And ninethly We bought the son of a bitch and then he didn't stay bought - Henry Clay Frick
Desperation doesn't begin to describe my state.
When the first bombing blog hit on July 7, I ran to Emergency Chamber 3 with incredible speed. Sadly, I realized a number of essentials were not present in in the Chamber - an oversight from the last restocking. So, after already locking myself in, I had to wait out the 24-hour self-control, security time restraint, exit Emergency Chamber 3 and gather some goods with haste. I grabbed 14 bags of precut carrots, 80 gallons of water, a pint of glue, 15 bottles of Wild Turkey, a ham sandwich and 47 laptop batteries. Committed for the long haul? Oh yes.
With 18 feet of reinforced steel meshed with concrete surrounding me on all sides and plenty of provisions, I assumed that waiting out the latest spate of terrorist attacks would require minimal personal sacrifice. The bad guys could only find me by following 2,769 feet of Ethernet cable woven in a maze-like fashion throughout the compound. Good luck.
Over the next couple of days, things seemed to settle down. The eloquent Ben Charny described how Java saved Africa, which put all of our minds at ease. Then, however, Charny mutilated the shreds of confidence easing my mind by revealing that cellphones may well have triggered the bombs used in the attacks. Was technology working for us or against us? I couldn't tell and Charny didn't have any answers - pensive blogger that he is.
Things didn't improve over the next week. The blog intelligentsia bombarded me with information on how to spot a terrorist, on how the mushy liberals were letting us down, and how the weak left wanted to crucify Karl Rove over a slip of the tongue.
You would be accused of hideous understatement by calling me scared. We're talking sheer horror here and no amount of Jack Daniels or roasted duck assuaged my tremors.
Then - out of nowhere - BANG! - the evil scum hit again.
The bloggers confirmed my immediate suspicions. The world had gone insane. I curled up in a ball in the Serenity Zone of Emergency Chamber 3 and didn't move a muscle for three days. It was just me, a feeding tube, my fear and my urine.
I pity the children scampering about the Great American Southwest who do not have a compound for protection. In other circumstances, I would invite the masses to suffer through this time with me in Emergency Chambers 2, 3, 6 and 9 - all of which are equipped for 21 day stays. Unfortunately, the corral at my compound is currently full of starving Apple zealots still recovering from my anti-iLemming program. There's nothing illegal going on, mind you, but explaining 3,000 emaciated freaks moaning about Steve Jobs to youngsters can be awkward. Trust me.
So, I suffered alone for two and a half weeks, emerging only after my last laptop battery gave out.
Have things improved? Not at all.
The terrorists were bad enough, but now even our Republican elite has turned on the country. I watched last week as Dell continued to milk money out of North Carolina, lavishing itself with government and tax payer funds. This from my idols Michael Dell and Kevin Rollins who give thousands to Republican causes. Then HP CEO Mark Hurd - also a Republican giver - slashed thousands of US jobs, cut US worker benefits and opened up hundreds of posts in India, China, Taiwan and France. FRANCE!! And now Intel will build a factory in Arizona after playing different regions off each other and receiving government aid as well.
Of all these moves, the Dell actions threaten to crush my spirit the most.
What would Michael Dell have done if Texas had funded IBM's PC expansion in the state just as he dropped out of college to sell computers by the dozen? Where would my idol be if Texas had built roads and factories for Apple or Compaq? Wouldn't this be a photo of Michael getting ready to sell turkey legs at the Renaissance Festival instead of receiving an honorary degree?
How can the American Dream thrive in this climate? How can our Republican leaders make making a buck so damned hard for the little guy?
Despite his accomplishments, Andrew Carnegie will always be most remembered for punishing labor. Similarly, history will reflect most often on the monopoly charges and lawsuits that accompany Bill Gates. Surely, Michael Dell won't let the golden aura surrounding his name be tarnished by government handouts and forcing states to whore themselves out to capture a few hundred of his precious jobs.
That's not the kind of behavior our Republican stalwarts need to exhibit right now. Technology shouldn't hurt us. The Rich should help others get Rich - it's the Republican way.
I'm prepared to enter Emergency Chamber 16 - my 90 day facility - either in protest, for self-reflection or simply to maintain my sanity, if that's what it takes. It's either that or vomit every time a billionaire from the GOP accepts big government cash. But, damn, man, I only have so much puke to give. ®
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, spitting on Frenchmen, vomiting in fear with a life-sized cutout of Hilary Rosen at his solar-powered compound somewhere in the Great American Southwest.
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