Monday, May 07, 2007

No Santa Fe gig tonight :(

Yeah, it's a drag. But, trivial compared to what the residents of the now-destroyed Greensburg, Kansas are having to deal with.

Y'know, one of things I really dig about living in Vegas is that, aside from temperature, "weather" is against state law (whereas failing to drink and smoke constitutes a Class-A misdemeanor, LOL). Before I moved here in 1992 I spent a long time living in the Deep South (Alabama and Tennessee). I been way too close to a couple of tornados. Humbling forces of nature, those things. My heart goes out to these people.


May Day comes late this year, and will be officially celebrated in the Lounge at The Palms next Monday.

"MayDay" is also the international signal of distress. Next Monday the distress will be on those not in the Lounge with us and our magnificent friend Bill Champlin. Couple of clips below. Yikes, the one from 1983! OMG!


Sometimes ya just gotta laugh. So, I've been diligently fillin' out all these job apps every week since I got laid off. Well, a local company responded and asked me to come in for an interview for an analyst position ('cuz'a my SAS and regression modeling chops). They sent me an additional application to fill out, along with a background investigation authorization form. Now, this company touts themselves as being this saavy hi-tech outfit that does verification/authentication research and analysis for businesses, claiming that their "extensive and comprehensive analytics process of data verification and authentication identifies a unique individual with unique DNA."

Fair enough. We all want the fraudsters and other miscreants effectively uncovered and neutralized. And, fair enough to expect to be subjected to a background check (which I've already been through several times). But, this just cracked me up:
I hereby authorize [the company] and its designated agents and representatives to conduct a comprehensive review of my background causing a consumer report and/or an investigative consumer report to be generated for employment purposes.

I understand that the scope of the consumer report/investigative consumer report may include, but is not limited to, the following areas:

Verification of social security number; current and previous residences; employment history including all personnel files; education including transcripts; criminal history records from any criminal justice agency in any or all federal, state, county jurisdictions; and any other public records.

I further authorize any individual, company, firm, corporation, or public agency (including the Social Security Administration and law enforcement agencies) to divulge any and all information, verbal or written, pertaining to me to the Company or its agents. I further authorize the complete release of any records or data pertaining to me which the individual, company, firm, corporation, or public agency may have, to include information or data received from other sources.

I hereby release the Company, the Social Security Administration, and its agents, officials, representatives, or assigned agencies, including officers, employees, or related personnel both individually and collectively, from any and all liability for damages of whatever kind, which may, at any time, result to me, my heirs, family, or associates because of compliance with this authorization and request to release...[emphases mine]
"verbal"? In other words, they arrogate to themselves the right to collect any unverifiable hearsay about me from any anonymous source they wish through their gumshoe proxies, and, if any of the stuff is untrue and gets out of their control and causes me grief, well, boo-hoo-for-BobbyG (and, BTW, "consumer report" means they'd do a credit bureau pull on me as part of the rap sheet).

Am I the only cat around with an acute sense of irony? These people employ the "DNA" metaphor in extolling themselves to the business world, i.e., exactitude, man; finely-chiseled accuracy and precision in the assessment of those that come under their scrutiny for their clients. Sorry, I gotta have the same standard when it comes to vetting me.

I have a bit of a history when it comes to defending our right to privacy and to not have others trafficking in our personal data absent cause and diligence with respect to confidentiality.

I'm probably not gonna get this particular gig.


Yep, just like I figured. Email exchange with the recruiter today:

I hope everything went well with the extraction of your wisdom tooth. I fowarded your email to the hiring managers, and because of our company’s compliance process, it is "mandatory" that all candidates sign the background authorization form for potential employment with our companies. Due to your personal principles concerning the background check authorization, I will need to cancel Friday’s interview (5/11/07 at 2:00 pm). Should your thoughts change in the near future please get a hold of the company’s Corporate Recruiter, [Name deleted]. She will be more than happy to speak with you.

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

[ Name deleted]
My response:
Thank you. Mouth full of bloody cotton at the moment, but, it went fine.

I regret to insist that I will not sign that authorization as presented, solely on the basis of the objectionable clause I cited. The rest of it is acceptable overall.

I find it both ironic and hypocritical that a company touting itself as one that conducts verifications and authorizations of people to an accuracy level they characterize as "DNA" also demands that job applicants agree to permitting anything and everything to be collected about them, whether germane or not, whether accurate or not, and insists on being indemnified for doing so as well. My view is simple, and utterly rational: You collect personal data about me to be used for lawful decisionmaking, you are responsible for [1] its accuracy, [2] its relevance to the employment vetting, and [3] its subsequent confidentiality. I realize such a stance makes me "difficult," that most people simply passively go along with such legal boilerplate, seeing it as inevitable. I do not. And will not.


Best regards -

Bobby Gladd
Stupid. "Compliance," my 'face.' Of course, the Suits in HR will construe it as my being afraid to submit to a BKG investigation. Duh: I already have an FBI file, complete with fingerprints, from my days as a bank officer.

