I need to take a moment and thank the folks at Time Warner for interrupting the column for two and a half hours this morning. It may still be out, for all I know — I finally gave up and drove to the nearest Starbucks. It’s not that wireless service goes down occasionally, but that the unfailingly polite technicians who answer when you call never just say “sorry, the service is out in your area.” Which would be fine. We all accept that machines don’t work perfectly 100% of the time.

Instead, they put you through the lower-level tech support paces, checking this and that and and generally wasting your time. On top of this they speak in chirpy little voices with exotic Third World accents that are all but impenetrable. Bring Samuel Johnson and Christopher Marlowe back from the dead and put them on the phone with these Time Warner bozos, and after five or ten minutes they’d curse you for giving them life again.