The Fish
for 1 April 1999. 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 Rhythm Guitar


Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Ian Connelly]
Ian Connelly
Marketing Manager


[Copy Edit]
Erica Gies
Merrill Gillaspy

Copy Editors

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


Monte Goode
Monte Goode
Ghost in the Machine


Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager



"Cleans everything, safe as
can be. Kind to your hands,
and fresh naturally. You'll
be using Murphy's all the
time, 'cause the dirt is
finished, but the finish is

Your column brought back fond
memories of watching The Price Is
on snow days in fourth
grade. It also served as a
handy yet unobtrusive
reminder that it's time to
wax the floors.


Andrew Sullivan

Then you'll LOVE next week's
column, which features a
handy yet unobtrusive
reminder that it's time to
get a divorce.

And (tie-in coming) if you
hadn't watched The Price Is
on snow days or sick
days, would you have ever
questioned the purpose of
school at all? Something
about those long days
spent on the couch
drinking ginger ale and
watching housewives guess the
prices of cans of soup used
to send me into one
existential crisis after
another. Why? Because I
didn't want to end up being a
housewife who knew the exact
price of a can of Dinty Moore
stew? Who knows? Perhaps if
it weren't for snow days and
similar breaks in our
workaday lives, we'd never
wake up and smell the shit
hitting the fan.

OK, it all fit together in my
head about five minutes ago.

Needing a snow day to ponder
the meaning of life while
washing my dust bunny-
infested wood floors,


Fish With Letter Icon

Hit & Run

Subject: Harry-assed Knowles

Thanks for finally taking
some of the hot Austin air
out of this buffoon - the
man who held all the promise
of upending the regimented
Hollywood establishment with
a URL but instead stuffed his
child-molester face full of
free Eisner cakes and Geffen
snacks and started bragging
about Christina Ricci rubbing
up next to him and Lukas Haas
telling him he liked the
site. Poor Harry. Just
another ass-licker in

chaz bartok

In disguise as what? An
ass-licker? It seems to me Harry
has always been pretty much
out of the closet with his
Joel Siegel-ish, fan-boy
tendencies. If there's some
deeper unctuousness beneath
that unctuousness, well, that
makes my head hurt just
thinking about it.

Yr pal,


Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Forbes - Capitalist

Generally, I prefer to avoid
cheap shots at people's
appearances (are you and I so
wonderfully photogenic?) and
I really try to avoid
"psychological profiles"
(dear God, what a concept) of
public figures - the least
of us is more complex than
any cheap derivative phrases
a drive-by biographer can
create. However, I'm tempted
to make an exception in Steve
Forbes' case. What is he
doing out there? And why is he
taken seriously?

A single glance at that
deer-in-the-headlights face
will tell you that he doesn't want
to be there. His flat tax
idea is pitifully self-
serving (i.e., in order
to avoid the horrible
difficulty of having to look
up your taxes in a tax table
you should cut my taxes in
half). Given the ...
enthusiastic ... lifestyle
his father led, his embrace
of the religious right is
embarrassing. What is he
doing there? Wouldn't some
therapy and - in dear
Woody's wise words - two
Prozacs and a hit over the
head with a croquet mallet be
a cheaper, easier, and much
more humane way for the poor
man to deal with his obvious
problems than working them
out in public? Cannot the
news media be persuaded, out
of simple human decency, to
ignore this man? Have you no
decency, sir, no decency at

Will no one rid me of this
troublesome geek?

Oops. You see the effect the
man has. Can we maybe just
ignore him or send him some
hot chocolate and hope he'll
go away?

Alan Kornheiser

Too late did it occur to me
that my cheap shot about
Steve's appearance might be
misconstrued as a reference
to his father's enthusiastic
lifestyle. By calling Forbes
a "tubby patrician
pantywaist," I was, of
course, referring to his own
boneless personal style. The
guy looks like he'd wither
like a hothouse flower if he
were ever exposed to direct
sunlight. What a disappointment
he must be to
the ghost of his butch father.

Yr pal,


Fish With Letter Icon

Damn, I love you people.
After spending the better
part of an evening reading
the trash disguised as film
critique that Knowles pushes
on otherwise innocent
fan boys, this week's Hit and
Run was like a drink of
chilled water on a hot, dry
day. Note to Harry: I hear
The New Yorker doesn't print
articles THAT AREN'T


Tom Berman


I think you're overlooking
the haikulike pith and
pared-down intelligence in a
Knowlesian phrase like, "A
sheer work of perfection
tempered with genius."

As opposed to a work of
perfection that's tempered
with ... imperfection?

Yr pal,


Fish With Letter Icon
Follow the Money

I read your article on banner
ads today. Later, in an
attempt to read the Fish, I
mistakenly pointed my browser
to, which
of course does not exist.

So when exactly did you
people add banner ads (and
links to Hotbot) to your 404
Not Found page? I mean,
there's nothing wrong with
it, really ... it's just that
you must have done it pretty
recently. I don't remember
seeing the ads when I got
your 404 last week, and for
you to add those ads and then
run a column about ads ...
well, interesting timing.



Ha! Have we got you under our
duplicitous spell or what?

First, we write an article
about e-commerce and excess
cardboard, and yet somehow
trick you into thinking it's
about banner ads.

Also, we perplex you so much
with our tricky rhetoric and
sly marketing practices that
you can no longer type
straight - apparently this
is a regular occurrence.

Finally, we dupe you into
writing a ridiculous letter
to us, thereby fulfilling our
content needs without us
actually paying you! Someone
ought to give us a prize.



