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June 14-18, 1999

Probably won't be any more updates on Friday, for what it's worth. Working on a couple of projects and plan to be away from ye olde keyboard for a bit, too. As usual, if I bother to add anything here over the weekend, I'll include that in next week's log. Have a good weekend!

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A better than average article about early internet culture [via HNN]. Well, it's an overview for folks who weren't there and as such it's better than many that seem to get facts wrong. With quotes from Vinton Cerf, Cliff Stoll, Katie Hafner, and Peter Neumann.

Why are the newspapers full of reports of hackers defacing government Web sites and nasty viruses wreaking havoc on computers around the world?

In no small part it is a cultural problem that goes back to the '60s origins of personal computing and the Internet. Many of the Internet pioneers were bearded longhairs, academics and engineers whose techno-hippie ethos suffused their new world. They knew each other, were part of a community. Trust was the rule. The early Internet was much more about openness and communication than walls and locks. The faults it was supposed to correct were in the machines, not in us: corrupted packets, not corrupted morals.

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The second part of the Buffy The Vampire season finale will finally air on July 13th.

Just what Spin City doesn't need: another cast member. I already can't keep track of the too large cast, now Heather Locklear is joining the show.

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Nearly Mobile is a site for new Palm users. Has some good intro tips and tricks.

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Another Rocky movie? This time a good one? A girl can hope. And as I read the piece I realized that I wasn't the only geek who really liked Rocky III, never got tired of that "eye of the tiger" bit. The song? Well yeah after the first zillion times.

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Lileks on the evile band vs. binder debate:

Countless calls and letters later, the issue is settled: For reasons known only to them, certain Minnesotans call rubber bands rubber binders. What have I learned from this? Absolutely nothing, other than my ability to ruin a perfectly serious newspaper with infinitesimal inanity remains intact.

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I know I've linked to plenty of his columns in this log, but today I'm just gonna link to Jon Carroll. Good columns every weekday. One of my favorite columnists.

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You can decide whether this is further evidence of Tom Fontana's foot-in-mouth disease:

I've rediscovered Green Acres after all these years. It's like a revelation to me.

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Web Design Purity Test [via]. I'm 14.6% pure. Be afraid.

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The love scene Disney didn't want you to see. From Tron, that is. Be afraid. [via memepool]

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Good triumphs over evil or something: DIVX is dead! See also: Wired story / Cnet story

And MP3 Players approved.

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EW on the unreleased (in the U.S.) Dave Foley movie, The Wrong Guy:

Foley, the movie's star, cowriter, and coexecutive producer, gamely explained its tortured past. "In the middle of production, the distributor, Buena Vista, ceased to exist (because its parent company, Disney, shut it down)," he explained. "And the Canadian backers, Paragon Films, went bankrupt afterward. It's my view that this movie is cursed, so watch it at your own risk. But be warned: Bad things will happen if you view this movie." Sure enough, midway through the screening the film unspooled from the projector, causing Foley to shout out, "You were skeptical before about the curse!"

The uproarious film, about a sycophantic executive (Foley) whose boss is murdered and who becomes convinced the police are out to arrest him (they're not), shares the absurdist and satiric edge of Foley's alma mater, "Kids in the Hall," and provides more belly laughs than the group's one movie, "Brain Candy." Jennifer Tilly stars as Foley's narcoleptic love interest, and "Just Shoot Me"'s Enrico Colantoni has a cameo as a conspiracy theorist: "You know how many people shot JFK?" he asks. "None. His head just did that. I call it the No Gunman Theory."

The film is available on video in Canada.

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You gotta love Lauren Bacall's reaction to her selection as one of America's movie legends, as well as Humphrey Bogart's selection as the top male movie legend:

"I'm shocked and I'm flattered beyond words," she said by telephone from Italy. "My God! I would never have expected it. But I'm not surprised that Bogie's No. 1." She added: "Gee, this makes me feel a hell of a lot more important than I am. I'm going to call my agent right now."

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Anyone who has ever looked closely at logfiles for any website knows how true this is:

Thesis: You people are freaks.

Exhibit A: The top search term for this site for the month of May was "boobs."

Boobs. Not "erudite cultural criticism," not "amusing ruminations on broadcast media," not "Philip Michaels' ass," but "boobs." There were almost four hundred unique searches for the word "boobs" from various portal sites during May that landed bored thirteen-year-old boys on our doorstep, confused and horny. Read aloud, our server logs sound like recess at a junior high school.

