Sunday, April 22, 2007

General Annoyance & Disgust

So. I am STILL on AOL. Yes, since 1997 when I first
became an online user. And I am here to tell you that
although I PAY for my account vis a vis a $14.95 monthly
piggyback fee that allows me a small break for using my
charter account as my main vehicle for accessing the in-
ternet and then piggybacking my AOL onto it, I should
not be paying for the current level of service provided
by AOL. Which would be, umm... None.

AOL has changed since they began offering their free ac-
counts to anyone and everyone. The service has changed.
It takes forever to resolve issues with them because they
simply no longer have the trained staffing that they used
to have. Or at least, that's my theory on why they are
doing such a terrible job.

Point in case: On April 16th, shortly after the VA TECH
shootings, I was posting on AOL's Message boards. Actually,
I was giving news updates for students who might still be
stuck in their rooms unable to leave. I figured some of
them may not have cable, but they all have computer modems,
and the campus probably has a wifi system.

People were as nasty as the people on AOL boards tend to be,
but pretty soon I noticed that others began to re: my posts
just to make sure students saw them amid the other hate-
filled posts which really weren't contributing very helpfully
to the situation. AOL's own reporting on the situation was
far behind the tv and radio news, so I hoped that students
who might be accessing message boards to get news would bene-
fit from the updates.

Let me just say that whenever I visit AOL message boards, ty-
pically not that often if I can help it, I become ever more
aware that we have become a nation of idiots. People were
griping about not getting the names of the dead fast enough
from the media. I posted in response that particularly as
VA TECH is a TECH SCHOOL, they were likely to have a fair
share of students on VISAS from other countries, making noti-
fication of family members more difficult and time-consuming
and that it would be irresponsible to start naming names only
to have a family find out about their loved one's demise on
the news instead of via proper notification.

Then a particularly nasty phenomenon, which I see often on
the message boards, began to reveal - posts which just basi-
cally slammed other races. There were apparent African-Amer-
icans rejoicing that it was "about time," that white students
became the victims of crime and virtually celebrating the
shooter's actions. Then there were counter bulletin board mes-
sages shouting racist epitaths and extremely hurtful things
against blacks (never-mind the fact that frequently AOL users
make up an "identity" and post under a false identity just to
incite such message board nastiness.) In other words, assuming
from a profile that the poster really is black just because
that poster SAYS he or she is African American is definitely
not a sure way to know what the facts are behind that poster's

We've long heard about men who post pretending to be women (and
possibly vice-versa), but people seldom pause to think that
this is not the ONLY false demographic used online. Race, age
and others frequently figure in, particularly when posters wish
to portray someone of a different race from themselves in a ne-
gative light.

However, many message board posters are far to short-sighted
and basically, well, just too stupid understand that this oc-
curs. Apparently. And they get all torqued up by the posts.

So. What I saw to be a very dangerous situation soon unfolded.
A few posters, claiming to be black, vilified the VA TECH stu-
dents with messages about how happy said posters were that they
had been shot. This incited quite a little online riot, during
which I was alarmed to see that one poster, angered over this,
had gone onto another's poster's profile to get their real name,
which was apparently present on the profile. This poster then
accessed the EXACT PHYSICAL ADDRESS of this poster and published
it ONLINE, on the message board, apparently hoping that someone
would take physical revenge on the poster due to what that per-
son had said.

I was unable to ascertain WHICH of the "purported African Amer-
ican posters" this person was targeting as they did not list
the screenname with their post and several people had made dero-
gatory comments.

But it worried me, to see an actual address posted. Here is
that post:

Title of the post:
ok the address of one of the...
Mark Thread Read

#1 - 4/16/07 07:45 PM (Msg Id: 569889:9518)

by: "membernamedeletedbyme" to protect the moron"

Overall Rating:
by 1 raters

xxx xxx blvd apt x
xxx,la zipcode removed
someone has to be near him... a police car already
sits in the driveway !!!!!

Mark Message Unread | Notify AOL
Reply to Message

end of post

Note that the address was not blinded as I have done
but references an ACTUAL address in Jefferson Parish
Louisiana, down to the apartment number and basically
the post suggested that someone take a little trip
over to the address. I didn't think the poster was
hoping for a tupperware party, but rather that he was
suggesting (yes, I am assuming a "he," so sue me) that
some other AOL user nearby harm the poster he had tar-

So I responded to the post that posting someone's infor-
mation was dangerous and should not be done, etc., and
that anyone acting on said information would be culpable
as well as the original poster giving the info. (Don't
any of these people watch Law & Order!? Geez.)

