"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 14 May 2001. Updated every WEEKDAY.



Deus In Machina
If cult sites play their cards right it'll be their C programmers vs. the Deprogrammers. We'll take the bald engineers and give the points.
Five years ago today in Suck.

Hey Tiny Little Penis,

First of all, I love your response to the MediaMap email. Nice stuff. Those bastards make my life miserable with all their marketing crap. Then again, I'm a marketing bastard, myself...worse...I'm a pr flacking bastard.

Journalists loathe me. Clients berate me. And I can't even describe to my parents exactly what it is I do without seeing that perplexed look run across their face. Now I'm angst ridden. Even though I get paid well...the hours aren't too bad...the boss thinks I do wonderful things for the agency...and I get to travel a bit. Should I just shut the hell up and enjoy the ride into oblivion? Should I jump ship and become the modern, popular writer I'd like to be (plenty of anger, dysfunction and brooding emotional shit in my head for it)? Or should I reach for greater flack stardom like becoming the press secretary to the president of the U.S.A.? Mike McCurry seemed like he enjoyed what he did...or maybe he was just a great spinster of his own madness.

Share your wisdom, tiny little penis!

The Flack.

Dear Flack,

If the brooding emotional shit is still in your head and not on the page, I'd suggest you get some of it onto the page before you make your next move. Take a writing class, play around with it, see how it goes.

I once had a job not unlike the one you have now. I didn't know what my next move would or should be, but I was getting a lot of pages of writing out of my discontent. I took a class in writing nonfiction essays. My writing teacher began her first conference with me by saying, "What do you do for a living?" I explained my stupid job. She said, "Quit. You should be a writer."

Unfortunately, not everyone gets such a clear or charitable message so early in the game, but I can tell you that if you take some baby steps toward some of your stronger interests, you'll learn a lot more about what you want. Not everyone sees PR as "flacking" — the important thing is that you see it that way, and that means that you probably shouldn't do it for much longer. Find something else that would feel more honest and pure to you.

Regardless of what you do, you should not shut the hell up, and you should enjoy the ride into oblivion. Modern popular writer or not, we're all on the same insignificant path. The choice you have to make is simply which path seems the least pointless to you and you alone. If you take society's or your parent's views into account when making that decision, you'll only confuse their motivations with yours, thereby diluting the strength of your commitment to your path.

As for Mike McCurry, everyone seems to enjoy the spotlight, but few actually do enjoy it. If you wonder whether or not he felt like a flack, that indicates that you would feel like a flack if you were him. Time to find a new career. Better do it before your spending habits lock you into what you're doing now.

Full of shit — brooding, emotional shit,

Tiny Little Penis

Dear TLP,

Ever since we went on a walk and saw a squirrel clinging to a telephone pole and screaming abuse at pedestrians below, my boyfriend says that I remind him of the squirrel in the Wednesday Filler column. I don't know what he is talking about because I wouldn't be caught dead with a pink bow on my head and I haven't climbed a telephone pole in ages.

I admit to being grouchy sometimes when my boyfriend doesn't do exactly what I want him to do, but feel that there is something somewhat unflattering in this portrayal. Is there anything I can do?

Kind regards,


Dear Wendy,

Your boyfriend is right. You are just like the squirrel. But that's not important....Wendy, what do you do for a living?

Well, quit. You should be a writer.

Trust me, it's your calling. Reread your letter. Look how efficient your use of words is. Look at your tone — not too yuck-yucky, not too subtle. Just right!

The squirrel is a writer, too, you know.

If you find the squirrel unflattering, it's only because you haven't come to fully accept yourself for who you are yet. You are a writer! And you are an angry little squirrel, damn it! Hear you roar! Or, chirp, or whatever.

Tiny Little Penis

Dear Tiny Little Penis,

I'm a fairly attractive man in my early 40's and I've just gotten back into the dating world after my recent divorce. I'm starting to get a significant number of offers from women, and I'm curious as to how to handle the person who is attractive and intelligent, but just doesn't have much to say. "I like rollerblading and fine dining." "I'd like to meet a man who can go comfortably from jeans and a t-shirt to a tuxedo." Rarely if ever do I encounter a woman who has much that is clever to say, and rarer still is the woman who uses the space in her profile to launch into a hyperactive Luddite screed about the destruction of midtown Manhattan perpetrated with the backing of third world parties bent on bringing an end to Zionist control of the media, tacitly approved by high-level Bush administration officials. That would be cool, and I would totally go for a woman like that.

I guess my question is, where do I go to find the babes who are at the same time way luscious and real wackos?


Dagwood in Chicago

All the luscious wackos live in San Francisco, Dagwood. And you're in luck — they're all single, or they're dating sad little weasels with little or nothing going for them. Every moderately likable man I know in San Francisco has had a wide assortment of luscious wackos to choose from.

As for how to handle the person who is attractive and intelligent but doesn't have much to say? I know a few men who deal with this dilemma by handling that person without necessarily saying anything to her. I think the more gentlemanly route is simply to smile, sidestep, and move on. Remember, you don't have time to waste with dim bulbs, you've got luscious wackos to conquer.

Now, this is going to hurt, but if I didn't move past your main point to a more important and perhaps less desirable one, I wouldn't be the prying perpetrator of unsolicited advice that I'm cracked up to be.

Dagwood, your early 40s are a good time to start taking some responsibility for what's happened in your life thus far. Before you find a luscious wacko you want to spend the rest of your life with, you'd better have some idea of what part you played in the failure of your first marriage. Even if your wife left you for someone else, which would be contemptible and shitty of her, it's still important for you to understand the effect you have on other people, and the areas in which you could use a little improvement. Nothing's more appealing (and more rare) than a man who can clearly see himself — all his best qualities as well as his worst flaws. This ability alone will set you head and shoulders above the tight little whippersnappers who will be competing with you for all those luscious wackos.

Sorry to be such a bummer, dude, but those who ignore history are destined to repeat it. Don't be afraid to take a hard look at yourself. Self-awareness is the key!

Tiny Little Penis

Dear TLP,

I love the way that prime time TV uses the word "penis" a lot, and it's even cooler that they never say "vagina". And the Hollywood stable of jokes includes lots of references to "pencil dicks" etc.

But what's a boy to do when he wants to taunt a woman in the same vein? At first I thought there should be some sexual reference (e.g. "dry loose vagina"). Then I realized that a woman would rebut that by pointing out that there is more to life than sex. Especially sex with a really tiny penis.

Most of the penis size remarks occur because the man is exhibiting some behavior which is presumed to be his attempt to compensate for inadequacy. e.g. 50 year-olds driving Boxsters.

Can you give me some stereotypical defects and compensations on the distaff side?

Not getting out much anymore,

Ned Kittlitz

Penis size remarks? I'm not sure what you mean. Pencil dick? And this is an insult? I don't get it.

Tiny Little Penis

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