S U B L I M E   S L I M E


The Slug Tales INSIDER Newsletter


                       "Dead Dogs Chase No Tails"



Vol. 11, #1                                                     May 1990

       - Special, "There's No Future Like the Near Future" Issue -



The 1990's: What the Hell Is Going To Be Going On, Anyway?


Roger Locust Amherst III Managing Editor


In 1988,  MTV offered viewers the Chance of a Decade in one of

their frequent contests.  The winner and nineteen friends got to go

on the road with a heavy metal band for two weeks.  The package included

their own tour bus and an unlimited supply of the co-sponsors' products:

candy bars and wine coolers.   A binge of heavy metal, wine coolers, and

candy bars just about sums up the 80's.  From the addictive frenzy of

greed to the vapidity the Reagan Administration preaching balanced

budgets while tripling the national debt -- it really was a Heavy Metal /

Wine Cooler / Candy Bar kind of decade....


Of course, it's only been a few months since we all had to suffer

through the endless retrospectives of the 80's.  They just served to

highlight that the whole idea of spending so much time looking at the

decade just passed is a little dopey.  After all, already knows more

about the 80's than any other decade.  It would have been LOT MORE

ENLIGHTENING to call 1989 the 20th anniversary of the end of the 60's --

or the 120th anniversary of the 1860's.  Then at least we would learned



All that energy would been better spent thinking about the 90's -- you

know, the future.  Where you'll be spending the rest of your life.  Shouldn't

we have recognized 1989 as a wake-up call for our future?  Think about it:

the Berlin wall fell, Jim Bakker and Lyndon LaRouche moved into the same

federal "penal facility", and endless cable TV ads proved that a substantial

number of adults entitled to vote WANTED to pay 20 bucks a pop to buy

videocassettes of old episodes of "The Beverley Hillbillies."  C'mon:

Lassie could have figured this one out.  The 90's are going to be a hell

of a decade.


Think about it.  Prior to Dan Quayle, we were boasting about America when we

said, "anyone can grow up to be President."  Now, we watch Reagan's deposition

of his foggy recollections about his own terms as President.  Our cold

comfort now is that if we survived Reagan's detached ineptitude, then maybe we

could survive Quayle, too.


Now, I know you're thinking, "Roger: chill out: things can't be that bad."

Oh yeah?  Well: let's put it to the test...  News item:


                             - - - - - - - - - - -


      New York Times, 4/1/90, p. 2:


"Vice President Dan Quayle refused a request for an interview by a major

business publication.  Quayle, declining the Barron's request, said, 'God

knows, Marilyn and I feel for you people, but beyond that I just don't

know what I would have to say to people who can't have kids.'"


                             - - - - - - - - - - -


Would you REALLY be surprised?


That's why we've produced this special issue on the decade ahead.  And

that's also why we'll continue through-out the 90's our commitment to

provide you with the news of the future, no matter what happens.  So: slap

on your shades, pop a Certs, drop a condom in your pocket, and we're

off.  It may be a rough ride....


"Long as I can see the 'Lite'...."



Harsh and unaesthetic, saccharine didn't cut it as an 80's kind of

artificial sweetener.  In its place, aspartame.  Of course, nobody called it

aspartame: it was Nutra-Sweet.  And it was Organic!


In the 1980's, Getting MORE of Less Was Best.  We had already gutted

soda of sugar, and in the 80'S we took out the caffeine.  We even had "New

Coke": Coca Cola without the Coke taste.  The remaining ingredients were going

fast.  Next was "New York Seltzer". Diet New York Seltzer had no sugar, no

caffeine, and -- horror of horrors-- no caramel coloring.  In the end even

Nutra-sweet wasn't safe: plain sparkling water (aka seltzer) was the rage.


Futurists predict that this trend will continue through the 90's.  By June

1991 store shelves will carry "Lite Seltzer", with only half the water, "for

when you can't afford that bloated feeling."  However, true Marketing history

will wait until 1994, when the first entirely empty bottles roll

off the assembly line.  The ads will crow: "Bubbles made seltzer fun:

and our new seltzer is 100% fun -- with nothing but the bubbles."  By the

end of the decade, Coca Cola and PepsiCo will simply electronically

debit your bank account so that you will not have to consume sugar,

caramel color, aspartame, water, or carbon dioxide.


Goin' to 'Hal' in a hand-basket....



