Gray Flannel Dwarf


Notes to self: “Crunchy Conservatism”

Original article (Dreher):

Rebuttal (Goldberg):

Response (Dreher):

Newer, updated (?) version or original article, in the Utne Reader, March/April 2003 issue. (Requires paid login)

cswiii @ 9:21 am



To anyone who might believe that what kids hear on TV and radio doesn’t affect them, I point to Exhibit A, from this past Friday at the bowling alley.

Seeing a bunch of 11-12 year old girls bopping around and singing “I am getting so hot / I wanna take my clothes off“, along with the Nelly-laden airwaves, has to be one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen in my life.

cswiii @ 6:05 pm


just things

They had a thing on the news the other night about a hit-and-run killing that took place probably about 1/2 to 1 mile from my house. I didn’t see the accident happen, but I saw the body there on the road, with two cars around it, presumably people who found him, before the cops got there. :(

It rained like a madman, Monday night/Tuesday morning. Here is evidence (clicky clicky):

rainy night
That wasn’t even the heaviest of the rain, either.

Wednesday, we got destroyed, both mathematically and physically in kickball. I will have to do some roster shufflin’.

Tags: — cswiii @ 3:33 pm


A diagram I put together

A diagram I put together for my kickball team, in an effort to better visualise the positions on the field.


For those of you scoring at home, I went 1-1 with one run, two RBIs and one lost temper in our first game. We won, 11-5.

Tags: — cswiii @ 4:59 pm


Brief update – I’ve been gone…

Further congratulations to kewlnonutz, and this time it has nothing to do with her biking efforts — it has to do with the fact that she is now engaged!

I am going to see Dralion this afternoon — got a phone call from a friend who has an extra ticket. Neat, as I’ve never gotten to see any Cirque du Soleil shows.

Now I just need to wake up.

Oh yeah, and I got the new Ben Harper CD, Friday. On first impressions, it’s decent. Not the best of his stuff, but it’s still good. “Bring the Funk” is, well, funky, real great stuff.

cswiii @ 12:54 pm


tour de friends

kewlnonutz‘s name is a misnomer. She has bigger cojones than me.


She’s currently training to participate in the four-day, 330 mile Tour de Friends bike ride, supporting AIDS/HIV research. She’s also has a minimum fundraising requirement of $2500, and thus needs donations. Help her out, if you can – click this link.

I’m really proud of her. This is gonna take a lotta guts, and I support her all the way.

cswiii @ 11:10 am

A curious landmark.

These days, I take a slight detour on the way to work, when I can make it through the turn (i.e., when no one is blocking the intersection), to avoid a traffic light and some other left turns usually required to enter my place of employment. I don’t know the name of this road, offhand, but there’s not a lot on it, although the growth has exploded in recent months. There’s a realtor office, TAG Computers building, and a Pan-Am building… not much else.

There are a few unused, but presumably sold and/or speculative, lots off this road. As property costs are skyrocketing out here, people are trying to make a mint, selling commercial real estate. Most of these lots tend to have gravel-dirt driveways, with big rocks, or something else equally obstructive, blocking entrance. This is why I never noticed Tippett Hill before.

Across a gravelly, red clay entrance that seems to lead into a splotch of old-growth forest, is a cable attached to two small posts. On an old tree, off to the side, is nailed a very simple, black-and white metal sign about the size of a licence plate, that reads:


The first time I saw it, I was curiously drawn to finding out more about this sacramental parcel of land. Not in a morbid sort of way, mind you — it was more at an immediate wonder about this apparent dichotomy of some old cemetery in a newly rapid-growth area. This said, curiosity was mostly passing, in that I never remembered exactly how to spell the name, or simply to do some online research, in the two weeks that followed my initial observation.

Tonight however, shortly before going to bed, something made me think about it, so I did some quick web research to look it up. As it stands, there’s not a lot out there. After finally getting the spelling right, Google only returns five results for “Tippett Hill”, and only two have anything to do with this cemetery. After seeing it in the Loudoun Cemetery Database, however, my interest is even more intent.

It seems Tippett Hill was a community cemetery, whose earliest burial was in 1908 and, although most are earlier, whose last burial was performed in 1994. The latter doesn’t feel all that long ago, but eastern Loudoun wasn’t all that big back then, either. There are several children (indicated as “baby” in the name record) buried here. Most interesting to me, however, is the 1994 burial, simply labelled as “Froggy,”. Is that a last name? Where is the surname? Is it a nickname? Hm…

One of these days, I want to take a short trip out there and visit, and it’s not through any desire to do something intrusive. I simply have this sort of “spider sense” that I could learn a lot about the area in which I live, by visiting Tippett Hill.

cswiii @ 12:03 am


Scene at the po’lice.

Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, was questioned by police along with the bodyguards and other people who were with him. Owen saids he does not expect 31-year-old Broadus and the others to be booked for a crime.

I can see the scene at the station…

Questioning Officer: Thank you for taking the time to discuss tonight’s events with us, Mr. Broadus.
Snoop: Fo shizzle.

QO: Mr. Broadus, could you tell us about any suspicious events that you might know of, leading up to this event?
S: Ain’t no shiznit, you know? Some muthas be talkin’ a lil smack wit’ some of tha dizzawgs, but izzal seem good, nuttin’ serious.

QO: What do you remember about the time when the firing occurred?
S: Some shizzle nizzle come over to th’ car, sayin’ they wanted to tizzalk to th’ Snoop D-O-double-G. Next thing we know, there wuz bullets flyin’ at izzle kiz-zar, you know what I’m sayin’? Wasn’t too gravy, yall.

cswiii @ 9:50 am


Students – 10 April 2003

Students – 10 April 2003

Warm, midwestern wheat, straw-hat drawl
Inflected with

     glass smoke asphalt
City echoes, concrete reverberations
Flowing rivulets
Diluted by suburban white noise.
Intrigue lost amongst profane, increased ambience
     …and suddenly gone, all of it…

Eye of the storm, passing clouds
Before the next denim contingent

What rubbish. Absolute tripe. I can’t think three-dimensionally, anymore
Seeing, observing, connecting. The third of these escapes me, these days.

cswiii @ 9:34 pm

The Price is Right

(12:26:54) kewlnonutz: yay
(12:26:57) teedz: what
(12:27:09) kewlnonutz” guyess how much im paying for round trip, three nights stay at a 3.5 star hotel in seattle?
(12:27:15) teedz: $59
(12:27:23) kewlnonutz: hahaha
(12:27:24) kewlnonutz: no
(12:28:03) teedz: “hotels dot com!”

(12:29:18) kewlnonutz: hehe
(12:29:19) kewlnonutz: no..
(12:29:29) kewlnonutz: keep in mind.. this is including airfare and hotel for three night
(12:29:53) teedz: 359
(12:30:21) kewlnonutz: DAMN close
(12:30:22) kewlnonutz: 356
(12:30:33) teedz: i think that means I win the showcase showdown
(12:30:38) kewlnonutz: AHHHAHAHAH
(12:30:42) kewlnonutz: screw that

cswiii @ 12:35 pm


The sun is beginning to shine on me / But it’s not like the sun that used to be

Postmodern Platonics

Artificial sands, a false oasis
Sipping reconstituted juices with rum,
Under a hundred-watt sunset
     (or perhaps it is neon!) –

We all lounge on synthetic fibres
     with saccharine dreams
     and plasticine visions
Watching silicone women walk by
Ingesting our placebos with nary

     a consideration
Of what is real.

Who is the biggest hypocrite of us all? Me, as I eat Taco Bell, after writing it.

cswiii @ 10:09 pm


saddam statue

“Lieutenant Dan!”

cswiii @ 4:00 pm

Awww yeah… bet you didn’t

Awww yeah… bet you didn’t know that Ice-T is in this movie.

cswiii @ 3:01 pm


If one good thing can

If one good thing can come out of this unpleasant weather pattern, it’s the fact that it seems about perfect, for listening to Time Out Of Mind. The chilly, damp weather once again triggers those sorts of moods. Listening to Bob feels comfortable, though, like an old leather jacket, in it all.

The cherry and Bradford pear trees betray these feelings, however. They line the roads like all too many blushing brides, standing, waiting, not realizant of the fact that their groom isn’t coming, at least not yet. Their hopeful petals continue to fall as this last gasp of wintry, windy drizzle takes advantage of them.

I have been reading Graham Greene’s The Quiet American recently. It’s a good one.

cswiii @ 9:55 pm



Obviously, I was right. It’s not spring yet.

Increasing clouds with a mixture of snow…freezing rain…and sleet likely…developing after midnight. Little or no snow accumulation. Lows 30 to 35. Light and variable winds becoming east and increasing to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 70 percent.
Sleet…rain…or freezing rain. Total accumulation…up to 2 inches. Colder and brisk. Highs 35 to 40. East winds 10 to 20 mph.

How the heck am I ever gonna get any hot peppers planted this year?

cswiii @ 5:47 pm


It’s not officially spring yet…

…not in my book, anyway.

I dunno. Maybe I’ve just read too much Kerouac, but it’s not springtime for me until I see that first blonde, driving down the road in her convertible. Hair flowing, confident, but not conceited. Relaxed.

