Metaphor overload

The Bloglines plumber
Neal Stephenson has written (here) about the almost obsessive need for metaphors we seem to have when it comes to technology.
Now, I read RSS feeds via Bloglines, and think the service excellent – fast, intuitive, and user-friendly within the limitations of the HTML asynch protocol (which, among other things, blanks out the list of unread blog entries, then retrieves them, ensuring that if something goes wrong in the download you cannot redo the command).
But whenever Bloglines is down, this image of a plumber comes up. And this is where metaphor overload comes in – what kind of system do they really have down there in the system basement, anyway?