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March 17, 2013

KNISELY: Is it me or just a virus?

— I opened up Thursday’s paper and found something so cool I just had to have it. On the Life & Style page, we featured a story about making your office your own and showing your personality through unique decorations. For anyone who’s stopped by my office, you know I’ve got that covered.

What I don’t have is the amazing tea cup in the picture. It’s clearly vintage and bears a winking woman’s face. I want one.

So I get to Googling, thinking it’s a long shot. I start with very vague queries: winking+

woman+cup+vintage. One search result would offer a new clue, which I would add to the next search. A handful of searches later, I found it!

Turns out the tea cup dates back to the early 1950s. It was a promotional Lipton Tea cup produced in Staffordshire, England. They were made in male and female versions, but I didn’t like the guy one so much as the girl I saw in the paper.

I found the cup’s dimensions, learned it was featured on a television show in the ’50s, and there were reproductions of sorts made in the 1990s in China as a premium product for Bailey’s Irish Creme.

I found there had been several for sale on different sites, but couldn’t find any available now. I was bummed I couldn’t order one now, but at least I have a new reason to hit the vintage and antique stores!

Struck by how I was able to find the item on the Internet with so little to go on, I was thinking I would write this week’s column about how wonderful of a tool the Internet is.

And then it happened.

My screen went black and a notice from the Department of Homeland Security took over. It seems I had visited an unauthorized site and now I was facing a $300 fine or my computer would not be relinquished to me. It even had a handy box to add my account information to pay said fine.

It seems I caught a virus from the tea cup.

I called someone smarter than me to fix it. While he was working, a columnist came in to check on his weekly submission.

Since my computer was out of commission, I went to another computer in the newsroom to check on it. When I tilted the screen upward to see better, it went black and then slowly came back on. That was weird. No luck on the email, but he brought a flash drive with him. I went to another computer to download the file. I hit a button to wake it up. When it came up, it crashed.

I started to entertain the idea that the computer virus somehow had infected me personally, but I wasn’t convinced that was possible.

One thing, though, was certain.

I axed the idea of telling you all how wonderful the Internet is.

Misty Knisely is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. Reach her at 574-732-5155 or at


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