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Week of . . . December 26, 1998

Updates will likely be sporadic until January 4th or so. Have a happy holiday!

It's beginning to look a lot like . . . well, you know what. Have some ASCII art for Christmas. Aw heck, visit my Christmas/holiday weblog. I promise, it's not too gaudy or anything, just an assortment of links and recommendations, and wishes for y'all in the new year.

The dark days for baseball in Minnesota continue. I knew something was fishy when the Twins just let Pat Meares go (he'd been on the team for the longest stretch of time of anyone at this point, is a really solid shortstop. And they let him go? Didn't bother trying to trade him or anything? Hello?).

I've been following Twins baseball since I was a kid, I've sat through many many dull games. And been there for some great moments, too. I'd hate to see the team leave Minnesota. I can also understand some folks reluctance about building a new stadium. But playing bargain basement baseball isn't going to be fun. Unless we come across some great deals or great prospects. Or perhaps that idea of Jon Carroll's for a prudent league and a rich league is the right idea... Anyway.

Read all about it (if you care about this kindof thing): Main Story / Patrick Reusse column / Tom Kelly / Q&A with Jim Pohlad (son of Twins owner Carl Pohlad) and Jerry Bell (President of the club). [startribune]

An article about the making and marketing of Jesse Ventura action figures. And how will they get around the various laws involved? Oh they'll figure it out. Doug Friedline (former campaign manager for Ventura, now president of the nonprofit Ventura for Minnesota Inc.) talks a lot at a press conference (!) about all this:

"No one has ever done what we've done," Friedline said. "We've never had a governor with Jesse's marketability." [startribune]

Sounds a bit ominous, methinks.

Andrew Sasaki's StreetTech review of the synapse pager card for Palm Pilots:

I don't know how my parents managed to put up with me when I was younger without strangling me in my sleep. It must have made them crazy to know they had a basically bright kid who brought home an endless succession of report cards saying how he had failed to live up to his potential. I have a deeper understanding of this now that I've been using the Synapse pager card for PalmPilot and see how much better it could've been with just a bit more effort.

Cool new backfence column by James Lileks. On Christmas songs, tradition, Christmas, and memory:

Every mood has it place in this season, so a sad song fits right in. It has to. Every Christmas has a playlist of melodies we don't hear anymore, and while the songs are sweet, they are melancholy to recall. The sound of Mom laughing while little sis opens a present while the cat meows while Dad rustles through the empty sleeves in the candy box, searching for a caramel. Commonplace combinations you can't reconstruct, melodies without notes. They weren't sad at the time. They are now, simply because they're gone.

Jonathan Lethem reviews Hurlyburly:

Not since "Glengarry Glen Ross" has such a vibrantly and uncompromisingly talky play been so successfully translated to film. The result is a showcase for a remarkable ensemble of actors.

Gotta see it.

TV for Wednesday night: Darlene Love makes her annual visit to The Late Show with David Letterman. Letterman's been on a roll of late, and he's always giddy when Love makes her appearance. Should be fun.

In case you haven't found it yet, here's the new incarnation of Steve Bogart's weblog-- And hey, he mentions my weblog in his weblog. Around and around the links we go. I'm also referred to in a kind way at And Michael Rawdon mentioned me in a recent journal entry. And Jorn said nice things about my weblog sources page not too long ago in his weblog. I've also got headhunters calling me up and telling me I'm cool and that I'm needed in California. It all makes a girl blush, it does. Thanks. Go visit their sites already if you haven't yet.

What do geeks want for Christmas? Some interesting geek gift ideas. But this bit had me laughing (while at the same time, I feel like I relate a little too well):

There were a few things that were suggested, that, well, I bet Santa won't come through for them. Hemos asks for Nanites. Thats all he wants. Nanites. Somebody smack him. Nima Negahban says "I would like the beowolf cluster avalon for christmas, dont worry about it fitting it under the tree." david yates wrote in and simply said "Half naked Princess Leia ,as Jabba's prisoner, action figure." I'm sure his mother is proud. He can have the Action Figure, I want 1976 Carrie Fisher.

Awwwwww, a very nice piece. In which Jon Katz "comes out" (as if there was any need):

One important thing: I never thought I'd ever have to announce this, but I can tell from my e-mail that I do. I am not an observer of geeks.

I am a geek.

I came out a long time ago, and am proud and happy to use the term to describe me. I have been using computers for more than a decade, have written seven books using them, browsed, trawled and navigated thousands of websites and written hundreds of columns and articles about the Net and the Web. I was first called a geek when I was in junior high, by kids who beat the hell out of me. I've been called a geek countless times since.

This Infoworld article talks about how as PDAs become more common, IT managers will have to learn to deal with them. An interesting piece, I had to pause to drool when I read this tidbit:

In addition to infrared links that connect devices to each other, some vendors are working on radio frequency technology. The Bluetooth initiative, a collaboration among IBM, Intel, Toshiba, Nokia, and Ericsson, will allow as many as eight devices to automatically synchronize whenever they are within a few feet of each other.

