The Fish
for 17 May 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
& Rhythm Guitar


Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Ian Connelly]
Ian Connelly
Marketing Manager


[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor


[Brian Forsyth]
Brian Forsyth
Production Editor
& Pool Monitor


[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

Tail of the Tape

Subject: Another home
shopping reference.

Another one!!! AMAZING!!! We
watch that guy peddle Beanie
toys for about 15 minutes on
Sunday mornings just to get
psyched for the upcoming

Home shopping references are
makin' me love Suck even

Eric Meisberger

You are probably in the
minority; nonetheless, I will
try to include shop-at-home
references in as many essays
as possible. I also have
ideas about writing a longer
piece on that channel, so you
may get even more.


Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: 4 May 1999

How can you make reference to
"midget orgy porn" without
providing a link?

So sad.


Sorry, not fooled. I can tell
you already know where all
the midget orgy porn sites


Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Thanx

Just wanted to take a moment
of my time, and yours, to
thank you for not providing a
link to midget orgy porn.


Response has been mixed on
this subject. Some were
disappointed in the lack of a
link. Others, who apparently
prefer the more traditional
values depicted in midget
monogamy porn, appreciated
our discretion.


Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Tail of the Tape

Great article, one of the
best in a while. Nice irony
and excellent use of "midget
orgy porn" for comedic
purpose. However, I think
there is one other
significant application of
ReplayTV you didn't address:
sports. Imagine if the darn
thing could just record
highlights or, for that
matter, just show the actual
action of a football game
without all the close-ups of
that human butterball, John
Madden. Something to look
forward to and certainly a
prospect that must have
advertisers in a tizzy. Then
again, people watch the Super
Bowl as much for the ads as
for the game, so maybe there
is no point here. Nice work

Bradley Messmer

But this has already been
invented, Bradley - it's
called SportsCenter - and
whatever it is Fox Sports
Network calls its version of
SportsCenter. Personally, I
don't think any machine could
distill the day's highlights
better than these
shows already do.


Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Tail of the Tape

The thing that bugs me about
ReplayTV isn't its current
limitations, but the way
Replay is promoting
it. The sales pitch from
its Web site proclaims:

"In a perfect world you could
turn on your television any
time you wanted and be
guaranteed that there would
be something great to
watch.... In a perfect world
you would be in complete
control of your television
viewing experience. Welcome
to the perfect world,"


"This is video-on-demand that
actually works."

I was intrigued and
investigated further to find
out what the catch was, as I
knew it couldn't be a true
video-on-demand system.

I wanna come home, turn on
the tube, and immediately
watch the sitcom I missed
earlier in the evening, or
that old episode of The
where Homer fishes
Henry Kissinger's glasses out
of the toilet - all WITHOUT
having to remember to program
something earlier in the day
and then wait until it's done

ReplayTV isn't
video-on-demand - it's an
improved VCRPlus system
paired with a transitory
DVD-RAM substitute.

Patrick Leffas

PS In all fairness, 28 hours
of recording time is pretty

You're right -
video-on-demand would be
nice. Especially if you could
access shows that weren't
currently being broadcast. As
long as all ReplayTV provides
is a more flexible way to
view what's already on, I
don't really see the point.
If there's ever a show I want
to watch that badly, it's
easy enough to catch sometime
during its broadcast cycle.


Fish With Letter Icon

St. Huck,

I think mom and pop will still
rush out and adopt ReplayTV,
seeing as they have the older
viewing model. And there's
always grandma, who has to
see her "stories."

Still, yeah, what about the
rest of us with the lazy,
deconstructed surf mode of
watching? I don't need to
extend the length of time I
watch - I need to shorten it.
I need something that slices,
dices, and prepackages my own
personalized viewing
experience. I need a filter,
damnit, not a recording
device. Filtering media takes
up so much of my mental
energy these days.

If you can convince somebody
to invent a thing that
analyzes the data coming in
from The Wall Street Journal,
The New York Times,
ESPN, Suck, Feed, PR
Newswire, and various random
kitschy media channels
depending on the day of the
week (Monday is for manga)
and then spits out some
condensed report of "the only
relevant stuff you need to
know," I will take up a
collection to pay you a
million bucks.

Please? For the good of
humanity? A bunch of us are
going to freak out with
massive attention deficit
disorder real soon (either
that or be mesmerized into
passivity like a bunch of
dumb sheep ... oh, wait -
maybe that's the idea).

Never mind. I'll just start
getting my info exclusively
from the Star and have done

Wesley Hall
Departments Editor
Game Developer magazine

That's a good idea - Slate is
doing a variant on it with
its Briefing section, but it
gives you no choice regarding
sources. And there are
various "personalized news"
services, but again, their
sources are limited mostly to
traditional newspapers.
Someone definitely ought to
capitalize on the failure of
these services to incorporate
the sort of sites you


Fish With Letter Icon
Slow Budget

A friend at a major studio
says that shooting for the
film he's been working on
runs as follows:

* Shoot five different
   versions of the same scene.
*Put all five in front of a
   test audience.
* Record their reactions.
* Drop all but the highest-scoring
* Repeat until 120 minutes have
   been completed.

And people wonder why films
cost so much to make.

