Alt.column-boy.internet.junkie -- wave of the future

by Frank Rossi

I've been reluctant to do an Internet column. Yes, I know it's a great target for know-it-all satirists like me, but I figured, "Eh, this new-fangled widget won't go anywhere."

Strike one, two AND three. "Yoooou're outta here, column-boy!"

Yeah, yeah, so I blew it. `Net stocks like Netscape and Yahoo have gone through the roof. America Online is up to 5 million subscribers from about 2 million a year ago. Heck, ever try to get on Jetson late at night, surfers?

My favorite term in this new media arena is "Web master," obviously some techno-Jedi hot-shot who creates/maintains Web pages. Who needs the Force when you have hypertext markup language? "Use the hyperlinks, Luke!"

Then there's e-mail, an added daily chore. I didn't respond promptly to a friend of mine in McAllen who recently sent me a bunch of jokes and stuff, so I received a nasty note. I felt like 2 cents. Guess I had cyberguilt.

Banks have been trying to get into this `Net business with on-line banking. There'd actually be `Net money -- "cyberbucks" will probably be the term used in the eventual TV ads: "Hey, `Net surfers! Log into DigiBank now and get a free mouse pad with every 500 cyberbucks you deposit. It's RAM-tastic!"

Then there's this "Spam" thing. Being a vegetarian, I try to avoid meat in real space, and now I have to dodge it in the cyberworld. "Spamming" means sending junk mail to lots of newsgroups. I think anyone caught doing this should be forced to eat exactly one pound of Spam daily for a month.

And how about those newsgroups? My favorite has always been alt.wesley.crusher.die.die.die, since I'm a trekker. I think it still exists, and if it doesn't, it should. WESLEY CRUSHER MUST BE DESTROYED!

I was very disturbed to find alt.music.bee-gees right next to alt.music.beethoven on the newsgroup list. There must be some federal law to protect society from this.

Fortunately, alt.music.polkas popped out at me and soothed me.

I found alt.mcdonalds, but my cyberfries were missing something. Luckily, alt.ketchup was nearby.

And for those who think the Internet is mindless, check out alt.human-brain -- "Pinky, are you posting where I'm posting?"

Conspiracy buffs can bask in alt.freemasonry, while those who fear that Windows 95 is a plot to take over the world can enter alt.destroy.microsoft. And alt.fan.bill.gates is there for those who believe "resistance is futile."

I have a theory that alt.oj-simpson.gas.chamber and alt.oj-simpson.die.die.die are biased one way in the case, but I'm still mulling it over.

There's alt.alien.visitors, and I'll bet extraterrestrials use this newsgroup to slam X-Files' Mulder and Scully for not being able to hold onto any evidence of their existence. As my favorite T-shirt says, "Screw you, Earthlings!"

Rossi is an alumnus who wants his future Web page address to be: http://plan~9.from.cyberspace

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