"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 9 July 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CXXXIX


[nothing quite like seeing the inside from the outside]

We were all set to milk the

death of Roy Rogers for a few

cheap shots about Double R Bar

Burgers and the mounting of

Trigger, but the singing

cowboy's exemplary life as a

real and adoptive parent,

purveyor of top-notch bacon

cheeseburgers, and perhaps the

only white man in contemporary

America who didn't exaggerate

the amount of Indian blood in

his veins (1/32 Choctaw, on his

mother's side), leaves us

feeling squeamish. Besides, it's

not clear just what void the

real-life Leonard Slye leaves

behind: Outdoorsy but bloodless

action adventure lives on in

Mark Trail comics, and there's

always Celine Dion to do the

yodeling. Even if Roy's

surviving family were interested

in granting him Trigger-style

immortality, it's not clear if

Roy's tough, gristly carcass

would make any better taxidermic

material than, say, the

quarter-pound single- and

Frosty-stuffed corpus of Dave


Maoist/Leninist preservation is,

however, being carried on by

another postwar power couple.

The remains of deposed

Philippine dictator Ferdinand

Marcos - on ghoulish display

since 1989, and currently

residing in a special Marcos

family museum - are slated to be

buried with honors this month in

the country Marcos helped

destroy. But like all the best

supervillains, Marcos seems to

have passed off a fake body

before going into hiding.

Philippine Senator Heherson

Alvarez is claiming that the

body on display is a wax

duplicate constructed outside of

Langley, and has spoken with a

mysterious Sister Noel, who

asserted that the real body of

Marcos is refrigerated in some

secret locale. With over 7,100

islands, the Philippine

archipelago offers numerous

hiding places, but we're betting

Marcos isn't dead at all, merely

spinning out a deceptively

simple dotage under the alias

"Ronald Reagan."


[watching a known to few become a known to many]

The decision to rebury Ferdinand

Marcos was a goodwill gesture by

the new president of the

Philippines, Joseph Estrada, a

big-tent politician who started

out as a movie star, like Ronald

Reagan. Since we don't know much

about the Philippines, though,

we were kind of hoping '70s TV

icon Erik Estrada might be

interested in becoming our next

president. Unfortunately, the

only thing Ponch has on deck

right now is CHiPs 99, coming to

you sometime this fall from TNT.

But if the Latin former

personality hopes to follow in

the steps of Fred Thompson and

other movie cops turned

Washington insiders, he wouldn't

even have to bill himself as

"The First Puerto Rican

President" to score votes. A

review of Estrada's film roles

stretching back to 1972 reveals

the whitening effect of 20 years

of nearly continuous CHiPs

syndication. While the names of

characters played by TV's Ponch

during the Me decade followed a

subtle but tangible pattern -

"Nicky Cruz," "Sergio," "Julio,"

"Chucho," "Chico," "Chili Bean

Ramos" in the Sensurround-driven

Midway, and even simply

"Chicano" - Estrada's '90s roles

- including "Commander Gage,"

"Richard," "John," "Joseph," and

"Ethan Walker" - indicate a true

product of the melting pot.

Playing a hunk in the telenovela

Dos Mujeres, Un Camino early in

the decade, the actor even

needed a Spanish coach. With a

strong English-only platform,

Estrada could be headed straight

into the Beltway. And we even

hear he's 1/32 Choctaw!


[how does it make you feel?]

The US Department of Agriculture

announced last week that salsa

will now be considered a

vegetable in school lunch

programs. This, of course,

recalls the pre-Alzheimer's

policy position of President

Ronald Reagan, who in the early

'80s suggested that ketchup

could be considered a vegetable

- as if any cutback in our

wildly extravagant,

overachieving public schools

ever needs a justification. But

this latest nutritional

pronouncement is sure to rile

the politically incorrect: We

can already hear Hilton Kramer

kickstarting his little

one-stroke engine of cultural

criticism, asserting that

government approval of salsa is

an intolerable blow to the

foundations of Western

Civilization. Truth is, it's a

fine example of simple

bureaucratic streamlining. Since

salsa is not only a vegetable

but a frenetic and stylish

variation in Latin dance music,

it may also satisfy physical

education and arts requirements.

More important, we'd like to

see other international flavors

added to the school lunch menu

that could do this kind of

double duty. Consider, for

example, the ramifications of

replacing the morning milk break

with espresso. Nap time would be

shot to hell, but think of the

possibilities for recess



[it makes me feel strange.]

A message in our inbox from old

friend "ext984@replyman.com"

this week puts us in the catbird

seat for some prime Florida real

estate. For only 4 percent

direct commission, the sales

staff at extension 984 will hook us up

with some fantastic South

Florida ocean-front property -

great for use as a primary

residence, a luxurious second

home, or a prestigious

ocean-front corporate apartment.

At first we suspected the

condos' location in Deerfield

Beach - directly beneath the

swindle capital, Boca Raton -

might be evidence of a weasel

deal of some kind; but then, in

a week like this, how much of a

stretch is it to claim that

property in the Sunshine State

is "available for immediate

occupancy"? A hillside retreat

in Kosovo, a cozy pied-à-terre in

Erie County, New York, a villa on the

banks of the Yangtze - the

secret to real estate is to buy

land where the houses start

collapsing. We're hoping to get

in on the ground floor of Mrs.

O'Leary's real estate market,

and for our first deal we're

buying the Brooklyn Bridge from

crazed gunman Rashid Baz.

courtesy of the Sucksters