The Fish
for 20 August 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
Suck Staff
 

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief

 

[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor

 

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

 

[Copy Edit]
Erica Gies
&
Merrill Gillaspy

Copy Editors









	
Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text
 

Carl Steadman
Carl Steadman
Co-Founder

 

Ana Marie
Cox
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor

 

Sean (Duuuuude)
Welch
Sean Welch
Suckgineer

 

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

 

[Brian
Forsyth, " we're just spanning time "]
Brian Forsyth
Production Editor
& Pool Monitor


Trade Rage

Several days before Mark 0.
Barton went on his kill-crazy
rampage, I mentioned to a
friend I was surprised that
no day traders had freaked
out and killed anybody yet.

Now that one trader has killed
because of "a down day in the
market," I'm willing to bet
others will follow. There are
probably many day traders who
are at that breaking point
but just weren't crazy enough
to be the first to kill
someone. Same thing happened
with school shootings. There
were several copycat
shootings in the weeks and
months after disgruntled kids
played real-life Doom with
their classmates, and it
wasn't because some dumb kid
thought it was cool. It was
some crazy kid who wasn't
quite gutsy enough to kill
anyone until he or she saw a
very inspiring report on the
news about other kids who had
shot up their school.

Yet another office environment
where it would behoove you to
wear a bulletproof vest.

Raphael Crawford-Marks
QA Engineer,
GoMo Technologies
<raphaelc@gomotech.com>

It seems unlikely that those
kids got up the guts to shoot
at several hundred students
and then off themselves just
from watching it on the news.
See, we've always wanted to
be the host of America's
Funniest Home Videos,
but
somehow watching Daisy
Fuentes smile and chortle and
deliver those achingly
unfunny lead-ins with a
straight face only makes us
even more cowardly about
hosting.

Now that one former MTV VJ
has gone on to a successful
career as a cheesy show host,
we're willing to bet others
will follow.

Followers,

Sucksters

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Bowling for Hollers

Hello,

I saw your article from 6 June
1999 about merchandising and
was interested in finding out
a source for bowling shirts.
I have a person to do the
printing and was looking for
some blank shirts, or the
printer who did them.

Cheers,
Andrew Keeler
Kommunikations

Bowling is great fun, Andrew,
but bowling shirts are over.
Don't waste your hard-earned
dollars creating something so
utterly passé.

Unless the message you want to
"kommunikate" is that your
company is utterly
passé. In which case,
go right ahead.

Utterly too too,

Sucksters

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Ink Blot

Subject: Comics Dying? Good.

Hi,

I'm a former comic-book
illustrator now working in
videogames. Videogames
suck, and so does the
collection of crappy
mainstream comic-book heroes
foisted on me by publishers
like Marvel and DC since I
was a kid.

There was nothing particularly
compelling about Superman
when I was 11 and there
certainly isn't now. I work
in videogames, because they
pay the bills and buy me
beer. I did the comic-book
covers for the original Men
in Black
series (Malibu
Graphics) and got a lousy
US$150 for each one. Larger
publishers don't pay much
either. DC at the time was
paying $40 a page. So, if
comics take a nose dive, fuck
'em. But that's always how
the art world has worked.
Most people couldn't give a
crap about fine art, or be
bothered to pay for it. But
they will shell out $50 for
an empty, fake, polygonal
world ... and I'm more than
happy to rot their brains for
them. Sound bitter?

Nah. I think it's a laff riot!

<adama@vr1.com>

We don't like your tone,
buddy. But, inconveniently
enough, we can sympathize
with your plight. It's true
people don't give a crap
about fine art, and it's sad,
because there are some fine
artists out there, fine
indeed, ready to be
semi-exploited for a mere
pittance.

We suggest you sniff around
for an art agent and get some
better work. Why not
supplement this videogame
work you loathe with some
work you can stand? Put down
the beer and make a little
effort, and you may require
much less of a sense of humor
to get through your miserable
life.

