As many of you have noticed, the Lounge has been down. It should be back up very soon. Therein lies a sad tale of greed, monopolies, unthinking bureaucracies, power, influence, and a regulatory system that's in sad need of repair.

Here's what happened. The PC that houses the Lounge (and all of is connected to a DSL line in the US that's operated by a company called Speakeasy. Speakeasy, in turn, leased the physical line from MCI. A couple of weeks ago, Verizon came in and bought all of the local circuits from MCI. Speakeasy didn't have a contract with Verizon, so we suddenly found ourselves without a DSL line, and no reasonable way to replace it.

Fortunately, Speakeasy and Verizon have come to a meeting of the minds, and we're about to get turned on again - but with a different address.

Don't know about you, but I think of Internet service being on a par with water, electricity, and the postal service. Imagine what would happen if the Postal Service suddenly decided to stop delivering mail in your neighborhood, then a couple weeks later decided they'd start delivering letters again, but at a different address.