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All times referred to in this weblog are Central Standard Time unless otherwise noted.

Don't be surprised if updates come at odd times or if I miss a day or two from time to time. I'm between jobs and don't have the usual routines going just now. Trying to catch up on sleep, housework, and that kind of stuff. Also getting stuff together for jobhunting. And working on some new webpages to add to this site.

March 8-14, 1999

A preliminary program items list for Minicon 34 has been posted. It rocks. Participants and times aren't listed yet as we're still contacting people and trying to juggle the schedule around. Full list with participants and times likely next week. (I've seen the list of participants, it's full of cool people that rock). I couldn't be prouder of this program, kudos to Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Beth Friedman, and others who pulled it together.

(If any of y'all get inspired to come to the convention based on this list, I wouldn't blame you. Especially once participants are listed. Registrations are 70 dollars at the door, and you can probably still squeak thru and get the good rate at the Hilton if you call ASAP).

Saturday TV:
NCAA Basketball tournament (CBS)
Behind The Music marathon (Sat and Sun, VH1)
Ray Romano, The Corrs on Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Sunday TV:
The gang goes to see Star Wars on the season finale of That 70s Show (7:30pm, FOX)
Rerun of X-Files' "Dreamland, part 1" in which Mulder trades bodies with Michael McKean (kinda fun if you can get past the time-space continuum mumbo jumbo and the really weird points of view) (8pm, FOX)
New episode of The Practice (my pick for best drama last year, this year it hasn't been quite as good, but it'd be difficult for any show to live up to their string of episodes from last year. This episode features Steve Young ("Eugene") who absolutely rocks) (9pm, ABC)

All this talk of The Trailer meets South Park (I haven't seen it yet) reminds me of Babylon Park. I don't recall if I've linked to it before or not, so I'm doing it anyway. What happens when Babylon 5 meets South Park? It's far too funny.

More geeky Babylon 5 humor while I'm at it:
A very wrong (but funny) Bab5 version of "American Pie"
Babylon 5 See-N-Say (shockwave)
The Shadow Information Office
Season 1 & 2 blooper reels

Kevin Poulsen on the press surrounding the so-called "cyberwar:"

With the administration seeking billions of dollars to combat cyberterrorism, as well as more money for an expanded military budget, a paranoid mind might suspect that we're seeing some real information warfare in action-- a battle for the hearts of the American people, and for the pea-size minds of lawmakers who honestly believe that the Internet controls the power grid, 911 systems, and hospital records.

In this war, misinformation is the weapon, and truth is the first casualty.

Does George Lucas realize the hold he has over Geeks Like Me? Last night I curled up on my couch and watched Entertainment Tonight and when the new Trailer aired, I got all choked up. Tears in my eyes, lump in my throat, the whole bit. I had chills when I saw the First Trailer. This time my reaction was different, but still profound. And yeah, I taped it and I've watched it many times since.

The first Star Wars movie was the first SF-like stuff I ever saw on a big screen, I played with those toys all through childhood. I remember that it seemed like a decade passed between Empire and Jedi. Watched the movies countless times over the years. In high school, I remember loving nothing more than spending a weekend at home watching all three movies on video disk.

When I saw the rereleases in the theater, it was an intense experience. To see the original film in particular, 20 years later (with my parents, no less, as I'd seen it originally).

Is it May yet?

It's never too late to Ask Kosh. Or you could Ask Gonk. Or visit Gonk and his disciples at Gonkite's Groovy Grotto. (When I found this site a couple years back, I cited it as proof that quite a few folks are just a wee bit obsessed with Star Wars. We all know it, but what better proof?) Oh. My. God/nk. The folks at ask "What would Gonk do?"

Friday TV:
New episode of Providence (7pm, NBC)
Robert Picardo's birds are featured on America's Greatest Pets (7pm, UPN) (sue me, I like Robert Picardo . . .)
Reruns of Brimstone and Millennium (7pm, 8pm, FOX)
Rerun of Homicide (9pm, NBC)
Robbie Coltrane (yeah, the real Fitz) guest stars on the Robert Pastorelli Cracker (9pm, A&E)


The Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution is launching a new Web site -- -- that will post daily dispatches from its marine expeditions worldwide.

I wondered the same thing. Greg Knauss @

"People are discovering the great taste of Colombo!"

