The Fish
for 28 September 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief


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Art Director


[the fixin' pixie... ]
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Production Manager
and Rhythm Guitar


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Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Ian Connelly]
Ian Connelly
Marketing Manager


[Copy Edit]
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Carl Steadman
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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

Going Postal

Dear Suck,

My dear old dad is a postman.
He works hard and I know for
a fact he is low maintenance.
Judging by my observations of
him and his colleagues, I
would have take to exception
to the claim that postal
workers are "low-output,
high-maintenance employees."
Granted, my sample pool (one
post office) limits the
statistical accuracy of any
assertion I might make, but I
would like to know on what
basis you made the above

I will agree to the "ragtag"

Erik Humphrey

Glad to hear yer pa is a
stand-up, sit-down, stand-up
again sort of guy (one
wonders whether he, like you,
given your employer, is an
agent of German subversion).
Go check out the workers'
comp stats on postal workers
if you want a definition of

Mr. M.

Fish With Letter Icon

There are a few things that
you and the public do not
know about the postal scene,
as is obvious from the
dribble you and others seem
to write.

Those few things will give us
degenerate, lowly, horrid
little creatures the last

Oh, you might do some
research into the rural
carrier craft and check out
how they are paid, how many
hours they get for lunch
breaks, how many hours they
can work during a day, and
how much overtime they make
for a 12-hour day. How much
are they paid to buy those
new four-wheel drives?

How much time are they
allowed for a bathroom break?
Clothes? Gas money? Do they
get days off? They have a
hell of a scam going on.

Dusty A. Rhoads

Such is the horror of the era
of "late capitalism" (an
epoch whose chief defining
characteristic is,
interestingly enough, the
demise of command economies):
Rural mailpeople who don't
get bathroom breaks. Hey,
last time I checked, that
portion of the country
desginated "rural" was one
big Johnny-on-the-Spot. Not
to disparage the "craft" of
driving a car and putting
envelopes into mailboxes ,
but if the job sucks, then
why don't you just shove it
and, like most of the planet,
move to the city, where the
jobs are plentiful, the women
(and men) are easy, and
letter carriers get songs
written about them?

Yours in a full-employment

Mr. M

Fish With Letter Icon

Dire Wolff

I actually liked Michael
Wolff's pieces (excerpted in
Wired, and up here in Canadian
magazine). Clearly,
I was wrong.

Ted Sturk

As it happens, Canada's
anti-pornography laws mean
Wolff's bare-naked bile gets
edited for content up north.
So what you liked was really
a fit-for-family-consumption
version that doesn't reflect
the real Wolff.

yr. pal,


Fish With Letter Icon

Dear Tim:

Wasn't that a little
excessive? The parts of the
book I've read seemed
moderately amusing in a
gonzo-journalistic sort of
way (i.e., based on truth but
not actually true

It is of course true that
everything described in the
book was either evil or
pointless, but hell ... if
you like sausage, don't watch
how it's being made. It's not
like any real human beings
seem to have been involved in
most of this.

I suspect that a wee tad of
personal bitterness may have
seeped in. Here is a guy who
is a "content provider" (gee,
is Tim a writer, too?) who
figures out a way to make a
lot of money without actually
providing as good a content
as Tim does. Such a disparity
must be stomped upon, n'est

Relax. It really will all
work out, and anyway none of
us gets out of this alive.
I'm finally reading the first
volume of the W.B. Yeats
biography. He essentially
hustled for pennies in London
in his 20s and early 30s,
doing all sorts of minor
editorial work (including
copying, which he hated),
some of it pretty dreadful.
And he woke up one morning to
discover his body of work had
established him as the
foremost Irish writer of his
day. It all works out.

PS: If you're going to read
Brill's, check out the
vicious personal attack
disguised as criticism on the
Times' science reporter, who
is guilty - it seems - of a
"narrow and traditional view
of scientific evidence, where
nothing is real until
documented by large
epidemiological studies or
lab experiments." Gee, some
of us thought that was the
definition of scientific

Alan S Kornheiser

One thing I found in doing
this article was that
virtually every piece written
about Wolff carried a
disclaimer to the effect of
"I know X, to whom Wolff
devotes a chapter" or "I am
a friend of Y, a person who
comes off particularly poorly
in the book" or "I did
business with Wolff and found
him to be insufferable," etc.
So here's my disclaimer:

I have never met Michael
Wolff or anybody named or
alluded to in his book. The
first time I ever laid eyes
on him was when he appeared
on Charlie Rose as an
Internet Pundit. Moreover, my
experiences working for
Netrepreneurs have been
fairly benign in comparison
to the stories Wolff's former
employees tell. So any
bitterness you detected in my
column is the result of an
analysis of Wolff on his own
merits, or at worst, from the
general sense of ennui that
has dogged me since infancy.

