everywhere but here

The problem with reading the news online is that I never actually do it. I try. But the system fails me. Every time. Observe …

This morning I logged on to the Mercury News. I wanted to read about how Google is handling the security breach by the Chinese government – a very important issue in regards to national security, civil rights, and basic business etiquette. And I’m enthralled. For exactly two paragraphs. Then my eye scans to the right margin and sees ‘O’Brien.’

It’s the name of the columnist who wrote an article the Merc wants me to read next. But it makes me think about Conan O’Brien. And as much as I want to learn about how Google is going to move forward with its operations in China, I can’t stop thinking of the “I’m With Coco” poster by Mark Mitchell and Conan’s bright orange hair. Naturally I zipped over to NBC’s site to see how they are handling the developing Conan v. Leno brouhaha. Disappointed not to find an apology letter to the late night host on the homepage I scrolled to his page. Where I saw a blog post. That I didn’t read.

Instead, I focused on the writer’s name and thought, huh, what a neat job, I wonder how he got it? For some reason this remark tapped into my vault of Conan facts and I recalled that he is from Brookline. And this made me think about home home. So I went to the Tufts University web site. Where I got distracted by their tag cloud and wound up surfing the Tufts on YouTube page and found myself listening to the Beezelbubs singing their rendition of Umbrella.

Beaming with pride, this made me think of telling my boss how awesome the Tufts communications department is. So I did. And after bragging about my alma mater I went back to my desk where I sent an email into the ether telling someone at Tufts ‘thank you for being awesome.’ Then I closed the window to find myself back where I started, two paragraphs into reading about the very important Google in China issue.

But by then I was out of coffee, had ten minutes before a meeting, and had to choose: caffeine or knowledge? And I think you already know who won.  Unless something I said triggered an exodus from my site and you wound up everywhere but here.

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