The Fish
for 12 May 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief


Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director


[the fixin' pixie... ]
Emily Hobson
Production Manager
and Head Electrician


Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Ian Connelly]
Ian Connelly
Marketing Manager


[Copy Edit]
Copy Edit

Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text

Carl Steadman
Carl Steadman


Ana Marie Cox
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor


Sean (Duuuuude) Welch
Sean Welch


Owen Thomas
Owen Thomas
Copy Editor


T. Jay Fowler

Production Manager

& Ass Kicker


[yes, it's a plunger. i'll l
eave the rest up to your imagination ... ]
Erin Coull
Production Manager


Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager

Come Again?


Rarely do I find myself
doubting the factual accuracy
of anything I read in Suck.
Today, however, you have made
up for months of
undifferentiated accuracy by
waxing ignorant on two
subjects close to my heart
(or at least my field of

Your link to the supposed
telco whorehouse mentioned in
your piece took me to a
Sprint site advertising a
flat 10 cents rate on all
long distance calls, provided
you spend a minimum of US$30
per month (else a $4.95
monthly fee). This is
prostitution? I personally
don't spend nearly that much
per month (I live in Dayton,
Ohio, for chrissake; we are
not an exciting breed). But
for those who do spend a
little to reach out and touch
people, this offer would be
tempting. Maybe there are
other examples of telco
prostitution out there, but
your link certainly wasn't
one of them.

This much I was willing to
forgive. I chalked it up to
lousy link research, perhaps
a passed deadline or a vague
feeling that Suck readers
don't follow your links, what
with so many of them DOA by
9:30 in the morning (like
your link to

Then you repeated one of the
most common, and most
muddle-headed and
ill-conceived notions around,
the idea that car leasing is
dumb because you get no
equity. Skinner, cars are not
houses. Cars depreciate,
while houses (unless you live
in California, or 1988)
appreciate. While it is
smarter to buy than to rent a
house, you should in no way
confuse this with the
lease/buy question regarding

I direct your attention to
the April 1998 Car and
magazine, which has
for years been laboring on
this point, apparently
without success. Every mile
you drive a car COSTS YOU
MONEY. There is absolutely
nothing you can do about it.
Buy the car, it costs you
money. Lease the car, it
costs you money. Pay cash, it
costs you money. Hold it
forever, or sell it in two
years, doesn't matter, it
costs you money. Whether -
after all costs (real and
opportunity costs) are
considered - leasing is
better than buying always
depends on the specific lease
deal available.

The April Car and Driver
compares one buyer who sells
his Jaguar after three years,
to one lessor who leases the
car for three years. After
figuring in residual value,
APR, and the opportunity cost
for the buyer of not having
50 grand to invest in bonds
or tech IPOs, it turns out
that the buyer is a big,
stupid asshole who could have
saved $7,000 over three years
if he had leased instead of
bought. And the lessor can
now afford that three-week
European vacation he's always

The BMW 740iL was also
cheaper to lease, while the
Audi, Lexus, and Mercedes
were cheaper to own.

The point is that equity only
matters if your asset is
appreciating, or at least not
rapidly depreciating, as cars

Tom Castle

P. S. But I liked you beating
up on the IRS. Those fuckers.

Egad, Tom!

I think the Y2K bug has
struck a pre-emptive blow.
After trying to figure out
what the hell you were
talking about, I realized
you'd read my rant of a year
ago, "Come Again."

Sadly, the passage of one
year has done little to
improve my opinion of telcos
and car leases. While your
assessment of asset
depreciation is sound, and a
car loses value from the day
it rolls off the lot, you
still have the value of
ownership - even if it
amounts to 50 bucks from the
salvage yard. Depreciated
value is still value - which
you don't have in lieu of
ownership. Typically, the
only "asset" you have after a
three-year lease is whatever
deal the dealership will
strike to insure another
grift like the first one ...
brand loyalty!

You may well be right that it
depends on crunching the
numbers on a case-by-case
basis. Ultimately, though, I
think whether you gain or
lose money in the transaction
is incidental; it's just
another interesting extension
of our throw-away culture:
The product itself comes and
goes, but the brand stays
constant (if the loyalty
specialists are doing their

Thanks for taking me down
memory lane,

E.L. Skinner

Fish With Letter Icon


Subject: Actor's ministry and


Was it your intention to
prove Microsoft's point, or
just a happy coincidence that
the first section of today's
filler (29 April) contained
many quotes from apparently
stupid people (Jesus was a
model...). I mean really, we
all know Jesus was a
carpenter. While there isn't
much doubt that he was a
performer of one sort or
another, the rest of the
quote (which I'm too lazy to
reprint) clearly shows some
evidence of stupidity.

Although I'm always willing
to play another round of
"Slam the Gates," isn't it
time we admit that maybe he
is right? After all, we keep
buying his inferior products
and accepting the fact that
the initial release is always
full of bugs and requires us
to buy an update or a patch
or deal with its little
problems. (My version of Word
has a bug that prevents it
from using hyphens.)
Additionally, we rush out and
buy Windows 95 (or 98) or
whatever, at midnight on
release day, standing in line
like we are waiting for
concert tickets (or like
cattle waiting for food), and
then complain about how hard
it is to use, while all the
time there is a technically
superior system slowly going
out of business (Mac). So,
while "Where do you want to
go today," and the rest of
the Microsoft propaganda
advertisements are certainly
kind of demeaning, and Bill
Gates likely does think we
are stupid, is it any wonder?

