"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 20 November 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CIX


[walking - you watch everyone else do it, but what do you look like strolling down the street?]

A major undercover story on just

the sort of subject that's bound

to get netizens emailing their

compatriots with news of its

publication? Complete with all

the interactive, multimedia

trappings the Web can offer?

Presented by the San Jose

Mercury News? It must be the

much-anticipated followup to

Gary Webb's Dark Alliance

series, right?


Um, not quite. Mission

Impertinent, the Mercury's

latest effort at inventing a

"new way of telling stories

online," focused on a decidedly

less controversial subject -

management gullibility in the

face of consultant shamanism

(with an emphasis on the

"sham"). The premise: Could

Dilbert creator Scott Adams,

posing as freestyle marketing

fop Ray Mébert, coax a

conference room's worth of

LogiTech wetware into writing a

preposterous mission statement

before they saw through his

preposterous disguise? The

obvious denouement: Of course he

could. And it was no great

revelation, either, that many of

the duped executives turned out

to be hard-core Dilbert fans;

their apathetic deference in the

face of Adams' half-convincing

improvisations simply showed

that his dogged efforts to

promote corporate inertia have

been an unqualified success.


[someone once told me i looked like an ostrich when i walked.  i think its because of my height - 5ft 10in ]

Theoretically, shopping on the

Web is supposed to let you

make rational, well-informed

buying decisions. But, really,

isn't that antithetical to the

true pleasure of shopping? In

this respect, the Web offers

more steps backward than forward

- who wants to feel guilty for

making mindless, emotion-driven

purchases when all that

comprehensive product

information is only a

mouse-click away? No wonder

shopping on the Web isn't what

it could be.


Enter Shopping Lab, a new site that

evaluates Web commerce sites by

actually purchasing products

from them, so you don't have to.

While Shopping Lab has so far

chosen to focus on rather

mundane items - joysticks,

keyboards, modems, etc. - the

premise behind the site is sound

enough to expect a quick flurry

of imitators. And when such

sites start offering

comprehensive recommendations

regarding where to purchase

items that the typical Web user

is truly interested in, like,

say, smart drugs or the

increasingly popular RealDoll,

then Web commerce may finally

match the expectations of the



[since that snide comment, i have made valient efforts to keep my head up straight, shoulders back and legs walking in a smooth and controlled motion - kind of like using the cybex at the gym huh?]

It was a "tragedy." It was

"grotesque." It was a dog bite.

One of the nation's most

respected newspapers rolled out

the thunder sheet this week to

alert the world to a

story that must have been,

judging by the hold-the-presses

adjectives and the solemn

invocation of the t-word, pretty

damn big. The story: A dog

wandered into a house through an

unguarded pet door and

"viciously chewed" the foot of

an unnamed woman, who had been

in a deep coma for several

years. She was taken to the



Unfortunate? Bloody? Of course.

But a tragedy? The

overwroughtness of this kind of

writing brings to mind an actor

who enters screaming, then has

to build through three acts to

the climactic scene. Once you've

called a dog bite a "tragedy" -

even a bad dog bite, inflicted

upon a defenseless person - what

language do you use to describe

a plane crash that kills three

hundred hapless travelers?

Exclamation points can only bear

the burden of so much dramatic

inflation. The Times story

concluded with a grim warning,

passed on from a fire department

spokesman, "that we need to

constantly safeguard our

families and homes." While this

is perhaps the kind of service

piece that LA Times publisher

Mark Willes is hoping to boost

the paper's circulation with, we

can't help but think it should

have been relegated to those

"articles" the Times apparently

purchased but didn't run.


[so, next time you walk by a window, strut across a mirror, or gallop through the tulips, take a look, everyone else is.]

Tired of great big ponderous

doorstops like Underworld that

don't even have any pictures?

Want a book that grabs hold of

your imagination like a stray

pit bull digging its teeth into

a helpless comatose foot? Then

maybe you should purchase the

hot new page-turner that's

confusing indifferent Barnes

& Noble shelf stockers

everywhere - Suck: Worst-case

Scenarios in Media, Culture,

Advertising, and the Internet.

(Early reports say they're

putting it with the user manuals

instead of the self-help tomes.)


Sure, it's just 32 essays you've

already read before. And, true,

it doesn't include all the

interesting, esoteric, and

sites-you-can-slight links that

once made Suck the ultimate

portal to the Web. Worst of all,

there's no ALT-tag musings from

the Suck production staff, which

as any truly evolved adjudicator

of Web fashion knows is the only

real reason to read Suck anymore

anyway. But think about the

future. Twenty years from now,

when www.suck.com has been sold

to some deep-pocketed digital

Guccione, and all the

ill-informed prognostications

and irresponsible cheap shots

that have brightened your

otherwise dismal days in the

cubicles for the last two years

are but a distant memory, won't

you want a compact,

long-lasting, analog keepsake of

what once was? Indeed, wouldn't

it be - dare we say it? - a

tragedy if you didn't have your

own record of Suck's pioneering

Web efforts, complete with many,

many meticulously rendered Terry

Colon illustrations which you

have never seen before? Of

course it would be. So buy it.

courtesy of the Sucksters