This conclusion is just too true:

"[IT managers] should set standards of machines that they will support and then lock down on those standards," Giga's Enderle says. "These things proliferate like a virus."

Seems like almost every week I hear that another acquaintance has a Palm Pilot . . . [via slashdot]

Plans are set for the Inaugural Ball:

Blues-rocker Jonny Lang, for whom the ball was pushed back a day to accommodate his schedule, will headline nearly a dozen musical acts. About 20 Minnesota restaurants will serve food from around the state. Some surprise celebrity guests are being kept secret even from Ventura.

The "People's Celebration" inaugural was moved to Jan. 16 to accommodate headliner Jonny Lang Organizers expect a quick sellout of the 13,800 tickets, available via Ticketmaster for $10, $15 and $20. But a live satellite telecast will give those who can't score a ticket a taste of the festivities.

The article also mentions that Jesse and Terry Ventura will be on Dateline NBC tonight.

From an interview with Mary Kay Adams:

I was on Babylon 5 for a year, and playing the recurring Klingon [Grilka] on [Star Trek:] Deep Space Nine was the most fun I ever had in Hollywood. It led me into the whole science fiction convention circuit. I'm on trading cards and calendars. I'm like on all this merchandise -- cool! It's me!

I was watching Guiding Light when Adams made her TV debut, she's gorgeous and incredibly talented. Since then she's made guest appearances on all sorts of shows here and there, and I was tickled to see her on Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine. Check out the article to see a picture of what she looks like sans makeup if you don't already know. Most of the interview talks about soap stuff, second page talks a bit more about her Trek experience.

And I love this bit she cites as a memorable moment from her run on Guiding Light as India Von Halkein:

When Warren Andrews tied me up in Christmas lights, and the stage direction in the script said, "India blinks!"

This is for those of you who remember "Laurel's Journal" and wanted those entries to see the light of day again: Windowseat Rambles. Page includes some old journal entries, some essays sent to mailing lists or newsgroups, other assorted bits as I unearth them on various disks. And if you never saw my journal, some of these offer a taste, I guess. I'm still searching for the first set of journal entries, think I might've lost them in a harddrive crash.

Also new and of note: Windowseat Ante-Room, my very own Yahoo-like beast. I've only just started adding links to it, but I've listed most weblogs. If you know of resources, you can easily add them. And if I've linked to your weblog or pages, you can update your entry with whatever kind of description you'd like. It's interactive or something. I thought of calling it BooHoo!, but just didn't have the heart for it. Any other suggestions for a name? I'm also taking category suggestions.

Curse of the Muppets?

Ah, the fun and scary game of Hollywood What-ifs, from The Sunday Times:

Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Richard Burton, Patrick McGoohan, David Niven and Roger Moore were all considered before Sean Connery was cast as James Bond. [via Robot Wisdom]

A Forbes piece re Gateway's Country Stores:

An untrained rookie salesman--who should have never been let loose on a sales floor--took my order. A supervisor wasn't much better. Even after repeatedly asking the right questions I was given misinformation about two components. It is hard to see how such a sales staff could close a deal with a less-experienced buyer. And for a technology-based company, Gateway's order-taking system is horribly antiquated. It took forever for the clerk to write up the entire order by hand, and even more time was wasted as the clerk reentered this information into the computer. Even worse, I left the store with just a copy of the handwritten receipt rather than a computer printout of the complete order. [via Robot Wisdom]

Ha! (Wonder why I say "Ha!"? Long story. Hint: I once worked in a cow-spotted building near Sioux City, Iowa.)

James Collier strikes again (at [teevee]). This piece is too true, too funny, made me laugh out loud:

Bernie: CNN's Christianne Amanpour is in Baghdad monitoring the situation. Christianne, how are the spirits of the Iraqi people?
Christianne: I haven't left my hotel room this evening, but the porter who brought my food seemed very defiant.

And that's just the beginning, it gets better from there.

James Lileks tries to unearth (ha) the origins of "Nobody likes me, guess I'll go eat worms:"

From what I can deduce, this ditty spontaneously arose in the mocking mouths of children 60 years ago, and made its way along some strange underground network. It happens every generation, and no one knows why; scientists are still baffled by the fact that kids in North Dakota, New Hampshire and California all started singing, Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg, at approximately 4:37 p.m. on Dec. 13, 1966. It just . . . happens.

Al Roker on the strange times we live in:

I'm telling you, if you handed all this in as a manuscript, you would be laughed out of whatever publisher's office you were in as just too implausible.

Tales and pictures of Christmas ornaments. Touching stuff. Pleasant stories, pretty ornaments. The holidays really are about family and friends and memories. Well, that's a major component. [startribune]

Home / Revised: December 24, 1998 / Laurel Krahn /