"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 6 August 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CXLIII


[monday night i had a weird melrose place/sushi inspired dream.]

People who live in the American

hinterlands frequently condemn

the snobbishness of those of us

who inhabit the nation's larger

coastal cities. But why

shouldn't we be snobs? Let's

face it, out in the real

America, there's not much more

to life than eating John Tesh

cereal and cannibal corn, buying

fake Viagra off the Internet,

and if you're really lucky,

chatting over the back fence

about how the real news is

almost as wacky as the funny

news stories comedians make up.

When your best entertainment bet

is a Stevie Nicks concert,

you're bound to hang yourself at

some point or just hang an

annoying neighbor. The only real

down-home entertainment comes

from the lunatics who inhabit

those twin embarrassments to the

Republic, Idaho and Montana.

This week, Bo Gritz, the most

prominent of the Gem State's

many insanely seditious radio

hosts, lent his support to the

cause of accused abortion clinic

bomber Eric Robert Rudolph.

Meanwhile, the Treasure State is

holding its annual Testicle

Festival, which will demonstrate

for all time that, in the

absence of any Taliban-like

dietary provisions, Americans

will indeed eat bull gonads.

Still, it's a little boost to

American pride to learn that 15

members of parliament have

signed a complaint alleging that

the UK's Aardman Animations has

redubbed Wallace's broad

Lancastrian accents in The Wrong

Trousers. "The whole history of

Wallace and Gromit is based on

the north," says Lancashire-born

MP Lindsay Hoyle. "Why not leave

them as they are and let people

see there's an alternative to

clipped English?" In these days

of social division and

constitutional crisis, isn't it

comforting to know that our

allies across the pond can still

be so ... lame?


[rockstar revealed to me that he was in love with a woman bearing the same name of a friends girlfriend who we both tolerate, at best. ]

Not that we don't have our own

puppet problems right here. The

death of sock-wielding yenta

Shari Lewis, so close on the

heels of Buffalo Bob's ride into

that eternal Cowabunga, has left

a gaping hole in the heart of

American ventriloquism. And as

evidenced by Shari and Bob's

disappearance from public view

long before their deaths, this

grossly underappreciated

vaudeville art seems doomed to

become even more grossly

underappreciated. We can only

hope that Jay "Chuck and Bob"

Johnson, or perhaps Willie Tyler

and Lester, can hold down the

wooden-headed fort until dummy

acts, borne on the same tide of

vanishing point nostalgia that

reinvented World War II movies

and swing dancing, return to

mock hipness. And in preparation

for that day, we've already

signed Tom Hanks to play Waylon

Flowers in the biopic, with

Peter Scolari, Hanks' Bosom

Buddies co-star, as Madame.


['she's so beautiful' he said. 'and she has three arms'.]

You've got to hand it to Hanks -

between his soul-stirring,

kraut-killing turn as the

Everyman hero of Saving Private

Ryan and his stewardship of

HBO's multi-Emmy-nominated From

Earth to the Moon (no nod to

Ralph Kramden?), the

doughy-faced star is sitting

pretty on the Zeitgeist throne.

But he's facing backward. With

the exception of his

unhealthier-than-thou turn in

Philadelphia, Hanks has stuck to

making hay of America's faded

glory, building his

post-Buddies career on

milestones rooted deep in our

short-term collective memory. In

a society willing to launch

77-year-old John Glenn into

orbit while 81-year-old Walter

Cronkite narrates, there are

rich rewards to be had by the

man who seems to embody the best

of what we are or at least used

to be. He's also been lucky -

his average acting ability has

been exalted by association with

truly brilliant thespians like

(Adrian Zmed in Bachelor Party

and the sniveling German

prisoner in Private Ryan), and

his war movie was released in a

summer so slow on news that

admitting Omaha Beach sucked is

considered a big story. Which

means that, having conquered

space and been awarded a Bronze

Star by Señor Spielbergo,

Hanks can now claim the vacated

tomb of the unknown soldier. If

he goes through with his plan to

play Dean Martin, we may have to

get a new iconography

altogether. And this time, we'll

get Adrian Zmed.


['three arms!' i could see where this would be handy in bed, playing guitar, and wrapping presents, but really.]

Speaking of codgerly veterans

and things that suck, Andy

Rooney gave us an unintended

plug this week. In the midst of

a lively bit, the cantankerous

commentator took a final swipe

at the nation's already

semen-stained sense of decency

when he intoned "Hot weather

sucks!" Seeing the way the "s"

word in the last decade has made

the journey from


profanity to mild oath to lazy punchline to

formerly hot brand name to

barely noticeable plosive, we

can't help but feel vindicated.

We've long contended that Suck

has a sort of Norman Rockwell

homespun quality that our

opponents refuse to acknowledge,

and with Andy Rooney on our

side, the case seems to be

closed. This also opens up an

unexpected staffing possibility.

60 Minutes II may prove too heavy a

workload for Don Hewitt's

geriatric wax gallery, but if

Rooney could make his "d'ja ever

notice" musings just a tad more

doddering, we could definitely

fit him in around here.


['fine' i said and took my african herding dog for a walk and bath.  ]

Hanks and Spielberg teamed up

again last weekend to relieve

the beleaguered

commander-in-chief, but their

displays of courage in the

Hamptons were nothing compared

to the Medal of Honor-winning

performance of fundraising ham

Alec Baldwin, who reportedly

ordered his own prolific mother

out of the casa de pepe to make

room for a presidential pee

break. With stars showing their

party loyalty and publishers

conspicuously talking down the

advance for a Monica tell-all

book, we can only assume that

Baldwin was prepping for his

role as The Chief in the

Lewinsky movie. Variety's Army

Archerd is getting ready to

report that Gene Hackman has

already signed on as Starr,

William Shatner as Linda Tripp,

and Cameron Diaz as the

semen-stained dress. Neve

Campbell, after an Oscar-caliber

weight gain, will play Monica.


[when i woke, rockstar touched me and said i was hot and sweaty.  'i had a bad dream,' i said in my defense.]

Nothing gets a body off to a

perky morning start like opening

the local paper to find your

team has won the pennant or

your brother-in-law has

disappeared without a trace.

But nothing makes one spit

coffee out the nose like picking

up The New York Times and

discovering that Maureen Dowd

has cooked up another nitwitted

soufflé of labored jokes, primly self-infatuated

fatuity, and neofascist bully

worship. Her recent bromide, An

American Tragedy, goes miles

toward proving the elementary

school adage that one must think

clearly and logically to write

something useful. The column's

"points": 1) Because two Capitol

policemen were killed last week,

she's freed of the guilt and

shame of having a cop for a

father, and 2) Because Saving

Private Ryan is such a

wonderful, patriotic movie, baby

boomers will yearn to have been

killed in World War II and will

feel guilty that they liked

Seinfeld all those years. "We

are going to die without

experiencing the nobility that

illuminated the lives of our

parents," she writes, not

realizing that many are happily

enobled by the more democratic

thought that we're not obligated

to die before we're old enough

to drink liquor.

courtesy of the Sucksters