Thursday, July 26, 2007

Spamming The Spammers

Matrix Consulting Group of Wilmington, Delaware, spams big time. They are the people who send out blurbs conducting opinion polls on cigarette brands and touting eBay success kits. They are perfectly welcome to send that kind of trash to their heart’s content provided it goes into my “bulk” file rather than into my inbox.

Today I attempted to complain to them about their spam, but wouldn’t you know; there’s no abuse email address and absolutely nothing happened when I called their listed abuse number which is 1-302-476-2747. Ah, but they did put their tech’s email address in.

It is
support@matrix-cg.net. I’ll bet you won’t even have to guess just how much spam I find in either my bulk file or inbox is going to be forwarded to that address.

If you want to turn the tables on the gerbils who fill your life with the disgusting chore of picking the nuggets out of the pig s***, find their IP in the email header and then do a copy and paste to
http://www.whois.ws/whois_index/ The sender’s data pops up in the quaint cant of techies, but enough of it is clear enough to fill in an email address to forward the spam.

Have fun. I’m giggling in anticipation of what’s going to happen tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Some More Murphy’s Law

A little over a month ago, I commented on a pedophile sting gone wrong. NBC’s Dateline attempted to improve ratings by enticing would-be pedophiles to a location where lights, television cameras, and heavily armed police police would pounce on any supposed miscreant showed up.

This was done in Murphy, Texas. The city manager and Chief of Police joined the scheme in secrecy. NBC provided the cameras, lights, and reportage while another group named Perverted Justice provided the people to troll internet chat rooms.

The sting promptly went wrong. Irate citizens who were neighbors of the bait house raised a hue and cry at their peaceful neighborhood being invaded by lights, cameras, and lots of police action. The city manager is out of a job for keeping the mayor and city council in the dark, and the DA declined to prosecute anyone swept up in the sting. Flawed chain of evidence with cops not being in on the chat room trolling plus the trollers and the would-be baby rapers weren’t in his jurisdiction when the sting was set up.

One man committed suicide when the cops came to his front door with television lights glaring. He just happened to be a retired DA of a neighboring county. His sister is suing NBC for $105 million. Wrongful death is alleged. Meanwhile one of the former staff is suing the broadcaster for firing her when she questioned the ethics of the entire enterprise. Reuters has a pretty good
article on the recent developments.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Little Things Mean A Lot (A Hella Lot As It Turns Out)

I drive a ’97 Thunderbird. Like me, it’s getting on up there in age. It clicked over a 100 K a little while back, and I started getting the dreaded “Service Engine Soon” light. More than once, I might add.

My roomie has two things in his favor. He has a piece of test equipment for about any phenomenon and he’s pals with a retired Ford Service Technician. The computer codes of the Bird’s engine short comings were laid out and discussed amongst us.

The first problem was a simple one. The PCV valve for this model comes with two ports. There is a plug provided in case only one port is used. The plug had fallen away, causing a vacuum leak. Ergo the warning light.

The next light was a bit more complex. It indicated one bank was running an overly rich mix beyond the mixture control’s ability to compensate. It looked to be an oxygen sensor.

Before the suspect part could be replaced, yet another code popped up indicating both banks were running too rich. At this point the retired Service Tech suggested inspecting the Mass Air Flow Sensor. Sure enough it was pretty cruddy. Ford does not suggest cleaning, but replacement. (At $120 per copy I’m hip they do.)

A small soft bristled brush wielded under a stream of carburetor cleaner did the trick. The battery had been disconnected while the MAF sensor was out. It took about ten minutes to put it all back together.

I was in for a very pleasant surprise when I took it out for a drive. The old bird’s performance was more like when it was new than it had been in the last 20,000 or so miles.

If your engine is giving indications of mixture problems, the fix could be as cheap as a set of security Torx bits and a can of carburetor cleaner. Beats paying a couple of hundred bucks to your Ford dealer.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Fifth Column

During the second World War, a group of Norwegian Fascists under the leadership of Vidkund Quisling betrayed their country to the Nazis, bringing Norway into line as a puppet client state. The Norwegian Fascists became known at the “Fifth Column.”

Knowing a winning phrase when he had it, Joseph Goebbels, trotted out the term in every subsequent invasion and major campaign with mixed results. It didn’t play well at all in the Balkans, but succeeded beyond belief in France.

What with all of all those mean, nasty people with guns in front of them and the wild rumors of an invisible enemy to the rear, the mere murmuring Cinquième Colonne was enough to have entire French Regiments drop their weapons and scurry from the field in absolute panic. One would think their infantry training consisted solely of reading the saga of Chicken Little.

A combination of a few poor tactical decisions on the part of the French General Staff and two brilliant German campaigns coupled with the disheartened Poilus saw La Belle France down the tubes in something on the order of seven weeks.

Despite having the world’s largest standing army a the time, France was condemned to four brutal years of Nazi occupation.

There’s something to be learned from that. Having the biggest army means squat as long as they are led by incompetents and the folks back home are busy rumor mongering.

Take for instance our little fiasco in Southwest Asia. I do not believe the Central Command leadership are collectively the sharpest tools in the shed, and I have a hard time believing people like Fred Thompson who disparage Cuban refugees on account of this being the age of suitcase bombs. Suitcase nukes are largely the product of the imaginations of fiction writers, not weapons factories.

And while touching on the possibility of wayward nukes, it must be kept in mind that they do have a finite shelf life, so the whatever might have become available when the Soviets folded their tent is largely just some more hazardous radioactive waste. (If a nuclear device is exploded in this present incommodiousness, it will come from one of nation states that we should be at war with.)

Then there’s that other group of Lalas who are beating the drums for an impregnable wall along the Mexican border which will cure all our ills, thwart the minions of evil, and balance the budget. Their theme seems to be that a porous border (do we have any other kind?) is a way the terrorists are going to come in. Sure they will, Buckwheat. So far, the ones we know about came in legally on visas issued by our very own Immigration and Naturalization Service or were born here.

One wonders if the would-be wall builders are folks who are in the construction business. There is no way a wall will stymie the flow of undocumented aliens. After all, the Great Wall of China couldn’t keep the Mongols out. Speaking of China, I’d wager that if truth were known, that there a lot of undocumented Chinese who did not cross from Mexico, and little has been made of their route into the country. Kudos again to INS.

We have a goofball congress, which is fractious at best, a lame duck president who has nothing better to do than issue pardons to his cronies, and a 150 billion dollar a year war which is bringing in the red harvest of death and destruction in sizeable quantities.

Great thoughts on the Independence day of the world’s greatest republic.

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