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What Will they Think of Next?

Sort 259 reveals how to destroy Al Qaeda.

by Dear Jon
March 16, 2004

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Dear Jon, 

Coke II is not an urban legend.
Dear Coke II,
No kidding? I had been hoping it was just a bad dream, as were most of Coca-Cola’s® share-holders at the time. I hope you got past that first riposte (used frequently in “satire”) and read the rest of the article. I even brought up the Bill Cosby spin job.
To quote the postulate of Coca-Cola’s® marketing arm: “Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, baby.”

Dear Jon,

My wife and I are going to Florida for a week this spring - I like to plan a detailed itinerary, but my wife prefers a more spontaneous approach to sightseeing. How do we compromise?

- A. R.
Dear A.,
If you have to ask, you must still be newly-weds.
Your wife is more than willing to compromise. The compromise is that you will adopt her more spontaneous approach this time, and the NEXT time, she will allow for more detailed planning.  I need to be specific, however. The NEXT time is not your next trip or your next vacation together. What she means by NEXT time is, the NEXT time you go to Florida, in the spring, for a week.

Dear Jon,
What would you do to rid the world of Al Qaeda?
Tired of Terrorism
Dear Tired,
I don’t think we have exhausted all of our options yet. It boils down to one thing, though: Let’s develop a cheap alternative fuel that allows eight-cylinder engines to muscle their way to 60 miles per hour in five seconds flat, with french fry grease for lubricant.  I believe the engines already exist, it is simply a matter of certain oil companies and presidential administrations having a vision of the future. We would only need fossil fuel oil for our tires, and we easily produce that much ourselves.
Anyway, once those engines are on the market, announce the following:
1. No student visas will be issued to any foreigners from beyond the Western Hemisphere until no one in the world has been murdered by terrorism for one year.  After a grace period of 90 days, no new immigrants from beyond the Western Hemisphere will be permitted to enter and take up residency in the United States until no one has died from terrorism for a year.
2. The territorial integrity of Israel will be defended by the United States, against all aggressors, with non-discriminate pre-emptive nuclear force if necessary.  If Israel agrees, all American forces based abroad in the region will be re-stationed to bases within Israel. If Israel does not want us there, we will bring our sons and daughters back home.
3. The Government of the United States no longer has any interest or engagement outside the Western Hemispere with non-Democratic nations. All embassies in nations outside the Western Hemisphere, governed by dictatorship, will close.  All federal aid to foreign dictatorships will cease. American companies will trade with foreign dictatorships at their own risk.
4. All trade sanctions, embargoes, and barriers are lifted. Only, be prepared for all your ships and planes to be thoroughly searched on entry to American space. That’s not too much to ask.
5. We will not get involved in the internal conflicts of other nations, save humanitarian missions wherein we air-drop our surplus stores of Coke II®.
I am sure that this new posture would be perceived as isolationist and even inhumane. My answer to this criticism is: So it’s more humane to make war on defeated nations? It’s more humane to send our soldiers on house-to-house searches?  It’s more humane to deploy Guardsmen for longer than a year? Unilateral free trade doth not an isolationist make. Unilateral aggression is what makes isolation.

Dear Jon,
What will they think of next?
Dear Wondering,
Coke III?
Whatever they think of next, it will provide consumers something new that they always needed.  It will be rushed to market before its bugs have been eliminated. It will drop in price after about three years when it has saturated the market and new generations are more user-friendly.
Last week the Pentagon supported a race across the desert for robot cars.  These cars were not remote control, they were robots, theoretically guiding themselves with GPS systems. In a 150 mile race the car that got the furthest went about eight miles before stalling and the race had to be called off.  What this means is that a robot car drove itself for eight miles. Considering that the first airplane trip covered 150 feet and 12 seconds, we might have lived through an historic moment last week.
Building “smart” houses is not a fad that has caught on yet. However, it cannot be too far into the future. We have already seen, at trade-shows and on cable television, how commuters from their cars would be able to pass instructions to household appliances and central cooling systems. 
Also in the field of GPS,  a call-in radio station asked whether girl-friends would like to put monitoring chips in their boy-friends. This question is asked, of course, because the technology has already been used in household pets. Paranoid religious nuts are excited by the possibilities of GPS and embedded chips in humans, because that fits well with how they believe the world will end.  Personally, I would rather not be findable or even locatable at all times. Privacy is a precious component of human dignity.
This old-fashioned view of privacy, however, makes me a throw-back in a surging sea of technological progress. Eventually, thumbnails will be removed and replaced with surgically embedded voice-activated computers, with the monitors appearing where the nail used to be. Hopefully this will not happen until after robot cars have been perfected, or we will have a rash of accidents caused by people watching their thumbs instead of the road.
However, “talk to the hand” will take on a whole new meaning.

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