Saturday, December 30, 2006

 
Sign Language
About an hour and a half ago, I had 118 emails in my Yahoo inbox today; 70some percent of which were either spam or stuff I'd rather not respond to immediately, like the bothersome ransom demands for my kidnapped son and overdue utility bills. The ones I wanted or needed to quickly answer, well, that's why I'm writing this rather than sitting and pacing and sitting and pacing and smoking and sitting and pacing while the Web here sl-l-l-ow-ly goes through its paces and not always with any guaranteed results. Of course, there's no guarantee that this missive will make it online at all or, if it does, any faster that my botched attempts at email. Nonetheless here goes.
There was an earthquake in Taiwan on Dec 27, which has severed and/or drastically slowed down most Internet traffic between Hong Kong, much of mainland China and the rest of the world. Apparently HK's Internet traffic depends primarily on undersea cables routed through Taiwan that were damaged in the quake and, to put it mildly, a lot of us are living in the 1980s or earlier at the moment. Internet cafes are vacant, some shuttered. Cell phone text messaging has tripled, Google is a distant memory and local sales of porn magazines have tripled in the wake of the Inernet fix.
JT, a latetwentysomething American pal o' mine whose professional and personal life pretty much revolves around the Internet and who can't recall a time before the Web was bemoaning cast back into the past state we're enduring now.
"I feel helpless," he said, between hurling drunken slurs at the HK bureaucrats on TV who'd been assuring the public that the situation was being resolved "at a steady pace."
"Can't work. Can't play. Just drink. And that gets old fast," he whined between his fourth or fifth Jack Daniels.
"Ever try a 'fax?'" I playfully suggested. "Invented shortly after the wheel, or maybe the 8-track. Hard to recall. I think I was hunting Mastodons with my new Clovis point flint spear that season. Either that or in my cave watching something new called 'color Tee-Vee...."
TJ snorted a little and then paused. "I have been thinking about writing a letter. Haven't done that since a 4th grade assignment. How much are stamps?"
Comments:
Justin,
I am happy that you have time to worry about the young. I often wonder out load what we did before e-mail.

Happy New Year adn here is to a much better 2007
 
Justin,

Did you receive my carrier pigeon? If not, ready your spyglass as the fire signals should cross the border and reach Sha Tin tonight!

As an extra precaution, I've been dutifully draining these bottles of Jamesons and hurling them into the Taiwan Strait. Some of them even have notes inside!
 
Great news. That'll give you plenty of time to do some shopping with C. I'm sure that'll cheer you up, eh?

Anyway, happy New Year when you get there. :-)
 
Happy New Year and may it be a Great One !

Fred
 
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