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April 12-18, 1999

Saturday and Sunday TV.

Friday TV:
Two classic episodes of Homicide (8pm CST on Court TV, 9pm CST on NBC)
New Millennium (8pm CST, FOX)
John Cusack on Late Show w/ David Letterman (10:35pm CST, CBS)
More details, picks . . .

Thursday TV:
Sophia Loren on Biography (7pm, 11pm CST, A&E)
Good Homicide rerun (8pm, 11pm, 2am CST, Court TV)
Sean Connery and Cher on The Tonight Show (NBC)
More details, picks . . .

Al Roker on Tax Day:

When all is said and done, it's almost like Groundhog's Day, only it costs more and the Groundhog can't toss you in the slammer if you don't observe his day, shadow or not.

If you're in Boston on May 7th, don't miss your chance to meet producers, writers, and actors from Homicide: Life on the Street. This piece also pretty well confirms the longtime rumor that Kyle Secor won't be returning to Homicide as Tim Bayliss even if the show is renewed. Sigh. I kept hoping it wasn't true, and in a way I feel the show should really end with Bayliss' departure. It did all start with his arrival, after all.

Wow. Toys R Us stores may open at 12:01am on May 3rd 'cuz that's the day the new Star Wars toys hit the shelves.

Be sure to vote in the USA Today poll on which TV shows networks should drop or keep. There's also a related article on where various shows stand.

Wednesday TV:
Sounds like a good episode of The Norm Show (8:30pm CST, ABC)
Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Indiscreet (9pm and 3:15am CST, AMC)
Jackie Chan on The Daily Show (10pm CST, Comedy Central)
Kate Winslet on Late Show w/ David Letterman (10:35pm CST, CBS)
More details, picks . . .

Monday was Khalid El-Amin day in Minneapolis, Tuesday Khalid El-Amin was arrested for marijuana possession. Sigh.

Don't ya sometimes feel like weblog readers and writers are ahead of the rest of the world? CNN report on the lifetime of free lunches for tattoo deal that many of us heard about from Obscure Store a month or two or more ago. Same thing happened with the South African cars with flamethrowers, story was almost passe to me when CNN and others got hold of it.

'Course the reality is, I'm up on certain odd news items and things TV and tech, but mostly behind the times on a lot of other stuff. Oh, well.

Cool, jjg links to Man or Astoman (they be cool). I like the new look for jjg , too, for what it's worth. (If you don't visit the site, you should, darnit).

Boy this takes me back, memepool links to The Force = Satan webpage. Was a link I emailed to a bunch of friends at least a couple years ago, I forget when I first found it. It's still funny, though (and perhaps it's "new to you").

Joel Hodgson on Mystery Science Theater 3000:

"It's like any kind of venture that you put a lot of time and energy into," he says. "In the back of your mind, you're going, 'I hope this works. I hope I can make a living at this.'""

"At the same time, the things that stun me are like when 'The Simpsons' did a reference to 'Mystery Science Theater.' Or like when I got to talk with Frank Zappa before he died and he turned out to be a fan. He loved 'Mystery Science Theater.' Those are things I never would have imagined."

Cool! I'd somehow not heard this before:

But Hodgson is quick to pass the credit around. That includes one unlikely source of inspiration, Elton John.

"The genesis of the show goes back to when I was in high school," Hodgson says. "Elton John came out with the album 'Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road.' In the album -- it has to be the album, not the CD -- there are all these drawings alongside the lyrics to each song."

"And next to one of the songs -- it's called 'I've Seen That Movie Too' -- there's a picture of theater seats and three people sitting in them, watching a Clark Gable movie. And in high school, I remember looking at that and thinking, 'You know, it would be really cool to do a TV show that looked like that.' So that's kind of how I got to the idea of 'Mystery Science Theater.'"

I'll never forget when I first saw the show on my old black and white TV set with a UHF antenna, 'twas after midnight on New Year's Day and the film Joel and the 'bots watched was one of the Gamera movies:

"Mystery Science Theater" launched on KTMA, a fledgling Minneapolis UHF station. Jim Mallon, a production manager at the station (and now the show's executive producer), met Hodgson in 1988 and asked if he had any TV ideas. "MST3K" was the result.

"If I hadn't met Jim Mallon, it would have just stayed an idea," Hodgson says. "And I contend that it would have been impossible to write a script and sell 'Mystery Science Theater' that way. We really had to make it to show people. And I don't think it could have happened in Hollywood either. I think it had to come out of Minneapolis."

You betcha. Can you tell I'm proud of the show? And proud of seeing it way back when? Yeah, I know I quoted a lot of stuff. There's still more good stuff in the article, though. A fine job by David Martindale for Ultimate TV.

Wow. If you haven't yet, go see The Matrix. As soon as possible. Especially if you're a fan of science fiction (written, media, or both).

If you have seen it and wanna hear my opinion of the film in more detail (or tell me what you think), email me and we'll talk. I just don't want to risk giving anything away here. Those that haven't seen it yet, should go into it knowing little about it and with few preconceptions.

Still more mondegreens from Jon Carroll.

