Getting Mom Onto Internet A Sisyphean Ordeal

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Issue 3822

Ted Nugent Talks That Way Even When Buying Socks

SAGINAW, MI—According to JC Penney men's-department sources, rocker Ted Nugent talks that way even when buying socks. "What color socks do I want? I want every damn color, plus a whole bunch of colors that don't even exist," Nugent told sales associate Jonathan Alexander. "Life is too short, man. Whether it's socks or shoes or whatever, you gotta bite into life like it's a great big ol' hunk of bison. Otherwise, you wake up and suddenly—poof—you're fat and old, and you never had any friggin' fun. And if you're not having fun, you may as well move to Iraq or Cuba or some other hellhole where there ain't no good times to be had." Nugent added that that's the way he sees it, and that if you don't like it, you can kiss his lily-white ass.

Line Cook Learns Leaving Restaurant Industry Not That Easy

SAN MARCOS, TX—Eric Weaver, a recently hired line cook at Cactus Jack's, is finding it extremely difficult to extricate himself from the restaurant industry, the 24-year-old aspiring musician said Monday. "Just when I think I've made a clean break, they pull me back in," said Weaver, who in April vowed never to work another restaurant position after quitting his dishwashing job at a local Denny's. "When the manager said, 'Welcome to the Cactus Jack's family,' it gave me icy chills."

Fixin's Added To Food Pyramid

WASHINGTON, DC—Updating the dietary guide to reflect current U.S. eating habits, the Department of Agriculture announced Monday that it has added a "fixin's" food group to the USDA Food Pyramid. "We recommend five to eight daily servings from the fixin's group, which includes such hearty sides as cole slaw, mashed potatoes, steak fries, baked beans, and mac 'n' cheese," Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said. "So go ahead and treat yourself to all the fixin's you want. They're not only free, they're recommended." Also falling within the fixin's group, Veneman said, are burger toppings, including fried onions, cheese sauce, and bacon-smothered mushrooms.

Guns Are Only Deadly If Used For Their Intended Purpose

As the president of Brothers In Arms U.S.A., the nation's third-largest gun-rights organization, I've heard all the arguments made by the anti-gun propagandists. And of the many misguided aspects of their anti-gun rhetoric, the most off-base is this bizarre notion that guns are inherently deadly. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is, guns are only deadly when used for their intended purpose.

Colonoscopy Offers Non-Fantastic Voyage Through Human Body

DOVER, DE—A routine colonoscopy at the Dover Family Clinic in no way evoked the Isaac Asimov novel Fantastic Voyage or its 1966 film adaptation, patient Ed Garrity reported Monday. "Man, this really isn't anything like the movie," said Garrity, 54, watching the interior of his large intestine on a video monitor. "This voyage is decidedly non-fantastic." Garrity was then instructed to roll over on his side by nurse Marge Klogert, who bears no resemblance to Raquel Welch.
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Getting Mom Onto Internet A Sisyphean Ordeal

ROCHESTER, MN—Karen Widmar, 33, who for the past two months has been trying to teach her 60-year-old mother how to use the Internet, called the endeavor "a Sisyphean ordeal" Monday.

Lillian Widmar attempts to e-mail her daughter.

"Jesus Christ, you have no idea," said Widmar after yet another unsuccessful lesson. "Every single thing I show her, no matter how simple, totally freaks her out. She's still afraid to click on pictures because she doesn't know where it's going to take her."

Widmar said she introduced her mother Lillian to the Internet at her request.

"It's funny, I was always trying to get her interested so I could e-mail her," Widmar said. "Then, one day, she called me up and said she was watching Today, and they had a guest on who made potatoes, and the recipe was online, and was that the same as the Internet? When I told her it was, she got really excited. Maybe I should've lied."

According to Widmar, the troubles began immediately.

"Trying to show her how to use the mouse took almost a week," Widmar said. "For some reason, she got it in her head that you had to hold the button down to make it move. Then, when I explained that the computer communicates over the telephone via her built-in modem, she kept asking where you hold the receiver. And she wouldn't stop calling the keyboard 'the typewriter.'"

Still more complications arose when Widmar tried to show her mother how to navigate a search engine.

"For practice, I logged onto Yahoo! and had her search for cheesecake recipes," Widmar said. "She got totally confused by the fact that we were searching within a web site for other web sites. She kept typing her keyword searches into the Internet Explorer address bar, not into the Yahoo! search bar. Then, when she accidentally typed 'cheesecake' into the Explorer box, it actually worked, because there happened to be a web site called that, so that just confused her even more."

After nearly a month, Lillian had finally gotten to the point where she could log onto a web site on her own. Almost every time, however, something unexpected would occur, causing her to panic and call her daughter for help.

Karen Widmar with her mother Lillian, who continues to struggle with Internet use.

"It could be almost anything," Widmar said. "She goes apeshit whenever a pop-up window comes up. And one time, she paged me because she got a message about accepting cookies. She was all freaked out because now she thought she was being charged for actual cookies."

Widmar said her mother still does not grasp the difference between the Internet and e-mail.

"Whenever she wants to send me an e-mail, she says she's going to Internet me," Widmar said. "I think that's because we use AOL, so she has to log onto the Internet to do her e-mailing. Then there's chat rooms, which she thinks is e-mail. I just pray she never finds out about message boards. That'll throw her whole world into a tailspin."

Despite knowing next to nothing about computers or the Internet, Lillian will frequently attempt to troubleshoot problems using new terms she had heard.

"Every time she hears a new word involving computers, she incorporates it into her questions," Widmar said. "Last time she called, she said she couldn't get her e-mail working and that there must be something wrong with her firewall. I tried to explain that she didn't have a firewall, so she said her Java must be broken."

Widmar said her mother is a fairly anxious person in general, and that her recent forays into Internet use have only exacerbated those tendencies. Among her mother's greatest fears, Widmar said, is that she will be the target of computer crime.

"Last week, she freaked out because she got a porn spam," Widmar said. "Now she thinks they're targeting her for stalking or kidnapping. She wouldn't go near her computer for four days. She was also convinced that because the computer could send photos, it was capable of taking photos of her, making her susceptible to murderers."

"Then there are the viruses," Widmar continued. "She said, 'I'm afraid to look at the Internet. What if my computer gets one of those diseases I read about in the paper?' I tried telling her that viruses can only be spread if you open attachments, and that she'd have nothing to worry about if she scanned attachments before opening them. She said she was afraid she'd forget or scan it wrong, and that 'the whole computer would break.'"

Even when Lillian does manage to successfully carry out a computer-related task, she fears she has done something wrong.

"I don't know if this is working," read one recent e-mail from Lillian to her daughter. "If you hear music when you read this letter, that's my fault."

"I have no idea what she meant by that," Widmar said. "'If I heard music'? I can only assume that her computer made some sort of sound when she opened some window, and she thought she was sending the sound. Whatever."

"I got an e-mail from her yesterday that seemed to be okay," Karen continued. "There was a picture of the family cat attached, so I was happy to see that she'd mastered the art of forwarding stuff. But then she accidentally sent me the exact same e-mail seven more times. Lord only knows what she'll fuck up tomorrow."