>> Friday, May 18, 2012

I have learned something utterly appalling. Apparently, Iran is threatening to sue Google because Google Maps isn't labeling the Persian (a.k.a. Arabian) Gulf. This is a serious issue for Iran, as it presents a branding problem for the country: right now, their brand is associated with "Crazy Holocaust Deniers Who Want To Build An Atomic Bomb" (which confuses some Americans, at least, with another brand name: "Target"), when many Iranians would understandably prefer their brand be associated with "Forefront Of Western Civilization ca. The Year 1200 Or Thereabouts".

But it's an even more serious issue for me. I'll be honest: I depend on Google a lot. Google hosts Standing On The Shoulders Of Giant Midgets, Google is my primary search engine, Google is how I get directions, Google's Android operating system runs my smartphone (thus I get a lot of my computing tools and entertainment from Google Play), Google owns YouTube--it's just a really long list, and whenever I come across a deficiency in Google, it's really kind of an existential threat to me. What will I do? I panic, I freak out, I get the flop sweat and have to change my shirt (and sometimes my pants), it's just awful.

So I find it distressing, see, that there are unlabeled locations on Google Maps.

You know, like this one:

Oh yeah, I know what you're thinking: "What's the big deal about that?" Exactly! I don't know! I have no idea! It isn't labeled! I mean, the Persian (or Arabian, whatever) Gulf--that's pretty obvious on a map even if it isn't labeled, it's hard to miss and if you don't know where it is, you can always do a Google search for it, blam, there it is. It's famous and everything. And, y'know, if you actually happen to be in Iran, you can pretty much start walking west, and when your knees get wet, congratulations, you just found the Persian Gulf.

But that map up there--what is it? Gods only know. No, wait, they don't, they don't know at all: it isn't labeled.

This leaves me angry and insecure, and ready to sue. I'm coming after you, Google, with lawyers and what I like to call my "angry face" though I sometimes worry it doesn't convey that message, as I suspect it probably looks a lot like my "constipated face". But we need to stay on task here--this isn't about my face, it's about Google, and about that square mile of trees, grass and... and brown stuff. Well, tan, kind of. Straw-colored? Doesn't matter!

What matters, Google, if you're reading this (and you must be, because it's posted to your servers), is: I'm going to sue you unless you label the above square mile of stuff "Larry".

Why Larry? I don't know. It just came to me. It's a good name. It could be short for Lawrence, I guess, though there's already lots of places called "Lawrence" and I'm not sure if there are any called "Larry". Anyway, that patch of stuff looks like a Larry, or I think it does, anyway, and this is my hypothetical threatened lawsuit so we go with whatever I have to say about it. Larry, dammit.

I mean, see--how hard is that? Does that hurt so much? Does that cause massive systemwide failures in the Google Maps mainframes, the reel-to-reel tapes snapping while the ginormous machines with their flashing lights and beeping and clicking doowhatsits spit out stacks of punch cards and a loud electroncized voice barks, "ERROR! ERROR! ERROR!" Probably not. I'm pretty sure one of your Google Nerds could get that coded onto a colored square and stuck in a slot in only a few hours and we wouldn't have a problem anymore, now would we?

Okay, okay, okay: I think I know what you're thinking. Now you're thinking that this is some kind of slippery slope, and if Google gives in to my perfectly reasonable demands, it will only open the floodgates to lots of people demanding that various unlabeled patches of the Earth get named "Bob", "Steve", "Mary Ellen Bowdinski", "Murfleglopolis", etc. Don't be silly. I'll get bored sometime. There is absolutely an upper limit on how many featureless square miles I'll gripe about that anonymity of, and most of the other people on the Internet have an even shorter attention span than I do. So this is, at most, an issue Google will have to deal with for a coupla weeks, tops, unless it somehow catches on the way pictures of cats with misspelled and grammatically-dubious captions have caught on, and I think that's different, just because, you know, who doesn't like pictures of cats? (Besides Hitler, I mean. Boy howdy, last thing you wanted to do was send that dude an e-mail of a kitten stuck inside a brown paper lunchbag with a sad expression on his fuzzy little face and "U LIED- R NO SAMMICHES HERE!!!" written over the image in Comic Sans--just ask Poland.)

So, Google, get on it. Clock's ticking.

Tick, tick, tick.


Nick from the O.C.,  Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 11:38:00 AM EDT  

Obviously, in order for Google to pursue its long-term goal of world domination, it needed to agree to certain "national security" matters--including omitting pictures/descriptions of certain domestic and international sites. For example, the area that you would have Google label as "Larry" is most certainly not labeled as "Larry" in NSA Server A4X69Z located in Level 23 of the Fort Meade complex.

It is, in fact, identified as "Area Larry."

Your attempt to penetrate National Security matters has been noted by Google and reported to the appropriate authorities.

Congratulations, you are now officially a "Person of Interest" and I expect your name will be added to the No Fly List very soon.

In the meantime, you might want to consider listening for the sounds of black helicopters....

Eric Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 12:31:00 PM EDT  

I wonder if TSA still makes you go through the whole circus if you show up at the airport in assless chaps, a leather vest and mask, carrying a bag of breath mints and a 32 oz. bottle of hand lotion? Or do they just handwave you on through while trying not to make eye contact?

"Man. Dude. That one was just way too into it."

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