Windowseat Weblog
"Slight befuddlement is more or less a continuous condition in life, I find. If we paused at every instance of it, we'd hardly get out of bed in the morning." -Garrison Keillor

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July 18-23, 1999

I natter about a lot of trivial things in this log, but it's trivial stuff that amuses me, that brightens my day and perhaps even brightens yours. And sometimes I delve a little deeper. And there is stuff I care about that seems trivial to others, that's far from trivial for me.

And sometimes there are pieces I come across online that I find perfect and non-trivial. Pieces that I agree with, even. This piece by Jon Carroll is one of those. I'd love to quote a bit or two, especially if that'd increase the odds of anyone reading it. Instead, faithful reader, trust me. Just read it if you haven't already.

* * *

It's like Bubblet on steroids: Hmaki. Well, something like that. So far I still prefer Bubblet, but I've not played Hmaki much . . . yet. And MakiGame looks similar, oddly enough. Games for your Palm Pilot. {Thanks to Felix Strates for these and other links).

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Associated Press covers the PEZ convention.

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Yet another article on the Cult of the Palm Pilot, this one from the Boston Phoenix. Some good stuff in it. The writer is way off about how long it takes to put an article onto one's pilot (it doesn't take long at all once you've got the right tools and done it a couple times).

* * *

I just keep imagining how, say, Munch and Meldrick would investigate this crime. Have I been watching too much TV? Probably.

BALTIMORE (Reuters) -- Three teen-agers were in critical condition on Friday after a wheelchair-bound woman allegedly forced them to swallow her prescription drugs at knifepoint, police said.

The woman was charged with attempted murder.

* * *

A page that collects the many promotional movie screensavers [via AICN].

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Full list of the 1999 primetime Emmy nominations. AP coverage.

I'll comment more later, but I'm delighted to see Everybody Love Raymond recognized (though where's the nomination for Brad Garrett?), happy that The Sopranos did so well (now if I could just see the show, grrr), feeling the usual crabbiness that Homicide didn't receive any nominations really (tho it didn't deserve many this year, it deserved some. Oh well). I feel it's a better than usual list of nominations, but that plenty of good stuff was still overlooked and plenty others were overrated. So what else is new, eh?

* * *

Lord of the Rings casting confirmation: Ian McKellen cast as Gandalf, Ian Holm cast as Bilbo. Very cool.

Official Ian McKellen page and official webpage for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

* * *

Profile of Michael Patrick Jann, director of Drop Dead Gorgeous (the movie formerly known as Dairy Queens):

He grew up in tiny Colonie, in upstate New York, and had what he calls "a great childhood." Unlike many a budding satirist, he never felt violently alienated from the blandness of American suburbia: "What I got was a sense of the absurd. I think there's a crux point in high school where you either get pissed off at your circumstances or you just say to yourself, 'This is ridiculous.' I always knew I would move to New York City as soon as I got the chance -- that when I was 18 I'd go to college there."

* * *

WebValley, a MN-based web design company, faces fraud charges:

The government accuses the company, which both designs and hosts Internet sites, of engaging in a practice known as "cramming."

Company representatives allegedly called potential customers -- including small businesses, charities and foundations -- to offer Web-page services and give them a "no obligation," free 30-day trial period.

Customers never learned they had to cancel the service within 30 days to avoid being charged as much as $24.95 per month on their local phone bill, the FTC said.

The consumer-protection agency said it had received more than 900 consumer complaints. An FTC investigator spoke with 70 businesses that had Web pages hosted on WebValley's site, but almost three-quarters had no idea they had Web pages.

And:

WebValley denies any wrongdoing, but the company has scrapped plans to raise $34.5 million through an initial public offering of its stock.

D'oh.

* * *

Roger Ebert on the MPAA:

He is identifying NC-17 with "triple-X," and throwing the baby out with the bath water. In fact, porno has moved permanently to video and is no longer a factor in theatrical exhibition. And yet the pornographers and the MPAA remain in an unholy, if unintended, alliance to deny mainstream audiences the right to see adult films.

The reason we need an A rating is precisely because there must be a category between R and porno. Canada and England have workable adult categories. Why donít we?

