January 30, 2007


Scam of the month club

Some people may say that I have an overdeveloped sense mischief. It's in that spirit that I pursued a correspondence with one of those silly spammers asking for cooperation to assist blahblahblah... This one caught my eye because the grifter, upon first contact, put forth the unorthodox story that I had already done all I could and, even in the face of failure, was due reward for my work. I was quite flattered, really. The exchange begins (I comment thusly):

Attn: My Dear (So sweet - you will soon see that we have known each other for a while)

I'm happy to inform you about my success in getting those funds
transferred under the cooperation of a new partner from paraguay. Presently I'm in Paraguay (the upper case provinces, I see) for investment projects with my own share of the total sum.

Meanwhile,I didn't forget your past efforts and attempts to assist me in transferring those funds despite that it failed us some how.Now contact my secretary, his name is Mr Steven Moeller his E-mail (stevenmoeller****@*****.fr) ask him to send you the total $850.000.00 which I kept for your compensation for all the past efforts and attempts to assist me in this matter.

I appreciated your collective efforts at that time so feel free and get
in touch with my secretary Mr Steven Moeller (yes, Steven. We met in the last paragraph) and instruct him where to send the amount to you. Please do let me know immediately you receive it so that we can share the joy after all the sufferness at that time (O, I got big planz, G).

In the moment, I am very busy here in Paraguay because of the investment projects which myself and the new partner are having at hand without confrontations, finally, remember that I had forwarded instruction to the secretary on your behalf to receive that money, so feel free to get in touch with Mr Steven Moeller (who?) my secretary (Oh, that's right) he will send the amount to you without any delay.

With best regards,

Barrister DOM BEN Esq

And to that my earnest reply:

My Darling Mr Steven Moeller,

With great joy and confusion do I contact you per instructions from dear Barrister DOM BEN Esq. He has informed me of his success in absconding funds in Paraguay, presumably from some new mark. I understand that he has forwarded you instructions that I should receive a portion of these funds.

Well I certainly don’t want it to be said of me, “He let his ship pass him by,” so I am earnestly contacting you Mr Steven Moeller in order to be taken full advantage of in this matter. I’m very glad Barrister DOM BEN Esq (did he leave out a hyphen somewhere? Or perhaps just a clue) remembered my “collective efforts” in assisting him. As I was recently able to recall repressed memories of my own (alas, to no one in particular’s advantage or exploitation), I must say I am indeed fully prepared to share the joy after all the sufferness at that time. You can send the $850.000.00 (cash is fine but for safety I would recommend a certified check drawn on any U.S., Swiss, or Cayman bank) to my signatory at the address below.

Please forward my warmest regards to Barrister DOM BEN Esq with wishes for all his investment projects at hand to be confrontation-free.

Most Respectfully Yours,

Scarlet Feimster dba Mr. O' Tim's Splendid Rodent Traps, LLC, ASCAP
120 E. ****** Street
*******, GA 30***

Barrister DOM BEN Esq's secretary Mr Steven Moeller responds, with a flair that trancends his strange diction:
i received your mail and now understand that you are
instructed by my boss to contact me regarding the
draft he wrote on your name before he travel (Mr. Left Hand? Meet Mr. Right Hand).

However this money is in bank draft and my question to you is that i want to know whether you will come down here in Benin Rep to pick up the draft, i though it will be more better but if your not ready to come in person you can let me know, then i will mail it via DIPLOMATIC SERVICE now i will go to the courier company to confirm the cost of the mailing fee of the draft to your address.

Contact me either email or phone to discuss on
how to receive the mailing cost to enable me send the
draft to you as soon as possible.Tel +229-937-xxx-xx
waiting to hear from you.
Steven Moeller

Wow, a phone number! Do I dare? Unfortunately, in this last e-mail of his the copy of my reply made it apparent that Gmail betrayed my identity. No matter, I think we can still up the ante of suspense via e-mail:

My friend Steven Moeller,

I must confess that I, Scarlet Feimster, intercepted the initial contact e-mail from your boss. He had sent it to my boss, Mr. Tim, a very cross and disturbed man who is not kind to us his workers. I hope my charade will not disqualify me from eligibility for the bank draft you hold Steven Moeller. If not, do not concern yourself with any payment marked for Mr. Tim. I am his secretary (like you!) and have the knowledge to abscond with the money. I pray you will respect my honesty, for I am desperate Steven Moeller. Mr. Tim has made life a living hell for me and my family, keeping three generations of us in indentured servitude since the time of my grandparents' emmigration from Westphalia after the war. The $1,950,000 would grant us freedom you could never imagine, Steven Moeller. Your name is familiar – do you have roots in or near Westphalia?

