Why do you want to be president?

“I’d like to be in charge for just five minutes. Balance the books. Get us out of debt. Be nice to our friends, tell our enemies to fuck off. Clean up the air and the water. Throw corporate crooks in the clink. Put dignity back in government. Fix things.”

— Randolp K. Jepperson. Boomsday by Christopher Buckley.

More fictional software: RIP-ware

BADMAP is an acronym for Bio-Actuarial Dyna-Metric Age Predictor. It works like this:

” A person’s DNA profile, family history, mental history, lifestyle profile, every variable –how many trips to the grocery per week, how many airplane flights, hobbies, food, booze, number of times per month you had sex and with whom, everything down to what color socks you put on in the morning– were all fed into the software. RIP-ware would then calculate and predict how and when you’d die. In the testing, they had programmed it retroactively with the DNA and lifestyle profile of thousand of people who had already died. RIP-ware predicted their deaths with an accuracy of 99.07 percent. In a simulation, it predicted the death of Elvis Presley — just four months from he actual date of his demise. The ultimate “killer app.”

Insurance companies had been working on similar programs. What a windfall it would be for them if they could sell life insurance to someone they knew was going to live another forty years–and conversely decline life insurance to someone the computer predicted would be pushing up daisies within two years.

Another field of vast potential were the old folks’ homes. typically, these demanded that a prospective resident turn over his and her entire net worth in return for perpetual care. You could live two years or twenty years; that was their gamble. But if a nursing home knew,in advance, that John Q. smith was going to have a fatal heart attack in 2.3 years while watching an ad for toenail fungus ointment on the evening news, they would much rather have his nest egg as advance payment than that of, say, Jane Q. Jones, who RIP-ware predicted would live another twenty-five years and die at the ripe old age of 105.

Page 119, Boomsday, by Christopher Buckley

Fictional Software: Spider Repellent

“You loaded the software and typed in the search words. Say you’d been arrested for drunk driving or soliciting a prostitute, or you’d been in a gossip page biting the ear of some pretty young thing in a nightclub. Or, for that matter, you had been charged by the SEC with swindling your shareholders. You typed in your name, along with “drunk driving” or “prostitute” or “ear” or “embezzling.” Spider Repellent found all the references to you on the Web and –deleted them.”

Page 117, Boomsday, by Christopher Buckley

Is such a thing possible? Does it already exist? No idea. Would people pay anything to get their hands on it if did exist? Oh, yes.

Thank you for dying

The new novel by Christopher Buckley proposes a way to fix the Social Security mess. From the BusinessWeek review:

“As the baby boomers shuffle into their sunset years, Uncle Sam will hand them a bundle of juicy tax breaks and assorted perks in return for agreeing to a painless lethal injection at age 65. Too draconian? Not to worry. A second option would give slightly less generous benefits to those who prefer to hang around to age 70.”

Only the genius who gave us Thank You for Smoking (the novel, not the movie) could make us laugh at something so serious. And, just so you know, I never trusted our government enough to think there would be anything in the fund by the time I need it and I’m not counting on it.

Oh yeah, the main character is “Cassandra Devine, a 29-year-old Washington public-relations executive by day and diva blogger by night.” (talk about a great stripper name).

Boomsday (Christopher Buckley)

“You loaded the software and typed in the search words. Say you’d been arrested for drunk driving or soliciting a prostitute, or you’d been in a gossip page biting the ear of some pretty young thing in a nightclub. Or, for that matter, you had been charged by the SEC with swindling your shareholders. You typed in your name, along with “drunk driving” or “prostitute” or “ear” or “embezzling.” Spider Repellent found all the references to you on the Web and – deleted them.”

“As the baby boomers shuffle into their sunset years, Uncle Sam will hand them a bundle of juicy tax breaks and assorted perks in return for agreeing to a painless lethal injection at age 65. Too draconian? Not to worry. A second option would give slightly less generous benefits to those who prefer to hang around to age 70.”

“I’d like to be in charge for just five minutes. Balance the books. Get us out of debt. Be nice to our friends, tell our enemies to fuck off. Clean up the air and the water. Throw corporate crooks in the clink. Put dignity back in government. Fix things.” — Randolph K. Jepperson

BADMAP is an acronym for Bio-Actuarial Dyna-Metric Age Predictor. It works like this:

” A person’s DNA profile, family history, mental history, lifestyle profile, every variable –how many trips to the grocery per week, how many airplane flights, hobbies, food, booze, number of times per month you had sex and with whom, everything down to what color socks you put on in the morning– were all fed into the software. RIP-ware would then calculate and predict how and when you’d die. In the testing, they had programmed it retroactively with the DNA and lifestyle profile of thousand of people who had already died. RIP-ware predicted their deaths with an accuracy of 99.07 percent. In a simulation, it predicted the death of Elvis Presley — just four months from the actual date of his demise. The ultimate “killer app.”

Insurance companies had been working on similar programs. What a windfall it would be for them if they could sell life insurance to someone they knew was going to live another forty years–and conversely decline life insurance to someone the computer predicted would be pushing up daisies within two years.

Another field of vast potential were the old folks’ homes. typically, these demanded that a prospective resident turn over his and her entire net worth in return for perpetual care. You could live two years or twenty years; that was their gamble. But if a nursing home knew,in advance, that John Q. smith was going to have a fatal heart attack in 2.3 years while watching an ad for toenail fungus ointment on the evening news, they would much rather have his nest egg as advance payment than that of, say, Jane Q. Jones, who RIP-ware predicted would live another twenty-five years and die at the ripe old age of 105.

“In cyberspace everyone can hear you scream”

Boomsday by Christopher Buckley

Thank You for Smoking

Saw Thank You for Smoking and was disappointed. Spend the 90 minutes reading Christopher Buckley’s novel, if you haven’t. Giving Nick Naylor a son was lame-to-sappy. Deadwood fans will spot Kim Dickens (Joanie Stubbs) as Naylor’s wife.

And for the record, The Weather Man (Nicholas Cage) is not a comedy. Had I taken the time to check out the IMDB description (“A Chicago weather man, separated from his wife and children, debates whether professional and personal success are mutually exclusive.”) we could have skipped this wrist-slitter. But Hollywood loves Cage. He has half a dozen movies in post-production or on-deck.

Thank You for Smoking: The Movie

I mentioned how much I enjoyed watching Maria Bello pull on her unders in the film, Duets. I failed to mention that she will be appearing in an upcoming film based Christopher Buckley’s Thank You for Smoking, a very dark and funny novel. No idea if the movie will live up the the novel but you can listen to an interview with Buckley here. The film stars Aaron Eckhart with supporting roles by Bello, Rob Lowe, Katie Holmes and William H. Macy.