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Week of . . . December 5, 1998

Reed Diamond (Mike Kellerman of Homicide: Life on the Street) talks to Mike Duffy:

"We took a regular character in a television drama and put him in this morally ambiguous and difficult place," explains Diamond. "I feel really fortunate that I could to play a very complex character who was not always likable. Typically in TV, the regulars have to be sympathetic. You bring on the guest stars to play villains."

Not that Diamond, 31, ever viewed his emotionally combustible rogue cop as a portrait in complete evil. "Kellerman's an honorable guy. His intentions were always the best," says Diamond. "But his flaw was in how he carried out those intentions. I never saw him as despicable. Besides, it's infinitely more boring to play the guy who's always right." [via hlotslinks]

Weekend TV: Mike Kellerman returns to Homicide (Friday on NBC), Neil Finn on Sessions at West 54th (Saturday on PBS), second part of a weird X-Files (Sunday on FOX), R.E.M. on Storytellers (Sunday on VH1), and a new Practice (Sunday on ABC).

James Collier reviews Cupid:

Of course, if you're single and watching Cupid on Saturday nights, you're missing the whole point of the show. So take Trevor's advice: grab a tape, stick it in the VCR, and go out and live life. And when you're back at home and ready for some tube time, one of TV's most surprising series will be waiting for you.

Alright already, I'm gonna give this show a try. Friends, reviewers, and intelligent TV fen have been recommending this show since it debuted. I should know by now that anything ABC puts in the doomed 9pm Saturday timeslot is worth checking out (see also Relativity and The Practice).

I w/a/n/t/ need this:

With Clarion AutoPCô, being in the car no longer means being out-of-touch or uninformed. Want to know where there's traffic along your route? Or check your email while crossing the desert? How would you like to change CDs or radio stations with a single word? Or know that you'll get emergency help automatically whenever and wherever you need it? With the AutoPC, you can. [via memepool]

Though I suppose there's something to be said for occasionally being able to be cut off from the world, alone with a good album to listen to, no distractions. But . . . you've gotta admit, this is cool.

A fascinating (but sad) article about how the "teen years" and all that goes with that, is starting at age 8, 9, or 10 for a lot of kids. Not a newsflash, but a piece that covers the topic far better than most. Long, but worth the read. "Tweens: Ten Going on Sixteen" by Kay S. Hymowitz :

Marketers have a term for this new social animal, kids between eight and 12: they call them "tweens." The name captures the ambiguous reality: though chronologically midway between early childhood and adolescence, this group is leaning more and more toward teen styles, teen attitudes, and, sadly, teen behavior at its most troubling. [via Arts & Letters Daily]

Baseball great Paul Molitor retires. Sigh. I saw his last at-bats in the Metrodome, had hoped they wouldn't be the last. CNN/SI coverage / startribune coverage

At last, someone writes a review of The X-Files episode "Dreamland I" that I agree with! While I enjoyed the episode, I had huge problems with it-- this review tackles 'em all well. If you've seen the episode, check out what Catherine Blatz has to say.

Cool Show Alert: Boiled in Lead, acoustic, at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis. Friday, December 4th, 1998. 8pm. Yeah, I guess I'm a leadhead.

Jon Carroll considers hedgehogs:

BY THIS TIME, I was thinking, as I'm sure you are: What a cool pet. Impossible to pick up because of sharp spines, hibernates in winter, produces blind, hairless babies, may be covered with saliva. On the plus side: eats garden snails.

Well, they are incredibly cute.

Here's The Hedge Wheel, mentioned in his column... but not linked to (tsk). A nifty article about hedgehogs with a cool title: "The Hedge of Night."

People just can't get enough of Jesse. The fabulous folks at have collected their coverage of Jesse Ventura. Includes articles, movies, soundbites, the usual.

I often think that I know more about television than about real life, and wonder how many mistake one for the other. I think TV can be bad for folks, just not in the overt ways some would have you believe . Interesting piece @ feed by Ana Marie Cox:

Raised in a culture that watches and rebroadcasts their every move, kids understand what their script is supposed to be. Teens today are perhaps even more aware than the characters of "Felicity" are of their lives' distressingly regular slide into melodrama.

Sean Smith in alt.religion.kibology, reviews Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Director's Cut:

First of all, Rudolph's birth scene was unnecessarily graphic: the beads of claymation sweat on his mother's face, her cries of pain as she enters the final stages of labor, the Burl Ives-voiced snowman yelling "Push!"...all very off-putting, frankly.

Laura Burchard in rec.arts.sf.fandom, on differences in cookie recipes from edition to edition of The Joy of Cooking. Trust me, read this.

"The Net Never Forgets" by J.D. Lasica @ salon:

What is different about the digital archiving phenomenon is that our beliefs, habits and indiscretions are being preserved for anyone to see -- friends, relatives, rivals, lovers, neighbors, bosses, landlords, even obsessed stalkers.

Lasica quotes Bruce Schneier:

When you're in college and posting things online, you're young and immortal and you don't think about the impact your words will have five minutes from now, much less five, 10 or 20 years down the road.

