Gray Flannel Dwarf


Telephone tags

I ended up getting one of those invites from my wife yesterday who inadvertently spammed everyone in her Yahoo mail list, thanks to the scheming techniques used by to “add all your friends” to your contact list there. In other words, you give them your yahoo (or hotmail) info, they login to your mailbox, and while “updating your contacts”, sends invites to everyone on the list.

Also note that this is done before one even fully activates an account.

And then there is this, from their terms of service page:

How Much Does It Cost?
* Each day send up to 5 FREE SMS (text messages) from the Web to mobile phones for 30 days. (A Only)
* $0.25 per mobile text message sent or received for B, C, D, E, and F (and A after first free msgs for 30 days).
* You may send STOP to 57413 to stop any of A, B, C, D, E, or F messages at any time.
* Free to receive messages by email. All charges occur on your mobile phone account.

A-F are different “levels” of users, with “A” being only known friends, etc.

However, note that you pay, after 30 days, for all messages received… and from what I’ve heard, you get ads too… and of course pay for those (although they are probably classified within B-F).

So… expect to be bitchslapped if I received these “invite” emailings from any others amongst you.

Tags: , — cswiii @ 11:21 am


While You Were Out…

Sometime during the day, room service apparently switched the clock radio in my hotel room from some old thing to a new Doubletree-branded alarm clock. On the top of this clock, there are five buttons, each labelled something differently. There is a button for aux connections (MP3 player, etc.), and then others labelled “Pop”, “News”, “R&B”, and “Classical, presumably preprogrammed by someone…?

Checking out the different buttons, “Pop” was playing Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind”. “News” featured some dude calling up a talk radio show. “R&B” was playing none other than Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend”.

“Classical”, on the other hand, is currently playing some techno-dance remix.

Must be neo-classical. Or something.

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 11:27 pm

Surprise…! What surprise…?

Washington Times: Rumsfeld makes surprise visit to Iraq

Has anyone else asked the question, “how can these things be surprises anymore?” I’ve been wondering this for weeks, now…it seems not a week goes by and if it’s not Dubya, it’s Condi or it’s Rumsfeld, someone is always on their way over there to make a “surprise visit”.

How many “surprise” visits does it take before they turn “mundane”? How come these haven’t been called “routine” visits to Iraq? They occur often enough.

I want to know the real purpose… andI don’t mean that in a particularly conspiratorial sense. Let’s look at the options.

If it’s to pep-talk the troops, then they’re bound to have already run into the law of diminishing returns. If this administration is dropping the phrase “war on terror” due to the notion that most Americans, now war-weary, think the war was a mistake, I can only imagine that a quick BJ from BushCo. wouldn’t have that much of an effect for those on the front lines.

On the other hand, in the first article linked, it’s mentioned that Rumsfeld met with the Iraqi Prime Minister. For a meeting like that, one would think you’d call ahead for tea time, you know? You don’t just “drop in” to hang out with the local officials.

In my mind, it’s pretty evident the WH is fairly upset at the prospect that, after everything has been said and done, Iraq is looking more and more like it’s going to be another Islamic theocracy. Rumsfeld is over there to have a friendly little “WTF” talk with the PM. Smile, wave to the camera! Surprise! Look who daddy brought home!

Listen here, buddy, we expected a little more from you all than this.

Not that I think it will do much good… the war is going worse than everyone thought it would, and the task of “nation building” is going worse than everyone expected too. In fact, the only thing over there in a better state than initially expected is the status of WMDs. Sure aren’t any of those, buster!

Oh, wait. The WH knew that well in advance, too.

Tags: , , , , , — cswiii @ 10:37 am


Dirtiest. Headline. Evar.

Thanks to helbnt for this one.

Tags: — cswiii @ 3:12 pm

Music and biking don’t mix

I saw something on TV this weekend about how fashionable the iPod is, and they flashed a picture of Dubya in full on biking regale, mentioning that, in the photo, the iPod’s telltale white earbud wires were visible. Actually, a picture can be found here.

Apparently Bush doesn’t heed the DOT’s advice that you shouldn’t wear headphones while biking.

I wonder if it has anything to do with his apparent clumsiness with regards to his bicycle.

To be fair, a lot of people are that stupid… just googling for “bush ipod bike” returned a lot of references to people thinking that it, or the various derivatives would be perfect for a bike ride.

