"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 12 November 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CLV



It's not easy being a hurricane

victim. You lose your house, you

lose your family, you end up 50

miles out to sea, and still you

have to face the devastating

onslaught of do-gooder US

ex-presidents. Central American

survivors of Hurricane Mitch

spent much of this week at the

tender mercies of Presidents

Jimmy Carter and George Bush,

prompting hemisphere-wide

expressions of gratitude toward

Gerald Ford for staying home and

nodding off to NFL Films

highlight reels. The two chiefs,

whose services were politely

declined by US voters back in

the day, managed to bring their

personae intact to the area

below the free trade zone:

Carter made gloomy predictions

about Mitch recovery efforts in

ominous national-malaise terms,

and Bush hinted darkly that

beleaguered Español

speakers might be forced to

sneak into some perfectly fine

US states such as, for example,

the one Bush's own heir apparent

governs (until a better offer

comes along). President Bush

really outdid himself with a

photo op in which he described

how a car carrying himself and

Honduran President Carlos Flores

Facusse was approached by an

elderly peasant who told the

VIPs a searing tale of woe that

seemed to go on for about 15

minutes. In Bush's telling, the

old man related how his own home

and livelihood had been wiped

out but still managed to get in

a ringing endorsement of

personal initiative and the free

market. In a heartwarming

epilogue, the speaker was

allowed to finish his speech

before getting dragged off and

murdered by a CIA-trained death




Whether it was early holiday

spirit or a secret visit to Wall

Street by the Colombian air

force, Tuesday's run-up in Net

stocks made John Glenn's

low-protein star voyage seem

tame by comparison. A flood that

lifts all boats - seaworthy or

not - can be cause for concern,

but there is immeasurable

entertainment value in watching

short-selling Rumpelstiltskins

vent their anger at the free

market. Traders betting against

eBay lost big, and

unfortunately, they lived to

tell about it. Yahoo's message

boards have been ringing with

complaints against the

"criminals" who like to see

stocks go up rather than down -

not to mention suicide threats

from eBay shorters and attendant

expressions of sympathy (or lack

of same). We don't like to see

anybody go bust, but really, as

injured parties go, short

sellers have about as much claim

to innocence as suicide bombers

and trepans. Some bets are

clearly better than others, but

when you've been naughty all

year, you can't very well

complain about that lump of coal

in your stocking.



Largely lost amidst the

cannibalization of Newt and the

wholly synthetic rise of

snooze-worthy Robert Livingston

was the Republican National

Committee's announcement that

Philly is back again, as the site of

the party's convention in summer

2000. "America's Mayor," the

flirty, Teflon-coated, corned

beef-chomping Ed Rendell, had

been promiscuously lobbying for

both parties to sport a little

Philadelphia feeling, and with

the GOP committed, it should be

an interesting scene. When the

conservatives come marching into

town, they will see what Rendell

has accomplished by stealing

plays from their own playbook:

challenging the city's unions,

brown-nosing the Chamber of

Commerce, etc. They may also

fall victim to the state law

precluding Philadelphia from

passing its own gun laws, thus

making the city of brotherly

love the only major US site

where gun crimes are actually

increasing. On a more personal

level, certain Republicans may

find themselves, like so many

Philadelphians, loving Rendell,

whose shiksa wife seems to be

sneaking pounds of Dietz and

Watson scrapple into his diet,

so when he celebrates the summer

opening of the public swimming

pools by cannonballing his

hirsute ass into the deep end,

he grosses out the Philly press

corps in the process. Some

Republicans may even find that

the roving Rendell brings out

their own inner Henry Hyde.

We're not too impressed with

Bush the Son, the GOP's own

flirty, likely 2000

candidate/charmer. (In our

opinion, only Steve Largent has

that combination of poise and

gravity that seems to shout,

"I'm the Republican Al Gore.")

But if George W. and "Fast"

Eddie buddy up, they might

consider visiting what will no

doubt be a popular tourist spot

for the family values-preaching

conventioneers: Delilah's Den,

an upscale titty bar off Spring

Garden Street. There, at least

one employee was enchanting

enough to inspire another

professional man with a straying

eye - except in that case the

result was homicide, not just




Hidden beneath 80 years worth of

rock sediment, the DNA of the

Lost Generation has been

rediscovered at last in a jar of

bathtub gin and

reverse-engineered into a

Spielbergian behemoth. If the

first sign of a Gilded Age

revival was packed into Leonardo

DiCaprio's retro, waterlogged

trousers, conclusive evidence

that early century revivalism

was headed for a rally came in

the form of the chorus of voices

a few months back, predicting an

imminent, 1929-style market

crash. These days, we only need

browse the better-stocked

newsstands in town to shore up

memories of our

great-grandparents' senility

fodder. Just the other day, we

were forced to choose between

the first issue of Timothy

McSweeney's Quarterly Concern,

named after - you guessed it! -

a deceased, long-forgotten

old-timer, and the latest issue

of Baffler, featuring numerous

pieces of clip art drawn by and

depicting deceased,

long-forgotten old-timers. While

both "journals" make a show of

appropriating both the octavo

size and austerely clusterfucked

design of the little magazines

of the '20s - The Smart Set, The

American Mercury, Transition, The Little

Review, et al. - McSweeney's

appeared to come closer to

evoking the perennially evoked

spirit of H. L. Mencken (though

the few pages of Baffler's

Mid-Cult spectacular we were

able to browse evinced a rare

talent for precisely nailing the

uptown radicalism of the

turn-of-the-century New

Republic). Had we been spending

anyone's money but our own, the

sound impulse would have been to

buy both of these young fogey

masterpieces, pedal our penny

farthings to the nearest plaza,

fasten our monocles atop our

cheeks, and dig in. But as with

all our most irrationally

exuberant and drunken

inclinations, we find a

Depression-era approach to

consumption keeps us most


courtesy of the Sucksters

[Purchase the Suck Book here]