The Fish
for 10 November 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
[Suck Staff]

[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor


[Terry Colon]
Terry Colon
Art Director


[Heather Havrilesky]
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Joey Anuff]
Joey Anuff

[Go to the Suck Alumni page]
The Basket Case

"Hipsters who couldn't afford Doc Martins"? Apparently, they couldn't spell the brand name either. Some Seattlite — can you at least spell "flannel"? Or "Monorail"?

Brian E. Kassof

Hi, Brian:

I swear, I own a pair. My middle name and one of my writing aliases is "Martin," which may explain why I typed it that way originally, if not my complete failure to see it going back over the text. This inattention to detail is one of the reasons I didn't get into UVA.

As The Stranger has explained in full, "Monorail" around here recently has been spelled "S-C-R-E-W-J-O-B." "Flannel" is slightly before my time, but I can definitely spell "dot-com collapse."

Thanks for reading the piece, and for sending a note along.

40th Street Black

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Dear Tom —

Nice essay. I stayed in the hotel this year, my daughter attends Denison in Granville. It was the closet place we could get into on short notice.The town was having some sort of hot rod car weekend.The streets were lined with souped up trucks, vintage vehicles and some bizarre people.Not being a basket person, I was curious about the town and the company.How did you happen upon it?

John Stickney

Hi, John:

Thanks for reading the essay, and thanks for sending a note.

I discovered the Longaberger people through the wife of an artist with whom I do a comic strip. Because of his flexible work schedule, he accompanied her on a tour and site visit, and suggested I do the same next time I drove through Ohio. I visited Dresden on the same drive-around I visited Fort Necessity in Southwestern Pennsylvania (a previous Suck essay). I had a grand time, and really enjoyed talking to the world-weary, seen one tour/seen them all merchants in downtown Dresden.

40th Street Black

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

You forgot the < in < HTML > although I'm probably the nth person to tell you now :)

Martin Barnard

Hi, Martin:

If you and the other readers don't leave me alone about my ability to edit copy, I'm going to stomp the crap out of someone in my Doc Martins.


40th Street Black

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Dear 40th,

Having just seen a meeting of the Longaberger basket cult last weekend, I am so glad to know that I'm not the only person on the planet who finds this all slightly insane. After 2 hours I was almost convinced something was wrong with my upbringing (or at the very least, my femininity). The other women in the room were completely entranced by the "limited edition collector" baskets and some were even arguing(!) over the pros and cons of plastic protectors and fabric liners. An initial internal reaction of "$45 for that tiny thing?! I could get a really cool bowl from India to hold my loose change for that money," melted into a mantra of cooing "very nice" and "oh, how cute!"

What I haven't been able to figure out is this: why do these women, who obviously have the cash to blow, buy *this* stuff? and how the hell do they block out any other hot topics of conversation, such as the riveting presidential race, the 1,000th rape movie on "Lifetime" last night, or even good ol' fashioned husband/boyfriend bashing? What's a thinking woman to do at one of these things except smile vacantly and ask for a Coke? My dad used to say that you could always distinguish yourself with a sense of style. I pray that Longaberger will start losing out to the Liberace in all of us. He may have been weird, but always kept his own unique sense of style. Which is more than can be said for the Stepford wives who swapped basket ideas last weekend.

Thanks for providing a psychiatric couch for my tortured soul!


I would never have guessed Suck's readership and potential Longaberger sales victims would have even one person in common, so I was delighted to receive your note. I agree with you that "baskets" is not high on my list of attractive home design themes, although I admit that the extra roll holder basket for the back of the guest toilet makes for a better-looking room than my current strategy of stapling them to a wall.

I think I know what you mean by the Liberace in all of us. There was an older lady my family visited when I was a child whose entire home was decorated with frog-related knick knacks. She'd be a prime basket-pusher target were she still in her acquisitive prime, and my world would be poorer and only slightly less tacky if they had somehow managed to capture her heart.


40th Street Black

[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

Filler 11.1.00


You're absolutely right! Telling the truth is much easier. I once spent a day trying to tell only lies, and it was way too taxing to be that creative all the time. Of course, when I spent a whole day telling the truth, my girlfriend left me, someone keyed my car, and I think the heat in my office was intentionally turned off, so maybe a little effort is worth it.

Lying less, sucking more,

Big mouth

Too taxing to be that creative? Well, some of us are that creative naturally.

Watch out for creative people. They're usually liars.

I should know.

