Please don't ask.

As much as I might like to avoid it, there's a question here which seems to position itself front-row-center and refuses to go away. Instead, wherever I look I can't avoid noticing that it's there, waving its hand up and down, begging to be called upon.

Do I truly turn to the web to collect materials for a column, or is that claim little more than an excuse that permits me to indulge my clicking habit? What's more, even if I can get away with calling my clicking constructive work, what part of all that clicking ultimately ends up as materials that I use in a column? I enjoy walking along the beach, picking up shells and stones, glancing at them, even momentarily appreciating them. But a moment later I cast them back to the sand and move on. To what extent do I collect materials on the web in the same transient and temporary manner? Sure, a case can easily be made to show that when I reach out to pick up an interesting item I get ideas that can be incorporated into a column. But perhaps it's actually little more than a means of disguising my urge to pleasantly waste time. How much time spent "writing" this column is actually devoted simply to the inevitable wasting of time that goes hand in hand with web surfing? What's more, how much of that surfing is actually fishing - an attempt to latch on to some interesting items that are perhaps eluding me when I'm trying to write a column that can't seem to find its focus?

Simply asking these questions will have to be sufficient. Though I've got a few hunches, I certainly don't have any definitive answers.

Go to: and that, and that, oh, and that ...