Sending aggressive-sounding emails? There’s a (Windows) app for that

OK, so you’re sending snarky emails in the heat of the moment? Maybe you told off a co-worker or your boss in an interoffice communication? Or worse, had the mother of all rectal-cranial inversions and told your spouse where to get off in an email?
I ran into this in

ToneCheck Stops You from Sending Passive Aggressive (or Plain Aggressive) Emails

Here’s an excerpt:

ToneCheck is an email plug-in that checks the content of your emails for tone and alerts you to language that may be misunderstood or interpreted as particularly negative … let’s face it: Sometimes you send an email that you fully intend to convey anger or annoyance. But text communication is rife with misunderstandings, and often an email with perfectly pleasant intentions can lead to a lot of upset coworkers. That’s what ToneCheck aims to address.

I find this a little disturbing, actually. Let’s get in the toboggan and ride the slippery slope for a minute: I can see versions of this that can plug into your word processor, and screen out any language that is not deemed politically correct. Under that scenario, I might be tripping that alarm an awful lot.
Right now, it’s in beta and during this period it is free. So far, this works only with Windows systems running Outlook, though I understand other versions are in the pipeline.
I don’t think I’ll be beta-testing this one.

Unnatural selection: Alcohol and trains don’t mix

Folks, I can’t make this stuff up.
This is from Summerville, a town just a few miles down the road from me.

Man dies after attempting to ‘slap the train’ outside bar: “A Summerville man celebrating his 23rd birthday died early this morning after he apparently tried to “slap the train” running past a local bar and was sucked into it.

Greene’s first speech shows slippery grasp of facts

South Carolina’s action figure hero/Senatorial candidate Alvin Greene made his first speech over the weekend, on his home turf and in front of a relatively friendly crowd.
To his credit, he didn’t screw the pooch in his not-quite-seven-minute speech to the NAACP in Manning, but let’s just say he doesn’t have a firm grasp of issues.

Greene’s statements don’t always match reality: Greene's statements don't always match reality
COLUMBIA — In his first campaign speech over the weekend, U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene pledged to get South Carolina back to work and decried the state’s bottom-of-the-barrel employment and public education rankings.

Let’s just say he’s fuzzy about a lot of things, OK? A lot of the stuff he’s saying is so garbled that you can’t even run it through the Bravo Sierra translator without it breaking.
A couple of samples:
GREENE: There are more people unemployed in South Carolina than ever before.
Wrong. Now it’s at 11 percent, or 238,000 people. Which sucks, but it doesn’t suck as bad as it did in January — 273,000 unemployed, at 12 percent. The rates have steadily improved since then.
GREENE: South Carolina spends twice as much per inmate as it does per public school student.
Right idea, wrong figure. The state does spend more per inmate ($16,300) than per student ($11,372). That’s not double. But then, Greene himself is a fine product of our South Carolina edjumication system, and has the degree (from the University of South Carolina) to prove it.
So where was he getting the data for his speech?
GREENE: “Research, multiple sources, everything, news. All of the above.”
And this guy swears he is a serious candidate. He actually has the nomination from a major party.
But he didn’t say anything about how a line of Alvin Greene action figures would benefit the state. And he didn’t say anything about Denzel Washington portraying him in a movie. Not this time anyway.
I guess South Carolina is safe.

From room-to-rent ad: Guess who gets the benefits?

I ran across this ad in Craigslist today, and it gives me an idea of what this world is coming to:

Male Musician with 2 bedroom apartment looking for female musician roomate with benefits … someone who is a light drinker and 420 friendly … no hard drugs and I will be able to find out if you do use them … your cost would be $500 per month which includes electric, water, sattlelite tv and internet … I keep a clean apartment and you must do the same … You MUST have verifiable employment … I have young children that visit me … you will have access to pa system and recording gear …

I’m totally serious. This is a real ad. I edited it some to get rid of the obviously identifiable details — partly because I know a lot of musicians in this neck of the woods, many of them know me, and I don’t feel like getting death threats right now.

Meanwhile, let’s take a look at the ad, running it through the bravo sierra translator:
Roommate with benefits: Guess.
420 friendly: Doesn’t mind the occasional left-handed cigarette. Like, every half hour. This may be required for said benefits.
I will be able to find out if you use them: Creepazoid. Stalker in training. Next question?
$500 per month: Keeping in mind this is an apartment. Also known as being screwed twice.
Young children that visit me: Just what they need to see, Dad passing around a left-handed cigarette and collecting the aforementioned benefits. Horrendously maladjusted already, and they will likely grow up to be just like Dad. New roommate gets to babysit while Dad goes out and does what he does. During visits the young children will sleep in one of the two bedrooms, meaning the applicant gets to sleep … guess again.
Access to a PA system and recording gear: You know this isn’t free. See: Benefits.
If this cat actually gets takers, he will really be dipping in the shallow end of the gene pool.

