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January 25 - 29, 1999

A piece from the St. Paul Pioneer Press concerning fiction and nonfiction featuring the St. Paul Winter Carnival. I love this bit from 1887 (!):

1887: The St. Paul Herald (published Saturdays, 10 cents a copy) was a lively newspaper that apparently took the carnival less seriously than other publications. Tobogganing was a new sport then, popular with young people because it allowed women to snuggle close to their escorts while flying down the hill. The Herald offered 11 humorous tobogganing rules, the first of which was:

"When a gentleman takes a lady down the slide and she, by her swaying from side to side, upsets him in the snow, the practice of picking up the toboggan and thumping her over the head with it is now obsolete in good society."

The saga of Jon Katz' attempt to learn Linux . . . continues.

TTSSH is a freeware (yay!) SSH extension for TeraTerm Pro, a fab free terminal emulator/telnet client. Windoze software. I've been using Teraterm for awhile now, was real happy to find this free SSH add-on since SSH clients can be bloody expensive.

Are you a science fiction fan? Will you be in/near Minneapolis, Minnesota this weekend? Don't miss the Minnesota Science Fiction Society's annual Pool Party. This Saturday at the Radisson South Hotel in Bloomington, MN. Starting at 2pm or so, going until very very late. Generally in at least one (usually more) of the suites at the far end of the pool, can't miss us. (And no, you don't have to swim, thank goodness. Talk, eat, drink, play music, play games, etc).

Weekend TV Alerts:
New Providence (Fri, 7pm CST, NBC)
New Homicide (Fri, 9pm CST, NBC)
Cate Blanchett on Late Show w/ David Letterman
Nine back to back episodes of Kids in the Hall (starting Friday, 10:30pm CST, Comedy Central)
Bill Murray on Charlie Rose
Big Star Wars commercials rumored to air during the Super Bowl

Still more on Cupid, New York Post piece about what fans are doing to try to save the show:

Not only did that put the "Cupid" up against NBC's "Frasier," but it meant that a show worthy of comparison to "Moonlighting" was airing in between "Vengeance Unlimited" (also struggling) and repeats of news hours about Death Row inmates and Charles Manson's "girls."

In desperation, this critic invited 20 readers to her apartment last Saturday and screened several episodes.

It was love - and laughter - at first sight. Each of the converts had happily pledged to convince at least 10 of their friends to watch "Cupid" tonight and convey their sentiments to ABC (SAVE CUPID, 77 West 66th St., NYC 10023).

James Collier writes yet another good piece for, this time he talks to the creator of Cupid:

In an environment where make people make their living by sticking to tried and true formulas, [Rob] Thomas was willing to take a chance and make an intelligent show, one that didn't look like every other series to roll off the network assembly line.

"My battle cry around here is we don't make the 'Television Decision,'" he said. "That is, can we use your expectations of television to mess with what you get at the end of the episode?"

And that was one of the more endearing parts of the show. When you'd expect a happy ending, you'd get a downer. When you'd expect two people to make a connection, they wouldn't -- or not in the way you expected. The main characters made mistakes frequently. Sometimes, they were jerks. They doubted themselves. For the viewers, it was a refreshing experience.

Waitaminute, that's not the Episode I poster I'm looking for . . . (it's funnier)

Maybe it's a weblog by a cat? Otis the Cat's Clickerama directed me to a dim sum shrine and a page showing Yoda doing the macarena. Be afraid.

Actually, I found the Clickerama at the very cool Stomp Tokyo website which has cool (and funny) reviews of many, many movies/videos (geeks note, they review the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special). Suspect I may waste too much time here. Lots of good stuff.

Too cool/cute for words. Yes, you can download a zipfile full of pictures of the new Star Wars legos.

A cool confession spotted in Shyla Coen's negative review of My Fair Lady:

I have, on occasion, been known not to "get it". It took me almost a year of semi-regular viewing to realize NBC's "Homicide" is the most superior piece of entertainment on the small (or big) screen today, and now I'm glued to my set every Friday night.

Shyla Coen presents some off-beat film awards for 1998. Good stuff. Inluding the award for funniest scene (unintentionally, of course):

[from City of Angels]
The biggest guffaws last summer had to be the prolonged, slow-motion sequence of Meg Ryan embracing life that was SO overdone, SO sappily scored and SO drawn out you just knew our blonde heroine was about to bite it. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house during her deathbed farewell, but not for the reasons you might think.