The pace of technological change will continue to accelerate in the 90's.

It is sometimes hard for us to appreciate just how radically changes

in technology have affected our lives.  Consider that in 1979, fewer than 1

in 1,000 Americans had ever been screwed out of a twenty dollar bill by a cash

machine.  (Like tales of the Cargo Cults of the South Pacific, this fact will be

repeated by future generations with a curious mixture of awe and disbelief.)


For the record: there are certain technological "givens" about  the 90's.  The

LP is dead: in the 90's, "digital" does not refer to fingers.  There will

be more tycoons who made their first million peddling stupid answering

machine message tapes on cable TV.  Computers will be everywhere and even your

grandparents won't mistake a Hard Disk for a plate, Microsoft for a new brand

of toothbrush, or Lotus 1-2-3 for a beginners' guide to yoga.


However, our expert panel of futurists offered no clue as to what the people

now buying 640 K PC's at Toys 'R Us to track lottery numbers will be doing in

1996.  (Well, not quite true: one futurist suggested they'd be working with

President Quayle to, "try and remember the names of those little countries

in Central America."


"I gave Geraldo's Space Baby Herpes in Line at Check stand 3"

 (Subtitle: "Why I named my daughter Blue Light Special...")



Of all the issues of the 1990's, certainly the most pressing is, "What is the

exact physical law governing the relationship between TV programming and the

largest damn possible audience?"  Of course: Tabloid TV.  Suddenly, everything

is News.  And if it wasn't filmed or didn't happen, there's always the

dramatization.  As the 1990's dawned, million of Americans actually got

their 30 minutes of "News at Night" on MTV.


Two trends will shift Tabloid TV into Hyper-Speed in the 1990's: an

ever-more-jaded audience, and the need for programming to fill dozens

of cable channels 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Cable operators, who

managed the miracle of moving from nothing interesting on three networks

during the 1970's to nothing much on 35 cable channels in the 80's, are

primed for the 90's.


To grab the jaded audiences, the hottest new show of the decade will be "Let's

Have Sex With the Stars", hosted by former VJ Nina Blackwood and Ross Schaffer.

The show will feature both actual videotapes of the hosts' sexual encounters

with celebrities and dramatic reenactments of hypothetical couplings of

contemporary and historical figures.  In the debut episode the audience is

treated to a tryst between philosopher Thomas Hobbes and the teen heart-throbs

New Kids on the Block.


A major challenge is just to fill all those cable channels.  Of course, one

could license classic films or produce new high quality programs.  But why

would anybody do that when there are fifty channels and no more than

10% of the audience is watching at any given time?  As independent TV stations

discovered long ago, the trick is to find stuff other people already

paid to produce and run it over and over till the tape breaks.


The first source of new programming is already here: network programs

begging for people capturing silly, stupid, or downright sadistic things

on home video.   And, at least through 1993, it's certain that one of TV's

most profitable genres will be grainy home videos of small children on

tricycles / bicycles / sleds smashing into telephone poles / walls /

clotheslines.  Accustomed to the high production values of even the sleaziest

cable hucksters, the home video programs will appeal to audiences precisely

because their poor quality will be a cue that what they're watching

isn't a scam to empty their billfolds.  The worse the video quality, the

more certain the audience will be that the events actually happened.


One key to expanded availability of video sources will be a 1995 Supreme

Court decision, Lowe vs. Doe. In this case the Court rules that

the "Rob Lowe Sex Tape" from 1988 can be broadcast freely.  The Court

reasons that anyone stupid enough to tape a sexual encounter deserves

absolutely no right of privacy as long as the tape is not edited or

altered for broadcast.


The Lowe vs. Doe decision paved the way for the Fall 1996 debut of the

Cable Security Camera Network.  Through-out the country, thousands of

businesses had installed video security cameras to deter criminals and

document shoplifting and burglaries.  With the debut of the CSCN, anybody

could tune in to the edited security camera tapes from banks, fast

food restaurants, convenience stores, and public restrooms showing

the consumer habits, culinary preferences, and bodily functions of a

variety of celebrities and ordinary citizens.


Celebrities complain bitterly of invasion of privacy as shows such as

"Hollywood National Bank" and "Beverly Hills 7-11 Saturday Late Night".

But home viewers enjoy seeing their idols as they're never seen them

before -- "Isn't that Ted Koppel buying malt liquor and beef jerky?"


