Gray Flannel Dwarf


Fortune: Top Six Beers this Fall

CNN/Money: “6 Best Beers for this Fall

Interesting bit… esp. this one:

Brooklyn Brewery: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

A deep brown imperial stout with complex flavors. When it’s fresh, there is a strong roasty character to the brew. Aged, it takes on the character of sherry. Goes well with a chocolate dessert. Availability of this seasonal brew is limited to eastern states.

BBCS is still, to this day, one of the best beers I’ve ever had from the tap.  I remember going to that bar in Manassas, having it drawn and really, really enjoying it.  I’ve had it several times since, in the bottle, however, and just didn’t like it nearly as much.

Tags: , — cswiii @ 1:47 pm


Congresscritters, you are on notice!


With all the news coming out about House Rep aides being busted for trolling weblogs — and remembering that, back a few months ago, there was a stink about people from Congressional IPs vandalising the Wikipedia article on Tom Coburn… I decided to see if anyone ever visited my measly weblog.


# house
grep “^143.228.” access.log >congress.txt
grep “^143.231.” access.log >>congress.txt
# senate
grep “^156.33.” access.log >>congress.txt

The results were kind of amusing. A lot of the references to my site weren’t so much to my weblog itself as they were to images that had been hotlinked elsewhere… so while this doesn’t tell a lot about how they found my site (although some did), it does denote some interesting viewing habits.

Now, the conventional wisdom is that the Senate is a more prestigious institution, and as such, Senators are more refined, genteel vis a vis the rabblerousers in the House.

Well, a grand plurality of the House hits were to Myspace pages. As for the Senate?

I’ll let the reader draw his or her own conclusions.

Update: For what it’s worth, no one at the DoJ (149.101.0.) has thought enough to stop by.

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 3:28 pm


The circle is complete… kind of.

During the summer of 1993, prior to starting my senior year of high school, I went to Nobody Beats the Wiz and, in a fit of what I considered luck, found a copy of Barenaked Ladies’ Gordon on cassette tape.

I had been introduced to what this band was about, several weeks prior, by some Canadians I’d met at the summer excursion to the Outer Banks. Chatting with them, I’d asked if they’d heard of They Might Be Giants. They hadn’t, but after reciting a few of the more familar TMBG lyrics, the oldest of the three noted that it sounded something like this great Canadian band called “Barenaked Ladies”… and thus, several weeks later at the music store, I tracked down a tape and bought it, having pretty much not heard anything from them except the few strains of “If I Had $1000000″ hummed by the three Canucks.

Fast forward through the years… I really started to dig the band, follow them, and through the next couple of years, I introduced a number of college classmates to the band. These people in turn introduced friends of theirs. I was probably responsible for introducing most of east Tennessee to the band, quite literally, because they didn’t really hit it big in the US until around 1997-98, and by then most of these people I knew from school, their friends, and friends of friends, had seen BNL in concert.

And that’s the funny part… of all these people who’ve been BNL fans over the years, I think I’m the only one who’s never seen them live. I had one or two chances, but for whatever reason, one inconvenience or another trumped the opportunity. I think the closest I say I’d ever come would be the time I performed “$1000000″ with two other guys in the college coffeehouse. Later on, I guess I haven’t been as interested in the band as I was initially — or maybe not a fan of their newer stuff. I still don’t own anything older than BOAPS, and don’t generally even listen to that.

So, that long-winded background leads up to this — perhaps it’s that same “stupid pride that makes me feel like I have to follow through” — as my CD collection grew over the years, I wanted to get Gordon on CD. There was only one glitch: BNL had since re-released Gordon with new artwork. Feeling like some sort of purist (or perhaps smug wannabe trendsetter), I didn’t want to buy it. I wanted the original CD, the original cover — the same album that I’d heard back in 1993. Searches through used CD stores were fruitless over the years.

And then, on a whim, I looked on eBay. I didn’t actually expect to find it — and while I didn’t think it would be considered more “rare” or “collectible”, I also wasn’t going to pay a big premium for it.

Thus, the other day, when I found a used copy for $4.50 + 2.50 s/h, I was pretty happy. It came in the mail today, and I gotta admit, I do have some weird sort of satisfaction because of it.

Bonus: As it turns out, it’s actually a Canadian, not US, release.

Tags: , , , , , — cswiii @ 10:02 pm


photo cred phun

CNN is currently displaying the following image on their front page of that Montreal shooter.

Kimveer Gill

…but did anyone take a close look at the photo credit? bwahahhaa.