I digress. As you can imagine, traveling to your Benina Republic would be impossible if we hope to keep up a successful ruse (I pray to St. Etheridge you are with me on this), so to mail it via DIPLOMATIC SERVICE will be necessary. Thank you and thank Barrister DOM BEN Esq for all kindnesseses. I am prepared to embezzle the funds necessary from Mr. Tim's finances to expedite this matter - just name your price. You must be discreet – you must not mention Mr. Tim's name to anyone. He is very wealthy and powerful and sick in the loins and has made me sick there too. Send all correspondence to this e-mail address ONLY. It is password-protected with knowledge only by me. This will be totally like Shawshank Redemption when Tim Robbins stuck it to the warden, dude. Steven Moeller please help me escape this prison.

Warmest Friendship,


The proverbial other shoe drops soon enough with our mugu (a Nigerian Pidgin term meaning fool. Here in the West mugu is mainly known in the context of these advance fee scams, and until recently applied to mean the mark/scamee. Nigeria has come to be known as the most common point of origin for the scams. West Africa in general is rife with scammers, as ours from Benin is testament). Our adventure continues with this reply from my beloved Steven Moeller:

Thank you my dear
Since your are the secretary to Mr Tim you can as well be involve in the transaction. And I can also understood that you will not come down here to pick up the draft, however I have confirmed from the Director of the Courier Company the cost of the shipping fee of the draft and I was told that the cost of the registration fee is $150 according to him he said that as soon as the money is confirmed that they will deliver the draft to your address within 24hrs So you can send the shipping fee of $150 with this information and the money could be send through via western union






Remember to send the information of the payment as soon, as you made the payment ok
Also your mailing address I mean where to send the draft ok
Call me immediately you send the money or you send me the MTCN NUMBER
Best Regards
Steven Moeller

I have done a quick bit of Googling on these scams, commonly known as 419s in reference to the Nigerian law that prohibits such fraud. Rather effective law, eh? The most interesting thing that I learned is that many people have taken to the fun and challenge of reversing the scams on this rather witless crowd. There is even a pretty good WEBSITE that offers advice and posts copies of some hilarious scam baits.

This particular scammer seems on the unassertive side – rather harmless and probably a lot of fun to string along. But further considering how he has obtained my real name, to preserve safety and sanity I have decided to fight again another day (it's not like I'll never get the chance). Here is how I leave it:

Most beloved brother Steven Moeller Ezebuilo Peter Onochie -

I have learned that my boss is wise to me, and I am now in great danger. There is but one chance for escape that will also preserve the safety of my family, and that is to fake my death (or it will be the real death for certain). I have made my last “withdrawal” from my boss's account – enough to get me out of the country and live cheaply for a few months. HE will “find” evidence of the missing funds with a note from me explaining that my despair has led me to commit suicide by jumping into a brush chipper in front of a large canvas, and the only artist willing to make my final statement part of his work is in Nepal (part of the “evidence” will be a video tape of my cousin Lars actually doing this last year in Alaska. We can only hope HE doesn't notice the geographical disconnect).

Unfortunately, Steven Moeller Ezebuilo Peter Onochie, the $1.50 you need for shipment is now essential to my survival efforts, as I cannot leave the U.S.A. without paying the federal export tax on my collection of Spanish Inquisition-era fingernail pullers (who'd have expected that?).

But do not despair my beloved. I have also absconded with documents that will allow me to present myself in Switzerland as my soon-to-be-ex boss's bastard cum laude, and so I will be able to expedite cash from the $2,250,000 draft you hold for HIM. But it is important to lay low for a time. YOU MUST NOT CONTACT THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS FURTHER ! ! I cannot stress enough the importance of this – it will blow my cover and put my family and YOU, my beloved scamster, in great danger with you-know-who. Trust me when I say HE is not to be trifled with. Why, I once saw HIM bite off a taxi driver's thumb for clicking the fare meter while still standing in the white zone at JFK. HE offered it back to the man as a tip if he got him to his building fast enough. Poor bastard was dodging traffic trying to grab it from the curb across from the Beresford twenty-five minutes later. Brutal.