* * *

I want a teal one. Or maybe blue, possibly purple. (I'm talking about the cool new PalmGlove neoprene cases for Palm Pilots . . .).

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My cat does not look like Rupert Everett.

Yes, that's a thought I had as I watched Shakespeare in Love last night. Only my second time seeing the movie (surprising, given how much I like it). Why that thought? Um. One of my cats is named for Christopher "Kit" Marlowe. And Everett plays Marlowe in the movie. Ahh, all becomes clear now, doesn't it? Well, kinda. Actually, my cat could be named for any number of cool Marlowes over the years-- he could be named for Rick and A.J.'s dog, for crying out loud. But, um, anyway.

* * *

July CRYPTO-GRAM is online. Fine stuff from Bruce Schneier and the fine folks at Counterpane. Some good links within.

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Did you know I update my TV Picks page daily? Of course you do. I try to cover any and all noteworthy TV: network, cable, interesting reruns, you name it. With an eye to quirky guest stars and the like. I put a lot of work into it, believe it or not.

I'd love to have some more readers for the page, I think it's really darn useful myself. So spread the word to your TV-lovin' friends. And let me know if there's a show you'd like me to cover that I don't right now. What would make the page better? What would make the page a must for you? What can I do to improve it?

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It's difficult to describe Morphine and Mark Sandman to anyone who hasn't already listened to the music. There are some bits from a fine salon.com Sandman tribute that are a good start:

The band toured constantly; they lived to play, especially Sandman, who infected his audiences with the feeling that there's no better experience than live Morphine. Sandman only used the A and E strings on his bass, and the band's songs are all fairly short. At its best, the music built to a slow boil, with Sandman, sax player Dana Colley and drummer Billy Conway allowing the sound to slowly slip off the stage like steam from a tea kettle. The lyrics are a woozy cocktail of blues and booze, sex and death, angels and devils, stirred and served up by the cat with the so-cool countenance.

Sandman leaves behind recorded music that will always be tough to describe: low-fi, low rock, beat noir, whatever. Morphine could certainly crank up the pace when it wanted to, but what sticks with me most is their slower, more cool-and-tumble rock. When I listen to the sexy "You Look Like Rain" ("I want to know what you got to say/I can tell you taste like the sky/'cause you look like rain/You look like rain"), I hear music from a man who's listened to a lot of blues, read a lot of Kerouac and is much too interested in life to wallow in angst. Then I play it again, and I hear the same thing, only it sounds even better.

An excellent Mark Sandman obit from the Boston Phoenix, with links to their complete coverage of Morphine and Sandman.

* * *

Hacking into Road Rules (or something). Abe sounds pretty mild to me (I've had no time to check out his creds). Amusing.

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Variety will email you the Emmy nominations as soon as they're announced tomorrow morning, if you'd like. If you care.

Good grief . . . NBC may pay $5 million per episode of Friends. I s'pose if they could pay tons for un-funny episodes of Mad About You and pretty lame episodes of ER . . . at least Friends was funny last season (and perhaps will continue to be funny).

Hank Azaria marries Helen Hunt.

* * *

An all-too-brief interview with Robert Guillaume [via tvbarn]:

Q: Usually when people say "How are you?" they don't really want to know. But in your case people do want to know: How are you?

A: I'm recovering. I'm doing my speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy (relearning skills such as bathing and brushing his teeth). I've been doing that since January. It's like one step at a time. Good today, weak tomorrow, stronger the next day. My wife (Donna) is my biggest booster. She won't be satisfied until I'm running alongside the car, pushing a wheelbarrow.

* * *

I may need this. Then again, how does one get into the darn thing? Not easily, I'd guess. Nor out, for that matter. Hey waitaminute, those aren't stirrups, are they?

