Week of March 5, 2001
An unusual paralyzing condition has stricken actor David Prowse,
first leaving one of his arms paralyzed and now his back, robbing him of
his ability to walk. Prowse, who portrayed Darth Vader (and in recent
years has complained about the fact that James Earl Jones voiced the
character) in the original Star
Wars trilogy, has made numerous other larger-than-life
appearances (including a brief guest shot as the legendary Minotaur in
a 1972 episode of
Doctor Who), and has lately been a frequent
guest on the convention circuit. A spokesman for Mr. Prowse has said
that doctors have ruled out a stroke as the cause of his condition, but
still have yet to identifty what exactly has happened.
Source: Sci-Fi Wire
No escape for space station occupants?
Not quite, but budget cutbacks have forced NASA planners to nix a
study to create a new escape vehicle to be permanently parked at the
new international space station. Presently, the use of Russia's reliable
Soyuz capsule as an escape craft limits the station's population to three
astronauts at a time. The same cutbacks, said to have been forced on
NASA by the Bush administration, have halted development on a program to
develop the next generation of reusable spacecraft, a new vehicle which
would have replaced the aging fleet of U.S. space shuttles. Designs
and engineering tests for that new vehicle have proven problematic.
Source: Associated Press
Honor thy anthology.
We've had it on our "coming soon" page as a
March release for ages, but it looks like David Weber's latest
anthology of Honor Harrington short stories is already available.
Featuring stories by Weber and a contribution by Eric Flint, Changer
Of Worlds delves into the backstories of characters, events, and
situations in the Honor Harrington universe - at least enough to tide
Honor fans over until Weber writes another full-length novel. (Note to
Mr. Weber: shouldn't we put you together with J. Michael Straczynski to
adapt this property for TV so we can get some decent SF back on the
air? As they say in the intro to The Six Million Dollar Man,
"We have the technology."
Honor Harrington: Changer Of Worlds
Gathering DVD to feature TNT edition only.
Following up on an item in last week's
News@theLogBook.com, J. Michael Straczynski has since clarified
that the version of The
Gathering, the 1993 Babylon
5 pilot movie which preceeded the first season of the series by
almost a year, will be the special re-edited, re-scored edition
as shown by TNT in 1998, not the original 1993 version as
shown in syndication. The 1993 version of the movie is still
available on VHS, however, for those who still wish to see the pilot
as it originally aired.
Source: J. Michael Straczynski
Finn album to get no exposure in the U.S.?
Neil Finn, formerly of Split Enz
and Crowded House, is following
up his brilliant solo debut with
One Nil, a new collection due on April 9th. theLogBook.com is
making One Nil available through our mates at Amazon.co.uk, and
there's a reason for that - apparently no one's stepped up to the
plate to release it in North America. In other Finn-related news,
Pearl Jam guitarist Eddie Vedder is confirmed as a member of
Neil's backing band for an upcoming tour in the south Pacific; Vedder
is a long-time fan of all things Finn, dating back to Split Enz.
Vedder doesn't play on the album, but some of Neil's guest stars
on One Nil include Mitchell Froom, Midnight Oil's Jim Moginie,
and Wendy and Lisa (of Prince and the Revolution fame).
Neil Finn - One Nil
Another swipe at real-time Star Wars strategy.
LucasArts has licensed Ensemble Studios, the creators of the popular Age
Of Empires real-time strategy franchise, to create a new Star Wars strategy game called
Star Wars: Battleground. Battleground may even be built on the
same game play engine as Age Of Empires. Its initial release date
has been pegged as "this fall," though release dates in the PC
and video game markets are notorious for slipping. The most recent attempt
at a Star Wars RTS, Force Commander, arrived to mixed
reviews, but theLogBook.com's Jeff Godemann didn't think it was that bad -
check out his Pixel Fiction review.
Source: Sci-Fi Wire
Killer DVD of the week.
I've just barely escaped another February sweeps with my marbles
intact, but I can't always account for the ones which are
intact. Television is a maddening
business, especially on the news end of things, and there's not
enough room on this web site for me to tell you every sordid or
amusing anecdote. But sometimes it does get interesting, and
sometimes I learn stuff that never makes it to air - off-the-record
information that can keep you awake at night, if you know what
I mean. In the spirit of that kind of knowledge, I offer you
this week's Killer DVD, The Insider. It's very
long, it's based heavily on a true story, and its merits are
still being debated today by those real-life personalities who
were portrayed in the film. It concerns explosive revelations
about the tobacco industry, which were due to be exposed by CBS'
60 Minutes, only to be quashed due to pressure from the tobacco
industry itself. It's an excellent flick, and one I recommend
for those who think that the news - especially TV news - is able
to sweep all opposition away by quoting the First Amendment.
Believe me, it doesn't work that way.