Of course you're right about
scientific principles, as
well as the Yeatsian
superiority of my own
scandalously overlooked
canon. I imagine right now
some tweedy don is putting
the latest issue of Suck back
on the shelf in his study,
thinking to himself "This
Cavanaugh chap's a very poet!
These immortal lines burn
with the true, hard, gemlike
flame. One hears such lines
and one feels that one is at
one with one who once ...

yr. pal,


Fish With Letter Icon

Brilliant column. Amen,
hallelujah, God bless. You've
brought joy to the aging
heart of a bitter old
ex-Wolff employee.

"He tells you his company
'ran out of money' the way an
8-year-old tells you the
window 'got broke'"


Jonathan Bellack

Good to have the disgruntled
aboard for our
little two minutes of hate.
The Bellack name has been
conspicuously attached to a
large number of the nasty
articles about Burn Rate.
You can take some pride in
having kept the anti-Wolff
fires burning these many

However, I have a friend,
"Dempster," who really got
the shaft from SmartMoney
online. And this guy was a
real reporter - able to
manufacture good stories out
of pure sand. And they threw
him away like an old sock.
Now he's struggling to keep
his wife and two children

So the moral of the story is:
Wolff isn't the only
sum'bitch who has stiffed his
loyal employees. People you
work with may be as guilty as
he is. Just a little smarter.

yr. pal,

tim cavanaugh

Fish With Letter Icon

Going Postal


Your mention of the Fat
Elvis/Skinny Elvis poll in
9/14/98's Suck got me to
chucklin'. You implied that
the vote was rigged in favor
of Skinny Elvis, but I have
evidence to the contrary. A
friend of mine once told me
that our local newspaper, The
ran its own Fat
Elvis/Skinny Elvis poll, one
of those deals where you call
1-800-QUA-LUDE to vote for
Fat Elvis or 1-800-NOT-APIG
to vote for Skinny Elvis. At
this time my friend was into
using his modem and terminal
software to rig polls such as
this - he would tell his
computer to auto-redial a
certain phone number over and
over again, which would slant
the vote in his favor. Well,
my friend set his terminal
software to redial the number
for Fat Elvis, then left the
house to go to work ... and
at the end of the polling
period, Fat Elvis beat out
Skinny Elvis 80 percent to 20

Anyway, if the USPS ever
extends their polling to the
telephone or the Web, now we
all know what to do.


Michael Lambrigh

Perhaps it's a measure of my
own gut, but I'm starting to
think fat Elvis really wasn't
that fat. In any case, this
mystical imp is holding out
for the Real Winners Don't
Use Drugs - They Abuse Drugs
stamp series, so all the
rock 'n' roll greats can get
into the act.

Mr. M

Fish With Letter Icon

Ke aloha no from Maui!

I can tell you live on a
coast but not which one. How?
Because you are not worried
about the prospect of
free-for-all mail
competition. If you lived in
any of the hundreds of small
interior American towns that
benefited from airline
deregulation by losing all
their air service, you would
think differently.

I realize you are just
parroting the party line of
Milton Friedman, but
Friedman, despite his Nobel
Prize, still doesn't know
anything about how to value
services. In particular, he,
and you assign zero value to
the network. Actually, most
of the value of a postal
system is in its network.

It is true that it costs much
less than 32 cents to move a
letter between New York and
San Francisco, but we are
talking about a national, not
a local, service. It costs
much more than 32 cents to
send a letter from New York
to Point Barrow.

You personally may not care.
Perhaps you never will want
to send a letter to Point
Barrow. But if you do, it
will cost thousands of
dollars. Assuming that
somebody (not necessarily
you) will sometimes have to
send something to Point
Barrow changes the accounting
- the 32-cent (or even
64-cent) stamp becomes good
value for the money.

Every other nation in the
world recognizes the value of
the network by charging more
than the USPS does for
postage, without a lot of
rabble-rousing. You might
want to ask yourself, why is

Harry Eagar

Aloha and book 'em Dano,

The dimension I live in is
not coastal; indeed, it's
surrounded by a sea of
landedness. What's more, it's
a frigging small town so
small it can't even support a
Starbucks or a McDonald's
with a big play-slide area.
And maybe I do want to send a
letter to Pt. Barrow. Indeed,
maybe I want to squeeze
miniature economist Milton
Friedman into a box and mail
him to that godforsaken
tundra town. And if I did,
and if I cared when he showed
up, I'd send him UPS or
FedEx. You're right that US
mail is priced the same,
regardless of destination.
That subsidy might be good
for you in Hawaii, but you've
already got cheap macadamia
nuts. Why shouldn't you pay
more for mail?

