April 2010 Issue

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi


Just under the wire again.  Awesome.  Hey, your high school didn’t issue the yearbook in the first week of class, did it?  It took a while for April to sink in.

First up, thanks to all the folks who have generously contributed to my upkeep and the continued existence of this site.  Special super-duper thanks to S, J, and E for their ginormous generosity.  Your cats are in the mail.

I’ve been noodling around the internet for a long time, long enough that, when I started, the first thing I bought was a primer on Unix commands.  I think the reason I’ve managed to avoid a major disaster so far is my natural skepticism, which some people call paranoia, but you can call raspberry jam for all I care.  It works. Thanks to my deeply suspicious nature, I managed to use Windows computers for more than ten years and never caught a virus, trojan or spyware.  Yeah, I probably deleted a boatload of unopened hilarious and touching digital greeting cards from friends and relatives, but one must be strong.

Lately, however, I’ve felt a weird, inexplicable craving to join Facebook.  It comes on at strange times, often in the wee hours of the morning (which, for me, is nine or ten am), and manifests itself in a ravening desire to see what that kid from fourth grade has been up to for the past [mumble mumble] years.  I also know gazillions of people who have Facebook pages, and, since I’m famous for not answering email from them, being on the damn thing might make life easier.

But then I actually look at Facebook and it creeps me out.  The thought of being asked to “friend” people I barely know and may not actually … like … is bad enough.  The stress of just thinking about it makes me wish I drank.  Then there’s the distinct possibility that someone I “friend,” just to be nice, will turn out to have also “friended” the Pol Pot Fan Club or something similar.

But then I forget all that and just want to join and not be missing something.

Fortunately, about once a week for the past month, Facebook has stepped up to the plate and proven that I’m not the one missing something.  See also this.  And especially this.  And they’re not even good at being evil.  Long story short, these creeps are not your friends, and their promises are worthless.

But let’s look on the bright side of the net.  Futility Closet is always fun.  The Browser and Give Me Something to Read are good sources of things to, uh, read.  And Harper’s offers consistently good stuff.

The Journal of a Disappointed Man is fascinating.  The author, W. N. P. Barbellion, was an English diarist diagnosed, in 1915, with what is now known as multiple sclerosis.  The preface to the book (free to read at that first link) is by H.G. Wells.

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