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May 3-7, 1999

Oh for crying out loud. Last week NBC decided not to air an episode of Homicide because it dealt with a hostage situation and they thought it might be too much in light of the Littleton tragedy. So they aired a different new episode.

The episode that didn't air last week was supposed to air next week. Tonight's episode as scheduled all along involved Detectives Ballard and Sheppard investigating the death of a girl involved with a gang.

But now NBC isn't going to air that episode tonight (again, because of the Littleton tragedy, they say) and instead they're going to air the Ron Eldard hostage situation episode that they bumped from last week. Huh?

Can't follow me or want more info? Try this article.

Reminder: If you're in Boston today/tonight and a fan of Homicide, get thee to the Coolidge Corner Theater where you can watch tonight's episode [actually not tonight's after all] of Homicide and then a panel discussion with Anya Epstein, Tom Fontana, Irene Burns, Michael Michele, Toni Lewis, and Callie Thorne.

Interesting (IMHO) results to the USA Today poll on which shows to keep or drop. And an article about the results:

But fans have their favorites, too, shows they feel must be saved. On that score, the verdict goes to NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street, CBS' Early Edition and NBC's NewsRadio.

Friday TV:
New episodes of Providence (7pm CST, NBC), Millennium (8pm CST, FOX), and Homicide (9pm CST, NBC).
Premiere of AMC's new series Paramour (9pm, 1:30am, AMC)
Dylan McDermott (TV's Bobby Donnell) and Keri Russell (TV's Felicity) are guests on The Tonight Show (NBC, check local listings). More details, picks . . .

Saw Pushing Tin, a movie directed by Mike Newell, with stars John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie. Vicki Lewis (of Newsradio) has a supporting role. I liked it. But I can understand why it's not getting rave reviews or a ton of box office-- it's really a character study which is relatively low (by modern movie standards) on plot. Fascinating look into the world of air traffic controllers, would be interesting to know how "accurate" it is. The ending was a bit hokey and I would've liked to have known the characters even better than I already did. Much of my affection for it probably has to do with the fact that I really like the stars themselves, too.

Anyway, if you like any or all of the stars, it's worth seeing. And if any of what I said above intrigues you. Probably not, for most, worth full movie price-- best to see it at a late run theater (may get there relatively soon, what with The Mummy and Star Wars coming out soon) or at a bargain price. Or you could wait for video/cable. But then I find very few movies worth full-price.

Went and saw the Twins vs. Yankees on Thursday afternoon. More importantly-- Brad Radke vs. David Cone. Great game. Went ten innings. With a controversial play (don't get me started).

Thursday TV:
New Friends, Will & Grace, ER (NBC)
Brendan Fraser, Helen Thomas, Bonnie Raitt on Late Show w/ David Letterman (10:35pm CST, CBS)
Julianne Moore, Reese Witherspoon, and Scott Dikkers (of The Onion) on a new Late Night w/ Conan O'Brian (NBC late night)
More details, picks . . .

Cool. I'm pretty sure I linked to the announcement re a Daffy Duck stamp, but Felix sent me a link to a nice picture/description of it. Fab. Gotta get to the post office and stock up one of these days.

Kevin Poulsen on Columbine/Littleton aftermath:

The backlash is hauntingly familiar. Vilifying nerds may be new, but the demonization of a minority by the mainstream is an ancient response to difficult problems.

As netizens, we are a minority ourselves, and we won't be spared. In a recent Gallup poll, 82 percent of those surveyed said the Internet deserved at least some of the blame for the Littleton shootings. Governmental authority figures are aching to respond.

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told CBS that it was time to impose "reasonable restrictions ... on how people interact on the Internet" -- a solution every bit as sensible as banning black clothing.

Yet another excellent Jon Carroll column, this one re the Columbine shootings:

IT IS HUMAN nature to seek confirmation. Much of the aftermath of the shootings at Littleton has consisted of people saying, in essence, "This is the fault of that bad thing that I already warned you about."

There was much talk about how "transforming" the event was, about how it opened "a new chapter," but I personally did not witness any transformation. I saw politicians and academics merely repackaging their old arguments to fit the new facts.

That's just the beginning, Carroll has some interesting theories worth reading.

Dare I mention BradLands again? It's a fab site. I'll continue to occasionally link to other weblogs because I know they're of interest to the folks reading this; surely they're of interest to me. And there's the smug piece re weblogs that most of you may have seen already, too.

Brad's Why I Weblog is fabulous, IMHO. I agree:

Sure, two or four or more of us will point to the same "big story" from time to time, or even to the same "small story." That's OK. I have a different set of readers than Laurel does, and she attracts a different crowd than Cam, and Jorn has yet another audience. There's some overlap, but there's a whole lot of difference too, because we're different people.

Gonna see the Twins play the Yankees tonight (Tuesday) . . . can you say mismatch? Will be fun. What do you know, it was fun and the Twins actually won. Cool.

I also tried out It's a Hit, a baseball scorecard program for the Palm Pilot. Like it lots (though I would've been better off if I'd read the tutorial or even just tried the program before the game started-- still it's fairly intuitive and I managed to figure it out within an inning's time).

Are you a sucker for catalogs? I guess I am. Enjoyed this piece that starts:

I know why I am inundated with my very own avalanche of catalogs every day. I make the mistake of actually looking at them. I imagine the yard with artichoke lanterns, and a bamboo moon gate. I consider carefully whether my summer day hikes require a sixteen piece pioneer cookware set.

