Don’t Ask Me

August 25, 2000

Web gurus and other technophiles like to brag that the Internet will one day eliminate books, magazines, libraries, paper, and any form of writing utensil. In fact there are some who have even written books on the subject, which were then printed on paper. Go figure. Web gurus also claim that the Internet will eliminate, has eliminated, or is beginning to eliminate television. This explains the large number of web sites that are advertised on television, and the even larger number of web sites that are devoted to lonely people talking endlessly about their favorite television shows. In fact, the Internet is a little like television, but instead of having five-hundred channels and nothing to watch, you have an extraordinary number of web sites and nothing to read, watch, listen to, download, or use to crash your computer.

I’m not opposed to the Internet. It is an extraordinary source of information, but by the time you’ve filtered out the garbage to find what you were looking for, you might as well have gone to the library. I was pretty excited a few weeks ago, though, when I saw a web site advertised that proved to be the ultimate informational locus, a place where you could type in any question and an answer would be delivered to you immediately. (Depending on your Internet connection, "immediately" could mean immediately, or it could mean a couple of hours.) So I went there and typed in an innocuous query: "What is the greatest depth at which starfish have been found?" Several answers came back: "Click here to buy books about STARFISH HAVE BE! Click here for encyclopedia entries about STAR! Click here for encyclopedia entries about FISH! Click here for teaching resources about EN FOUND!" I tried to narrow my query: "I want information about starfish." The answers I got were even worse: "Click here for encyclopedia entries about INFORMATION AB!" When I typed in just "starfish" I was given links to starfish games, puzzles, children’s clothing, and about six dozen rock groups. So much for getting an answer. If you need me, I’ll be at the library.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.

Beer Philosophies

Buy a man a beer and he wastes an hour. Teach a man to brew and he wastes a lifetime."

"You can’t be a real country unless you have beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer." Frank Zappa

"Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." Ernest Hemmingway

"Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." Winston Churchill

"He was a wise man who invented beer." Plato

"Time is never wasted when you’re wasted all the time." Catherine Zandonella

"A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her." W.C. Fields

Lady Astor to Winston Churchill: "Sir, if you were my husband, I would poison your drink." Winston Churchill’s reply: "Madam, if you were my wife, I would drink it."

"Work is the curse of the drinking class." Oscar Wilde

"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading." Henny Youngman

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Benjamin Franklin

"If you ever reach total enlightenment while drinking beer, I bet it makes beer shoot out of your nose." Jack Handy

"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza." Dave Barry

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind." Humphrey Bogart

"People who drink "light beer" don’t like the taste of beer; they just like to pee a lot." Capital Brewery, Middleton, WI

"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer." Dave Barry

I drink to make other people interesting." George Jean Nathan

"They who drink beer will think beer." Washington Irving

"An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools." Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls

"You’re not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." Dean Martin

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