* * *

Ken Tucker is right on the money re David Letterman, IMHO:

I propose an alternative reality to everything stated above -- namely, that David Letterman is, right now, as funny as he's ever been (ratings be damned); that he is certainly the most important talk-show host of his era and arguably second only to Johnny Carson as the best of all time (more on Steve Allen and Jack Paar in a bit); and that Letterman -- and I'm convinced you can date this from the moment he flicked his contact lenses in the garbage can about 18 months ago and started wearing those little wire-rimmed glasses -- has jettisoned the dulled weapon of irony and is currently engaged in a kind of comedic guerrilla warfare that, if you were to pencil in a goatee on his face to complement those tiny spectacles, would render him the Leon Trotsky of Talk Shows: The Last Late-Night Revolutionary.

And this is just, well, so true:

"Hey, I'm no armchair historian," Scott Dikkers, editor of the Onion, recently told the New Yorker, "but it was Letterman who made the world a sarcastic place. Because of Letterman, everybody I know is sarcastic all the time, in everything they say -- never genuine." This remark gets to the heart of Letterman's legacy and his present-day dilemma. The sarcasm Dikkers speaks of, the pervasive irony that informed every second of Letterman's NBC show, was so influential throughout television and pop culture in general that it has, by now, exhausted itself. And at times, it's seemed to have exhausted Letterman himself.

* * *

Library rediscovers ashes taken from Dante's tomb (thanks, Felix).

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Montel Williams to direct Jon Seda in a made for TV movie. Ugh. [via hlotslinks]

* * *

Watched The End of Violence (IMDB, reel.com) for the first time, finally. I'm a big fan of Wim Wenders work, so it's surprising I've not seen the film until now. A fine work, starring Bill Pullman, Gabriel Byrne, and Andie McDowell. Well, it could've been better. It's one of those rather slow, contemplative works, which will invariably leave a lot of people disappointed.

But I found the premise interesting and enjoyed the characters and walked away from the movie wondering what'll happen to various characters. And thinking a lot about how we live our lives in a certain kind of fear and what it takes to see differently. What if we're all being watched? What if we aren't? Where's the good? What of the cliches of film and of life?

Made for a fine double-bill with Peter Weir's Fearless (IMDB, amazon.com). I've seen Fearless a couple of times before, yet whenever I watch it, it somehow seems new to me. Odd, because I always think some of the images are indeliable. It's the better film of the two, more gripping, and it deals with some of the same issues. Better character moments, you know 'em much better. Jeff Bridges, Rosie Perez, and Isabella Rossellini star. Screenplay is by Rafael Yglesias from his fine novel of the same name.

It's about the aftermath of a plane crash, how the survivors and the survivor's families deal with it all. And it's about the nature of fear, of course. And a bit about guilt and blame and worry, which all intertwine with fear. About realizing that even with every precaution known to man, there's no guarantee that you or the people you care about can't be injured or killed anytime, anywhere. Do you live in fear or fearlessnes? Perhaps one should simply . . . live.

* * *

James Lileks, in Tuesday's bleat, nicely sums up what it's like living in Minnesota (IMHO):

Perfect day; not much to say about it, other than frame it, hang it, and name it July. Warm, a touch of humidity, blue skies, lovely sunset. Weíve had enough of those lately, and just as I predicted everyoneís forgotten the chill of June. It only takes two weeks of stern heat in July to make everyone think itís been perfect since the snow melted. Itís a good thing, this self-deception; we actually grow tired of warm weather in August, and pray for cool September. And we get it, too - which instantly makes us want warm weather again, and then we get that, as well. Looking ahead like this gives me comfort, makes it all seem like a big long scheme, a favorite book I reread even though I know the plot and the ending. But life is never lived like that. We like to think of the year as a house weíve just bought, with 12 rooms to explore; really, itís a bonfire, with every day another stick tossed in the blaze.

Lileks' long-awaited (well, by me, at least) Fargo site is really beautiful. It's a fond look back at the Fargo, ND of days gone by. Pretty pictures and prose.

* * *

TeeVee Awards for Best Hour and Half-Hour Show are out. My fave bit (but then I have a thing for slams against a certain marblemouthed actor):

But good writers can only get you part of the way to the TeeVee award. If Bo Derek or Jon Seda are the ones reciting their lines, a show's writing staff would do just as well jotting down recipes.

* * *

Website for the new series GvsE. I quite liked the premiere episode, will be watching the show again. Campy and quirky, it's not art and it's no Brimstome even, but it's fun.

