"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 5 February 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CXVII


thank you everyone who sent their suggestions in for reading materials ]

Cowards die many times before

their deaths; for wisenheimers,

twice seems to do the trick. Spy's latest

obit has brought forth the same

freeze-dried Schadenfreude that

greeted the magazine's original

demise in 1994 - "Steven Seagal

and The Donald won't be sad to

see Spy go!" While it's easy to

imagine Trump rubbing his stubby

fingers together with glee, the

real story here is that Spy,

having died and been

resurrected, ascends into heaven

with an entire nation of

converts. When geriatric rags

from Mother Jones to Wired to Time to Suck

dress their windows with

Spy-lite charticles and wacky

phone interviews, the question

isn't whether the market can

support acidic high jinks, but

whether all the clones left any

room for the original. Spy

founder Kurt Andersen called the

final issue "the best in the

five years since I've been

gone." From Andersen, who

understands better than anybody

just how easy this stuff is,

that's faint praise indeed.


[need to take a trip to the local international newstand ]

Nobody knows the value of words

better than the folks at

Encyclopædia Britannica - while

other purveyors of periodic

literature are content to drop

blunted fishhooks in your

mailbox, the EB affiliate

network has been jostling with

Jehovah's Witnesses and vacuum

cleaner salesmen for space on

your doorstep for 200 years or

so, peddling its pedantry

person-to-person. In a move

alternatingly prescient,

professional, and pinheaded,

it's dumped its entire database

online, designed with strict

usability, utility, and

information quality in mind. At

US$8.50 a month or $85 a year

for access to everything, the

math suggests you could throw in

a Pentium box and still come out

paying less than the $1,500 it

charges for its 32-volume

rainforest crunch. One possible

outcome: Penn Jillette's cameo

days on Friends are over, and

Watchtower circulation is about

to spike. A more likely

scenario: The marketing veeps at

Britannica discover that even

with a world's wide Web worth of

link-happy volunteer

salespeople, it's hard to close

a sale by screaming through a

locked door.


[keep sending them in to

While we fondly remember our

trip to Starbucks to purchase

the inaugural issue of the

now-defunct Slate-on-Paper, we

can hardly contain our

excitement for the newsstand

debut of Persian Kitty, as the

quest for Web-to-print

"legitimacy" falls to more

capable hands - and, we suppose,

other parts of the anatomy.

Named for the online mall of

adult entertainment, Persian

Kitty magazine will feature

virtual tours of net.porn and

probing, in-depth interviews -

more uptime due to quicker

downloads. Edited by Oui's Jack

Lisa, Persian Kitty will join

other "adult sophisticate"

titles from Princeton Media

Group, including Leg Scene and

Blueboy. Then again, if we were

going to loiter at the liquor

store, browsing "the library,"

could somebody explain what the

point of this Web thing was in

the first place? Oh, yeah.


courtesy of the Sucksters