The plan was for “The Net at Night,” the recurring feature loved by insomniacs and vampires where I take a look at after-hours Google Trends, to run the first week of every month. Last week my plan was to write “The Net at Night” while banging out 5,000 words for a cover story about steroids, but as the hours dragged on my brain started to shut down. So here we are, Wednesday morning, deadline day, with a large coffee from The Dunk and some weird whiny guitar music coming from someone’s speakers. Let’s judge the Internet.
Capello—First thought: We should get Italian for lunch. Is that racist? It’s OK, I’m half Italian. The query in question is a man named Fabio Capello, manager for the 2010 World Cup England national team. He’s in the news because of the Capello Index, a website that will rate players’ performances in the tourney using statistical analysis. Apparently people are upset about this. I get that—futbol is to England what every sport combined is to us—but why is this a big search in America? What, did the Gordon Brown-David Cameron changing of the guard remind everyone England exists? “Well, the Prime Minister is in the news; I better learn a thing or two about the UK! Let’s see: Revolutionary War, Simon Cowell, Fabio Capello…all set!”
Malamanteau—A volcano. No. A new type of jellyfish. No. Hawaiian for…something. No. We could do this all day because malamanteau isn’t a real world. I did some heavy sleuthing (read: clicking links) and found it was coined by Web comic XKCD to mock Wikipedia. The “word” was given an entry on Wikipedia but got taken down. Oh man, nice one Internet.
Big Ten—The Big Ten is a group of 11 colleges (clearly none offers a good math program) who compete in inter-conference sports games. It has schools with stupid mascots (Ohio State, Purdue), a school with nerds (Northwestern) and my alma mater, Penn State. The conference is looking to add teams. Two problems there: 1. There’s already a Big 12 conference, 2. Big 13 is unlucky. 3. The Big Ten sucks (I, too, am not good with numbers).
Karzai—Politics. Next. (Also, no inspiration for lunch.)
Aquino—Totally blindsided me—also politics. Next. (But Filipino food? Yes please.)
Across the Sea—I don’t know any Filipino places at all, let alone one near the office. But Benigno Aquino’s last name and this “Across the Sea” stuff got me hankering for something in another hemisphere, so Japanese it is. Anyway, Across the Sea is (*examines Google results*) OH GOD IT’S LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE OF LOST (which I have TiVoed but haven’t watched yet) DAMNIT GOOGLE!
Matt Lauer Affair—Matt Lauer seems like a good guy. He’s been on The Daily Show and Late Night with Conan O’Brien and 30 Rock. He gets up at God only knows what hour of the day to share screen time with Al Roker (“But he gets paid so much money!” Let’s see you get up at 3 a.m. every weekday, go on national TV and fake enthusiasm when interviewing a Girl Scout troop that raised a bunch of money or Tom Cruise at the peak of his Scientology BS). But c’mon, Matt—an affair puts you right in there with the dirtbags in the scroll at the bottom of your show. And there are rumors it was with Meredith Viera? I’m officially on Brian Williams’ team.
Giant Oarfish—The giant oarfish is the largest fish with bones, can grow to be 36 feet long (this one was 12), typically lives in deep waters and hasn’t had a documented capture in more than 130 years blah blah blah. Listen. I finished lunch hours ago and I have a hell of a metabolism. What I’m saying is, we should have had this thing for lunch. Twelve feet of flaky fish, fried up nice, on a toasted hoagie with some lettuce and tartar sauce? De-boned of course. My mouth is literally salivating right now.
Evangeline Lilly—Crap. She must have died on Lost last night, didn’t she? DAMNIT AGAIN GOOGLE!
Canadiens—“Canadiens” has been blowing up Google all day. I ignored it this morning, but eight hours later? FINE CANADA, WHAT IS IT? The Montreal Canadiens are having a Cinderella-like run in the playoffs? I have no idea what we’re talking aboot, and I have no idea if Canada has noteworthy cuisine. That giant oarfish sandwich would have lasted well through this column, though.
Women Food and God—“What are things that can make you question your beliefs and cause irrational behavior?” Haha, no, just the first one can do that. Women, Food and God is a book by Geneen Roth, and (I have no idea what pronoun to use here) appeared on Oprah to talk about it. I’ll walk and swim to Sweden to kill my own giant oarfish before I read a page of this book, but let’s analyze the title a little bit: I understand how women and food relate, but where does God come into play here? I’m guessing he helps the author keep (again with the pronoun) diet going, but really, who knows. Women seem to love fad diets; maybe this book endorses following Jesus’ eating regimen of a loaf of bread and wine every day.
CSCO—The stock symbol for Cisco Systems Inc., who reported a terrific third quarter but forecasted only 25 percent growth in the fourth. “What do you mean I have to settle for using the private helicopter six days per week? I have to take the Bugatti one day? Poppycock!” Hey fellas, stop worrying about 25 percent growth as a sign of bad things to come and instead implement some measures so a misplaced “B” doesn’t cause a 1,000-point spiral.
Lost Across the Sea—THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH MORE USEFUL A FEW HOURS AGO! JESUS IT’S LIKE GOOGLE IS TAUNTING ME.
Charice—She’s here: Justin Bieber with a vagina. That is assuming Justin Bieber isn’t a lesbian. There is an entire blog, “Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber,” that makes a pretty convincing argument. But Charice Pempengco may usurp that throne before the Bieb is even old enough to hit the DMV. She appeared on Oprah with Justin Bieber to launch her debut album. She’s 18 and Filipino and naturally adorable, but she does that really weird hand gesture when she sings. Mariah Carey does it intentionally and Whitney Houston does it when she stands up. You go girl
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And the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter as of 8:32 p.m.? “#myquestionis.” OK, my question is why do half of the tweets with the hashtag “#myquestionis” not have a question mark at the end? It’s only one character. Come on, people.