"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 31 January 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Miss Sarajevo


[Opera House]

It's a tried-and-true gimmick of

TV news: if there's film of a

nighttime fire, it will be used.

That's why TV watchers around

the world know that La Fenice,

Italy's prettiest opera house,

perished by fire Monday. La

Fenice, "the Phoenix," has

burned to a crisp three times.


[Bono & Pav]

The business press is stoic. A

team-up's the answer! Sun buys

Apple - or is it the other way

around? Like Brian Eno playing

matchmaker between the

contrived, geriatric arena

rock of U2 and the sweet

tenor tones of Pavorotti, some

seem addicted to manufacturing

public lose-lose debacles. It's

easy to ignore that the fat lady

singing is actually an emaciated

Miss Sarajevo - who cares when

the pain-sharing's writ global?


But wait. Not so fast. According

to the New York Times, Scott

McNealy, the swain of Sun, has

an adage. "Get all the wood

behind one arrowhead." Though

vulgar, there's a certain

chivalry in its forthright

honesty. The hearty knight

prefers to count his change.

Meanwhile the heroine of

Cupertino has bared her breast

and waits for the shaft to




Apple has its fans and its

chroniclers. Many Macintosh

users are praying for rescue, as

are the yowling members of the

abused mob of Apple

shareholders, most of whom seem

to write for the Wall Street

Journal, where, in a mock-heroic

embodiment, they enjoy making

cruel reference to CEO Michael

Spindler's heart disease.


Nonetheless, not every match is

made in heaven. Some are just

cheesy fantasies. And there's

usually somebody happy to profit

from romantic desperation and

wishful thinking. We read

recently that Mr. McNealy's

price for the Apple was

$23/share, and that discussions

had shifted into the phase where

the "target company" is

evaluated on the basis of

post-breakup assets. At this

price, it looks less like a

romance than a cheap corner




The announcers on American sports

programs express their passion

for opera when, with the clock

ticking down and all hope and

interest crumbling, they say to

their television audience: "It

ain't over 'til the fat lady

sings." This translates,

roughly, to "Don't head for the

bathroom yet - there's plenty

more suffering yet to come."


Perhaps Apple will rise from the

ashes. There's a nice little

market in the publishing niche.

On the other hand, most operas

don't end happily.


On Thursday, La Boheme will open

in Turin, and we predict that

the knowledge of the Venice

conflagration will give the

audience an extra peck of

piquant pleasure, which its

members would naturally deny. At

the end of a few diverting

hours, Mimi will cough herself

to death.


Let's just be real about this,

okay? It's fun, from the

outside, to beat the drum and

watch a company expire.


Among the most famous dramas to

open at the now smoldering La

Fenice was Rigoletto, which

begins with a scene of triumph

and boasting and leads quickly

to a tragedy of rape, misery,

ill-fated revenge, and sad,

miserable, rain-dampened death.

The audience loves it.


[Apple Forever]

On Monday, Michael Spindler

delivered an extended aria in

the form of a full page ad in

the New York Times and Wall

Street Journal declaring "Apple



We wept. We clutched at our

bosoms. We bought the souvenir



She has sung. It was wonderful.

It was terrible.


[Next Story]

It's over. Go home.

courtesy of Dr. McLoo