Thursday, July 30, 2009

A O Hell

I'd like to take the people who do the 'news' programing for America On-Line (AOL) on a Caribbean cruise. It would be a reward, of sorts, for all of their hard work. Then I'd like to torpedo their ship, because that's what they do to me every day. They destroy my faith in humankind, and I start most mornings with a sinking feeling that we're all doomed, most of all me.

Why not get rid of AOL, Ian, instead of all this whining?

I've been a customer of AOL's for about thirteen years now and, truth be told, it's a real pain in the ass to get rid of a long established e-mail address and start anew. About two years ago I decided to get rid of AOL because I felt sick that I was paying for the abuse, so I called up A O Hell , prepared to give them their hasta la vista, baby moment. Rather than terminating my account, the AOL call centre fembot offered me AOL for free, and in three nanoseconds I was transformed into a Scottish whore, smelling something for free and pouncing on it. Their offer of a complementary customer appreciation haggis sealed the deal.

So I kept AOL and I'm still miserable, but at least I'm not paying for it. I feel like I know AOL well, in the manner that you might know a bad neighbour. I know their every move and, in fact, their behaviour has become predictably boring, though no less o-fence-ive.

This was the case with AOL's reportage of Michael Jackson's death. I was never a fan of Michael Jackson's, though I'd give him high praise as an entertainer. He did entertain, there can be no doubt. He also did some incredible stupid things, and I'm not talking just about the baby dangling which was just plain scary.

In Michael's defence, I do some pretty idiotic things from time to time, though the Julian dangle was never on my long list of personal follies. I'm blessed by not having a film crew watch my every move. It's little wonder the poor guy ODed. he must have lived a tormented life under the microscope of media scrutiny. Michael was never able to 'pee in the woods' like the rest of us, because there would have been a cameraman hiding in the bushes who undoubtedly would have sued him for $100 million because his camera vest got pee spattered. A deal would be reached out of court. The cameraman would be invited to ride the Ferris wheel at Neverland with Michael, Quincy Jones, Liz Taylor and Bubbles the chimp, then he'd be handed a bag with $50 million by Michael's lawyers and told to shut up.

When Michael Jackson died I made a prediction in my head. I forecast that AOL would praise MJ for about two days and then start slamming him. Guess what? They praised him for two days (roughly) with headlines like 'the king of pop is dead' or 'the world loses musical icon'. I made those headlines up, but that was the gist of it. Then, a few days later, AOL returned to form by, once again, becoming the king of poop. AOL are shit flingers of the first order; that's the best that I can say about them. They do little or nothing to make our world a better place in which to live. They are the worst of Jerry Springer, eTalk feat. Ben Mulroney, Entertainment Tonight, Rikki Lake and Fox News all rolled into one.

I've written to AOL more than once to let them know that they insult my intelligence regularly. They never reply. Clearly they're too busy digging up dirt and planting the seeds of misery. I wonder how their employees can go to work and spend their days harvesting and selling ill will. I've often dreamed of a news station that focused on the good things that happen in this world because there are enough stories of this nature that we should be tripping over them. Instead AOL likes to concentrate its efforts on telling us about the family of red-headed midget stepchildren who lived locked up in a kennel in their evil step-parent's basement for the better part of a decade. Good morning, sunshine!

The worst of AOL is that it offers me two programing choices for the news window that I can't get to go away permanently. Note: there is no option allowing me no news window. I can choose 'Line-up 1' which gives me 'Fun, Entertainment, Sports & News', or Line-up 2 which is 'News, Travel, Finance & Health'. It's like asking if I want to be dipped in jet fuel and burned at the stake or be coated in honey and thrown into the rabid bear cage. I like situations that are win-win, the best AOL can offer is lose-lose.

If you look at this morning's headline above (click on the image for more detail), you'll learn that there could possibly be such a thing as too much Megan. Blasphemy. It's just more Fox news that serves no purpose. I wonder where this story fits into my begrudging selection of Line-up 2. It's not Travel, Finance or Health, so I guess that it must be News.

I've just sent an e-mail to Megan Fox, suggesting that she might like to spend a week with me in the Caribbean. We could tour the islands of Tortola, St.Barths, Anguilla, St.Martin and Antigua. We could hang out on the beaches, swim with sea turtles and drink local rum. We could then pick up a couple of torpedoes at the local army-navy surplus store, rent a submarine and sink AOL once and for all.

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