"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 30 April 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CXXIX


[...you see how it is they want you but they don't say yes...]

It looks like Germany has

finally topped that fake David

Letterman guy of theirs. Just as

the hammer starts to fall on

Jerry Springer's thespian antics

comes news that Fatherland

schoolmarms will crack down on a

new genre of Yankee-style trash

TV. Federal Family Minister

Claudia Nolte is calling on

networks to put an end to talk

shows featuring flashes of

Teutonic esprit like "I'm a

slave to him'' and "Pierced from

head to foot -- You're

perverse." Before we have yet

another laugh at our Eurotrash

friends' expense, though,

consider America's own bumbling

steps toward decency. Police in

Royal Oak, Michigan last week were

ready to bust a child-porn ring

after discovering 45 photographs

of a boy cavorting in his

birthday suit with several naked

women. The boy, however, turned

out to be a 23-year-old dwarf

hired by a record company for a

Bee Girl-esque series of

promotions. All ended well when

the dwarf strutted into police

headquarters and showed his

drinking age credentials. Less

fortunate was Lenoria Walker,

director of Houston's Office of

Affirmative Action, who was

suspended, and subsequently

resigned, after calling

vertically challenged Councilman

Joe Roach a "midget." In a line

destined to join "Give me

liberty or give me death" and

"Bitch set me up!" in the

patriotic lexicon, Roach

announced that he wants to be

known as "a good council member

or a bad council member, not a

Republican midget." Meanwhile,

the self-named "Mr. Pimp," who

is neither a dwarf nor a midget

but, like Pinocchio, a Real Boy

(of 13 years), was arrested in

Fairfax, Virginia, for trying to set up

a school sex ring (we didn't

realize Risky Business was still

popular with the kids). Though

"Pimp" failed to ruin any of his

classmates, it's encouraging to

know that size is still no bar

to ambition. Like the Germans

say, even a dwarf starts out



[...all i ever wanted to be was your wooly muffler on
your naked neck...]

Having stolen every piece of

Western culture that isn't

nailed down, Disney, like all

successful thieves, is now going

legit - backing a Senate bill to

extend existing copyrights

another 20 years. It's an idea

that would bring a smile to the

union-busting, commie-baiting

Walt's cryogenically frozen

lips: Copyright law never

brought a dime to the nameless

old Brothers who spun their

public domain tall tales that

Walt might have Song of the

South; but it can still work for

the company that gouges day care

centers for displaying Mickey

and Donald paintings on their

walls. Here in our own

micromedium, where copyright

expires after 82 minutes, we

can't get too worked up about

the issue, but it's worth noting

the bill's possible unintended

consequences. It might become

harder, for example, for Disney

to make that animated version of

Ulysses, with Rosie O'Donnell as

the voice of Molly. Meanwhile

we're going to be more cautious

about giving intellectual

property away for free. This

past weekend, the

"dreamologists" at Missouri's

School of Metaphysics held their

10th annual National Dream

Hotline - opening the phonelines

to gullible snoozers who have

trouble grokking their

visitations from the Sandman.

Considering the wealth of great

concepts - from Kubla Khan to Dr.

Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - that

started out as dreams, you'd

have to be an idiot to share

your subconscious with perfect

strangers. Don't be surprised if

Disney's next feature is about a

cartoon character who shows up

to class naked as a jaybird on

the last day of the semester,

with this vague feeling of

anxiety. And you won't be

collecting royalties.


[...and it's never the time boy you've had too much wine to stumble up my street
well it isn't a problem 
nothing we can't keep between the sheets... ]

Will high-tech companies soon

have a way to get rid of all

those whiney temps who keep

complaining about the industry's

unfair practice of keeping them

employed for years at a stretch

with no full-time benefits?

According to the Tampa Bay

Business Journal, a

Florida-based company called

Digital Personnel Inc. is now

offering virtual talking heads

that can perform a variety of

customer-service functions.

Using technology developed at

NASA's Jet Propulsion

Laboratory, the company breaks

down audio and video of handsome

and articulate human beings into

discrete digitized facial

gestures and phonemes that can

be reconstituted into

appropriate responses via AI

agents. In addition to serving

as wholly virtual interfaces,

these talking heads can also be

used as "masks" for actual

employees who are just too damn

hideous or otherwise

unpresentable to represent

various businesses in the

aesthetically pleasing fashion

they warrant. Of course, this

feature of the product will also

make it a huge hit with personal

users as chat rooms evolve from

text-only pick-up spots to more

visual environments. To help

fund additional development,

Digital Personnel is currently

seeking partners: the line, we

imagine, starts right after

Microsoft and AOL.


[ ...no ones going to fool around with us
 so glad to meet you angeles...

For a record label with no

recognizable artists signed to

it, K-Tel has certainly burned

up the charts in the last two

weeks. Not the Soundscan charts

- K-Tel has about as much chance

of making an impact there as

Neil Hamburger. We're talking

price per share. KTEL stock

rose from $7 earlier in the

month to almost $50 in recent

days. Why? Because the company

announced that it was going to

start selling records - on the

Internet!! It's hard to imagine

who's buying KTEL these days -

on the 'Net's Greatest Hits

compilation, it ranks with

Goto.com as strictly side-2

filler. What's more, no one is

trying to justify the run-up -

merely explaining it is proving

challenge enough. The best the

Wall Street Journal could do was

to get one Hurst, Texas analyst

- alone, but alas hardly a star

- to quip that with respect to

Internet stocks, "the public has

taken things way out of

perspective." The same analyst,

of course, has issued a "buy"

recommendation on KTEL.

Meanwhile, Ronco is soon

expected to announce it's going

to e-sell Vegematics, and

industry insiders are eagerly

anticipating the launch of

ginsuknives.com. They slice,

they dice, they mop the floor,

they split your stock in two or


courtesy of the Sucksters