Friday, March 31, 2006

 

Wilbur

Great news! Readership of this blog has risen 300% in its first week!

Of course this may not sound so impressive when you consider that we are talking about three people -- my wife Jena, my lifelong friend Larry, and my 91-year-old mentor and former English professor, Fred.

Actually, I have a fourth regular reader. His name is Wilbur, and he's a spider.

Not a spider spider, but a computer spider. A computer spider is a special kind of program that roams the Internet day and night in search of new or changed content. Content, in this sense, is geek-speak for all the information that gets published on all web pages everywhere, including the text posts on this blog.

Wilbur works for Google. One of his jobs is to figure out what my blog is about and who is reading it, and why, so that he'll know what ads to display at the top of this page. The more relevant the ad, the more likely people are to respond. In general, Wilbur and his fellow spiders do their jobs exceedingly well. They have made billions for Google.

Apparently, however, I have been giving him a hard time. Initially, Wilbur decided that this was a blog for poop-obsessed, Bible-thumping cat lovers. The ads CATBOX CAT LITTER CABINET, TOILET TRAIN YOUR CAT, and ONLINE CAT OWNER BIBLE alternately announced the purpose of this blog.

Then Wilbur began to question himself. Maybe he had been taking this blog too literally. He went back and reread the postings. His suspicions were confirmed. This blog wasn't about cats at all. Friday morning, the ads WHY LOSE YOUR MEMORY? and STAY MENTALLY SHARP reflected Wilbur's reassessment. This blog was by and for people who were slipping rapidly into senility.

I printed a screen shot and took it up to breakfast. "Look guys," I announced, "I'm a moron!" The boys shrugged. What else was new? My wife snorted. "Well, they got that right."

Today, however, the ads are once again all about cat litter and toilet training. I don't know what happened. Perhaps Wilbur had another change of heart. Or perhaps the higher-ups at Google decided Wilbur was too close to his work and had lost his perspective. Regardless, I'm back to being the old poop-obsessed, cat-loving Bible-thumper I've always been. Pass the nutcracker, please.

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