There is no pleasant way to interpret that sentence. Great taste? Columbo? The rumpled guy in the overcoat? With the cigar?

But it turns out that Colombo is a brand of yogurt, and the smiling people in the ad that starts with that line are probably not eating little cups of thick, liquefied Peter Falk.

That a yogurt -- that any product -- could be named "Colombo" in the wake of a popular TV series whose title differs by only one letter has to be the result of an enormous prank by some low-level staffer at the ad agency.

I'm considering this line for my .sig file:

You don't name your vacuum cleaner "Veronica's Closet," no matter how much it sucks.

Captain Picard's a peeping tom? Or not. Ben Affleck says (when talking of his romance and breakup with Gwyneth Paltrow):

Before their break-up last January, the much-talked-about couple couldn't even find privacy in Affleck's New York apartment. Affleck recalls fellow Big Apple dweller Patrick Stewart telling Paltrow exactly what unit they lived in and urging the couple to get some blinds for the flat's big windows.

"I know he was talking about me because I do some embarrassing things at home by myself," he says. "Like, when you contort your body to see how hideously monstrous you can make it look naked. Not the kind of thing I really wanted Patrick Stewart to see."

If I see one more piece about how there aren't any dramas on the air that feature more than one or two token black characters in the cast, I'm gonna scream. Hello? Doesn't anyone ever watch Homicide: Life on the Street?

The latest piece that has Homicide fans irked is this one talking about how Bochco's new drama will break the drama color barrier. Puhlease.

There are no dramatic series currently on American network TV that center on a collection of black characters.

Homicide has a racially mixed cast that is probably one of the most accurate mixes on TV if one really considers it. It's not all-black, but it's surely always had a pretty good "collection" of characters who happen to be black. IMHO.

Tom Shales on Get A Life [via tvbarn]:

At its best, "Get a Life" achieved dizzying heights of surrealist farce. At its worst, it was at least amusingly idiotic existential slapstick. "Get a Life" is a television classic unlike any other. For one thing, most of the others are better. We're not talking "Playhouse 90" here, after all. But we are talking riotous nonsense, and that's not to be sneezed at. It's to be laughed at. Hard.

5th anniversary of Late Show News and the last issue, kinda sorta. Content's morphing into TVBarn. I'm gonna miss the old LSN.

Technically Friday is the last day one can reserve a room at the Minneapolis Hilton and receive the Minicon room rate for Minicon (which is approaching rapidly). So if you're going to Minicon, best make that room reservation now (if you haven't already). Though it's possible they'll still take reservations after today, better safe than sorry (and better for the committee to know how many folks are staying in the hotel . . . ). Details at the Minicon webpage.

Hard to imagine the convention is merely a month away now, after more than a year of planning/angst/work/etc. And I haven't even been in the thick of things for awhile.

Evile Ally McBeal humor from The Daily Cynic (it's all fake news): DeRossi Assaulted by Anonymous Fan

Co-star, Peter MacNicol, who was receiving instruction from Pan Flute expert "Zamphir", for a scene in which he was to play the instrument, rushed to DeRossi's aid, but was unable to free the hysterical actress.

What scares me is how many people probably would believe that Al Gore invented the internet. None of us, mind you, but perhaps net.ignorant soles who watch CNN. Sigh.

New poster available for The Movie. Much bigger poster.

Moriarty of Ain't It Cool News was at ShoWest. He got to see John Williams conduct the Star Wars main theme... in person. Yeah, I'm jealous. And he reports on George Lucas' comments when introducing the new trailer:

He said that his favorite reaction from anyone who's seen the film so far was after the lights came up on the recent screening for all his friends. The first thing Steven Spielberg said was "I can't wait to see it again." "There's no greater compliment, " Lucas said.

He finished by saying, "Your faith in STAR WARS is important to me. I wish I could show you the whole movie... but I can't. The first trailer was such a success that we've decided to release the entire film in 2 1/2 minute installments.." Big laugh. George let it die down before saying, "And here's your first installment."

(Is it May yet?)

Rumor has it that the new Star Wars: Episode 1 trailer will air tonight on Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, and Newsstand: Entertainment Weekly (CNN). Possibly on other entertainment news shows, too. (I'd heard it was on ET last night, but can't confirm that as I forgot to watch. Will watch tonight mayhaps...)

