"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 4 July 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run XLI


Tragicomedy: it's not only our

favorite genre, it's the story

of our lives. Usually, we grin

and bear it as well as we share

it, but twisted justice has a

way of getting old - the first

time you catch a peek of a

Darwin fish on the crumpled tail

of totalled Honda

Civic-cum-blood-sausage, it's

quite the laff riot, but after a

while it's just grisly and

depressing. Lately, that's the

way we've been feeling, after

receiving multiple reports of

ostensibly savvy, long-time Suck

readers who, after forty-two

weeks in a row, still haven't

figured out that we do Hit and

Runs (HARs) every Thursday.

Y'know, Hit and Runs - those

collections of snide little

paragraph-long expectorations on

the petty criminals who add

color to the Web (hint: you're

reading one right now). Well,

we've had it. As of today, we're

twisting this stateside

Independence Day weekend into

our own petty emancipation

proclamation: Independence from

Humanity. And as we root for the

aliens and pray for world

destruction, those of you

uninspired enough to be trapped

online over this holiday will be

subjected to not one, not two,

but FOUR days of the same damn

Hit and Run. So, on (and on and

on) with the show...


[Naughty Banner]

One way to rip off the big boys

without fear of reprisal is to

venture into a niche so

nefarious no mainstream player

would ever seek to sully its

brand by insinuating itself

there. Comdex has little cause

to expend any litigious energy

in dealing with knock-off,

spin-off, beat-off Adultdex. The

big-name movie studios needn't

bother harassing those who title

their films with phrases like

"Tool of the Nile" or "Romancing

the Bone"; such action would

just generate unseemly

attention. Similarly, there's

little reason everyone's

favorite hierarchical catalog of

the Internet would bother

opposing an index with a similar

look and feel - as long as it's

trying to grope a decidedly

different demographic. Some make

their fortunes on the leading

edge, but others live quite well

about Fortune's privates. In

fact, there's no good reason

those who index the slimy

underbelly of the Web - or,

wait, is that a belly? - can't

roll their well-lubricated

bodies in lucre as well. Given

the ready supply of horny,

deep-pocketed Web-explorers and

the resultant potential for

growth, the next question should

be obvious: When will Naughty

Linx's pubic offerings be taken

out of the hands of (ahem)

private speculators, for some

public action?



Every media has its share of

critics, though only recently

have any of the online variety

seen any of the green. (We all

secretly chuckled when The

Economist referred to us as

"probably profitable".) The

latest scheme to rake in the

tall dollars has been launched

on the Web, with a direct mail

campaign that opens with the

line "Our spider (while crawling

the Web) discovered that you

have spelling errors on your

home page." If WebEditors can

make a nickel off every

misspelled word on the net, our

plans to gross a buck from every

lame net.presence pale by

comparison. Of course, we

wouldn't dream of taking them up

on their offer - the spelling

errors are the interactive

component of Suck - and it only

takes a dictionary to play!



It's the savvy pundit who

declares any new trend little

more than a passing fad -

whether it's Rubik's Cube, MSN,

or "digital convergence," nine

times out of ten, you'll end up

right on the money - so why wait

for the fat lady to sing when

you can enroll her in Jenny

Craig? In that fine tradition,

allow us to introduce to you

Ahoy!, The Homepage Finder,

which uses agent technology to

process search engine results in

order to produce matches which

are, more likely than not, home

pages - which begs the question,

of course, of why anyone would

want to find anyone else's home

page. Don't we run across enough

of them as it is? And what at

first glance may be a terrific

new aid to stalkers along the

lines of switchboard.com, is, on

further reflection, a technology

that's fairly oblivious to the

needs of obsessive observers -

after all, homepages only reveal

those sordid little details that

their authors want you to know

about - a fairly poor method for

discovering your coworker's anal

intrigues. Our epiphany of

homepage homeostasis was made

only too poignant when we ran a

search on Kevin Kelly - hoping,

of course, for the definitive

Absolut Kelly, instead we were

led, innocently enough, to his

actual home page - sure, Ahoy!

dropped anchor, but it left us

high and dry, far from the 'Bot

Bar. Intelligent agents and

smart filtering? We'll stick to

the stupid pills, thank you, and

take our chances with URouLette.



Thank God for Money. Between

their helpful list of the "Best

Places to Live" and U.S. News

and World Report's annual lists

of top schools, we know where we

stand in the world. Naturally,

the statistics they use to

determine the rankings for the

best places are so scientific

they're way over our heads - to

think that a city's "quality of

life" can be determined just by

combining four stats: number of

doctors per 100k people, number

of library books per capita,

number of four and five-star

restaurants, and average commute

time! Although we don't commute

or go to doctors, libraries, or

high-quality restaurants, at

least now we know why our lives

are so pitifully low-quality.

courtesy of the Sucksters