Last night I was surfing the web and came across a news story titled Ten Things Americans Waste the Most Money On from a web site called 24/7 Wall Street. I’ll save you the trouble of reading the story: we Americans waste our money (in monetary order from most to least) on restaurants, gifts, audio/video equipment, pets, hotels, entertainment admission fees, alcohol, sporting goods, tobacco, and apparel. Or in other words eating, having family and friends, enjoying music, having a dog or cat, experiencing the world, knocking back a dirty martini, exercising, and replacing our worn-out clothing is a frigging waste of money.

Just shoot me.

If we didn’t spend all that money what would happen? The way the folks at 24/7 Wall Street evidently see it, we’d be better-off because we wouldn’t be wasting so much money. Of course being such careful spenders would not only make us dull and uninteresting as Hell, it would also destroy our economy.

Great advice coming from a financial site.

So I ask you, what was the point of this story? The only point I can see is that 24/7 Wall Street writes it and, according to their web site, the story is then syndicated to, AOL Finance, BloggingStocks, The Wall Street Journal Online, MarketWatch, StockHouse, MSN Money, AOL Finance, Daily Finance, (TIME.COM!!!), and

They publish it, we read it and someone makes money.

A pox on all these publications. They should be ashamed to print such garbage.

This story is less than air, it is vacuum — words stuck together and published solely to fool dopes like me into being exposed to ads. And while one might argue that it has always been so, well I don’t think it was ever quite this bad.

I don’t want to pick on 24/7 Wall Street too much, but they did write the story so here goes.

The story is crap and those who wrote it are hypocrites. For one thing they somehow excluded from their list of wasted money anything having to do with their own line of business. No publishing is mentioned other than cable TV. The Internet, newspapers, magazines (all sites in the 24/7 Wall Street syndicate), and books are never mentioned.

I certainly spend far more each year on computer equipment and Internet service than I do on audio-visual equipment, which is right up there on the 24/7 waste list. For that matter I spend more on newspapers, magazines, books, and telephone service, too, which aren’t mentioned at all.

Whether these oversights are intentional or inadvertent doesn’t really matter: the story has no substance and no value, none.  No wonder it was aggregated (but not paid for) by the Huffington Post.

We used to talk about having 100 channels but nothing to watch on TV, and now the same thing seems to be happening to Internet news. News is being search-engine-optimized to heck and back with the result that it is harder and harder to find anything worth reading on the Net that doesn’t come through a major portal.

Yet here’s a funny thing, this rag you are reading now — I, Cringely — can’t even be found in many search engines because Google won’t index me as either news or a blog. Weird, eh? Hundreds of thousands of people manage to find these words but they have to do it despite the Internet, not because of it.

You may wonder why I don’t just submit my content to Google and ask them to index me. I have, dozens of times. A few times I’ve even been indexed for a week or more, but then I always fall off. This happens today at but it happened, too, back at PBS where I used to have the network’s legal department contact Google on a regular basis to no avail.

Clearly I have enemies, terrible luck, or what I write is simply without value.

As it is, the only way I can get in Google News is by having some other indexed site quote me.

Yet there is 24/7 Wall Street, indexed all over the web and telling us we’ll be fine as long as we don’t eat don’t have fun, and above all don’t buy anything.

You can’t miss it.