"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 23 April 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.

[you know how sometimes you think you have finally figured out ]

World War I produced radio

infrastructure and vaccinations,

World War II unleashed the genie

of nuclear energy, and The Cold

War conjured up the mixed

blessing of the Internet, but so

far the only thing the War on

Drugs has been good for is the

Glock. And now there are even

signs that a handgun gap is

developing. The New York Times

reported this week that the

United States loses all control

over guns exported to European

Union countries, and that

American-made firearms are

showing up everywhere from Iraq

to Rwanda. (In a separate story,

chickens are concerned about

improper use of eggs by

worldwide consumers.) Suddenly,

gun-ownership hawks like Second

Amendment Man and Jewish Dude

with a Conservative Attitude are

making a lot more sense. With

the Supreme Court doing nothing

to stop the lawsuit against

Paladin Press's Hit Man: A

Technical Manual for Independent

Contractors, we may be in danger

of falling behind in the new

arms race. In a valiant effort

to keep in gun-carrying shape,

last weekend's Spring Break in

Daytona Beach erupted in a

shootout that left one man dead

and four police officers

wounded. We've still got our

work cut out for us, though.

Later in the week, a

confrontation in Hebron

involving three Jewish dudes

with conservative attitudes

ended when a Bedouin with faster

reflexes grabbed a settler's gun

and shot two of them, killing

one. Whether Hit Man has been

translated into Arabic yet we

don't know, but with

sharpshooters like that loose in

the world, we're putting out the

word that we're strapped.


[how something works and then you find the rules ]

Leave it to the lefties at the

Anderson Valley Advertiser

(motto: "Peace to the cottages!

War on the palaces!") to expose

Tinseltown's deepest, darkest

secret: The historical "facts"

behind Richard Linklater's

appallingly bad The Newton Boys

may actually be made up.

Horrors! The next thing you

know, they'll be telling us

Slacker isn't really "A day in

the life of Austin, Texas."

Actually, we're indebted to the

AVA's curmudgeonly Arthur Winfield

Knight for bringing it to our

attention that neither the

six-volume Handbook of Texas nor

the four-volume Encyclopedia of

the American West has a word to

say about the so-called Newton

Boys - if only to twit the noses

of those who should have known

better. Apparently, the only

source on the Newton gang is a

1994 publication by one Claude

Stanush, and it seems rather too

convenient as well that The

Newton Boys wasn't made in the

'80s, when Carson guest Joe

Newton was still alive. Or is he

now flying a black helicopter

dusting Boonville's cash crops?


[have suddenly changed on you? now i'm re-learning everything 

With summer just around the

corner, avid beachgoers are

currently stocking up on all the

seaside staples - sunscreen,

cases of cold Budweiser, and big

jars of Skippy peanut butter.

Well, the last item on that list

may be a bit of corporate

daydreaming, but give the

sandwich-spread marketeers

credit for effort: Bestfoods,

which makes Skippy, will be one

of the first companies to take

advantage of the services

offered by Beach'n Billboard, a

new company that takes advantage

of the inexplicably

underutilized medium of nature.

For $25,000 a month, Beach'n

Billboard will send its machines

out to scrawl snappy,

billboard-sized ads in the sand.

While critics point out that the

tide, footprints, litter, and

other natural phenomena can

dilute the impact of

beachboards, additional services

that Beach'n Billboard has yet

to announce - such as coupon

placement in seashells - will no

doubt increase the effectiveness

of this promising innovation.


[i thought i knew in my early twenties.

OK, what came first: the

Superman doll in Jerry's

apartment or Jerry's work as an

American Express shill? It's a

trick question, of course.

Jerry's ability to shill is a

cosmic constant that exists

outside of time and space. The

Man of Steel, on the other hand,

may not be so lucky. Warner

Brothers announced this week

that Superman Reborn, aka

Superman Lives, aka $100

Million+ Embarrassment '99, has

been put off indefinitely - at

least for this millennium, and

possibly forever. The project

had been in turmoil ever since

Garden State auteur Kevin

Smith's script got the axe. And

while we'd been looking forward

to Lois's description of how she

blew Lex Luthor back in high

school, at least we've been

spared Nicholas Cage's pompous

excuses for putting on the

tights, another wacky Tim Burton

take on low culture, and the

inevitable Danny Elfman score.

Frankly, we tuned out on this

project once plans to have the

unstoppable Christopher Reeve

don the bagel as Jar-El fell

through. Better news from

recycled Hollywood has the Wild,

Wild West movie lensing within

the next few weeks, with Will

Smith in the Major Jim West

role. There is something

comforting in the Fresh Prince's

inevitable ascent to those

roguish leading-man ranks once

filled by Robert Conrad, Robert

Urich, Gil Gerard, and William

Shatner. But still, the big

question remains: When can we

look forward to the One Day At a

Time movie, with John Turturro

as Schneider?



Finally, we note that the US has

at last come up with a response

to the careful overture, last

January, from Iranian President

Mohammad Khatami. The relatively

moderate leader of the Iranian

government - the second most

powerful man in the country, who

has been at odds with the

nation's more powerful religious

leader - had suggested, in a CNN

interview, that the US and Iran

begin trying to slowly, slightly

heal a long rift between the two

countries with a cautious dose

of informal cultural exchanges.

The suggestion was met with a

long and conspicuous silence

from Foggy Bottom and the White

House, but now the silence is

over. The administration has

agreed to implement legislation,

passed last year, that funds a

Persian-language US-government

broadcast into Iran. The content

of the broadcast:

anti-government propaganda.

State Department spokesman James

Rubin told reporters, apparently

without blushing or giggling,

that the anti-Iranian-government

broadcasts shouldn't be viewed

as "an effort to criticize or

undermine the Iranian

government." Well, hell.

Foreigners have such unusual

ways - maybe spitting in

someone's face when he offers to

shake your hand is, you know, a

part of their culture. We just

have to trust that our own

government knows about this sort

of thing.

courtesy of the Sucksters