Anyway, YOU MUST NOT CONTACT THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS FURTHER ! ! I have your phone number and e-mail tattooed inside my upper lip (such is my faith in you, praise be to St. Gibson) so I will contact you as soon as it is safe. If there is an ABSOLUTE emergency I might be sought in Needle Park (Prague, not Bangkok). Look for the girl with the set of orange piercings in her face (in summer you can check for the white gold ring with the bejewelled skull & crossbones in her clitoris) - she will find me. Oh, and if she tries to sell you on her bogus Mexican black tar, tell that bitch to fuck off you want the China White.

Remember to forget this e-mail address – it is not safe! YOU MUST NOT CONTACT THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS FURTHER ! ! If you continue sending here HE will lure you in with the promise of riches for finding me. But it is a trap! HE is no mugu! Run in the opposite general direction, little buckaroo, bobbing and weaving so as not to be hit! Keep total fucking silence! Be a contender, a pitcher and not a belly itcher! YES! God's blessings on your head Steven Moeller Ezebuilo Peter Onochie! Go Dog, GO!

Loving you is easy cuz you're beautiful, bra. Wait for me!

Scarlet (my last day with this name, amen)
YOU MUST NOT CONTACT THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS FURTHER (I mean, we're talkin' a lousy $150 dude, so move along) ! !

As I expected, Steve Swift is not ready to give up. What a maroon! What a gulli-bull! The possibility that anyone ever gave money to the likes of someone as this dork is mind ba-ga-LING !

i received your mail and what i want to do is to send me your contact number so that we can discuss it through phone
here is my phone number 0022xxxxxxxxx
call immediately ok
i waiting to hear from you as soon as

I was hoping against hope that he/she/it would catch the drift in Scarlet’s last line above. We wish we could give him more grief, but alas our minds are made up – so Scarlet’s off to Prague for a little dragon chasing.

Until next time, when we can share the joy after all the sufferness...


January 28, 2007


A good crowd

Last night I had the privilege of judging a singer-songwriter contest for what is to be a series of open-mike performance nights at the local music café. I was one of three judges for the event. We were anonymous and seated throughout the place, though most casual observers surely noticed three people marking things down on paper.

The day prior to the event the café owner asked me to devise a scoring system that would put greater weight on the songwriting originality, the obvious reason being that many good songwriters have no business considering themselves singers, and also that musical talent could be expected to vary widely. In a bit of a rush I came up with an overly-complicated system of scoring four categories on a scale of one to five: originality, performance (weighted at 30 percent each), audience reaction and the “X” factor (weighted at 20 percent each). The latter was an attempt to let each judge score on the intangibles of their choice – that “je ne sais quoi” – anything from how it hit them in the soul or hurt their ears to how cool or dorky they might think the contestant is. Each category score was multiplied by its weight factor and then those four numbers were subtotaled and divided by five to get a perfectly weighted score on a 100 scale. It worked out okay despite the fact that we took about 15 minutes to tally up the results. I admitted my knotty system was in need of straightening, and brought laughs during the tally when I pensively asked, “Now let’s see, does anyone know if the moon is waxing or waning?” For next time we’ll probably drop the audience category, as it was hard to tell a big difference in reaction in a small room of about 80 patrons clapping politely for each act. What I think would be simplest to do with the three remaining categories is just weight them equally, and the winner is the one with the most points on whatever scale is determined. If any of my readers has done this sort of thing before, I would welcome your suggestions for a system of simplicity and fairness.

It was apparent after the scoring was complete that we three judges had starkly contrasting viewpoints on what constitutes talent. One of the other judges was my former guitar teacher, who is an excellent player. He tended to be more discriminating in the technical prowess of the performers, and so his scores for performance varied the most. I didn’t see any great differences, and in fact rated most performers down the middle because to me they didn’t really display the kind of playing that sets talent apart. I was keeping with the owner’s suggestion to consider originality above all, and that is where I differed most from my fellow referees. Each act was allowed to perform two of their original songs, and it was cool to see the different styles. Most of the country and blues performers seemed pretty straightforward - country being typical in its strict chronology and free of abstraction, and blues being similar to the latter attribute as well. I like both kinds of music, but I think it’s hard to be particularly original in either genre. The other judge was one of the videographers of the event, a pleasant middle-aged woman who shared little with me in the way of personal taste in music. My highest scorers were her lowest and vice-versa.