(I agree with all of 'em, except for when she calls The Negotiator a "mediocre action movie." Huh? I don't think of it as an action movie, too little of that. Hrm, I suppose it is a mediocre action movie and a good suspense/thriller. Heh.)

If you're freaked out about the Y2K problem and think you'll need emergency rations, might as well buy 'em from someone who's using the proceeds to feed starving kids the world over. Twin Cities City Pages did a fine feature article about the folks behind Future Foods and Feed My Starving Children. I'm not buying rations, but it's an interesting tale, nonetheless.

In just over a decade, Proudfit has nearly single-handedly perfected, packaged, and distributed to humanitarian organizations in 28 nations his "fortified rice-soy casserole." As a result, hundreds of thousands of children around the globe have been fed FMSC [Feed My Starving Children] meals. Last year alone, with contributions approaching $416,000, FMSC records show that nearly 10,000 volunteers were recruited from schools and churches across the nation to staff the New Hope facility for the express purpose of packaging food. As a result, 2.3 million individual meals were served in many of the world's neediest countries, including Haiti, Venezuela, and India.

Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a sf novel:

IBM's new ThinkPad 770Z and 600E come loaded with a special computer chip and radio antenna. They work with leading building security systems to prevent laptop computers from leaving a site when they shouldn't.

When a laptop's mobility restrictions are activated, and someone takes the computer through a secure door or passageway, it automatically becomes password-protected and essentially useless.

Matt Groening talks with salon about his new show:

What's your new show about?

What I told Fox was that it would be just like "The Simpsons," and they jumped up and down. And when I showed them what I came up with they said, "This isn't like 'The Simpsons.'" I said, "Yeah it is. It's new and original, just like 'The Simpsons.'"

TV Alerts for Thursday:
New Cupid (8pm CST, ABC)
Bill Murray on Late Show w/ David Letterman
Internet stock discussion and/or Sophia Loren on Charlie Rose (tentative)

Feh. Looks like tonight and Feb 11 are our last chances to see Cupid:

ABC’s "Cupid" has flung his last arrow.

The network Wednesday halted production on the series, about the mythical Cupid (Jeremy Piven), banished from Mount Olympus until he pairs 100 couples together, setting the series up for a long run.

Only 15 couples, however, made the love connection through the 15 episodes that aired.

Check out this quote:

" Cupid has been a labor of love for everyone at ABC from the very start," said the network in a statement. "The writing was phenomenal, the production was first rate, and the tremendous talent of its stars, Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall, really gave the show life. Unfortunately, despite everyone’s efforts, the audience just didn’t respond."

Great reason to cancel a show. Perhaps one should work on promoting the show better or giving it a better timeslot . . . Oh well. ABC's done this before (see also Relativity) and would've yanked The Practice if David Kelley weren't behind it. Does make me appreciate NBC a little more, Homicide has never gotten good ratings, but they've kept it on the air anyway . . . because it's "too good to cancel." Glen of Coaxial at Ain't it Cool posted a rant on this topic. (I especially like the point that many don't bother watching anything on ABC anymore because so few shows there are allowed to run more than 10 episodes before getting cancelled).

More on the forthcoming net and TV Homicide episodes. ZDTV Crime folks gave advice to Homicide writers. This article/release has some spoilers for the net and TV episodes involved.

"I needed to know what CyberCrime people would do to investigate something like a murder on the Web. I needed to know the investigative beats, where they would look, what the procedure would be and what the red herrings might be," said Charno, the episode's writer and co-producer.

An interview with Lucy Liu (that's Ling to Ally McBeal fans). On the way folks go on about Calista Flockhart's weight (or lack thereof):

It's unfortunate, though, how the press has been handling it. Because it's this wonderful, beautiful rose of a woman who's been destroyed by people judging her.

On acting sexy:

I think sexiness in a real person is, you get to know them and you like the way that they sit or the way they eat or twirl their hair or whatever it is, or the way they look when they wake up in the morning. But when you actually have to just be there and be sexy, it's not easy.

A visit to Robot Wisdom reminded me that the January issue of Wired is now online. There's good stuff in it.