And contains an interesting idea for catalog-a-holics:

Hereís a suggestion from Llamagraphics, for converting catalogs from seductive invitations to spend money into catalysts for realizing your dreams. Next time your favorite catalog arrives, instead of reaching for your Visa card, get out the rubber cement and a notebook. Cut out any picture, or part of a picture that appeals to you. Just cut out the shape with scissors. Donít keep the prices or the descriptions, but home in on that golden retriever in the L.L. Bean catalog if it reminds you of your favorite animal companion. Cut out that Peace Rose, or grab snippets of colors that look good together. Paste them into your book, willynilly. Overlap the edges, fill the page from corner to corner in a collage of desire. You can add text if it evokes the right spirit.

Thanks to Felix Strates for sending me the link via ICQ.

Lisa Schwarzbaum on pop culture rights:

By which I mean that those who dislike "The Water Boy" are not in need of lightening up. They're just desirous of different comedy. And a conversation about differing styles of humor, or whether Calista Flockhart is too thin, or what it means when old male actors are paired with much younger female actors, or why it is or isn't important to be first in line to see "The Phantom Menace" isn't a matter of needing a life. It's a matter of critical judgment, personal taste, and individual experience brought to bear on topics that, while not a whit as enormous as miserable refugees in Macedonia or murdering teens in Colorado, are nevertheless the ribbons and trimmings of our daily lives. So -- to quote another eight percent of e-mailers -- Deal With It.

I, myself, incidentally, happen to think it's nuts to camp out for a ticket to ANYTHING. But I'll defend to the death the right of someone who owns a life very different from mine, who is willing to give it up for Yoda, and who is willing to take the time to explain why. In writing.

Almost forgot to mention that a music video for one of John Williams' pieces from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace will premiere today (May 3rd) on MTV during their show that starts at 2:30pm CST.

I may go to RootFest, figure I'd mention it here in case other locals are interested. Or non-locals wanna trek to Minneapolis in May (weather's gorgeous here this time of year . . . ). If anyone who reads my log goes, I'd be happy to hook up for coffee or something sometime. I'd almost forgotten about this new con (bad on me).

Dave Barry on Star Wars:

As humans, we relate to this timeless story because we all go through the same kind of moral struggle in our own lives. We have a Force within us, and sometimes we use it for Good, as when we decide to have a salad instead of a cheeseburger and fries; but sometimes we turn toward the Dark Side, as when we load up our salad with a fatty ranch dressing, or we take all the remaining artichoke segments from the salad bar, leaving none for the next person in line (Nick Nolte).

Webcasts of the Lines (you know the ones I mean, don't you?) [via /.]

George Lucas on Skywalker Ranch and urges to create and/or shape things:

Well it's a nice, contemplative place to work. It's a little world that I've created not that much differently than putting together a LEGO set. I can't help but create things. Part of the sensation of creativity for me is to create something that's new, that's never been seen before and is thus surprising, like an aesthetic that is pleasing, calming, interesting and somehow emotionally pleasing or exciting.

There's a lot of people who come into a room, and if things are out of place, they want to put them back in place. Or if the color is wrong, they just ache to make the color right.

I don't know whether the impulse is a nurturing one or whether it's just simply trying to control an environment. One could go on forever giving various psychoanalytical explanations of this particular need. I just know I appreciate things that are beautiful and get very annoyed when something's not beautiful. Then, I want to fix it.

I love Star Wars, but I doubt I'll take my love as far as changing my name or getting a tattoo [via obscure store].

Saw Entrapment over the weekend. 'Twas okay. Not a great movie, nothing really new to see here. I found the chemistry lacking, sad to say. Some nifty gadgets in the scenes about stealing stuff. Sean Connery, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Ving Rames look Cool, of course. Not worth the full ticket price at most theaters, perhaps worth bargain price or surely the price of video rental. Bet it looks better on big screen, natch.

In case you're a Homicide fan who's wondering what happened to the episode many people plugged (myself included) that was supposed to feature Ron Eldard as a father holding his family hostage . . . well, the show was preempted as some folks at NBC felt it was too close to the Littleton tragedy (doesn't sound at all similar to me, but what do I know?). It's the third show that I know of to be pulled/postponed (others were episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Promised Land.

Here's a really good article about the situations, includes this quote from Tom Fontana re the Homicide decision:

"I find it kind of ironic that the drama shows are being asked to delay episodes, whereas the newsmagazines are exploiting the story," Fontana says. "Every newsmagazine is doing another angle on the story, and as the drama guy, you feel a little bit like, why is it my fault that I did a drama four months ago that happens to be airing next week, and these people consciously are taking the story and doing it to get ratings?"

TNT's Crusade webpage is up. You know, the Babylon 5 spin-off series that they cancelled before it ever aired? 13 episodes have been filmed and will start airing on TNT in June.

I'm not ashamed to admit it, I went to Toys 'R' Us just after midnight on May 3rd to check out the new Star Wars toys. I wasn't gonna buy anything, honest I wasn't. But I couldn't resist a couple posters, a pencil box, a Darth Maul lightsaber candy thing (er . . . ) and one of the tiny lego sets. I'll admit the big lightsabers were tempting, but they were expensive. I didn't ask if they had the kiddie Darth Maul bicycle in an adult size . . . Most annoying thing? Three different camera crews were there. I spent most of my shopping time trying to avoid the camerafolk. Oh, I bought a Harem Xena action figure that was on sale for $2, too. She can kick Darth Maul's butt any day, yeah that's the ticket.

Huh. Cool, I think. Benjamin Bratt is leaving Law & Order, he'll be replaced by Jesse L. Martin (recently seen in a guest role on The X-Files, best known as "Dr. Greg Butters" on Ally McBeal). I'd grown used to Bratt as Rey, but I really like Martin so suspect this'll be a cool change.

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