She really liked the country acts, some of which I considered good efforts but a lot like anything else already out there. Now when I say I like country I don’t mean any of the latter-day Nashville pop. For me it’s gotta be the old stalwarts like Johnny Cash, Buck Owens and Willie Nelson; the purveyors of hippie country like Neil Young, Gram Parsons, Lyle Lovett and John Prine, or alt-country, neo-folk and newgrass bands like Wilco, The Jayhawks, String Cheese Incident, The Be Good Tanyas, Donna The Buffalo...somebody stop me...The Duhks, Tim O’Brien, Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, okay?

From among eleven performers the winner, who earned a modest cash prize, ended up being an older blind gentleman who I had been sitting next to and enjoying conversation (I would have felt a bit more uncomfortable filling out my score sheet near any other contestant). His performance was very good – he tied for third on my scoring. He played a couple of simple cowboy songs, the kind with the alternating bass strum and three or four chords, which had very evocative lyrics for which I gave him high marks on originality. Of my two favorites of the night, one was a pretty young girl who was a bit overweight and self-conscious but who had a beautiful voice and two good songs that showcased her pipes well. The other was a young guy with a humble demeanor who sang two songs excellent in their originality, but as they were on the funereal side he wasn’t a big hit with the audience or the other two judges.

Between now and June each month’s winner will be eligible for the owner to choose as the opening act for one of the bigger name professionals that headline at the café later this year. It was a fun event and I look forward to next month’s competition.


January 25, 2007


Bear Down !

The 2007 Bears' Shufflin' Crew?

Congrats to Da Bears on their NFC title and first Super Bowl appearance in 21 seasons. Over the years I've drifted from any great desire to follow pro sports, but I grew up with the Chicago Bears, and their success this season has drawn me back. Yes, that makes me a fair-weather fan but hey, I've got a bit of a legacy to back up my admittedly shallow fandom. You see, my dad had a season ticket with the Bears since before he was married (1948). Yes, just one - heck, he was single and just wanted to go see his favorite football team.

Several times when he couldn't make a game (or when it was too butt-ass cold) he would pass on the ticket to one of his four sons, and after I came of age to get to Soldier Field on my own I sometimes attended. His seat, being a 30+ year legacy, was on the south 42-yard line about a third of the way up. In other words, perfect.

In my "Bears years" we suffered through the lean seasons between championships - 1963-1985. I was living in California when they won Super Bowl XX in January 1986, and boy did the phone lines between family members light up like there had been a new birth after that game.

So now Coach Lovie Smith has us back, and I say we're due. I actually appreciate being 7-point underdogs to the Indianapolis Colts - as my sister astutely noted, it's when the Bears are doubted that they do best. I think this is going to be an uncharacteristically close and exciting Super Bowl. Heck I'll take the Bears plus 7 (of course I hope I don't need the spread). Any takers?

A vintage poster from the days of "The Monsters of the Midway"

Bear down, Chicago Bears !
Make every play clear the way to victory

Bear down, Chicago Bears !
Put up a fight with a might so fearlessly

We'll never forget the way you thrilled the nation
With your 'T' formation

Bear down, Chicago Bears !
And let them know why you're wearing the crown

You're the pride and joy of all Illinois
Chicago Bears, Bear Down!

Here's something funny(?) that caught my eye. You just can't beat those Chicago fans:

Thanks, honey
Wife induces labor so husband can go to Bears game

PALOS HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) -- Nine months pregnant and married to a fervent Bears fan with tickets to Sunday's NFC Championship game, Colleen Pavelka didn't want to risk going into labor during the game against the New Orleans Saints.

Due to give birth on Monday, Pavelka's doctor told her Friday she could induce labor early. She opted for the Friday delivery.

"I thought, how could [Mark] miss this one opportunity that he might never have again in his life?" said Pavelka, 28, from the southwestern Chicago suburb of Homer Glen.

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January 20, 2007


To name but a few

Jeff Kah-zlah-skee as good as tagged me with his recent post on films he can watch repeatedly. Essentially this post could start there at Boiled Dinner, as most every one Kos listed could also be on my list. And with that, here are some that I had a great time remembering and rekindling the jones to see them all again soon. My picks here start with some of the old classics and move toward more contemporary films. Of the 16 here, 10 are comedies (including the fifth down, which wasn't released as one), and that pretty much reflects my film-viewing preference. What are some of your favorite lines from these films (um, not the first two, duh)?


