Sincerest Form of Flattery (5/22/00)

We just don't know. Many, many of you have written in to tell us about Mac The Knife's apparent reincarnation, but we can't help harboring a few doubts. The Knife, as you're probably aware, has been missing in action from his MacWEEK post lo these many moons, leading some to suggest that the edged implement had finally overdosed-- and others to wonder at the staggering amount of narcotic substance necessary to cause an overdose in that walking bundle of toxic tolerances. Suddenly, though, a remarkably Knife-like entity surfaced at MacEdition, though we still haven't made up our minds about his authenticity. We appear to be squarely in the minority with our second-guessing, but hey, that's us-- toss us a third-hand rumor about the Apple handheld and we're slobbering all over it, but show us an allegedly resurrected rumormonger in a new guise and suddenly we're Suspicious Aloysius. We're funny that way.

Oh, sure, at first glance the inaugural column by the "Naked Mole Rat" is more than a little familiar; even the title, "Careful With That Pickaxe, Eugene!" has the Knife written all over it. But it's almost a little too perfect, isn't it? The offhanded references to unconventional substance abuse (nitrous oxide and "mulled Sterno"), the incorporation of a Velvet Underground song ("Lady Godiva's Operation"), the predilection for nonsensical outbursts peppered with exclamation points ("Thank Hephaestus for the loose, comfortable fit of today's spelunking shorts!"), the baffling pop culture references complete with offsite links... it's all there. And we mean all there. In fact, it's too Knife to be Knife, if you know what we mean. It's as if someone built a Turing machine and spilled absinthe and cough syrup all over the keyboard. Heck, even the offer to send "a zaftig pink mole rat" to dirt-dishers (in place of the old Knife mug) sounds just a little too perfect. And what's with that email address? ""? Oh, please.

If this is the Knife, then his reincarnation lacks even what little subtlety he possessed at MacWEEK. If it isn't, then we give the imitator props for capturing the Knife's essence a little too well. (We suppose we could always ask, but where's the fun in that?) In any event, the Rat's got some dirt on the next PowerBook's polycarbonate chassis, its G4-or-700-MHz-G3 identity crisis, and what IBM's latest fling with embedded RISC processors might mean to Apple. So if he isn't the Knife, hey, who's complaining?

SceneLink (2309)
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The above scene was taken from the 5/22/00 episode:

May 22, 2000: The RDF breaks down in written form-- Mac OS X is delayed, no doubt about it. Meanwhile, Mac The Knife gets reincarnated as the Naked Mole Rat (maybe), and Microsoft tries a new and side-splittingly funny tack in its bid not to be broken up...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2308: Interests of Science (5/22/00)   Before the event, there was plenty of speculation as to why Apple broke with tradition this year and opted not to offer a public webcast of Steve's WWDC keynote address; after the event, most of us just assumed it was because there wasn't a whole lot of good news that Apple would have wanted to spread...

  • 2310: But You Promised! (5/22/00)   There are many joys to be derived from "Redmond Justice": the intense courtroom drama, the laughable antics of Microsoft's bumbling legal team, the bracing energy of Judge Jackson's foul temper... the list is endless...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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