Saturday, November 24, 2007

Where the geeks have no shame

Two all-nighters in a row is nothing. It’s how Geldof, Clinton and I got Live 8 to happen. It’s rock and roll. And these Google kids I hooked up with yesterday — fucking brilliant. They care deeply about Africa. Plus they really get their freak on. I’m a 47-year-old married man, so I hung back from the action last night. But these Google kids roll like rock stars. You wouldn’t believe the party. We left Union Square mid-afternoon for a penthouse somewhere below Market Street, at least that’s where I think I am now. I tripped over three pair of trousers trying to find the bathroom this morning. Not that I’ve slept.

The Google kids are like Geldof and Clinton. All play and all work. At some point between a huge vegan take-out meal and the part where everyone’s clothes started flying off, we banged out a working solution for Africa. Their thinking went really fast, but I took notes on my red iPhone.

– Product Red great idea, but Red iPods not selling. Red sunglasses even worse.
– Need to find large consumer spending area amenable to 40% markup.
– Red branding should enhance the utility curve without marginalizing the consumer into a substitution function. Something like that, it was hard to keep up.

THE SOLUTION: (RED) Ads by Google

It’s what every advertiser wants: Google text ads, only bright red. They cost 40% more than regular Google ads, but the Google product guy says they’ll “bump clickthrough rates out of the dead zone and into the Red zone,” which puts advertisers into the black.

It’s not charity. (RED) Ads are more cost-effective for the advertisers and more welcome by consumers, because who doesn’t want to help distribute retroviral vaccine to Africa every time they click? Fucking brilliant.

The crazy thing about the Googlers is they don’t wait around. We piled into two cars and drove down the Valley to wherever their CEO lives, Mr. Eric Schmidt, to get his approval to run (RED) Ads right fucking now. Schmidt was having dinner with his wife or his girlfriend — sorry, I was too tired to remember and too embarrassed to ask again — plus some other Valley guys and a couple of journalists.

I sat next to Schmidt at the table and lobbied for (RED) Ads while the wine poured freely. I never touch the stuff, doctor’s orders, but I admire the way these kids can put it away. They were groping each other’s dates before dessert. Schmidt got a little tipsy and gave my leg a good feel, I think mistaking me for his wife or girlfriend on the other side. The journalists were totally cool about it: “Off the record, Eric, off the record.”

Before things got too out of hand we left Schmidt’s with the green light for (RED) Ads and drove straight back to the city to make it happen. The Google kids fired up what they call a “point-one-percent trial in limited consumer verticals in specific countries” before they all ran to the roof naked to pile into the hot tub.

Edge sent me some Java code you can put on your blog to run the ads. Just plug that in and if you’re in the test market, your ads will turn bright click-me red like the Pope’s Pradas.

Holy sweet friggin mother of Jesus, I was supposed to fly to Uganda with His Popeness yesterday. Can you believe I forgot? I need to start sleeping more. One of the Googlers, Marissa, says she can get me there on her own plane. Which is good, because I don’t think Steve is going to lend me the Apple corporate jet anytime soon. He’s stopped texting me about locking him out of his blog. Now I’m getting PDFs from his lawyers to my iPhone demanding I cease and desist all publication of The Blog belonging to the Party of the First Part blah blah.

I love how you Americans work Saturdays, but I just forward these on to my people in Dublin, who’ll deal with it Monday morning. We’re all busy Sunday. Have you heard of this thing called church? There’s nothing like it. But I don’t think the Googlers will be coming with me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I still haven’t found what I’m shopping for

I’m in Union Square. I haven’t slept. Thanksgiving at Steve’s was lovely — he’s mellowed out about the stock options thing and replaced last year’s all-white table with a chrome-and-black theme to match the new iMacs. But it made me lonely for Dublin and Ali and the kids. Edge hates the new iMacs, you know, says they look like fooktard Dells. Anyway, while everyone dozed off after tofurkey and organic pumpkin pie (wheat-free, Steve said) I went for a walk. I left the MacBook and brought my red iPhone to take notes. I thought about Ali and family and Africa and started writing some new songs in my head and next thing I knew, I’d walked all the way from Woodside to Frisco and the sun was coming up.

I haven’t been to San Francisco in twenty years, ever since that whole episode with the spray paint. Look, I thought it was rubble from the old freeway, ok? By the time I realized I was tagging some sort of fountain in Justin Herman Plaza with ROCK AND ROLL STOPS THE TRAFFIC, we were halfway through “Pride” and I just had to go with it. You can’t just stop rock and roll. That was my whole point, wasn’t it? Anyway, the fountain looks really nice all repainted, courtesy of the letter U and the numeral 2, but I never got so much as a thank you. Jesus would understand. Or Lennon.