Then I instant messaged the poster hoping he had just
made up the address. Here is THAT IM:

Begin IM - 4/16/2007 07:10 PM
Syd Whoever [7:10 P.M.]: hey
Syd Whoever [7:10 P.M.]: is that really the address
of someone on the board?
Hopelessmoron [7:11 P.M.]: yes it is
Syd Whoever [7:11 P.M.]: hold old are you
Hopelessmoron [7:11 P.M.]: thats what it is
Hopelessmoron [7:11 P.M.]: y
Syd Whoever [7:11 P.M.]: Because I want to give you
Hopelessmoron [7:12 P.M.]: go ahead
Syd Whoever [7:12 P.M.]: and i am hoping that you
are just too young and stupid to think about the pos-
sible eventualities from doing that
Hopelessmoron [7:12 P.M.]: what?
Hopelessmoron [7:12 P.M.]: hopefully what they
Hopelessmoron [7:12 P.M.]: maybe a bullet in their
Syd Whoever [7:13 P.M.]: To be killed for something
they said on a message board?
Syd Whoever [7:13 P.M.]: That's why you posted that?
Hopelessmoron [7:13 P.M.]: fuck off!!!!
Syd Whoever [7:14 P.M.]: See where I'm going with
this. Now I am hoping you were just too young and
stupid to think about that.
Syd Whoever [7:14 P.M.]: Also. What if you really
did think that.
Syd Whoever [7:14 P.M.]: What if a police officer
gets killed responding to it.
Syd Whoever [7:14 P.M.]: Did you think about THAT.
Syd Whoever [7:14 P.M.]: OR a passer by.
Syd Whoever [7:14 P.M.]: Or a neighbor.
Syd Whoever [7:16 P.M.]: As the original poster,
they would put you in jail
Syd Whoever [7:16 P.M.]: as culpable for inciting
the entire thing.
Hopelessmoron signed off at 7:18 P.M.

Ok. so EXPLICITLY NOW this guy is telling me he posted
the address in the hope that this person would "get a
bullet in the head." Nice.

But here's the bad part. Right, you thought that was
the bad part but NOOOOOOOOOOO...

So I contact AOL's Community Action Team online. Wait.
FIRST, I hit the notify AOL button on the post. Because
obviously, they needed to remove that post with the addy
ASAP before some angry poster living nearby really did
decide to dispense what they saw as justice.

Nothing happened. The post was not removed. So THEN I
went online to AOL's community action team. They ASSURED
me they would handle it. I was not assured. I demanded
a phone number for AOL's CAT. Which I received. And I
called it in. Then I said that I wanted to email them
the IM as well as the post just to ensure the safety of
the targeted poster. I was given an email addy for a Sup-
ervisor working for AOL's CAT.

As of today, that supervisor has yet to even open my email.


As far as I know, the address is still up and available.
The user posting it remains an active account with AOL, so
it would appear that no action has been taken to help this
user targeted on AOL boards.

On the night of the 16th, I did call Jefferson Parish, LA
to report this and to request notification of the user that
his or her address was online and to report the safety issue.
The response was less than enthusiastic and I was not, and am
not, at all certain they even notified that individual of the
potential danger. In fact, the dispatcher told me I should
contact the FBI instead of the Sherriff's Department there.
I asked if she really wanted to put the safety of this person
in the hands of an agency who would probably not look at the
report right away? She reluctantly agreed to take a report
and to see about perhaps notifying this individual. You know,
if a deputy had time, and IF the person happened to be home
when they went by. I left my number and have received nothing
by the way of a response. I don't know if they did anything
at all.

Now, one would think that in light of the recent deaths at
VA TECH AOL would be pretty enthused about the possibility
of averting more tragedy. Apparently not.

So this morning, I did the only thing I could think of to
make sure this person is safe. I emailed everything to CNN,
MSNBC and the FBI.

And I'm still not very... optimistic.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


For all those concerned about the amount of:
Drinking & Debauchery
on local campuses in the wake of the Duke case. Or rather,
the NON-case. As a certain verse in Proverbs goes --
"There is nothing new under the sun." And there's nothing
new on college campuses either. I went to college, well,
quite some time ago and I'm amazed I didn't manage com-
plete ablation of my hepatic system during those years.

