Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away.... To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives.
Jean-Paul Sartre

God loveth a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7

Entropy Gradient Reversals

Hey Gang! Let's Potlatch!

It seems like everybody's trying to figure out "E-Commerce" these days. What does that shit really mean, huh? Probably not much more than "you buy lotsa stuff from us; we get the money" -- though, of course, wrapped in the prerequisite head-pounding jargon that makes all involved feel that, whatever it is, it must be pretty damn important.

What it makes us feel is crummy. We see all these websites with catalogs and buttons and shopping carts and back-end Cold Fusion, CGI, Visual Basic, Javascript thingies, and we just feel so... well, inconsequential. Where is our e-commerce play, we wonder dejectedly. Is the parade just passing us by? What, again? Oh crap.

And people can be pretty mean about this these days. Have you noticed? "Well, my site is making money. I don't know about yours..." The not so veiled implication being that you are lower in the Great Chain of Being than petrified dogshit unless you can show them "your numbers."

Yesterday, we received a check from for $72.84. That's EGR's entire take for the past quarter. Not even enough to cover our latest book purchase -- the three-volume American Library edition of William Faulkner's pretty much complete works, even though we've never read so much as a single short story by this guy (but hey, it could happen). And hardly the big-buck cashflow the aforementioned assholes are asking for when they inquire about your web-centric financial savvy. CDnow you say? Forget it. Through your largesse in ordering All Your Music Needs through our prominent homepage link, we have now amassed a standing credit of a dollar and eight cents.

Clearly, this is not working.

We have racked our brains over this question. We know we cannot charge you, Valued Readers, for taking all the time it requires to research and compose these insightful thoughts on Internet Business Opportunities. For, more than most, we understand that Information Wants to Be Free. Also more than most, we realize the devastating acquisition costs of getting even a few dozen paying subscribers: in our case, thousands of cheap bastards like yourselves who would unsubscribe in a New York minute if EGR cost a buck-twenty-five a year.

But now, this tells us something, does it not? Like so many other "webzines" (as we fondly refer to them), EGR is a labor of love. And we zine authors are not driven by anything as crass as money. No. What we want is simple: to be loved in return. Doesn't it make you proud to be an American? Or Zimbabwean or whatever the hell you are?

However, in this culture, money is the symbol we use to represent that all-important degree of love. Just look at any diamond ad if you think we're kidding. So no wonder we feel bad about our failure to skim little easy profit off this fuckin thing while spammers are raking in dough hand over fist! Sure you tell us how much you like EGR. Sure you send us embarrassing kudos that we use to promote ourselves to other potential sources of revenue. But talk is cheap. We won't really feel loved until we can say "net worth" without looking so goddam sheepish.

And many Valued Readers like yourselves feel much the same way. When you come right down to it, what is the use of exchanging filthy lucre? After all, what does it say about us as Human Beings? Does it express the love that is in our hearts? No! A thousand times no!

"Oh dear-oh-dog, oh what to do?" we wondered aimlessly. Then, as if by Divine Providence, we hit upon a strategy worthy of an alumni fund raising dinner!

After scouring the vast historical resources available to us through our multiple honorary doctorates, we came across a curious practice of the Chinook people indigenous to the American Northwest, in whose language "Nootka p'achitl" means "to make a potlatch gift."

"Aha!" you are no doubt saying to yourself, "Why didn't I think of this?" Whereupon you immediately realize why. Because you have no idea what "potlatch" means. Take heart: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (third edition copyright 1996 by houghton mifflin company electronic version licensed from inso corporation further reproduction and distribution in accordance with the copyright law of the united states all rights reserved) sheds further light:

potlatch (pòt´làch´), noun

A ceremonial feast among certain Native American peoples of the northwest Pacific coast, as in celebration of a marriage or an accession, at which the host distributes gifts according to each guest's rank or status. Between rival groups the potlatch could involve extravagant or competitive giving and destruction by the host of valued items as a display of superior wealth.

Needless to say, we were stopped cold by the suggestion of "extravagant... destruction." Now, here was a concept we could get behind! Further inquiry led us to the knowledge that chieftains of this tribe would gather in great festivals to vie with one another as to who could give away the most -- and the most valuable -- stuff.

This seemed an idea worth resurrecting, to say the least, and so we have spared no expense and brooked no obstacle to make it so. Hitherto unavailable elsewhere in the world for hundreds of years, EGR now brings you this Exclusive Opportunity to meaningfully participate in this Ancient Ritual of Generosity subtly tinged with bona fide Native American Neurosis! Here's how it works...

Listed below are Internet sources for some fairly extravagant items that we will be happy to destroy with extreme prejudice using various means befitting the nature of the products we receive. All you need to play is a credit card that hasn't yet been maxed out, and our shipping address:

EGR World HQ (Summer Quarters)
2295 Vineyard Place
Boulder, CO 80304
All items that arrive at the above address will be logged -- in UPC-standard descending price tag order -- to a public area of the Entropy Gradient Reversals website along with whatever information we can glean about who sent them and their ultimate manner of disposal. Ask yourself what's more important: the kids' future college fund or showing the world the kind of disposable income you have to burn right now? Well, there you go then! Send us as much shit as you possibly can!