I know all this far too well... somewhere on harddrives and floppies of all sizes, lies my past. I've been online since I was 15 years old, babbling away. Back then, it never occurred to me that someone was archiving this stuff. Blessedly, my first usenet messages were in the days before Dejanews. I can't help but hope that people with archives of the really old stuff never put it out there on the net.

Palm IV, er... Palm VII (!?) unveiled: Press Release / Cnet article

Nevermind that Netscape isn't what it once was, it's still sad to see AOL buy the company. This article by David Futrelle (@ is a nice summary of net.reaction to the merger.

After years of skewering Warren Littlefield, Phillip Michaels (@ finally gets around to talking about Warren Littlefield's departure from NBC (announced in October):

And that still doesn't change the fact, that NBC's share of the 18- 49-year-old audience is down 14% from last year. With numbers like that, Warren's lucky that NBC didn't announce his departure by leaving a dismembered peacock in his bed.

These are the times that try network executives' souls... or at least whatever they have in place of souls.

A look at race/ethnicity on television... Chris Rywalt @ in "All The Colors of the Test Pattern":

How many illustrious Germans can I remember from TV? Kraus from Benson and, of course, Colonel Klink from Hogan's Heroes.

Should I be offended that there aren't enough Germans on TV, or grateful? I'd rather there be no Germans at all than be represented by that wise-cracking Gretchen. Even if she did occasionally get the better of Robert Guillaume. And my other choice is, let's face it, a Nazi.

Perhaps it is better to be ignored by TV than embraced.

'Tis the season to be festive and put tiny lights up everywhere. Not that one can tell, since it was 68 degrees on December 1st in Minnesota. How strange (and wonderful) is that? A new word, from James Lileks:

Griswold (v): to wad lightbulbs into a gnarled braid. Orig. from name of Chevy Chase character in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." Griswoldiousity (adj.): the act of overdoing light arrangements.

Maybe Mulder and Scully really are onto something:

GERMANTOWN, Wis. (AP) -- A tractor trailer carrying 4 million to 5 million bees overturned, blocking a road for more than eight hours as authorities tried to gather up riled bees.

Just what the world needs, another awards show. TV Guide is launching their own awards show. Fans get to vote for their choices. What bugs me is that you can't vote the "official ballot" online, you have to get that from a printed version of the magazine and send it in via snail mail. They do have an online poll, though:

Special awards will be handed out in categories voted on exclusively by visitors to TVGEN.

Yes, online denizens get to vote, but only in categories like: Best Kiss, Best Hairdo, Best Pet, Best Villain, Best Sci-Fi show, Best Teen Character, Sexiest Female, Sexiest Male, and Best Commercial.

Anyone else find this lame? I don't care for having "Sci-Fi" lumped in with these others... (And Babylon 5 isn't one of the options. Unlike the written ballot, you can't write in votes in this online poll). Harrumph.

I like Brent Spiner. Here's a bit from an interview he did with Yahoo Internet Life (current issue features lots of Star Trek stuff):

I donít look into these pages. Iím bored with me. You know, itís all perplexing. But so long as [fandom] doesnít cross the line of aesthetic distance, itís fine. People should be able to do whatever they want to do. Thatís the prime directive, I think. Hang on, I have another call...Sorry, that was Michael Dorn [Worf] bothering me.

What did he want?
Just to harass me. If you speak with him, too, can you tell him to leave me alone?

Jonathan Frakes on the title of the new Star Trek movie:

Which title were you rooting for?
Prime Directive. That would have been a great title. But the argument was that non-Trekkers wouldn't know what Prime Directive was. They thought it sounded too much like an important memo.

Frakes on the comraderie of the ST:TNG cast. I'd love to see the outtakes:

Brent, Patrick, Michael, and I would have to include myself, are pretty good when it comes to making trouble. Especially when we're all together. We've turned the bridge into a sort of Vegas nightclub. My first assistant Jerry Fleck schedules the days that we're all together. He allows more hours to shoot when we're together. He builds in hours for all of our songs and dances and abuse.

Finally someone tries to find answers to the biggest question relating to the Star Wars rerelease:

Original version: Han Solo, taking umbrage to having a blaster pulled on him and realizing that Greedo could not be easily reasoned with (plus Solo was in a hurry), opted to pull out his own weapon and shoot Greedo under the table before the Rodian had a chance to fire.

Star Wars Special Edition Version: A single shot was fired from Greedo's pistol after Solo remained unimpressed with Greedo's threat to seize the Millennium Falcon as payment. Inexplicably, despite the less than one metre separating the antagonists, Greedo's shot went wide and ricocheted several times off the booth's walls, giving Solo more than enough time to pull out his own hidden weapon and effortlessly eliminate Greedo.

Question: How did Greedo manage to miss?

If you like Greedo, you'll also want to visit his webpage.

I can't stand hearing what's being done to the Sandman movie project.. neither can Moriarty of Ain't It Cool News:

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE? Where did any of this crap come from? The Corinthian is Morpheus' brother? Why? Lucifer is his other brother? How does this even begin to make any kind of sense? Farmer canít even get the most basic motif of the books right. Scroll back up and check out the names of The Eternals. Notice a pattern involving the letter 'D'? Well, Farmer evidently didn't, since heís changed the name of one of Dream's sisters to 'Love' when she shows up finally.

Home / Revised: December 4, 1998 / Laurel Krahn /