Fabulous bleat today from James Lileks (Wednesday, that is, read it while you can. Not that other bleats aren't decent, too, natch). It's got dogs, ducks, a river, a ghost (perhaps), MST3K, and more.

Homicide producer won't let NBC destroy his show in order to "save" it. Amazingly Tom Fontana makes some sense in this piece. Though Homicide fans have a hard time not guffawing or falling down or choking on reading:

"This is the show and I'm not going to change the show drastically just to get it renewed," said Fontana.

Okay, he won't change the show for the sake of renewal. Lord knows he's changed the show dramatically seemingly on a whim . . . to no good effect. Plenty of times. Oh, well. And didn't he say NBC pressured 'em to add the romantic plots this season? Ach well.

I took the survey mentioned. Was an odd survey.

Homicide may be on it's way to the morgue. Sigh:

Amid all these grassroots Internet efforts to lobby for new shows headed or already on the scrap heap -- "Cupid," "Vengeance Unlimited," "Brimstone" -- another, far better show teeters on the brink.

Production has wrapped up on the seventh season of NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street," and there's a disturbing silence from the network about renewing the Emmy-winning drama.

JMS (of Babylon 5) to receive Bradbury award from SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's of America).

Ain't It Cool News piece on Crusade's chances for survival.

Crusade for Crusade site (gotta love their name).

David Letterman-Regis Philbin feud? [via tvbarn] Or is it a joke?

She wasn't just Wilma, she was Rosie the maid too, darnit! Well, that's what I learned when I read about Jean Vander Pyl's death.

The guy formerly known as Cat Stevens claims Macedonian guards robbed him.

Now that's just tasteless (the headline, that is): Boxcar Willie Derailed. Or stupid. Or something.

Have I mentioned yet that folks should see The Matrix? Do it. Don't read the reviews, don't look at the IMDB entry. Pay no attention to the people who are talking about it. Just see it.

News that probably surprises no one: More Guys Than Gals in Silicon Valley [via obscure store]. As the article goes into more details on the whole "dating scene," I find myself feeling a bit queasy. All seems so calculated.

Yes! Tom Shales rakes Craig Kilborn over the coals. I've only seen one full episode of The Late Late Show since Kilborn took over, not that I haven't tried to watch more . . . but I can't stand to watch for any length of time. It's just bad much of the time. What irks me even more is that we in Minnesota now get to see The Late Late Show right after Letterman, solely 'cuz Kilborn is from MN. When Tom Snyder hosted the show, it was on later . . . which made it harder for many to watch. With Snyder it was so good much of the time. Sigh.

I'd much rather spend a full hour with Jon Stewart, if only he were host of The Late Late Show and Kilborn were still back at The Daily Show. A girl can dream . . .

Tuesday TV:
John Travolta on Simon & Simon (11am, 5pm CST, A&E)
Michael Zaslow on Law & Order (noon, 6pm CST, A&E)
New Newsradio (7:30pm CST, NBC)
New Sports Night (8:30pm CST, ABC)
Josh Charles (of Sports Night) on The Daily Show (10pm CST, Comedy Central)
Kevin Spacey on Late Show w/ David Letterman (10:35pm CST, CBS)
Dustin Hoffman and Lucy "Ling" Liu on The Tonight Show (NBC)
More details, picks . . .

Hadn't visited in awhile, so spent some time catching up on stuff that was new to me. It's a fun site. I got a kick out of reading Campbell's take on how New Zealand is different from the US: The Kiwi Shuffle (and How to Speak Like a Kiwi).

Mr. T vs. . . . [via /.]

Bruce Schneier developed a cool cryptosystem that doesn't require computers called Solitaire that's featured in the new (forthcoming) novel from Neal Stephenson. Very cool.

Spiff salon article by Lisa Schmeiser on the many people in the web biz who don't have college degrees or have degrees in non-computer related fields. Not exactly a newsflash, but a decent piece. References an old /. thread. ( Have I mentioned that I hate the salon redesign? )

For the record, I was an English major in college, never quite got my degree. I've never taken a computer class, though I've taught many. And I've been working on web and net.stuff for years now (still looking for work now, FWIW).

Philip Michaels on Sports Night:

The dialogue uses interplay, clever repetition, sentences that spill over into another character's lines... it's simply a pleasure to listen to. You can't just turn on Sports Night, disengage your brain and expect to be entertained. As with some of the best written shows in recent years -- NewsRadio, The Larry Sanders Show, the first five seasons or so of Homicide -- the home viewer had best follow along. And that alone may have kept me watching while the cast and crew of Sports Night found their footing.

Cool. The Matrix is the first part in a proposed trilogy, there's to be a followup comic on their website, and the next film the Wachowski brothers plan to do is of the fab comic V is for Vendetta. Spiff.

Star Wars Trailer a Menace to IT Departments. Wheee! I posted the first trailer on the intranet for my coworkers, thus saving a bit of bandwith, I hope. Was fun.

Must be that time of year (when isn't it?), Jon Carroll's talking about mondegreens again.

