Those tantalizers — beckoning online websites

McZENA MUSE - Louise Swartzwalder


I am being taunted by a monster I created myself.

You think consulting sites on the web that you find interesting is in your best interest.

O fool that I am.

When you have a job being a powerful journalist (that was meant as a joke) you have down time.

Yes, you have meetings to attend. But in between meetings and interviews and traveling about for photos, there is inevitably time that is not used.

What to do?

I like to consult sites that talk about things I love — cars, travel, food and cooking.

Did you know that the all-consuming internet knows every little thing about you?

You flirt with one zany website and because of the phenomenon called cookies they have your number. The negative side of all that works like this.

At work, you send an email to someone and they take forever to get back to you. You try to reconcile what is necessary since you managed to ding up your car. (snow and ice can be unhealthy).

You wait for the next meeting.

So there you are, looking at travel sites.

The people at Taos New Mexico know I love them. I once skied there, and it was beyond fantastic. There is nothing like knowing you can actually conquer a very steep mountain.

So the people from Taos say hello. Shouldn’t I be buying my all season lift tickets in advance so I can get a price break?

The people at Bon Appetit love me, too. I formerly consulted that magazine a lot when I had a food business in Washington, D.C. That publication has some phenomenal ideas for buying, preparing and finishing. Not to mention presenting.

I don’t mind Bon Appetit so much. Their information isn’t so pushy as other sites. They just try to tantalize you with glistening photos of the most delicious fresh pasta you could ever make.

Then, one of the great loves of my life: cars.

I came by car love from my dad. John Swartzwalder, an exemplary businessman and farmer, had exquisite taste in vehicles. Tractors, trucks, farm equipment, of course. But he had a rule that he would have to get a new passenger vehicle every two years.

In those days, dad would always invest in an Oldsmobile.

Now, I know most people don’t think those are too special.

But the eyes of a small girl child would open wide at consideration of a new luxury vehicle.

Now here’s a good one.

When I was old enough, having graduated from college and landed my first full time real job, I could get a car.

Dad was diligent about this, too.

He went to a trusted dealership in Loudonville and signed me up for a used boat of a car.

It was a huge Pontiac. Very good, very reliable. And it would haul all my possessions to Des Moines, Ia.

The Pontiac worked. It was very heavy, very long. But I kept thinking of having something a little racier.

A guy I dated loved cars, too. He loved to go to driving rallyes. The idea was to follow a course and do it in the most precise time possible. I joined him in those events.

An engineer, he would use a stopwatch to clock our time and I would drive.

We got lots of trophies.

He thought I should get another vehicle, though I had moved up slightly to a Corvette.

He was an advocate of Porsche beauties.

I bit on that, and got a Porsche two liter 914. That was a mid-engine car, and I got it in a bright green. Could that baby move? In Des Moines, we had bad winters. (and you thought Ohio was bad).

My mid-engine could go anywhere.

Getting a little bored with just a two liter, my guy (later husband) decided I should get a Targa.

This kind of car had to be ordered from the Porsche people in Germany. I ordered a beauty, and we tracked its production. At that time we were able to afford a trip to Stuttgart, the home of Porsche. There was a treffen to Stuttgart, known to Porsche aficionados. We traveled there, visited the Porsche factory.

We even visited a Mercedes Benz factory. One of my proud possessions after that trip was a grey and blue roll of toilet paper, courtesy of the Mercedes people.

The Porsche people were more than accommodating. They fed us, and allowed us to be driven on something called the hochenheimring.

This was the race track, where cars would show what they could deliver.

Those experiences — breath taking.

To say my love affair with Porsche products is minor is to be really unrealistic.

I kept that Targa until two years ago, when I decided I needed to get a newer all wheel drive vehicle.

Now, it is a Cayenne. She is a hot white beauty.

And, my computer knows I frequently consult the website for my Porsche dealer.

Today, in the space of about ten minutes, the ads for that particular dealership popped up over, and over, and over.

A determined little person, I informed the ad meisters on my computer that my inquisitive nature had been sated.

Now, what will tomorrow bring?


Louise Swartzwalder