"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 3 April 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.




It has a beginning and an end.

The middle's pretty weak,

though. "It's a manuscript with

a lot of holes," Alex Papas, a

Phoenix-based movie producer,

told The New York Times on

Tuesday. He was referring, of

course, to the 238-page

unfinished screenplay-cum-

manifesto that he was

still "massaging." Written

by several members of the

Heaven's Gate cult about their

"life and times," Papas had

prophetically optioned the

rights to the screenplay several

months ago for an undisclosed

sum. Though originally conceived

of as a recruiting device, given

recent events, the finished film

is likely to be, um, slightly

different. "It's a Hollywood

natural, if there ever was one,"

said Papas, plainly overjoyed at

the recent turn of events. Of

course, we see it as a small,

independent film with big balls

and true grit. (Crispin Glover

as Do, Frances McDormand as Ti,

Juliette Lewis as various female

cult members, and Geoffrey Rush

as the soporific applesauce.

Directed by Robert Rodriguez,

distribution by Miramax, product

placement by ... um, Reebok.)

It's got "Oscar potential"

written all over it.



ABC may have finally fished out

the corpse of dead-in-the-water

Murder One, but that doesn't

mean they've stopped seeking to

make a Mitford-like buck off the

dearly departed. Leaving LA, an hour-

long "drama with comedy" set in the

Los Angeles coroner's office,

will debut 12 April (the day

before what was to be Murder

One's season-finale miniseries).

The series' creator, Nancy

Miller, has her eyes wide open

to the possible pitfalls of

drawing warm bodies to cold

corpses, though, noting in a

Hollywood Reporter article that

"death is one thing we all have

in common and no one wants to

talk about." Which is just one

more thing that the Big Sleep

has in common with the Little

Death, as ABC found out when

Chrysler pulled its ads from the

30 April "coming out" episode of

Ellen, claiming that their move

is not so much in response to

the character's sexuality as it

is to the idea of dealing with

sexuality in general. Right.

There are no reports of sponsor

trouble at Leaving LA, thanks to

careful planning by Miller: "The

original title for our show was

Exit Elves.... The elves are

creatures who help us make our

exit from this world to the

next. But that scared the

networks, as did this whole

project." Good thing they didn't

go with the original title: Fate



[Alien Book]

It appears that profiteering on

passing is too rich for the

blood of many media outlets. How

else to explain the flimsy

disclaimer-slash-boast tacked

onto the press release we

received Thursday flacking Joe

Tripician's The Official Alien

Abductee's Handbook: "Written

before the Rancho Santa Fe

incident, there are several

prophetic chapters in The

Official Alien Abductee's

Handbook, including the history

of UFO cults in the US and the

lighter side of alien

abductions." Hey, we're

laughing already! But seriously,

folks, according to the release,

the only containers Tripician

suggests shedding are of the

fake-mixed-nut variety (er, no

pun intended), as he suggests

that "humor is the best defense

against [the] growing

phenomenon" of millennialism.

"Humor is always disarming,"

said Tripician. "It's an

effective, defensive stance

against millennium mania." But

will it work against the




As if vodka marketers didn't have

enough trouble convincing

barflies to distinguish between

their identical-tasting

products, last week's

leave-taking at Rancho Santa Fe

has cast a pall over the entire

industry. How do we put the zing

back into the potato-based

spirit? Marketing departments

might follow the lead of

Stolichnaya, which, according to

a local urban legend, pays

glamorous couples to drink its

vodkas as conspicuously as

possible in Manhattan bars. The

idea, borrowed from Letterman's

audience fluffers, is that the

bibulous hoity-toities will get

a Stoli frenzy going, sort of a

barroom equivalent of The Wave.

The company denies all

knowledge, of course, but

whether it's true or not, this

is the quintessential win-win

arrangement. If the story's

false, you can still clothe your

crapulous yelps for more Stolis

in an aura of mystery ("Is that

loudmouthed dipshit one of

those people?"). If it's true,

then the boozemeisters will

eventually realize, as the

owners of Cafe Tabac found out

long ago, that beautiful people

comprise only about .05 percent

of the market. If they really

want to get a Wave going,

they'll have to enlist the

schnooks, and that means

greenbacks for the rest of us.

Negroponte only envisions a day

when we'll be paid to surf.

Imagine getting paid for an

activity that's actually fun.



Old Sparky, as the inmates of

Florida State Prison refer to

that institution's electric

chair, overperformed once again

last week. In the smoky

aftermath of that gruesome event

(and, really, spontaneous

cranial combustion is just one

of the more visibly hideous

aspects of a process known as

"getting the electric enema"),

Florida lawmakers were left

contemplating more humane means

of inmate disposal. According to

state Representative Victor

Crist, the prison may adopt a

more customer-centric approach:

Under this plan, prisoners would

choose from a menu of potential

death options, including

electricity, gas, Kevorkian

cocktails, target practice, or

surprisingly enough, that old

favorite of the Jacobins, the

good old-fashioned guillotine.

The latter gets Crist's

endorsement; he calls it the

"least painful, most accurate

method" available. And, we would

add, the one with the best

pay-per-view and sponsorship

potential: This execution,

brought to you by Gillette.



Appropriately enough, some

historians link the tradition of

pulling pranks on the first day

of April to some people's

inability to get with the times.

In 1564, France adopted the

Gregorian calendar and shifted

what had been New Year's Day

from 1 April to the now-standard

1 January (think of Charles IX

as the Bill Gates of his era).

Loath to change, some

conservatives continued to

celebrate the "old" New Year.

The rest, as they say, is

history. The Washington Post, in an

example of the equally

traditional puff pieces which

herald yet another round of

low-key self-mocking, explained

further: "On April 1, in

derision, pranksters would send

the conservatives mock gifts and

make 'calls of pretend

ceremony.' Those who were slow

to modernize were called April

Fools or April Fish. Why fish?

No one knows, but some say it's

because April fish are easily

caught." Or maybe not, if you

take into consideration the

number of "loyal Suck readers"

(self-described) who failed to

catch onto Salmon Magazine's one

big joke. With the help of an

artfully interpreted reader

survey and some carefully edited

press coverage, we've been

trying to convince the marketing

department that Suck's readers

are some of the smartest

consumers on the Net, but when

you get a metaphorical mailbag

full o' inquiries wondering, "Did

you guys sell out or something,

do you really like the way this

looks?" and, in some ways more

alarming, thanking Sarah Yowl

"for finally stating that

criticism says more about its

purveyor than its object!... Can

I tell you the hours of argument

I've wasted over this?"... Well,

that's demographic information

we should probably keep to

ourselves. Confidential to "M"

at Hotmail.com, who wrote, "OK, I

may be an idiot but I can't find

that damn Beck interview from

Salmon 03/31. I looked in the

archive and couldn't find a link

to anything related to Beck."


May be an idiot?

courtesy of the Sucksters

Fish Image
The Fish

[Netscape Inbox Direct]

Barrel Image

The Barrel
[Predictions by Suck]

Gun Image
The Gun

Fish Teaser

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Other Work By
The Sucksters
Fresh Fish