Supportively,

Sucksters

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 
Filler

Girls just don't get it
sometimes, save for you. Guys
don't normally care about
poetry or feelings or stuff.
It's just what's the quickest
way to bed. Now don't get me
wrong, we can be sensitive
too, as well as love our
girlfriends, but sometimes
guys just wish girls would
stop over-complicating
things. I chuckle too from
the other (male) side when
I'm sitting alone with bitter
black coffee, smoking my last
butt.

Chuck
<chuck@WPI.edu>

Plenty of girls get it,
believe me. Plenty of girls
get it all the time, by
faking the poetry or feelings
stuff, or pretending they'd
rather eat live mealworms
than have a boyfriend, so as
to lure in squirrelly
commitment-phobes and
weasels. Lord knows why.

But you're still in college,
so you're suffering under the
temporary illusion that
you're in control.

Bahahahaha!

Keep smoking those butts —
you're gonna need 'em!

Polly

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Hit & Run

Subject: Trading is my life

Dear BarTel,

The interview was funny. The
interview was very funny ...
at least the parts of it that
didn't scare me to death. Are
con men without humor more or
less dangerous than those
with some wit?

Although nobody seems to be
discussing it, pretty
obviously the guy was using
day trading as a
self-administered
antidepressant. The rush of
winning or losing did
something for him.
Self-medication — be it
with food, alcohol, licit and
illicit drugs — is common
in depression. It even works,
somewhat. Thus, the idea that
you should have a license to
day trade is probably not a
lot sillier than the idea
that you need a prescription
to score some Zoloft. OK, it
is a lot sillier. But you get
the point.

Incidentally, after the
previous massacre (kids,
school, trench coats ... you
remember, right?), I noted
that a good chunk of suicides
with access to ordnance might
start taking some "enemies"
with them when they went.
Once this meme is out of the
bottle, be afraid. Be very
afraid. The "problem" wasn't
angst or cliques or children
behaving badly. It was just
original sin plus fire power.
Damn, don't you hate it when
I'm right? On this one, I'd
rather have been wrong.

Waiting for the next one,

Alan

Dear BarTel,

I forgot to ask, will we see
demands that the Ten
Commandments be posted on all
trading-room floors? That
should help a lot.

Whoops. Another one in
Alabama. "Meme on the run,
meme on the run."

And no, it isn't a damn bit
funny.

Alan S. Kornheiser
<ASKornheiser@prodigy.net>

You know, it's worth noting
that Barton was a full-on
churchgoer. So much for
posting the Ten Commandments
on trading floors.

I'm not so convinced Tokyo Joe
is not an investing genius.
He certainly seems to be a
genius in general.

But your points about Barton's
self-medicating trading
activity are well taken. Last
Friday's Suck addresses this
very angle, albeit in a
brilliantly indirect way.

Yr pal,

BarTel

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

If you get an MBA in finance,
you will be exposed to many
theories of stock valuation.
The easiest one to understand
is called the Gordon model.
It states that a stock is
worth the present value of
the future income derived
from its dividend stream. You
can throw in the present
value of the stock when you
sell it too if you like. The
models get more and more
arcane, with such baroque
variants as the Efficient
Frontier portfolio theory
discounting stock value for
risk and so forth. But if
your professors aren't
totally afflicted with
academic cephalo-anal-
impaction, towards the end of
the course they will tell
you, as mine did, what the
real stock valuation model
is, and the name says it all:
It's called The Greater Fool
Theory.

First the premises: (1)
Anybody who buys a stock that
has defaulted on a dividend
is a fool. (2) Anybody who
buys a stock that has never
paid a dividend is a greater
fool. (3) Anybody who buys a
stock that has never paid a
dividend and has a
price-earnings ratio
indicating that its return on
investment is inferior to
putting the money in an
essentially risk-free
treasury bill is an even
greater fool (note that stock
in a company that has never
made any money at all has an
infinite P-E ratio,
indicating the infinite
suckerdom of those who buy
it). (4) Fools who buy stocks
like that are counting on a
still greater fool to buy it
from them at a higher price
sometime in the future
(nobody, not even a fool,
buys a stock because they
think its price will
decline). (5) Fools like that
are all over the place and
far outnumber rational
investors. (6) Fools are
motivated only by fear and
greed. (7) Fools drive the
stock market.