Lileks talks of Broadcast News (and other things), then TrekStuff:

But not as good as Wrath of Khan, which was on again last night. I watched, I sang along, I punched up the volume when the E came up behind the Reliant, and I teared up furiously during the Historic Death Scene at the end. I mean, I see this movie once a year, and every time Spock stands and picards his uniform before walking over to say goodbye to Kirk and his toupee, I lose composure. By Amazing Grace time I am snortling back sobs in a manly fashion. It's just pathetic.

I'm the same way. The end of that movie gets to me every time. Now I'm kicking myself for not catching Khan on Monstervision with Joe Bob Briggs the other night. 'Course it's not like I don't own the thing on videotape for crying out loud . . . but I guess I was looking for someone to share the pain. Guess reading Lileks' comments in his bleat fits the bill.

I also like Lileks' review of Yet Another Star Wars Video Game.

There's a newish version of Bubblet out now. Not much new, but still worth getting if you're a fan of this extremely addictive game for the Palm Pilot.

Yay! Someone told me that Minneapolis sf fan Garth Danielson was featured recently in City Pages, I finally tracked down the article, it's fabulous:

Sometime in the mid-1980s, local artist Garth Danielson decided he'd had enough. Our televised culture of cuteness, he decided, had gone too far. What threw him over the edge, specifically, was a cloying colony of small, blue creatures then inhabiting a show on Saturday mornings and proliferating in figurine form everywhere. We're talking about Smurfs. "They were just kind of icky, and they don't have good grammar," Danielson recollects with something like a leer. At first glance this 45-year-old Minneapolitan might be mistaken for a close relative of Jerry Garcia: the graying beard and shoulder-length hair, the thickening waistline that jiggles when he's amused. Though the Smurfs have long been exiled from television and store shelves--replaced by generations of Rugrats and Teletubbies--Danielson had found his foil, and in a sense, his muse. Garth Danielson is the killer of Smurfs.

I watched It Happened One Night this weekend, for the first time in several years. Had forgotten just how wonderful it is. Fabulous. If ever a movie deserved to be restored, this one is it (or maybe someone has, but my tape of it wasn't so hot). Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert shine in this fantastic Frank Capra film. From 1934. The first film to sweep the Oscars for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Film, and Best Director.

Current issue of Retro magazine has all sorts of cool stuff (as usual). Including pieces on Duke Ellington, 1940s hairstyles, and a comic canine named Schnappsy.

Huh. I missed this previously, but B-52 bombers will be around until at least 2044. Assuming, of course, that people are still around and/or there's still a need for bombers . . . [via teletype]

New version of The Jargon File (a.k.a. New Hacker's Dictionary) is out. Hurrah. Indispensible and just plain fun to read.

More on the Sinead O'Connor child custody saga [via robot wisdom].

Someone I know is taking a trip to Canada, asked me if I wanted them to bring me back anything from Lush. I'd almost forgotten about Lush 'til then. Shame on me. Inspired me to search the web for 'em, sure enough, they've got a website complete with online catalog and online ordering. They've got yummy (quite literally) stuff.

Monday TV:
Sounds like a nifty Due South (5pm CST, TNT) rerun
Cool Ally McBeal (8pm CST, FOX) rerun (from last year's Practice crossover)
Jeri "BorgBabe" Ryan on Late Late Show (CBS)
More details, picks . . .

I think I've probably mentioned the Order of St. Scully the Enigmatic before, it's one of my favorite X-Files websites. Fabulous fun stuff. The March/April newsletter is out now, too. I'm particularly fond of the bit about Sadie, the African gray parrot who's a fan of the show:

The very first X-F phrase she learned was "Trust no one... no one." It only took her about two days to learn to say, "Mulder, you’re nuts!" (Of course, on occasion she changes things around a bit and will just yell out, "Mulder nuts!") I have seen Sadie add the words "you’re nuts" after hearing Scully say Mulder’s name when X-F is on -- proving that she actually pays attention to the show.

I'll admit it, I'm tempted to participate in the Scully Marathon . . . it's for a good cause. And lord knows I can handle watching many good episodes of the X-Files in a row. If anyone feels the urge to sponsor me in this, by all means send me email.

TV Guide cover story on David Duchovny. Some more info on the episode Duchovny wrote and directed:

Titled "The Unnatural," Duchovny’s story is told primarily in flashback and features retired FBI agent Arthur Dales (played by Darren McGavin in the present and Fred Lane in the past). The script revolves around a baseball-loving alien in 1947. Duchovny’s inspiration came after reading a story about Joe Bauman, a New Mexico minor leaguer who set a record in 1954 by hitting 72 home runs but never made it to the majors. Bauman’s team was the Roswell Rockets. "I thought, ‘Roswell, that’s weird,’" recalls Duchovny, alluding to the New Mexico town’s notoriety as the site of a reputed—and disputed—1947 UFO crash. "What if he [the slugger] was an alien?" Duchovny set his story in the old Negro Leagues and made race a subtext. After he wrote it, he says, "I thought if I can write one, I might as well direct it."

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.

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Revised: April 13, 1999 / Laurel Krahn /