- 9 January 2002
- What Is It About Easels?
- I dropped by a computer trade show today, and saw that some high-tech hucksters had attached expensive flat-screen computer monitors and keyboards to dozens of easels. The perky presenter assured the potential customers who sat down for a demonstration that his companys expensive painter software would allow even the least-talented among them to produce results almost indistinguishable from drawings made with a ten-cent pencil on a sheet of paper. Flush with the glow of new technology, no one seemed particularly frustrated that they lacked the ability to make a drawing of a deformed woman in a bathing suit similar to the one exhibited by the speaker.
Ill never understand why computer mountebanks love easels and hackneyed illustrations. They must be disoriented by the smell of money.
- 10 January 2002
- Twenty oh Two
- Well into the new millennium, I finally learned how to pronounce the new years colloquial names from an astute BBC radio announcer. This isnt two thousand and two, its twenty oh two! Perfect! After all, the last really huge San Francisco earthquake struck in nineteen oh six, not nineteen hundred and six.
Im much happier now that this centurys dates have the same number of syllables as Ive always used. As Ive previously noted, a low entertainment threshold really is the best thing since sliced bread.
- 11 January 2002
- A Strange Map of San Francisco
- I found a strange map of San Francisco at the airport today. The discarded map, published by the Irish Ministry of Travel, divided San Francisco into four distinct zones: literal (grey), tourist (green), dangerous (red), and surreal (plaid). The map had no correlation with reality.
- 12 January 2002
- Grow, Industry, Grow, Grow, Grow!
- I was poking around inside my old computer, and noticed that my DVD drive (model SR-8182) was made by the Matsushita Electrical Company. I dont know why I remembered this, but some time ago Id copied the words to the companys official anthem:
For the building of a new Japan
Lets put our mind and strength together,
Doing our best to promote production,
Sending our goods to the peoples of the world,
Endlessly and continuously,
Like water gushing from a fountain.
Grow, industry, grow, grow, grow,
Harmony and sincerity. Matsushita Electrical.
After rereading the words to the company anthem, I looked at my run-of-the-mill DVD drive differently. Suddenly, it wasnt a mere computer peripheral, it was part of an endless, continuous stream of electronic gizmos pouring out of the Matsushita Electrical Companys happy factories.
- 13 January 2002
- Tormenting Ungenius
- Anita didnt know I was trying to sink enemy ships on my computer monitor when she made fun of my furrowed brow.
Whats with the squinched face? she asked. Are you trying to be a tormented genius or something?
Not at all, I replied, without letting on that I wasnt doing anything more creative or demanding than playing video games. After all, what chance do I have of convincing you that Im a genius?
Anita smirked in agreement.
And Im anything but tormented, I said as I took another sip of beer. On an occasion such as this, however, an objective observer might describe me as a tormenting ungenius.
And with that, I catapulted a spoonful of chili across the room; I was aiming at Anitas face. She shrieked as she ducked; the chili splattered against the wall with a satisfying thwat.
- 14 January 2002
- Just a Little Bit Sexy News and Naked News
- The fortunes of television newsreaders are largely determined by their physical appearance and not their abilitiesif anyas journalists. An American television network promotional announcement described one of its newsreaders as thoroughly professional, competent enough to read the right press release on cue, and a just a little bit sexy. And just in case that was too subtle for dimwitted viewers, the producers flashed the words provocative and sexy on the screen, then ended the advertisement with the sound of a zipper.
The featured newsreader may or may not have been just a little bit sexy, but she was definitely more than a little bit annoyed. She protested so loudly that the network changed the promotional copy in order to maintain a façade of respectability.
Other news organizations have given up trying to pretend that theyre journalists, not entertainers. The Naked News program delivers exactly what it promises. Viewers may choose between watching either an attractive young woman or a handsome young man undress as s/he reads the same generic wire stories and minimally-edited corporate and government press releases featured on other stations. Unlike their more traditional counterparts at other television networks, the Naked News presenters are not ashamed to acknowledge that their employers hired them to provide entertainment.
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©2002 David Glenn Rinehart