"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 29 August 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run XLIX



John Williams's departure from

Slate last week has got everyone

confused about whether this is

news of a successful product

placement, or triumphant

headhunting safari. The former

Microsoft publisher first made

contact with Starbucks to

negotiate a highly provocative

deal for distribution of Slate

in hard copy. Williams, who has

suffered Michael Kinsley's

complaints about lagging ad

sales for all of two months, no

doubt caught sight of the tip

jar in a Redmond cafe, and

destiny led him by the

pocketbook. It may be relevant

to note that "www.starbucks.com"

still hasn't made an appearance,

underscoring the trickle-down -

or perhaps automatic-drip -

theory of online revenue

generation: the Web may come or

go (like, for instance,

Starbucks's other cross-platform

percolation), but you can set

your watch by the legions of new

media dweebs ordering up their

double lattes every morning.



Now that Seagram is advertising

www.rum.com (ahead of the site

actually being complete), we

decided to pile into the car

Friday night and take a tour of

intoxicant domain names:

beer.com, wine.com, bourbon.com,

whiskey.com, vodka.com,

martini.com, margarita.com,

marijuana.com, pot.com, grass.com,

cocaine.com, blow.com, crack.com,

meth.com, crank.com, lsd.com,

acid.com, heroin.com, horse.com,

smack.com. They're all out

there, registered if not

actually in use. By the time we

finished, we were way too wasted

to try looking up sex sites.



Miramax execs are in need of some

self-medication themselves these

days: Trainspotting rang in at

only $9.3 million after six weeks

in the U.S., which makes it the

most hyped tripe to flail on the

silver screen since The Last

Action Hero put Sony execs in

the whorehouse. How could a

fast-paced tale of junky youth

that garnered over $17 million in

the U.K. (the U.K. for

chrissakes!) flounder in a

nation increasingly known for

its heroin habit? Don't the

people want style over script,

dead-baby clips, cheap

gender-gap jokes, and Yet

Another Kicking Scene, combined

to create a thoroughly

unexceptional waste of celluloid

(see also: a really crap film)?

Throw in Ewan McGregor's

next-big-thing status and a

promotional budget rumored to

have exceeded total sales thus

far, and it's enough to make

most movie execs turn tail and

flee straight back to action

thrillers and cute animal

vehicles, once and for all.



Or maybe those cute animal

vehicles aren't such a good idea

after all. In June, the Jurassic

Park ride at Universal Studios

was shut down for several hours

after two passengers were doused

with hydraulic fluid, and just

last week, two boats crashed

into each other. This week, a

"disturbed" guest of the park

attempted to swim with the dinos -

almost as touching as Free

Willy, but it's probably not a

good idea to option the story

just yet, as the Drudge Report

informs us even the park

employees are nervous: "This

ride is jinxed." You have to

wonder why this kind of thing

doesn't happen to the

Waterworld ride.

courtesy of the Sucksters