You didn't need a telescope or a 24-hour news channel to know that last week meant weirdness. It all started with a lunar eclipse and went downhill from there, and the nuttiness probably won't come to a screeching halt until the new millennium. I don't even watch The X-Files, but the media juggernauts have figured out where the money is these days, and everyone's scrambling to cash in on American paranoia before the year 2000 clicks into place and makes us all feel safe again. Given our current obsession with faith, religion, and conspiracy, is it any wonder that "culture" starts with "cult"?
If Apple's message has been less than clear lately, it's not because of light pollution in the northwestern night sky. A large chunk of the public relations staff was shuttled off in a long, cigar-shaped UFO during the recent Hale-Bopp-inspired layoffs--over half, according to some of Those Who Remain, who then wondered, anonymously but aloud, if workloads will now be doubled.
It also ain't so mellow to be a fellow these days at Apple. Down in the Cupe, fellowship is bestowed for life upon individuals who have made exceedingly fabulous contributions to the technoworld. (The 20th anniversary Mac does not count.) According to one former Applite-for-life, the fellows are dropping like flies. Only the indefatigable Guy Kawasaki, who reportedly once advised a graduating high school class to "live off your parents as long as possible," and Mr. AppleTalk, Gusharan Sidhu, remain. Don Norman just resigned or got the boot, depending on who you talk to, two years after the former veep of the advanced technology group boasted that he was the "R" in Apple R&D. Was that a scarlet letter, Don?
This week of whack sees our subatmospheric voyage alight on PlanetOut, the gay and lesbian community site that recently lost major funding (not to mention its most respected editor) when misadventure capitalists Sequoia Capital Partners decided the site wasn't sanitized enough to attract big advertisers. Apparently, Sequoia is looking to earn back its rainbow flag by investing in another gay biz. One Skinformer who chills with the Planet daily says Sequoia is talking to Tzabaco, a mail-order clothing store whose catalog is filled with young strapping fellows much better dressed than the Apple fellows and endowed for life in a different way. Tzabaco is one of the companies PlanetOut wanted to feature in its online shopping section, according to the original PNO business plan. A quick check of Tzabaco.com doesn't show any goods hanging in the storefront yet.
FYI, Tzabaco gave back to the community in January with a $30,000 donation to Digital Queers, a foundation that works to get queer groups plugged in and online.
One more note: You can now go online to follow the excitement leading up to the TV episode where Ellen DeGeneres's sitcom character comes out of the closet. Go, girl! Thirty days and counting! In thirty days, I'll be safely on my way to Alpha Centauri 7 in my black sneaks. I'll also be checking my email and writing columns, of course, so keep sending those rumors.