* * *

New Palm IIIe, plus new Palm cases from 3Com. [thanks to Felix Strates for the link]

* * *

Howard Rosenberg on the JFK Jr. Coverage. Really really good piece. Blessedly, I missed almost all of the coverage as I wasn't watching network TV all weekend, nor reading news sites. Was a fluke I even heard about the whole thing. Sad to hear of anyone's death, but . . . I'm appalled to hear how much coverage of this there's been.

And, of course, I wonder if there'd be this fuss were it Amy Carter . . . But then I'm one of the people who's never understood the fascination with all-things-Kennedy. Don't get me wrong, I liked Bobby and even some things re JFK. And I'm but a youngster who didn't live through those Camelot days.

* * *

Garrison Keillor is Mr. Blue (said in my best movie trailer voice):

Dear Bewildered,

Consider yourself closed. Or closured. Don't try to talk to someone who doesn't care to talk to you. The way to go through the closure process is to go back to the dance and enjoy being with someone who is eager to talk with you, who smiles at the sight of your face. Life is strenuous and happens quickly and we can't always stop and get our scrapbooks in order and hold hands and hum the eternal chord and exchange mantras and coordinate auras or whatever closure involves. I say, forget that phone number. It's busy.

And:

And yet I find myself slipping into cynicism sometimes, an old habit, taking a negative slant. I'd hate to let it keep me from believing in my new life.

How does a person keep a positive attitude? Mantras? Jokes?

Angst Addict

Dear Angst,

Cynicism is waiting out there for all of us every single day, like a horned toad in the flowers, saying, "Your life is meaningless, nobody loves you, and you don't love anybody, gribbet." And you simply tell him to shut up. Jokes are good, as a pure art form. Smiling helps. So does singing "Oklahoma" in the shower, or "Side By Side," or "Let the Rest of the World Go By," or your choice of great dumb happy songs. You do want to keep a little store of negativity on hand, though, for good luck. Like a gargoyle you put on the house to keep evil away.

* * *

::: Sigh ::: An article at salon looks at the anti-depressants Zoloft and Prozac . . . does one rare side effect make people kill?

I've mixed feelings about all this. On the one hand, if there is a side-effect to any drug that causes violent tendencies, that'd be good to know. And lord knows we only want people taking anti-depressants when prescribed by doctors who know what they're doing (and monitor things closely). On the other hand, I really don't like the whole "my anti-depressant made me do it" mentality. And I fear this'll be yet another thing that will make people reluctant to seek treatment. And yet another contributor to the stigma that still surrounds mental illness.

* * *

An excellent piece from Joyce Millman (so what else is new?) on who she'd nominate for Emmys (and who'd win). I pretty much agree with her choices, no big disputes come to mind. Lord I'd love it if these were the actual noms.

* * *

Jon Seda gets a TeeVee Award for Worst Actor for the second year in a row (deservedly):

Now a two-time loser in our annual sweepstakes, Seda and his portrayal of open-mouth-breathing, fucknuckle-of-a-cop Paul Falsone continues last year's descent into the dank depths of hackdom. How tired are we of watching Jon Seda? As good a show as Homicide once was, we're kind of glad it won't be back next year, just so we won't be subjected to the sight of a fumbling Seda burrowing his brow in a vain attempt to understand the complexities of a world beyond his grasp.

No, we're rid of that beady-eyed loser. Now he can go on to bigger and better things -- made-for-TV movies, direct-to-video softcore, first-run syndication fare when he can play a thick-headed cop with a soft spot for hard-living kids or a hard-living cop with a soft-spot for thick-headed kids. Whatever. Just as long as it's a project we won't have to watch.

So far the only award I disagree with is the Worst Show one, which they gave to Ally McBeal. I'll agree with a number of points, that it has gotten repetitive and often formula, but . . . there were still some good episodes this year. And certainly a lot of worse shows out there. I'd have given it an Underachiever award instead of Worst. But that's me. Tastes differ.

