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As PlanetOut turns, browsers get Oedipal

Sick of the winter blahs and saddled with a spare Michelin around my waist, I've done what every man coping with his pre-midlife crisis does: I joined a gym.

    Sick of the winter blahs and saddled with a spare Michelin around my waist, I've done what every man coping with his pre-midlife crisis does: I joined a gym. I'm unfit in the manner of kings. But in four weeks, the ads from the gym promise me, I'll be a gleaming, sinewy Dolph Lundgren knock-off. For now, I can clear rooms with the sight of my stomach crunches.

    "How long has it been since you had a date?" my physical trainer asked me as I soaked the Cyclone Cycle with sweat. "I'm not sure," I panted, annoyed that my state was so obvious. "Sometime during the Reagan administration. I recall something was being deregulated at the time." Can't anyone just work out anymore?

    Things aren't working out for troubled PlanetOut's president. The Web site for gays and lesbians has already booted two of its top dogs in a shakeup that followed moves to "sanitize" its offerings . Now, the PlanetOut president who backed the sanitizing, Jon Huggett, is rumored to be on his way out the door. The remaining PlanetOutlings are not reaching for their hankies, I hear.

    Some Juno users shed a tear or two last week when the freebie email service quietly yanked its toll-free 800 number dial-up access. Juno claims that it has replaced toll-free access with local dial-up points, but its points of presence aren't as widely available as the 800-number. Is Juno cutting back?

    Speaking of Greek gods, my physical trainer says he'll have me looking as svelte and seductive as Poseidon sans trident in a month. "But Greek gods are incredibly fat and lazy from sitting around Olympus all day," I protested. "Alright, Mr. Smarty Shorts, who do you want to look like?"

    Actually, I prefer to model myself after someone more tragic and down to earth, like Oedipus. That's the subject of a different conversation though. The "preview release" of Netscape Communicator isn't shy about its Oedipus Complex. Fire the browser up and stare closely at the Windows 95 taskbar. You should see the following messages: "Hi Mom!, Loading Preferences, Loading Bookmarks," and so on. Okay, so maybe that's not the stuff that Greek tragedies are made of after all. It was a slow week. What do you want from me? Email me some salacious scuttlebutt and delicious rumors right now.