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January 7 - 10, 1999

It's like a drinking game for the Vikings game:

Jesse Ventura is shown attending the game ... 5 points

Footage from Jesse's pro wrestling days is shown ... 10 points

Jesse is wearing pink and a feather boa in the old wrestling footage ... 20 points

Jesse is wearing pink and a feather boa while attending the game ... 100,000 points also has a cool JesseWatch page. And then there's the tale of Jesse's picture disk.

Did a search on "Neil Gaiman" on to see if we had any mention of his upcoming signings in the paper . . . didn't find any. Instead found a review of Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors by Colin Covert, that I somehow missed back in December:

Neil Gaiman is a writer to make readers rejoice and competitors groan in despair.

I read his new short story collection while adjectives like glorious, magical and weird-but-fascinating leapt through my head, then gave up, outclassed. Should I encounter Gaiman on the sidewalk (he lives in Midwestern seclusion to avoid fans but frequents Minneapolis), I shall step off the curb and let the better man pass. His work combines the imagination of H.G. Wells, the eerie atmospherics of H.P. Lovecraft and the droll wit of P.G. Wodehouse.

Yes! James Lileks on all this fuss over dates:

One problem: Y2K and the millennium are two different things. Y2K concerns the global aneurism that computers supposedly will suffer come Jan. 1, 2000; the millennium is Y2K+1, or 2001.

But it's pointless to point that out now. Most folks believe that the millennium begins with 2000, and that's how it's going to be; anyone who disagrees is a spoilsport math nut who wants us all to wait A WHOLE YEAR for the big party. But there's a way to placate everyone. The dictionary defines "millennium" as any period of 1,000 years -- meaning, we start or end a millennium every year. Come 2000, most will celebrate The Millennium, and the tooth-grinding literalists like yours truly can celebrate A Millennium.

Now if we can just stop partying like it's 1999. It is 1999.

Al Roker on witch hazel and memory.


COLD SPRING, Minn. -- A teen-age girl died after the car she was driving collided head-on with a car driven by her twin brother.

TV Alerts for This Weekend:
Premiere of new series Providence on NBC (7pm CST Friday) starring Melina Kanakaredes.
New episode of Homicide: Life on the Street (NBC, 9pm CST Friday) which actually looks promising (we shall see).
Jon Stewart on The Late Show with David Letterman (Friday night, CBS).
Lisa Kudrow on Late Night with Conan O'Brien (they're old friends, even exes, IIRC, so it's usually fun when she's on). (Friday night, NBC).
New X-Files on Sunday night on FOX, New Practice on Sunday night on ABC.
That cool new Hercules directed by Bruce Campbell, a sequel to "Yes Virgina, There is a Hercules" should air (finally) in most markets if it hasn't already. (In Mpls, should be on Sunday night).
And there are some football games on or something, if you like that kindof thing.

Bizarre news from the Guiding Light front (I used to watch the show and still keep up with news so I can keep my Mom up-to-date, forgive me):

Emmy nominee Marj Dusay is vacating the role of Guiding Light's Alexandra and will be joining the cast of All My Children. Dusay will play the contract role of Vanessa Bennett, David's mother, beginning Feb.†1.

Dusay, who returned to GL only late last year, will again be playing Vincent Irizarry's mother on AMC; the two previously played mother and son on GL.

I laughed far too long and loud at some bits in this new teevee piece. Others were a bit cruel (but I probably chuckled anyway, it's been a long day already). Funny predictions galore.

When most people think of 1999, they think of the eponymous Prince song and all the joyful images it conjures up -- parties and merriment and nihilistic gang bangs with Wendy and Lisa and Apollonia. But just as George Orwell's 1984 provided a chilling look at the rise of totalitarianism and the downfall of the individual almost exactly as it occurred 15 years ago, a work of equal artistic importance serves as a dire warning about the dangers that 1999 holds.

We're talking, of course, about Space: 1999.

I've been having some problems ftp'ing this logfile to it's proper place, so if it's sometime truncated or it seems like I'm doing "phantom updates," that's why. Sorry about that.

Further geekiness: the February 1999 issue of Vanity Fair has the cast of that Star Wars movie on the cover. And a 15 (or so) page spread of pictures of the cast and behind-the-scenes stuff (pics by Annie Leibowitz). Supposedly on newsstands now, I've yet to see it in the flesh (saw some of the pictures online already, but they've since been removed from servers). Do you think the issue will sell out? (I do). (I know I'm going out on a limb with this prediction . . .).

