Jewish World Review Jan. 21, 2004 / 27 Teves, 5764

David Grimes

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

It's a computer! No, it's a side dish! Skeptical? Look under the hood | In breaking news that could explain those infuriating error messages, a German man returned his computer because he said it was packed with small potatoes instead of computer parts.

I was skeptical of this story until I tried to make a copy of it on my computer and — for once in my life I am not making this up — the screen made an electronic belch (I'm guessing my personal computer is full of Budweiser rather than small potatoes) and said: "This page cannot be displayed."

Clearly, my computer did not want me to let the world (the "world," in this case, being those areas between Greater Parrish and Solana) know that PCs are full of immature Red Bliss potatoes which, unlike silicon chips, are wonderful when sliced, grilled and then tossed with olive oil and rosemary.

You have to wonder how long computer manufacturers thought they could get away with this. Clearly, companies like Gateway and Compaq (correctly) figured that the average computer user would be far too timid to pop open his computer and peer under the hood. After all, if your computer malfunctions simply by sitting down in front of it, imagine the havoc that would result from prodding its innards with a ballpoint pen. (The preferred tool of professional computer repairpersons is a stout, long-handled pair of barbecue tongs.)

A few years ago I purchased a computer that had previously been owned by Satan. None of the cords were long enough so I had to stretch them until they were as tight as harp strings. If a large truck passed within a mile of my house, the vibration would cause all of the wires to pop loose with a loud sproing, resulting in the tragic loss of much downloaded porn.

Donate to JWR

Even when connected, the computer showed signs of demonic possession. I could not scratch myself without the computer telling me I had performed an illegal operation and shutting down. Finally, in desperation (and you have to be truly desperate to do this), I called the toll-enhanced number for technical services, reaching, after about a $45 wait, a nice fellow by the name of Ahmad.

"Do you feel comfortable going in?" Ahmad asked me.

"Yes," I replied. "I feel very comfortable going into the living room and plopping down on the couch for a nice long nap."

"No," he said. "What I mean is do you feel comfortable going into your computer."

Again, I was not entirely sure what Ahmad meant. Did he mean go into my computer in a metaphysical sense? Perhaps attempt some sort of Spockian mind-meld with whatever dark forces inhabited it? Get in touch with my inner motherboard?

"I'm not sure ," I answered hesitantly.

"It's not hard," Ahmad said. "Get a screwdriver and I'll talk you through it."

(I flashed back to movies I had seen where the pilot dies while the plane is at 20,000 feet and one of the passengers — invariably the one with severe emotional problems — has no choice but to take the controls. "Just slowly push forward the red handle to your right," ground control would advise. The hapless replacement pilot, who forgot to pick up his Prozac prescription on the way to the airport, pushes a handle forward tentatively. Suddenly, the nose of the plane pitches violently earthward. The plane picks up speed. "No, you fool!" screams ground control. "Pull back! Pull back!" And then silence.)

This story ends rather anticlimactically with me clumsily trying to follow Ahmad's instructions until he finally lost patience or had to go to the bathroom (he didn't say) and I closed up the computer, which sits today in the garage, offering a high-tech home to the cockroaches.

So the point I'm trying to make — if I can remember correctly; it's been so long — is that a computer that is full of potatoes (shop for models containing French Fingerlings and/or Klondike Rose) could perform as well, if not better, than one stuffed with circuits, relays and wires.

Plus, Spudputers are loaded with vitamin C and potassium and they're a great way to annoy the heck out of people on the Atkins diet.

Appreciate this column? Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


01/07/04: Nursery rhymes to scare the kids by
12/30/03: Ear-scratcher fingered by police
12/24/03: Gifts for that not-so-special someone
12/18/03: Things we hate to do
12/09/03: Keep your name out of this book
12/03/03: When tots control the world
11/18/03: Danger: TVs falling from above
11/11/03: Songs that won't go away
11/04/03: Keep technology away from the monkeys
10/29/03: A career of sensational regrets
10/22/03: Ig Nobels reward weird science
10/16/03: TV golf needs a kick in the pants
10/08/03: That's geek to me
09/30/03: A man, a woman and a cat
09/22/03: A tale of two spams
09/16/03: Librarian action figure will be taking no guff
09/10/03: Slackers need to remain invisible
09/02/03: No fun in the summertime
08/26/03: The algebra of love
08/11/03: Journey to the center of the pavement cracks
08/06/03: Word dominance by U.S. appears a fait accompli
07/28/03: Ads that are hard to swallow
07/09/03: Keep cows out of the classroom
07/03/03: Little-appreciated facts about unshaven men
06/24/03: Brother, can you paradigm?
06/18/03: Cats, TV not a good mix
06/10/03: In defense of grumpiness
06/04/03: Do we really need keyboards in our Port-A-Johns?
05/29/03: Always a dull men's moment
05/21/03: Bad PC hygiene leads to bugs
05/12/03:Army mops up; Tony Blair doesn't
05/06/03: Grill a hamburger for PETA
05/01/03: Exams spice history
04/23/03: Too much money? Tax me more!
04/14/03: When good gourds go bad
04/11/03: One fish-tale that isn't --- and that's no lie!
04/02/03: Do you really want to know what your dog's thinking?
03/26/03: Pajamas make high school less stressful
03/21/03: It's time to be nice to the French
03/03/03: The ultimate clean and constructive sport
02/12/03: Get a bang out of cleaning with cruise vacuum
02/06/03: Voluntary kindness? Not likely
01/28/03: Signs our economy is on upswing
01/22/03: There may be cash in your old underwear
01/15/03: Banish these words, now more than ever
01/07/03: Coughing as an art form
12/24/02: Parents shell out for missed homework
12/17/02: French government says no to @ symbol
12/11/02: A latecomer joins fellowship of the DVD
12/02/02: Don't worry, be fat, unfit and really happy
11/18/02: Intrigued by a German invention that could get teens out of bed before the crack of noon
11/06/02: A noose by any other name ...
10/29/02: Iranian dogs on notice
10/22/02: Talk about a job that stinks --- literally!
10/15/02: The official world's funniest joke
10/02/02: Japanese turn eyes to computer haikus
09/27/02: Oh, no! Bosses want to know what's on your mind
09/24/02: An airbag, humanity's salvation?
09/06/02: Come listen to a story about a man named ... Bill
09/03/02: You're not in preschool anymore!
08/30/02: A charming idea from a brutal, whacked-out, megalomaniacal dictator-for-life
08/26/02: Blubber water? How to put on the pounds by gulping H20
08/21/02: The latest evidence that Mother Nature is out to kill us
08/13/02: Computers, airplanes and Canada don't mix
08/06/02: The sky's not falling? Dang it!
08/02/02: Some fond memories of worst TV shows
07/30/02: Pay my credit-card bill, please?
07/25/02: Something to celebrate
07/22/02: Baseball needs to ban the fans
07/16/02: Hasbro should consider new inaction figure
07/11/02: Decline in trash-talking is harming our mental health? Well, #@%&!
07/08/02 Americans retain right to fork tongues
07/01/02 These laws were made to be broken
06/18/02 Watching enough commercials?
06/03/02 Throwing your vote to the dogs
05/08/02 Hey, Mom, could you spare a dime?: Parents' obligations unending

© 2002, Sarasota Herald Tribune