Tangentially aside, I bought an mp3 player this weekend. It wasn’t an ipod, however — I got an iRiver IFP-899.

cswiii @ 1:31 pm


Hurry Up and Wait

  • The home warranty company’s offices open at 7:00 AM. Shortly thereafter, I gave them a call.
  • I was given the number of a place whose offices aren’t open until 8:00; called them at 8:02. Their VMB said they’d call back within a half hour, so I left a message
  • 8:40, called them, and spoke with a live body. The woman said they’d not even gotten to the voicemails from the weekend, understandably, due to the high volume of service requests. Said they wouldn’t be able to have anyone out until Wednesday.
  • 8:55, Called the home warranty group back, they gave me another number
  • 8:57, Spoke with this company, found out they wouldn’t be able to do anything until Tuesday (tomorrow) afternoon, and they don’t do weekend calls.
  • 9:02, Called the home warranty group back again, who made a call on my behalf and found someone who should be giving me a call in the next hour… they presumably aren’t on a preferred list, because they have to call the warranty company before making any repairs.
  • 10:15, no call from the repair place, so I called them. Apparently there was a mess-up between the warranty company and the repair company. he told me he could hear us talking on the phone and he heard her tell me that the guy would call in an hour ,but after she talked to me, he said that the woman hung up, and he never got any info for me. Says he’ll be here after lunch.

I’m not angry or fed up over any of this — although ask me later at 2:00 PM when it’s over 100 degrees in the house and I might answer otherwise — I can totally understand that it’s quite a busy season for the AC repair crews. It’s just a major hassle and very difficult to find repairs that can be done when one spends most of the week on the road.

cswiii @ 8:25 am


Great, just great.

So it seems the AC unit at our house died, either sometime last night or sometime during the day today. It’s 11:45 and 85 degrees in the house. I didn’t discover this until about two hours ago. It seemed a little warmer — I don’t keep the AC on very high as it is — and then I noticed the lights, which kind of briefly dim everytime the AC kicks on, kept doing so, about every 2 minutes. I put my foot over the vent, and there was cool-ish air blowing — from the fan, but no frigid air. Then I went to look outside at the fan… the top of it was hot, and while I was there, I heard it click a few times, presumably the same time the lights in the house would be dimming. Flipped the circuit breaker — no dice.

The good news is that this should be covered by the home warranty we have on the house.
The bad news is that I’ve incurred costs for changing my plane ticket, I have to take a personal day and generally suffer through a Monday where the temperature is supposed to be around 98 and the heat index is supposed to be around 105. Tuesday is supposed to be even worse.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another…

cswiii @ 10:52 pm

Things that get under your skin

From Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: 1plac·ard
Pronunciation: 'pla-k&rd, -"kärd
Function: noun

(Note that they are using the ampersand to replace a schwa)

Most of us know this. In fact, it never crossed my mind that people might not know how to pronounce “placard”. However, nearly every time I get on my NWA flight, and hear the spiel about it being “federal regulations to obey all posted signs and placards” it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

It’s always “Plah-CARDS” or “Plah…CARDS”. They always put the emphasis on “cards”, and half the time, the flight attendant has this quarter-second pause between the two syllables.

It’s such a little thing to be concerned about, but when you hear it twice a week for twenty weeks, it gets to be a bit annoying.

Because it is so often mispronounced, I am guessing that’s how it’s pronounced in NWA’s training videos.

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 2:49 pm

If you want to be me, be me.

I watched Harold and Maude tonight.

“But tell me, what do you do for fun? What activity gives you a different sense of enjoyment than the others? What do you find fulfilling? What gives you that certain satisfaction?”

“I go to funerals.”

He’s further ahead than me — I wish I could find something fulfilling.

cswiii @ 12:36 am


Permanent Record

Tomorrow — or today, actually — I will be heading into downtown Raleigh to see a free Violent Femmes show (warning: link is loud). Sponge will be there too, and although I know I heard them back in the day, and in fact probably saw them at one point or another, I can’t remember any songs of theirs.

I have seen the Femmes about three other times — HFStival ’94, Smoky Mountain Jams in… ’97, I think — and one other time which escapes me. In any case, as the above shows are pretty indicative, I didn’t go to specifically see them — but they’re still a band that I could see a million times… they’re fun.

Maybe the third time was at DC101 chili cookoff? That doesn’t seem right, but I can’t remember.

