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Worm in the Works

Crank Call


Published September 3, 2003 at 4:00 p.m.

Summer of pure, unadulterated, high-tech hell -- I salute you! God blast this machine, Toshiba, Bill Gates, Circuit City, Best Buy, Dell and every geek in town who won't work on weekends. All of them. Seven-hundred-fifty dollars down the drain trying to repair this piece of shit, $200 in extra software, untold hours of work gone by, not to mention happiness, serenity, convenience and my sweet disposition. And to think I wrote my first book with a pencil and paper! Sic transit gloria SUCKER!

How the hell did we get into this mess? "Superhighway," my ass. Working on a computer is like leaving Manhattan on a Friday, or, for that matter, driving in Burlington anytime: By the time you get where you're going, you're ready to cut your throat.

"Burlington!" the local daily chirps in a recent editorial -- "it's not about the car!" What is it about, then? Downtown supermarkets, where the first thing you notice when you walk in are tubs of saffron, "fresh artisanal breads," fancy floral arrangements and sandwiches for $6.95? Those will come in handy in the Old North End! "Progressives," my ass, etc.

Folks, don't kid yourselves -- it's about the car, just like it's about the computer. Mine, specifically, which at the moment -- thanks to the "Blaster" worm or "SoBig" or Osama Bin Laden -- will type most letters in lower case if I keep the "Caps Lock" on and hold down the shift key, some letters in upper case if I reverse this procedure, and no letters at all when it feels like napping. It has a ghost in it, or a poltergeist, that flashes the "Start" menu on and off, prompts me for passwords it never remembers and opens the "Accessibility" features for the blind and deaf whenever I hit the letter between "l" and "n."

Meantime, big layoffs at IBM -- I should think they'd lay them off! Why not, if this is the best they can do? The Republicans -- pack of bald-faced liars -- are trying to blame it on Dean but the massacre in Essex is only the beginning, according to my brother, who's worked at IBM for 22 years in Virginia and New York. The one thing this company hasn't been cutting is its profits: $1.7 billion, or 97 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2003, up from $56 million, or 3 cents per share, in the comparable period last year.

Such is the nature of "economic recovery" under the Busheviks. Happy Labor Day -- 2.7 million people out of work since The Idiot came to power and the fatheaded citizens of this dumb-ass land still can't see that the emperor doesn't have clothes.

On the contrary, the recession is over, the economy's in "turnaround," the "indicators" all are good! Your children might be starving and you don't have any teeth, but Dubya's down in Craw-ford "clearing brush," Laura's reviving the quail population by planting "native grasses," and that little stream they installed out back for the benefit of photographers is just teeming with happy fish -- none of them poisoned by mercury, oil, nuclear waste or human excrement. Yours will be for decades to come, once this crowd is through with its work. Paul Krugman writes in The New York Times:

"Over the last two years we've become accustomed to the pattern. Each time this administration comes up with another whopper, [its] partisan supporters -- a group that includes a large segment of the news media -- obediently insist that black is white and up is down. Meanwhile, the 'liberal' media report only that some people say that black is black and up is up."

It's like Howard Dean, whose "Sleepless Summer" and surge in the polls, welcome though they are, still won't allow him to call Pipsqueak a liar.

"When this president talks," says Dean, "sometimes the opposite of what he says is really the truth." Way to go, Howard, but you must have learned "sleepless" in med school. Snap even farther out of the mold, please, for all our sakes. It's the only way to win. Other-wise, we'll get generals -- ouch! -- Lieberman -- gasp! -- or Hillary Goddamn Clinton, none of whom belongs in the Oval Office, as Bill Clinton can tell you...

And would you look at that! The clock on my computer has just switched spontaneously from noon to 7:00 a.m. According my online calendar, it's February 14, 1785. Weren't we all afraid this would happen when the Millen-nium came? Me, I'm going fishing, having just discovered Tennessee Williams' final words, scrawled in ink on a notepad before he choked on that "childproof" bottle cap: "Knowledge -- Zzzzzp! Money -- Zzzzzp! -- Power! That's the cycle democracy is built on!"

Lucky stiff -- and he never had a username, either.

Speaking of Crank Call