There are people who have never seen Casablanca. (No, really.) They will miss this reference. But like the eager young Bulgarian couple (who will be in Captain Renault’s office ‘at eight,’ while he will be there ‘at ten’), we wait . . . . . and wait . . . . . . . . . . and wait.
Hollywood being Hollywood, the Bulgarians do ultimately get their exit visa, and (I would guess) make their way to America where they open a highly successful blini chain, send two kids to the University of Michigan, the younger of whom becomes a doctor, the older of whom gets swept up in alternative theater and aromatherapy (and comes up smelling like roses), but I digress.
But I have time to digress . . . I have years to digress . . . because if there is one thing we can count on from Borealis it is perpetually good news . . . but no actual well, er, sales.
If either or both these pieces work out over the next few years, as I continue to believe they may, we will ultimately be well rewarded for our patience. If not, then – writing down the entertainment value of it all to zero – we will have lost money we could truly afford to lose.
Many moons ago (well, 107, to be more or less exact, there being 29.53 days in your average lunar month and this having taken place July 9, 1999) I wrote about the Hungersite. Every time you clicked, you caused 3 cents to be donated to combat world hunger.
We’re all against world hunger, but at 3 cents a click (it was described as ‘a meal’ not as 3 cents) . . . well, not only could your time be better spent, the site could even be harmful if it led someone to think ‘he had done his bit’ by, say, contributing a meal to a hungry person every day of the year. Because all that effort would really have amounted to only ten bucks or so (365 x 3 cents), which would be on the low side of all but the skimpiest annual charitable budgets. Then again, the site may have raised awareness of the problem, and every little bit helps.
Now comes this iteration (new to me, anyway), freerice.com, with the twist that it’s a vocabulary game – and you cause 20 grains of rice to be contributed for every right answer.
Again, for people bright enough to know that fecundate means fertilize – and to guess that gorgonize (a word they’ve never heard of) is more likely to mean petrify than any of the other three choices – this cannot be a great use of their time.
Then again again, neither is web boggle such a good use of time. And if I had a nickel – or in this case if a hungry villager had 20 grains of rice – for every time I played web boggle, Mauritania would by now be a First World country.
(At freerice.com, I reached 320 grains of rice without error, but then guessed that ‘wapiti’ was a ‘seaslug’ when in fact, as any moose knows, it is an elk. At which point – two seconds ago – I quit playing. Bon appetit.)
PS: To say freerice.com may be of interest to high schoolers preparing for the SATs would be to the obvious as (a) obtuseness is to opacity; (b) honey is to bees; (c) honey is to bears; (d) batting practice is to ballplayers. The ads displayed while I was playing were for musical instruments. Who drives the purchase of musical instruments? Kids in the band! Something tells me there may never be a lot of ads on freerice.com for football helmets.