I laughed far too much at the rest of the article, too, FWIW. Something re Warren Littlefield, and another something about Lee Horsley. Ah yes.

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Ever glance at your bookmarks and see a title for a page that doesn't ring a single bell? I honestly don't remember bookmarking this and yet it wouldn't surprise me if I haven't already linked to it in my weblog (that'd be just my luck, and I'm too lazy to check and see if I have). But I chuckled over this Star Wars pants page:

"R2-D2 where are your pants?" --Threepio

"I find your lack of pants disturbing." --Darth Vader

"I used to bulls-eye womp-rats in my pants back home." --Luke

"Lock the door." --Luke "And hope they don't have pants." --Han

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Homicide: Life on the Street meets Pinky and The Brain. When I stumbled on this in at 3am, I laughed myself silly. Perhaps it's not as funny when one isn't sleep deprived. But it's still funny:

They're Timmy and the Frank!
Yes Timmy and the Frank!
One's idealistic,
The other's a crank!
They need some therapy
For codependency -
They're Timmy, yes Timmy and the Frank!

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I'm with Lileks and everyone else who doesn't want to see a return to the styles of the '70s (and I use the term "style" loosely, we're talking about the 1970s, after all):

I give up. It's over. I've done my part to keep the '70s revival at bay, but when I read in this very paper that shag rugs are coming back -- well, I surrender. Go ahead. Bring it on. Paint your walls Pinto rust or some other shade of brown, hang copper pots everywhere, put gigantic salad forks on the kitchen walls; get out the fondue pots, the leisure suits, the foot-wide ties with knots the size of prize-winning gourds. But some night when you're walking through your new shag rug en route to the avocado fridge and you step on a piece of Lego your kid dropped six weeks ago, don't come crying to me. That's what shag is: Lego camouflage. That's why it was banned. Have we learned nothing?

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This stylus is nifty. It fits in the slot in a Palm Pilot, has the reset pin, and is also a pen. I like. Thanks to Felix Strates for yet another cool pilot link.

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The list of America's Greatest Screen Legends as voted/presented by the American Film Institute. This salon piece is an excellent look at how this list came to be, and why.

In a way, I do agree that these lists are good because they get people talking about movies. I know a number of people who got interested in seeing some older, classic movies after the AFI 100 greatest american films list came out last year. If this list reminds folks of movies they've not seen in ages or prompts someone to track down a classic they've never seen-- great!

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Court TV to air another Homicide: Life on the Street marathon on July 5th (hey, that's my birthday. Give me a grand present, tape the marathon for me. ;-P).

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If you're in the Twin Cities this weekend, you might want to catch The Princess Bride on the big screen.

A new local group of science fiction fans has been having benefit movie showings each month. Shows are at 11:30pm on Friday and Saturday June 18th and 19th, at the Maplewood Theater (corner of White Bear Ave. and Larpenteur, call (651) 770-7969 for directions/info). Tix are $4.

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I hadn't visited Alien Ice Picktures in a while, a recent mention at memepool sent me back. They've added a couple of adventures that feature Star Wars action figures. It's fun, well if you're entertained by pictures of Mulder and Scully action figures sharing wacky adventures. Yes, I am.

I love this "outtake" from The Phantom Menace:

As Qui-Gon joins the fray, the Jedis battle the dark Lord in what should have been a silent Duel of the Fates.

[sounds of lightsabers clashing]

Suddenly Qui-Gon interrupts, "Say, Darth..."

"Where did you get that great outfit? Obi-Wan and I were just talking about how sick we are of wearing these drab colors."

"Oh, you like it? I admit, I am a bit of a clothes horse. I spend hours at the mall, which is how I got my nickname. I'd be happy to give you two some fashion tips!"

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Lurker's Guide entry for Crusade has the usual interesting bits from JMS about this new Babylon 5 series. Supposedly the first episode is the weakest of the lot, so I'll be sticking with it for at least a few more (who am I kidding? I'll probably watch 'em all).

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Excellent. Teaser trailer for the new Bond movie has been posted to the official website [via dandot].

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A good interview with Tom Fontana, executive producer of Homicide: Life on the Street and Oz:

I genuinely believe that if you're going to depict violence on television it should be as horrific as violence really is. The difference between violence on our show and violence on, say, Nash Bridges is that the violence on Nash Bridges is pretend violence. When and if we ever did violence on Homicide, or when we do violence on Oz, it is realistic. To let an audience think that violence is palatable is the great sin that television writers make. Because it's easy to do. It's easy to put a gun in an episode to help move the story along, goose it up a little. I don't think a gun was fired on Homicide until the fourth year, and even then I resisted it. Homicide was always about the aftermath of violence, about the effect of violence on the victims' families, the criminal and the detectives who have to investigate the violence. TV violence is offensive. It is wrong-headed. I don't believe in censorship. I don't believe that some arbiter should be given the right or the power to be able to say 'Do this, don't do this.' But I do believe writers need to become more responsible about how they use it."

