Yes, I hope they suffered, and yes, I want heads on pikes. But we’ll get to that.

Right now I’m on hold with my new internet provider. They’re very concerned about my satisfaction. For my protection, this call may be monitored or recorded, and later played over and over at excruciating volume to punish the technical support rep who did not get me off the line after three minutes. Thank you, and someone will be with you shortly. Did you know that many of your question can be answered online? Please visit support.crapnet.com. In the meantime, many common modem problems can be solved by unplugging the modem - it is plugged in, right? You’re not that stupid, are you? You’re not tying us up because you took the thing out of the box and set your phone on top of it, thinking that was sufficient? If so, press one if you want to be abused by that Full Metal Jacket Guy, or press your thumb into your carotid artery until you black out.

You have pressed one.

Maggot! Are you so stupid you think the Internet is something you can get with an Etch-A-Sketch hooked up to a butterfly net? Well do you? Press one if you’re that stupid!

(pressing one)


(pressing one)



I just got through, and the tech was quite helpful. Everything works now. I have . . .

Eh? you say. What took so long? Simple: When Gnat was born I signed up for three years with MSN, in exchange for a large amount of money - the technical term is a “buttload” - off the price of a fancy digital camcorder. Those three years have ended. Besides, I didn’t really need DSL at home, I figured. I had fast access at work. And the slower speeds prevented standard-creep on the site - if I got used to spiffy internet speeds, I’d lose that dial-up vibe that nagged whenever I designed a page that had more than 100kb worth of graphics.

I’ll still keep the sizes small - no need to drink idiotic! as they say in the Mecca Cola ads. I am still paying for bandwidth, and that’s another nagging factor.

Anyway, as soon as the DSL light stayed green, indicating either a successful connection or total hacker penetration - the manual is unclear - I promptly hit the Apple Software Update panel and sucked up all the stuff that would have taken days to download. Then it was off to the Apple Quicktime Trailer site - hey ho, another Desperado movie. This one looks good. Well, that’s it for a while; back to work. Better log off the internet.

Except that you don’t. It’s supposed to be on all the time. That’s the advantage, right? Well, it feels odd. It feels peculiar. It feels wrong. Since I got online in the late 80s I have lived in that world where you’re either On the Internet or Off, at least at home. If you are ON, no one can call in, so you’d better get OFF. It’s like I’ve forgotten something. How long will it take to shake this feeling, I wonder. It reminds me of a Thurber story in which he describes his aged grandmother’s suspicion of electrical outlets. She was convinced they leaked electricity all over the house. That’s how I feel. There’s internet everywhere. Get a mop.

Wife went back to work today. Yes, that was fast. It’s not a full-time thing; it’s contract work, but she loves it, and it was wonderful to see her in work garb, heading off with a bright smile. And it was spiffy in excelsis deo to be back in the Dad-at-home mode again, even though today had an office interlude with three, count them three columns due. Also did a phoner with someone from Chicago Trib about blogs. Also ran downstairs to the photo studio to take pictures for the State Fair booth; I wince in advance, since I’d forgotten I had to do the shoot. I wore shorts and a battered shirt. Ah well. Finished it all, gathered up the stuff and got Gnat, went grocery shopping. Great glee all around. Quite the day, all told - some other stuff happened I can’t discuss yet, but it’s Big. It’s television. It’ll probably flame out and take six careers with it. But right now it’s big. Stay tuned.

As for Uday and Qusay, now prone and perforated: huzzah. Tonight I turned on ABC evening news, waiting to see when they’d say “but”. You know what I mean. “the deaths of the sons could mean a crippling blow to the guerilla war that has pinned down American forces for weeks, but the administration still faces questions over its rationale for being here in the first place. Peter?” Nothing of the sort, though. I should have watched Fox; no doubt Shep was standing on the desk baying at the Kleigl lights and leading an Arsenio-era WoofWoofWoof! chant with the crew.

Well, that’s how I felt when I heard the news. Oddly enough, I instantly went into paranoid crank mode: oh, isn’t that convenient, they have all these scandals about manufactured evidence and SUDDENLY they find the guys. Yeah, right. I do this with every story, frankly: I conjure the counterspin. It helps you stay sane when you hear the argument put forth by people who believe it.

I’d go on about this, and on and on, but this DSL thing seems to have thrown a wrench into my home wireless network, so the luxury of sitting at the kitchen island typing into the night is no longer an option. At least for now. I have to quit, hit the main computer upstairs, upload this, download the column I have to tweak for tomorrow, and commence tweaking. This will leave me with 20 minutes for TV entertainment, and that will consist of a grim slice of “Hollywood Ending,” part of my Woody Allen Punishment week. In “Curse of the Jade Scorpion,” 65-year-old Woody had a 30+ girlfriend; in “Ending” his girlfriend is about 23. At this rate he will make a movie in 2009 in which he sleeps with a zygote; by 2012 he will make a movie in which he has sex with the actual DNA strands of a female embryo.

More tomorrow - promise. Helluva week. Much to do.

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