Moriarty of Ain't It Cool News reviews the script for Episode 1 (of you know what):

You canít possibly know how textured and wonderful the story Lucas has to tell is going to be. The thing that makes THE PHANTOM MENACE possibly my favorite STAR WARS story so far (on paper, mind you) is the details. The time off has done something unexpected to Lucas as a storyteller -- it made him better.


In the end, thereís so much more that I think and feel about this script that Iím going to have to cut it short for fear of crossing some line and saying too much. You have to take these next 130 days or so in stride, friends. The wait is almost over. You are going to be rewarded for your wait in ways that you canít imagine. If youíre willing to let Lucas take you back to this magical place heís created, youíre going to be transported all over again. I hope my words here help make this last stretch bearable. I hope my words here rekindle your flagging faith in the film. Most of all, though, I hope my words here reach the eyes of George Lucas so I can be among the first to tell him, from the bottom of my heart...
    ... nice job.

Master plan for the marketing of Episode 1 revealed:

* The current 2-min. trailer will be pulled. Lucasfilm will soon release a new, 5-min. trailer.
* Lucasfilm will also create 5 different TV spots, dates TBA. In-theatre promotions will run from 5/99 to 8/99; Print ads will start in 3/99. They did not disclose a total budget.
* Fox plans to open the movie on 3,000 screens, concentrating on theatres with digital sound.
* The video will be released in 2000 at a date to come.

Lots of interesting stuff about marketing plans for toys (and lego sets), promotions with Pepsi and a bunch of others:

* All 3 restaurant chains are participating in the same promotions. Each chain will be transformed into a Star Wars planet. Pizza Hut = Coruscant KFC = Naboo Taco Bell = Tatooine

* To win "certain prizes" a consumer will need to go to all 3 chains.

A decent timeline/chronicle of the Legion of the Underground vs. China (from Hacker News Network).

Here's a link to the website for Lojo Russo and Funks Grove. A mighty cool band (some of you may know Lojo from her stints with Cats Laughing or Gallowglass. Or maybe you've caught her vocals on Boiled in Lead or Flash Girls albums) . . . Her solo albums are fabulous. I know the live album rocks 'cuz I was at the show (don't have the album yet, oops).

Neil Gaiman will be signing books at the Barnes and Noble in Edina, Minnesota (Galleria mall) this Friday evening (7-8pm). He's also at Dreamhaven Books on Saturday afternoon (2-4pm). One can hope he reads some of his work, he does it so well. Of course there'll be the usual long lines for autographs. If you aren't in the Minneapolis area, have faith, this is part of a big signing tour to promote Stardust. Go see Neil Gaiman if he's in your area (if not for an autograph, just to say "hi" and "thanks" if you know and like his work). (Please don't stalk him). If you want stuff autographed by Neil but are wary of lines or can't get to a signing, you can always order autographed books or comics from Dreamhaven Books.

More Neil info to be had at The Dreaming.

This is a good time to mention the fabulous Flash Girls and their internet mailing list signal-to-noise (whose webpage I updated slightly for the first time in two or more (!) years). Writer Emma Bull and the Fabulous Lorraine make fabulous music together, with some songs written by that Neil Gaiman guy. Fortunately, at least one album is still in print. Witty folk music, with guest appearances by members of Boiled in Lead among others.

(I'm getting all nostalgic, I used to do a lot of promotion of The Flash Girls online. Pity there aren't concerts to promote these days, since the band is broken up 'cuz Emma is in L.A. and Lorraine is in MN).

I am a big sap, I got a little misty-eyed reading this account of a Homicide-fan's first viewing of the early episodes of the show (during the Court TV marathon):

And The Homicide Marathon Began

It was beautiful. I finally got to see an episode of Homicide from before season 6. I finally got to see Bolander, Felton, Howard, and Crosetti in motion - as opposed to screenshots. I finally got to see what put Homicide on a level indescribably higher than any other show on television. TBDSOT. And when the phone rang, and Kay urged Bayliss to pick it up, I knew what was coming. And when he was walking on that rainy night, through the crowd, and towards the crime scene, I knew what he - and I - were going to see. And when the camera showed Adena Watson, in her red raincoat, lying on the ground, with no life left in her, and then changed to a shot of Bayliss' haunted face, I got the goosebumps like I have never had them before.

During the next few hours, I experienced some of the most perfect, pure moments television has ever produced. I was completely captivated.