And of those calling for a lower profile for college athletes,
or for finding that their influence is somehow more immoral,
drunken or depraved than the rest, I don't think so.

I hung out with all groups in college, chameleon that I am,
finally settling for the alternative crowd. The Greeks were
too straight-laced, and many of the jocks were too stupid,
but I went to all of their parties and certainly, they were
proportionally represented at the clubs every night.

And every night WAS party night in college, even then.
And a good many participated in binge drinking and drugs
of all variety. Our favorite hometown haunt was this
place named "Strutz." Sundays and Mondays were the only
nights it seemed relatively quiet. Tuesdays were Ladies
Night, Wednesdays were - I don't remember, something -
Thursdays were All You Can Drink, Friday's were TGIF,
Saturdays were just plain, Hey, we're all paying to get

I didn't attend a public high school, but rather, a small
very quiet and sheltered religious school. From which
I matriculated with all possible haste at the age of sixteen
or so. Nobody drank there. Or did drugs of any type.
I wanted to get that clean living experience behind me
as quickly as possible. The first time I got drunk I was
sixteen. I did it on purpose. I'd never been drunk before.
Always the researcher.

I'd had a glass of wine here and there at Thanksgiving -
we weren't Baptists after all - but nobody in my family
(at least not the one I was raised in) has ever had any
issues with alcohol, nobody smokes, etc. - and alcohol
really wasn't a very prominent fixture around my house
when I was growing up. There wasn't really a judgement
passed on it either way.

So I wanted to see what it was be drunk. I knew on an
intellectual level, of course, but I wanted to experience it
for myself. I had six dollars.

An older girlfriend of mine bought me a bottle of the
cheapest, lousiest bourbon you will ever find. I drank it
with Coke. Quickly. On an empty stomach. I drank
six shots in thirty minutes. Then I spent the next thirty
puking them back up again. Hadn't counted on that.
Then I passed out. That was fun.

While working on my undergraduate, I did succeed in
building up quite a prodigious tolerance during my atten-
dance, what with all the clubs and parties and spring
breaks over the next two or three years. Which I lost,
of course, upon becoming pregnant with my son. I've
never gotten that amazing tolerance back again because
I just don't drink very much except when I'm out socially
or on business, and even then I can only have a couple of
drinks because my tolerance IS so lousy now. So I suppose
you do tend to follow your parents patterns for the most
part in terms of habit and diet and the like.

But. I do not see that there could POSSIBLY be an in-
crease over the amount of drugs and alcohol present on
campuses when I was an undergraduate and the amount
present now. People just like to talk about cleaning it up
every few years. What I really WONDER is where the
parents are when those college students are in high school.

My son knows one other student in his grade who does not
either smoke, drink or do drugs. ONE.

And she's the daughter of a police officer who was amazed
to pull my son over one night for a field sobriety test at 3am
after a party only to have him request a breathalizer instead.
He blew what may be a record 0.0. Last night, he took that
girl to the Senior Prom - They were beautiful.

Updated Rules to The Boys Club

I watched with much bemusement, note that I said "be-
musement," and not, "amusement," the entire Imus/Rut-
gers controversy play out this pay week. There is a huge
problem here. Some of the men in the U.S. have forgotten
to update their "Rules to the Boys Club." And that, my
friend, is a fatal mistake. And one:

That Don Imus learned Very Painfully

Not that he hasn't had some practice. He's been slapped
on the wrist before. Warning Signs. He should have paid
attention. So all of you are wondering. Are there REALLY
a set of UPDATES to the clubhouse rules? Yes. Yes. There
ARE. So many of you seem to have forgotten them though
so I'm offering a refresher course.

1. Referring in a derisive fashion to the race, or sexual orien-
tation of anyone who is not white or who does not wear a
chastity belt to cover their anus will destroy your career
forever. And ever. And ever. And ever.

a. Unless you're a rapper. In which case, you already have
your own rules which I can scarcely begin to decode. Some-
thing about affectionately putting down other people you
should be building up... Whatever. Also, its commonly ac-
cepted that members of one race can refer to other members
of their race in a derogatory fashion for purposes of humor
(and sometimes this is quite humorous i.e. George Lopez,
Eddie Murphyc) or for any other reason so desired. Do not
try to be cool and mimic this if you are white.

