Google monitors e-mails for contextual advertising matches, and few people seem to mind. Scott G wonders if these are the same people who will allow Pudding Media to monitor their phone calls.


“Hey, Scott, it’s Marty.”

“Hey, what’s up?”

“I just got free worldwide long distance calling.”

“Oh yeah, how?”

“It’s from this place called Pudding Media, and-”

“Pudding Media?”

“Right, Pudding Media. It works like Skype. You call through your computer.”

“And it’s free?”

Scott G looking semi-official“Well, no toll charges.”

“How do they make their money?”

“They send ads to your computer screen while you talk.”

“What if I’m working on a song or a layout in PhotoShop or something? Do ads pop up over my work?”

“Don’t know. That would kill it for you, wouldn’t it.”

“That would more than kill it. That would put me on course to hunt down their scurvy hides, stomp out their service, and eradicate any mention of their existence.”

“Hey, an ad just popped up for poetry classes at the Learning Center.”

“That’s odd.”

“Well, no, you mentioned ‘existence’ and they’ve got an instructor who is some sort of expert on existential poetry.”

“Wait, what difference does it make what I said?”

“They use voice recognition.”

Pause. One of those uncomfortable pauses. The kind you know is going to cost you some money or forever change a relationship.

“So,” I said slowly, “this phone call is being monitored?”

“Well, yeah.”

“I see… Um, Marty?”


“Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall you letting me know about that.”

“Oh, yeah. Sorry. Is that a problem?”

“Isn’t it a problem for you? You’re the one with the membership to those porn sites.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to bring that up in conversation, so I didn’t think-hey, now there’s an adult ad on my screen.”

“Oesday ethay omputercay understandway igpay atinlay?

“Good question. I’ll let you know what comes up…. Foreign language instruction.”

“Okay, now that I’m on this party line call… you know, with you, me, the computer, and the Pudding Head people, let’s test this sucker out. Hey, Marty, have you seen the new Audi A4?”

“Yeah, good-looking car. Yup! Audi ad just appeared.”

“How about this: car insurance.”

“Yes: Geico ad.”

“Okay, how about: department store?”

“Yup. Target ad.”


“Procter and Gamble ad.”

“Laundry detergent?”

“Procter and Gamble ad.”

“Pet food?”

“Procter and Gamble ad.”

“This is boring. Let’s try using subject matter instead of product categories.”

“Okay, like what?”

“How about: lying. What comes up?”

“Ads for Republicans.”


“Ads for Democrats.”


“Mark Foley Defense Fund.”

“Man, Republicans again. Okay, here’s one: televangelism.”

“Oh great, now my screen is covered with ads.”

“Sorry. Can you clear them away?”

“Wait, the only way is to restart.”

“Damn them.”

“No! Now I’ve got the televangelists again!”

“I hope you’ll forgi-I mean, hey, sorry about that. I’ve got one more for you, when you’re back up and running.”

“Okay, go.”

“Are you ready?”


“You sure?”

“Yes. What is it?”

“Okay: how are you coming with recruiting for your underground cell?”

“Hey, don’t be making that kind of joke. With this administration, that’s just not funny. Oh hey, wait a minute; someone’s knocking at the door. Hang on, I’ll be right back.”






[tags]Pudding Media, Skype, telephone, telecommunications, electronic eavesdropping, contextual ads, Google, voice recognition, Scott G, gman, Communication Nation[/tags]