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David Brin on the clichés of The Phantom Menace (contains spoilers):

I confess there was one really original thing in "The Phantom Menace," something I have truly never seen before. I could not believe my eyes when I read the yellow prologue letters flowing across the screen at the very beginning of the film: A sci-fi action movie whose premise is based on taxation of trade routes and negotiations over tariff treaties? Now that ... (yawn) ... is something ... I've ... never ... (snore) ...

More good stuff:

Even simpleminded heroes can be excused. For all the faults of every other lying Jedi, Luke Skywalker is a true hero throughout episodes IV-VI -- a good dude who remembers his friends and keeps his common touch. A demigod who never lies or forgets a promise. He's not very bright -- and can't act -- but he's a genuine good guy, all the way. And he gets a lot done, whenever he forgets Yoda's advice and lets himself get a little mad.

Despite all the clichés, plot inconsistencies and other criticisms I've levelled in this article, I am not suggesting that movie "sci-fi" tales need the same level of logic and character and intricacy you find in first rate science fiction. That would be asking way too much. Anyway, there's a place in this world for eye candy.

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David Brin on "Star Wars despots and Star Trek populists" Brin talks of Joseph Campbell, myth, the difference between sf and sci-fi, differences between Star Trek and Star Wars, and plenty of other stuff. Food for thought (and I'm too tired as I write this to really comment further on any of it).

Remember the final scene in "Return of the Jedi," when Luke gazes into a fire to see Obi-Wan, Yoda and Vader, smiling in the flames? I found myself hoping it was Jedi Hell, for the amount of pain those three unleashed on their galaxy, and for all the damned lies they told. But that's me. I'm a rebel against Homer and Achilles and that whole tradition. At heart, some of you are, too.

This isn't just a one-time distinction. It marks the main boundary between real, literate, humanistic science fiction -- or speculative fiction -- and most of the movie "sci-fi" you see nowadays.

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Smoking on Television: the last taboo?

Of course the article mentions Homicide:

When the show started, he [Tom Fontana] said, he and fellow executive producer Barry Levinson said to the actors, "If you smoke in real life, you can smoke on the show." As it turned out, he said, everyone in the cast but Yaphet Kotto was a smoker.

It didn't take long for the network to notice, he said. "We had scenes that were just clouds of smoke. . .and the network called and said, `You can't have all these people smoking and not say how bad it is.' "

Shortly afterward, he said, cast members Kyle Secor and Melissa Leo decided to quit smoking, and one of the show's writers, James Yoshimura, who was then "making one of his many failed attempts" to kick the habit, proposed the story that became the show's eighth episode, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," in which Secor and Leo's characters quit smoking and the entire squad deals with the ramifications.

(For the record, if anyone cares, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" is one of my favorite episodes of Homicide, it airs next week on Court TV).

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Outstanding piece from the Vidiots about Columbine, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the insanity plaguing our country since Columbine:

We've become a nation where the solution to violence by children is the suppression of violent images, no matter the context. A nation where a network kills appropriate, even socially responsible, programming because of the potential bad press that might come from a crank who's never seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer declaring that the WB is somehow culpable in the tide of youth violence because the show does contain some violence.

Did anyone consider that maybe, just maybe, the answer to this problem is not the suppression of popular culture? Perhaps we should address the fact that some people are so vacant of morality and personal responsibility that images projected on a screen could potentially push them over the edge.

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Claudia Christian in Lord of the Rings movies?

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Soundwaves tribute to DeForest Kelley.

Found that link at Dark Horizons which has topnotch movie news, rumors, etc.

Harry Knowles on the passing of DeForest Kelley:

Kelley taught me through his arguments on Star Trek, that being human was the most precious thing we have. The ability to feel, to love, to yearn, to cheer... these abilities he held and cherished. Not only that, but he wanted to teach those loves to Spock. He yearned for him to understand. And in his attempt... He taught me.

[ . . . ]

DeForest Kelley is dead, but as long as I'm alive he's right there... He's my Jiminy Cricket... my conscience. The one that argues right and wrong with me. He's not the only one, but he's the most convincing.

