HOORAY FOR BILL GATES...I GUESS

IN WHICH MR. BADGER ADVISES MR. TOAD TO LIGHT THE CANDLES AND READ BOOKS

It snowed almost 2 ft. in upstate New York--wet, gluey snow so weighty that it brought down trees across power lines and left our farmhouse in the dark and cold for three days and nights. We huddled under five blankets and a 40-lb. dog and read by the light of oil lamps.

The computer, of course, was dead. The Internet, an entire universe (bright leaping data, shooting stars, comets of information, evanescent meteor showers) shut down. We fumbled in the dark for match and wick; we watched our shadows on the wall.

That was weeks ago. Before the lights went out,...

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