EDITORIAL & LETTERS   

But I don't inhale! 

Planet Says: You Are Reading This Sentence!



IT'S NICE TO RE-TOOL MOTHER NATURE

 Hi, it's Bill Gates(tm) again. Now that I'm the World's Most Charitable Man, and no longer managing Microsoft on a day-to-day schedule (or so I claim), I've turned my attention to global-scale, yet non-Windows-related, problems. I believe the key issue facing all of us today is the exponentially rising number of extinctions in the animal kingdom, the insect kingdom, the plant kingdom, and even the Magic Kingdom, which has raised alarm among concerned scientists and hunters the world over. More species have disappeared in recent decades than perhaps at any other time in history, rivaling even the death of the dinosaurs and their fierce Cave-Men riders at the end of the Jurassic Park Era.

Most students of the Extinction Problem point to Personkind's destructive technologies as the prime cause of this spreading die-off. Critics charge that overpopulation, urbanization, genetic tinkering with foodstuffs (such as Monsanto's upcoming razor-sharp, parti-colored peas), as well as the Linux OS, have begun unraveling the very environment that keeps us all alive. They warn us that Mother Gaia is ill and unhappy, and about ready to sneeze us humans into a Nuclear Winter Age, where, no doubt, we will have to slave away in the transdimensional Flubber fields under the unblinking gaze of our inscrutable Alien Grey Lords. Personally, I expect to survive any Final Biodiversity Disaster just fine in my lava-proof, vacuum-sealed, Java-enabled Seattle Bio-Fortress -- whether it be an invasion of bug-eyed critters, a rain of meteorites, a deluge of water nymphos, or a horde of Mac fanatics.

But do not despair, for help is at hand. Microsoft, in conjunction with the Patentable-Genes Industry, has just announced an exciting solution to the pending collapse of the Earth's environment. In the spring of next year, assuming that the world hasn't already ended as a result of the Y2K Cock-Up, my giant software company and its partners will proudly debut The Microsoft Animal(tm) family of products.

Microsoft non-optioned engineers and geneticist temps, working under total secrecy, without sleep, and over four consecutive weekends, have reverse-engineered each major type of animal in each ecological stratum on Earth, averaged out the results, added the essence of life, and produced a single, simple, Sony-designed, and highly interactive animal for each bio-niche of our planet Earth. We really learned a lot from that talking Barney doll we developed.

The Animal series comprises one carnivore (the Dawg, a playful dog-like creature that just LOVES meat-flavored cheese), one herbivore (the Kow, which is basically the cow, but now even tastier), one bird (called the Spigeon, which poops out fish food), one fish (the SalTuna -- and the grillin's good!), and one insect (the Aint, which is a more streamlined ant that can actually be taken apart by kids and then put back together, without the Aint dying!). A few other niche Animals will be introduced later in the year, such as the Kat, and then over time as consumer demand requires. The Pet subcategory (including the Kat, but not the Dawg, which will be edible) has been outsourced to Sony, which will also provide various robotic dog- and cat-like talking creatures in an assortment of non-iMac colors and with various premium features, such as the ability to disable home intruders via electrical shock or to baby-sit children.

Of interest to investors, we believe, is that Microsoft has managed to achieve significant cost savings with these Animals, relative to the current, but hopelessly outmoded "naturally occurring" animals. Many interior elements have been commonized, so that, for example, the carnivore and herbivore models share interchangeable optical, neural, and cardio-vascular systems, despite their differing gastro-intestinal systems.

In addition, the larger Animals will be running a modified version of Windows 2000, so that they can also be used as remote Web-page terminals by hikers and hunters who need to check e-mail or track their favorite stocks. Just plug your palmtop or laptop into the Animal's USB-compliant buttjack. Smaller creatures will run Animal/User CE (An/uCE), a WinCE variant, which cannot yet directly handle e-mail but will sync with Microsoft Outlook (Win2000 and above only; no Mac version is currently planned). It's simply an embrace of Mother Nature and an extension of Microsoft's "Windows Everywhere" program.

Of course there will be some minor downsides to these improvements. For one, it will become a whole lot easier to get a degree in biology, especially with the coming "Certificates of BioloGee!" to be offered beginning next year through Microsoft University (our sympathy if you spent all that money on an old-fashioned Biology degree). And species extinctions are likely to escalate following the introduction of Microsoft Animals, which are pre-programmed to infiltrate, dominate, and "stabilize" their eco-niches. Yet the Company has taken all of this into account, and expects to have a whole new series of eco-products over the next couple of years to complete its patented and trademarked Microsoft Earth Environment Suite. For example, the Microsoft Tree(tm) (an oak hybrid that can produce a number of fruits at one time -- currently, coconuts, apples, and oranges; unfortunately, they all taste acorn-ish) is being beta-tested right now at various locations in Indonesia and Ohio.

So the future looks bright, at least for Microsoft, and we promise to keep you all enthralled with exciting new products through the coming months and years. In fact, our biggest new product introduction -- ever -- is only about a year away. No, it's not the final version of Windows 2000. It's all very hush-hush at this point, but we can tell you this much: Keep a telescopic eye peeled for Microsoft Planet(tm)!

