To a certain extent the tomfoolery continues, but there are parallels to other things which are actually relevant, and if you can stay with me through this we'll eventually get there.
First thing's first - I really could not believe when he first told me that instead of human candles, with wicks, the accursed Yankee Candle Company had stumbled upon (or expressly developed!) some vile new shenanigan. I was already angry at them for creating a substance that smells like brownies, but is inedible - a lesson I must learn time and time again. But there is definitely something insidious about their Wax Potpourri, an invention that replaces a single burning candle with one, unscented candle, your choice of hokey crucible, and chunks of wax that have no purpose outside of this odd and quite possibly alien apparatus.
What they have done, in effect, is transform the burning of candles into a service.
I got what I thought was a copy of McAfee the last time some fucker loosed his perverse creations upon the Webtron, and I will admit to being surprised when the software asked me to buy it again. I already bought you. I can't even imagine the excitement that must have coursed through those halls when they invented this. I would imagine it was similar to the joy felt at Coca-Cola when they realized they could just sell the water without carbonation or syrup for the same amount, if not more. I can picture them out on the front lawn all throwing their hats into the air in unison.
I was invigorated at the prospect of a professional Settlers Of Catan I could play online, until I learned that MSN Games was planning on charging a monthly or annual fee to play a board game. No. Which is odd, because I'd gladly pay what they consider their annual fee - thirty dollars - to play the game without their attaching a drip to my account while I shuffle up and down the halls of their accounting system.
It's just the thing to do, now, and we've largely become inured to it for very specific things, but I don't know how long it will be resisted by most software as a matter of course. I consider Live fundamental to the Xbox, so I pony up the annual for it. Most of my friends can understand it even if they do not like "renting" their characters in an MMO. There is still a class of game enthusiast who refuses to pay a monthly, God bless them, and I hope that the games of this and the next generation bring them a perennial pleasure, ever renewing, because they may be playing those games for a very long time.
i clung to the stretcher