Chronicles, Litanies, and Fanboy Obsessions:

The Egolf Chronicles.

Herein is the semiregular Gretchen Egolf Chronicles. This page is no longer source of new entries - please see this page for the more recent items. If you wish to see the recent updates to this page (fixing of dead links, the addition of the assumed autograph address, etc.), use your browser's "Find" feature - "Edit/Find in Page" or "Edit/Find on This Page" or "Edit/Find" - to look for the word "Update".

The Progenitor Rants and Lack-of-Sleep Litanies finally have their own pages. Click here for the explanation of how that subsection works.

This first one is the original Egolf Chronicle, henceforth cognomened Chronicle V0.0.

May 28, 2001 AD (Episode: None tonight, thanks to a Memorial Day Miami Vice marathon)
It seems that most of the opinions on this page clash with the rest of the world's opinions. Well, world, you can get stuffed.

But here's an amusing thing on difference of opinion. (From two different reviews of More Lies About Jerzy, a stage production from earlier this year, in which I'm told Gretchen Egolf spent more time onstage than her clothing did.*)

Holmes' often flat and flavorless dialogue doesn't help (Georgia to Jerzy: "It's hard to be with someone who won't let you in").


Her efforts to win his full trust make for some touching interaction, as when she states "It's hard to be with someone who won't let you in" and he responds "So how do we do this? How do I let you in?"

I found that rather amusing.

* I usually have these footnotes one paragraph below the footnoted line, but now I bumped it down a bit. Partly for word flow, partly to keep you reading with the lack-of-clothing reference.:) About one in four reviews of the show mentions the nudity, and virtually all of those comment on how gratuitous it was:

Gretchen Egolf, who is fairly likable as Jerzy's lover, has to endure a nude scene that's entirely gratuitous (if the lady feels comfortable taking off her clothes in front of Jerzy, why does she immediately cover herself up with a blanket?). -

I can't answer for the character, but I can guess at the actress' reasons.:) To quote Rez after he read the beta version of this rant... "Was probably friggin' freezing in there, for one :)"

The fetching Gretchen Egolf, playing the starry-eyed, gullible mistress Georgia, strips naked to prove some obvious point to our goading hero about 'naked feelings,' and rarely has an actress undressed onstage with less interest in the outcome. - The New York Observer

Incidentally, that's about the most damning comment about Gretchen's acting skills I've seen in 14 or so reviews of More Lies.... (The other damning one went like this: "The reporter (Daniel London) and his research assistant (Gretchen Egolf) - who has an affair with Jerzy - seem to be literary devices rather than real people." Everything else went from mediocre - as one reviewer said, "adequate" - to outstanding - uh... "outstanding".)

As a result, the production gives off the panicky sense that the narrative hasn't covered all its bases. (The scene in which Georgia takes off all her clothes to illustrate the difference between nakedness and the vulnerability of intimacy seems thuddingly gratuitous.) - The New York Times

Maybe the scriptwriter was as big a fan as I am.:) As proof, I point to the Martial Law fanfic I'm working on which has Amy Dylan (Gretchen's character) saying "Do a nice little striptease, then remove my clothing using only your teeth and tongue. I'm feeling frisky." I suppose I shouldn't mention the value of context to a quotation....

Best are Boris McGiver, Lizbeth Mackay, and Gretchen Egolf, delightful both clothed and in her nude scene, deemed gratuitous by the Times. Less so, I should think, than the play. - New York Magazine

Not-so-incidentally, that's not the most damning comment I've heard about the play, which reviews almost all claim is mediocre. Except for the few who loved or hated it, of course.

When Georgia calls herself "organized and awkward, neither of which has anything to do with being chaste, except in people's minds," she speaks for all the characters' difficulties in separating their own identities from other people's perceptions. When she strips naked in front of Lesnewski to demonstrate her willingness to remove all barriers between them, she displays the kind of redemptive trust that Lesnewski - a habitue of sex clubs and devotee of sadomasochism - is tragically unable to reciprocate. - Usenet (Attributed to Ted Merwin in an article for The Jewish Week)

My heavens. A NEUTRAL comment on the nudity! Will wonders never cease?