Forget wearing black, a radical proposal from Jon Carroll:

I think it's time for stagehands to come out of the closet. I'm thinking white jumpsuits here, perhaps with the words "I'm a Stagehand: You Can't See Me" emblazoned on the backs.

It's been a tough couple of days for fans of the Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball team. On Wednesday, The St. Paul Pioneer Press broke a story which alleged that a bunch of ballplayers had cheated or had extra help from a tutor hired by basketball coach Clem Haskins. As a result, four players were suspended from the team just in time for the NCAA tournament. Sigh. I keep hoping and dreaming there's nothing to this or at the least that Clem Haskins didn't know about it . . . but even if he didn't, he should've found out and done something. Argh. Full Pioneer Press coverage. Star Tribune story. Dan Barreiro describes the mess:

The basic premise: Several players -- current and former -- had papers and assignments done for them by former office manager Jan Gangelhoff.

Early and often. This allegedly includes the Final Four season, which would make a lovely postscript to that memorable run.

This is truly despicable stuff, the kind that is supposed to happen at outlaw or mail-order universities, not hallowed institutions of higher learning. But if these allegations are borne out, Gopherville will have proudly hit the trifecta of athletic department dysfunction over the past 10 years -- lack of institutional control, reckless off-court behavior and the piece de resistance, academic fraud.

It's really really sickening. Bleah. And then there's the love between Governor Jesse Ventura and the press.

Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker on David Letterman and "Fresh Step:"

Dave's on a hot streak: His show is as funny and intelligent as it's ever been. His monologues are pricklingly droll; he's developed a new non sequitur catchphrase ("I wouldn't give that guy's problems to a monkey on a rock"); and he and his writers have come up with a clever stunt: They've invented an 'N Sync-ish boy-pop-group, called Fresh Step. Fresh Step's two appearances thus far have been deadpan masterpieces of parody, as the fake teen idols croon exaggerated R&B and give out with those white-boy hip-hop hand gestures that make watching 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys such a groaner of an experience.

New Star Wars trailer available online now, starts showing in theaters this Friday.

Thursday TV:
NCAA Men's Basketball tournament (CBS)
The 14th Annual Television Academy Hall of Fame Awards (7pm, UPN)
New episode of Frasier (8pm, NBC)
John Larroquette on The Daily Show (10pm, Comedy Central)
Bob Newhart on The Tonight Show (NBC)
SCTV on/instead of Later (NBC)

Wednesday TV:
A good rerun of Law & Order (9pm, NBC) (and of course you can see the show many times a day on A&E)
Billy Crystal, Rita Wilson on The Tonight Show (NBC)
Al Roker and George Brett on a hilarious rerun of Late Night w/ Conan O'Brien (NBC)
SCTV airs in Later's timeslot (NBC)

George Will on Joe DiMaggio:

Because of baseball's grinding everydayness, professionals place a premium on consistency. DiMaggio brought his best, which was baseball's best, to the ballpark every day. What he epitomized to a mesmerized nation in 1941 -- steely will, understated style, heroism for the long haul -- the nation would need after Dec. 7.

However, the unrivaled elegance of his career is defined by two numbers even more impressive than his 56. They are 8 and 0.

Eight is the astonishingly small difference between his 13-year career totals for home runs (361) and strikeouts (369). (In the 1986 and 1987 seasons, Jose Canseco hit 64 home runs and struck out 332 times.) Zero is the number of times DiMaggio was thrown out going from first to third.

Paul Simon on Joe DiMaggio and heroes (From NYTimes. I don't usually link to sites that require registration, but this is really good so I'm making an exception):

In the 50's and 60's, it was fashionable to refer to baseball as a metaphor for America, and DiMaggio represented the values of that America: excellence and fulfillment of duty (he often played in pain), combined with a grace that implied a purity of spirit, an off-the-field dignity and a jealously guarded private life. It was said that he still grieved for his former wife, Marilyn Monroe, and sent fresh flowers to her grave every week. Yet as a man who married one of America's most famous and famously neurotic women, he never spoke of her in public or in print. He understood the power of silence.

He was the antithesis of the iconoclastic, mind-expanding, authority-defying 60's, which is why I think he suspected a hidden meaning in my lyrics. The fact that the lines were sincere and that they've been embraced over the years as a yearning for heroes and heroism speaks to the subconscious desires of the culture. We need heroes, and we search for candidates to be anointed.

