"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 4 November 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CCII



Rodney King's rhetorical motto

of the '90s turns out to have an

answer: We really can just get

along. This weekend, the Roman

Catholic Church and the World

Lutheran Federation faiths

effectively buried the hatchet

on what was the central issue in

one of the most bitter religious

conflicts of the past 1,000

years. Sunday's joint statement

on justification settles the

issue of whether you get into

Heaven through faith alone or by

purchasing dozens of raffle

tickets. Ill-willed

legacy-watchers might conclude

that Pope John Paul II, having

done his part to bring down

Godless Communism, is trying to

close out his hard-rockin'

career by undermining

Protestantism, but the text of

the new mission statement seems

to be, if anything, a concession

to the lost sheep. In any event,

these points of theology have

been so obscured by time that

they're almost impossible to

tease out, as shown by our handy

Luther quiz. See if you can

guess which of the following

statements is part of the

official teachings of Martin



1. "By being humble, funny, and
competitive without being
arrogant, He showed us what real
people should aspire to."

2. "During the Reformation, the
Church feared that Martin Luther
would hit like an atomic bomb
and drive a wedge that would
permanently divide Western
Europe's Christianities. But
Protestantism is out there; you
can't put it back in the

3. "Everybody's concept of what
the Goddess is, is everybody's
free will and right."

4. "[The sacrament of ordination]
is the source of that detestable
tyranny over the laity by the
clergy who, relying on the
external anointing of their
hands, the tonsure, and the
vestments, not only exalt
themselves above lay Christians
but even regard them as dogs,
unworthy to be included with
them in the Church."


Answer Key:

1. Not Luther. Quotation from
"Ruckhead" in a Yahoo BBS
tribute to Walter Payton

2. Not Luther. Anachronistic,
mixed-metaphor quotation
Time senior religion writer
David Van Biema

3. Not Luther. Quotation from
interview with Tori Amos

4. Luther


In the global village, the

saddest of the village idiots

are usually the ones looking

desperately for dates. Take Ric and

Brandon, who created what's

colloquially known as the "How

long until we get laid" page.

Though there are vague hints

that the contest "actually

started a really, really long

time ago," they've now

established an online log that

goes all the way back to April.

Some samples:

Aug. 03, 1999: No progress to report.
Aug. 04, 1999: No progress to report.
Aug. 05, 1999: No progress to report.
Aug. 06, 1999: Ric talks to girl on phone. 
Sex is not discussed. (Yes, it is the same 
girl from May 28, 1999.) 


The Zen-like log entries form a

strangely compelling commentary

on the passage of time:


Aug. 20, 1999: No progress to report.
Aug. 21, 1999: No progress to report.
Aug. 22, 1999: No progress to report.
Aug. 23, 1999: Ric turns 23. 

So far, more than 300 people

have joined in on the latest

craze — betting on which one

of them will actually score

first. As the Internet community

rallies to their cause, the

webmasters have even begun

publishing the encouraging email

messages they've received from

readers ("One of my buddies

actually went four years without

getting any ...") — some

offering helpful hints ("Church

girls are sluts"). Though their

initiative is to be applauded,

this seems like a preemptive

strike against being mocked. Er,

Ric and Brandon: They're not

laughing with you; they're

laughing at you. It may have

been in acknowledgment of this

that the log began heating up on

23 October. ("Ric and Brandon go

to a bar and actually talk to

women.") After that, the log

entries stopped appearing

altogether. But hopes that

they'd found better things to do

with their time were dashed when

a week's worth of log entires

appeared on 1 November. All

read, "No progress to report."



You can tell that Texas Governor

George W. Bush is getting a

little nervous about the

challenge presented by Arizona

Senator John McCain. Over the

last week, stories about

McCain's infamous temper

appeared in Arizona papers, as

launched into the media

trajectory by Arizona Governor

Jane Hull, a Bush supporter.

(McCain suggested that the Bush

campaign must have sent her a

memo urging her to pile on the

former POW, but the Bush people

are far too crafty to put

anything like that in writing.)

The negatory salvo — McCain

calling this idiotic senator an

idiot, that journalistic hack a

hack — doesn't seem to have

caused much damage to the

maverick campaign-finance-

reform advocate's presidential

bid. McCain, after all, is a man

who owns up early and often to

his misdeeds, whether they be

the carousing that felled his

first marriage, his lame joke

about Janet Reno's being Chelsea

Clinton's father, or the

appearance of misconduct during

the Keating Five scandal. (A

group to which, it should be

noted, neither McCain nor

Senator John Glenn, D-Ohio,

truly belonged, though McCain

was lumped in with the

far-more-skeezy Keating Three by

Democrats who didn't want their

party to be the only one taking

a hit.) It is precisely McCain's

unwillingness to feign —

whether righteousness or good

moods — that has the leftest

of leftist reporters drooling

all over him. Nor does the

argument that McCain has a

temper seem to matter much in

the shadows of Ike, LBJ, or

Clinton's fabled "purple" moods.

(Or the fact that Bush hisself

is supposed to go off like a

firecracker when his whores or

blow are even a minute late.) In

fact, the far more interesting

bit of machismo-related

political trivia of the last few

days came when it was revealed

that liberal, hummer-advocating

author Naomi Wolf was trying to

teach Vice President Al Gore how

to be more of an alpha male.

Considering the fact that McCain

bests Gore in the latest

hypothetical match-ups, the

beleaguered veep might do better

to ignore the feminist and take

a lesson from Naura Hayden, the

scholar behind How to Satisfy a

Woman Every Time ... And Have

Her Beg for More!



The truth behind urban legends

has a way of disappointing. The

"rocket car" story may have

originated from bored high

school kids, and that convoluted

suicide story was a hypothetical

scenario from a speech to

forensic scientists. So we were

especially wary when we received

the tale of the dogs in elk

— two plucky pets tormenting

their owner by refusing to

vacate their hiding place in a

discarded elk carcass. The

story's complications — a

pending elegant dinner party

— seemed just a little too

improbable. ("I'm afraid you're

not going to create enough of a

diversion to get the dogs out of

the carrion," one well-wisher

advises, "unless they like

greeting company as much as they

like rolling around in dead

stuff. Which seems unlikely.")

Suspiciously, Deja.com showed no

trace of the discussion said to

have occurred in rec.pets —

but this legend took hold of the

popular imagination anyway. A

programmer at MIT's New Media

lab carved the story into

pumpkins, and soon Chicago

webmaster Greg Galcik proudly

announced that he'd run that

page through the "Big Dog-ifier," a

private joke that evolved while

recaptioning Marmaduke

cartoons. (A phenomenon which

itself evolved after bored netizens

looked for something to replace

Galcik's recaptioned Family Circus

cartoons.) But the mystique

couldn't last forever, and Suck

ultimately tracked down the

dogs' owner, who swears the

story is true. And when she

identified the origins of the

thread, it all became clear. No

one had wanted to admit they'd

been reading Salon's Table


courtesy of theSucksters