* * *

New York Post picks the Best and Worst Cop Shows of all time. It's a strange list, really, but I'm happy to see Homicide ranked fifth (after Hill Street Blues, Dragnet, Hawaii 5-0, and The Fugitive). Their definition of cop show seems to waver a bit.

And of course they lose credibility by saying Andre Braugher's departure led to the cancellation of Homicide. I swear, if I see one more critic say that, I'll scream. [via hlotslinks]

* * *

Some brief previews of fall pilots from Ain't It Cool News/Coaxial.

* * *

An oldie, but goodie. Matthew Christensen emailed me the URL for The Bill Gates Net Worth page.

* * *

In my CD player as of this writing (Sunday night): Living Out Loud soundtrack, Rushmore soundtrack, and the Zero Effect soundtrack. In the CD player in my van: Cry Cry Cry (by Cry Cry Cry).

The three soundtracks are fab, I've been playing them and playing them . . . and I'm still not tired ot them. I think I've talked about them before so I'm not gonna go into it too much today. Cry Cry Cry is a trio made up of Richard Shindell, Dar Williams, and Lucy Kaplansky. Mostly covering other people's songs. GoodStuff, but then I worship Richard Shindell so I'm a touch biased.

* * *

Panasonic to market hardware with ReplayTV tech (thanks to Felix Strates for this link).

* * *

Cool. David Cone pitches a perfect game.

* * *

Job openings at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. (Including the job posting for editor of startribune.com).

* * *

If you like the Muppets at all, you should go see Muppets from Space. Pay no attention to any negative reviews you may have heard or seen, it's a fun movie. The opening sequence alone is worth the price of admission-- shots of all your favorites waking up and starting their day. While "Brick House" plays, no less.

Gonzo's origins revealed. It's not a musical as many of the Muppet films have been, though scenes are set to cool music. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Rizzo, and the rest are in fine form. Methinks I'd missed 'em. Light, cute, fun summer movie. And one for the entire family, natch (I saw it in a theater packed with little kids and their parental units who seemed to like it).

Definitely worth matinee or discount theater prices. Worth full price if you're looking for this kind of fun movie and don't want to wait.

* * *

I got a couple of weeks behind on reading alt.tv.homicide, played catchup a bit this past weekend. Some hilarious stuff, as usual, to be found there. I laughed out loud many times. One could argue there's not much to talk about now that the show has ended, but somehow we still find plenty of things to chat about (be it related to the show or not).

One particularly fun thread started innocently enough. Someone asked if Bayliss killed "Lyle" in the finale . . . they meant to say "Luke" (as in "Luke Ryland"), but the a.t.h. crew ran with it, of course. Next thing we know, Pamela Rose is asking for story submissions explaining how Ryland was killed. Without Bayliss being the killer. Some were seriously good. Others were quite seriously hilarious. Many incorporated "Lyle" and various other newgroup and show injokes, of course. Many poked fun of Falsone and/or Jon Seda. Some resurrected Beau and/or brought Kay back. What more could a girl want?

Note that these messages won't make much sense if you've not seen the Homicide finale. And some contain, um, material best suited for . . . mature audiences. Immature audiences? Um, both. Yeah.

Original Did Bayliss kill Lyle? message (beginning of the thread that started it all).
Pamela Rose speculates on how it really went down
The Challenge
Unhurried1's Stroke of Luck (winner)
TVFan's Luxurious Theory
Mardelle's A&E Theory (winner)
Morpheus' Fugitive Squad Theory
Ashley's Peach Theory and Unhurried1's Peachy Elegy
CageyGrl's Peach Theory (hilarious!)
Unhurried1's Orient Express Theory
Dianne Millen's Ponytail Theory
Rumproast's Ardor Theory
Rumproast's Deliver Us From Evil (no ardor this time)
Martin Wallace's Gee Theory
Kayleigh's Gee Theory
Luna Vuda's Falsone Theory

Hmmm, I may be missing a couple. If you enjoy more than a couple of these, you might be best off just reading the whole thread.

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This page was updated on July 23, 1999 by Laurel Krahn who can be reached via email to laurel@windowseat.org. If you'd like to email or snail mail Laurel cool stuff (for this weblog or not), she'd love that.

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