Anyway, moving back a little
to the original proposition
(that entertainers and the
hangers-on that accompany
them are stupid), if the
quotes in Filler don't offer
enough proof, we have
Politically Incorrect every
night to prove it beyond any
reasonable doubt. Anyone who
has watched this show is well
aware that in the realm of
celebrities, a voice of
reason is a real breath of
fresh air. If we are lucky,
one celeb a week (out of 20)
will exhibit even the
slightest bit of good sense.
By this I mean actual logical
or emotional appeals based on
sound reasoning in an ad-lib
format, not just agreeing
with my point of view.
However, we continue to
idolize these folks, pay them
a fortune, and validate their
brainlessness. Theoretically,
by paying them a ton of money
for looking good and being
dumb, we are giving them an
evolutionary advantage, and
are condemning our race to
end up dumb and good-looking,
easy fodder for the first
intelligent aliens to come
along. Or worse, we're
risking being replaced on the
food chain totem pole by
apes, or cats and dogs, or
worse yet, some sneaky
reptile, lying in the ooze,
slowly developing a language
and some tools and planning
to take over. Maybe they
watch TV and the second that
the last intelligent program
disappears (any day now) they
are going to spring up and
annihilate us. It's just a

If you took the time to read
this entire bloated
commentary, I thank you.

Evan Noveck

"Sneaky reptile lying in the
ooze, slowly developing a
language and some tools and
planning to take over?" Are
you talking about Rush

At least the good-looking
dumb people usually realize
how dumb they are (too hot to
care?). It's the deluded,
pompous, ugly dumb people we
really need to worry about.

Pompous Polly

Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Green and Easy

This was the best Filler
comparison so far: "I now
know that Club Med is easier
than a Mongolian labor
prison. I better call my
travel agent."

Erich Von Hollander

I hate to say this, but we
didn't really fact-check that
"comparo" too thoroughly.
Hopefully you haven't booked
that Club Med trip yet -
there may still be time to
commit some major crime
against man in Mongolia.

Did you know that Mongolia is
the land of yerts and
yogurts? That's what my
seventh-grade History-
teacher, Mrs. Torrain, used
to say (also not verified as

At any rate, I'd take
breaking rocks and eating
yogurt in a compound in
Mongolia over drinking Mai
Tais and chatting with
salesmen in a compound in
Cancún any old day.


P. S. Your name rhymes with
"colander." Have you noticed

Fish With Letter Icon

Low Turnout

Dear Mr., Miss, Ms., or Mrs.

I have long been annoyed by
this TV thing. Yet, I lack a
singular myth-exploding
elocution sufficient to
finish off the puppy.
Besides, I enjoy watching
political, business,
athletic, and religious
figures jerking spasmodically
at the end of an electronic
noose. Mayhap you have hit
upon something, however.
Since you have viewed Moby
with irony, and seen its
irony, and sought further
layers of irony, there looms
before us the Godzillian
possibility that as we add
more and more layers of irony
upon irony, we may
accidentally circle back
around and find ourselves
sincere, for the first time
in human history. And TV led
the way! Backwards? Am I onto
something here? Kill your

Jack Garman

I'm especially fond of dog
metaphors, and so I expected
you to say that "we circle
back around, end where we
began, with our own tails in
our mouths - happy to have
finally caught the hairy

Anyway: Right on!

And it's "Mr. Skinner," if
you're nasty.

Best regards,
E. L. Skinner

Fish With Letter Icon

"ABC honcho Robert Iger ...
the head of the network
responsible for Roseanne and
Married with Children"

I thought Fox was behind
Married with Children...? Nit-
picking aside, why is TV so
associated as being a "dummy
box?" I would think people at
the History Channel and
Discovery would say
otherwise. You make a damn
valid and cynical (surprise)
point about there not being
much better in other forms of
distraction, or that they are
for the most part equal. It
all boils down to what you do
and how you do it. You could
watch that Sliders marathon
on the SciFi Channel or read
the Suck archives. Either way,
you are a few hours closer to
death. Six one way or a half
dozen the other....

Chuck P

Hi, Chuck. Thanks for taking
the time to write.

Not sure about the Married
with Children
question - I
think you may be right, but
NBC is culpable for picking
up the reruns, arguably a
much more nefarious daily
exposure to the nadir of
"Must Flee TV."

For some reason, TV just gets
judged by its worst products.
I admit to a little hyperbole
in my article: Actually,
Brave New World and Moby Dick
were terrific. I don't even
have cable, and I manage to
see about three hours of
pretty decent TV every week.
King of the Hill is
particularly good. PBS'
Mystery is hit-or-miss, and
so on.

Anyway, thanks for writing.

E. L. Skinner

Fish With Letter Icon

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