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April 7-9, 1999

Two acts not to miss if they visit your neck of the woods: Moxy Fruvous and John Wesley Harding. I try to check the Fruvous show dates and JWH dates fairly frequently. Don't wanna miss either of 'em.

Guess which catalog I got in the mail today? It frightens me, yet it's a lot of fun to browse. I've never managed to page through an entire catalog, I think I might o.d. on all the brightly coloured plastic objects. Too much festivity.

Good Bleat at for the weekend.

What I'm reading: Our Dumb Century. The Onion folks strike again. There are some absolutely brilliant bits:

Viking Probe Lands on Mars; Fran Tarkenton to Seek Out Possible Life

Everyone I saw at Minicon this past weekend was reading the Onion book and/or Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky. Or talking about 'em. Me? I'm behind the times, I bought the paperback of Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, think I'll finally read it. Then the new prequel thingamajig.

Surreal moment at the Minnesota Twins home opener on Tuesday: Kenny Rogers and Harmon Killebrew leading the crowd in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Add to that the presence of Governor Jesse Ventura, Kirby Puckett, and Paul Molitor . . . an interesting evening. (And the Twins actually won . . . ).

You know, the web is pretty neat. I was searching for . . . um . . . something (an episode guide for an obscure TV show, if you must know) and stumbled on a webpage for Tales of the Gold Monkey, a TV show I've not seen since it originally aired. A show that I remember vaguely: Stephen Collins played an Indiana Jones type of role, he flew a seaplane and there was Roddy McDowell and a one-eyed dog (with an eye patch) and Jeff McCay played a sidekick of sorts. And it was all set in the 1930s. You'd think I were making this up, but it's all true and now I can go to the website to confirm it. As fan sites go, this one is very cool. They even managed a 15th anniversary gathering with stars and such from the show. A show that only had 21 episodes. Neat.

You'll never guess the identity of Third Rock from the Sun's "Big Giant Head" . . . but he's perhaps the Star Trek star with the biggest ego (or, at the very least, toupee . . . ). Funny.

Frazier Moore of the Associated Press writes yet another fabulous piece about Homicide:

"Homicide" has remained a brazen and courageous work-in-progress, sometimes knockabout and menacing, sometimes crisp and cool, sometimes simply breathtaking - and never like anything else on TV.

The gang has put together a, um, lovely Sony TV is On site. Too funny.

Got the latest issue of Premiere magazine in the mail today. Grand. Much of the issue is devoted to the new Star Wars movie (wheee!). I'm not sure how I feel about the four (!) different collectible covers, though. I got the one that features Natalie Portman, there are three others that feature Liam Neeson, Ewan MacGregor, and Jake Lloyd (w/ George Lucas). Spiffy articles and pictures, though. Should show up in stores soon, if it hasn't already.

John Zipperer says some fine things about Mystery Science Theater 3000 at TV Barn. Don't miss Friday's season premiere of the show, in which Joel and TV's Frank visit briefly (10pm CST Friday, Sci-Fi channel).

I'm still way behind on my usual net.reading, and on email, natch. I had a good time at Minicon, for what it's worth. And it was fun meeting some new folks. If you found my site after attending the panel I was on, thanks for stopping by! (Well, thanks no matter how you found this page). I was very sleep deprived for the panel I was on, hope it didn't show too much. And I apologize for the whole "scare quotes" thing that got a bit out of hand . . . (more on that later, maybe). If you were at Minicon, do email me to say hello and to let me know what you thought of it. Thanks.

From the "I told you George Lucas is more powerful than he imagines" file: Phantom Menace is affecting the travel biz as many folks in Europe and Australia and parts elsewhere book flights to the US in May to see the movie.

Colour me amused (by that Lileks fellow, this time):

Another sign of spring: The bulbs and ferns are starting to poke through the dirt, like little periscopes of some vast subterranean fleet. Maybe that's what they are, actually. Perhaps the bulbs spend the winter roaming around, migrating in vast underground herds. Who'd know? Perhaps those first tentative shoots are the tulip equivalent of someone trying to sneak in the house after being out too late.

This year, be sure. Tie a length of dental floss around each bulb, and tie the other end to a small bell. When you hear the bell tinkle around December, you'll know the bulbs are making a break for it. I relish the idea of tromping into a snowbank and playing tug-of-war with a fleeing bulb -- if I have to stay here all winter, so do they.

Still more from Lileks and the Backfence:

"Dog" is not an insult in my book. Dog is a compliment. I'd rather sit next to someone who smelled like a good fresh dog than someone who smelled like they spent an hour marinating in a tank of drugstore perfume. If my friends came up to me at the office and said, "You'd better go for a walk with me or I'll relieve myself right here and now," I'd be initially annoyed, but I'd enjoy the walk and the time spent together. (Note to friends: Don't try it.) Dog is good.

This one is pretty good, too, the mascara bit had me chuckling out loud.

I like Al Roker. Have you visited his website lately? Good cartoons and a fine quick journal updated most weekdays. Still gotta get me one of those umbrellas, too. He recently revealed that he uses a Palm Pilot. He and his family are featured in the current issue of People magazine. has a fab short interview with Chris Eigeman (of Whit Stillman films and the new sitcom It's like, you know . . .):

What happened to your own pilot?
You're a servant to so many masters, and it's very hard to make anything funny. I had a very misguided notion of what "network notes" were. I thought they were well-meant suggestions, perhaps urgently meant, but just suggestions nonetheless. And actually, they're demands. You have to do them, or you will not be paid.

You're a New Yorker who plays a transplanted New Yorker who hates L.A. Does that reflect your thoughts on the city?
I genuinely don't like Los Angeles. L.A. is this little petri dish of lack of morality. If you take a perfectly well-adjusted normal person of any age from anywhere in the country and stick them in L.A., within about a week I do believe that a lot of their values and morals will start to degrade. Suddenly you're like, "Let's go to the Ivy and see if we can spot a star eating dinner!" Which is childish and stupid and you shouldn't do it. I'm 34, I should know better, but after a little while, I'm like, "C'mon, maybe Jim Carrey will be there." And that's not healthy.

Lucy "Xena" Lawless and Jeri "BorgBabe" Ryan did a joint interview w/ TV Guide. Good, fun, interesting stuff.

Yes! It's about time Daffy was on a stamp. Daffy stamps go on sale on April 17:

This year's stamp will show Daffy looking upset about finding Bugs Bunny and Tweety-and-Sylvester stamps on letters in his mailbox.

An interesting "cinematic analysis" of Homicide: Life on the Street episode "Three Men and Adena:"

If one were to see "Homicide" on stage the excellent acting alone would not make it a superior production. This series depends almost as much on the style of the photography. It is unique to network television in how it treats the camera, and how the camera treats the subjects with respect to the different shots and angles used. The show is shot in Baltimore, not a sound stage, and a 16mm hand held was the favorite camera for much of the first season. With neither the desire nor the budget for any special effects, an episode like "Three Men and Adena" appears rough and unpolished. Directors employed very low-key lighting to make the interrogations seem bleak, like the lives affected by those who are affected by the murders. The only contrast comes from the brick walls of "the box," trapping suspects in the very minimalist atmosphere of a claustrophobic little room where they are to be endlessly interrogated until they crack.

Contact info for NBC in case you wanna pester them to bring Homicide: Life on the Street and/or Newsradio back next year.

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Revised: April 7, 1999 / Laurel Krahn /