...if truth is stranger than fiction:
One of the perils of writing satire is that you have to stick close enough to reality for your
parody to be almost believeable...yet still be warped enough that it's only almost.
That's harder to do when the would-be parodist is competing with all the companies and
marketing firms who keep coming up with products and ad campaigns that strain one's
belief-suspending powers even when they mean it for real.
So I shouldn't be so surprised at the number of queries I get based on pieces I'd written
that I'd thought were pretty clearly meant as humor. Even if the writing style and subject
matter didn't make it clear enough, the fact that it's labeled "Humor" on the top of the
page ought to suggest to most people that it shouldn't be taken too seriously.
The leading contender is still The Furbeowulf Project
[ http://www.trygve.com/furbeowulf.html ]
which last week was cited as a reference in a Brazilian article on reprogramming toys, and which still generates a steady
stream of inquiries from people with serious technical questions about cluster computing, and the occasional invitation to present
a paper on my research at national and international conferences.
...it's tempting. I'll be sure to get pictures if I go.
Second place goes to "The NBSP Virus"
[ http://www.trygve.com/doomsday.html ]
I do get letters from people who are horrified to discover that their own webpages--and even their email--has been
infected. It's not easy to decide what to say in response; I can tell them that it's a hoax...or I can tell them that the first
step in disinfecting their computers is to uninstall Frontpage. Even if it weren't precisely honest, it'd be
for their own good anyway.
Friday, February 1st
Touch of the Torch:
In case you missed it, here's a clip from Michelle Grove's segment of the Olympic Torch relay through Denver: