Just a few small blurbs collected over the years, authors unknown...
The Internet as an Information Superhighway
A highway hundreds of lanes wide, with pitfalls for potholes. Privately operated bridges and overpasses. No highway patrol, just a couple of rent-a-cops on bicycles with broken whistles. Five-hundred-member vigilante groups with nuclear weapons. A minimum of 237 on-ramps at every intersection. No signs. Wanna get to Ensenada? Holler out the window at a passing truck to ask directions. Ad hoc traffic laws: Some lanes would vote to make use by a single- occupant-vehicle a capital offense Monday through Friday between 7:00 and 9:00. Other lanes would shoot you without a trial for talking on a car phone.
AOL would be a giant diesel-smoking bus with hundreds of ebola victims on-board throwing dead wombats and rotten cabbage at the cars, most of which were assembled at home from kits. Some are built around 2.5 horsepower lawnmower engines and have a top speed of nine miles an hour. Others burn nitroglycerin and idle at 120.
No license plates. World War II bomber-nose-art instead: terrifying paintings of huge teeth or vampire eagles. Bumper-mounted machine guns. Flip somebody the finger on this highway and get a white phosphorus grenade up your tailpipe. Flatbed trucks cruise around with anti-aircraft missile batteries to shoot down the traffic helicopter. Little kids on tricycles with squirt guns filled with hydrochloric acid switch lanes without warning.
No off-ramps. None.
Weirdos roam the earth
Whenever I get a package of plain M&Ms, I make it my duty to continue the strength and robustness of the candy as a species. To this end, I hold M&M duels.
Taking two candies between my thumb and forefinger, I apply pressure, squeezing them together until one of them cracks and splinters. That is the "loser," and I eat the inferior one immediately. The winner gets to go another round.
I have found that, in general, the brown and red M&Ms are tougher, and the newer blue ones are genetically inferior. I have hypothesized that the blue M&Ms as a race cannot survive long in the intense theatre of competition that is the modern candy and snack-food world.
Occasionally I will get a mutation, a candy that is misshapen, or pointier, or flatter than the rest. Almost invariably this proves to be a weakness, but on very rare occasions it gives the candy extra strength. In this way, the species continues to adapt to its environment.
When I reach the end of the pack, I am left with one M&M, the strongest of the herd. Since it would make no sense to eat this one as well, I pack it neatly in an envelope and send it to M&M Mars, A Division of Mars, Inc., Hackettstown, NJ 17840-1503 U.S.A., along with a 3x5 card reading "Please use this M&M for breeding purposes."
This week they wrote back to thank me, and sent me a coupon for a free 1/2 pound bag of plain M&Ms. I consider this "grant money." I have set aside the weekend for a grand tournament. From a field of hundreds, we will discover the True Champion.
There can be only one.