Eating Your Cake and Having It Too....



In the 80's learned about nutrition, we watched what we ate, and we

ate a lot more Haagen Daz.  The eternal conflict between Tastes

Great and Less Filling achieved new levels in the 80's.   Oat bran

omelets -- it didn't seem entirely unreasonable..  Cholesterol free

clothing -- you bet!!!


As we begin the 90's, the big news is fat substitutes.  The first is

Simplesse (from our Nutra-sweet friends).  Simplesse provides ersatz

ice cream without the fat.  Of course, you can't produce cooked food

yet -- but Olestra is a non-digestible product in the offing for those

purposes.  So the day of the Fat Free French Fry will come soon.  Of

course, Olestra -- unlike Simplesse and toadstools -- isn't

organic.  But it all makes sense in a strange sort of way: those

non-biodegradable plastic diapers clogging landfills will be filled

with non-biodegradable human waste.


Toward the middle of the 90's, substitute products of other kinds will

debut.  As the Drug War rages and Bill Bennett runs out of civil rights

to abridge, the situation will only worsen.  In 1997 tobacco giant R. J.

Reynolds will finally figure out a way to turn the cocaine business into

profits for corporate America.  RJR's NOKaine is an over-the-counter

smokeable cocaine substitute which will be marketed as, "So safe, so

non-addictive -- you'll want to use it everyday!"


The most stunning Substitute Announcement of the decade will occur in

1998, when the Catholic Church introduces Forn-u-Free.  While not

actually permitting divorce, contraception, or abortion outright,

the Church will offer, "Sex with a difference: guaranteed 99.44%

Sin Free."  The Church will sell ritual purification packages to

those tempted to commit sin through its many existing churches and

via a special 900 phone number.  This will prove the Church's

greatest PR coup of the decade and will fill both the empty coffers

and pews as fallen-away faithful return.


"Polar Bears: Warm Fuzzies of the 90's?"




In 1996 rap music comes to an end with the airing of the first rap

political commercial, run by Presidential Candidate J. Danforth Quayle.

Quayle's commercial, which is broadcast only once, concerns global warming.

During the commercial candidate Quayle is seen rapping:


               "Yo, I'm the dude named Danny Q

                Q-Man to me and Veep to you

                I'm upset 'cause the liberals are jivin'

                'Bout the en-vi-ro-ment while the trees are thrivin'

                They say the earth's warmin', and why's that bad?

                There'll be beaches places where they never had."

                The best advice for me and you,

                Is shades, sun screen and vote Danny Q!"


The commercial effectively ends the dark horse candidacy of Quayle.  Many

feel that Quayle's campaign was ill-advised, at best.  At the end of the

first Bush term, Quayle "volunteers" to fill a new cabinet post created

to address the crises in the U.S. auto and electronics industries.  But

many regard Quayle's departure from the ticket as a demotion, and

political pundits feel that Quayle fails to distinguish himself as the

Secretary of the Inferior.


As Quayle stumbles, Veep James Baker emerges as both the Republican

nominee and eventual Presidential victor.  Baker wages a brutal media

campaign against Democrat John Kerry.  Baker's ads show Kerry's name and

picture paired with a painful 110 decibel piercing shriek.  By late

September 1996, public opinion polls reveal that the mere mention of

Kerry's name evokes panic attacks in 92% of the American public.


Following a first term highlighted by environmental disaster, Baker is

defeated in the election of 2000.  Baker spends billions on continuing

the development of Star Wars while largely ignoring the erosion of

the ozone layer and global warming.  By mid-term, Baker is proposes

deploying Star Wars satellites to the North and South Poles in order

to serve as anchors for an "Ozone Toupee" costing 600 billion dollars.


Republicans fear the worst as the election nears, but are lulled into

complacency as the campaign ignores Baker's gaffes.  Never less, Baker loses

52 out 53 states to Democrat Madonna, and observers largely credit the

victory to a media campaign engineered by Veep Spike Lee.  Baker simply

had no effective response to the Madonna/Lee, "I wanna, you gonna?" campaign



                  - T O   B E    C O N T I N U E D -




                               (c) 1990


SUBLIME SLIME is the insider newsletter of Slug Tales. It is published on

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Bo Derek will return, condemned to eternity in a drawing room with Insurance

Agents....with you, and your Dad!