Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oops, Indeed: Quechup Can't Stop Spamming

(((Quechup; Cheesy social networks; Spam; Bad business practices; Bad apologies you shouldn't have to make in the first place; And then making them twice: Oops!)))

So I found myself signed up for Quechup when a friend fell victim to their efforts to sign up his whole address book (this has also happened to your humble narrator, alas, but with a different site). It seemed silly, but I'm always curious about these things, so I gave it a go just to take a look. Haven't been back to the site since, and I honestly don't remember if I've tried to unsub from their mailing list, but I honestly don't care since I ignore it, anyway, and I think most of it is going to the trash, at this point.

So when I received Quechup's apology for sending too many and the wrong emails, I didn't feel apologized-to. I just thought it was hilarious. Imagine being the person who had to write the following with a straight face:

Ooops... First of all a big, big apology for sending the February newsletter more than once and for sending the 2007 newsletter! This was due to an admin error at Quechup, needless to say those responsible will be making the tea for the next month. We hope it didn't cause too much inconvenience and promise it won't happen again.

You've got to be kidding me. Making the tea? I guess if Quechup had a reputation to ruin or salvage, it might matter.

But here's the best part: I got the apology twice. No, seriously. On the same day.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lies, Damn Lies, and Congressional Hearings

(((Roger Clemens; Brian McNamee; Chris Shays; Steroids are drugs, they are even illegal drugs, but insisting on calling McNamee a "drug dealer" is at best stupid and at worst an insidious category confusion)))

Gotta love congressional hearings, where two people sit virtually next to each other at a table (see this great photo) and call each other liars, even though they never once address each other, and elected officials take turns calling one, the other, or both liars. For some reason, it seemed to be the Republicans defending Clemens and going after McNamee, but I really don't get why that would be.

The best, though, was watching Chris Shays, dork extraordinaire, insisting that McNamee is "a drug dealer":

[Mr. Shays. . . . ] For you, Mr. McNamee, I believe some of what you say. But you know, it depends when. I view you as a police officer who is a drug dealer. [ . . . ] I read that comment and I think maybe [being or having been] a police officer would have made you not want to be a drug dealer. But instead it made you be wary of [Clemens].

Mr. McNamee. I understand your concerns. But as far as your comment about a drug dealer, I only did what players asked and it was wrong.

Mr. Shays. Mr. McNamee, you are a drug dealer. You may --

Mr. McNamee. That's your opinion.

Mr. Shays. No, it's not in my opinion. You were dealing with drugs.

Mr. McNamee. Okay.

Mr. Shays. You were dealing with illegal drugs. Tell me as a police officer how that is not being a drug dealer.

Mr. McNamee. That's your opinion.

Mr. Shays. No, it's not my opinion. I'm asking you to tell me. Tell me how it's legal to do illegal things and you not call it what you were. You were dealing in drugs, weren't you?

Mr. McNamee. Dealing in them, yes.

Mr. Shays. Were they legal drugs?

Mr. McNamee. No, they weren't.

Mr. Shays. Thank you.

This is a version of the classic pedant's two-step. It is often a good way to get people to stop being wishy-washy and to dump euphemisms. But it has its Orwellian uses, too.

Imagine the following conversation:

Mr. Shays. As for you, Mr. Fisher, I would think that as an American you would not want to be a godless commie terrorist-sympathizer.

Mr. Fisher. Sir, I object to that characterization.

Mr. Shays. But you are a godless commie terrorist-sympathizer.

Mr. Fisher. That's your opinion. [Okay, this is a stupid argument, too, but let's keep things simple.]

Mr. Shays. Do you believe in God?

Mr. Fisher. What do you mean by "god"? And while we're at it, what do you mean by "believe in"?

Mr. Shays. Right. And do you not argue that communism is preferable to capitalism?

Mr. Fisher. Isn't it obvious?

Mr. Shays. And do you not oppose the War on Terror?

Mr. Fisher. I sure do.

Mr. Shays. Then how are you not a godless commie terrorist sympathizer?

Mr. Fisher. Fuck. You got me. Pretty sneaky, Shays.

In the case at hand, Shays's use of this utterly transparent—but often very difficult to counter—maneuver is merely meant to tarnish McNamee. After all, who can believe a "drug dealer"? Why he wanted to do this in the first place remains a mystery to me.

Yes, yes, technically McNamee could be called a drug dealer . . . he made money administering illegal pharmaceuticals (aka, "drugs"). But let's be honest that this is bullshit. It's as if the guy were standing on street corners selling dime bags of cream and clear, or ran a run-down HGH house where people come to shoot up and stay there for days lying around on soiled mattresses.

