NOTES FROM THE FIELD: America rats out Bill, smell and swell phones

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: America rats out Bill, smell and swell phones


Yahoo published the results of its Internet deprivation study recently, and I can't say I'm surprised. Subjects who had their Net connections shut off for two weeks became disoriented and unable to look up phone numbers or read a map without a browser in front of them. Me, I can't live without the Net for two minutes, let alone two weeks. I'd have to check into the Betty Ford clinic for bandwidth dependency.

Tipped Over: Since I wrote that blurb about Bill Gates' tightwad tipping tendencies last month, Cringesters have shared heartwarming tales of the world's richest man trying to sneak into an NBA game without tickets or fumbling for a discount coupon in an ice cream shop. Each reader insists their best friend's sister's first cousin was a witness, despite the fact most of these rumours have caromed around the Net for decades.

It just shows how stories about Bill G. have become an essential part of American lore, like Elvis shooting his TV set or Richard Gere showing kindness to small animals.

Cell Phone or Bust: According to Reuters, Siemens Mobile in Germany is building a wireless handset that can analyse your breath and warn you if you've got halitosis. I guess you'd have to call that a smell phone. Meanwhile in Japan, an inventor claims to have developed a ring tone, named "rockmelon", that is alleged to enlarge the listener's mammary glands. OK, make that a swell phone.

The Hits Just Keep on Coming: American productivity ground to a halt last week as Cringe fans, in response to my call for geeky Dylan-style tunes, tossed hundreds of song titles in my general direction.

I understand this has now replaced downloading Paris Hilton videos as the office slacker activity of choice. To paraphrase Bobby D., "He who is not busy being bored is busy dying."

Hitting the Fan: Well I asked for the straight poop, and that's exactly what I got.

Following last week's column, reader Karen E. thoughtfully directed me to a website ( where she sells fake birds made from "hand selected ... carefully inspected" horse excrement. In some respects, not unlike this column.

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