Stats Report: Bigotry Edition


Stats ReportAh, the internet.

I don’t know, though. Maybe this one is hard to explain.

To start with, it’s been an unusual day with high traffic to the blog. Hardly the highest, but still, nearly thirty-fold surge compared to the usual trickle of readers.

Naturally, this interested me.

Among the stats available to me are the search terms used to access the blog. It’s generally an interesting survey; we might be surprised how many people, this many years later, search for “nancy amons porn”; we hate to disappoint them, but life is what it is.

Yesterday, though, we posted a note on anti-Islamic bigotry in Virginia. No real surprise there, of course; after all, it’s a country club in Virginia. But the post did draw some hits (something like twenty-nine, if we must be specific; yes, quite impressive).

And it’s the list of terms that brought people to the post that snatches my attention:

• dahlberg pikrallidas

• muslim beating and country club of fairfax

• ed dahlberg

• edward dahlberg fairfax

dahberg beat up stupid muslim [sic]

• ed dahlberg of clifton, va

• “ed dahlberg”

There are, of course, a couple others; there’s the people obsessed with one particular corrupt Washington State Patrol trooper, and the time I fretted about my liver after realizing the dosage of a painkiller.

But, yes, aside from those two, the rest of the search results had to do with Ed Dahlberg’s alleged assault against Mohammed Salim.

It’s one of those things that you wonder if someone is doing intentionally, for your benefit: “dahberg beat up stupid muslim”.

I mean, it even has the semi-literate typo.

Life goes on (for the living).

But, seriously, whether you’re a half-assed provocateur or a half-wit bigot, thank you for the chuckle. We appreciate it greatly.

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Old Navy can stick it up its booty


Two words: Old Navy.

Two more words: “Booty Reader“.

See, this is what the censors of the 1980s Music Wars never figured out. The advert is not offensive because it includes fortune telling. It is not offensive because it includes tight asses in tight jeans. Rather, it is offensive because it is ultimately stupid.

Many believe that there is no such thing as bad press, and perhaps in the case of Old Navy, the axiom still holds true. For my part, though, seeing an advert like that does not inspire me to shop at Old Navy. Indeed, it reminds me why nobody should ever shop there, for anything, for anyone, or for any reason.

Old Navy can hang itself, for all I care. If it went away tomorrow, the only reason I would notice would be that the world suddenly and mysteriously got better. As such, it is in a class not of its own, but alongside FOX News, Levi Johnston, and Chevrolet. That is, I don’t attend any of these things, but I would probably notice when their worthless spectres finally disappeared from the world.

Step away from the goddamn booty, indeed.

CBP: Protecting America against simple questions since 2003


Protecting America against simple questions since 2003Perhaps I might raise a stink about habeas corpus, or pop off about professionalism. But, no, I’ll take the high road (right!) and ask a simple question:

    Why are the folks at U.S. Customs and Border Protection so afraid of a simple question that they require armed backup?

No, really. I want to know. Of course, that’s just the sort of question that apparently frightens the hell out of them.

The story so far (and hopefully all there is to it): While entering Canada on a flight from England, I was required to pass through U.S. Customs.

Right. It actually does make sense. Really. It has to do with the “fight them over there instead of at home” idea. You know, if they screen me in Canada, before I get on the flight home to Seattle, it reduces the chances that I might find a pair of nail clippers in Vancouver International Airport with which to hijack a small twin turboprop and crash it into Hoquiam Castle, or something like that.

Anyway, yeah. There is a small complex inside the airport that is apparently sovereign American territory.

So after getting off the plane, we waited in line for twenty minutes so that we could wait in line for forty minutes. This was so that we could wait in line another five minutes so that our boarding passes could be checked no less than four times in the passing of fifteen feet as we passed through security. Having done so, we then had to line up to have our boarding passes checked again so that we could then wait another fifteen minutes to tell U.S. Customs and Border Protection that no, we weren’t smuggling any fruit into Canada from London. Apparently, I wasn’t convincing enough.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. I must have done something to piss them off. Sure, whatever. Answering their questions without objection is just the kind of thing that will make a Border Protection agent suspicious, I guess. Really, after two weeks among exceptionally polite and wonderful people in England, Scotland, and Ireland, I just didn’t have it in me to be a prig about anything.

Instead of being waved through, I’m asked to divert to another room for a secondary inspection. This doesn’t bother me at all; I’m in too good of a mood after having gotten out of all those damn lines. Eventually, Officer Hill calls me over and asks me a bunch of silly questions about my life. Then he opts to inspect my bag and then fails to insert it properly into the x-ray machine. Then he types some lengthy notes into his computer and asks me if I have any questions at this time.

“Yes,” I said. “I’m curious as to the purpose of this detention.”

Wrong thing to say, apparently.

“You’re not being detained,” Officer Hill replied. Wow, had I known that at the outset, I would have passed on the invitation and just moved on past the, “Welcome to the United States”, sign and into Canada with my travel companions.

“I see,” I said. “Then what was the purpose of searching my bag?”

“I didn’t search your bag,” said Officer Hill.

Now, let me just be simple and specific, in case you happen to work for the Border Patrol, or know someone in that particular service. It’s not really that tough of a question. All he had to say was, “Random selection.”

Or expressed probable cause.

Or even, “This is the first time you’ve re-entered the country on this Passport; it’s a routine inquiry.”

