June 03, 2004

Road Runner, Meet “Slowpoke” Rodriguez

Road Runner, Meet “Slowpoke” Rodriguez

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have recently received a number of e-mails from correspondents wondering why our humble “weblog” looks so, well, humble. And, indeed, unlike the fancier “web-pages” one encounters these days, our journal seems about as up-to-date as “Members Only” jackets. Which, last we checked, have been purchasable by non-members.

Before we, like the beacons of journalist integrity at The New York Times, begin a festival of self-flagellation, however, let us attempt to explain why our “weblog,” which surely reads like the work of a young Marcel Proust (or at least Marcel Dionne), is displayed on a “web-site” that has all the eye-catching appeal of a Damien Hirst original.

First, a little background history. The generous financial backers of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” who flipped the bill for our cushy offices, lavish 401K plans, and other exigencies, have proved a bit parsimonious in the technology department. In fact, after they paid our outrageous salaries, they had precisely enough money left over to purchase a site with a prestigious “blogspot.com” address. And, as has long been pointed out to us, “blogspot.com” is the Internet equivalent of downtown Detroit.

In addition to their “website” stinginess, our goodly financial backers did not lavish us with top-of-the-line computer facilities. In fact, this very posting is being written on a single Tandy TRS-80. And we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are on such a shoestring budget that we are compelled to share our “space bar” with a few other Internet outfits.

So, though our site is surely the envy of budding literati, we possess the computer equivalent of a 1983 Chevrolet Caprice Classic. Without air-conditioning. And no 8-Track.

But none of this is as irksome to us as our molasses-like Internet service. Whereas most devotees of the so-called World-Wide Web have fancy Internet access via providers with the catchy names of famous cartoon characters, our service is not so tony.

Oh, sure, you say, it can’t be that bad. But it is, dear reader; it is. The company that serves as our window to the Internet—let’s just call it “Slowpoke” Rodriguez—is uncommonly horrific. In fact, getting on-line often seems to be a “web” version of a Samuel Beckett play—without all those existentialist yuks.

For those readers skeptical of our claims, let us discuss our typical Internet routine. First, our rotary modem dials one of the squillion numbers that links to our web-provider. Most often, we do not get through to our service until about the umpteenth try. By this time, everything we have written is hopelessly out-of-date; to wit, we have scrapped sundry articles on the Eisenhower Administration that, once we finally got on the “web,” no longer seemed so timely.

Yet, once our connection to the Internet is assured, all our hours of waiting are not behind us. If we receive a call during the course of our “web-browsing,” our computers miraculously and ingeniously disconnect from the Internet, so that we can take that urgent ‘phone message from a telemarketer. It’s as if we were on-line simply to pass the time between calls about aluminum siding.

Even if our service is uninterrupted, there are numerous other e-hassles. Oftentimes, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” fecklessly attempt to read about the news of the day through CNN or Al-Jazeera. Inevitably, however, the “web-pages” in question get loaded more slowly than a roadie. As a result, we are left twiddling our collective thumbs whilst biding our time for the news.

So, dear reader, before you lambaste us for our “weblog”’s “Tron”-like good looks, think about how much time goes into this labor of love we call “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly.” Indeed, we, the crack staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are the few creatures left on God’s green earth who, when we say we’ll “CC” someone, are actually referring to the old-fashioned carbon copying. So quit carping and pass us the Wite-Out.

Posted at June 3, 2004 12:01 PM | TrackBack