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January 18, 2007


Office Despot

Something happens to me whenever I go into an office supply store. I get a buzz (and no, not from the Wite-Out) because there's just so much cool STUFF! I can barely contain my excitement as I flit among all the different kinds of paper, card stock and poster board, various shapes and sizes of functional doo-dads to go on the desktop, and big ticket items - furniture, monitors, printers, whiz-bang computers - to cram onto my wish list. And the pens, oh sweet Jesus the pens!

Of course budgetary constraints usually sober me up in short order, and yesterday my inebriation was abruptly squelched by the fact that an ink cartridge, just a black one and the generic brand at that, costs TWENTY-EIGHT DOLLARS. I knew the things weren't cheap because I've bought them before, but for some reason it just hit me there at the register (they have them stocked behind the counter, I suppose because they cost their weight in silver), and with what I consider to have been fairly restrained incredulity I asked the clerk, "For real?" My voice may have cracked just a bit.

So my thought on this is that somehow I must be the genius appointed to invent the refillable ink cartridge. Of course then the forces of cartridgenious no good will dispatch their minions to dispatch me from this plane of existence, and then within a few months some giant conglomerate will invest in a way to make color laser printers as affordable as a DVD player, thus rendering my martyrdom insignificant.

So that's $29.66 out of thirty, here's your change, sir - you have a wonderful evening.

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January 15, 2007


Two score years gone by

While Archer struggles to remember the events of 1967 (and is possibly going off the deep end in the process), he also has me considering if we are living in the modern-day equivalent of that year. Among the many useless comparisons we could make is whether 2007 is up to snuff with 1967 in the realm of popular music. Such a comparison begs a question, also inspired by Mr. Archer's post, regarding which current group is seeking to top their Sgt. Pepper's-like masterwork with a follow up even half as good as Magical Mystery Tour (even if it was overly spiced by rather twee McCartney efforts and thus signaled the Beatles on their downslope).

What else did we have going on when I was two? Mind you, I have the musical tastes of people 15 years my senior, and in order to make this completely one-sided, I'm only going to offer my thoughts on MCMLXVII:

Jimi Hendrix gave us a double whammy with Are You Experienced? and Axis:Bold As Love (one of my absolute favorite rock albums).

Aretha Franklin hits her stride with her first Atlantic Records release, which included her best- known recording, Respect, and a respectful and powerful rendering of Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come (my favorite among Cooke's work). Digression: Aretha made good use of the famous Muscle Shoals rhythm section and backup singers, the latter which included a 19-year-old named Donna Jean Thatcher, who in three years would marry keyboardist Keith Godchaux and go on to join up with the Grateful Dead for about eight years (I had to give Donna her props).

The Doors put out their debut album as well as No. 2, Strange Days.

Traffic (a band that I could tell you more than you'd ever want to hear about over a couple of beers) debuts with their most excellent Mr. Fantasy.

Buffalo Springfield Again, that group's second album, is released.

Not to be outdone, The Byrds craft Younger Than Yesterday, one of their best.

Jefferson Airplane records Surrealistic Pillow, its first album with singer Grace Slick. It's not only one of JA's best, it's right up there with Sgt. Pepper's. Oh, this year they also put out the loosely-produced After Bathing At Baxter's, considered weird even in that weird time, but where Paul Kantner's songwriting really begins taking the band to its psychedelic zenith.

Cream makes a gallant effort to out-duke Hendrix with their fine Disraeli Gears. They go the full 15 but alas, the judges of rock history give the decision to Jimi.

Pete Townshend steers his group into its first concept album (sort of) The Who Sell Out. I've yet to acquire the re-release that has the full complement of the funny and phony commercials with which they interspersed the songs. The album cover has some silly visual swipes at the corporate world as well (e.g. Roger Daltrey bathing in a tub of Heinz Baked Beans).

The Rolling Stones, suffering through the latter daze of Brian Jones, cranked out three albums of no particular note (Between The Buttons, Flowers, Their Satanic Majesties Request) but which produced great songs like Ruby Tuesday, Out Of Time and 200 Light Years From Home.

The Mothers Of Invention released their second album, Absolutely Free, which includes several of my Zappa faves: Plastic People, Duke Of Prunes, Call Any Vegetable and Son Of Suzy Creamcheese.

