"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 2 May 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run XXXII



We hope Colors's disavowal of

promotional value - it's "not a

catalog in disguise, or an

advertorial" - is a genuine

admission, and not just more

marketing doublespeak, 'cause

we've read the issues cover to

cover and we still don't own any

Benetton clothes. We'd rather

spend the money on the next

issue, anyway - if there is a

next issue. The scuttlebutting

across the coasts and oceans has

it that Founding Editor Tibor

Kalman, already having stepped

down as Editor-in-Chief, is

planning to leave the magazine

entirely, and that Colors might

not continue without him. We

hope the reason for the

magazine's demise aren't

connected to sartorial snobs like

us, more interested in Kalman's

visual acumen than Benetton's

mall chic. If the rumors are

true, we wonder what will become

of Fabrica, Kalman's exercise of

another kind of vision, a think

tank/design firm described as "a

place for sensing and

reassessing the future," where

we can "smell the new world

coming." Located in a

"restructured" 17th century

villa near Venice, Fabrica

sounds like a summer camp for the

digerati - will someone please

tell Mr. Kalman that we haven't

made our vacation plans yet?


[Cigar Journal]

More interesting (though far less

common) than the blurring of the

line between editorial and

advertising is the

all-too-regular occurrence of a

home page with stronger

editorial than most "content"

pages. With essays featuring

such first-person quirks as

Griffin, the journal's

"cigar-buddy," and a disavowal

of the writer being any kind of

"expert," The Cigar Journal is

less a journal in the stodgy

academic sense, and more a

journal in the plaid-covered

blank book from Borders sense.

But given a cultural climate

where even the most obscure

interest - like sipping

daiquiris, bowling, shooting

heroin, or changing the oil of

your car - turn into vaunted

"scenes," it's nice to see

somebody exploring commodity

fetishism just for the flavor.

Obviously, sometimes a cigar is

just a cigar - but when we find

ourselves barely noticing

technicalities such as a hideous

faux-ruled paper background, and

a liberal use of frames, it

might be more.



ABC News did a little Unabomber

bottom-feeding this week, airing

a "story" that Northwestern math

prof Don Saari did some

portentous face time with Ted

Kaczynski way back in 1978. Don

claims Ted unloaded on him about

having an anti-tech screed

rejected by other campus

professors. Mr. Saari told ABC

that he informed the FBI about

the meeting several times, but

they ignored him, and the

network hinted that the feds'

failure to follow-up allowed Ted

to vaporize a few individuals

and/or some of their favorite

body parts in the meantime.

Problem is, when Don approached

the FBI some sixteen years after

that soon-to-be fabled meeting,

the prof didn't remember Ted's

name, couldn't pick his face out

of any photos shown him, and later

failed to identify the mad

blaster from recent newsreels of

the guy being led away in cuffs.

The feds think Don may be in a

bit of a media swoon, and

apparently ABC got a whiff of

those vapors...



It's hard to decide which is more

unfathomable: the folks at

HotWired actually agreeing with

our focus-group suggestion that

their new Java-based Chat should

look to AOL Chat for

"inspiration," Suck plotting to

appropriate and pervert said

HotWired technology, or our

weak-kneed promises to blurb the

beast while it's in beta in

retaliation for the favor. Sure

to crash browsers the world

over, both the HotWired version

(which requires registration)

and the Suck version (which

won't) are guaranteed to

differentiate themselves with

smart, edgy conversation -

people talking with people about

things that really matter.

Uh-huh. Just remember, the

obnoxious loudmouths who seem to

repeat tenuous "scoops" over and

over are bots. (We're the

"friendly" ones.)



You like to tell about yourself

so that you can then be told

about yourself. You enjoy taking

personality inventories and

standardized tests, and most

often find the results to be

worthy of your time and

attention, although you don't

always put a lot of credence in

the results. You would tend to

think that filling out a

questionnaire in order to create

a "personalized online profile"

of your Web surfing habits is an

intriguing application of

technology. All in all, you move

efficiently across a fairly wide

range of online informational

and entertainment resources, and

try to give quality websites,

like Affinicast, a significant

amount of your time.

courtesy of the Sucksters