Death to Butterflies!
Bill Gates

(As Told To: Andrew G. McCann
Human-Editor-Template Applicant
August 1999)


[Editor's Note: The following item was released just as we were going to print.]

MICROSOFT INTRODUCES WINDOWS SG -- ENTERS FOOD MARKET

Microsoft proudly announces that by the summer of 2000, hungry but budget-conscious consumers will be able to purchase Microsoft-branded food. Windows SG is a delicious new food product with all of the quality you've come to expect from the world's biggest software company!

Windows SG (trademark pending certain copyright issues and technology transfers) is a fully configurable protein paste made from ground-up corpses that can be made to taste, feel, and look like any kind of meat, fruit, vegetable, or snack. Yes, we all know that SG is people -- but delicious, char-broiled people! Juicy people who've been slathered with grilled onions, steeped in oil-based enamel paint for 15 minutes, irradiated, and "kwik-dipt" in liquid methane using a proprietary alien process! Mmm, mmm, no wonder the Reptilians eat us! So let's hear it for human-burgers with cheese (hey, you want Eyes with that Trachea?). Hey, maybe we still don't know what The Matrix is, but we sure do know a good idea when we smell one!


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Dear Editor:
Checked out the issue this morning and it looks very cool, as always. You know your mag has the slickest look of most of the mags out there, including the pros. I would call that dedication to what you like.

Take care,
Chris

Dear Editor:
In January 2000, the literature magazine "Mauvaise Graine", at http://www.multimania.com/mauvaisegraine/ will be publishing a special issue concerning the year 2000 and would like as many authors as possible, from anywhere in the world, to participate.

Thanks,
Walter Ruhlmann
mauvaisegraine@multimania.com

Dear Editor:
Thanks for the great science fiction mag. I just tried to catch up on the latest PM and it seems to be 404. So are all of the back issues. I hope this is just a temporary problem with the Web site.

Keith

[Editor's Note: It was.]

Dear Editor:
I can't get to any of the issues using the links provided. I was able to get to the directories, but most of the newer issue's directories were empty. The issues I was able to read had bad links throughout... mostly they looked like the links and the files were different cases. St. Croix

[Editor's Note: Surfing our "mirror" site at www.etext.org/Zines can be a bumpy ride. We recommend that visitors to Planet Magazine use the following URL only: http://www.planetmag.com]

Dear Editor:
I've got a Web site that I'm hoping you might find impressive enough to add to your "Sites We Like" page. It's at.... http://www.mervius.com ...and it's called Fantastica Daily. It's about science fiction, fantasy, and horror -- daily commentary, news, book & movie reviews, all presented with personality.

Thanks,
Mervius

Dear Editor:
Noticed your site and was very impressed. As a new publisher of printed SF novels (Spectrutek.com), we have established an online Web presence and are looking to expand our advertising. Good luck, and if you get a chance, please stop by for a visit at: http://www.spectrutek.com

R.A. Leigh

Dear Editor:
Greetings! I found your cool zine from http://www.sfsite.com/. We're a sci-fi, fantasy and alternative zine that is relatively new to the Web, but making a big waves in the industry. We were hoping you'd like to exchange links with Quantum Muse, http://www.quantummuse.com/ Check us out and see what you think!

Sincerely,
Becky -- QM's web goddess. :-)

Dear Editor:
Would you be interested in a link swap? Distractions Magazine -- http://distractions.cjb.net Garry

[Editor's Note: We are not updating our links at the moment; however, we thought the above sites were worth visiting, so we're publishing their letters.]

LETTERS TO OPERATING SYSTEMS

Dear Amiga:
As part of our effort to stock up for Y10K, please let your readers know that we will be holding an inventory-clearing "Millennium Madness Y2K-product clearance sale", beginning Jan. 1, 2000. This one-day sale will be your only chance to get huge discounts on Y2Ks-specific portable generators, wind-up radios and flashlights, Tupperware, gun racks, freeze-dried foods, collapsible water containers, pop-up anti-nuke shelters, and survivalist books and religious tracts. Of course, we still urge you to buy these products, now, at full price, since the world will be effectively ending at midnight on Dec. 31, 1999. And once it does, be sure to log in to the 'Net and surf on over to www.youwantcrazy-wegotcrazy.com!

N. Devon Erah

Dear Be:
Dr. Frankenstein here. I thank you for giving me the space to rectify the inaccurate portrayal of me and my Monster in those Hollywood movies. We were never feared or hated by the villagers. In fact, we were rather loved. For example, when the peasants were massed about the castle, it was not to attack us, as the filmmakers would have you believe. No, in fact, the villagers were merely delivering a large order we had placed for torches and pitchforks.

Regards,
Dr. Frankenstein

Dear CP/M:
Here's a tip for those of you regularly abducted by little men. One night, while being abducted for the umpteenth time, and, as usual, fighting them off, I discovered that I could pop their heads off! All you do is grab them by their scrawny necks, put your thumbnail under their chins, and flick your thumb upward. It's just like what I used to do with dandelions as a kid. And POP, off with their heads! You'll laugh as they run about your bedroom, arms flapping, while you play "Keep Away"! I can tell you one thing: they won't be so quick to visit you again at night!