Any excuse to see another picture of Gates with pie on his face:

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Two Belgians who attacked Bill Gates with cream pies last year were fined Wednesday for using "minor violence," even though they claimed they were only targeting the self-esteem of the world's richest man.

Bill Gates, moments after being struck by cream pie last February (AFP). A court fined each man $88, the first time Belgium's long tradition of pie throwing has been punished in court. The Microsoft chairman had not pressed charges after the attack Feb. 4.

TV Alert for Thursday: Lisa Kudrow on Late Show with David Letterman, new episode of Friends (in which Rachel finds out about Chandler and Monica), Cupid moves to the 8pm CST slot on ABC, and what looks like an incredibly lame episode of ER (maybe bad enough I'll be amused?).

Also, Melina Kanakaredes appears on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Don't know Melina? You might recognize her, she's been in a bunch of shows that haven't quite made it a full season . . . not 'cuz she's not incredibly talented, they just didn't make it. She stars in the new NBC show Providence. She's had bit parts in movies and memorable guest spots on Due South and NYPD Blue. I've followed her career for years, one of these days she'll be a big star.

A fine essay on the last days of Twin Cities Reader, the loss of a job, and the death of a Dad. [via obscurestore]

An interesting (not entirely original, but good to see someone in the media voice it) suggestion from David Bianculli of the New York Daily News:

4) Turn the recent "Homicide: Life on the Street" two-parter, "Kellerman, P.I.," into a series. Reed Diamond's disgraced former Baltimore cop, set loose in a new city to work as a private eye, is sufficiently conflicted, haunted and interesting to be the modern equivalent of a Humphrey Bogart antihero. [hlotslinks]

It has potential.

A review of the "Bruce Campbell as a demon" episode of The X-Files (a.k.a. "Terms of Endearment") has this gem:

"I don't know why. I'm not a psychologist."
Gee Mulder, I don't know why you aren't one either. I mean that was only established in the freaking pilot. Not that it was an important episode or anything. Well, at least in the interest of equal idiocy, Amann [writer of the episode] had Scully just stand there and call for a paramedic while a multiple gunshot wound victim suffered and Mulder tried to help him.

It's not as if Scully is a medical doctor or anything . . . Argh. Sure the writer who wrote the episode is new to the show, but didn't anyone else look at the script? Wouldn't the actors have to read the script to learn their lines? Good grief.

Jon Carroll posts TV-guide synopsis for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Amusing:

Nelson must contend with both a master of disguise and the impending collision of the earth and the moon.

I surely hope the guy has his priorities straight.

No Penn and Teller on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on Wednesday night after all. Instead: Al Roker and George Brett. No, they aren't a new comedy team (heh). Much better than Penn and Teller would've been (IMHO), Roker was really on (i.e. funny). And Conan was flirting with Brett's wife and waiting to get beat up by Brett. Cool.

Whoops! Fixed the below link (to my fave Opera trick) so it's not password protected. D'oh. I'd been working on some webpages that weren't finished yet, forgot that I'd password protected that part of my site. Sorry. Thanks to Steve Bogart (of [nowthis]) for bringing it to my attention.

Another oops, kinda: Jesse James Garrett (of the fab weblog at says he remembers 4800 baud. Must've been around briefly, I guess. Still, it seems odd to mention 4800 and not 2400 . . . 2400 was the standard for a long time.

It's cool to know folks are reading this stuff and to get feedback. Thanks!

I just wrote up my favorite trick using the Opera web browser-- a way to save multiple windows/URLs that you can return to any time you want to. It's how I browse my favorite sites, I select "weblogs" and my favorite weblogs open in a bunch of different windows in my browser. I haven't heard of similar ways to do this with other browsers or utilities (if you know of any, let me know).

The steps aren't numbered and I don't have any screenshots or anything fancy there, but hopefully the page does the job anyway.

City Pages' Terri Sutton interviews Neil Gaiman (weird/cool, it's like Sutton and City Pages just discovered how many cool writers happen to live in the area). Plenty of cool bits I could quote, just read it already. Need I say that I highly recommend Gaiman's stuff? And Bujold's, too (mentioned earlier in this log). Good stuff written by cool people.

Salon magazine on the death of Hayes:

From 300 to 1200 to 4800 to 9600 to 14.4k to 28.8k and beyond: Anyone who has worked with personal computers for more than a few years will recognize this numerical sequence. It's the evolutionary chart of the analog modem.

