Jewish World Review Oct. 2, 2002 / 26 Tishrei, 5763

David Grimes

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Consumer Reports

Japanese turn eyes to computer haikus | The Japanese are the masters of haiku, the Zen verse form that consists of three lines of five syllables, seven syllables and five syllables.

The beauty of the haiku is that, when done right, it communicates a timeless message, using an extreme economy of words to achieve a wistful and/or powerful insight.

The more ancient Japanese haikus deal with cherry blossoms and snow-covered peaks and the like, but this is the computer age, so it was only a matter of time before the Japanese turned their poetic attention to these infernal machines.

I received an e-mail recently from Miriam Fulgencio showing how a computer error message might read if it were expressed in haiku. You must agree that all are an improvement over "your computer has performed an illegal operation."

Program aborting: Close all that you have worked on. You ask far too much. Your file was so big. It might be very useful. But now it is gone. Yesterday it worked. Today it is not working. Windows is like that. Stay the patient course.

Of little worth is your ire.

The network is down.

The subject of computers is, of course, far deeper and far more dispiriting than simple error messages. Here are some of my own haikus on the topic:

The gray box beckons But there is evil within. Better go with nap. Why call it a mouse? Mice do not hurt my wrists so. It must be carpal. I have AOL. Sometimes I can read my mail And sometimes I can't. So many Web sites. It is indeed a marvel.

Too bad it's all porn.

I hate pop-up ads. The guy who invented these Should start running now. Spam is a good thing Mixed with eggs and served with toast. My computer burps. Goodbye, blue screen of Illegal operations. Hello, boat anchor. A storm is brewing

My screen flickers in the wind

Electrons hold hands. I am downloading. Glaciers move faster than this. Will I see the spring? Two computers now. At night, they come together And delete my files. Sorry, document. I have looked everywhere. I will miss your laugh.

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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© 2002, Sarasota Herald Tribune