Almost every scene grinds its simplistic morality into the ground. This is particularly evident in the relationship between Jerzy and Georgia, where their heavy handed dialogue covers Big Issues including honesty, trust, commitment and the trappings of fame. When Jerzy discusses being physically naked as vulnerability, the play can't resist the obvious choice of Georgia shedding her clothes and asking, "Do I seem vulnerable to you?" - Matinee Magazine

Using the reviews as a benchmark, it seems to me that few people were paying attention to the vulnerability of the character at that point!

THE costume budget must be pretty tight for some off-Broadway plays this season. Kathleen Early runs around naked in "The Play About the Baby." Gretchen Egolf drops her drawers in Act II of "More Lies About Jerzy." Jennifer Roszell wears nothing but a sheet in "Cellini." Ann Reeder goes topless in "Killers and Other Family," as does Alice Ripley in "The Rocky Horror Show." Not only has it been hard for theater-going photog Aubrey Reuben to focus on plot lines instead of panty lines, he complains he's had to change the prescription of his glasses three times due to eyestrain. - Page Six (As if you couldn't tell it was a gossip page from the excessive bolding.)

There's something to be said for succinctness. This ain't it.

I'm glad I wasn't in New York City that week. Had I been, I'd still be kicking myself for missing it. I mean, forty-five bucks for a cheap thrill that you won't die from is pretty good for NYC. - Me

(No comment.:)

(Actually, I will comment. I'm going to get sued for slander one of these years....:)

(December 29, 2001 AD: Any of you regular visitors notice that I just added the Jewish Week and Matinee Magazine reviews? Or were you too busy daydreaming...?:)

(February 4, 2002 AD: And now the Page Six one. Every time I try a new search engine out, I get more nudity. But no pictures. Dammit, we want photographic evidence!:)

June 4, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V1.0) (Roswell spoilers ahead.... Click here to skip.)
Cute, drunk, and completely blinded to her right. Oooh, baby. I tried watching Roswell tonight, as it should have been starting reruns of the last season (first three eps had Gretchen as the not-quite-human Congresswoman Vanessa Whitaker). But it got cancelled (so sayeth Internet scuttlebutt) and apparently the WB takes that as cancelling the reruns too.

Some people my age watch the WB to leer at the younger-than-them nubile teenage stars. I watch the WB to leer at the older-than-me married pushing-30 guest star. I'd like to think I'm the better adjusted.

Another amusing thing is that, in the span of a year and change, Gretchen's two television characters were Amy Dylan (age 26) and Vanessa Whitaker (age 36*).

* The wonders of SF. Whitaker's age(s).... Official age: 36 (as is noted in a death announcement in the funeral episode). Current body's age: 49, going on time-to-get-a-new-body 50. Chronological age: A damn sight more than 49.

Funny coincidences: 1) Both Martial Law and Roswell got new producers between seasons.
2) Both had Ms. Egolf in some sort of power-wielding role for at least a few episodes.**
3) Both got cancelled at the end of the second season.

Insert dumb 4th of July joke here.(**In Martial Law she quickly got less heavy-handed in her use of power and was more friendly, in Roswell she got too friendly with an in-use power wire and was quickly incinerated.)

Anyone who wishes to draw further comparisons is free to so. Anyone who wishes to link the producers to the cancellation is free to do so. Anyone who blames the woman who is the focal point of much of this page (and my hormones) is free to do so and then light their hair on fire. Thank you.

Ah, hell, why not a few pictures? (Thanks to Rez for the HTML tip that let me wrap the text.:) These have been appropriated from which I found - hold onto your command prompt - via a page linked from a page linked from Lee Goldberg's site. So I guess I can thank Lee Goldberg for indirectly furthering my obsessions. Poor man, he tries to perform a service and just winds up contributing to the delinquency of a fanboy.

(Since many of the pictures are from low-light or night scenes, they've been gammaed up by a factor of 2.0 or 200% or whatever your personal gamma choice calls it - click on the image for the original, or some reasonable facsimile.)

(Update: September 28, 2001 AD. These images aren't from anymore. The ones on the linked subpage are, though. Click on one to get the complete explanation.)

