The Fish
for 27 June 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor


Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director


Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Phillip Bailey]
Phillip Bailey
Production Editor


Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff

Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text
Bring Out Yer Dead

Thanks so much for dredging
up Hunter S. Thompson's
excellent obit of Nixon. I've
always liked the sheer
viturperance of that piece.
It also glistens with hope
for me, as it reminds me of
how I celebrated the death of

The weekend after he croaked,
I went with my friend Simon
to the Yankee game and sat in
the bleachers, surely New
York's unparalleled summer
debauch. Or at least it was
until they stopped selling
beer in the bleachers.
Anyway, a few minutes before
the start of the game, the
Voice of God, Bob Sheppard,
came over the PA and asked
the crowd to observe a moment
of silence for our fallen
leader, Richard Milhouse

Having been raised in a good
Jewish liberal Democrat
household, I was outraged. Of
course, it seemed
appropriate, given how Yankee
owner George Steinbrenner
broke the law by contributing
too much to RMN's campaign,
but still I had to do

So in the heat-laden silence,
I yelled out "THIEF!
expected the NYPD to escort
me back to River Avenue, but
instead, I was joined by the
cheers and applause of the
largely Latino fan base in
the bleachers.

There is hope, my friend.


Ben Rothfeld>

Hi, Ben:

To make matters worse, Nixon
was a football man.

— 40SB
Fish With Letter Icon

To 40th Street,

The politician you are
refering to your article is
William Jennings Bryant, with
a "t." I thought you might
like to know for future

Matt Petrone

Thanks, Matt.

When I first read your note,
I thought, "Are you telling
me majoring in history isn't
even good for remembering
history?" Then I looked at my
Webster's biographical
dictionary, and it had Bryan
with no "t." I have no choice
by to agree with my
Webster's, because it's the
only reference book I own.

A simple web search shows
tons of spellings both ways,
so this is a common disputed
spelling. That damn William
Cullen Bryant can't be
helping matters any.

— 40SB
Fish With Letter Icon

Mike Szilagyi wrote:

40th Street Black,

Your article about obituaries
struck a chord with me in
that it is yet another
example of the media becoming
popularized and as result,
watered down in actual
content. Your piece
illustrated this well, I
thought. Keep up the good
work and thanks for a good

Mike Szilagyi

Thanks for the compliment,
Mike. I'm glad you enjoyed
the piece.

The only thing scarier than
watered-down content is
content that is so content
free it doesn't have to be
watered down.

— 40SB
Fish With Letter Icon

I pretty much agree with your
take on modern obit writing.

That's why, five years ago, I
started GoodBye! The Journal
of Modern Obituaries. I think
you'll find a fair number of
eviscerations (cf Wallace)
but also a number of raves
(Mitford) and in betweens
(Schulz). Full text available
online (

I don't know how I've missed
Mencken on Bryan. Classic.



Thanks, Steve. I enjoyed the
site quite a bit, and am only
happy to be able to recommend
something that allows me to
stay pissed off about the
stuff I was talking about in
the essay.


— 40SB
Fish With Letter Icon

This should at least get an
honorable mention ;)

I've read SUCK for a long
time, but never written to
say thanks for all the great


ok, now I feel better.

David Beach

Hi, David:

Thanks for writing, and
thanks for pointing out the
amusing article. I think he's
onto something — any bad
feelings that come with
writing disrespectfully of
the dead would be overwhelmed
by America's unending delight
in mafia-focused

— 40SB
Fish With Letter Icon

Not a patch on your Suck
essay, but the WSJ ran a
frisky obituary when Bart the
Bear died. Couple or few
weeks back, but you need a
subscription to get to the
online version, or a
Lexis-Nexis account, to see



Thanks. Any obituary that
devitates from the norm is a
good thing. I feel better
after reading these Fish
letters than I did when I
ended writing the piece, even
though what's been pointed
out seem to be definite
exceptions proving the rule.


— 40SB
Fish With Letter Icon

Java Been

Though your story was about
execs and companies that were
given the knock out blow by
their involvement in
promoting java, but I must
add my story of Micheal
Cowpland (Corel) and his
short lived java adventure.
Remember Corel Wordperfect 8?
With all the integrated java
functions? At around that
time the talk around town was
that Mr.Cowpland planned to
create a net-based work
station using java as it's
operating system. You know
the deal. Network based
applications, wave of the
future, blah blah blah. Well,
the workstation went on to
become the
netwinder based on the linux
kernel, and the the java OS
never materialized. But this
short sighted and short lived
dip into the wonderful world
of java was the foundation of
Corel's more recent problems
culminating in the company
letting go of 320 workers. Of
course thinking that they
could make money off of linux
also plays a big part in
this, but it all started with
that gleam in Cowplands eyes
as he dreamed the dream of a
java OS.

That's my story.

Malcolm Jean

When I first sat down to
grind out this tale of Java,
I thought about name-dropping
Mr. Cowpland. But he really
deserves a story of his own.
I'd argue that Cowpland
wasn't looking so much for a
technology to build his
company around as a
straw(man) to spin into gold
on Wall Street. Hence his
ill-advised forays into Java,
network computers, Linux, a
merger with Borland-Inprise,
and, more recently, a near
brush with bankruptcy.


Fish With Letter Icon

Really enjoyed today's Suck
on Java. Below is another
Java-based trainwreck,
recently profiled, that you
may find of interest...

Keep up the good work!