Try it, you'll like it!
Abe "Duck" Tee

Dear DOS:
I just read the above letter and wanted to instantly respond, so thank you for the opportunity to be heard. I think that what's missing in the Abduction Debate is a simple attempt to put ourselves in the shoes (so to speak, since they apparently don't wear shoes) of the Grey Ones. Think about it. If you were an alien, wouldn't you abduct humans, too? I mean, what else would you do with your time? Fly around in endless circles in your little UFOs? I think not. I think you WOULD abduct humans and experiment on them. OK, so maybe you can't think of a good reason to abduct humans, but, honestly, could you, as an alien, think of a reason NOT to abduct humans? I rest my case.

Best,
A. Heumann

Dear EPOC:
I think you've gone to the well too many times with your running alien-abduction theme in these fake letters and in your even faker editorial. Maybe you should find something new to mock-but-secretly-believe-but-with-reservations (and no, I'm not actually the editor of Planet Magazine writing a note to himself -- I'm a genuine, concerned fictional character). By the way, have you ever noticed that the most hostile aliens of all are those flying luxury UFOs with vanity plates?

Hugh F. O'Pilot

Dear FilipinOS:
We just got back from DisneyWorld, where I learned all about Hidden Mickeys, which are those places in the theme park where the hidden image of Mickey Mouse can be discerned by the clever observer. Well, I just wanted to say that my husband has been making Hidden Mickeys every morning for years. Do those qualify? If so, who can I contact at Disney?

Thanks,
Sue Burban

Dear Linux:
I am a global explorer of many years seeking funding for my next big project: To plant the American flag on the West Pole! What a symbol that would be for the U.S. as it approaches the new Millennium. Just think, long after Byrd, Peary, Amundsen, and Santa Claus jointly discovered the North and South Poles of the Earth, the West Pole, in the heart of the most civilized nation in the world, remains undiscovered! Such a situation is intolerable, says I! So please, ask your readers to send funds to my headquarters -- "The West Pole Discovery Project, Route 1, The East Pole" -- so that I may buy a car and travel deep into the heart of the U.S. And yes, I'm the same explorer who discovered the East Pole, back in 1997 in honor of the transfer of Hong Kong back to China. As an incentive, those who contribute to this project will be eligible to personally participate as sherpas in my later journeys to discover the Northwest Pole, the Southeast Pole, and so on.

Bo "Gus" Clame

Dear Macintosh:
Psst, hay, meester tourist! Come here, in this alley, I hab souvenirs for sale. Ha! OK, thees ees a steeck-up. Gib me your money, and don' try notheen fancy, because my fren, Poncho, has you covered! Yes, that ees right, my fren Poncho is actually the very poncho you are wearing! So you are covered almost completely by heem! Thas good, now run along.

And Don' Look Back,
Char-Char Beenks

Dear PalmOS:
Given the large number of philosophy students among your readers, I would like to pose the following question: What happens when the Irresistible Bucket of Water meets the Eternal Flame? Return your essays to my desk by 2 p.m., Wednesday.

That Is All,
T. Chure

Dear Unix:
We've all received those e-mails detailing methods of making your own Star Wars name, such as: Method #1: 1. Take the first 3 letters of your first name 2. Add the first 2 letters of your last name. This is your first name. 3. Take the first 2 letters of your mother's maiden name 4. Add the first 3 letters of the city you were born. This is your last name Method #2: 1: Take the last three letters of your last name and reverse them. 2: Add the name of the first car you drove/owned 3: Insert the word "of" 4: Tack on the name of the last medication you took. Well, here is our proposed Method #3: 1: Take the last three letters of your last name and reverse them. 2: Take the first three letters of the NAME of the first car you drove/owned, and the first two letters of the MAKE; put them together 3: Insert the word "of" 4: Take the first three letters of the last medication you took, reverse them. 5: As a final step, burn all your possessions and call Starfleet Command, informing them of your new name and your immediate availability for passage on the next outward-bound, Enterprise-Class ship.

Presented as a Public Service,
(via subspace fax)
Nna Furfo of Tiv

Dear Windows:
I'm looking for someone to upgrade my home computer to Windows NT 4.0 for free. It's an Epson Equity I (8088/256K RAM/0MB HD/EGA monitor). Hang on... I've just double-checked, it's actually a Smith-Corona typewriter. Is that a problem?

Les Koole

Dear Editor:
Every woman I've ever loved has been unfaithful. They all end up talking about the same guy. Then I'm like: "Later." And I'm gone. Then these women call me, begging for an explanation -- like they really need or deserve one! Like I'd ever lower myself to give them an explanation. No way! How would you feel if all you ever hear from your girl is: "Oh, I love Hugh, I love Hugh!" And I'm thinking: "Who the hell's this Hugh guy? If they love Hugh so much, then they should just go and be with HIM!" But I don't say that -- I won't give them the pleasure -- I'm just outta there!

Dejectedly,
Earwacks "Bill" Dupp*

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