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 11:17 am

No more Plensa in Raleigh.

Well, over the past few days, I was trying to figure out the best way to express my dissatisfaction with Raleigh’s faltering on the Jaume Plensa project which led to Jim Goodmon recinding his $2.5 million grant, but the good folks at Raleighing did a pretty good job expressing what many of us probably feel regarding the bumbling, short-sighted neanderthals on the Raleigh city council:

It would have set Fayetteville Street apart from all of the other main streets in the South. Plensa turned down the City of Miami to offer us his vision and we botched what could have been one of the nation’s best pieces of public art.

Raleigh has a history of putting things in the wrong place. Maybe this was the next one of our blunders. We built a Civic Center, the RBC Center, Crabtree, and the N.C. Zoo all in the wrong places. Maybe Soleil is on this list, too. Who knows? On the other hand, maybe we are just scared. We ran off the world’s best glass sculptor and one of the best sculptors (or whatever Plensa really is). We spent millions of dollars on Fayetteville Street yet we’re afraid to address its damning vagrant problem. We were too timid to tell the Hurricanes that the official parade should be downtown.

It’s truly a shame. For a few months now, I’d been telling friends from Chicago — where Plensa’s famed Crown Fountain is enjoyed by millions — that Plensa was coming to Raleigh, too. And now this. Shame on you, Raleigh.

Another good editorial on this latest development is available here at the News and Observer.

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 8:31 am


Pleading the 5th.

I dunno what I can say about the fifth anniversary of 9/11 without sounding like I’m politicising about it. But really… no one, not the people, not the politicians, ever did what they said had to be done — stand up and avoid being fearful. If they’d done that, we wouldn’t be in the state of scrutiny we’re under now.

People always talked about “not being afraid to fly” as an example — “get back on the planes, travel, show that you’re not afraid”. But that’s as far as we’ve gone. Really, people are just as scared as ever, and they used that as an excuse to rationalise expanded surveillance and allow intrusion into personal lives.

The fact is — wiretaps, ability to hold US citizens w/o access to lawyers, even the “free speech zones” — the grounds for these things is fear. The fact that we, as a nation, allow them — or at least haven’t expressed a unified outrage, is evidence that this underlying fear has never dissipated.

“Get back on the plane, show them you’re not afraid.” check

“Get back out there, speak your mind, show them you’re not afraid.” Oops.

“Get back on those telephones, call your friends, show them you’re not afraid.” Oops.

And what I really can’t fathom is the people who say that it won’t be used against your good ole god-fearin’ Americans. Give the government the power to do it, they will. Give corporations the laws, they will use them for their own good. Give individuals the power to persecute others, they will! For chrissakes, we have journalists under DHS criminal complaint due to filmmaking? Prime example of giving someone — in this case, a Someone — an inch and them taking a mile.

There’s nothing wrong with vigilance in a post-9/11 world. But there is a lot wrong with going at it vigilante style, which, it seems, is how we’ve spent the vast majority of the time doing it, since then.

All I ever hear these days, in response to these sorts of thoughts, is something akin to “9/11 changed everything”. Yes, maybe that’s the case — and for all I know, maybe it is a war against a different, changing enemy. But that makes the 2,996 people who died front-line soldiers in this new war — and somehow, in the aftermath, we’re all less free than we were before. So if they didn’t “die for our freedoms”, a term bandied-about far too often, what, then, do they represent? Our way of life? Sorry, that answer fails too, because that way of life went the way of the dodo thanks to post 9/11 legislation. That I really can’t think of much we have gained due to the changes in the post 9/11 world, it only goes to illustrate how much we, as Americans, have lost.

Commemorating those lost on 9/11 makes me also think about the freedoms we’ve lost since then. Five years later, the fears of the American public must still remain — that’s the only way I can understand why we’d let our freedoms be trampled. People say America has come back, is stronger than ever, and isn’t afraid to fight a war against terror. But if this were truly the case, we wouldn’t allow our own freedoms to be so strongly curtailed in the process.

As far as I’m concerned, this is a non-partisan issue, other than the fact that too many people have fallen for the ruse that it is such, that somehow sitting on one side of the political fence or the other automatically makes one fall in the right or wrong camp. Take a step back at this notion, for a second? How ridiculous are we? Isn’t such a divide exactly something some scheming terrorist mastermind out there would look for? Aren’t such statements a freaking big neon sign with a blinking arrow reading, “I’m With Stupid”?

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 12:26 pm