Quick rundown of the pictures: Top one is the evil Congresswoman Whitaker acting drunk and jilted to pry information out of one of the other characters. So, by extension, it's Gretchen acting like she's acting like she's drunk. Think about that too long and you want a pint or two yourself.

In all honesty, I included picture number one because I think it's kind of nice. Not only does she look good with longer hair (though that blondish streak she had in Martial Law looked like it was making a bid to colonize the rest of her hair) but I also like it because I'm male; drunk women - by default - turn me on. (Like all men, I can never tell if a woman's faking it.)

I didn't need to gamma this one up. No wonder! Second one - never mind that this text is next to the third, I'm going for an aesthetic here - is included for the pretty colors. And it was a major tip-off that Whitaker was an alien (in lieu of the actual episodes, I've read transcripts:) since most people don't survive grabbing a live wire and causing it to spark directionally by sheer force of will. Too bad one of the good aliens manifested the same ability to shove electricity around and hoisted Whitaker up onto her own high-explosive petard*** (pic number three, see left or up or left and up, depending on browser).

There's a good (relatively speaking) screencap just before these two that really conveys Whitaker's "I'm going to send you to Hell, you half-breed non-human bitch!" attitude in this scene, but the feral scowl and flared nostrils really don't do anything for Gretchen's looks, and it reminds me a bit too much of an elementary school teacher I had. Yes, I had a teacher who conveyed the "I'm going to send you to Hell, you half-breed non-human bitch!" attitude on a regular basis.

After getting all blowed up, Gretchen got to play a role only present in SF - after Whitaker's body was obliterated (or at least dry-roasted) in the explosive finale to episode 3, a fake was made (or already had been made - long story) to cover for her death and to lead the good aliens into a trap. So she got to play a copy of her character's corpse. There's one that I think should top her resume. (Seems like she spent all her onscreen time acting like she was acting. Meta-acting?)

She's really not breathing! Oh, it's a still shot, never mind.The fourth picture, of the funeral, is included because, when all is said and done, I'm a closet necrophiliac. (When you look like I do, any woman**** who's lying down and doesn't complain about things is fair game.)

You know, I just realized that - thanks to excessive viewing of assorted blooper segments and TV shows devoted to bloopers - I actually know several different things to say in an effort to get the "corpse" to start laughing.

***"Petard", despite sounding somewhat obscene, isn't. It's a kind of explosive - so "high-explosive petard" is almost tautology. Of course, the root word is rather crass to a Frenchman, but that doesn't bother me. After all, you can tick off a Quebec Frenchman by calling him an "Hostie pea-soup" (first word is pronounced "auh-stee", and means "Host", as in the one that is found in Roman Catholic church ritual... most Quebecer profanity involves the Church).

**** Qualifier: Any woman not related to me who's lying down. I'm a necrophiliac, not a pervert.

June 10, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V2.0)
A bit more hair-based commentary from Rez, who IMHO should have adopted a bad Eurotrash accent and become a hairdresser.:) I think he's made a dead-on assessment here.

Oh, and before I make with the wanton italicized Rez-quoting, I'd like to mention that most of the times Gretchen acted like an airhead was when she was decked out in her "pimply bucktoothed limbo" look. Maybe you really are what you eat/wear/have attached to your skull....

I figured out what's wrong with that hairdo you so dislike on that first picture of G. Egolf. And it's not the lack of bangs!

This pic is here for the cute factor.It's a little girl's hairdo -- so it makes her look like she's caught in some pimply bucktoothed limbo between a teenager who's trying to look like an adult, and a housewife who's trying to look like a teenager. She has a round face with prominent features, and as a result having her hair pulled back all the way like that makes her look moonfaced. Perfect if the intent was to portray an amateur hooker with a two-digit IQ (g)

[Bangs would only accentuate the roundness of her face, and make her look chubby.]

OTOH in the 3rd picture, her hair lies softly along the sides of her face, framing it into a more-pleasing oval, dramatically softening her expression. making her features look more balanced, and tripling her visible IQ :)

I'd guess the first shot suffered from a European (most likely British) hairdresser -- they seem uniformly clueless about what looks good on a given person. Look at the hideous coiffures spitefully inflicted on European royal families!!