I'm being asked to believe that, in order for this company to be "in compliance" with, say, federal, state, and local governmental regulatory agencies (and that's simply what "compliance" means in this context), they are required to collect anything and everything thing they care to about me (via any unnamed surrogates of their choosing), whether job-relevant or not, whether true or not, and that, further, such regulatory compliance dictates that they be excused from any liability pertaining to the consequences of any cavalier treatment of such information should it cause me personal or economic harm were it to be subsequently released (either willfully or negligently) to others without my knowledge or consent. (Also: what if I submitted to their background investigation terms, and then asked to see the dossier collected about me? "Oh, no. Sorry, that information is proprietary and confidential." How much you wanna bet?)

I may have been born at night, but it wasn't last night, LOL!

Is this a great country, or what?


I episodically get hit up with these enthusiastic exhortations regarding the latest Fabulous Opportunity. A couple of decades ago it was A.L. Williams Life Insurance. A few years back it was the "online shopping mall" known as "" (till the FTC kicked their ass in court). More recently it's been this helloWorld video email thingy, and the problematically named "Burnlounge."

All variants of The Next Umptee-Thirteen Gazillion Dollar Big Thing. "Which Side of the Cash Register Will YOU be on?"

Burnlounge breathlessly touts itself as an easy way for you to cash in on Da Online Music Bidness, Which is Gonna Explode in the Years to Come!! Open Your Own Online Music Store Now and Reap the Rewards! (Note: of late they're re-tooling to make their web presence encompass "social networking" features, similar to the free MySpace).

Critics of this kind of initiative characterize it as Pyramid Scheme-Lite (a.k.a. "MLM," or Multi-Level Marketing), i.e., that your only real hope of making significant dough comes from recruiting and managing a subsequent "downline" of other paying enrollees who get in through you. You get a cut of their subscription fees -- and any sales you and they accrue (ostensibly 5 cents per "qualified" download bought through your "stores").

To fully get in the game here, you gotta become a Burnlounge "Mogul." Unfortunate choice of moniker to me, "Mogul." Conjures up some gaudy Beverly Hills Suit rakin' in all the cash while the artists go begging. (I don't particularly dig the "Burn" thing either. Too easily wagged by cynics.)

Mogul-hood (the 3rd and highest membership tier) will cost you about $605 a year, BTW. At a nickel a pop in "compensation" (sorta: read the fine print), you gotta be pushing out 12,100 "qualified" paid downloads a year just to break even (though, of course, that would be mitigated by your putative cut of any downline subscriber fees and their download action).

Burnlounge exhorts prospects to build playlists of favorite music, and get their friends and families to visit their "stores" and buy stuff. Yeah, now there's a path to riches.


OK, I'm one of these exasperating people that actually reads all this stuff. For your edification, just in case you're interested, I provide here links to 76 pages of Burnlounge legalese fine print (PDF files). Draw your own conclusions.

One Burnlounge video pitch I heard had this exuberant cat saying "you don't need to understand all of this stuff to get started!"

Oh, yeah, right. Hand unobtrusively slips over wallet...

Color me skeptical, 'eh? Y'know, when Jerry first hipped me to our wonderful bro' Paul Peterson, the first time I visited Paul's website, he was doing Burnlounge. But, now there's no mention of it at all, either on his website or his MySpace page. Major indie artist (now on tour with Kenny Loggins, BTW)...

Tells me something.

From the artists' perspective, this stuff looks like a solution in search of a problem. Uh, like there's already iTunes (same download price of $0.99/tune) and CD Baby, and you can also hawk your tunes for free from MySpace and/or your own website. Standing visibly apart from the clutter remains the task at hand, irrespective of the online venue. I fail to see how Burnlounge mitigates that problem one iota. I fail to see how competing not only against the Majors, iTunes, Amazon, etc, but also against umpti-tens of thousands of other Burnlounge Mom & Pop "online stores" leverages anything for me.

I'm open to counter-argument (one preferably replete with independently confirmatory quantitative ROI data), but, please spare me the bullshit about how I 'really don't care about promoting Santa Fe, or becoming a success,' etc.

OH, YEAH: concerning CD BABY

From the CD Baby site today:
Current Numbers:

179,628 artists sell their CD at CD Baby.
3,227,826 CDs sold online to customers.
$46,451,771 paid to artists.
Do the arithmetic. Average paid to the artist is $258.60 Average units sold is 18 (18? Hmmmm...smells like "friends and family" to me). We'd, of course, have to look at other metrics such as the median and the distribution for a more complete picture. I'd bet'cha a relative minority of artists on CD Baby account for the bulk of the sales, which would paint a bleaker picture for most artists (none of which matters to the bottom line of CD Baby itself).

The point? Don't swoon over Big Numbers. It's a tough business, like most businesses are.

Rock on, cats...

I'll be rockin' after I get this bad wisdom tooth out tomorrow. Ugh.

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