Newsreader strikes blow for civilization: tells Australian idiot to "Take your glasses off and apologize." (Site basically SFW, but you never know.)




Explanation here.




Make sure you click on everyone.




When the government calls you in to ask what was in your mind when you published something, here’s how you respond.

Background and additional vidoes here. To paraphrase the 60s: the Interrogation will be televised.



Happyland. Thank you! Come again!



Imagine if a company with ties to the Bush administration ran a massive pyramid scheme based on powdered insect aphrodisiacs; imagine if the head of the company was sentenced to death when the company collapsed; imagine if they used, say, Larry the Cable Guy in their ads, and he vanished when the company went bankrupt. That’s this story. Since the actual scam occured in China, they used another beloved hick actor, Zhao Benshan. Here’s a trailer for one of his movies. Seems quite Western, no?









I had occasion to contact another customer service representative this morning, concerning a scanner made by HP. My first question should have been this: Who is responsible for this appalling website? Edward Gorey? Which horrible sixties poster books have your designers been studying?

I’d show you some screenshots, but apparently just looking at the site means I accept its terms of use, and that includes “Guidelines for linking to HP’s Websites.” One guideline: “A site that links to HP’s website should not contain content that could be construed as distasteful, offensive or controversial.”

These guys really have the internet figured out cold, don’t they. Anyway. I found my way to the right HP site, and couldn’t find my answer in any of the unhelpful help sections. I noticed that the “HP chat application does not support Mac Operating Systems.” I tried it anyway. Voila: a chat was underway in seconds.

Randy: Hello James.

Randy: Welcome to HP Total Care for All-in-One products. My name is Randy. How may I assist you, today?

James Lileks: Using a Mac Pro 2.8 Ghz Quad-core Intel processor. Running OS X 10.5.1. The C4280 Photosmart printer / scanner installer installer quits upon attempting to launch the setup assistant. It does not work with an intel-based Macbook Pro; it does work with a non-intel G5 and non-intel Macbook. Is there an issue with the software and OS 10.5 on Intel machines?

Randy: I understand that you are printer is not recognizing. Am I correct?


That’s a direct quote. After he guided me through a few simple steps, such as “making sure the house is connected to electrical wires” and “making sure I am not trying to scan by placing pictures on top of the box the scanner came in and making a whirring sound,” I asked again if there was a known issue with the configuration I mentioned. Whereupon:

Randy: HP only offers phone support for Macintosh environment. I am sure you understand our limitations.

I told him that I knew he didn’t set the policy, and I didn’t blame him for this, or the macro he was required to send, but that I would be johnnycorn-jibbered and hog-throttled if I understood their limitations. They’re fargin’ HP, and how they struck some sweet deal that put all their printers in Apple stores I don’t know, but if they’re going to put them in stores they’d best support them. I thanked him for his time and called the phone number. I couldn’t hear the tech. The call kept breaking up. It was like listening to a report from the other side of the galactic barrier. OUR SERVERS ARE HAVING TROUBLE AND WE CAN’T HEAR VERY WELL, the tech shouted.

Later I refined my search string, found a Mac site that addressed the issue in a forum, and solved the problem. Should have done that right away, but then I wouldn’t have had my “ technical support” post, which actually concerned my inability to write about Larry Craig and the ACLU. Oh, I could have fulminated, but it’s one of those issues where you really shouldn’t take a stand. If there’s anyone who believes that the right to privacy covers people who want to roger a stranger in an airport bathroom, they will not be convinced by a post that asserts the contrary. I know, I know, first they came for the wide-stance foot-tappers, and I said nothing, because I preferred not to have carnal interludes in a public metal coffin with some poor costive fellow grunting his way to a cerebral hemorrhage in the adjacent stall. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to protest.

Anyway. It probably surprised some of the buzzerati that I wrote a “technical support” post without mentioning the actual need for technical support; most posters were getting their comments or blog entries kicked out because the spam-trapping modules had suddenly decided that everyone was a spammer, based on a rather loose rule that included anyone who accessed the site using the internet. I fixed it later. And by “I fixed it” I mean I walked over to the online division, found the fellow who troubleshoots these things, and asked him to take a look at it. When I put up a post to announce it was all well, I noted that the anti-spam module had become self-aware in that Forbin-Project sense, and was controlling the site. I included a brief clip from the movie. Here’s another.

Guess who did the voice? Not that it matters, because it’s so heavily futzed with a vocoder, but it was Paul Frees, who did so many voice-overs for sci-fi movies, Disney narrations, and much more. Listen to it again, and you'll hear him.

He was speaking to Eric Braeden, I think – a fellow who followed this movie with an appearance on the Mary Tyler Moore show, the settled into a long and presumably profitable groove as Victor on “Young and the Restless.” Husband of Nikki, nemesis of Jack Abbott, eventual partner for Ashley after Nikki was out of the picture.

Or so I heard.

I never bought the whole Victor-Ashley thing. Hated it at the time, and not just because he was devoted to bring down the company she’d worked so hard to build. It just seemed like an arbitrary soap-opera throw-together, frankly. But that’s what they do.

Who was the Pat Benatar-type vixeny singer married to the private detective? Googling . . .

Man, that didn’t take long: Tracey Bregman as Lauren. (If you're partial to the Tia-Leoni / Jan Levinson model, she's up your alley.) Jeez: she’s still on the show.

Okay, laugh all you want, but it was 1984, I was working as a night-shift convenience store clerk, and Ashley and Lauren were very, very easy to look at. Plus, my underemployed friend Lisa and my Mom watched the show. My Mom had a bit of a crush on John Abbott, I think, and was disappointed when he got his eyes done. It seemed beneath him. He wasn’t the vain sort. 

KATHERINE CHANCELLOR IS STILL ALIVE? She had one bony veiny limb in the grave when I watched the show a quarter century ago.

Where was I? Right: The Forbin Project. Computers by Control Data, whose old HQ is just three blocks from my office. And so it all comes full circle.


New site today. Forgot all about it until an hour ago, so the debut’s a little shaky; had to whip up the graphics and text in haste. But I said I’d do it, so here it is: the start of a massive scanning project.

The 1973 Sears Fall and Winter Catalog. Let us begin. Enjoy, if that’s the right word, and I’ll see you all day at (It’s Lance Lawson Thursday, of course – now with morning and afternoon cartoons.)


(Oh - until I dump this mess of a redesign, I'm reduced to pathetic links like this one: yesterday's bleat.