Drugs do the darnedest things

I already knew I live in a strange neighborhood; I just didn’t realize how strange.

I’m in my home office this afternoon when I hear noises outside the trailer. I didn’t think much of it as long as nobody’s trying to get in, so I continue work.

More noises. Louder. From my kitchen. So I go and check it out.

Since it’s been so hot lately I’ve been keeping my kitchen window open above my sink. And someone’s reaching through the window.

It’s a young woman, and she’s stoned out of her gourd. And she’s washing the dishes in my sink, from outside.

It turned out she also watered my plants outside, neatened up my porch, things like that. I really don’t think she meant anything wrong; it’s just one of those who-knows-what, drug-induced things. 

No harm, no foul, but … strange.

I confronted her, more questioning than angry. Must have scared her off; she tottered away. I probably should have waited until she finished the dishes. Good help is hard to find these days.


Sullivan’s Island moves to ban singing, whistling, and the like on public streets

I’m pretty sure these laws are not written by someone who is from around here. There’s no way. 

From the Digitel:

Sullivan’s Island moves to ban singing, whistling, and the like on public streets (update: CNN picks up): “Update, June 23: What was that? The sound of a national network picking up the local News 2 report? Yes, it is. Check out the video on CNN.First reporting: Yes, it seems very silly, but they’re copying the wording of a North Charleston ordinance already…”

I wrote about this some time ago, when Charleston approved an anti-smoking law (modeled after similar ones in New York City and the People’s Republic of California):

… the smoking law came from elsewhere … like it or not, Charleston is a town of transplants. A destination town. A lot of expatriate New Yorkers, people from Ohio looking for a warm place to sit, and a bunch of escapees from Atlanta’s rat race. Mostly east coast people, though. I was once considered an oddity because of my California roots (although that’s considered to be plenty odd anywhere). Now, there’s a bunch more like me. Maybe I should apologize for kicking that door open; everybody wants to be the last person to move to a new area … write this down. People who move to another area tend to want a couple of things: First, they’re seeking a new life. And, once that’s achieved (or not), they seek to make that new town Just Like Home …  

Rick Huff, the late Bard of Folly Beach, wrote a song called “Come On Down,” an open invitation for anyone to visit this area just so long as they remember to pack their manners. In his song he decried those folks who move in, feel the need to change things, and “get themselves appointed to Decidedly Ridiculous Boards:” 

Come on down.

You can tell us how to run our little town;

Yeah, come on down. 

Don’t know how we made it this far without you around …

Couldn’t say that much better myself.


Getting a handle on Alvin Greene

So who is this Alvin Greene character, and why is he an actual nominee for a U.A. Senate seat from South Carolina?

It’s still a mystery. But he will run against Jim DeMint this year. That noise you hear is the sound of Democrats circling the wagons.

Understand, Demint is probably near the top of the Dems’ take-em-out list. DeMint shows strong conservative chops, and he’s become a favorite of red-state folks everywhere. He was considered vulnerable until last week’s primary. 

Greene won the primary with slightly less than 60 percent of the vote, beating out former judge and legislator Vic Rawl in the process. No one is real sure why; Greene has no money. He has no name recognition. He has no job. He’s a former military guy who was “involuntarily discharged” from the service six months before his hitch was to end. He faces obscenity charges; something about allegedly showing pornographic pictures to a college girl. None of this stuff came out until after the primaries.

And if you listen to this guy talk, well, you know he’s out of his league. He can barely string a coherent thought together. First few sound clips I heard of him, I thought, man, that’s some pretty strong medication he’s on.

In the days following the primary election,  Rob Groce of The Examiner visited Greene at his Manning home in an attempt to get a handle on this guy. Groce, a rock-solid Democrat who was chosen as national delegate from his home district in 2008, came away with an uneasy feeling:

Meeting Alvin Greene

That eerie feeling of being stuck in a still shot from “The Last Picture Show” came upon me once again as I turned my head to look around.When I later saw the photos, I noticed that Greene’s appearance and expression seems unchanged in each one. Frozen. Blank. Distant.Lost.Before I walked into Greene’s home, I was still incensed from the dreadful results of the primary election.When I walked out, though, I felt despondent, and not because of the election results that somehow got him the nomination. I felt so sad because it was obvious that Greene … well … isn’t quite all there. In my layman’s opinion, and which might not mean much to some, I think there may be some medical reason.And I don’t think he was always like this, either. After all, media confirmed that he majored in political science at the Univ. of South Carolina, graduating in 2000. In the military, he worked in intelligence. But he wound being involuntarily discharged from service six months early, and while in a much lower role than his first field of military intelligence.That could indicate that something happened to Greene. An injury, maybe? A medical problem that’s affected his behavior and response? PTSD? I’ll never know the cause, I guess. And don’t really care to know, since it’s none of my business to begin with.As a voting citizen of South Carolina, though, the elections here are my business. And Alvin Greene is clearly unable to hold office …  

I don’t think this Greene drama is over yet. Rawl is challenging the results, and filed a formal protest earlier this week. The national media is laughing — again — at South Carolina, and voters in the Palmetto State are just plain bumfuddled. 