Void in some states. This is not an offer to sell securities.
Yes, DVDs always bring a smile. John Waters titles make an ever-tasteful choice, and we also love anything starring Sylvester Stallone, Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme. Eisenstein? Kurosawa? Don't make us laugh. XXXX OK. We break the ones we don't like, so Don't Delay, Potlatch Today!
Surely you can do better on CDnow. From Berlioz to Coltrane to Nine Inch Nails, our tastes are omnivorous. Rock/Pop, Jazz/Blues, World/New Age, Urban/Electronic, Country/Folk, Classical -- we really don't care. So don't worry about buying us too many waycool CDs. Plus remember: when you use the link above, we also get credit. Hey, you're Potlatchin' now!
We don't read much anymore, but what does that matter? Send us a copy of what you're reading. Fiction is good, as are Really Hot Business Books, which nearly always bring out our most creative and atavistic urge to destroy. Anything by Ayn Rand will be accorded immediate urinary dismissal. So Atlas shrugged. So what?
Gevalia Federal Reserve Coffees
The Kona, Alto Grande® and Celebes arabicas tend to be rather on the reasonable side, but the Jamaica Blue Mountain is quite nice -- the speed freak's equivalent of the finest in Single Malts. And at 50 bucks a pound, this will allow us to consume so much more on your behalf!
Horribly Expensive Gourmet Comestibles
The best. The most. The finest. The tastiest. Smoked fish, Beluga caviar, Urbani truffles, dried fruits & nuts, Christmas puddings, Italian artichokes, Scottish salmon, imported chocolates, imported pastas, imported olive oils, imported vinegars, imported capers, imported barf bags or (optional) vomitorium. Feed me, Seymour!
The Spice of Life
Hot sauce heaven! One thing about these products? They sure have interesting names. Scorned Woman, Terminal Condition, Pain & Suffering, and Hot Bitch at The Beach. Just please not "Dave's Insanity Sauce" or "DOA - Cyanide" -- we accidentally hit into some of the former once, and it was a very bad trip! And the DOA stuff is supposed to be even worse so no thanks.
Fat-Cat Cigars
We don't really smoke cigars, but they're bad for you, right? And expensive as hell. So how could we not include them here? We smoke cheap-ass plebeian cigarettes. However, we figure something a little pricier and more effete might be worth a try. Them what dies is the lucky ones, matey!
For That Upscale Wino
We don't drink wine either (cripes, what good are we?), but we'll bust a couple bottles of Chardonnay against a tree for you. Or perhaps a nice Pouilly-Fuissé. Whatever's your pleasure.
The Body You Want
Oh yeah! We need one-a these fer sure! Build strength, muscular endurance or a combination of both. The workout computer counts reps and tracks fitness progress. You also get a wall chart and an owner's manual plus a workout video. Man oh man, we can hardly wait! (RageBoy pictured in lower left insert.)
Luxurious Laptops
We've got our eye on the 900 MHz Inspiron 3200 with 8900 megabytes of RAM, a whopping 9 terabyte 2-nanosecond access disk, 60" diagonal mentalcase screen and optional DVD player (see note on John Waters, above). Are we talking productivity here, or what? Buy us two, they're small!
Ludicrously Overpriced Cars
We don't need one, but if you arrange to ship us one a these babies, we'll fill it full of charcoal briquettes and liquid oxygen and run it off a cliff. If you never tried this, it's a real cool thing to do at night in downtown Los Angeles, if only there were any cliffs there. A brand new Lexus blows up great!
Industrial Earth Movers
The earth hasn't moved for us in quite some time, but here's the perfect solution. Who couldn't use another G-series motor grader? Or a couple D-11-R bulldozers featuring elevated sprocket design tracks and weighing in at an impressive 100 tons each?
Nuclear Weapons
You're nobody till you've got your own thermonuclear device, the gift that keeps on giving. And EGR can use as many as you can find it in your heart to give. We couldn't locate the e-commerce links on these DOD pages, but we're sure they must be there. If you can't find them either, just send email to the Directorate for Public Communication, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, making sure to include "RageBoy Needz More Newcular Bombs - Kan U Help?" in the subject line.

Someone will be sure to get back to you right away. When your weapon arrives, please forward it to EGR and do not under any circumstances tamper with the seventh seal.

Anyway, you get the general idea. These are just a handful of suggestions, so don't feel you can't send us other stuff as well. You can! We'll be waiting right here beside the mailbox, so give generously won't you?

e-commerce for the rest of us.


Entropy Gradient Reversals
All Noise - All the Time


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   Entropy Gradient Reversals
   CopyLeft Christopher Locke

"reality leaves a lot to the imagination..." John Lennon
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