It really is a sign of spring, though, you know? I mean, we’re all human, and it’s human nature to try and exude sex appeal — some of us exuding what little we can — and when you see the blonde drive down the road, you know the seasons have changed, with the most comfortable of us shedding our winter skins first.

Say what you want about these qualities yourself – love them, hate them – doing either at this moment implies that you’re kind of missing the point here. Just think for a second about the Platonic forces currently at play… the blonde, the car; the beauty, the raw power. Exposed to the chaotic but gradually improving elements — what a better time than spring, to display such instinctual, Dionysian qualities?

I saw a blonde today, driving a Mustang… but it wasn’t a convertible. It simply didn’t elicit the same feelings, either.

I’m sure she’ll be pulling out onto the road any day now, though… maybe some of you have already seen her.

cswiii @ 12:53 pm

Bristol, TN/VA

kewlnonutz found this for me. Pretty cool. Bristol is my ole college stompin’ grounds.

Wild Twang – In Bristol, They’re Still Crazy for Country the Old-Timey Way

(Article saved…)

Wild Twang

In Bristol, They’re Still Crazy for Country the Old-Timey Way

By Robert Schroeder
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, December 18, 2002; Page C02

To hear the Thursday morning jam session at the Star Barber Shop in Bristol, Va., is to hear a newfangled, high-pitched rejoinder to a country music question as old as, well, the hills: Will the circle be unbroken?

Lord no, cry the banjos. Heck no, wail the fiddles. Uh-uh, moans the stand-up “doghouse” bass.

Barbershop patron Charles Cross nods his head at the gaggle of pickers. “This is bluegrass country!” he says proudly.

It’s even more than that. Bristol, Va./Bristol, Tenn. — the town straddles two states — is the actual “birthplace of country music,” so dubbed by no less an authority than the U.S. Congress. Here, musically and in some other ways, too, today is yesterday and vice versa. And that circle is going strong.

It was here in 1927 that Victor Talking Machine Co. talent scout Ralph Peer’s storied “Bristol Sessions” captured Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, “the first superstars of country music,” said Bill Hartley, executive director of the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance. Thanks to Victor’s distribution power, 78 rpm recordings like the Carter Family’s “The Poor Orphan Child” and “The Wandering Boy” were sold nationwide for the first time. An industry was born, and a whistle-stop town netted a spot on the map. A small spot.

Nestled amid the high Appalachians, low-slung Bristol is a sight for city-sore eyes. With an old-time railroad station, gently sloping hills and irresistible eye candy like the country music mural (and its cross-street kin, the NASCAR mural), downtown Bristol makes for a pleasing, slow walkabout. For anyone who appreciates small-town mountain charm, it’s a pleasant place to visit. For an old-time country music fan, it’s Canterbury Cathedral.

Original vinyl records by Rodgers, the Carter Family, plus much more, are on display at the BCMA’s museum and gift shop on the lower level of the Bristol Mall. This Smithsonian affiliate is a don’t-miss stop for the classic country crazy: The museum holds old Appalachian dulcimers, a Carter Family autoharp and music memorabilia like framed vintage album covers of records by Bristol native Tennessee Ernie Ford. On Tuesday nights, locals and guests alike can fiddle and pluck on the museum’s makeshift porch-cum-stage.

Ford — singer of “Sixteen Tons” and huckster for Martha White flour — spent his first five years at 1223 Anderson St. on — of course — the Tennessee side of town. The white speck of a house is a testament to the star’s hardscrabble origins and features equipment Ford used as a DJ at WOPI, plus a hymnal-bedecked Wing & Son family piano. A photo of Ford with George Bush the elder shows how far he went. But for all of Ford’s success, said tour guide Brenda Otis, “he never was ashamed that he was a hillbilly and that he grew up poor.”

Was that “hillbilly”?

“I don’t think people around here are offended to be called hillbillies,” said Otis with a dead-serious expression. “This is hillbilly country.” Down here, others confirm, it’s a term of endearment of sorts. “I don’t mind if you call me a hillbilly,” said Tim White, a local DJ and banjo player. “Just don’t call me a dumb hillbilly.”

Bristolians take such pride in regional culture that bluegrass and clogging — Appalachian dance — share the stage with traveling Broadway shows at the 750-seat Paramount Center for the Arts on State Street downtown. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the frescoed Paramount (the venue for Ford’s final show in 1991) underwent a restoration in the late ’80s. Country luminaries like Loretta Lynn have played the Paramount, as has the contemporary band Blue Highway.