Fish With Letter Icon


I agree with your assessment
of the new package medium.
However, I feel the real
opportunity lies not only in
the packaging but in the
delivery as well. As people
become more and more reliant
on the Web for their every
purchasing need, the UPS and
FedEx guys will become the
only human faces associated
with the purchasing
experience. I don't know
about you, but I'm more
likely to be suckered into an
extra purchase by the
button-nose salesgirl at the
Gap ("Why yes, I would like
some socks to go with these
jeans. Do you have any that
are grossly overpriced? I'll
take two pair!") than by some
overweight guy in a pair of
ill-fitting brown shorts.

If you could put together a
delivery force consisting of
out-of-work actors (an
employment pool already
lacking in any self-respect,
so all ethical issues are
resolved), you could pick a
delivery person to match the
purchase, armed with a spiel
to deliver along with the
goods. Say a guy orders
Stone Cold's (Steve Austin)
biography from
The book would be delivered
by a big-haired hottie, ready
to push more merchandise.
"Wow, I, like, really dig
your TransAm. You know has the biggest
selection of fuzzy dice in
the world?"

Another twist on this is to
make an end run around the
FedEx and UPS hammerlock on
the delivery of
e-commerce-related goods.
Other companies have delivery
networks in place. You could
charge Domino's big bucks for
the right to deliver your
products. They in turn could
use whatever means they
wanted to push their product.
They could call the customer
directly: "Listen, we're
about to drop off that
Titanic video you ordered
and we're wondering if you
wanted a pizza."

Yes, I think we're on to
something here. Of course, as
with all things tech-related,
your best bet to blaze a new
trail lies with the porn
industry. "Hi, we're about to
drop off that Seymore Butts
video you ordered and we're
wondering if you needed any


This is a really, really good
idea - in retrospect, it's
sort of amazing Avon has
never thought to
use members of its
sales team to deliver
packages while they're out
there knocking on doors.

But if the kind of
just-in-time e-commerce
delivery Wired wrote about
recently (trucks constantly
circling neighborhoods, ready
to deliver online-initiated
orders in less than an hour)
comes to pass, I'm sure
someone will implement the
scheme you describe.



Fish With Letter Icon

Hi Huck:

I actually read your analysis
of business-as-usual on the
Net. OK, I give. Is porn no
longer making money on the
Net? Am I too late to
saturate the market? If so,
how will I sponser my race

Since this is my first visit
to your site, what are you

Thanx for taking the time to


As I understand it, there are
people making money off Web
porn; however, like most
sectors of the e-commerce
economy, only a few are
making a significant amount
from it. In any case, I was
writing more from a
speculator's perspective -
i.e., not what I can create
myself, but what I can invest
in while the stock prices are
still reasonable and poised
to go up, up, up. That, of
course, has nothing to do
with whether or not sites are
actually making money.

Re: What Suck's about,
well, as you probably
discovered with some measure
of disappointment, it's not
about porn. It's about a lot
of different crap, really.
The best thing to do is just
keep coming back every day
for a while. You'll catch on
soon enough.



Fish With Letter Icon

Oh, St. Huck!

Not only does distribumania
and the "death of distance"
(Frances Cairncross, The
) rely on
ecologically irresponsible
prices for transportation and
tons of packaging waste, it
also entails costs and damage
through the very gateway
itself: the PC. The
production of a PC consumes
19 tons of resources and
energy, which equals
two-thirds of the material
needed to produce one
automobile - without the
electronics (survey conducted
by Oekom, 1997). Of course,
cars have a lot less user
value, as they can't deliver


Any chance you can give a
more detailed citing on that
survey? I'm interested in
learning more, but I don't
know what Oekom, 1997 is.

Also, while cars would
probably be too small, I
think Filler would look great
on the side of a bus.


Fish With Letter Icon


From the start, I've been
extremely skeptical of the
so-called phenomenon of
e-commerce. Say goodbye to
human interaction. But I
guess the crazies who hoard
shitty copies of Monica's
and Beanie Babies on
the Web are best kept away
from society.

I work in the CPG industry
(consumer packaged goods, to
the layman), and
unfortunately a hot trend is
to create virtual
supermarkets where you get to
shop for your groceries
online and then have them
delivered to your lazy ass
sitting at home. If you think
fast-food drive throughs wreak
havoc on orders, just wait
till this wonderful idea
becomes reality.

Things like and
selling your Hollywood
Portfolio on eBay are beyond
my level of rational
comprehension. As are the
stock prices and market caps
of these "companies."

More and more, I feel like
I'm living in a big monopoly
game. I've got about US$400K
in a Monopoly Money
portfolio. What do you think
that'll fetch on eBay? I
could possibly throw in my
hotel on St. Charles Place.

Frank Yodermier

I was surprised at the
Hollywood Portfolio sales,
because I don't quite
understand what the value of
them is other than prestige
amongst other HSX
enthusiasts. In the end, that
market seems pretty small. A
less recent but more
interesting take on the
phenomenon actually mirrors
your St. Charles Place
hypothetical. I'm not sure
how it panned out, but in the
early days of the online
game site,
site creators were
talking about how they were
going to create some sort of
market where people could
sell - for real money - the
various tools, weapons, and
other gaming pieces players
had "grown" on the site.
This, of course, makes more
sense than the HSX portfolios
because there's an actual
utility to the product -
better tools give you
advantages over opponents and
help you achieve better
results in the game. Don't
know if an actual market has
developed, however.



Fish With Letter Icon

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