Thoughts On Various Things Of Little Or No Importance.
It's the end of February, and more importantly, the end of February sweeps.
Nielsen sweeps months are those four hallowed times of the year when the
networks claim to be dishing out their very best to you, the viewer, only
for you to turn the idiot box on and discover that their very best is less
entertaining than that painful, protracted bowel movement that you had a
few days ago after you ate Uncle Fred's infamous lethally-spicy chili dogs.
It's time once again for me to gather my thoughts, roll them up into a
tight, solid wad of frustration, and chuck that wad at the nearest person
who pisses me off. Let's go down the list, shall we?
eBay. I'm eagerly awaiting the death of this service. I really
am. In January and early February, I had to auction off a huge chunk of
my Doctor Who book collection out of financial necessity. I hated doing
this. I hadn't even gotten around to reading approximately half of them.
(Some of the ones I had read were no great loss, though.) But it was a
nice, damn near complete collection, y'know? In my terms and policies for
my auctions, I clearly stated - since I knew it was about to be a sweeps
month, replete with 12+ hour days - that it might be at least two to three
weeks before anyone got their loot.
Most people, apparently, didn't read this bit.
I'm grateful for the handful of people who did pick up the hint,
but the vast majority who didn't catch that part frustrated me
enough to declare to my wife recently, "I've fucking had with
these eBay idiots. I'm not selling anything else there. I'm not buying
anything else there. I'm not giving them any more of my money. And
neither are you."
With that in mind, keep an eye on theLogBook.com's Elf Zone in the coming weeks, where I will be
posting my remaining items as first-come, first-serve direct sales
goodies. No eBay bullshit. And, just so you know, it might still take
a week or two for your stuff to reach you.
At the heart of my frustration is that many eBay customers have done
e-commerce before, with Amazon or any number of other large outfits,
and they expect instant gratification. They don't understand
that eBay is not the party with the goods, they're just a forum. (Not
that eBay doesn't have its own myriad problems, but we'll get to that
some other time.) The buyers don't
understand that the merchandise is having to be shipped by another
average Joe not unlike they themselves, not someone with a warehouse and
overnight staff to pack boxes.
To hell with 'em. I'm done with eBay, and with the idiots who
seem to be unable to avail themselves of the nearest clue.
Grammys. I'm sorry, but I thought the whole Eminem "I
didn't know I sang a duet with someone who was gay!" thing was
outlandishly funny. I guess he doesn't creep very far from his
misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic shell. Our boy Marhsall - 'e
doesn't get out much, does 'e?
I beg your pardon. Somewhat more annoying is the scandal over
ex-President Clinton's spree of pardons on his last day in office. I
don't doubt that there's meat to the allegations, but I also feel that
the members of Congress hounding the former chief exec about these
pardons are just as guilty of abuse of executive power as Clinton is
himself. Now that he's not holding the big office anymore,
these jackasses are simply trying to catch up with him and give him the
hell that they regret not being able to give him in the Lewinsky or
Whitewater cases. Some Republican Congresscritters need to join Mr.
Clinton in the "no longer in office" category, as far as I'm
Submarine sandwich. With the recent episode involving a U.S.
Navy sub and a Japanese fishing boat, and the subsequent revelations
of civilian visitors distracting the sub's crew from doing their jobs,
one starts to wonder who was smoking what. Our military - and this
goes for any other country's military, for that matter - is not an
amusement park or an entertainment attraction. Yes, admittedly, a
certain amount of public relations and visibility much be maintained
to convince the general populace that a strong military is a good
thing to have around, as well as for recruiting purposes, but our
military is not some kind of adventure holiday for those bored with
white-water rafting and mountain climbing. Not even in peace time.
The world is close enough to teetering on the edge of chaos as it is
without "special guest stars" screwing things up. Let our
men and women in uniform do their jobs. God knows, they may have to
do those jobs sooner than we think.
That's really all of my venting for now, but who knows? There may
be more to come in the future. I'm always taking aim at something
with my not inconsiderable wrath, and opening fire. And if you have
any opinions to the contrary, or would like to take the floor and
fire away at some overblown institution yourself, whether serious or
silly, we've always got room for guest editorials. In fact, we have
one coming up next week, a round-up of the latest flavor-of-the-year
in network programming, reality TV (if, indeed, you can call it
Before you write me off as a bitter, twisted little man, I'll
remind fans of fine music everywhere that Neil Finn and Jeff Lynne
are at least conspiring to make April a good month. That's the month
that Finn's One Nil and Lynne's new ELO album Zoom will
be hitting record store shelves. Finn and Lynne? In the same
month? If Alan Parsons pops up with a new release with an April
street date, even better. It's about time we had some good tunes
Thanks for watching, and remember to turn the lights out as you
go. I need to catch up on a month's worth of missed sleep.