I kept on walking, thinking to hit North Beach and hang with the writers and artists, legacy of the great poet Allan Ginsberg, who left us too soon before we finished that song together. I never made it. Instead I walked into Union Square at 10 am on the day you Americans call Black Friday. The most perverted orgy of overconsumption on God’s green earth. Now there’s nothing wrong with commerce. I love making music and selling it. I had a big argument about that with a bunch of hippies outside Starbucks — outside one of the Starbucks. They were waving BUY NOTHING DAY signs. Look, I specifically designed the Product Red iPods to solve their problem. You get rock’n’roll red products, AIDS awareness gets 40 percent of the net margin. What’s not to love? Buy Nothing solves nothing. Buy Red, everybody wins.

But be totally honest, have you seen anyone with a Red iPod? We’ve sold about ten of ’em. And the Red iPhones never got past this one they made for me. Which is vibrating in my hand right now and playing the Beatles’ “Revolution” in high-fidelity iTunes format (Shhh! You’ll get your chance to own it soon, don’t tell.) Steve has finally figured out I’ve taken over his blog. He’s a bit mad about it. Look, Steve, mate. I know you think you’re a rock star, but who’s a rock star? Right. And this fucking Irish rock star is fucking pissed, standing in front of your flagship fucking Apple Store on Stockton Street with a window full of fucking iPods. Black iPods. White iPods. Blue iPods. Green iPods. What’s missing? Could it be the color Red?

I told you, Steve. Red iPhone. $600. The fooktards have already proven they’ll pay that for the privilige of showing off. And what better way to show off than to send $200 to Africa? You weren’t listening, brother. Can ya hear me now? Because I’ve been up one side of Union Square and down the other, and where’s my Product Red? The brats at the Armani store didn’t even know about my Armani Bono Red sunglasses. They’re the same shades I wore on the Elevation tour, priced at a reasonable $145, and 40 percent of the take goes to help your brothers and sisters still suffering. Plus if you’re a blogger and getting kind of wrinkly around the eyes, they’re a lot cheaper than plastic surgery. My good friend Nick Denton in New York bought a pair for one of his gang who’s a bit over the hill. The man looks fantastic now. Fox TV called him on to talk about Google for 15 minutes. God’s truth. It was the shades.

There are plenty of other Red products. There’s a phone. It’s not an iPhone, but still. There’s a shirt, a watch, a pair of sneakers. The great humanitarian Julia Roberts designed a bracelet Ali never takes off. Prada was going to sell Prada Red shoes just like the Pope’s, but the Guineas can never get it together on time. There’s a Red book so you can teach yourself about something bigger than Union Square retail and your fountain that looks like a dismantled freeway. They don’t have this stuff in Union Square, but you can buy it all online. Look it up, because I don’t know how to paste the URLs in on this iPhone — where’s Edge when I need him? — plus Steve is messaging me nonstop now. He’s texting in uppercase Myriad Apple Sans Bold: WTF WITH THE BLOG. STOP IT. NOW. I’M SERIOUS. Christ,I’m tired. Steve, look. Go back to your wife and kids. Carve a pumpkin. Invent something new like maybe a red iPhone. I’ve hooked up with some kids from Google here on the stairs in the Apple Store. As soon as we’re done leading the store through a chorus of “Give Peace a Chance” we’re going to get the hell away from this fooktarded circus of non-Red yuppie shopping and go change the world.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

How to Dismantle an Atomic Blog

Hey, am I bugging ya? Didn’t mean to bug ya. But I’m at Steve’s place celebrating the great American tradition of Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving, because in Ireland we never give thanks for anything, except Daylight Savings Time when the pub stays open another hour. Anyway, I love your Silicon Valley, where every child can grow up to be Bill Gates and the only food lines on Thanksgiving are outside Whole Foods where you queue up your Range Rovers to pick up a turkey and a convincingly homemade pumpkin pie. Organic pumpkin pie. Delicious. You are, truly, in God’s Country.

Edge has been nagging me to get a blog now for years. But it’s hard work, this blogging. It takes a long time to build an audience. So I never bothered. Until today. Today I walked past Steve’s spacious, spacious home office and saw that he’d left himself logged in. I had to text Edge to find out how to give myself an account and then change Steve’s password. Shhh. He hasn’t figured it out yet, so I’m safe as long as he doesn’t check mail until after I leave for Uganda to meet with the Pope tomorrow. No, I’m not Catholic. My father was Catholic but my mother God rest her raised me Anglican. You could look it up on Wikipedia. But Benny the Red, he lets me call him, he’s doing God’s work. Plus he wears those rock’n’roll red Prada shoes I’ll tell you more about tomorrow.