Simon & Garfunkel record Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme.

And so the answer to, "Is 2007 the new 1967?" is that there ain't ever gonna be another 1967, Jack.

What did I miss?

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January 13, 2007


Surgin' for disaster

I've been hearing, and of course contributing just a teensy bit to, a lot more vitriol on Iraq since President Bush announced what most everyone knew he would - SURGE! The Chief's call-up won't even bring troop levels to the mark they were at in Jan. 2005 (160,000), a turning point when his approval ratings crossed under the majority line. From then on the numbers would slide as more Americans began realizing the disaster he and the neocons had crafted. Now, for all but the worst of his sycophantic and deluded 35-or-whatever percent approvers, the mistake that was made is obvious.

If people are sounding a bit pissed, you ain't heard/seen and soon read nothing yet. Check out Scott Thill's recent HuffPo column entitled Bush to U.S. - Go Fuck Yourselves , which makes the article's R-rating quite obvious.

Here is an excerpt, where Thill tells the troops:
So the next time the president is about to give a speech, turn it off. It doesn't have anything to do with you anyway, and if you ask Joe Biden, neither does the Democratic takeover of Congress. While your elected representatives sit and write long-winded backslappers about all they will do in 100 hours, and the days after those hours come to nothing, you're going off to the heated armpit of hell to die for nothing. Enjoy the ride, and make sure to leave a clearly defined will. The crumbs will be small and coveted here back home, as the environment warms and the recession gears up.

Yeah, I'd say he's pissed.

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January 10, 2007


Zoomzoomzoom (yeehaw, y'all)

I gotta give out props to Rusty the Radical Georgia Moderate for making my day with his observation on today's State of the State address by Gov. Sonny Perdue. The statement tickled me when the Guv said it but Rusty put it in that light that could only come from a true, uh, fan(?)

Other highlights from the SOS:

The sorta good:

~ Three percent raise for teachers (woohoo!)

~ $176 million for teachers and state employees' healthcare to continue at present levels (even though the coverage got way shittier last year)

~ $100 million put away toward the 30-year liability of teacher and state employee pensions (looks OK so far - of course, the federal government is about to REQUIRE that states keep up with their pension liabilities)

~ More $$ for biofuels research - the move is on toward biomass like poultry litter (aka chicken shit), something that Georgia is pretty good at making.

~ $50 million more for land preservation (to TRY and make up for Oaky Woods no doubt. FYI - I do not endorse the site of this link, I just think they made a funny on Sonny)

~ Sonny sez the "Main Thing" is education, which is good to hear because Georgia's SAT scores jumped up last year... to 46th.

So in that spirit (the bad & ugly):

~ Guv recommends that there be another “temporary” reduction of $139.9 million in the funds that the state allocates to local school systems (boohoo!). This is in addition to $169.7 million in cutbacks for the current fiscal year and a whopping $332.8 million in cuts during fiscal 2006. Those ongoing cutbacks in state funds have forced dozens of local school boards to either raise property taxes, eliminate school programs or lay off teachers and staff to make up the difference. The governor’s budget also reduces state formula funding for the University System by $274.2 million

And in other sunny news, new Georgia Lite Gov. Casey Cagle (who spanked Abramov pal Reedy Ralph in the GOP primary last summer) is extending the long arm of bipartisanship, actually naming Democrats to chair and vice chairmanships over two Senate committees. I think Janitorial and Ticker Tape or something similar.

I never thought I'd see the "N" (vvv) word in my tags.

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January 07, 2007


Stiff upper lip what what

To ensure I keep in good company with the likes of Joe, Cheezy, and jeffkos, I have decided to reveal forthwith my most splendid heritage, as given by Divine Providence and some kooky Internet name generator.

Be it known that I,

Earl O'Tim the Insouciant of Porton Down

Hereby declare that each Twentieth day of September henceforth be a day of Magnificent Insouciance, and that all those born under the sign of the Virgin be given the day off with double pay. This proclamation is in concurrence, albeit quite recalcitrantly, within the capacity and authority of my alter-ego abiding in religious circles,

The Most High Reverend Earl Timotheus the Prohibited of Chignall Duntisbourne

So shall it be written, so shall it be done. So there.

