"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 11 June 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CXXXV


[way cool stuff: a minor chord]

In another sign of hard times in

Thailand, Samart Phakphum, the

vice-abbot of Wat Wang Sala temple,

was charged with murder

after a man playing

Russian Roulette with a

group of the temple's monks

achieved nothingness in

a muzzle flash. The sound of

Buddhism's other hand clapping

has become jarring for Americans

more accustomed to the mushy

placidity depicted in Think

Different ads (or boilerplate

like Kundun and Seven Years in

Tibet). With the Dalai Lama's

non-violent approach having

yielded nothing for Tibet's

exile community, acolytes are

getting hot under the saffron

robe, and the Spiritual Leader's

alleged oppression of followers

of the more pro-active god Dorje

Shugden isn't winning any new

friends in the West. Meanwhile,

the Lama himself has been outed

as, of all things, a

Slim-Jim-nibbling meat-eater. It

may be no coincidence that

Richard Gere has traded his

"American folk meets Japanese"

penthouse for a house on

Sullivan Street, an avenue best

known for having been protected

by pajama-clad non-Zen enforcer

Vinnie "The Chin" Gigante.

Whether this is evidence that

we're moving beyond perfumed

Buddhism, we don't know, but if

you meet the Buddha on the road,

remember - no more than one

bullet in the chamber.



Justifying seven years of

tut-tutting, cruise missile

spankings, and other assorted

brinkmanship with Iraq, the

Clinton administration has

offered one powerful statement

with unwavering consistency,

although since we're talking

about the Clinton administration

we'll go ahead and throw in a

"more or less": Moral nations

have a duty to prevent the

proliferation of weapons of mass

destruction, including not just

nuclear but also chemical and

biological weapons. Following

that reasoning, the US

government may want to stay away

from the office for a few days

to ditch the stern warning it

must now inevitably receive from

its very own self - maybe it

can ship the message off in a

cab, with instructions to return

in a half-hour, and then skip

out for a long lunch. In

interviews with CNN made

public this week, former US

soldiers and sailors - including

a hopelessly respectable retired

admiral - acknowledge that the

United States repeatedly made use of nerve

gas during the Vietnam War.

Despite an official Pentagon

denial (one suspects that a

really good Pentagon spokesperson

could deny the very existence of

all earthly and cosmic matter,

if asked by a superior to do so,

with a straight face) many went

the extra step of describing,

yes, nerve gas attacks on

civilians and US defectors. Hey,

at least we only have one

presidential palace. That should

make things much easier on the

UN inspectors.


[company sponsored over-drinking and the secrets revealed]

One-time Charles Manson playmate

and convicted murderer Leslie

Van Houten was denied parole for

the 10th time last week (for

those who missed this early

incarnation of Girl Power, Van

Houten was the "deep" one, Susan

Atkins was the "sassy" one, and

Patricia Krenwinkle the "cute"

one). In trying to convince the

parole board of her

rehabilitation, the former honor

student and high school

cheerleader made the usual claim

to having been a model prisoner

and earned two college degrees,

but went on to shoot herself in

the foot by mentioning that

she'd created, you guessed it,

her own Web site. This, of

course, was the same claim made

by Charlie himself at his last

routine parole-board hearing.

Indeed, Charlie took his last

denial in stride, nyah-nyahing

the authorities with the claim

that life on the inside gave him

more time to work on his own

site. Whether it's an argument

for getting out or staying in,

Web design strikes us as a

pretty feeble jailhouse plea.

There are several hundred Manson

family sites out there already,

and California taxpayers are in

no hurry to promote the building

of any more. License plates, on

the other hand, we'll always



[tiny green flower shoots]

Nostradamus predicted that at

the end of time, ad agencies

would battle over rights to the

image of a historical villain

named "Hissler" or "Hibler." And

the Last Battle may already be

underway. Last week Leo Burnett

Bangkok withdrew a series of ads

featuring Adolf Hitler in an

anschluss-style feasting

frenzy on a bag of X

brand potato chips. Running on

Thai TV and local "tuk tuks,"

the campaign showed the

vegetarian dictator tasting the

chips and giving a Nazi salute,

as a swastika in the background

morphs into the X logo (Sun

Microsystems, which has its own

closed-loop logo and

fire-breathing honcho, may want

to take note). "We have brought

up the concept that Hitler or

anyone who tastes the potato

chips will go crazy for it," the

agency said. But in a


cautionary tale, Burnett was

stunned when the ads generated

an unwelcome controversy. We

kinda thought controversy was

the whole point, but there may

be more to the story. With the

Thai baht still stuck in Weimar

Republic-level doldrums, it may

have been inevitable that the

nation would turn to an

iron-willed strongman with a

track record of jump-starting

crippled economies. Or it may

just be that elusive

youth/rebel/alternative thing.

Given X's teen target

demographic, it only makes sense

that Burnett should seek

inspiration from history's

original counterculture brand



[dolores park at night]

We'd like to go on record as

declining to join the chorus of

Geri Halliwell ill-wishers. It's

not just the smooth timing of

her Spiceworld short sell, nor

the pretty forgiving critical

standards of her target

audience, that has us reserving

judgment on Ginger's solo

career. It's the fact that, as

the de facto brains behind the

operation, she knows where the

various Spice bodies are buried

- and that's gotta be worth

something. For an idea of how

far that kind of inside

knowledge will get you, look to

the Riverdance scandal. Soon

after news broke that Hibernia's

infinitely expanding line dance

troupe supplements its plodding

footwork with pre-recorded

tap-dancing noises, rumors

started spreading that the whole

story had been leaked to the

press by departed Riverdance

star and internationally

recognized Lord of the Dance,

Michael Flatley. It's unclear

whether similar Milli Vanilli

dish on Sporty's frail kicks or

Baby's true age could have any

impact on the Spice Girls at

this point, and this kind of

sour-grape bomb throwing may not

be up Ginger's ample alley, but

the possibilities seem wide open

for disgruntled former

co-workers with impressive

titles. Since the rightful

ownership of the "Ginger Spice"

identity will no doubt be tied

up in years of legal wrangling,

and "Lord of the Dance" is

already taken, we suggest

"Admiral of the Ocean Sea," or

even "Editor, Suck.com."

courtesy of the Sucksters