"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 8 October 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CLII


[even though i haven't been able to replace my old roomates cat p.c.,
i've been able to share the love of rockstar's dog bishop.]

Reports of Ross Perot's sanity

may be exaggerated, but he

hasn't lost his value as a

tribal elder. In the recent

colloquy with Larry King on the

state of President Clinton's

mental health, the feisty Texan

and the Brooklyn blowhard got

into a phrenological discussion

that resembled an aboriginal

creation myth:


PEROT: When we smell something

we don't smell until in our

heart tells what it is.


KING: The heart is pumping. The

brain ...


PEROT: The heart, breathing,

learning to move. Now, brain

learns, when we were very small

we couldn't walk. The brain

learned how to let us walk. Then

if you're an acrobatic, the

brain learned how to let you do

all kinds of tricks.


KING: But the brain gave us

obsessions, and it gave us bad

things. It gave us torment, it

gave us difficulty, it gave us

conflict. All of those things. I

don't mean to interrupt you.


PEROT: No, no, no. That's great.

That's all part of life, see?


But pundits who laugh their

talking heads off at Perot's

return to the monkey house have

short memories (as, apparently,

does Perot, who seems to forget

that his single '92 campaign

plank - balancing the budget -

is the one civic goal Bill

Clinton has actually achieved).

The colorful billionaire has

always had an ability to give

voice to lobotomized public

discontent, and his new

Clinton-bashing poll is a case

in point. The poll's

not-very-surprising results

reveal that the Perotistas are

almost unanimous in their

determination to cut the

president loose, and that

anywhere from one-fourth to

two-thirds of them are eligible

to receive Modern Maturity. Very

funny - until we recall that

these irate geezers are the

people who actually get out and

vote. And with even bigger

wackos around to do the real

anti-Clinton spadework, the

Reform Party's reluctant leader

may once again have the last

laugh. As always where Perot is

concerned, our advice is

twofold: Bow down before Oz the

Great, and pay no attention to

the man behind the curtain.


[it's an interestiong relationship bishop and i have.  when rockstar and i first started going out, the dog was 
interested but aloof.  whithin a few months he was in love with me. 

This week's long-awaited Web

debut by Newsweek magazine

reopens old questions about the

economics of publishing on the

Web. Until now, the argument

against offering shovel-ware

online has usually boiled down

to a simple matter of "why buy

the ink when the bull is free?"

A quick survey of subscription

rates, though, gives the lie to

that contention. Time magazine,

the Web version of which has

been available at no cost since

at least 1936, offers a yearly

subscription at a steep rate of

US$39.95 - and despite an

unwillingness to haggle, Time's

circulation has been up in the

past year or so. Newsweek, which

until now has been available

online only to AOL customers

and thus is seemingly better

positioned to charge for its

services, feels the need to

undercut its competitor

substantially, with a one-year print

rate of $24 even. Which proves

what should have been obvious:

Because the only time we

actually read the


magazines is when we're sitting

on the throne. We base our

buying decisions solely on price

and absorbency. That they're

available digitally matters not

a whit. The Wall Street Journal

manages to charge $89 a year,

while undercutting itself by

some $40 on the Web. The less-valuable

Economist, with large chunks of

its lofty-sounding flapdoodle

available free-of-charge online, still

gets away with a

wallet-flattening price tag of

$49.90 for 23 issues. And so on.

Slate's eminently reasonable

$19.95 yearly digital subscription rate

hasn't hurt the various Harvard

alumni newsletters with which it

competes for eyeballs. And those Web

publications that stick to the

baseline price of $0.00 have had

little impact on their

pay-per-spew competitors. So the

big question remains: How does

the market decide what to charge

for newspaper and magazine

subscriptions? We await the

answer from some learned

circulation manager, while

strongly suspecting that the

answer will be: "Oh, those are

just some numbers I pulled out

of my ass."


[he would follow me around the office, not his dad.  in the mornings it was i whose lips he licked to wake.