You are not cool. You will never be funny. And you
will probably get your ass beat and lose your career.

b. black rappers perpetuate the idea that black women like to
be referred to as "ho's," and other terms which I will not go in-
to here. If you are some race other than black, do not try to
use these terms just because you have seen black women buy
these cd's. Refer to the last two lines in a. for the consequences
of such behavior.

c. There is that old adage, "No publicity is bad publicity except
for a live boy or a dead girl." Wealthy or famous members of
the boys club will be happy to know that DESPITE what is seen
as the progression of women's rights in the United States, you
can still get away with killing one if you are famous enough or
if you have enough money. Curiously, many rich and celebrity
defendents have been found guilty of raping women (think Mike
Tyson, and Max Factor heir Andrew Luster). Might as well kill
'em I guess, that seems to be a sure thing.

Incidentally, minority members of the Boys Club will be happy
to know that minority member status in the Boys Club in no way
detracts from the Rich and Celebrity aspect of this truth. That's
right. Money and Fame trump race.

*I forgot to mention. No matter how rich and famous you are.
You cannot kill little boys after molesting them. Hello! They're
boys. That is, smaller men. With all of the value our society
placed on men. You know, TWICE AS MUCH as women? So
although you can probably stay out of jail for a little molestation,
you're going to get the death penalty for molesting and killing a
little boy. It would seem that the same holds true for little girls,
although... there does seem to be a history of leniency in molesta-
tion cases as long as they aren't, you know, "harmed."

d. When running for Gubenatorial office, it really isn't ok any-
more to make homey jokes to the press that compare the weath-
er to rape. Even in Texas.
Bad weather's like rape, "as long as it's inevitable, you might as
well lie back and enjoy it." Clayton Williams -- from the 1990
Texas Gubenatorial Race.

Now some say that the real moment he lost that race is not that
quote, although it didn't help him out any, but when he refused
to shake Ann Richard's hand during one of their political debates
while running for office.

*Note to Boy's Club members. People will forgive you for visit-
ing the "Chicken Ranch," An old-time brothel in LaGrange - re-
ortedly a past favorite haunt of Claytie's, but people will never
forgive you for failing to be a gentleman. The public hates a cad.
We want our men to look like heros. We really don't care if they
measure up. It's all about perception. And anyway, boys will be
boys. Yes, America does really still believe in that one.

sighing - Clayton is a cousin of some sorts to me. And that should
come as no surprise to anyone.

e. It is ok to have affairs. I know. You're shocked! Here's the deal.
They call them MISTRESSES! They have to be well aware of their
role from the get-go. Also, you have to pay. You have to make them
most comfortable. ESPECIALLY, after you are through with them.
And, to cancel all risk to yourself, you have to pass them along to
someone superior to yourself when you are through dallying.
Yes, generally there are people seen as superior to you. If you don't
know who they are, just ask a few female friends.

Doing this will allow your mistress to avoid that time period of grieving
where ordinarily she might plot your utter demise. Actually, this is
best done without her knowledge. Let me restate that. Women are
smarter than you. Without her implicit knowledge. Invite the super-
ior friend over for sailing or pool or whatever it is that your boys club
does, with the Mistress, and let her think she's discovered him. Trust
me, if your other female friends think he's superior, so will she.

Yes, this takes some humility on your part, but the girl who was once
your Mistress probably won't remember your name next week, and
therefore you have "passed on the risk." Actually, this works with
girlfriends also when you don't want a messy breakup. So to recap,
Trading a girl up because you aren't good enough for her is always a
good way to move on. Now the girl is grateful to you, won't remember
your name next week and the next gentleman has adopted the risk.

ummm... a piece of advice. Think about your position in the world
and whether "trading up" is really an option for you. If you are the
busboy at the local diner, it will be easy. For Bill Clinton it certainly

More next time...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Make My Day

Did you know?

That Clint Eastwood ran for mayor of of Carmel California ?
I know. You already knew that. So did I. Everyone knows
that. He was sworn into office in 1986. Ok, so those of you
born after 1986 may not have known that. Or those you who
were toddling around in diapers in 1986, but anyway.

I'll bet you didn't know this though. He made some rather
large changes during his tenure in Carmel. Not the least of
which, in my estimation, was to repeal the law that says (or
said) that you can't eat ice cream on the sidewalk. You have
to wonder what kind of nazi would pass that law in the first
place. Maybe it was passed back in the days when all of the
women wore those long ground sweeping skirts, and they
didn't want to have to drag them through puddles of melted
mint chocolate chip...

It's kind of like the modern day equivalent of "no skateboards
on the sidewalk." The latest spoiler of children's fun.