"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 16 August 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.




"My friends slapped me and poured

water over my head, all

basically trying to revive me."

So Phil Anselmo of Pantera

recalled his five minutes of

downtime, as in he took too much

heroin in Texas and his heart

and brain went limp. Pantera is

a number-one-selling heavy metal

grunt act, unknown to you

because those of their fans who

can type are connected to AOL,

whose own problems with brain

death last week were only 18

hours, 40 minutes more

significant than Anselmo's.


[Guess Kids]

The mosquito-like AOL start-up

disk clinging to September's

interactivity fan mag Harper's

promises a "Free Poster" to hang

next to the shirtless David Lee

Roth in your bedroom

workstation. This is a ruse that

only a freelancer or an art

student would call a gift, one

step lower in value than Guess

Jeans' delayed theft of the

Calvin Klein





The net is a now a veritable rock

star, prone to vanity, excess,

and delusions of

invulnerability. That explains

why the typical site changes its

garments no more often than

Michael Stipe. Unfortunately,

geological shit happens, and

industries based on fault lines

like San Francisco fall into the

the sea all the time. (We're

talking about multimedia now,

not Jerry Garcia.) Seven Western

states without electricity last

weekend, and you're basing your

future fantasies on what? Not

that Martians are exactly immune

to rock-oriented misfortunes,

but you'd do better to invest in

hypothetical space aliens - you

know, someone who can hold their



If you're judging the health of

our networks with a stethoscope,

you'd better have a tough

ticker, or the stuttering and

murmurs might make you nervous.

Smart investors coo over an

Internet provider that averages

60 percent access, but in school

that's an F+, and the hospital

would already have a priest on

hold. Our net may have been

built to survive nuclear war,

but so was the afterparty at the




Question is, if the net OD's on

Java and intravenous IPOs, does

it pass away silently like

Smashing Pumpkins keyboardist

Whatsisname, or does it create a

suburban cult of mourning a la

Kid Cobain? A high-profile

suicide would be the quickest

insurance payoff for that

overvalued paper Uncle Sid

bought last spring, but good

luck getting credit card numbers

back from the breathless

purveyors of MFFF shots and

South American execution




Of course, when Suck, Stim, and

Spiv tumble into the water,

there'll be plenty of time to

listen to Pantera's hateful new

death-oriented album or head to

the movies to watch Snake

Plissken bulk-erase a bunch of

tech inferiors from the back of

his surfboard. Just yesterday, I

saw Courtney Love in a New York

train station, brandishing a

rolled-up Escape from L.A.

advert and with her hair dyed a

mournful black. Maybe nobody

told her AOL is back up and

rant-ready, or that Nirvana has

a new posthumous record due out

later this month.


Seeing the Widow Cobain cured me

of my sex on the Internet

monomania, and reminded me that

death sells pretty well, too. In

terms of access, a 19-hour coma

is kind of exciting - that not

being "Welcome"-d to AOL is a

thrill-a-minute rollercoaster

ride of binary proportions,

especially with the health of

the stock market on its hands.

Sickness gives people something

to chat about, and makes the

reunion act of connection all

the more exciting. On the bright

side, a lot of lonely people

saved $56 in hourly fees.



It's possible that the government

could regulate Internet service

providers to require service

standards like a phone company,

but the RNC and DNC have picked

up enough votes from the

graveyard already. Still,

national health care for

cyberspace is better than none.

When a decent-sized chunk of the

net eventually does go down,

look for a new monument across

from the Vietnam Memorial, "The

Sem@err.re," where the numbered

plots are duly Compuserved.



Plenty of protesting webheads

last winter went for a 24-hour

anticensorship die-in, changing

their site backgrounds to black.

Most liked the dire effect so

much they never went back,

keeping a blue ribbon around,

too, for a nice bruised effect.

It's not the death of the net

we're worried about, it's the

growing cult of the Death of the



We're just trying to slap you and

pour water over your head, all

basically trying to revive you.

courtesy of the DJ Abraham Lincoln