It seems everyone is writing about their ebay addiction these days, but I may like William Gibson's confession the best of the lot:

The idea of the Collectible is everywhere today, and sometimes strikes me as some desperate instinctive reconfiguring of the postindustrial flow, some basic mammalian response to the bewildering flood of sheer stuff we produce.

But the main driving force in the tidying of the world's attic, the drying up of random, "innocent" sources of rarities, is information technology. We are mapping literally everything, from the human genome to Jaeger two-register chronographs, and our search engines grind increasingly fine.

Kevin Poulson's tale of his return to the world (after 5 years in prison) and what it's like to be banned from using the internet is a fine piece of work, read it:

Then I notice it: a billboard along the freeway embankment. I'm not even aware of what it's advertising. All I see is the cryptic string of letters at the bottom, beginning with "http://" and ending with ".com." I stare at it, gaping. I know what an Internet domain looks like, and I've seen plenty of billboards in my life, but together they pose an incongruity that I can't wrap my mind around. I had heard things on the inside, of course. I knew the world had changed - it's been five years, after all. But I'm totally unprepared for this visual evidence.

Heck, I've been out here in the real world (though mostly inside with my computer and other toys) and I still find myself staring strangely at billboards and TV ads for websites. I'm now, at least, used to seeing URLs in ads for businesses.

Disappointing. Jesse Ventura's webmaster lists IE as his favorite browser, Access 97 as his favorite software, and Windows 98 as his operating system.

Ben Welter's "Hot Sites for Geek Gossip Mongers" is a cool list of sites most of you probably already visit, but you never know, there might be something you've overlooked. Yeah, I was one of the geeks that sent Ben a lengthy list o' links, many of which are here. The piece turned out well.

James Lileks is evile, in a simple article about backing up one's data, he suggests this (as one possible backup option):

1. Back up the entire drive on floppies. If you're new to computers, I recommend this step, because most computers come with floppies. (If you're new to computers and bought an iMac, you can access the secret floppy drive by cracking open the case and poking around inside the monitor with a screwdriver until you see a bright light. Move toward the light until you are surrounded by all your dead relatives, who will tell you there is no secret floppy. You will learn many other secrets in Heaven: enjoy!) The downside, of course, is that backing up a 17 GB hard drive with floppies takes time -- you'll have to buy the disks, format them and construct an extra room in your house in which to store them.

Oh alright, it's a good piece. Read it. If you're an iMac user, don't sue the paper if you run into trouble on your search for the secret floppy... ;-p

Nifty interview with Brent Spiner:

I had a suggestion for Sondheim — I wanted him to do a musical version of Touch of Evil because I thought all the parts were there. And he said, "Well, I don't really like Touch of Evil very much." And I said, "Well, you don't know movies." [Laughing] And that's the first time he ever looked me in the eye.

Have you seen the Touch of Evil director's cut yet?
No. [Laughs] Who has time to see old movies? I'm too busy watching Blade.

I love Brent Spiner. (Oops, sorry. He does do fun interviews, though).

Ain't It Cool News hints that a DVD of Buckaroo Banzai may be in the works. And that it sounds like things are looking good (relatively at least) for a Buckaroo Banzaii TV pilot to be filmed for FOX. Nothing definite on either bit, but still... Who'd have thunk it?

Both of these coveted items may be some time in coming, though. But the possibilities exist, and they are strong.

So there you have it folks. Slowly but surely...slowly but surely. Now, if only Fox would let Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers perform Auld Lange Syne at 12 a.m. January 1, 2000 during its New Year's night broadcast. What a wonderful world it could be...

TV Alerts for Wednesday:
Sophia Loren on Late Show w/ David Letterman
Harrison Ford on The Tonight Show (normally I don't mention reruns, but it's Ford, darnit)

He oughta know . . . Andre Braugher says:

I don't think we'll ever see Frank Pembleton in the flesh again.

Wah. :-( Braugher is supposedly going to direct an episode of Homicide this year. Anyway, it's nice to see an article about what Braugher is working on these days.

The gang at are at it again. Much dark humor (about TV, of course) in the two recent Station Breaks (collections of shorter-than-full-column bits) and in the latest MailBag, too. I laughed far too hard at today's look at 60 Minutes II.

