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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Culture

1999 in rhyme

What did the year bring? Was it progress, or riches? Technologies, trials, Security glitches? So Skinny was summoned, to fearlessly peer, at this one-thousand-nine-hundred-ninety-ninth year.

'Twas the night before New Year's
And all through the Valley
There was joy for the Nasdaq's
One-millionth rally.

Some overpaid coders,
Swept under a rug,
Were tweaking a fix
For an over-hyped bug--

But knocking back bubbly
Was the more common task
And since Jeeves was passed out
There was no one to ask

What the past year had wrought--
Was it progress, or riches?
Technologies, trials,
Security glitches?

So Skinny was summoned
To fearlessly peer
At this one-thousand,
Nine-hundred ninety-ninth year,

Recount the events,
IPOs, acquisitions,
The foibles and scandals,
The Fed's inquisitions,

The outages, auctions,
Disgraces and freebies,
Enough nouveaus riches
To give you heebie-jeebies.

A year that was credited
Variously
For killing the desktop
But not free PCs,

For bringing down Microsoft
But not its stock,
For stunning the Valley
With house sticker-shock,

For merging the telcos
In one scary borg,
For humbling lizard
Mozilla.org.

The year started out
Well for tangerine-cravers
When iMacs were offered
In five fruity flavors.

But marketing munchies
Were tougher to hit
When they ran out of
Blueberry lickety-split.

And speaking of munchies
Web grocery trips
Brought stalled IPOs
Thanks to WebVan's loose lips.

But Shaheen was hardly
Alone in his shame,
For no-no's abounded
With many to blame--

But maybe the most red-faced
Witness of all
Was found telling Justice
"I do not recall."

By contrast, the year
Has brought plenty of heroes,
Like Bezos whose net worth
Has all of those zeroes--

Or Ballmer, Tim Koogle,
Bob Davis, Andreessen
Steve Jobs, John Doerr,
Jermoluk, Larry Eleeson

Steve Case, Ellen Hancock
Of Exodus fame
And Barksdale
Down, but not out all the same.

And Diller the wily one
Left at the altar
When Lycos's shareholders'
Faith 'gan to falter--

Rob Glaser, McNealy,
Leonsis
and Pittman,
George Soros
and Buffett
Frank Batten
and Whitman--

Meg Whitman, a woman
Of world renown
Whose eBay sold kidneys
Online (when not down).

And how about all of those
Zillionaires
Who owe their great fortunes
To Linus's wares?

But wealth isn't all
That there is to the Net--
Through needles' eyes camels
Are simpler to get

Than rich men to heaven,
And thus with good cheer
We declare that the man
Of the year is Mahir.