Patrick Reusse writes about Joe DiMaggio:

He was the last of the pre-television ballplaying giants -- the last to be worshipped through the written word, a radio description, a boxscore and, most of all, through the imagination.

And you've gotta love this quote from Paul Molitor:

"Ted Williams once told me that my swing looked like DiMaggio's," Paul Molitor said. "To have probably the greatest hitter who ever lived say that my swing reminded him of the swing of probably the game's greatest all-around player . . . that's the greatest compliment I received as a ballplayer."

Cool piece about what sounds like a nifty show:

"Mental Engineering" is the freshest TV-show idea to come out of the Twin Cities since "Mystery Science Theater 3000." It's not perfected yet, but its mischievous little heart is in the right place.

"Mental Engineering" critiques TV commercials on TV. Think about it. What a radical notion.

CD Index an open source replacement for CDDB? We shall see. [via /.]

Lisa Schmeiser speculates (at on what would happen if CBS really did buy NBC. What kind of shows would we see? I nearly hurt myself laughing:

Martial Law & Order: Sammo Hung joins Lennie Brisco and Rey Curtis in rounding up the Big Apple's murdering miscreants and thugs by occasionally kicking them in the head. Unfortunately, Hung's unorthodox interpretation of the Miranda Rights leaves Jack McCoy shaking with anger as all his Murder-2 cases walk due to technicalities.

48 Hours of Dateline: In an effort to call the public's attention to the dangers of aging TV commentators, Dateline producers rig Andy Rooney to explode.

Nash Bridges: Life on the Street: Long-suffering Lieutenant Giardello moves to San Francisco, and attempts to recreate that old Crockett-and-Tubbs chemistry with Nash. Inexplicably, 20/20 rises in the ratings.

So one rumor is David E. Kelley is dumping Michelle Pfeiffer for Calista Flockhart (I don't buy it, is he insane?). Here's a rumor that Ben Affleck is dating Flockhart. Whatever. Do I care? Not really.

Tuesday TV:
New Newsradio (enjoy it while it lasts, show is due to go on hiatus last I heard) (7:30pm, NBC)
New Sports Night (8:30pm, ABC)
2nd episode of Strange World (9pm, ABC) (I haven't watched the pilot yet, I'm taping the show in case it's any good)
Rerun of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (7pm, WB) (I'm trying to catch up on this show and with Felicity during rerun season)
Rerun of the Felicity Thanksgiving episode (8pm, WB)

A page that sums up nicely why I'll miss the Diner radio show. 'Course it hadn't been the same since it moved to Sat afternoons anyway and I understand why it ended. Still. I cherish the two lemon toothpicks I earned for answering Great Experiment questions.

Forget all this Star Wars talk (who am I kidding? Who can forget?), I'm looking forward to the next Indiana Jones movie. Whee!

Ack! I knew it was snowing like crazy here in Minnesnowta (Monday, as of 3pm), but just noticed that cable seems to be out here in my apartment. Wah. No TV? Oh the humanity. ;-p Think it's time to start a fire in the fireplace and curl up with a book.

This week's rerun of Ally McBeal is actually pretty special. I cried like a baby when it first aired (but then I can be an enormous sap). The episode is dedicated to Phil Leeds, an amazing character actor who played Judge Happy Boyle on the show. They used some footage shot of Leeds for the first episode of the second season (that got cut for various reasons) in this show. Which ends up dealing with the Judge's death . . . Phil Leeds died earlier in the year.

Especially good material for Dyan Cannon (as Judge "Whipper" Cone). And it's grand to have Jennifer Holliday sing in yet another episode.

Just getting into Ally McBeal or otherwise want to find out more? I finally checked out a few fan sites. The Ally McBeal Filing Cabinet has all sorts of interesting data (though the maintainer has recently stopped updating it). Dana's Ally McBeal website seems to cover all the bases that need covering, and Arthur Tham's site seems to cover slightly different ground. Of course there's a FAQ for the show. And then there's always FOX's official website.

AMC's website and magazine has a new look. Tonight they're doing a live event with Martin Scorsese, Billy Bob Thornton, and Nick Clooney during the James Stewart classic Winchester '73. Details on the website, of course. The classic How to Marry A Millionaire (starring Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable) also airs tonight (Monday).

I finally went and saw Rushmore this weekend. Really good movie. And, of course, not your typical movie (which is a Good Thing). I can't really think of anything negative to say about it, but I know that it won't be everyone's cup o' tea. An eccentric geek girl like me likes it heaps, for what it's worth.