Lileks muses today on a multicultural experience. Read it today (on the 27th) before it's gone:

If you grow up black in America, you never forget you're black, because you're always reminded one way or the other. Growing up black in Africa is like growing up white in North Dakota. Or so it seems, in a general sense; I'm sure there are enough exceptions to either case to shoot down my rough assumptions.

More Lileks: in today's Backfence column he talks of the lives of gloves.

A good article from the Boston Globe on what folks are calling "hacktivism":

What are the limits of political protest in cyberspace, where the boundaries between public and private space are murky? How far can activists go without infringing on the rights of the people against whom they are protesting? As international reliance on computer technology increases, can anyone with a little technical know-how declare their own war?

It's timely. Lotsa stuff going on these days, take a look at today's Hacker News for some examples. The Indonesia-East Timor story in particular is worth watching.

Sensible commentary by Bruce Schneier on this Intel processor ID number nonsense:

As a cryptographer, I cannot design a secure system to validate identification, enforce copy protection, or secure e-commerce using a processor ID. It doesn't help. It's just too easy to hack.

This kind of system puts us in the same position we were in when the government announced the Clipper chip: Those who are engaged in illicit activities will subvert the system, while those who don't know any better will find their privacy violated.

Want to catch up on Sluggy Freelance or Kevin & Kell, but find you tire of waiting for webpages to load or your eyes get too tired from looking at your monitor? You can, of course, catch up with the strips in their dead tree incarnation. Books are available from Plan 9 Publishing. They get bonus points for having a nifty logo. I finally broke down and ordered the Sluggy book.

Four episodes of the cult TV classic (!?) Get A Life have been released on home video by Rhino, two episodes per tape.

I blush to admit I laughed far too hard at some episodes of this show. It's not for everyone and I've not seen any episodes in years, so who knows what I'd think of it now (I may have to get a tape to find out).

Another new page debuts here at my Windowseat, it's kindof a portal page of sorts for folks looking for Minnesota news, weather, road conditions, movie listings, etc. All that jazz. May also be good for "virtual Minnesotans," folks who used to live in MN or want to live here or otherwise have an interest in the state. I've got more to add, but figure I'd fling it out on the public as it is. Too much can be overwhelming, anyway.

I've mentioned this site to friends and promised them the URL, but I think I've been lousy at actually remembering to send it to people. It's far too funny not to share: Babylon Park. Yeah, it's a cross between Babylon 5 and South Park. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Lots of new stuff in today's memepool. (Try it, you'll like it. If you haven't visited before or lately, that is).

For instance, I found this via memepool:

This is the story of three very bored geeks, a leatherman, a bunch of disposable plastic lighters, and a severe case of pyromania. What started out as a simple lighter on fire turned into a psychotic inferno of fury.

Jorn boycotts Arts and Letters Daily:

Boycott: I'm deleting Arts & Letters Daily from my daily rounds, because its editor, Denis Dutton, acknowledges he's been taking freely from my links for months, but has somehow never found the time to give me the slightest public mention. (I first requested this courtesy on 19 October.) I call that plagiarism.

I agree with Jorn. Folks should at least make an effort to acknowledge sources . . . Yeah, sometimes one can forget (I know I do sometimes) or feel they've spied something a bunch of places so attribution isn't necessary. Listing sources can be awkward, too. But it's not as if ALD couldn't at least link to Jorn once! (Geez, they've got room for ads all over their page and the new scitech page, why not links to some of their sources? Or to a page listing sources/credits?). Oh, well.

Notes: I've not seen many of the things I've featured in "TV Alerts," I seem to be watching less TV than usual these days. Always interested in hearing about things, though, if you catch any of 'em and find the shows good, bad, or otherwise, let me know.

I've been toying with coming up with a more explicit theme for this weblog, or perhaps splitting it somehow. Any thoughts? How could I improve things? Sometimes I feel I should give up on tech stuff altogether 'cuz it's covered so well elsewhere, but then every so often I find something new or something I simply have to comment on. As always, your feedback is really appreciated.

Carl Steadman's "Exit, Stage Right" rings too true. How many net professionals have been there? Too many.

Cameron [of Camworld] on weblogs:

In some sense, weblogs sum up what's so great about the Internet. Like fanzine editors before them, weblog editors embrace a topic or theme and run with it. Weblogs are a great indicator of what's happening on the Internet and within the web community.

See Playing by Heart for the pets?

