.2 of the Criminal Code with glamourizing and promoting the use of illicit drugs. Two years later, the case was thrown out by Madam Justice Ellen Macdonald of the Ontario Court who ruled that section 462.2 was unconstitutional.
    1994: Ontario farmer Joe Strobel was granted a licence to grow 10 acres of marijuana for research into its agricultural potential.
    August, 2000: Ontario’s court of appeal ruled that banning marijuana for medicinal purposes violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    July, 2001: Canada becomes the first country in the world to legalize the use of marijuana by people suffering from terminal illnesses and chronic conditions
    September, 2002: The Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs released its final report saying, in part, that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and should be governed by the same sort of regulations.
    December, 2002: Quebec Court Judge Gilles Cadieux threw out possession and trafficking charges yesterday against two volunteers at a medical marijuana club. He said authorizing those who are ill to use marijuana in Canada while depriving them of a legal source violates the right to life and liberty under the Charter.

Justice Minister Martin Cauchon has pledged to introduce revised marijuana legislation by spring, but a government spokesman said that yesterday’s ruling may prompt politicians or government lawyers to deal with it.

“We need to address it,” said Jim Leising of the Department of Justice criminal-prosecutions department.

Unlike recent cases in which chronically ill defendants persuaded judges to give them access to marijuana, the teenager did not argue that he has an ailment. He used a legal opening created in 2000, when an Ontario Court of Appeal judge ruled Canada’s marijuana-possession law invalid because it did not allow Terry Parker, an epileptic, and other chronically ill people to smoke it to lessen their symptoms.

The judge, however, delayed that ruling’s effect for one year in hope that the government would introduce a medicinal-marijuana law. But the government did not. Instead, the cabinet issued regulations for access to medicinal marijuana one day before the year-long grace period ended.

Mr. Parker said yesterday he is happy for the healthy teen.

“I consider marijuana to be preventive medicine,” he said. “It’s a good decision.”

At the teenager’s trial, his defence lawyer, Brian McAllister, argued that a cabinet order is not what the judge who decided Mr. Parker’s case had in mind. Nothing less than new laws by Parliament had been called for; therefore, marijuana-possession laws remained invalid.

Mr. McAllister said that as far as he knows, no other lawyer has argued this. Now that it has proven successful, he expects other lawyers to make similar cases.

In his decision, Judge Phillips wrote that “this is simply not the sort of matter that Parliament can legitimately delegate to the federal cabinet, a Crown minister or administrative agency.”

He says in the 16-page ruling that the appeal court’s declaration that struck down marijuana-possession laws “is now effectively in place.”

Advocates for the use of marijuana seized on Judge Phillips’s decision swiftly.

“Since Parliament did not appeal the Parker decision and did not amend the law, there is currently no law against possession of cannabis in Ontario,” Ontario Consumers for Safe Access to Recreational Cannabis says in a statement.

The group urged Ontarians who are charged with possession of marijuana after today to contact it, and suggested that anyone charged may be able to sue for false arrest and malicious prosecution.

Observers caution that Canadian dope-smokers should not push their luck by lighting up in front of police officers.

“You could try the argument in Ontario. It’s not binding on other courts. It’s maybe persuasive to a fellow judge sitting at the same level,” said John Conroy, a Vancouver lawyer fighting a possession case at the Supreme Court level.

(That case and others were put on hold last month, as the Supreme Court waits to see whether the Justice Minister produces revised legislation.)

Mr. Conroy said that in Ontario, defendants could take a chance on whether any particular judge would agree with yesterday’s decision, but Judge Phillips’s reasoning would carry less clout in other provinces.

“In B.C., this case would have even less authority,” Mr. Conroy said. “At the same time, you might convince the Provincial Court judge that Phillips is right.”

Mr. Conroy pointed out that marijuana is somewhat decriminalized in B.C.: Crown prosecutors prefer making deals rather than prosecuting in such cases, and when the defendant’s case goes to trial, B.C. judges grant absolute discharges.

Although the law against marijuana possession remains a legal quagmire, the teenager involved is not yet finished with the courtroom. He is to be tried on breach-of-probation charges stemming from the same arrest.

cswiii @ 1:59 pm

The Social Gospel

The Social Gospel is a
perspective on American Christianity that has its origins in the late
1800s, following the commencement of the industrial revolution.
Not long thereafter, corporate structures emerged that became more
powerful, which of course led to many labour strikes and led many to
consider Socialism as a viable alternative to laissez-faire economics.

As labor strikes became more prevalent, the long-held “protestant work ethic” became a less viable worldview to hold, as churches began to see the social problems that unrestrained Capitalism was unearthing, particularly amongst labourers.

Meanwhile, as the study of both social science
and socialism were increasing in institutes of higher learning, and the
church stayed no stranger to this. Seminaries undertook studies of
both, as efforts to try and alleviate some of the stresses placed on

Further down the road, and taken out of a secular context, some
aspects of socialism (specifically, the good of society, as opposed to individualistic gain) became an important plank in the concept known as the Kingdom of God,
where salvation and well-being of society as a whole was deemed more
important than that of the individual, and provided a vehicle for
Christians to perform ethically for the good of all, as opposed to
doing something simply for their own good. The Kingdom of God does not
try to overthrow existing precepts of Christianity, or throw out existing church doctrines. Instead, it attempts to redefine the focus of the faith on social change as opposed to individual salvation.

Growing out of this movement was the Social Gospel. Just as the
Kingdom of God does not attempt to change long-standing Christian
precepts, the Social Gospel (or “Social Christianity“)
does not aim to overthrow capitalism, but instead focuses on reforming
society and capitalism from the inside, as opposed to revolution from
the outside.

One prominent theologian in particular come to mind when considering the Kingdom of God and the Social Gospel, Walter Rauschenbusch, whose seminal work, A Theology for the Social Gospel, outlines the necessity to focus on the social conciousness within the existing Christian doctrines — in fact, some might argue that he makes social change the main focus of salvation

itself. Rauschenbusch argues that complete salvation, “…would consist
in an attitude of love in which he would freely co-ordinate his life
with the life of his fellows in obedience to the loving impulses of
God…”1 Thus, regarding personal salvation, “When we submit to God, we submit to the supremacy of the common good”2 and “A religious experience is not Christian unless it binds us closer to men and commits us more deeply to the Kingdom of God.”3

Another theologian whose contributions needn’t go unnoticed is Reinhold Niebuhr, whose time spent at a working-class Detroit church, and whose book Moral Man and Immoral Society

both had a great focus on societal change, although Neibuhr recognised
that all groups — including the church — featured imperfections and
tendencies towards excess.

Works Referenced:

* Matthews, Terry: The Social Gospel

* Placher, William C.: A History of Christian Theology

* Rauschenbusch, Walter: A Theology For the Social Gospel

Works Cited:

1 p. 98, A Theology For the Social Gospel: Walter Rauschenbusch, (c) 1945. Abingdon Press: New York, New York.

2 ibid., p. 99

3 ibid., p. 105

cswiii @ 3:25 am



I feel like crap. Emotionally, not physically. I know I set my alarm last night, and I checked twice, but I never heard it go off this morning. I must have bumped it off, but I simply can’t even remember doing that. I guess I didn’t realise how fast one slips into the deep sleep cycle.

I woke up at 9.00; B had already left. I called him immediately and profusely apologised. He was good-natured about it, but I still feel sick knowing I let someone down like that.

I am gonna go get some lunch and try to forget about it. Then I’ll write about New Years stuff, maybe post some pictures.

cswiii @ 12:23 pm
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