Weird synchronicity. I pushed "play" on my CD player, not remembering what CD was in there. It's Simon and Garfunkel's concert in Central Park. Fine and good. So as I'm listening to "Mrs. Robinson" I head to the front page of and see the news that Joe DiMaggio has died:

Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
Joltin' Joe has left and gone away.

::Sniff:: Listened to the last installment of the Diner radio show, featuring James Lileks and Jeremy the Chef. On KSTP AM 1500. Kindof a sad thing to listen to on Saturday afternoon, I used to listen to the show frequently when it aired 10pm-midnight weeknights (or something like that, have I forgotten already?). Anyway. Lileks talks of it's end in today's bleat.

Stanley Kubrick is dead (I swear, this weblog feels like it's full of deaths these days). Probably can find plenty of info at this website. Colin Covert wrote a good piece about Kubrick for the Star Tribune:

Kubrick was a deity in the film world. Probably no U.S. director has been described more often as a genius. Visionary, perfectionist, working in isolation, he created films that struck like thunderbolts. He insisted on unparalleled creative control of all aspects of the filmmaking process.

In return, he extended the language of cinema in every direction. He dictated the design of camera lenses to shoot his period drama "Barry Lyndon" by candlelight. He abandoned the narrative rules of mainstream films for the climax of "2001: A Space Odyssey," creating a mystical light show that each viewer had to interpret personally. He wrote the scripts for most of his films, crafting intricately intelligent puzzles that grew more meaningful with each successive viewing. Unapologetically intellectual, he demanded much of his audiences, and he enjoyed remarkable commercial success nevertheless.

Director's Guild of America announced winners of their awards. Yeah, Spielberg won from Saving Private Ryan. I'm happy Thomas Schlamme won in the comedy directing category for the Sports Night pilot.

Joyce Millman on yet another batch of shows reminiscent of (but nowhere near as good as) The X-Files. (Yup, she's talking about Strange World and First Wave).

Like "The Twilight Zone" before it, "The X-Files" caught on with viewers who wouldn't ordinarily consider themselves sci-fi fans. And its popularity has a lot to do with the way it spreads a sinister shadow over the relatively mundane without insulting our intelligence (most of the time). Flukeman in and of himself is scary, but Flukeman as a mutant caused by nuclear waste -- now that's really scary, because it's just plausible enough. "The X-Files" is terrifying, smart and fun -- a combination that's a lot harder to pull off than you'd think.

And more praise for The X-Files:

X-Philes also will have no trouble spotting what's missing from both "First Wave" and "Strange World" -- they're utterly humorless. After all this time, "The X-Files" still understands the crucial connection between fear and the funny bone better than any show on TV (except for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," of course). "The X-Files" is having a good season, and if it's tilting a little more toward the funny bone than some fans would like, well, at least David Duchovny is getting ample opportunity to prove that he's one of the sneakiest comic actors around.

A cool TV Guide Cheers and Jeers column features some of my fave shows this week: Ally McBeal, Cupid, The X-Files, Homicide, Newsradio, Law & Order.

It's not too late to make plans to be in Minneapolis for St. Patrick's Day. Why Mpls on March 17th? 'Cuz of Boiled in Lead's 16th annual St. Patrick's Day show at First Avenue. And yeah, I know lots of leadheads who've flown in or have driven many hours for this show. It rocks. At least this year I don't have to drive in from far away.

Leadheads will likely also want to check out the Tim Malloys at Kieran's during the day on March 17th (before the big BiL show).

If you can't get here, you can always listen to the webcast (with any luck).

Monday TV:
Pretty wan TV offerings this week, it's rerunsville.
Peter Tork on 7th Heaven (7pm, WB)
I'll at least enjoy catching up with this year's episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond (8pm, CBS) which is one of the funniest sitcoms on the air these days.
Ally McBeal rerun (in which Rob Schneider guests as Ally's date from hell) (8pm, FOX)
"Limited run" series Strange World premieres (9pm, ABC -- note that it's actual timeslot will be Tuesday nights-- in the NYPD Blue slot during March-- after this special airing. Created by Howard Gordon).
Nothing but reruns of late night talk shows this week. As always, you can check full lineups at Sue Trowbridge's Late Night TV page.

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