"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 9 November 1995. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run VIII

[Cyborganic Gardens]

As most ISPs slash rates and

squeeze profits in the Internet

connectivity price wars - and

with the regional bells close on

their heels - a few providers

have chosen to take the high road,

obliging people to pay slightly

higher rates based on service,

support, or snob appeal (i.e.,

"community"). EchoNYC, our

second favorite BBS-turned-ISP,

was one of the first to

successfully make Internet dial

tone into a party line, but the

SF-based Cyborganic Gardens now

ups the ante. The newly revamped

Cyborganic hopes to provide

Internet access as well as deliver

on the not-so-"fantastic"

"paradox" of marketing "a cool

place to geek out." It's a good

formula - contrast EchoNYC's book

readings to Cyborganic's dinners.

While Steve Case may want to

make us "grassroots" Netizens

of GNN, Cyborganic hopes to give

us "not just a home page," but

"a home." How's that for

value-added? [What is this

Candyland crap? And what's

with the "quotes" on

"everything"? - Duke]



It doesn't matter how old or how

jaded you've come to be, chances

are you can still muster a

little excitement over a new toy -

provided it strokes your fancy

in just the right way. For some

of us, that transcendental tickle

is a world away...in Japan, for

instance. JoyClub's page is more

or less gibberish to us but the

pictures tell a clear story: one

that speaks of catering to the

refined sensibilities of people

who shop as hard as they



[Disembodied Hand]

JoyClub is full of

brightly-colored, seemingly

child-oriented autoerotic

accoutrements that, though

clearly intended to relieve men

of sexual tension, would seem to

defy erections in their

garishness. The lead product,

looking uncannily similar to a

medium-sized Slurpee, seems to

be offering an entirely

different strain of design

elegance while living up to the

moniker in a way the beverage

never could. For some really

twisted engineering, scroll down

the JoyClub page and try to

imagine how the instructions for

the disembodied woman's hand

would read...we like to think

of ourselves as clever boys, but

this one's left us a little

(here it comes...) stumped.


[Advice Columns]

One of the rich ironies in the

meteoric rise of the Suck brand [tm]

is watching as the confused

media elite actually turns to us

for morsels of wisdom - as if

we've somehow got clues to

spare. Haven't we always advised

against trusting transparently

self-promoting Web gurus with

their Jerry Lewis approaches to

media theory? Some folks never

learn - and like cynical

beachfront palm-readers, who are

we to keep 'em from placing

their confidence in con-men?

That's why we're here, after



[Ask Mr. Bad Advice]

It's really not that surprising,

then, that one of the hottest

new Web conceits is the

tried-and-true advice column.

Think Ask Beth without the keen

social insight or a less

SAT-damaged Ask Marilyn - advice

columns fulfill the role drunken

friends have been serving for

eons by providing vacuous

answers to difficult questions,

begging off on the question of

credentials or qualifications

entirely (as only a shit-faced

pal can and should). As with

every other puerile gimmick that

hits our browsers, we'd co-opt

it if we could. Unfortunately,

we've got two strong

counter-incentives: too little

time, and too much capable

competition. With sage

modern-day Solomons like Mr. Bad

Advice around, the greatest

public service we can muster is

to keep our damn stink-holes

clamped shut.


[Acme Pet]

"File Not Found" is all we get

for today's Cool Pet Site of the

Day. We might ask what's up in

the Paw-Wow Chat Room, which

features "real-time chatting

with pet enthusiasts from around

the world," but that doesn't

appear to be up, either. And

what of the Acme Pet Bulletin

Board? Since it's too early for

the attack of the leftover

Thanksgiving Day turkey, we'll

assume the microwave kitty

brigade smoked 'em.

- Sucksters