Although he is the party’s nominee, Greene’s probably not going to count on getting a lot of support from there. According to House Majority Whip James Clyburn:

No, I don’t see myself getting behind Mr. Greene. The fact of the matter is, of course, I never said he was a Republican plant. I said he was someone’s plant. And it turned up after the elections, we found out, as I said earlier, something untoward was going on … now all of a sudden, we see that Congressman Joe Wilson — his campaign manager, was, in fact, managing the campaign of my primary opponent. I saw the patterns in this. I know a Democratic pattern, I know a Republican pattern, and I saw in the Democratic primary elephant dung all over the place … and so I knew something was wrong in that primary. And this result tells us that. People intentionally circumvented the law, the rules and regulations, did not file any disclosures, did not file any of their campaign finances, yet they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars running this campaign and broke every law.

Don’t you just love politics? Isn’t it better than daytime TV?


Mystery Senate nominee Alvin Greene swears he’s serious; few agree

Just when you thought a little sanity had finally entered South Carolina politics, well, forget it!

Welcome to the political world, South Carolina style.

On Tuesday, some guy named Alvin Greene won the Democratic primary for United States Senate, to go against conservative Jim Demint.

Alvin who?

That’s what the Democrats are wondering. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn called for an investigation into the campaign. Party leaders are calling for Greene to step aside and let a real candidate run. Some party officials have even questioned his mental state. Greene, however, is saying he’ll continue his run.

It’s pretty obvious that South Carolina Democrats had a mass rectal-cranial inversion when they went to the voting booths this time around. 

By all accounts the 32-year-old Greene is an unemployed veteran, and no one is sure where he was able to pony up the $10,400 filing fee.

On top of that, Greene was arrested last November for felony obscenity, which he chooses not to comment on. But none of this stuff came up until after his nomination.

He beat out former legislator Victor Rawl for the nomination, with 59 percent of the vote. Besides his background, Rawl has a campaign war chest of $186,000 while Greene doesn’t have a pot to pee in.

“60 percent (of the vote) is not luck,” Greene told MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann. “It’s a decisive win.”

Interesting, considering he really didn’t campaign. No one knew who he was. There was no indication he did any traveling. there is an “unofficial” website for him, which he says is not an authoritative campaign site. There was also a Twitter account for him, but he said that was not his either. It has since been taken down; a wise move considering he has far fewer followers than even my modest 635.

And Democrats are saying Greene is nothing but a Republican plant, a tomato can set up to run against top target DeMint. But Greene says that isn’t so.

“I have always been a Democrat, and I will always be a Democrat.”

His chief campaign pitch is the need for jobs. That’s a natural one for Greene, as he also needs a job.

You absolutely must check out this interview with Olbermann. It’s a real hoot. Folks on Twitter are calling it “the most WTF interview ever” (I’m not gonna explain what that means). Greene sounds out of it, uncomfortable, inarticulate in the interview, even with Olbermann’s softball questions.

According to Mother Jones Magazine, Greene is on intimate terms with these WTF moments:

“Greene insists that he paid the $10,400 filing fee and all other campaign expenses from his own personal funds. ‘It was 100 percent out of my pocket. I’m self-managed. It’s hard work, and just getting my message to supporters. I funded my campaign 100 percent out of my pocket and self-managed,’ said Greene, who sounded anxious and unprepared to speak to the public. But despite his lack of election funds, Greene claims to have criss-crossed the state during his campaign—though he declined to specify any of the towns or places he visited or say how much money he spent while on the road. ‘It wasn’t much, I mean, just, it was—it wasn’t much. Not much, I mean, it wasn’t much, he said, when asked how much of his own money he spent in the primary. Greene frequently spoke in rapid-fire, fragmentary sentences, repeating certain phrases or interrupting himself multiple times during the same sentence while he searched for the right words. But he was emphatic about certain aspects of his candidacy, insisting that details about his campaign organization, for instance, weren’t relevant. ‘I’m not concentrating on how I was elected — it’s history. I’m the Democratic nominee — we need to get talking about America back to work, what’s going on, in America.’ 

Has anybody figured out what he said yet? If so, please email me a translation.

Imagine how he’d do in a real debate, or in a conversation with a real reporter, providing there are any of those left. He’d be chopped up into cat food.

Not that this seems to make any difference with South Carolina Democrats. They voted for a name and a face, with no other information.

Shoot, if voters are that stupid, they deserve whatever candidate they get.

Meanwhile, it looks like it’s gonna be fun times in good ol’ South Kackilacky this November.