"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 7 October 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.




"Kids today are different,"

theorizes AllowanceNet.com, the

latest Web site to try to make

spending online a sheltered

experience for the underaged

set. Despite gaining

congressional protection against

the assorted surveys and

registration forms littering the

online landscape, children

evidently still need protection

from moustache twirlers

determined to plunder their data

and dollars without regard for

youth, innocence, or fiscal

solvency. AllowanceNet, which

spices up its online experience

with a dancing stick figure icon

that just shouts "1996," is one of

several companies responding to

horror stories about

14-year-olds buying entire

households full of stuff on eBay

without realizing they'd

actually have to pay real

dollars for it. With the advent

of cybermalls like DoughNet.com,

RocketCash.com, and iCanBuy.com,

mom and dad can now belt down an

extra Rob Roy or two

without worrying that junior

will mortgage the house online

to finance his relentless

pursuit of Spawn action figures.

Of course, children still have

to enter an obscene amount of

personal and financial

information before they're

protected from the rest of the

Web. But no system is perfect.

Aside from wheels-within-wheels

data collection, there's one

other catch: The sites are so

relentlessly earnest and

obviously unhip, no

self-respecting kid would be

caught shopping at any of them.



Admit it: In your heart, you

always believed Richard Jewell

was guilty. Back when it was

standard procedure to preface

every comment about the Atlanta

park bombing nonsuspect with an

explanation that Jewell was a

known cop wannabe who lived with

his mother while not battling a

weight problem, the character

details gave a surprising,

man-bites-dog flavor to the news

that he had been cleared as a

suspect. Apparently, though,

fleeting fame as America's

best-known innocent man wasn't

enough, and Jewell's Ahab-like

pursuit of enemies in The Media

has referenced everybody from

NBC (which favored Jewell with a

guest spot on Saturday Night

Live in 1997) to a Sean Delonas

cartoon that, from what we can

tell, drew the conclusion that

the Olympic park was actually

bombed by Arabs. (In this week's

other man-bites-dog story, by

the way, it appears Arab

spokesbores are — for the

first time ever — happy with

the way the entertainment

complex depicts Middle

Easterners.) Now, however, it

looks like Jewell's reign of

terror may be coming to an end:

A Georgia judge has ruled that

the tubby hero's compulsive

post-bombing interviewing made

him a "limited purpose" public

figure and that Jewell thus has

a potentially immovable burden

of proof in his libel case against

the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"When you sue a media defendant

such as the Atlanta

Journal-Constitution and Cox

Enterprises, you know going in

you have to climb a large

mountain," said Jewell's

attorney Lin Wood. But at this

late date, blaming the media is

a bit thin. If loving the

limelight is a crime, Richard

Jewell has been sending "catch

me" letters for three years. The

obvious solution is an

out-of-court settlement, in

which the plaintiff drops his

suit in exchange for an "On My

Mind" column in the paper's

Sunday edition.



Public Service Announcement:

Don't eat your pet's chew toys.

Following 30 cases of

chew-toy-related salmonella

north of the border, the Food

and Drug Administration has

issued a warning against

mishandling the products, which

contain enough meat to knock out

a healthy adult. "The

possibility that salmonella is

present on pig ears ... is not a

surprise at all," the Centers

for Disease Control's Fred

Angulo told Reuters. And the

FDA, in concert with Canadian

health authorities, is raising

awareness of the importance of

proper handling and examining

ports of entry for pet chews

imported from those places where

God only knows what people do

with animals. An FDA

spokesperson shrewdly declined

to comment on our interviewer's

jingoistic claim that US pig

ears are the finest in the

world, but where the government

hedges its bets, the market has

already said yes: Shares in

PetPlanet.com appeared

unaffected by the scare.

courtesy of theSucksters

[Purchase the Suck Book here]