July 26, 2001
NOW, HERE'S A SCARY IMAGE: Above, you see a gentleman named Buck Steele and, yes, that's his real name. I know it
sounds like a great TV western star of the fifties but Buck Steele is, in fact, 42 years old and he manages an AutoZone parts store in Pahrump,
Nevada. This year, perhaps from too many months sniffing all those crankcase oil fumes, he was seized by an inexplicable urge...to fashion a
Groo costume and to don it for the Masquerade Competition at the Comic-Con International in San Diego. Which, as you can see for yourself, is
just what he did. For his aberrant efforts, he won a $200 prize — which should serve to all as proof positive that there's money to be
made by debasing yourself and performing aberrant actions in public. This goes a long way to explaining the American political system.
MY PAL Jerry Beck is forever filling his Cartoon Research website
with vital nuggets of animation info. In case you haven't checked in today, I'll save you a click and mention this one: A year or three
ago, the folks over at Columbia/TriStar International Television decided to syndicate a package of old Columbia and UPA cartoons, including those of
The Fox and the Crow and the early appearances of Mr. Magoo. They hauled long-untouched negatives out of their vaults, struck off
beautiful new prints, transferred them to video and packaged them into 65 half-hours they call Totally Tuned-In. The series is being
sold around the world but has yet to land an American berth. I'm sure it will soon and then you'll get to see these lost treasures, many of
which are quite wonderful. In the meantime, you'll have to settle for this: The website for a Singapore-based kids' network is offering
up online clips from the shows it airs, which includes Totally Tuned-In. Here's the link and if you go there right now, you may be able to catch a minute or
two from one of the Fox & Crow cartoons. But stop by Jerry's site first.
THE LONGEST-RUNNING MUSICAL in the world is the off-Broadway New York production of The Fantasticks, which opened on May
3, 1960. That's right: May 3, 1960. Every few years, it posts a closing notice, thereby arousing enough interest and business that they
rescind the end date and keep it going. Well, they're now saying it will close on August 12. We'll believe it when it happens.
STEVE LAWRENCE and Eydie Gorme have set up their very own website over at www.steveandeydie.com. You can order a few of their CDs there (including a new issue of Golden
Rainbow, a sixties' Broadway musical that fell into the "famous flop" category) but the real reason to visit is the gallery of vintage
photos. You forget how long they've been around and how they've worked with everyone. I'm predicting here and now that, after the current
resurgence of interest in The Rat Pack dies down, we'll be seeing Steve and Eydie biopics and impersonators.
I HAVE NOW received about 12 e-mails which had attachments bearing the W32.Sircam.Worm@mm virus. The way this sucker works
is that, if your system becomes infected, it picks a random file from your hard disk and e-mails an infected version of it to everyone in your
address book. It comes in a message that says something innocuous like, "I send you this file in order to have your advice," or the Spanish
equivalent. Since it comes from you, your friends may think it's okay to open but if they do, their system becomes infected with it and the
plague continues to spread. In the meantime, the worm is doing assorted other nasty things to your system. So far, it only seems to be
infecting Windows systems that are not running Windows NT or Windows 2000...but you should be on guard anyway. You should also...
- Be suspicious of any attached file, even if it comes from someone you know well. Be especially wary if the message to which it is
attached says something bland like, "Here is the file you requested" or "I hope you like this file."
- When you send someone a file, attach it to a short e-mail message of the kind that could not be generated by a stranger who writes
virus programs. In other words, say something personal in your text so that the recipient will know that you intentionally sent the e-mail.
- Spring for a good virus checking program. I use McAfee VirusScan, which seems
to do the trick. It's made for folks who have permanent on-line connections via networks or cable modems, and it will access the McAfee site
once a day to update itself, if necessary.
SEVERAL OF YOU have written to ask that I keep pointing you towards non-partisan articles about the Florida recount. They
are few and far between, for most who write about it seem to be breathlessly spinning to say that their guy deserves to be in the White House, damn
all laws and precedents. But you occasionally come across an article that looks at the bigger picture...like this one by Renata Adler in The New
I AGREE WITH almost every word of Richard Cohen's column about the Gary Condit Affair. Here's a link, just in case you want to see what I agree with.
INTERESTING ARTICLE by Penn Jillette (of "...and Teller") over on their website, www.sincity.com. Both halves of the duo post diary-type entries that are well worth reading but I really enjoyed
Penn's latest, which you can reach directly by clicking
here. Browse around some of the others while you're over there.
Click here to read the previous NEWS FROM ME