I don't know if you've noticed, but the Strib's weather page now has a Cold Index. It's not the wind-chill; it's the likelihood of getting a cold. It's not based on epidemological information; it's based on the forecast.

I thought we'd learned that your chances of getting a cold had nothing to do with the weather. Prolonged exposure to lousy weather could wear down your body's defenses, but just being cold doesn't give you a cold, right?

Or was that retracted around the same time as the Food Pyramid and the saturated fats warning?

FORCE Boo-hoo, with an unprintable word replacing the hyphen. Well, unprintable in the family newspaper. Vanity Fair interviews George Lucas, and he tells us why "he's done directing Star Wars movies."

"You go to make a movie and all you do is get criticized,” is how George explains why he stepped away from the world-famous franchise he created. “And it’s not much fun. You can’t experiment.”

Yes, if there's anything that characterized the first prequel, it was its bold, persistent sense of experimentation. The reason he was criticized was because he made juvenile movies with dazzling visuals undercut at almost every turn with leaden dialogue. Even better:

But his biggest concern about the ever-expanding universe? That “the Force doesn’t get muddled into a bunch of gobbledygook.”

It was always that. It got muddled when it turned into science, which replaced basic mystical gobbledygook with technobabbly gobbledygook. Criminey.


WHOA Who do we have to blame? DeQuincy? Burroughs? Crowley? Bad rock journalism from the 70s? For some reason, people who did a lot of drugs think that stories or memoirs about people doing a lot of drugs are interesting.

So that cold summer, I took to walking around the canals, past the hookers in their red lit windows looking like the efficient little capitalists they were, and hanging around with the Turkish junkies who smoked heroin off tinfoil, next to the brown brick Neue Market, which had yet to be reconceived in its Phllipe Starkian incarnation. Back then its shadowy recesses between masonry humps were perfect for hiding in for a few minutes to get stoned on the cheap brown smack that came in little, tightly wrapped cellophane balls the size of jelly beans. It cost five guilders a bag, and you needed at least two to really get off; I believe it was cut with some kind of dirt. I would shiver next to the brown stones, get high, and then join Anne-Marie and her friends, my optimism and faith in the inevitable success of my book chemically restored.

That's nice. Then they go to Ibiza and take more drugs and then move back to Amsterdam. The story has all the basics: mysterious charismatic drug dealers, tolerant girlfriends, a case of overdose, and suspiciously detailed recollections of ornate hallucinations. Maybe I'm wrong; you be the judge.

VotD You hold your breath, because you don't know if this one will end poorly. Guns? Fistfights? Then the surprising conclusion. Cooler heads prevailed, and - oh.