Worthy of its own song is Mother’s Restaurant, which proudly advertises Southern-style home cooking. But if it’s raw, unreconstructed hootenanny you hunger for, step into the Star Barber Shop any Thursday around 9 a.m. — and heed the sticker on the front door: “Caution: Bluegrass Musicians at Play.” Proprietor Gene Boyd, “the fiddlin’ barber,” has been hosting these high-chair hoedowns for decades and plans to continue “as long as I feel like I can stand up.” After that, the likes of Bobby Love will carry on the tradition. Love, a plainspoken 42-year-old, learned to play the mandolin from Boyd after being hired in the shop as a teenage shoeshine boy.

On a recent morning, Love and his mates were tearing up a version of “Whiskey Before Breakfast” as Boyd’s cowboy boots kept time. The shop slowly filled with enthusiastic locals and turned into a sardine-tight jamboree. “You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a picker down here,” said Bristol videographer and guitarist Greg Wallace.

Woe to the visitor who mentions to these guys crossover artists like Shania Twain or Garth Brooks. “Country radio stations that call themselves country ain’t country,” fumed Gaines Burke, an animated guitarist and singer.

Before the band started a rendition of “I Saw the Light,” Love likened the difference between bluegrass and today’s popular country to that between “a Volkswagen and a Cadillac.”

And which is better? “You be the judge of that,” Love said evenly. “But to us, [bluegrass] is as good as it gets.”

“The feeling is pure,” BCMA’s Hartley said, plugging the town’s May-through-October Tuesday night concerts. Old-time tunes are also starting to pay off, Hartley and others noted, turning downright reverential when the soundtrack of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” comes up.

Richard Porter is helping the cause along. Porter, who runs Bristol’s Classic Recording Studio, puts local acts on CDs and recorded early cuts by superstar Kenny Chesney. But he admits that while his average customers used to be of the country-bluegrass-gospel ilk, these days he’s getting rap bands, too. To be sure, not everyone’s gone country.

Or have they? Just take in an evening at the BCMA-sponsored “Pickin’ Porch Annex” in the Bristol Mall and see for yourself. Thursday nights, close to Sears and Subway, the pickin’ porch packs in a few hundred people to hear the sounds of the VW Boys, 5th Generation and a host of others.

“People down here, we like this music,” said audience member Tina Dotson, who was attending a recent show with her 9-year-old mandolin-playing daughter, Amy. “We’re just regular people.”

The cowboy-hatted, teenage-twin Boone Brothers, Jason and Jeremy, took the stage and harmonized about “blue Virginia blue”; before that they’d danced in the audience and shook hands, welcoming folks to the concert. A collection bucket went around and netted a few hundred dollars for the nonprofit BCMA.

The crowd sang along or mouthed the words to “Jesus Loves Me.” And when Puckett, sitting in with the VW Boys, raised his guitar ceilingward and squinted while singing the high notes, one sensed that for him and the pickers of Bristol, there’s a better home awaiting.


Just like the song says: In the sky, Lord. In the sky.

GETTING THERE: Bristol’s about 6½ hours from Washington. From Interstate 66 west, hook up with I-81 south and take it all the way to Bristol on the Tennessee line.

STAYING: The Ramada Inn is just $39 (276-669-7171). For a more gracious experience, the Martha Washington Inn, 20 minutes away in Abingdon, Va., starts at $169 (276-628-3161,

EATING: Try a gravy-smothered country-style steak and pinto beans for dinner at Mother’s Restaurant (1500 Euclid Ave.), on the Virginia side, for $4.75, including coleslaw, corn bread and a biscuit. For breakfast, head for Carol’s Diner (2520 W. State St.).

WHAT TO DO: The Birthplace of Country Music Alliance is the best clearinghouse for Bristol’s many country-roots happenings, from the Alliance’s own museum to the weekly dances and concerts to the Tennessee Ernie Ford house (276-645-0035, In addition to the weekday musical offerings in Bristol, the Down Home in nearby Johnson City, Tenn., hosts bluegrass, country and other artists (423-929-9822, The Bristol Motor Speedway runs an ice skating rink through Jan. 4 (423-764-0297, www.bristolmotor

INFO: Bristol Chamber of Commerce, 423-989-4850,

© 2002 The Washington Post Company

cswiii @ 11:05 am


Crazy weather, continued.

From Weather Underground; Emphasis is mine.

Mostly cloudy and breezy with a chance of rain or snow showers. Highs in the mid 50s. Southwest winds increasing to 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Partly cloudy and warm. Lows 45 to 50. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph becoming light and variable.

Partly cloudy and warmer. Highs in the lower 70s. West winds 10 to 15 mph.

chrishaas is back, apparently. I wonder what he thinks about all this.

cswiii @ 11:57 am