July 03, 2002
Amazon.completely inescapable

I was only following one little link, and then I found myself trapped in the devil's playground that is Amazon.com. The problem: I became obsessed with the "Customers who bought This also bought That" feature. It started innocently enough, with a "Huh...customers who bought Brak Presents The Brak Album Starring Brak also bought Norton AntiVirus 2002 8.0." I wouldn't have guessed that fans of the wacky Cartoon Planet songster would also be so concerned about virus protection. Hmmm...

Dozens of random searches later, a sketchy outline began to emerge: Customers who bought Raising Meat Goats for Profit also bought Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson! Customers who bought Aprons: Icons of the American Home also bought Last Man Standing. Customers who bought The National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Region also bought Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News. Just a few more searches and then everything would come together! All things will be connected! It's Six Degrees of Amazon.com!!

In the end, a Unified Theory of Commerce evaded my grasp. But I did find what may very well be the longest title in the entire Amazon catalog.