Recently, those of us within
media reach of El Lay saw
protests by union types
demanding protection from
those nasty Canucks
subsidizing their film/TV
industry. Our esteemed state
legislature will probably cut
the studios a juicy tax
break, but this points out
two things to me:

(1) Industry twits like Rob
Reiner who love spending
other people's money don't
comprehend what high taxes do
to the genuinely productive,
even in their own industry.

(2) The real problem of high
film costs can be solved only
by clamping down on directors
and producers who don't know
what they want in the first
place. If George Lucas can
make Star Wars: Episode I for
US$125M, there's no excuse
for Titanic, and even less for
The Incredible Mr. Limpet.
Studio execs, though, are not
likely to admit this in
public, and will cheerfully
join the unions in demanding
big tax cuts - for
themselves. (But where's
Sharon Stone for me when
April 15th rolls around?)

Just a thought,

Robert L. McMillin

And people wonder why films
cost so much and are so bad.
This is the same thing that's
happening on the Web,
incidentally, as interesting
work is being weighed down
under armies of professional
second-guessers and
nitpickers. But perhaps we
can come up with still
another medium and get ahead
of the game for a bit again.

Or not.

Ambrose Beers

Fish With Letter Icon

Kornheiser du Jour

Dear A.B.,

Nice piece, but you did it
again - you ended just when
you should have been warming
up. Your piece raises all
sorts of interesting
questions: Why do we refer to
remakes of Mr. Limpet (tell
me you were kidding about
that, please) using the same
word we use to refer to, say,
Dreamlife of Angels? How is
it that people get involved
with cinema because they
think it's an art form and
then cheerfully work in a
special-effects factory? Why
do so many people truly,
passionately care about
movies when movies (as shown
in your local multiplex) are
so unbelievably bad?

To be sure, there's nothing
wrong with making and
producing cotton candy for
the mind, and if the egos and
the paychecks at the top seem
excessive, well, maybe you
haven't been spending enough
time with the senior people
in other businesses. (OK,
maybe movie people are a
little sillier; but then, the
senior people are younger,
prettier, and have been
selected for something other
than analytic intelligence -
and intelligence is overrated
as a survival trait anyway.)
I'm just trying to figure out
the connection between this
harmless, mass-produced
product and the reason people
care so passionately about
the movies.

Maybe your next essay? I look
forward to it.

Alan S. Kornheiser

Ah, I could go on about this
at great length. But I don't
have the energy, so here's
the short version: Many, many
young people go into film -
or journalism, for example -
with a distant, idealized
idea of what the work is
like. They then find, once
they realize it's not like
that at all, that they don't
know how to do anything else.
I know quite a few people
employed in creative
enterprises who are stuck
between the realization that
they work for uncreative
organizations and the need to
make a living. But what are
you going to do - join the army?

Ambrose Beers

Fish With Letter Icon

Another quality rant today.
I'm writing about the
pictures, though. One
illustrates some nerd type
proving 2=1. Whoever did the
illustrations must know
enough math to understand the
flaw in the proof. I had
stereotyped the Sucksters as
not math oriented. Nice to
see someone there proving me

James Vlahakis

It's true, we were innumerate
for many years. Then we
realized we would need better
math skills in order to count
all that money.

Flawed proof,

Ambrose Beers

Fish With Letter Icon


Re: Special movie theater

I used to manage a movie
theater. Apparently in the
1960s, when the epic film
Cleopatra was released, they
sold tickets to the nighttime
shows for US$10 each in our
theater chain. This went on
for a few weeks until the
price was dropped to $5,
still twice the price of a
regular movie ticket. I have
not been able to verify this
report, or bothered to, I'm
afraid, but several
old-timers swore by this

The reasoning went something
like this: They could only show
one film per evening and the
rental price was staggering.
I know at the college theater
I once ran that we would often
price tickets by rental cost.
All the regular second-run
features would cost about
$500-$1,000 per week or so
(exact cost eludes me but I
know Animal House cost us
like $350 and paid for weeks
of Tuesday-night art films),
so when an Aliens came up at
like $1,500, we charged $3
instead of $2.

Just tossing in my devil's
advocate two cents.

Popcorn Boy

Everyone always talks about
this "ticket pricing" for
movies. But what I wanna know
is, which theaters are people
going to where you don't just
put in another quarter every
few minutes? Maybe people
aren't going to the same
theaters I frequent. Pretty

Ambrose Beers

Fish With Letter Icon

 The Shit
Left for Dead in Malaysia, Neil Hamburger, Drag City, 1999
The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink, Mark Dery, Grove/Atlantic, 1999
Crazy from the Heat, David Lee Roth, Hyperion, 1998
Keep It Like a Secret, Built to Spill, WEA/Warner Brothers, 1999
Abbott's Pizza Company, near the corner of Abbott-Kinney and California, Venice Beach, Los Angeles (delivery hours limited)
Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Pink Floyd, CD remaster, EMI 1994
Motorhead, CD remasters, all
Det Som Engang Var, Burzum, Misanthropy, 1998
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, Nashville, Tennessee
A History of the Modern Fact, Mary Poovey, University of Chicago Press, 1998
V., Thomas Pynchon, HarperCollins Publishers, 1999
The Coffee Mill, Emeq Refaim, Jerusalem, Israel
The Salesman and Bernadette, Vic Chesnutt, Capricorn Records, 1998
Good Morning Spider, Sparklehorse, Cema/Capitol, 1999
Third Floor, Anderson Building, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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