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Official words of Ed Zotti, assistant to Cecil Adams!

You got it, babe. We're on America Online at keyword: Straight Dope. We're also on the Web at , which is where you are right now, in case you got here by mistake.

You are perhaps asking yourself: why should I pay good money to Mr. Steve to get the AOL version of the Straight Dope when I can get it right here on the Web for free?

Don't think this same question hasn't crossed the minds of the marketing geniuses at Straight Dope Enterprises. Here's the best answer we can give you right now:

Cecil's Brain
  1. On AOL you get to see a picture of Cecil's lifelike throbbing brain. Maybe it'll change your life. Or maybe it'll make you throw up. But you're not going to sit there and say, "Oh, yeah, a throbbing brain, plus a secondary closeup view complete with severed spinal cord. What else you got?"

  2. Unless you hacked your way in here with a pay phone and a taxi whistle, it's not like Web access is free. Probably you paid twenty bucks a month. Mr. Steve charges twenty bucks a month. Mr. Steve gives a chunk of that twenty bucks (a pathetically small chunk, but still) to us. Your ISP doesn't give us bleep. How fair is that?

    Cecil's Brain (archive topics)
  3. On the Web you have access to the past year's worth of the Straight Dope. On AOL you have access to the full range of Cecil's brilliance. OK, maybe not the FULL range. Right now you have access to maybe 25 percent of Cecil's lifetime output.

    But we're continually adding more, at the rate of one classic column per day. More than that and we'd risk blowing out the neurons of the many unfortunates as yet unacquainted with the truth that is Cecil. We'll have the entire collected works uploaded by, hmm, about the time Jesus comes again. But isn't that only fitting?

    AOL Straight Dope Message Board
  4. The Straight Dope on AOL offers message boards and chat sessions. Sure, you can post messages on here on the 'net. But AFCA readership consists entirely of, you know, mortals.

    Not saying Cecil scrutinizes every word that gets posted to the AOL SD message board. He does read a lot of it, though, and his army of lackeys reads (and often responds to) the rest. What's more, and this is no small thing, his lackeys are equipped with a button that enables them to make bad, dumb posts go away. It is very satisfying. It also spares you having to spend precious seconds of your life reading the ravings of nuts. Is this an advantage or what?

  5. E-mail to Cecil via AOL is more likely to get a response than 'net mail. This is because the likelihood of your getting a response via 'net mail is approximately zip. Nothing personal, it's just that there are twenty million of you and two of us. (Two Straight Dope mail slaves, that is. There is only one Master.)

    We're not saying the service via AOL is dramatically better but you do get a nice selection of automatic responses. ("Congratulations! You are the one millionth person to ask what three words end in G-R-Y. Please send us your address so we can burn down your house.") Also we have been known to jump requested old columns to the front of the upload queue.

  6. We need the dough. Look, we tied up traffic in New York for two hours looking for alligators in the sewers. (No jive.) Do you have any idea what that COST?

But you're saying: no way am I signing up for two Internet providers. And everybody knows Web access via AOL sucks. (Not entirely true, by the way. Through various miracles involving proxies, mirrors, and the fourth dimension, on some days for some things it's actually faster.)

No matter. Mr. Steve has thought of everything. If you already have an ISP all you have to do is pay an additional $10 a month for unlimited access to the Straight Dope, with the rest of AOL thrown in free. Look, you laid out 40 grand for college and all you can do is conjugate Spanish verbs. Ten bucks for us and you get TOTAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE UNIVERSE. And no danger of flashbacks next day. See for more.

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This page last built 11/23/96; 2:18:50 PM EST by MEJ.