"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 1 August 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run XLV



Fresh in their new corporasphere,

the Sucksters have been found:

undergarments hideously soiled,

trembling under their desks in

paroxysms of paranoia. The Fear

has struck: what happens to

embittered cynics when the

targets of their derision get

wise to the game? The catalyst

for our cold sweat was the news

that Individual Inc., purveyors

of SMART Technology [tm], last

week made the bogglingly

judicious move to suggest a

"leave of absence" of their CEO,

Yosi Amram. Reports indicate

that the decision was reached

over disagreements on acquisition

policy, but the only recent

acquisition we recall Individual

making was their

era-definingly irresponsible

$38 mil buyout of FreeLoader, a

screen-saver tool witlessly

designed for a hitherto

undiscovered demographic: people

frustrated with wasting too much

time downloading webpages on

their corporate T1s. Was it the

dull thud of the measly 30,000

downloads, the dog-whistle poof

of 1.9 million options vanishing

into thin air, or the first

affirmation of a twelve-step plan

away from receding

profitability? Little matter.

We're mortified to think that

common-sense may have started

spreading virus-like through the

industry - like Raid, it might

be the only thing that'll kill

Suck dead.


[Cancer Sticks]

Ah, back to the Basics. Whether

you're in Newport, Winston, or

Salem, what True red-blooded

American wouldn't go Pall Mall

over the opportunity to save a

few Bucks on a carton of

Marlboros? From our Vantage

point, both the Big Chief

Smokeshop and Eagle Enterprise

deserve a Merit badge: the utter

simplicity of the bald- (if not

pale-) faced pitch - get the

Best Value by gipping Uncle Sam

and ordering your cigs off

Indian land - is enough to makes

us Misty-eyed. And to think that

some people would claim this

country's going Dunhill.



The clean-and-jerk - it's an

Olympic sport and a summertime

ritual, as audiences are forced

to Herculean extremes in

suspending the weight of

disbelief. To their collective

credit, the masses seem

reluctant to heft the dead mass

(if not the dead masses) of the

latest releases, so maybe a

Bantam-class thriller like Chain

Reaction doesn't even have a

chance. After all, what's more

improbable than "a visionary team

of research scientists who have

discovered the key to a cheap,

pollution-free energy?" Well,

maybe that Keanu Reeves is on

that team. Oddly, it's not just

Fox Pictures who are hoping

we'll buy into this scheme - so

is the University of Chicago,

wishing, perhaps that The Wooden

One will bring some attention to

the school so insecure that

students claim "Not a State

School" is the unofficial motto.

Hope it works out for everyone

involved, but someone should

tell Rupert Murdoch that U of C

is most famous for helping to

develop the bomb.



Robert Downey Jr. reportedly

worked himself up with a brand

of smack called Red Rum, but

John Q. Public has been

mainlining Old Glory, thanks to

the patriotism-pushing folks at

NBC. Now, if anything gives us

the nods quicker than a trend

piece on heroin chic, it's

another tired rant about the

media-industrial complex cooking

pure profits with the Olympic

flame. Which is why - amid the

star-spangled melodrama and

pedal-to-the-medal count,

gold-shoe Shaq-fu - we're

already jonesing for the

prurient play-by-play of

composer-cum-commentator John

Tesh. It was easy to dismiss his

off-the-cuff mention of

tesh.com as broadcast banter

filling space between salacious

sputterings on the Belarussian

Swan. Turns out the tumblers

weren't the only ones parading

around their god-given talents:

"Web friends" get Tesh's

RealAudio welcome to "music,

contests, giveaways,

information, and merchandise...

an ongoing journey of online

services." We know Big John's

carrying a torch for the Goddess

of Gymnastics - could be a lucky

winner gets to help him help

Svetlana really stick her


courtesy of the Sucksters