"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 28 May 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.

[this week:  sleeping with pets]

In 1978, Marion Barry won the

Democratic primary for mayor of

Washington, DC, by a mere 1,500

votes. As many in the black

community eyed the

carpet-baggin' Alabaman (a DC

resident only since 1965) with

suspicion, Barry eked out his

victory by playing to the

knee-jerk liberal whites in

Northwest DC - a community that

almost blew off rooftops with a

collective sigh of relief last

week, when the man called

Mayor for Life by both friend

and foe announced that he would

not seek reelection. (All polls

indicated that it was his to

lose, even while a significant

number of those who said they'd

vote for him curiously expressed

the wish that he not put them in

such a position.) His powers

stripped by the GOP Congress -

who by the end essentially left

him in charge of a few swimming

pools - Barry was always an

enigma to white folk, who never

quite understood how the city's

African-American community could

run to the defense of a man who

had essentially said "fuck you"

to them by risking it all for a

puff of the pipe and a little

FBI-surveillanced nookie.

Obviously, a much larger

fuck-you was in play, which helps

explain Barry's "surprise" 1994

redemption victory against a

white, Jewish, Republican widow.

But Barry was a lot more than

just a large digit in the face

of the Man. He was a hack, sure,

but he was a black hack, one who

practiced patronage and

cronyism, one who treated the

police department like it was

his own wait staff, one who

brought the city to the brink of

financial ruin by creating an

immense bureaucracy where Blacks

would have him to thank for

their very jobs. In short, Barry

was remarkably similar to the

men who ultimately took away his

power; his greatest addiction -

of a fairly impressive line-up -

was the same as other, more

fair-skinned, pols: himself. The

over-indulgences and self-pity

that accompanied said obsession

may have been more blatant, but

does anyone doubt that in his

most private moments, a certain

other Southern pol is decrying a

different bitch - Reno,

Lewinsky, Tripp, Starr, take

your pick - who "set him up"?


[hearing bret remy's shock at obtaining the 3 of clubs from me when he asked for it playing one card 'Fuck Your Neighbor']

Newly anointed Indonesian

president B. J. Habibie is

probably the geekiest world

leader we've seen yet. His

authentically nerdish homepage -

complete with circa-1995 hit

counter and spackled GIF

backgrounds - puts Al Gore's to

shame. And in one of his first

official acts, he's singing the

praises of email to his fellow

functionaries. None of this

seems to be winning him any

points with Indonesia's

still-rioting college students.

Short of pulling a Tiananmen

2.0, what's a beleaguered

technocrat to do? According to

CNET, US college dropout rates

have doubled in recent years as

a result of compulsive Net

usage. While the online

network's yellow-navbar'd

journalism is questionable - so

what if America's frat boys and

sorority girls are finding each

other in chat rooms rather than

beer-soaked keggers? - the best

way for Habibie to quell student

unrest may be to get little

Jusuf and Tuti hooked on T1

lines. Wiring the schools may

not save them, but at least the

flames that Indonesian school

kids will generate won't burn

down buildings. When you live in

the little glass house, it's

harder to throw stones.


[thrift store finds]

"Prosecutors also were puzzled

as to why the amputation was

performed," read an AP report on

the gruesome handiwork of

ghoulish corporeal carpenter

(and erstwhile CA M. D.)

John Ronald Brown, whose botched

detachment of an elderly New

Yorker's perfectly healthy leg

led to the man's death from

gangrene poisoning. Given that

the spurious sawbones, who has

been banned from practicing

medicine in at least three

states and one foreign country,

specialized in cut-rate gender

transformations at his

Tijuana-based Surgical Center

for Sexual Enhancement, one need

hardly go out on a limb to

suggest that the lethal leg chop

had something to do with

somewhat singular psychosexual

longings. We suggest that the

surprisingly stumped prosecutors

- "There was no medical reason

evident of why he would need his

leg amputated," said one limbist

gumshoe - visit the Gay Devotees

Home Page to bone up on the

latest postmodern primitive

body modification trend; a few

minutes of such digital legwork

will undoubtedly help them crack

the case.


[watching rockstar drop my first base line drive, on purpose]

Last summer General Mills

addressed parental concerns

about violence in "ChexQuest" (the Doom

clone turning up in cereal

boxes) by specifying that the

evil mucous-lobbing "flemmoids"

were not to be massacred but

rather "zorched" back to their

homeworld, where they could

presumably live in peace.

Certainly, our national breakout

fad of schoolyard ass-cappings

will prompt a new round of

pundits decrying violent

influences on children. But

General Mills should take heart:

When it comes to measuring

violence, society accepts a

certain amount of background

noise. If you're not surprised

to see Charlie Brown shilling

for MetLife, you're probably not

surprised to see the blockhead

illustrating the proper

procedure for funeral

arrangements. If no one mourns

lost innocence at rumors about

the military origins of the

Slinky, they're probably not

going to cringe when the

Tennessee Department of

Corrections uses their "Kid's

Fun Zone" Web page to answer

children's questions about the

electric chair. (In fact, it

makes a nice companion to the

children's Guide to the CIA.)

And when the United States

Postal Service assures us that

the superheroes in their "Super

Postal Workers" cartoon are

"good-natured" crime-fighters,

who'd bother to argue when they

could be backing away slowly,

avoiding eye contact at all


courtesy of the Sucksters