Wednesday, November 20, 1996
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CEOs Churn Out Comdex 1.01a Upgrade, Overnight

Outskirts of Las Vegas, Nevada - (Nov. 20) - Despite a complete lack of interest and attendance by the trade-show-going public, the CEO's of America's leading hardware and software firms have decided the show must go on. With Jim Barksdale and Bill Gates taking the lead, a "drastically scaled down" COMDEX 1.01a was re-launched today in a 12-person, omni-gender, Porta-Potty on the outskirts of Las Vegas, Nevada.

In the keynote address, Netscape CEO or whatever, Jim Barksdale, stood up on a paper-lined toilet seat and said, "If we can just get through the next 30 or 40 years of public disinterest, I think the convergent multi-media 500 channel universal PCTVphone-salad-shooter settop hybrid will be found in every home."

As the other 11 CEO's applauded wildly, Barksdale waxed momentarily poetic over the survival of his fledgling industry.

"La cigale, ayant chantee
tout l'ete,
se trouva forte depourvue,
quand la Bise fut venue.

Pas un seul petit morceau,
de mouche ou de vermisseau.
Elle alla crier famine,
chez la fourmi, sa voisine.

La priant de lui preter,
'Quelque grain pour subsister,
jusqu'a la saison nouvelle.
he said.

When asked by Oracle CEO, Rebecca Kramer, if he was analogizing "la cigale" to the high flying computer industry CEOs, and "la fourmi" to the unwashed masses who must silently scarf up whatever turds the hi-tech industry chooses to issue, Barksdale confessed, "I have no fucking idea what I just said. It's just the only poem I know by heart, so I use it whenever I wanna' wax poetic."

However, when pressed further by Kramer, Barksdale admitted that he also knew Hamlet's soliloquy by heart, but that "There's just something about being stuffed in a Porta-Potty with a dozen industry CEOs, that makes you wanna' wax poetic, you know, en Francais."

Bill Gates, however, though supportive, expressed some disagreement with at least some of Barksdale's contentions.

"We have these amazing tools," he began, all excited, "Or, at least, I do." Then he got all embarrassed and sat down.

Scott McNealy, of Chapter 7 Micro, then took the, uhh, podium and announced that, "Like leisure suits, the Macarena and Suck -- the Network Computer is history -- replaced overnight by the Kraftwerk Computer." He then flipped a switch on a small handheld device and it began singing, "Bahn, Bahn, Bahn, die Autobahn..."

When the resounding applause died down, McNealy admitted it was just something he threw together in his hotel room last night, in between parties, hookers, and gambling. "But what more does an end-user want or need, anyway?" he asked.

Larry Ellison quickly took the floor to announce that, "McNealy's Kraftwerk Computer is OK, I guess -- but, in the last few minutes, I've developed the Einsturzende Neubauten Computer, and the ENC kicks the shit out of the KC!"

He flipped a switch on a handheld device and all attendant CEO's immediately fell into the whiny angst-ridden chainsaw EN 'Armenia' groove.

"And it comes with a built-in Plutonium-driven browser that can run for up to 12 hours on the droppings of failed Russian space missions, alone," Ellison added, almost as an afterthought.

Then he promised "Java stability improvements -- within the next 10-20 year time-frame," and sat down.

Intel CEO, Andy Grove, got up and started rehashing his keynote address about how it was a "war of the eyeballs" between the PC and the TV. Then, to illustrate his point, he jammed his forehead against McNealy's forehead and eyeball-wrestled him, till McNealy's eyeball took a 3-count.

"And we're gonna need evangelists," Grove said, once the two men had disengaged, "Who can go up to each and every member of the mass viewing audience and physically wrestle their very eyeballs away from them, as I just did to Scotty." And he spit out Scotty's eyeball and gave it back.

As this first session of the all new Comdex 1.01a was about to end, a representative of the cable TV industry wandered into the Porta-Potty by, err, accident, and immediately cut a deal, in principle, that would have his industry slow down the rate of TV transmission to closely approximate modem-grade transmission speeds, in order to level the playing field and give the fledging online industry a fair chance of competing with TV, for the eyeballs of the mass audience.

"Speaking of eyeballs..." said Andy Grove, CEO of Intel, jumping off his potty. And the convention was adjourned for the day, with Bill Gates giving the closing benediction: "We're just humble men, providing tools that empower people to do their best, amen."


Copyright (c) 1996 by C3F