"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 22 May 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run LXXXV


[The WB Frog]

The recent announcement that Tom

Arnold and Seinfeld producer

Carol Leifer will get sitcoms

on the WB Network this fall hints

at a new strategy for the

fledgling network's fourth full

night of programing: Get whitey.

Following the Fox paradigm,

programming aimed at black kids -

oops, we mean, "urban youth"

is fine when launching a baby

network, targeting an audience

hungry for representation that

no one serves unless they have

to. Remember Roc and In Living

Color? Now it's Melrose Place

and The X-Files, neither of

which even has a major black

character. Once established, the

idea is to drop black shows and

go for a more upscale market,

i.e., The Man. Yes, the WB is

humming, to the point where the

only one sweating over there

these days is their mascot, the

WB Frog, whose new Q rating doesn't

cut it with women over 40.


[That Guy Deutch]

For people in the know, there's

nothing like a hit off the dummy

pipe to get the creative juices

flowing. And since last year, we

got a patriotic shiver knowing

we had The Man to thank for our

glassy-eyed euphoria. So the

CIA's refusal to take credit for

the great crack scandal has

always been puzzling. Even more

puzzling is why, if John Deutch

wants to dismiss the legendary

San Jose Mercury News story,

he's done such a clumsy job of

it. The CIA already has a

perfect alibi - blithering

incompetence. The former director

should have enlisted Chris

Carter to do a parodic X-Files

on the matter, rather than

trusting establishmentarians

like The Times and The Washington Post

to pick apart the story's boring details.

Since Merc editor Jerry Ceppos's

not-quite retraction, the papers

of record have been scratching

their heads that all those

pigheaded Slothrops outside the

Beltway still aren't convinced.

This "Well, I never!" routine

reached its apotheosis last

week, appropriately enough, in

Microsoft's workfare project for

Washington types. The winking

paranoid's roundup offered by

the lovely and talented Slate

intern Karenna Gore only whetted

our appetites for more sordid

stories. If They need to sic the

vice president's daughter on us,

you know something stinks.



In their efforts to establish

themselves as the world's

premiere pushers of "information

products," Amazon and Barnes &

Noble are battling over a

meaningless slogan that does

little to convey whatever truly

relevant advantages they offer

consumers. Indeed, who cares who

has the most books? With the

overwhelming majority of their

sales coming from a relatively

small number of titles, why are

these companies crafting slogans

that appeal to such a minor

segment of their market? Oh,

well. On the Web, more is more

now, even if it really isn't.

Consider Tower Records, where

the top 1,000 records are always

on sale. Reduced prices and the

ability to listen to 30-second

audio clips sounds like a

winning combination;

unfortunately, if you ever want

to hear something that hasn't

received lots of radio or MTV

play already, chances are no

audio clip exists for it. We

prefer RareMusic, which offers

896 fewer "top records" per

month, but, amazingly enough, a

more diverse selection. This

month's songs include Bo

Diddley's challenge to Nikita

Khrushchev, "El Torito" from the

Guitar Ramblers (the rights to

which Quentin Tarentino and

Miller Lite's advertising agency

are probably fighting over at

this very minute), and also a

cut from the predecessor of

techno - a 1950s album called

Music from Mathmatics, which

features the way-ahead-

of-its-time melodies of an

IBM 7090.


[It's A Fantastic Pattern]

We've all been there: Astride the

toilet, face strained in an

involuntary moue of

concentration more physical than

mental, eyes focused on a middle

distance and receptive to visual

suggestion, we suddenly see

something familiar.

Psychologists, in fact, believe

such moments are an optimum time

to experience pareidolia, that

unconscious tendency to perceive

faces in wallpaper patterns or

linoleum tile. If you're Oxford

mathematician and

internationally known belletrist

Roger Penrose, however, you may

be on the lookout for other

things, like copyright

infringement. As was recently

noted in Science magazine,

Penrose is preparing to wipe his

ass with Kimberly Clark Ltd. -

the British subsidiary of the

US-based company responsible for

tissue-paper noserags and other

products - because he believes

his nonrepeating Penrose

pattern has been unscrupulously

embossed on unnumbered rolls of

toilet paper without permission.

The case is certain to lift the

level of recent toilet-related

news items above the

sophistication of Jenny

McCarthy's panties and Andrea

Kurtz's micturation, but we're

wondering how Penrose will

narrate the moment of


courtesy of the Sucksters

Fish Image
The Fish

[Netscape Inbox Direct]

Barrel Image

The Barrel
[Predictions by Suck]

Gun Image
The Gun

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Other Work By
The Sucksters
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