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2005

September

  • Spammed

    spam u likeLike everyone, I get my fair share of email spam, and most of the time my filters do a good job of directing straight into the trash.

    But once in a while, something sneaks into my inbox. It’s not much of a hassle, except when you don’t know what you’re being sold.

    Take today’s cheery piece of Asian spam. What the hell do they want me to buy?

    Answers on a postcard, or a comment, please.

  • Archers, Ashes and Hammers

    Regular readers will know my passion for The Archers, the long-running BBC Radio 4 drama (or soap, if you’re being nasty). That I can listen to it over the internet is a Very Good Thing.

    But yesterday I was struck even more firmly by the distance-destroying impact new technology has had on ex-pat life. I was sitting in the office listening to England winning the Ashes, just as I would have been if I’d been working in Wycombe or Dublin (that’s cricket, and a rare victory over the mighty Australians, for those on this side of the water).

    CMJ, Jonathan Agnew and Bill the grumpy statistician - all in my office on E. Palace in Santa Fe. Fantastic.

  • The breakdown of civil society

    I’m beginning to think Douglas Rushkoff has it right, I’m afraid:

    What those who are afraid of civil society breaking down don’t realize is that civil society has already broken down! This is not a civil society we live in, but a profiteering, every-man-for-himself, oligarchy. The democratic process is broken if not rigged; the largest-ever redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich occurred over the last six years under the guise of economic stimulus; fear and disinformation were used to put the poorest of Americans onto a battlefield under false pretenses; those who seek to engage the current administration in meaningful dialogue are terminated.

    Watching Shrub this morning talking about how much love he’s showing for the victims in the Gulf area didn’t help.

  • The large print giveth, the small print taketh away

    Amid all the horrors of hurricane Katrina and the subsequent deluge in New Orleans - hell and high water indeed - Wal-Mart deserve a special mention.

    At the same time as Wal-Mart officials were standing beside President Bush, announcing a $15 million donation to disaster relief, they were cutting off the pay of their displaced workers.

    As NPR reported this morning, while some major employers have undertaken to pay people for 90 days while they try and sort our their shattered lives, Wal-Mart cut off their associates after 3 days.

    They’ve mumbled something about trying to find them work in other stores, but it seems they won’t get any wages until they start work. Nice.