Acts/Shows I’ve seen (per Wikipedia, with some editing for clarity)… I am sure I am missing some:

* Lollapalooza:
1993: Main Stage: Primus, Arrested Development, Alice in Chains, Dinosaur Jr., Fishbone, Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Front 242
Side Stage: Sebadoh, Cell, Mutabaruka, Luscious Jackson, Mosquito, Mercury Rev
(didn’t watch anyone on the side stage for this one though)

1994: Main Stage: Smashing Pumpkins, Beastie Boys, Green Day, A Tribe Called Quest, The Breeders, L7, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Boredoms Side Stage: Stereolab, Charlie Hunter Trio, Shonen Knife, Lambchop, Guided By Voices, The Flaming Lips, the Verve, Boo Radleys, Cypress Hill, Black Crowes, Luscious Jackson
(probably not all these played the side stage when I was there. I was introduced to Charlie Hunter Trio then, though. Fantastic)

* HFStival (1994):
Cracker, Toad The Wet Sprocket, Meat Puppets, Counting Crows, James, Pavement, Rollins Band, Violent Femmes, Afghan Whigs, Gigolo Aunts, Tuscadero, Greenberry Woods, Lotion, Madder Rose, Edsel

* Saw Emmet Swimming and that one-hit wonder, “For Squirrels” in 1995 or so. They were still milking that song about Kurt Cobain, so it had to be sometime not too long after 1994.

* Saw Atari Teenage Riot in 1996 or 1997. That was a waste of $10.

* Smoky Mountain Jam (1997):
V-Roys, Violent Femmes, Widespread Panic

* DC101 Chili Cookoff (2001):
The Go-Gos, Train, and a bunch of other dumb bands that fall under the by then-dead horse “alternative” label. Sponge was probably there, actually.

* Seen the Pietasters a few times too, once way back in about 1993, when they were WAY local, and then sometime around 1997 or ’98 at Virginia Tech

* Bob Dylan sometime around 2001 at MCI Centre. It was post-Love and Theft

* Paul McCartney sometime around 2002, also at MCI

* B.B. King sometime around 2003 at Wolf Trap

* Aretha Franklin around the same time as B.B. — was the same summer, anyway, I think. Also at Wolf Trap

Kid Koala, Jack Johnson and Ben Harper in … oh, 2003 or so.

Also, saw Vince Neil and Poison right around that same time — hey, they were free tickets. Got there too late to see Skid Row, sans Sebastian Bach

Suzanne Vega played as part of a free show at Herndon Days, perhaps also in 2003, or maybe 2004.

I think I saw Amy Grant when I was about 12 years old, too.

Also – am I the only one who finds Jack Johnson just kinda… boring? I dunno. I’ve only heard a bit of his stuff, mostly radio, and I didn’t really dig it, nor was I particularly impressed when he opened for Ben Harper a few years ago. Am I missing anything?

Tags: , , , , , — cswiii @ 2:37 am



I was flipping through the channels today and saw that VH1 was re-airing the Live8 show. I wasn’t really paying too much attention to it, but the TV remained on, and then I heard Pink Floyd come on. I liked the set a lot. They dedicated it to Syd.

I did a google search on Syd, and came across this article from last month. Kind of interesting.

I decided to try and play a few Floyd songs on the guitar today. I already know “Time” and I just about picked up “Comfortably Numb” today, too. I also somewhat re-learned “Wish You Were Here”, although I still can’t do the intro solo stuff right.

Everytime I hear “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”, I think of Chaco, sitting in the lobby, singing it and/or playing it with the Crazy Russian. That night he seemed really into it – it felt so… authentic? Like he was really singing it with Syd in mind or something.

Across the planes of other internal matters, I can’t help but wonder if some things are coming to a head, here. Not a pleasant way to spend a weekend. I’ve been bored out of my mind on the weekends lately, but it’s a never-ending cycle. I get bored, and then get lethargic and apathetic, which means I get even more bored. Playing guitar helped a bit. For some reason the voice was really working well, too – I was tuned in quite well, oddly enough.

I did have a pleasant lunch today with some of the Carolina Kossacks, which broke some of the monotony. The gyro was pretty tasty, but I was still hungry afterwards, and I left kinda wishing I’d gotten some hummous or tabbouleh.

DB, I will hopefully get to that book tagging thing soon enough. It’s hard for me to remember, off the top of my head, which books I like, other than one or two which really bit me. I’ve never been good at remembering details, and that includes book titles. I’ve always been better at absorbing ideas.

I am thinking about buying a notebook tonight to do some writing, but I seem to do that once or twice a year, and nothing comes of it. I mean, nothing at all. I couldn’t name the last time I was able to write anything, much less anything decent.

I think I need to take up meditation or something. Things move fast.

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 12:37 am


“Personal waiver” theory – (former) Rove staffer?

Let me preface this with the fact that I do think Rove probably was the initial source. I am not so convinced, however, that he was Cooper’s only source, and I’ve seen nothing that explicitly indicates this.

I am wondering if there is a disgruntled staffer, or former staffer, for Rove that is offering corroborating evidence that Rove was the original leak.