We wonder, though, if Newsweek

online was sending a secret

signal by calling its Crash of

'99? piece a "hyper cover

story." Reading one End-Is-Nigh

cover story after another is

making us wonder if financial

journalists know what a

self-fulfilling prophecy is. In

any event, Newsweek and the rest

were scooped two months ago by

the Weekly World News, which

went so far as to predict a

worldwide depression with over a

"billion homeless, starving in

the streets" by mid-October.

It's not the first time the News

has gotten the news before all

the fancy-pants economists out

there. Never before has buying

the rumor seemed like such a

smart move. We'll believe this

death-of-the-economy stuff when

we read about it in the Drudge



[crawling onto the bed was fun only when i was there and sleeping on my side was manditory but crowded.
eventually his infatuation passed and we settled into a routine of ignoring commands and 
taking 4 shits in the park.]

Writing the official obituary of

technorealism - a phenomenon

most of us didn't even know was

healthy - barely rises to the

level of a "somebody's gotta do

it" task. But somebody had to do

it. The movement's almost

instantaneous collapse under the

weightlessness of its own hot

air was frankly terrifying, but

we're happy to report that, six

months down the road, a hearty

handful of technorealists have

survived and banded together to

build all-new castles in the

air. TV, the papers, and the

Washington think tanks may have

bailed out, but on the Web, the

show about nothing goes on.


[last night we discovered him in pain and wimpering when we come home.
he seems ok once you get him walking but he has a pronounced limp upon rising and has been acting very distressed.

A spam this week from J. P. Mac

at Cool to be Canadian -

requesting that we "Be, Buy, and

Boost Canadian!" - seems to be

some direct tweak of Suck's

xenophobia. But among all the

shots taken at English, German,

or Australian fans, perceptive

readers may have detected a

habit of going easy on the

French. This show of respect

goes beyond mere fondness for

Bordeaux, Le Monde, or

Cinderfella. The French are a

notoriously unwired bunch, and

likely to remain so, given

Minitel's seeming inability to

reinvent itself as an ass-first

ISP in the AOL mode. Frankly,

it's not much fun mocking people

who don't know you exist. More

to the point though, all that

time off the Internet seems to

be good for the national

intellect. French bande

dessinée artist Stephane Heuet

recently issued a comic-book

version of Marcel Proust's A la

Recherche du Temps Perdu, and

the hard-bound graphic novel has

been a réussite éclatante,

selling out its entire first

printing. Frankly, we still

believe Americans could have

done a better version of

Proust's titanic masterwork -

Swann as a square-jawed Joe

Kubert figure, a flawlessly

curvy Odette in the Sue Storm

mode, maybe a goggle-eyed Peter

Bagge version of the foppish M.

de Charlus. But more to the

point, has any Classic Comics

warhorse ever been a bestseller

on this side of the pond? You

have to respect that kind of

populiteracy. Maybe NBC's

telemovie version of Crime and

Punishment will be a surprise

ratings success, but until then,

we can only say Vive la France!


[i'm worried about him and hope it was the fall out of bed he suffered monday morning and not something more serious than that.

"Under this bill," California

Governor Pete Wilson announced

last week, "the so-called

stalkerazzi will be deterred

from driving their human prey to

distraction, or even death." And

in fact, many celebrities have

been killed, some seriously. We

can't fault Wilson - whose

legislative agenda these days

seems to consist of supporting

the fight against Indian casinos

and rearranging the California

primary to bolster his own

doomed presidential campaign -

for latching onto an issue

popular with the Golden State's

numerous famous types. But the

signs of stalking are often

subtler than the law can account

for. And let's face it, how long

would the celebrities class

survive without its colony of

intrusive varmints in tow?

Unless you're one of that

growing number of people who

have been rescued from certain

death by Tom Cruise, you still

have more to fear from kooky

celebrities than they have to

fear from you.

courtesy of the Sucksters