"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 7 May 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CXXX


[good things:

Indiana's pride and joy,

Republican Congressman/nutjob

Dan Burton, has been making

headlines as of late for

something other than firing a

gun into a pumpkin to prove that

Vince Foster hailed from Area

51. In addition to releasing

tapes of conversations between

imprisoned, large-lipped,

close-mouthed Webb Hubbell and

his wife, Burton is thought to

be the only congressman in

history to refer to a sitting

president as a "scumbag" -

coincidentally, the Suck Style

Manual's preferred derogatory

term for spent condom. In the

same month that the nation's

largest porno producers decided

to require the use of condoms on

screen, a short-term study

indicated the popularity of the

female condom among Costa Rican

sex workers, and Sierra Clubbers

planned to include rubbers

(though, one would assume,

unused) in their mailings to the

Hill to bitch-slap the

Republicans into opposing an

anti-contraceptive foreign

affairs bill, it's nice to see

the Republican leadership

finally talking about birth

control. If only Rep. Burton's

father had been raised in an era

of such openness.


[free one touch bbq]

Ever since the surprising US$240

million success of the

Australian-made Babe three years

ago, Hollywood has been

searching for a bankable oinker

to call its own. Finally, it may

have found one in the

dual-snouted, triple-orbed

barnyard aberration known as

Ditto, who recently moved from

bucolic Iowa to the three-ring

id parade of Los Angeles to

purportedly escape life in a

circus freak show. Despite the

surplus irony of that

relocation, the porcine

monstrosity's story is still a

little short on the sort of

maudlin theatrics and sexual

travesties that can elevate

one's memoirs from

run-of-the-mill Biography

fodder to box office boffo - but

we can't help but think that a

few years under the husbandry of

Pigs Without Partners, the

suspiciously named organization

that is sponsoring Ditto's move

to LA and imminent snout job,

will change all that. Industry

mailing lists are buzzing with

speculation about who will play

the homely lunch-meat reject in

the eventual biopic: With the

legendary two-headed odd couple

of Ray Milland and Rosie Grier

out of the running, the smart

money's split between Jim Carrey

and Tom Hanks, but hammy daytime

sedative Rosie O'Donnell is

rumored to be lobbying hard for

the role as well. Also willing

to work practically for free is

Christine Cavanaugh, the voice

of Babe in the original movie.

She was fired from the sequel

for demanding a salary that

would have amounted to 0.08

percent of the original film's

box office take. Babe

co-producer George Miller, who

made the big leagues with the Mad

Max franchise, knows a thing or

two about handling uppity

employees, especially the

disembodied kind. Two heads

enter, one head leaves.


[rockstar learning rex's jet in 10 minutes (5 to tune) ]

Jim Carrey would, however, seem

a natural to play The Man in the

Yellow Hat in the as-yet-uncast

Curious George movie. Universal

Pictures has already lined up

licensing for the Ron Howard

picture, and, given the crappy

recent performances of both Koko

and bumbling Universal poobah

Edgar Bronfman, the lovable

simian may be Hollywood's next

White Knight. But while he's

exploring the market potential

of cuddly animals, Howard may

want to consider the adorable

ticklishness of rats. "It

sounded like a playground,"

Bowling Green State University

psychobiologist Jaak Panksepp

said of a recent experiment

involving the funny bones of the

horrific rodents. The rat

section of space shuttle

Columbia, on the other hand,

sounded like a playground after

a drive-by. That mass execution

of baby rats apparently resulted

from maternal neglect (between

this story and the oeuvre of

Long Island pornozoology suspect

Thomas Capriola, we may have

filled the gap for animal snuff

porn created when they stopped

clubbing harp seals). On second

thought, given Ron Howard's

fondness for both family

entertainment and astronaut

adventures, he's probably better

off sticking with the monkey

business. We're pretty sure

George had a successful trip

into space at some point.


[champagne and white eyeshadow

As we try to figure out how

Salon can place the words

"Richard Mellon Scaife" in

whatever special sections

haven't already been dedicated

to unraveling the Vast Right

Wing Conspiracy (Maybe Sarah

Vowell can find out how Chris

Ruddy planted that bag on

Snoop), we can only admire the

way Geraldo's favorite webzine

has mastered the journalist's

true art of spin. But while

reframing Monicagate as a

Republican screwjob has earned

Salon a (probably worthless)

presidential indulgence, the

campaign has begun to attract

attention of the unwanted kind.

Landmark Legal Foundation of

Kansas City, Missouri, has

"uncovered information"

indicating Salon is a front for

too-well-known investment banker

William Hambrecht. (Damn, and

just when Salon was piecing

together how the Elders of Zion

figure into this thing!) While

we're always tickled to see

Salon stumble ass-first onto

another cat's scratching post,

Landmark's scoop (duly detailed in

The Washington Times) leaves,

well, everything to be desired.

Hambrecht & Quist's investment

in the Web misadventure has been

well documented (we recall some

nameless cretin posting the

epithet "Hamburg and Quisling"

to Table Talk back in the Summer

of '97). And Bill Hambrecht's

achievements since leaving H&Q

in December have been nothing to

worry about. Who's paying

Landmark's fees is no doubt a

question for further

investigation (and we have this

sinking feeling we'll be reading

about it in Salon), but you know, Jim

Rockford used to dig up a lot

more for only US$150 a day plus



[running into people you met ten years previous, and knowing right away ]

We can neither confirm nor deny

rumors that Suck paterfamilias

Wired magazine was sold this

week to Miller Publishing Group

LLC, the estimable corporate

underwear now covering Spin's

big assets - along with Vibe's

supersized moneymaker. Official

word issued from the highest

echelons of Suck's formidable

power structure is this: "On the

one hand, it's just a rumor. On

the other hand, it's just a

magazine." Desperate logic, to

be sure. But at least one other

current news item has us even

more wistful at the prospect of

losing Newhouse's Advance

Publications as a distant foster

parent. The New Yorker's latest

advertorial dipsy-doodle is

reported to be a package deal

wherein seven of the magazine's

star content providers will take

a high-profile cruise aboard the

Crystal Cruises ship Symphony.

In return, Crystal Cruises will

buy six full page ads. "I think

that the writers are some of the

best PR we have," NYer president

Thomas Florio told The New York

Observer. "In terms of the

trade-offs anyone makes in life,

this seemed like a fairly

inconsequential one," one of the

writers echoed. You can say that

again. Indeed, from our place in

the cheap seats - where the

trickle-down advertising

economics that keep us solvent

amount to the rough equivalent

of placing a sponge beneath the

executive urinal - this seems to

explain how Tina manages to sell

the sizzle so spectacularly and

still lose money. Your rag is

leaking $8 to $10 million a

year, and you respond by

coddling the writers even more?

Well, you know, we're always

available for this sort of

ill-treatment, but it does put

an ominous spin on Florio's

protest that "nothing at The New

Yorker editorially is

advertising-driven." That may be

the problem, Tom.

courtesy of the Sucksters