for 7 August 1996. Updated every WEDNESDAY.


"Prodigy President-CEO Ed Bennet will step down this week in a management reorganization led by the struggling online service's new owner... Mr. Bennett will leave behind day-to-day management responsibility to function in a role he described as "visionary." [Advertising Age, 7/29/96]



People with bad ideas getting in the way? Don't risk the scandal of forced resignation... "repurpose" them into ultra-vague, thoroughly harmless roles.



So your CEO's ineptitude's got your company on its back? Put your business plan on the mend with a leader pretend! Don't make your main man walk the plank! As a "visionary," he'll fancy himself a think tank, but he'll be as easily ignored as a fish tank.





Got a famous writer on staff whose work is increasinly inept? Don't let that lack of skill make the edit board ill, just send her on an extended vacation to Human Resources, where she'll shine writing employee policy handbooks and interoffice memos that will move your staff to tears.





Scatterbrained late-20s manager causing serious difficulties with his Judd Nelson-esque hot temper, Andrew McCarthy-esque piss-poor communication skills? Think: Weekend at Bernie's! Storage for coats and hats are notably absent from new media offices, and though this one is a bit pricey, clients will gasp at the sheer classiness of having an attractive young man personally guard their garments for the duration of their stay.





So your webmaster would rather simper on internal emailing lists than tinker with infernal programming twists? Coders are lawless and crafty, new media offices are flawless but drafty - you figure it out.







"A bomb is like the physical equivalent of an insinuation - an anonymous, handwritten note that says, 'Just when you thought you were safe...' Terror now lurks in the shadows like a stranger in a dark ramp behind the parade of nations." [Time, 8/5/96]



Number of publications containing the phrase "just when you thought it was safe" over the past 2 years:



Looking for a 20-year-old cliche from the disaster movie genre? Just fill in the blank:

Just when you thought it was safe __________________ .

Some examples...

to forget about gunselmoron Kato Kaelin
to admit that you like - or at least don't mind - shooting steel shot
to go back into the fixed income water
to go back into Red Square
to go back to the singles bars
to go back to the trailer park
to go back in the aquarium
to go back into cyberspace
to go back into the 'hood
to go into the boardroom in blazer and chinos
to get back on the bathroom scale
to leave the voting booth
to go back into the voting booth
to step into the shower
to come in off the ledge
to go back on the golf course
to read about dead, white, European male conquistadors without any guilt
to greet the millennium
to get off the couch and onto the Internet
to surf the Internet
to let your employees visit the Internet without goofing off
to read the newspaper again
to switch on the television again
to tune in Hard Copy again
to flush the toilet again
to sell lumber to Americans again
to be Black again
to talk to a leftist again
to go back to Kansas again, Toto
to use butter again
to take things for granted
to wear black and dabble in the oil business
to take profits
to leave your home
to leave your false eyelashes at home
to take some time off from a frenzied summer of media deals
to go on vacation
to walk on the beach
to enjoy a carefree summer with your dog
to drink cappuccino in a pavement cafe at the Italian Centre
to turn on KKDA-FM (104.5)
to spend a nice evening at Fenway Park
to book a badminton court at Whitbury Leisure Centre
to speed on Bushkill Township roads
to snack on a no-fat chip made with Procter & Gamble's (P&G) new Olestra
to dial 911
to admit you had kids
to mock teachers
to go home
to look up
to loosen up
to slob out
to relax into sloth
to date people named Dracula
to wallow in your dependency culture
to send low-level radioactive waste to South Carolina
to eat a plate of calamari
to ask for a pay raise
to nod off in the lawn chair
to open a can of tuna
to go out in the world without diapers
to apply for federal funds
to live a normal life
to eat your souvlaki
to come out of the closet
to breathe
to go to heaven
to go without socks


"Carl Lewis... leaped real far into a sand pit and won the gold medal in the long jump." [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/30/96]



"Unless your name is HotWired or you're backed by a capricious billionaire, think twice about starting a Web-only service that has entertainment as its raison d'etre and the creation of a new mass audience aas its biggest obstacle." [WebWeek, 7/22/96]





Prove to your friends and family that you're okay!

[Source: "Plugged-In Press: Online magazines offer more than chit-chat," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 7/22/96]


1. "People are jumping to take part in the world-wide conversation before they figure out whether they have anything to say."

This statement is...

a) false. Everyone who engages in communicating via the Internet makes a special contribution to the online community at large! [See also: Every Sperm Is Sacred].
b) true. All these people are talking but they have nothing interesting or important to say. Except for me.
c) simply more proof that cyberspace mirrors reality, no matter how divorced its participants may be from reality.
d) provocative! This world-wide conversation or whatever sounds pretty exciting... I have a few requests and questions for the pope...


2. "'There's such a wide range of stuff out there,' [Ana Marie] Cox said. 'What defines an online magazine is basically that they're online.'"

According to this statement, an online magazine is...

a) a magazine that's online.
b) something that defies easy analysis, which is what Ms. Cox was getting at with her trademark use of over-obviousness as a razor-sharp tool that cuts straight to the heart of the matter.
c) a place that employs the mentally handicapped.
d) a free-range chicken.


3. "Suck is widely considered the e-zine, combining something to say with a great way to say it, rare in any medium but scarcer than celibate rabbits in this one."

From this statement, I Iearned that...

a) celibate rabbits aren't too scarce.
b) this writer really knows her stuff!
c) e-zine means online magazine, which is just a magazine that's online.
d) I'd like my steak medium rare.


Answer Key!

1. c,  2. c,  3. a  
You're mentally stable (as smartasses go).

1. a,  2. b,  3. b  
You're delusional (about the web, and many, many other things).

1. b,  2. a,  3. c  
You've mastered The Obvious! -OR- You're chafingly glib!

1. d,  2. d,  3. d  
You're off your rocker, nutzoid, in search of... your doughnuts!

Anything else
You defy easy categorization. Some would call you enigmatic, others might choose "schizophrenic."





[Filler Archive]

courtesy of
Polly Esther