05 February 2007

Google: A Love Letter

Awhile back I wrote a column about this small perversion of mine: I can't stand not knowing things. If an idea wanders across my brain, it MUST be attended to. Fortunately, this led to a career as a researcher, writer, and editor. Unfortunately, it meant a huge amount of time spent sitting on the floor amid multiple volumes of encyclopedia, Bartlett's Quotations, and Oxford Companions, or even worse intermnable trips to the library breathing the air of the stacks or acquiring paper cuts from the card catalogue.

One of the nice things about being retired is that I now get to do all this wonderful scrounging around for myself to fill this space. Even better G o o g l e and the internet have been invented. Thanks to these two glorious developments in my senior years, my mania is much much easier to resolve. Previous years of learning how to develop search terms now stand me in good stead. So far this week, I've pulled out my trusty keyboard and mouse and aimed at that little search window to find wonderful little bends and twists of the pipes of the internets.

Historical Scandals
Animals of the Chinese Zodiac
Baseball History
Pancho Barnes

Now just for fun, I am exploring the sinking of the USS Maine, a great example of how to invade a sovereign nation, blame the victim, stir the American public to rampaging patriotism, kill a lot of people all while getting into a totally unnecessary war without really trying. Can't imagine why this crossed my mind while watching the latest Presidential budget request, but it did, so the urge to search has once more taken over the keyboard.

G o o g l e should come in handy if only because William Randolph Hearst sold newspapers that made it possible to buy San Simeon, and Mark Twain got a great story out of the event while the country got a a President named Teddy. The Spanish didn't have weapons of mass destruction either.


Linda said...

"Remember the Maine!"

Great story by Mr. Twain (who called Connecticut here home!) - I love his writing!

Jamie said...

The War Prayer is one of my favorites. Twain wasn't serious often and the satire in this one is about as sharp edged as it gets. He was totally opposed to the Spanish American War as blantant American jingoism.