Dennis Venerus

Thanks for the clip from the
Ottawa Citizen which detailed
the almost-forgotten tale of
Shane and Shaun Maine, whose
main failure — besides
not coming out with a product
that anyone would buy —
was in timing. Had they
started a bit later, these
Java hucksters no doubt would
have recast Sanga
International as a broadband
B2B exchange.


Fish With Letter Icon

Let me tell you that life in
Java-land is not half as bad
as you make it out to be for
all of these reasons:

1) Java is a clean, simple
language that helps
programmers avoid errors.
Programmers routinely say
they get twice as much work
done. I don't think it will
ever be possible to measure
that with objective
techniques, but my experience
suggests that it is closer to
true than false.

2) Java is easier to learn
than many of the other
languages. That's why many
schools and universities use
it for their programming
langauges classes today.

3) Java is security
conscious. The other
solutions like Active X
controls are designed with
little regard for security.
They're not full of holes
because they were designed to
have huge holes that give the
virus complete access to the
system. Java may not be
perfect, but at least it

4) Java is great for casual,
interactive tools on the web.
I use Flash and DHTML at
Flyzone, but our best tool is
still the interactive
GameFrame system. This is
also why many of the
non-graphical on-line games
like Poker at Yahoo use Java.

There really are people who
use Java for websites and the
systems work pretty well. Let
me know if you want pointers
to more examples.

For the last four years the
folks at Microsoft have been
telling me the same thing
that you wrote. It's not
really true. So Java's not
perfect. It still doesn't
deserve your portrayal.

Peter Wayner


Thanks for your note. I'll be
sure to return the favor by
reviewing your book without
reading a single word.

If you'd paid any attention
while scanning "Java Been",
you would have found I didn't
have anything much to say
— good, bad, or
indifferent — about
Java's scalability,
productivity, security, or
potential for literary

I'll summarize my piece:
Java's great! Works really
well on the back-end where
Web servers do mysterious
stuff. If you're a
programmer, learning Java is
enormously helpful to you and
most likely financially

But if you're a moneyman or a
marketer who spotted Java
early as a supposedly cool
technology and tried to ride
the wave, you probably got
soaked — and deservedly
so. See, especially, the
sordid tale of Sanga
International noted above.


Fish With Letter Icon

Dear Editor

Who is the moron that wrote
that Java article?

The simple truth is that
demand for Java is
insatiable, commands
presently the highest
salaries and options , and is
the basis of every project
that needs to run on more
than one platform!

I should know.

I'm vice-president for
development at a telecom
startup and we can't get a
Java programmer of any
experience without paying



As the moron who wrote that
Java article, I feel
obligated to point out that
(a) you clearly didn't read
it, and (b) maybe the Java
programmers are avoiding you
because you go by the
ominous-sounding pseudonym

As I wrote, Java's
everywhere, but as boring if
essential back-end
technology. Java's story is
the ultimate revenge of the
nerds: they're raking in big
salaries while the marketing
hypesters and greedy
financiers got pie in their
face. Are your geeks laughing
with you, or at you?


Fish With Letter Icon

I am a Java developer, and
over the past several months
have seen a plethora of
articles being written that
announce the demise of Java.
This is curious to me, as I
do contracting for several
companies and have many
friends in many more
companies and about 80% of
these companies are moving to
Java as their main
application and back office
platform. I am involved in
several projects where major
applications and frameworks
are being re-written in Java,
and businesses are being
connected to the web by Java.
From putting a fancy front
end to the gas pump at your
local gas station, to
connecting legacy systems to
the web, Java is pushing its
way into more and more
markets. Yes, there are many
casualties, and it seems like
they get all the attention.
But what you aren't seeing is
that there are more success
stories than tragedies, and
those successes are very
practical, boring successes,
so they aren't being
plastered everywhere. I don't
care if Java isn't the
wiz-bang buzzword anymore,
what I care about as a
programmer is that it gets
the jobs done that I need to
get done much easier and much
faster than anything else out
there, and that is what
really counts. >

Andy DePue


Congratulations! As a Java
developer you're poised to
reap the benefits of this
revolutionary programming
language, unlike the Java
marketers and financiers I
described in my story. As for
the plethora of articles that
announce the demise of Java
— sorry, mine wasn't one
of them. The move of Java
from the client to the back
office is duly noted in my
story. Perhaps I should have
stated my point more
succinctly: if you yourself
can't code in Java, don't
expect to make any money from


Fish With Letter Icon

 The Shit
Krushchev Remembers, by Nikita Krushchev (authorship disputed), translated by Strobe Talbott
Five-Star Day Cafe
Athens, Ga.
Salon's "Action Figures"
TV ad
Donna's Famous "Long and Short of It," by Donna Anderson and friends
Two-Lane Blacktop, directed by Monte Hellman (The Anchor Bay/Universal letterboxed edition)
George Bush, Dark Prince of Love: A Presidential Romance, by Lydia Millet (Scribner)
King Kong: The Complete 1933 Film Score, by Max Steiner Moscow Symphony Orchestra, William J. Stromberg conductor (Marco Polo)
Eightball #20, by Dan Clowes (Fantagraphics Books)
The ECW's Little Spike Dudley
Stan Kenton, City of Glass, featuring arrangements by legendary weirdo Bob Graettinger (EMD/Blue Note)
Comix 2000, Edited and published by L'Association, 2000
Star Dudes
Do you know of stuff that doesn't actively suck? Things so good they deserve to make the Shitlist? Send your suggestions to us.

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