Yes, folks, it's really us-- your friendly neighborhood AtAT staff, finally back after many years of war and strangely changed, thus prompting suspicion among the local populace as well as our own families about whether or not we're really who we claim to be. Actually, no, wait... that's Le Retour de Martin Guerre. Never mind. But actually, a month is darn close to forever in 'net time, so that's not to say that you patient and not-so-patient folks aren't allowed to voice concerns about the authenticity of our claimed identity, followed ever-so-quickly by the inevitable question, "Just where in bejeezus have you people been?!
Well, first off, you can rest assured that we are indeed the bona fide AtAT staff and not some cheezy stand-ins slapping together "in-the-style-of" episodes à la those ersatz Mac The Knife columns that MacWEEK trotted out after the authentic Gay Blade departed for greener pastures lo these many years past. As proof of our genuine we-ness, we offer the fact that we just used both "à la" and "lo" in the previous sentence-- a feat that, if attempted by lesser soap producers, would send those hapless souls into paroxysmal fits of stylistic convulsion, the poor bastards. And if that's not enough to convince you and push comes to shove, we suppose we'd also be willing to divulge certain bits of privileged information (such as the exact latitude and longitude of Steve Jobs's secret Batavian love nest) strictly for the purpose of verifying identity. For a hefty price, of course.
As for where we've been all this time, well, you know we departed for BabyTour 2002 on the 23rd of last month, right? And we were hoping to get started back up again shortly after meeting some AtAT fans at the Apple Store Mayfair grand opening (which went smashingly, by the way-- many thanks to those who turned up to say howdy) and then returning to the AtAT compound on Labor Day? Well, scout's honor, we were true to our word... but on September 3rd, disaster struck: as we were cruising around the 'net, probing for prospective plot twist material, we stumbled upon this landmine of an Apple press release and subsequently needed to spend the next three weeks in a trauma ward.
Okay, so maybe we're slightly more sensitive to Apple's on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again, and-dear-sweet-lord-now-it's-actually-ON-again relationship with Best Buy than most people. Still, though, we have to assume that anyone fanatical enough about the day-to-day workings of Apple Computer to want to tune into this sorry show is familiar with Apple's past retail dalliances with the dank and murky ickiness of the Big Yellow Price Tag. You will recall, of course, that Best Buy was sacked by Apple in 1998 for ineptness in selling Performas, viz., placing display models in remote, ill-lit corners behind piles of empty shipping cartons and then smashing them with large, blunt instruments before setting them on fire. And you also know that Best Buy came crawling back about nine months later to get in on that sweet, sweet iMac action-- and then crawled right back out again in 1999 when it revealed itself to be so completely and mind-numbingly incompetent that it couldn't even sell what at the time was the hottest-selling and most visible and talked-about computer on the planet.
So what does Apple do? Why, it gives Best Buy yet another chance to grow a brainstem and evolve past its apparent fundamental inability to move any product with an Apple logo on its packaging. The latest development is that Best Buy is now carrying iPods, and while that may make a whole lot more sense than trying to get them to sell Macs again (iPods are electronic appliances, not computers, and now there are Windows-compatible ones for Best Buy to sell alongside those s00per-kewl eMachines systems, d00d), you can understand how any press release from Apple that includes the phrase "thrilled to be working with Best Buy" might pop a few choice blood vessels in our braincases.
We're mostly recovered now, though, and we're easing back into production despite doctors' orders to avoid any unnecessary aggravation. Mostly at this point we're just hoping Apple doesn't announce a newly-reformed partnership with Sears before Tuesday night; we'd really hate to keel over dead before the Buffy season premiere.