Now, just by sheer random
chance, some fools will walk
away with huge piles of other
fools' money. And still other
fools will conclude that the
fools with that money are
geniuses, buy their books and
lectures, subscribe to their
Web sites, and try to emulate
them. The Greater Fool Theory
implies that as long as there
are fifth-, fourth-, third-
and second-order fools to buy
dot-com stocks at higher
prices from the first-order
fools who bought them in some
fool's paradise of an IPO
frenzy, then Mark O. Barton
will remain an aberration. He
will be nothing more than a
weak, pathetic person with a
sick mind and decayed
character — a moral
degenerate who could not
accept or cope with the risk
of total, bankrupt failure, a
risk that every fool in the
stock market should be
prepared to accept and cope
with.

Now for the catch: There can
be no shortage of supply when
the valued objects in
question are stocks in
companies that have never
made a dime. Therefore, the
shortage, sooner or later,
always turns out to be in the
supply of fools.

This is essentially what
happened in 1929. Back then,
some fool confronting the
consequences of his folly
would do the gentlemanly
thing and jump out a window.
Today, in gun-queer,
everybody's-a-victim,
the-world-owes-me-big-time,
postmodern America, they
aren't gentlemen and they
won't be jumping. They'll be
locking, loading, and
spraying hot lead.

It wasn't supposed to be like
this — they were supposed
to get filthy rich, quick and
easy, and be surrounded by
shiny toys and pricy real
estate and envious admirers,
and if it isn't happening,
then somebody must be to
blame. The damn fool they
bought that nose-diving,
toilet-tanking Internet stock
from, for instance. And what
about the rest of them —
that's you, me, and the woman
with the kid who just walked
in to ask for directions
— they're in on it too,
aren't they? Take it from an
MBA in finance: Learn how to
duck and be in shape to run
like hell.

Walter Bauer
<BauerW@DynCorp.com>

I used to work for a company
where we had great faith in
that Efficient Frontier
model. It always seemed so
simple: You just find your
spot on the Efficiency curve
and take a leisurely ride to
riches!

Poems are made by fools like
me, but only God can make a
tree.

Yr pal,

BarTel

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

Subject: Vive la Indifference!

Dear Assholes,

Thanks enormous, sweaty loads
for the submission guidelines
you never bothered to send
me, despite two requests.
Someone was complaining in
Fish about all your new
correspondents. Did they all
go to high school with you?

Love,

Macra
<MacraTerr@aol.com>

Someone was complaining about
our writers in Fish? We'll
get right on the horn to
MacraTerr! That's who the
public is clamoring for! More
MacraTerr!

People complain about our
writers. People complain
about our other writers.
People complain about our
layout. People complain about
our links. People complain
about our humor. People
complain about our lack of
humor. People complain about
everything we do, and if we
do the opposite they complain
about that too. If we had
submission guidelines, people
would complain about them. If
we publish your writing,
they'll complain about your
writing. So by not publishing
your writing, we're doing you
a favor, really. Someday
you'll thank us for it. Or
maybe you'll complain about
it.

Yr pal,

BarTel

 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

 The Shit
"Gary's Trajectory," A Wanderer in the Perfect City, Lawrence Weschler, Hungry Mind Press, 1998
The Parallax View, Alan J. Pakula, Paramount Pictures DVD, 1974
Rogues to Riches: The Trouble with Wall Street, Murray Teigh Bloom, Putnam,1971
Actual Air, David Berman, Open City Books, 1999
Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist, Peter Hall and Michael Bierut, editors, Princeton Architectural Press, 1998
Canary-wing parrots, Dolores Street, San Francisco
Super Shitty to the Max, Hellacopters, Man's Ruin Records, 1998
Request magazine (any issue after June 1999)
On the Road to Vietnam, Bob Hope, Cadet 4046 vinyl, 1964
The Flying Ballerina, Drums and Tuba, TEC Tones, 1998
Dino, Nick Tosches, Delta Alpha Publishing, 1999
The Soft Bulletin, The Flaming Lips, WEA/Warner Brothers, 1999
Big Red soda

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