I loved it that his women characters are all pet-mad. There are some absolutely magnificent dogs running through "Playing by Heart," and even a one-eyed tiger cat who's a mangy, grumpy-faced charmer.

Charles Taylor (of salon) liked the pets, didn't like the movie (though he seems to have liked some of the performances just fine). I think he's right on re Jon Stewart:

The best scenes are the ones between Gillian Anderson and Stewart. It's a pity that Stewart, one of the few recent comics whose sense of irony isn't inhumanly superior, has wound up in the midst of the sneer fest that is Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." "Playing by Heart" suggests he could be a terrific romantic comic lead.

I've mostly seen negative reviews, with a sprinkling of positives. Sounds like the cast is grand, folks were expecting more from it and were disappointed (weak script?). Film does have a fab ensemble cast, I'd hoped it'd be good. May have to go see it (heck, if it's got cute dogs and cats, as well as Sean Connery . . . ).

Glad I don't live in Florida (even if the weather is nicer there this time of year):

If you have a Florida driver's license, the state has sold your photo for a penny to a New Hampshire company.

Image Data LLC of Nashua, N.H., bought the 14-million pictures for a data base that it wants to sell to retailers eager to prevent fraud. But its system has not been proven to be either secure or economically viable for retailers. [via hnn]

'Course this stuff could happen anywhere and driver's license data is considered part of the "public record" most places. I try not to think about it too much. Bad enough my SSN was my driver's license number when I lived in South Dakota. And what's the deal with stores now asking for zip codes or phone numbers before they ring up your purchases?

Sounds like some pictures are up at the Lego website of the Star Wars legos. But I'm too lazy/busy to login (argh, they require registration) to see them. Harrumph. One of these days . . .

Huh. An article about personal webpages makes the front page of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (dead tree edition and online). I'm quite perplexed at why now there's interest in this stuff . . . personal webpages aren't exactly a new trend (I've had mine since 1993, fer instance). Still it's a decent piece, even if it mentions Geocities.

Some of my deep dark secrets are revealed in my new Bio(graphy) and on my page devoted to guilty pleasures. Yeah, I'm doing some web housekeeping, updated the homepage itself, too (still not happy with it). And made some tweaks to my Homicide page.

Apparently I am not alone in my solitaire addiction . . . my solitaire pursuits webpage is the second most-hit page on this site (after this weblog). Interesting.

Survey at Ain't It Cool News . . . which movie was the Coolest of last year (not necessarily the best, but the coolest). This is the first round, plan to do a number of rounds then pick the final recipient of the Cool Award. So far, Out of Sight is in the lead.

Nifty. HTML-Kit is a cool new Windows program that incorporates HTML Tidy. Basically a GUI for HTML Tidy, but looks like it has extra editing and conversion features, too. Love that it'll convert font tags to style sheets. Will have to play with it some when I get a chance. And I already loved HTML Tidy because it makes HTML pretty/readable (i.e. indents stuff the way it should be). [via tomalak]

Web America Claims Win in Gateway.Net Case Interesting. I left GW2K before they launched their thingie, had wondered what ISP they were using. Sounds like they aren't 'zactly sure themselves.

What the? John Cleese will be in the next Bond movie:

The Brit actor-comedian has been cast as R, an incompetent, accident-prone assistant to Q, 007’s deadpan gadget guru, in the Bond franchise’s 19th outing, UA’s "The World Is Not Enough." [via robot wisdom]

Could be cool, could be lame. Interesting idea, though one wonders if they're venturing into Get Smart territory here . . .

The online Homicide world meets the on-air Homicide world in February. Interesting Wired article about the crossover. I'm looking forward to the episode. Noticed a flaw in this article, they say it's the first time the cops of Homicide will be shown using computers... not quite right, I can think of one episode where they looked something up on what looked like a really old mainframe.

The Homicide crossover is another milestone in showing "that we can really expand the horizons of what's possible," Hjelm [NBC's director of interactive programming] says. "The end game? In my perfect world, every show would have producers from the online side sitting down at the same table with the rest of the creative team. Interactive elements should be built into every show we do."

Well duh, of course we've not seen the last of Agent Fowley/Mimi Rogers on The X-files. Pity.

