M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Thursday, October 16, 2003  

We Have a Winner

The search phrase contest is over. The winner is someone we’ll call B-Diddy, of Madison, Wisconsin, with the phrase "nightmarish ass fish revenge." She has chosen a fresh, crisp Velcrometer mousepad from the prize store, and she’ll receive it shortly after I get around to having it shipped. The additional prize of a link to the winner’s website does not apply here, as B-Diddy does not have one. If she was trying to railroad me into designing a site for her, she is destined for heartbreak.

I like Madison. I have a weakness for college towns in general, having gone to a college that’s in a town. For me, Madison is like the prototype of a college town. I’d like Madison better if turning left there didn’t require graduate-level geometry skills, but every town has its quirks.

For instance, on one visit to Madison, we were wandering up and down State Street when we noticed something going on at Peace Park (State Street. Peace Park. Makes us sound like characters from DC Comics). State Street, of course, is one of the two dozen or so streets that radiate from the State Capitol building like the spokes of an Escherian wheel. It’s lined with college-town establishments like used record stores, vintage clothing stores, ethnic restaurants, and so on. The storefronts are packed tightly together, except in one spot. This is Peace Park. At least, it’s the part of Peace Park that’s visible from the street. For all I know, it might open up into several acres of grassland behind the stores. Wouldn’t put it past Madison, with its sneaky dimensional anomalies.

So, anyway. Peace Park. On this particular late winter Saturday afternoon, a group of crypto-hippies have set up a table and are giving away food. They have signs that say “FREE FOOD.” Fairly clear meaning there. There is also a large sign that reads “FOOD NOT BOMBS.” This is less clear. Has there been a rash of bomb-swallowings in southeastern Wisconsin? Are they competing with another group of youngsters somewhere across town who are giving away bombs? And, if so, how to I get to Famine Park?

Trash and our friends (Chao and the Disqueen on this particular trip) wondered to each other what was going on. What did you have to do to get the free food? Sign up? Give your name and address? Prove financial need? And what were they getting out of it?

As it turns out, the food was the result of regular production surpluses at a local plant. Rather than dumping everything at the bottom of Lake Mendota, they gave the overage to the crypto-hippies to distribute from Peace Park. But we didn’t know that at the time. We just figured something was up.

This, of course, is ridiculous. At lunch across the street, I turned to my companions and said, “why must we assume that a good deed has bad motives? Why can we not give people the benefit of the doubt? These people are simply trying to improve other people’s lives, and that’s all there is to it.”

An aura of goodwill spread over the table, and our collective faith in humanity was shored up. If you needed food, you took some food. It was that simple.

So after lunch, we went across the street, knocked down a few single moms and creaky pensioners, and crammed as much food as we could fit into the back of our Escalade. That night we had a warm feeling in our hearts, ands a dinner so huge that the leftovers nearly filled the hotel dumpster. Thanks, crypto-hippies.

Props are also due to DragonAttack, who a couple of weeks ago used the phrase "shaving cats for profit" and immediately disqualified herself to avoid any appearance of impropriety since we know each other and all. See? Classy!

Just because the contest is over doesn't mean I'm abandoning the feature, of course. Don't believe me? Read on!

Today’s best search phrase: “Importance of deserving your equipment and cleaning your weapon.” Google is no substitute for the Army, son. No matter what AltaVista tells you.

posted by M. Giant 3:28 PM 0 comments


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