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Just Because

April 5, 2003

"Gee, Lou...your thoughts about this explain so many things about you...unfortunately none of them are flattering."
-Comments from an e-mail from a friend's wife, mailed to me (and several friends of mine) last night

Without question, the advent of e-mail technology has allowed communication to flourish in ways never possible before. Forget writing a letter on paper, sticking it in the mail and then waiting 2-3 days in some cases for it to arrive. Instead of a 72 hour turnaround, you're looking at a 7.2 second turnaround. Plus there's no stamp cost involved.

I remember when e-mail was in its infancy. A number of bulletin boards established something known as Fidonet, where you could send e-mails to people on other boards, in other cities. But it took time for 2400 baud modems to connect and information to be distributed, and you'd often be looking at a 2-3 day delay on an e-mail going through. But it worked, and that was a start.

Then there were online services that offered intra-service e-mails. I remember when my parents joined up with Prodigy in 1992. It was great, instant e-mails. However, you could only send 30 per month; more than that and you'd incur a per-message fee. Could you imagine if e-mails were like that today? Luckily, competition and an open marketplace created the unlimited e-mailing we enjoy today.

But with all the fun of it, one aspect of e-mailing has always bothered me -- the "shared" e-mail account. When friends of mine would get married, many of them would decide to share an e-mail address with their significant other. I've never understood this; what's the point? It's not as if e-mail addresses are in limited supply. With a shared account, there's always the chance that a message will inadvertently be overlooked, or not-so-inadvertently deleted. And if I want both of them to receive it, it's simple to put both their e-mail addresses in the To: line.

Yesterday took this to a whole new level, though. I sent an e-mail to a few friends about how WKRK in Detroit was fined by the FCC for what the agency claimed was an "indecent" broadcast. I despise the thought of the federal government dictating what is and isn't considered offensive or indecent in a given community hundreds of miles away. But more than anything, I was angry about at least one member of the FCC wanting to consider pulling WKRK's license. That would be a devastating hit to Infinity Broadcasting, and moreover it would create an atmosphere of fear and trepidation among broadcasters nationwide. You think radio is cookie-cutter now? Just wait until someone gets their license pulled for content.

So I sent an e-mail out that described the "offensive material", and noted that the "Tony Danza" was probably the funniest of them (the idea that someone would even come up with the concept). Here's the description from

The "Tony Danza," which a caller said was "when you grab her by the hair, throw her down on the bed, smack her around a little bit, and tell her who's the boss" (Danza starred in the long-running sitcom Who's The Boss).

Now I in no way advocate domestic violence. I've had friends go through it, and it's a horrible thing. Bad enough for them to end up in the hospital in some cases (and believe me, it's a good thing in one particular case that I was hundreds of miles away; otherwise the guy who put her there would have found himself needing medical attention as well).

But, c'mon, the "Tony Danza"?!? It's more ridiculous than anything. So I pointed that out in the e-mail I sent.

A few hours later, I had a nasty e-mail from the wife of a friend who I'd e-mailed the story to. The quote at the top of this column is it in a nutshell. I wrote back, apologized for offending her, and promised to never send anything to that e-mail address ever again.

See, I didn't intend it for her, and I wouldn't have sent it to her. But because of this "shared e-mail" bullshit, we end up with a scenario like this one. Maybe old fashioned mail really is better; at least then it would've had his name clearly on the envelope. Ugh.

Last night I saw a great concert at The Orpheum in Ybor City. The band Slightly Stoopid played to a sold-out house. It was a great venue for a show -- a packed club with good intensity and atmosphere. Slightly Stoopid is a band with a West Coast, Sublime-influenced sound and good stage presence. My friend Riley talked about the show for weeks leading up to it, and it paid off. They even did a cover of "Perfect Gentleman" by Wyclef Jean, which was cool as hell.

I felt bad for the two bartenders working there. They had their work cut out for them, with a swarm of people wanting alcohol -- and wanting their attention right away. They have Paulaner on tap, which is an excellent German pilsner. That put me in a good mood. Riley also liked it, but Todd didn't. Then again, earlier in the night he told me that the Counting Crows sucked, which I couldn't disagree with more. So to each his own, I guess. As it is, Todd went home before Slightly Stoopid even took the stage. Which is too bad, as he missed a good show. If you have chance to see them in concert, I recommend it.

The running joke of the night was the phrase "Just Because". Someone sent Mandy at Market on 7th flowers, and all the card said was "Just Because... Amanda". We were talking about how ridiculous that card was (and how it seemed borderline stalker-ish). So when the shots were flowing, we'd do a shot... "Just Because". Good times.

My friend Ryan Priest pointed out that the NCAA Tournament used to have a consolation game until 1982; I didn't know that. I did some research and found that DePaul beat Penn in the '79 consolation game, for example (the backdrop to the much more memorable Indiana State/Michigan State Magic vs. Bird title game).

Tonight are the semifinal games for the 2003 tournament. Kansas vs. Marquette should be a bruising, intense game. No less intense will be the nightcap, Texas vs. Syracuse, where future NBAers T.J. Ford and Carmello Anthony will square off...

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