The businesses of elite performance enhancing drugs, on the one hand, and recreational drugs, on the other, are totally different businesses, the only commonality being that both involve illegal pharmaceuticals. People don't prostitute themselves or take their child's baby-food-money for a hit of HGH. Brian McNamee doesn't have an army of street dealers or ties to Colombian cartels. Conversely, there isn't pressure from sports teams on players to do lines of coke the way there is pressure to take a shot of HGH on the sly in order to heal up for a game. How stupid does Shays think we are? Or does he just think he's that clever?

Shays's grandstanding is not just an affront to language and logic, but to the police he professes to respect, the narcotics officers who risk their lives undercover to bust up crack dealers. Busting Brian McNamee, "drug dealer," just doesn't have the same, I don't know, oomph.

But maybe he'll get a Law & Order spot out of it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rob "Mr. Ironic" Riggle

(((Rob Riggle; The Daily Show; Budweiser; Advertisements; Shilling; Major brewer horse-hockey)))

Okay, I remember Budweiser being the only brand I knew to brag in a TV advertisement about the quality of the rice they put in their beer. Unfortunately, that spot seems not to be available on YouTube, unlike some of the Rob Riggle ads I'm about to bitch about. I just saw on CrookedTimber, of all places, a baroque defense of the use of rice in beer, one point of which was that Sapporo and Kirin do it, too . . . riiiight, the Japanese putting rice in something; that's crazy!

Anyway, here's Rob Riggle shilling for Bud. Okay, never mind that no other Daily Show "Senior Correspondent" of anything has to my recollection done a beer ad, or a car ad, or whatever. Forget also that here was right in the middle of the writer's strike doing just fine, thanks to our friends at Anheuser-Busch.

All of that I noted. But whatever. We can let that go.

It was when, in one of said ads, he made this bizarre and misleading claim that the dark colors of certain "foreign" beers can "mask imperfections." Whereas Bud, since you could get a rainbow out of it as if it were a prism, is clearly . . . what? The ad never says. Perfect? Not imperfect? Fucking awesome?

So basically, the argument is two-fold. First, you shouldn't trust a foreign beer. Nice work, Ironic Rob, whose irony comes full circle in an ad like that. Second, don't trust beers that are "too" dark, because they're, you know, shady. Dark. Deceptive. Trying to trick you with their darkness. Because, you know, dark malts are used in beers to hide flaws. That's why I always used dark malts in my brewing. It had nothing to do with the fact that I was making a porter or a stout. I was afraid of screwing up my porter or stout, so, yeah, dark malts.

God I hate capitalism. Yeah, blah blah progressive blah blah Marx thought so too blah blah. But how can anyone with a good conscience do this? And frankly, how can Jon Stewart watch it and still employ Rob Riggle? Maybe he's under contract or something. But at least I'm not the only one who thinks these ads are crap.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

QOTD: Talk About Arrogance . . .

(((John McCain, conservative? Tom DeLay, when did he get out of prison? Climate change is a political position.)))

Watching Tom DeLay talk to Chris Matthews, right now, about McCain's address to CPAC, and DeLay says,

It is arrogant to presume that man can effect [did he say affect? lol. benefit of the doubt.--jf] climate change.

This came out of DeLay's observation that McCain today did not apply conservative principles to, among other things, the issue of climate change. So Matthews couldn't resist asking, "[w]hat is the conservative position on climate change?" To which DeLay responded, "Man is not responsible for climate change," going on to say that "no science suggests" that man [sic] causes climate change, which he later adjusted to say science hasn't "proven" it.

But this is just the point. The arrogance is presuming that one can have a political position on climate change. It's like saying, the conservative position is that gravity does not exist, or that the earth is flat, or the round earth sits unmoving at the center of the universe. The mere fact that you've got some industry and ideological hacks out there obfuscating the truth about climate change, much like they do with evolution, does not make acknowledging reality arrogant. Elevating your ideological biases above sound science might be the definition of arrogance.

Being a whacko postmodernist, I'm the last person to say that science is ever free of ideology or that it is ever "pure." But there's reasonable and there's stupid. Tom DeLay is either stupid or the apotheosis of cynicism.

The upside is that he's made John McCain sound almost bearable: supports the ICC, believes we need to do something about global warming (as DeLay put it, introduce staggering regulation using global warming as an excuse), wants to shut down gun shows, etc.

And if I heard him right, he said at the end of this interview that McCain might be worse than Obama or Clinton in office. I need to check the transcript when it's out.

What a fruitcake, that guy. Jesus. And here's Chris Matthews giving him airtime. Might as well talk to Ralph Reed.