Oh, sweet Mother of Jesus. Edge, that fooktard, he’s friggin with my iCal again. He updated all our laptops to Leopard last week, which he loves because he found out that on Leopard he can edit not just his iCal, but my iCal. Now my flight’s at 6 am instead of 10. I better sign off. Steve, don’t get too pissed off, eh? Think of this as payback for the time you stayed at my guest cottage — you know, the one with the bathroom wall where everyone gets to sign their names in magic marker. How do you think I felt when I went to use the loo and found you’d scrubbed the entire wall clean — Clinton, Tutu, Jagger, Mother Theresa, all gone — and repainted it sparkling white with just the word “Steve” dead center in perfectly hand-lettered Myriad Sans Bold? It was beautiful, my friend, beautiful. But kind of fooktarded. So until you get Edge to log you back in, brother Bono is in the house. All I’ve got is a red MacBook, three chords and the truth.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Bono calls me, drunk off his ass

He’s over in Germany or someplace like that and says he’s furious about how things are going at the G8. First the prime minister of Germany, Angela Merkin, told him to lighten up about Africa, which really got him steamed. And as I reported yesterday he got all pissed because politicians were breaking their promises. Shocking! Then the guy who runs Canada blew him off too. He’s like, “Steve, fookin Jaysus, it’s the prime minister of fookin Canada and he’s coppin a tude wit me. With me! Can you believe it? I’m fookin Bono fookin Vox, man! Whatever. The whole thing’s a bust. I’m sitting here on me bed drinkin and feelin sorry for myself. I mean I could be out blowing lines of coke and banging teenage groupies. But I’m not. I’m here in a meeting full of arseholes trying to save the fookin world. I don’t know. Sometimes I just want to give up. I gotta hop. Adios.”

Last thing I heard before he hung up was him crying. Sad, sad stuff.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Sieg Heil! Angry Bono gives horizontal finger to Angela Merkin

Bono is so angry that he is threatening to smash his sunglasses. So it says in this story from some Austrian newspaper that is covering the G8 Summit which is being held in some country that is not the United States. Bono is angry because nobody will listen to him blather on about Africa; they’d rather talk about missile shields. Check out this exchange:

Bono says he’s so frustrated with the lack of action from rich governments he’s considered ditching his trademark sunnies.

BONO: For here, it’s politics is the art of the possible, and that just� you know, this is possible. This is really possible. We’re not Pollyanna, this is not sort of rosy tinted glasses, believe it or not, in fact, I felt like smashing my glasses today.

JOURNALIST: Why? What happened?

BONO: It’s just� they are not keeping their promise. They are not keeping their promise.

Ha! Tough shite, carrot-top!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bono is fuming

He thought he had that World Bank job for sure. But they gave it to someone else instead. A Bushie, of course. “Jaysus, Steve, it’s all politics, who knew?” says yer man.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Report from Cannes

Poor Jerry Seinfeld. Look, I was a fan of his TV show. Sort of. But this bee thing is really sad. He’s been walking around wearing the costume all weekend, going into restaurants and hotels and cafes, and disrupting movie screenings and press conferences, trying to steal the spotlight from everyone else. Funny for the first twelve hours or so. But since then? Lame. Nobody’s laughing. They’re just annoyed. Plus, we saw the thirty minutes of the film that they’re showing here. They sent a DVD to my hotel. It’s beyond awful. Really. Writeups like this are trying to be kind. But you can read between the lines. Like when Chris Rock says it’s cool because Seinfeld wrote the whole movie himself, and explains, “Most animated movies are made by committee, and the comedy is scattered. They’re great, but this one feels like a handmade suit.” Um, yeah. It feels like a handmade suit made by a blind tailor. That’s the line he left off. Jerry, you were a funny standup guy, and you did well using Larry David’s material on your TV show. But you shouldn’t be trying to write a movie. There’s a reason why Pixar always brings in a team to punch up the scripts. Not saying our movies are better. But, um, they are. A lot better.

In other news, the Michael Moore movie is amazing. Huge. The man is a genius on a par with Leni Riefenstahl, and I don’t say that lightly.