Glen Oliver reports the news at AICN.

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Jon Carroll writes about eBay and the relative values of stuff:

So it's a buyer's market and a seller's market. Look around you. The value you place on the objects around you is not the same as the value they carry in their atoms. You cannot hear the songs they are singing, but someone can. If your home is not the right home, the right home exists.

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Sign language alphabet reference for Palm OS.

Loderunner for your Palm Pilot. Oh. My. God. And I thought it was cool enough having Infocom and solitaire games I could play any time, any where . . .

What's On displays TV guide like grids on your Palm Pilot. Download tv listings or input your fave shows . . .

Thanks to Felix Strates for sending me these fab Palm links.

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So have you heard the Bree Sharp song "David Duchovny" yet? Seems ripe to be overplayed on the radio (thankfully, I rarely listen to radio-- not that the song isn't cute, but . . .). Seen the video? Looks hilarious from what little snippets I've seen.

description of the video (w/ song lyrics, of course).

I'm hesitant to link to a site called "David Duchovny Page of Lust," but they seem to have the only screen captures from the video (quality is fairly poor and the page is geocities and takes a while to load, FYI).

Trauma Records webpages for Bree Sharp have some soundbites from the song, of course.

All of the above Duchovny links via Squirrelsnest.

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Kevin Mitnick was to be sentenced today, but the hearing has been postponed (continued, whatever):

In an unexpected development in the case, Kevin Mitnick's sentencing hearing has been continued until July 12. The hearing was originally set for June 14 at 1:30, but this week the judge accepted a motion by the defense to continue the hearing to allow more time for preparation, including verifying claims of damages recently released by the prosecution.

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This Lithuanian Homicide: Life on the Street webpage is gorgeous.

I always loved it when Frank (Andre Braugher) and Beau (Daniel Baldwin) would partner up on Homicide, here's a fan page that has pix and video captures of some of those fine moments.

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If you're a Star Trek fan, you've probably heard or seen the number 47 more than non-Trek fans have.

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Dana's Ally McBeal webpage has cool Ally stuff, of course. It's worth signing up for Dana's Ally McBeal newsletter, she sends out weekly (or thereabouts) emails which list upcoming episodes, upcoming talk show appearances by castmembers, URLs for articles relating to the show, etc. Good stuff.

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Thumb Wars airs again Monday, June 14th at 7:30pm CST on UPN. Watch it, tape it, love it. Or something.

And yeah, the website is pretty cool.

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James Lileks' reaction to the Deep Space Nine finale. Contains spoilers. For geeks only. You know who you are-- folks like me (and Lileks) who maybe shed a tear or two at the finale. I agree with Lileks, pretty much, though I was disappointed in bits of it, natch. And I don't think Romulans are "prissy technocrats," but that's neither here nor there.

Boy am I gonna miss the show.

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If you've never seen the first season of Homicide: Life on the Street, now's your chance. Well, if you get Court TV. First season episodes air this week and next week (there are only 9 episodes in the first season, 4 in the second), with the pilot episode airing on Monday night. Show airs at 8pm CST and again at 11pm CST weeknights on Court TV. Stars Ned Beatty, Jon Polito, Yaphet Kotto, Clark Johnson, Melissa Leo, Daniel Baldwin, Richard Belzer, Andre Braugher, and Kyle Secor.

It's arguably the best drama to ever air on TV. And has, IMHO, the best pilot episode of any series. First two seasons (thirteen episodes total) are sublime. Third season is great, goes downhill from there (but still is miles ahead of the competition through fourth season and arguably beyond that).

Have I mentioned that the pilot episode is also hilarious, at times? Many laugh-out-loud moments.

Links to all things Homicide, as always, at Homicide: Links on the Sites.

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DeForest Kelley has died. He acted in a lot of westerns and guest starred in a ton of western TV series, but will always be best known for playing Dr. McCoy (my favorite character) on Star Trek.

I never met Kelley, but from all accounts he was a true southern gentleman, a kind soul, the nicest of anyone to ever work on anything Star Trek. He retired years ago and is survived by Carolyn Kelley, his wife of 55 years.

Associated Press Obituary, eonline piece, DeForest Kelley photo gallery, IMDB entry, official fan site, another fan site.

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This page was updated on June 18, 1999 by Laurel Krahn who can be reached via email to If you'd like to email or snail mail Laurel cool stuff (for this weblog or not), she'd love that. Email her to get her postal address.

Copyright ©1999 Laurel Krahn unless otherwise noted. May not be redistributed without permission.