4800? Huh? I remember 110 and 2400, but not 4800. Did anyone have 4800 baud modems? I don't think so. I had a 300 baud vicmodem (actually I now have several, they aren't heavy enough to make good doorstops). I had a 1200 baud modem. I remember when 2400 seemed really fast and I was proud that I could read messages on BBSes at 2400 much of the time. 1200 no problem. 4800? Someone at salon just lost credibility with me. (If someone remembers 4800 modems, I'll have to eat my words or something).

I didn't read past the sentence with 4800 in it.

Jon Carroll considers cats: Do cats remember weather? Lovely.

Giant List of Classic Game Programmers (via [memepool]). I was raised on games, mostly stuff for my Commodore 64 and arcade games. Funny, I rarely play any computer games now other than solitaire.

The scary thing is, now I want an iMac more than ever. Yeah, 'cuz of the pretty colours. In fact, I think it'd be cool to have a couple of colours. I'm not sure what kind of geek this makes me. Does this place me in the target demographic? 'Course I do care what's under the hood, I wouldn't buy a computer 'cuz of it's looks if it was a shoddy piece of equipment . . . unless it was a classic and darn cheap (hey, I like my Commodore Plus 4). (I don't know where I first heard of the new colors, seems to be in every weblog today).

Hmm. Interesting possible convergence of Web TV, Satellite dish, and digital VCR-like thingies (a la replaytv). Worth following to see what happens.

TV Alert for Wednesday: Lateline returns to NBC (8pm CST) with an episode that has guest appearances by Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter.
Penn and Teller are on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

I somehow missed this article when it first appeared, so I'm glad it's featured on [hlotslinks] as their Vault Spotlight of the Month. Boy do I relate to this one . . . Katherine Dahlsgaard on her love affairs with TV shows:

I will tell you a secret: I am considering leaving Homicide. Yes, I love it and all, but lately we have grown apart. There have been too many character additions and deletions and things just aren't the same anymore. My third-favorite character was just axed; will I be next? What if the writers continue to include helicopter chases? And keep setting them to an INXS soundtrack? (If I wanted to be watching Baywatch, I'd be watching Baywatch.) No, I think it's time to go, and before I get resentful. But, I am afraid. First of all, I don't have a back-up. What if I break up with Homicide and then never love another TV show for as long as I live? Or, perhaps an even worse fate, never again love a show as much as I loved Homicide. I don't want to be single again, and have to watch TV in bars or strangers' houses trying to find that something special. I don't want to be alone. Tell me: Is a bad relationship better than no relationship at all?

I suppose I need this: CD release of expanded Star Trek: The Motion Picture soundtrack and companion CD of Inside Star Trek (which is basically an album's worth of Roddenberry interviewing Trek cast members, it's never been released on CD before).

<mini-rant> FDA approves anti-depressant for dogs:

†The canine "uppers" help treat separation anxiety, which apparently can be a serious problem for some neurotic dogs whose humans tend to live at the office--or who just spend too many hours away from home.

Call me crazy, but wouldn't it make more sense for people who are away from home for more than a couple or a few hours at a time to not own dogs?

I love dogs. I really wish I could adopt a Scottie of my own, I miss having dogs as pets (much as I love my two cats). But I live in an apartment sans roommate and my job is such that I'm away from home for at least 9 hours at a stretch each weekday (with no way of getting home even for a little while in the midst of that). So . . . much as I'd love to adopt a dog, I don't. Some day, when my circumstances are different and I'm ready for that kind of commitment, I'll adopt a dog.

When humans suffer from clinical depression, anxiety disorders, and such things . . . it's bona fide disease. Something out of the ordinary, that can often be treated with drugs and therapy. When dogs get upset when their humans aren't around, that's to be expected (to a greater or lesser extent depending on the breed of dog, and how a dog is raised). Which is why most dog-owning humans like to stay home with their dogs or take breaks from work to go home and walk their dog or bring their dogs to work (if they can). Or work out a schedule so someone is around to be with the dog. I even know folks who co-own a dog, so the dog can spend time at either household and between all the humans someone's always with the dog. And you can work to train dogs to accept absences or cope better with them. I would hope that no one would be allowed to get this drug to use on their dog until it was clear they'd tried all these other options (yeah, I'm living in a fantasy world . . . it's much easier to just slip pooch a drug. Grrrrr).

I think people should have to take a test and receive some sort of license before being allowed to adopt (or purchase) a pet. (I spotted the article on the front page of the [startribune] but I've linked to it at the L.A. Times 'cuz that's where the story originated (I think) ). </mini-rant>

Home / Revised: January 8, 1999 / Laurel Krahn /