Now, let’s start from the basics. If I were a professional journalist, and had learned something from someone at the top, I would probably try to get a second verified statement from someone with ties to the original to confirm statements and/or internal policy. A primary source, words from the horse’s mouth is great, but I wouldn’t want to write an article and have only one source that could leave me twisting in the wind — especially if that person is Karl Rove who has left many a public figure hung out to dry.

Now, consider this somewhat mishmash of a paragraph from an old 2003 Newsmax(!) article regarding the Plame incident (emphasis mine):

As the story goes, individuals in the administration seeking revenge for Wilson’s criticism of Bush’s Iraq adventure played get-even, and at least two of Karl Rove’s staff placed phone calls to at least six Washington journalists, unmasking Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame. One of the journalists, Robert Novak, chose to publish and thus unmask CIA agent Plame.

So there’s the possibility of Rove talking, and there’s the possibility of this smear having been disseminated by members of his staff. If this were true, then it doesn’t take a leap of logic to determine that members of Rove’s staff knew of efforts to “out” Plame. At very least, those staffers mentioned in the paragraph above, and perhaps more.

Now, let’s come back to Cooper’s statement that he’d been released from his confidentiality promise from his source. This seemed to go smack in the face of everything pointing to Rove. Rove’s arrogance has been a favourite explanation, as has the unlikely idea that Rove would fall on his sword for the administration. None of these is satisfying for me, though. Simply put, Rove is vile but he’s not stupid.

With all this confusion going on, I can’t help but wonder if we’ve seen something of a sleight-of-hand trick. People believe Rove is the leak. Cooper was given a confidentiality release. Ergo, Rove gave the release? Right?

I wonder if there’s been a deliberate misdirection in all this… perhaps Cooper had two sources — Rove and someone within Rove’s organisation, and it’s the latter who, for reasons currently unknown, has decided it is time to come forth with information implicating Rove.

Could Cooper’s “personal and unambiguous waiver to speak before the grand jury” be a hitherto unknown mole from within Rove’s own ranks? Every assumption has been that Cooper’s got only one source, but unless I’ve missed it, I’ve never seen that explicitly stated.

Is there a definitive list somewhere of current and former members of Rove’s staff whose backgrounds might be worth investigating?

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 12:33 am


Slouching towards South Carolina

Hey DB — look what’s coming your way.

According to the irreproachable World Net Daily, “fed-up Christians” are packing their bags and moving to South Carolina and consider secession a viable option to modern-day American governance.

“I believe we can work with ‘the system’ if you will to effect the outcome of local elections and certainly the CE theory is to do this county by county,” Janoski said, “but I do not discount the possibility that the federal government or the rest of the ‘union’ may not agree with our objectives or core politics. So secession may be a very real alternative – and is as I believe our constitutional right if things lead to that.”

“I’m about as patriotic as anyone you’ll ever meet,” says Charles Lewis, who moved his family of four from the nation’s capital for the opportunity to raise his children in a wholesome, Christian-friendly environment. “However, the secession option is firmly in the Constitution – it’s the linchpin of the whole thing, [the] ultimate safety valve.”

Actually, I’ve heard the wingnuts are a lot further along than this column indicates. They’re just trying to figure out that whole, pesky “pillar of salt” issue.

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 9:48 am


It seems Bill Frist was, uh, for stem cell research before he was against it.

“It is critically important that we understand, and in our moral and ethical framework ensure, that this tissue otherwise would not be used,” he said. “It is similar to the fact that when I do a heart transplant, that heart otherwise would not be used for anything useful.”

On the question of whether the days-old blastocyst is a life, Frist said: “There is a continuum from a sperm and an egg, to a blastocyst, to a fetus, to a child, to an adolescent, to an adult.”

He acknowledged that other types of stem cells appear to offer some therapeutic benefits but said they were insufficient.

“It appears clear that research using adult stem cells does not hold the same potential for medical advances as does the use of the more versatile embryonic stem cells,” he said.

cswiii @ 1:16 am


There goes the Neighbourhood


I think this is a bit telling, though. Emphasis mine:

O’Connor’s retirement caught the White House by surprise. The administration had been preparing for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist to step down, and had been mulling how to replace the conservative anchor of the court, according to a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the selection process.

Now, the White House has to reexamine its thinking because it faces a vacancy caused by the resignation of a moderate woman instead of a conservative man.

…hence my statement of “we’re fucked” last November.

This isn’t going to be a maintaining of the status quo. This is going to be a knock-down drag-out battle royale…and I don’t mean between left and right. I mean between the nation and the Constitution.

Roe v. Wade of course comes to mind, but there is an interesting angle there — it’s established, and barring (ahem) judicial activism, what are they going to do to overturn it?

cswiii @ 12:48 pm