If Google is a Russian spy op, when will it buy U-Haul?
The Parboiled Age
And Ninthly He sat on one side of a blanket hung across the kitchen, and Smith sat on the other with his translation stones, intoning through the blanket. As if to make this an even happier scene, Harris was warned that if he tried to glimpse the plates, or look at the prophet, he would be struck dead - God is not Great by Christopher Hitchens
Anna Nicole Smith's death hit me hard. I had to ban all PC and television usage for more than a month just to avoid reminders of our sweet, American princess. This week, however, I managed to boot up my 64-processor Itanium workstation and face the connected world again.
Boy, was that a mistake.
Let me start by fingering two companies that may double-handedly destroy the promise of the internet - U-Haul and Walgreens.
What's the point of having an online reservation system if you have no intention of actually using it? Apparently, the answer lies in U-Haul and Walgreens's desire to aggravate customers for sport.
I recently ordered a U-Haul trailer online, needing the steel box to ship 12,000 gallons of Jack Daniels from my underground bunker in Nevada to my underground bunker in Texas. U-Haul pumped me for $400 to get a trailer hitch put on my new Hummer and then made me wait 10 hours for the actual installation. I called the next day to make sure that my trailer would be ready the following day, as ordered. U-Haul promised me that it would.
When moving day arrived, I showed up at the U-Haul facility only to find out that no trailers of the size I had ordered and needed were available. That was a shock since I only had one day to move by booze before flying out from Houston to Chad for a meeting with some oil magnates and prostitutes.
Imagine my surprise at finding the U-Haul Sucks web site in which thousands of people have suffered at the hands of this disaster.
Walgreens proves equally inept at printing and fulfilling orders made through its web site. Only 33 per cent of the prescriptions I've ordered online have actually turned up at a Walgreens store. Thanks to Walgreens's abuse of the internet, I've ended up with twin boys produced by a country hag acquired at a truck stop. I promised Candy - what else - free liquor and birth control pills so long as she'd clean up around the compound and fix three squares a day. Well, I failed to medicate Candy one day because of Walgreens and have basically ruined the latter stages of my life.
Feel free to go ahead and keep doing business with these companies. Just be sure to keep a tight vice around your nuts to make the experience more pleasurable.
The Participation Plague
These trials got me thinking about the 2008 presidential election - for obvious reasons - and all the crap mainstream media and technology pundits feed you dimwits.
Some of you will recall that "a whole new world" opened up in 2004 when blogging revolutionized the campaigns of Democrats and Republicans. The Average Joe got a chance to make his voice heard, and we ended up with Dan Rather being ousted, Howard Dean being made fun of and some guy called Joe Trippi convincing people that he knew something about something. The obvious final result of the "revolution" appeared in the form of George Bush being reelected. My how things did change.
(Tangent: How can "No Child Left Behind" work when Andover and Yale left our President behind even though they had thousands of dollars in tuition to work with? Let's all bow our heads and pray that 2008's monkey speaks English.)
And here we are in 2007 with the blogosplatter all a-twitter over various candidates. But there's no denying the end result - one which pains me so much to write that I've ordered Candy to blow torch my hands while I type. Hilary Clinton takes 2008.
As far as I can tell, the so-called "Participation Age" will culminate with four more years of Clinton. So, that'll be 24 years of Presidents with just two last names.
(Let's really splatter our brains and guess that Hilary goes eight years with Jeb following. Could any of your survive 36 years of Bush and Clinton? (Heaven help us all, should Chelsea develop presidential aspirations.))
Calling a victory for Clinton now may seem premature, but I can guarantee it.
My confidence comes from the bloggers and their supporters in the mainstream media who have convinced themselves that they're making a difference, when they're in fact just adding to the disturbing name recognition trend. Instead of just hearing about the Bushies and Clinton on TV all the time, we now get to read about them all the time on the web too.
Here's me thanking the internet, while I choke down some American red meat, for changing so very little.
Apparently, very few of you want to face this reality. You tend to believe that news travels faster these days than it did when we just had the slow moving TV. You also think that some blogger digging into John Edwards's war record with vigilance can really shake up the status quo.
You also seem to think that Google is a better master than Microsoft.
Yeah, things are a lot better now that an ad broker rules our world than when a rather hapless operating system and productivity suite vendor garnered the most attention and respect.
I don't know about you, but I'd sure prefer to see Microsoft threatening to store every bit of information about my life than Google. You know Microsoft would mess it up.
Google this week tells us that it plans to answer questions such as "What shall I do tomorrow?"or "What job shall I take?".
I can assure you that the ad company hasn't gotten very far with this goal because I recently asked it if The Register wanted to be invited to Google's product launches, and Google responded, "No."
I'll blame that incorrect response on the inadequacy of Google's technology instead of the notion that a company with nothing to hide would block journalists who write sometimes unfavorable stories about it.
Speaking of which, does anyone else get the sense - and I write this mostly sober from behind a one-quarter full bottle of Jack Daniels - that Google is a front organization for Russia's government? I mean this seriously.
Can you prove to me that Sergey Brin wasn't a post Cold War experiment who was sent here to find an American patsy - Larry Page - as the comforting front for an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-collecting database company?
Anyway, if that is the case, it doesn't even scare me. I just hope Google takes over U-Haul and Walgreens. I need to medicate and ship off my twins.®
Otto Z. Stern is a director at The Institute of Technological Values - a think tank dedicated to a more moral digital age. He has closely monitored the IT industry's intersection with America's role as a world leader for thirty years. You can find Stern locked and loaded, corralling wounded iLemmings, talking, drinking and driving, reflecting on Anna Nicole Smith's American chest, suppressing Bill Gates U, developing strong Mexican engineers, corrupting his youth in Sadville, masticating beta culture, booing our soccer team, following Jimmy Wales, despising U-Haul, nursing an opal-plated prostate, spanking open source fly boys, Googling Bro-Magnon Man, wearing a smashing suit, watching Dead Man, dropping a SkyCar on the Googleplex, spitting on Frenchmen, and vomiting in fear with a life-sized cutout of Hilary Rosen at his solar-powered compound somewhere in the Great American Southwest.