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 right next to on the newsgroup list. There must be some federal law to protect society from this.

Fortunately, popped out at me and soothed me.

I found, 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 And 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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