Monday Night TV:
Ally McBeal rerun (from last year, Ally and Georgia kickbox-- against each other, even).
FX starts it's X-Files conspiracy/mythology episode marathon, complete with new interviews and stuff scattered throughout. Pity I don't get FX.
And Dilbert premieres:

After many trips back to the drawing board, the Dilbert (8 p.m., UPN) animated sitcom finally makes its debut. Scott Adams is co-creator (along with former "Seinfeld" producer Larry Charles) for this adaptation of Adams' strip about a hapless corporate drone. Daniel Stern, who used to be the narrator of "The Wonder Years," provides the voice of Dilbert (wait -- I'm confused; did little Kevin Arnold grow up to be Dilbert?). Also starring the voices of Kathy Griffin as Alice, Larry Miller as the evil boss and Chris Elliott (of course) as the sarcastic Dogbert.

That's what Joyce Millman had to say in today's blue glow. Airs at 7pm for those of us in the Central Time Zone. I'm not sure what a Dilbert TV series is a sign of. Not the apocalypse, exactly. I never imagined Dogbert would sound like Chris Elliot!

I'm not making this up. You could get paged every time a live police chase airs in L.A. For a mere dollar per year. [via teevee]

A big loss (IMHO) to fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tom Gugliotta turns down a fabulous contract and leaves Minnesota. Doesn't make sense to me, big loss for the team. Sounds like the rest of the T-wolves are stunned. Including Kevin McHale:

By Sunday evening, Gugliotta was in Phoenix, former teammates were watching him on TV, and McHale was slumped against a wall in a Target Center hallway. He complained about a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach.

"I wish I could be mad at Tommy, but I can't," he said. "My little boy Tommy said he wanted to mail his picture to Googs, so he wouldn't forget him. I almost felt like crying last night, too. What happened?"

Gateway website ripe for redesign. That's for darn sure. The site was better, IMHO, way back when they/we first launched the "Build Your Own Gateway" feature and online ordering. And back then, all the pages were hand-coded. I know, I was there. I cranked out hundreds of webpages a day to try to keep the prices updated on the website. But the site was cute then and easy to navigate. It's slicker now, but takes longer to load and I can't find my way around worth a darn. The website has been so mismanaged, it makes me sad. 'Cuz once upon a time, there were some talented folks on the GW2K web team. It's really hard to watch sites you used to work on go downhill. :-(

James Lileks, on books vs. computers:

This is why books are still superior to computers. Books never freeze. Books never need to be upgraded to run the latest novels -- if they did, people with old, outdated books would be stuck reading Austen and Dickens and other 19th-century authors, because their books couldn't handle plots with jets or lasers. You couldn't pick up that new Kafka translation without a Surrealism Accelerator Card. "Well, you can still read the book," the salesman would say, "but without the card, the character just turns into a fluffy chick instead of a beetle."

On the other hand, you can't read a book at work without looking as if you're slacking, whereas anyone in an office with a computer looks like they're working, if they frown enough.

Jon Carroll on writers and readers:

All writers start out as readers; all writers have read stories that spoke to them, that opened worlds, that dissected emotions, that explained relationships, that showed them other ways of being. Writers start out being drunk on someone else's words; they spend their lives trying to create equally potent brews.

Michael Rawdon on Homicide and X-men and character-driven stories:

The Homicide episode "Crosetti", from the third season, I think is the best one I've seen yet. Lewis' partner Crosetti - who was "on vacation" for the season's inaugural three-parter - turns up dead. Bolander, the primary, thinks Crosetti committed suicide, while Lewis can't believe it of his partner. It has some terrific scenes between Bolander and Giardello, Lewis and Bolander, and the final scene with Pembleton (with a lovely, mournful sax piece playing over the video). A really terrific story about the people on this homicide squad.

I find that many of the best stories revolve around a particular "family" of characters reacting - well or poorly - to a particular event. This episode is a prime example, as is the "Death of Phoenix" storyline in the X-Men comic circa 1980. When the characters are well-drawn, have history behind them, and their actions are instantly understandable by the audience in the context of that history, a story just works, on levels that other stories can't quite get to. Sometimes the audience's reaction is "At least they're there for each other", other times it's "How did things ever get to this point?", or something else, but any of these reactions is strong. It's what makes fiction worth following in the first place.

Ooops. Homicide: Life on the Street wasn't on last Friday, was preempted so we could see still more figure skating. Harrumph.

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