What else. Oh yeah. The Edge flew in Friday, and last night he and Bono beat the shit out of some English guy in a bar. Something about soccer teams. We were in an Irish bar and the Brit and his pals started singing songs and doing these taunts and saying the guys in U2 are a bunch of rockstar fairies. The main guy was this big scary dude with chains on his neck and a shaved head, singing about Manchester or something. Next thing I know The Edge goes over the table and he’s into this guy like a mad dog, using his teeth and smashing a bottle over the guy’s head. Bono leapt in with his boots and kicked in the guy’s ribs. Ugly. Cops were called, but we split in time. And nobody saw nuffing. Bono says it’s an Irish thing. Nobody squeals.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bono thinks he’s going to get the World Bank job

No lie. He just called from Cannes. Says he’s being seriously considered to replace Wolfowitz. I’m like, “Dude, do you know anything about banking?” He goes, “First of all, cocknose, me cousin Ronan is assistant manager of a bank in Ballymun and I’ll tell ya, it’s a fookin sweet little gig wit all yer holidays and half days and not going in till ten in the morning. Second of all, look, did Jaysus know anything about religion before he started out? No. He didn’t know fook-all about it because he was just a regular guy, which in fact was his great strength and in the end he knew more than all the fookin Pharisees put together, didn’t he? Which is what I told them in my interview. Sure, they’re talking to Tony Blair, but come on, the guy’s poison after the Iraq thing. Plus, how many times has he been to Africa? Has he fathered any children there? Has he ever held hands and posed for photos with someone who’s got AIDS? Can he speak Swahili? Nah, man, I’m pretty sure it’s mine to lose, honestly. I did a phone interview and nailed it. And I took the Myers-Briggs exam and they say I’m an ENTP, which is ideal for a bank manager. I told them I want full-time pay and all the benefits, but I’ll only work three days a week plus I get time off for touring. Hey, Graydon, dammit, where’s my fookin smokes, eh? Didja steal them again you bastard? Oh man, fer God’s sake, put some fookin clothes on, seriously. Or tie up the robe at least cause man I really don’t need to see yer fookin turkey neck hanging out there, all right? Christ almighty.”

Bono also kept bugging me to fly over to Cannes and you know what? I’m going. I’ll have a full report on Monday, if not sooner.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I love going to Cannes, but still

So Bono is in Cannes with Graydon Carter from Vanity Fair and he’s been bugging the crap out of me to fly over and hang out with him this weekend. I’ve got the Jobs Jet fueled up and ready to go, and Larry says he wants to come along too and chase tail. Truth is I could use a little R&R and Cannes is gorgeous at this time of year. But I know what’s going to happen. Bono will get loaded and start giving me shit about the smoke problem at his apartment in the San Remo, which okay I guess I should have disclosed when I sold the place to him. My feeling is, Hey, I gave the guy a huge deal on that place anyway. And I told him to hire a home inspector, but he said there was no need, he trusted me. Caveat emptor, as they say in French.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Hi boys and girls! Wanna meet a rock star?

So Bono hitched a ride back to the West Coast with me on the JobsJet (and didn’t offer to help pay for gas, natch). He’s going on about how he can’t stand Al Gore’s wife. “You know what she did? Yer woman says she’s gonna be in Ireland this summer and she asks me can I get her in to meet Paddy Reilly. Jaysus. Have you ever heard Paddy fookin Reilly? The fookin fields of Athenry? Make you want to blow your fookin brains out. Steve, I’m a fookin northsider. We wouldn’t be caught dead listening to shite like Paddy Reilly. That’s what your gran in Wicklow listens to.”

Then he gets out his little miniature guitar that he travels with and he starts plinking away and trying to work on his big global warming song. But he gets all frustrated (and okay, by now he’s half drunk too) and finally he just whips the guitar across the plane and says, “Oh I fookin give up. I can’t write lyrics for shite Steve. Never could. It’s my one great weakness as an artist. That and not being able to read or write music. And not being able to sing very well.”

I told him maybe he should try playing a full-size guitar like ordinary grownups instead of his miniature mandolin or ukulele or whatever. He says I can fook off. Then he goes, “Look, Mr. Wise Ass, why don’t we toss this out to your readers on that stupid blog of yours eh? See what they can come up with? The whole user generated content thing right? And like whoever writes the best song gets to come backstage and meet the band and get an autograph or sumfin. Long as I get the copyright on the song I don’t care about fook-all else.”

Thus was born this week’s contest. Please help Bono come up with some words for his lame-ass global warming song. He says if you want to write the guitar chords and melody too, he’d be even more appreciative, as long as you keep it simple enough that The Edge can play it. Like mostly stuff with only the top two strings would be ideal. Furthermore, he says if you wanna go ahead and record a rough sample and post it online that’d be even better.

As I told Bono, this blog has just about the smartest and most talented readers on the Internet. So I’m sure we’ll come up with something amazing. At the very least I’m sure we’ll come up with a great song title. Peace out.