Any of those would have sufficed.

Instead, he simply said, “It’s our right.”

I really, really don’t think it was that hard a question.

“So that’s how you’re going to be,” I observed.

Officer Hill advised me I could file a complaint if I felt I was treated unprofessionally. I asked him for his business card so that I might properly identify him in my complaint. He refused. His name was Hill. “That’s all you’re going to get,” he advised, smirking.

“I see how this goes,” I told him.

He asked if I wanted to talk to his supervisor. I told him yes. I also asked for my Passport back, but he refused. He told me to take a seat, which I did, smiling politely.

A white-haired man came out from his regal throne behind the desks. His name—I swear—was Officer Busto.

Really, I’m not making that up. His tag read, “Busto”.

“My name is Busto,” he told me.

“I don’t appreciate your officers lying to me,” I explained.

“How do you know you were lied to?”

I explained that Officer Hill said I wasn’t being detained, which was false, and that he said he hadn’t searched my bag, which was also false.

“I can see you’re visibly angry,” Busto said.

“Frustrated, yes,” I told him. “It’s a simple question. I mean, it’s either random selection or probable cause.”

“Seems like you already know the answer,” he said. By this time, as I sat there, speaking in an even voice, with my back to the wall, I found myself surrounded by three armed officers.

“Well,” I explained, “yes and no are answers, but sometimes you want to know which it is.”

“I can see your mind is already made up,” said Busto. His armed backup stood ready, glowering.

And, I can face it. I know when I’m defeated. I took my Passport back from Busto, told him he was disgusting, and walked out.

Welcome to the United States, indeed. The land of the free—you’re not being detained—and the home of the brave—where they need armed thugs to protect them from (gasp!) questions.

Ironically, I found out later that a couple days before, my father had a run-in with Homeland Security (the parent Department of U.S. Customs and Border Protection) that had them threatening to jail him over a small paperwork issue easily corrected.

But that’s another issue entirely, I suppose. I haven’t heard the details. Meanwhile, I stalked along, muttering about the irony of being detained by U.S. Border Protection so I could enter Canada. From London.

Welcome to the United States. It’s no wonder so many people around the world think we’re assholes.

But not the English, of course. They’re a delightful people with enviable beer, beautiful scenery, and more pomp than Officer Busto has shit between his ears.

Simple questions. Who ever guessed they could be so dangerous?

Facebook: My four-minute (mis)adventure


Why trust such incompetent geeks as Facebook?Well, that was quick.

My Facebook experience lasted all of four minutes. Maybe four and half. Let’s compromise and call it four and twenty, but that would be a blessing because th folks over at Facebook are smoking something. Unfortunately, it’s most likely crack.

The story so far: So a friend emails a Facebook invitation one day, and I let it sit around for a while because I don’t really have much interest in these sites. But I came across it while moving a bloc of old messages out of my inbox, and decided, “You know? Why not? I don’t always have to be a Luddite. Just because everything about social networking that isn’t a band or writer’s promotional page is completely stupid doesn’t mean I should keep holding out. It can’t all be as worthless as it seems.” Blah, blah, blah. So it goes. What the hell ever. Obviously, I was wrong.

Anyway, as some of you might have guessed, I list my name as “B.D.”

Doesn’t matter what it stands for, does it?

Anyway, listing my name properly is, apparently, impossible for the folks at Facebook. No. It has to be “B.d.”

I mean, I tried to change the information. Tried a few times. Tried “B. D.”, “B.D.” and “BD” as my first name. Tried “B” and “D” for first and middle; after all, that’s what the initials are. Tried “B.” and “D.” as first and middle. Nope. Facebook can’t do it. Apparently, such a simple idea is too complicated for the eggheads crackheads at Facebook to figure out. And, you know, it’s kind of like the guys at a local restaurant that can’t tell one meat from another. If those morons can’t figure out the difference between beef and chicken, I don’t trust them to cook the stuff.

And so it is with Facebook. If you can’t figure out how to list my name in such a simple manner, I don’t trust you to possess any information about me.

Of course, Facebook doesn’t ever delete that information, so now it’s stuck in their system, for their crackhead staff to use or abuse however the hell they want.

So my advice to people is that if they haven’t undertaken their own Facebook adventure, don’t.

And a note to the people at Facebook: You’re not smart.

Seriously. This isn’t difficult. You are the only website I’ve ever encountered that has this problem. And yet you pathetic morons, you absolute wastes of life, you whose best contribution to the human species would be self-administered at the end of a rope, run one of the most popular websites in the world.

Ominous, indeed.

Ginger bashing


Ah, the caprices of youth. Or, according to the Associated Press:

Authorities say a 12-year-old boy assaulted by a group of middle-school classmates in Southern California may have been targeted after an Internet posting that urged students to beat up redheads.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Richard Erickson says the boy, who is redheaded, was kicked and hit in two incidents Friday at A.E. Wright Middle School in Calabasas. As many as 14 students participated in the attacks.

Erickson says the attackers may have been motivated by a Facebook message announcing that Friday was “Kick a Ginger Day.” The posting may have been inspired by an episode of the TV show “South Park.”

The upshot is that the victim wasn’t seriously injured, but what the hell is wrong with these morons?

No, seriously. Say what you will about society’s ills, or bad parenting, or whatever. But how bored and stupid do you have to be that this sounds like a good idea?