(Posted September 99)
a) search engines weren't so shite and
b) North America didn't exist.
This is not just because most of the computers are there, but because
everything that ever existed is the name of a place or person in America.
Do a search on Shakespeare:
'Here are the plans of the sewers for the town of Shakespeare, Idaho.'
'Winston Churchill: Chief Librarian of the town of Shithole, Kansas, 1935-1943.'
Or erect nipples:
'Eric T. Nipples III, Mayor of Milwaukee.'
Or if it's not a place or a person, it's a bloody pet.
Look for Raymond Chandler.
'Here is a picture of my kitten, Chandler. (I'm a very big Friends fan!!!) My boyfriend, Raymond...' Fuck off.
Pet owners of a literary bent are a particular bane.
'Here's a photo of my rabbit, Ford Madox Ford. He's very sleepy at the moment!!' I hope he dies and you can't sell the hutch.
I swear these silly tarts name their wretched beasts just to thwart me.
'Here is my gerbil, Gross Domestic Product of Brazil.'
'Here is my puppy, Firm Tawny Jugs.'
And damn you, Alta Vista, for that shameless lie:
'Ask me a question. Example: "What name did Achilles assume when he hid himself among the women?"'
A good question. Against my better judgement, I will ask it.
'Here is what I have found for you: Here is a picture of my tortoise, Achilles. Richard Assume, U.S. Congressman. When, Alaska, population 325. Women women naked whores XXX shaved mules cum throb dong. Ignored the rest.' May rats gnaw at your innards, you worthless son of a ZX81 and a slide rule.
Search engine spell-checkers are both patronizing and uninformed.
John Kennedy Toole. 'Did you mean John Kennedy's tool? Try the Smithsonian Institution.'
The proliferation of fan-sites on various topics also hampers searches for the student of literature. Try looking for Chekov, Scott, or the Robert Ruark novel Black Uhura. We have found 200,000,000 sites for you, half of them in Klingon.
Likewise researching 'Bilbao' or 'Golem' is guaranteed to land you in the midst of unproofread Lord of the Rings sites.
And searching for any Slavic name results in your being inundated with offers of Russian brides.
'Natasha Turgenev. Interested in corresponding with Western men with a view to getting the hell out of Dodge. Can bring a dowry of seven potatoes and half a kilo of weapons-grade plutonium.'
'Valeria Oblomov. 38-24-37. Turn-ons: Western passports. Turn-offs: food queues, hyperinflation, kleptocracy. Hobbies: sex, exotic underwear, looking like Irina out of Gorky Park, baking nice cakes for her lord and master in between bouts of sex. Fully prepared to live in the bedroom of an unemployed loser who lives with his parents.'
Which reminds me, I have to get to the airport.