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Friday . . . November 13, 1998

Jon Katz at on Jesse Ventura and the Net:

Jesse Ventura and his "geek squad" have given the Internet its first election victory, and politics might not (we can only hope) ever be the same.

Today's piece reveals the results of their Dead Pool (for this season's new crop of TV shows). Phillip Michael's opening bit re Hamlet of all things is simply fabulous:

"This quarry cries on havoc. O proud Death,
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast struck."
  --Hamlet, V, ii

No offense to Shakespeare, who knew how to put a sentence together all pretty-like, but when he wrote those lines in "Hamlet," he wouldn't have known from a quarry that cried on havoc, even if it strode up to him and kicked him square in the first folio.

Oh sure, when Fortinbras utters that line to cap off the three hours of shits and giggles that is "Hamlet," four people are lying dead on the stage, two more have been executed off-stage, some broad has thrown herself into a river a couple of scenes back and her old man winds up shishkebabbed on the whim of a spooked-out Dane. That's a hell of a lot of mayhem, especially for something that's not a Simpson-Bruckheimer production.

But stack that pile of bodies from the last scene of "Hamlet" up against the wreckage of the 1998 Fall TV season, and it makes the Bard's work look like a church picnic. An especially bloody and calamity-filled church picnic, sure, but a church picnic, nevertheless.

Ah Joyce Millman, how do I love thee. Well, at least I appreciate her wry look at TV, particularly at the once incredible show Homicide: Life on the Street. Now a very pale shadow of it's former self. She previews tonight's episode in today's blue glow @

Homicide: Life on the Street (10 p.m. Fri., NBC) begins a two-parter in which the squad pursues a killer all the way to Miami. Unfortunately, when they get there, they realize that Crockett and Tubbs don't work there anymore.

James Lileks of the Minneapolis Star Tribune gets it right re Friday the 13th in today's Backfence column :

Whenever I get into a building that doesn't have a 13th floor, I get irritated -- it means the structure was built by superstitious people. What's more, stupid superstitious people -- if you name the 13th floor 14, it's still the 13th floor. Which means that all the bad things would still happen, so eventually 14 would become an unlucky number, too. So in 50 years it will be bad luck to have a 13th and a 14th floor, and the numbers will skip from 12 to 15.

But then bad things will happen on 15, since it's now the 13th floor. Eventually every number above 12 will be unlucky. In a hundred years you'll be on floor 12, and get a message to see the boss on floor 1,234, and you'll think: Might as well just take the stairs -- it's only one flight.

There are only two more episodes of Babylon 5 to go now. A few months back, I read a review of the final five episodes of the show. A powerful review, that went to great lengths not to spoil the episodes. Went back and reread the review today, it's still grand. Even if you don't watch the show, it's a nice essay about how something like a TV show can move people and bring people together. I know the reviewer, Glen Oliver, got some grief over his review. No spoilers, no detailed review. More about his feelings watching the show, watching these episodes, and after seeing the episodes. Of course, that's why I love this review. He wears his heart on his sleeve. Anyway. Here's the review and here's just one of the bits I like:

When you walk away from the final five episodes, you wonít be thinking about how cool the SA 23 Mitchell-Hyundyne Starfury is. Youíll be thinking about what a nice person Doctor Franklin is, about how that Lochley chick really is pretty cool after all, about how much John Sheridan has grown-up since the first time we saw him. Youíll be thinking about how cast and characters of BABYLON 5 are more than just faces on a TV screen - to the viewer and to each other - and youíll contemplate how special that factor really is.

KTCA's AdWatch page has RealVideo of all of the TV ad's from the race Jesse won (i.e. the race to be Minnesota's new governor).

The caption contest is very, very cool. You should enter the contest. I hadn't checked out the pictures and winners in a while, gave it a look today. Some good stuff.

James Lileks (again) on things Microsoft in this weekend's bleat:

I won't mind when Microsoft software controls my automobile, because then when the car just sits inert and tells me it can't find the right driver, it will make a certain sense.

Home / Revised: November 14, 1998 / Laurel Krahn / email