Not my real name,


[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

I was sleeping with my upstairs neighbor, a hot 19 year old girl who just broke up with her boyfriend of 4 years. So I was sensitive rebound guy. Not a problem, I can be that guy. So then she asks me to go out on a date, like the sex wasn't enough for her, she wanted a relationship too. Now bear in mind, I had never told her I wanted any kind of relationship, but I kept the details to myself. So finally she asks for this date, and I tell the truth. I said: "You know, I don't think it's a very good idea for us to date. I like the sex, and I like being here for you to an extent, but you really have no idea what you want out of life, and I'm past the point in mine where I'm willing to drag somebody through the self-discovery process all over again. Been there, done that. So, if you want to come down here and get laid from time to time, go for it! As long as I'm not seeing anybody, I can be that guy. But I don't want to be your boyfriend."

The upshot: I'm not having sex anymore. But, At least I don't have a clingy codependent 19 year old to worry about either! Thanks for the advice. I gotta say: telling the truth....mixed bag.

BTW, I'm the guy you persuaded to take a bunch of Xanax last christmas. Your advice is always interesting.

Name Withheld to Protect the Flinchy

That girl hears the same speech about once a month. "I'll fuck you, but I don't want to be your boyfriend." "You're hot, but I wouldn't dream of spending time with you." "You're sexy, but if you like me, you've got to be pretty confused."

Hey ladies, I hate to sound like Dr. Laura — or worse yet, Dr. Drew — but really, don't fuck men randomly. You can probably go ahead and fuck women randomly without any negative consequences. But, if you let your guard down and sleep with some guy, just be prepared for that "you're not evolved enough for me" speech, delivered by a guy who seems about as evolved as a Cro Magnon man.

But wait — let's not digress. Why don't you tell me more about how you dragged that other woman through the self-discovery process? Because right now I'm not quite convinced that you were the one doing the dragging.

At any rate, don't worry about the 19-year-old. Like you said, the sex wasn't enough for her.

Dedicated to the truth at all costs, unless they're really prohibitively high,


[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

I did the honesty thing last year and I found that the truth can keep you from joining in the reindeer games. Unless you find others that are also willing to be upfront and honest, you may end up isolated and ostracized, and lonesome to boot.

Of course honesty is the best policy, but if you think that it's the course to having an active social life, you'd be wrong.

Kurt M. Lightner

Isolated, ostracized, and lonesome! Three great tastes that taste great together!

If telling the truth really gets you in that much trouble, maybe you're mistaking the truth for your strong opinions or interpretations of other people's behavior. There's your truth and then there's your opinion of someone else's situation. It's one thing to say, "I'm not that excited to hang out tonight because I think my relationship is in trouble, and it's depressing me." It's quite another thing to say, "It bothers me to be around your wife because I feel like she's really hung up on money as a sign of social status, and unless she evolves into a more balanced, down-to-earth person, I know that she'll doom you to a life of running faster and faster on your little hamster wheel while she lives beyond her means in pursuit of a sense of approval that will never be hers."

Actually, it really depends on the situation, because there are times when you're forced to say such things as a means of saving someone from an awful fate. But if you tell people the truth in spite of the fact that it will make them feel awful, then you have to wonder if you aren't telling them the truth in order to make them feel awful.

Anyway, telling the truth about your life and your ideas shouldn't have such a negative impact on your social life, unless you live in LA. And even there, the truth is so rare it can actually get you heralded as a "true original" — but only in a Joel Siegel sort of a way.

Active social yeast,


[Mr. McFeely Speedy Delivery My Ass]

 The Shit
Physical Strength and How to Obtain It, by Eugen Sandow
Bamboozled, A Spectacular New Film by Mr. Spike Lee
G. Beato's all-new Soundbitten
William Demarest, Sultan of Snarl, in The Lady Eve (1941), The Palm Beach Story (1942), and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)
George Wallace: Settin' The Woods On Fire, directed by Daniel McCabe and Paul Stekler
Bobby Darin, Darin at the Copa (Atlantic)
Shinji-San in the floating world of indeterminate duration, by Peter Richardson
American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley: His Battle for Chicago and the Nation, by Adam Cohen and Elizabeth Taylor
Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1996, Merge)
45, by Bill Drummond
Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards, Singing in the Rain (ASV)
Do you know of stuff that doesn't actively suck? Things so good they deserve to make the Shitlist? Send your suggestions to us.

[Contacting Us]
[Contributors Index]
[Barrel] [Net.Moguls]
[The Smoking Gun] [Suck-o-matic]
[Link To Tech Notes]