Mr. M

Fish With Letter Icon

Great column today! Keep up
the great work. If you have
the chance to respond, where
did you find the Fitzgerald

Brock SF Weekly

As Churchill said to Stalin
at Yalta, "You sir are one of
the two great minds in this
conversation." (Roosevelt was
taking a leak and Alger Hiss
was nowhere to be found.)

Check out The Great Gatsby,
early on, when Nick Carraway
- a truly hateful character -
is describing the "failed"
mansion that Gatsby resides
in. It may well be a misquote
but if it is, the point
nevertheless holds up.

All power to Meyer Wolfsheim!

Mr. M

Fish With Letter Icon

Your in-depth research of the
USPS is sadly flawed: Its
existence is not perpetuated
by a perceived monopoly on
first-class mail (as if
anyone fucking sends letters
anymore, duh!) but rather by
volumes and seas and oceans
of junk mail (USPS calls it
"bulk business mail") which
flows in vomitous torrents
and floods ad nauseam and
will continue to do so
throughout the existence of
time itself.

Yah think Phil's Mattress
Outlet or Loans 4 U are gonna
quit spewing their shit out
just cuz it's obnoxious and
annoys people? Fingerhut and
Harriet Carter and ARRP 'bout
to change their evil ways?
UPS gonna snatch that action
right up for $0.08 cents per?
Add the recent and growing
surge of parcel-post revenue
via Internet shop-at-home
outfits, a national average
of 90-plus percent public
approval ratings, and what
must be an extremely
irritating passage in the
Constitution itself
guaranteeing a
government-provided postal
system, and you think its
days are numbered? Yah really
think FedEx is gonna go down
that 15-mile dirt road to get
Mrs. Really Old Lady's liver
pills to her? I could go on
for sooo long....

But maybe you are right;
radio certainly did kill the
industry, then television
came along and whacked radio
right into oblivion. And now
with the Internet, Ted Turner
is selling paper roses on the
sidewalk and Rupert Murdoch
will work for food.

Then again, perhaps you
missed the target and hit the
waitress square in the ass
with a house dart. No more
comp draw beers for you.


Yes to all the above, except
the parts I disagree with.
First-class letter volume
remains large and profitable;
video did kill the radio star
(or at least the Buggles);
and last time I checked, UPS
and FedEx were willing to
drive to people's houses not
only to deliver packages but
to pick them up.

Mr. M

Fish With Letter Icon

Oh, wow, what an exciting use
of space. Suck rips apart the
United States Postal Service.
For a second I thought I was
reading the editorial section
of a high school newspaper.
What the hell do you have to
complain about. Postage in
the US is less than any
country in Europe. As for
undelivered mail, try mailing
a package from Russia or some
South American nation. I
don't think it'll be the USPS
that steals, loses, or
destroys your package. Maybe
next week you can brighten
our day with an exciting
article about those dreadful
lines at the DMV.


Andrew Morton

Since we aim to please, those
of us who believe that high
school comprises the best
years of our lives are
heartened by your response.
Indeed, things in good ol'
Amerika are, on average,
better than they are in the
typical Third World country
(or, certainly, than the
typical Fourth World planet,
such as New Apokolips).
Indeed, your critique of Suck
pulls up short: What, you
might ask, do any of us
outside Russia or the former
South America have to
complain about? As for higher
postal rates in Europe,
someone's got to pay for all
that good bread. While your
query about a DMV
exposé is interesting,
we must pass on such a
sensitive topic at the
present time; one
Constitutional crisis is

Mr. M

Fish With Letter Icon


Due to your related
experience, I thought you
could help me out.

I am looking for a scientist
who will be responsible for
directing and overseeing
animal studies (mainly mouse)
to study the role of stem
endothelial cells in new
angiogenic beds, for example
angiogenic beds in limb and
cardiac ischemia. Future
studies will also include
gene therapy animal models.

The candidate should have
hands-on experience in
implementing, carrying out,
and analyzing ischemic /
angiogenic animal models.
Experience in histological
analysis of ... (blah blah

If you know anyone that might
be interested contact:

Sandy Stern

May I suggest Postmaster
General Henderson for the
job? He seems somewhat
uncomfortable in his current
position and I'm confident he
would bring the same ability
to hire Karl Malden as he has
in his current position.

Mr. Mxyzptlk

Fish With Letter Icon

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