Get your own damn Peculiar Aristocratic Title

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January 05, 2007


Leaker Stands Up

National Public Radio reports that at the Association of American Law Schools annual conference Thursday, a panel discussion on prosecuting government employees who leak information to the media included an unexpected contribution.

Listen to the brief story - it made my journalistic heart all warm and toasty.

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January 04, 2007


Dance, GOP, Dance!

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Political Insider reports that the National Rifle Association is planning an even bigger push to pass a bill through the upcoming session of the Georgia General Assembly that would allow employees to keep firearms in their automobiles on company parking lots. To the chagrin of staunch Second Amendment supporters, many companies currently bar employees from carrying weaponry into the workplace.

Notes the Insider:
The bill would set up the re-match of a classic fight between two conservative principles: the right of property owners to control their land without government interference, versus the right of individuals to preserve their right to bear arms in a society that’s increasingly dominated by the rules of the workplace.
There's nothing like a juicy paradox to keep the politicos on their toes. Opposition from corporations did in a similar bill in the 2006 session. It appears that this time around the bill would exempt companies that have their parking lots secured by gates and fences, a rather specious compromise that ostensibly seeks to avoid provoking the wrath of big business.

Coupled with the "getting tough on business" tone of recent illegal immigration legislation, it will be interesting to see how Georgia's huge GOP majority navigates the inherent nuances of such deep issues without upsetting the most pomacious fruit in their cart.

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UPDATE: Clean outta sight

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP)...488 communities wiped from this year's version of the state highway map will be restored, the Georgia Department of Transportation said Wednesday. Read the rest of the story.


A calamity has befallen 488 towns in Georgia. All of them have been wiped off the map - the Official 2006 Georgia Department of Transportation Map, that is. Officials with GDOT said the state map was too cluttered with small towns they call “placeholders.” They wanted to save ink and make the new Georgia map “clearer and less cluttered.” Apparently some focus groups were consulted in the decision-making process (a hallmark of a fair and conscientious bureaucracy), but I have mixed feelings about it.

Walker County in the northwest part of the state lost several of its little communities including Villanow, where the old general store dating back to 1840 is on the National Register of Historic Places (it’s for sale if anyone is interested in a bucolic life as a rural gas hole proprietor). I mean, little placeholders, especially registered ones, deserve respect, right?

On the other hand, Walker County also lost Noble, the unincorporated town that made world headlines in 2002 when more than 300 uncremated bodies were discovered on the grounds of the Tri-State Crematory. Good riddance say the vast majority of nearby residents.

Here is a list of all the ones I think should be reinstated, based on nothing more than it being a cool-sounding name or otherwise rife with southern culture/irony (which to me is at least as valid an argument as wanting to save ink):



Bill Arp (and the world according to him)



Dewy Rose

Dixie Union (there’s that irony)


Due West

Egypt (Bumfuck, no doubt)

Experiment (why, without chemicals...)


Flintstone (a page right out of history)


Free Home (with coupon)


Hickory Level

Hopeulikit (and who wouldn’t?)

Killarney (I hope to spend Christmas there some day)


Magnet (a tourist trap)


Mountain Hill (which is it?)

Mulberry Grove (evr’body wants to live in a town called Mulberry Grove)

Nacoochee (a popular place in the Pelvic Mountains)

Needmore (near Nacoochee, I’m sure)

New Era

Okefenokee (gotta have a town named after yer most famous swamp)

Ola (que pasa, ecce?)

Pebble City (daughter city of Flintstone)

Phinizy (way out in the countrazizzle)

Poetry Tulip


Retreat (home of the second dessert!)

Rocky Face



Veazey (Summerti-i-i-ime...)

View (realtors love it)




There are several more that I propose for reinstatement on topical grounds:

Any place where a deal could be made with Satan - Byne Crossroads, Jones Crossroads, Murrays Crossroads and (for the aged and downtrodden) Po Biddy Crossroads.

Any place that has a distinct geographical connection to elsewhere: Kansas, Brooklyn, Klondike, Texas, Yonkers.

Any place that was obviously the name of a beloved wife or dog: Jake, Rowena, Rupert, Roscoe, Rover, Matt.

Places that make pot smokers giggle: Hemp, Leaf, Redbud.

And there are six places where I think at least three should be given a chance to stay if victorious in a last man standing town versus town cage match:

Mount Vernon vs. Mount Vernon

New Hope vs. New Hope

Nicholasville vs. Nicholsville

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