Now look, you've got me doing it (g)

Okay, so I think Rez is right on this one. But in my defense: If she had bangs, they couldn't do that bad combing-over-the-top-of-her-head look, could they?:) No, wait, I think they might be resourceful enough to pull it off....

And also in my defense: The Roswell-era pic is here because... well, I like it. And she's staring off into right field anyway.... (June 15, 2001 AD Update from Rez, with regards to this picture: This is a more flattering hairdo for her than that hideous little-girl 'do, but it tends to make her mouth look too wide -- might be a makeup problem here, actually, rather than hairdo.)

June 24, 20001 (give or take a zero) AD update: I was just beating Corel Photo-Paint around and I realized that the makeup problem mentioned in the last paragraph could also be the heavy-handed gamma setting I needed to show the detail. It pales a person's skin and really reddens their lips. A well-lit shot gammaed by 150% starts to look like a bad Tenebrist painting. A well-lit shot gammaed by about 250% to 300% makes the people look hauntingly like they were porcelain dolls. (There's a great idea for a faddish sort of art form somewhere in there, like the disturbing big-eyed kid pictures, but I'm sure as hell not going to traumatize myself looking for it. I saw one of those big-eyed pictures last week and was twitching for the next fifteen minutes.)

June 29, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V3.0)
Just a thought. While double-checking the spelling of "Phillips" for last night's Lack-of-Sleep Litany, I found the following on Northern Light.

Really sexy. Gretchen isn't looking bad either. (This image of Mr. and Mrs. Egolf Phillips courtesy of Here's hoping they don't find out I stole it.)

The marriage of Gretchen Egolf and Mason Phillips, both of New York, N.Y., took place at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 24, at the home of the bride's parents, Lancaster. The bride is the daughter of Paula and Gary Egolf. She graduated from The Juilliard School, New York City, and is self-employed as an actress.

Now comes the fun part. It's from the July 25, 1999 Sunday News (Lancaster, PA). It's a summary of a 92 word article. To get the whole thing, you need to fork over $2.95. Want to count that last paragraph and see how many words the summary is? My count is about 55.

92 - 55 = 37. $2.95 / 37 = about eight cents a word. (Kicks Northern Light around.) Oooh. At a similar price (but with at least a small chance of buying viable reading material) are two multipage articles. Being the sort of life form I am, I'm going to summarize the summaries.

People are a problem. Oh, sorry, wrong summary of a summary. (That was my horribly obscure tribute to the late Douglas Adams.)

As years go, 1999 was a big one for 26-year-old Gretchen Egolf. The Lancaster lass (who now lives in Santa Monica, Calif.) became a regular on a network television series, married Welsh actor Mason Phillips, and even had a (tiny) part in the new Matt Damon/Gwyneth Paltrow movie "The Talented Mr. Ripley."

"It's really nothing," insisted Egolf, who saw the film for the first time while visiting her parents, Gary and Paula Egolf, at their suburban Lancaster home Christmas Day.

* * *

"If you go to get popcorn, you'll miss me," Egolf said of her movie debut ("Student at Book Party", Quiz Show) back in 1994.

Okay, here's my take on these summaries of summaries.

A) She doesn't have an ego, or at least keeps it very well hidden. For damn good reason - if I ruled the world, someone who had an inflated ego over one season of TV and a total of six or so lines in two movies would be sent for re-education. (In my world, I'd be venerated as a god. A sad place, unless you're me. Be thankful I don't rule the world, 'cause I'd take my nickname "The Archon" as my real name and then start kicking some peon ass. I'd be doubleplusgood.)

B) I guessed her age right! I finally guessed someone's age right! Just based off some simple math, some possibly-inaccurate information about her Juilliard schooling and the assumption about how old she was when she graduated. And I got the right answer! Unless the author of this article did the same thing I did. Damn!

C) Yes, I watched Quiz Show just for that. Yes, I got it on videotape and have since MP3ized it. First person who says something cute about it gets hit with a very large hammer.

July 1, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V3.2)
I watched The Talented Mr. Ripley tonight for the second time. No sound, unfortunately. First time I watched it was for - what else, what else, what else? - Gretchen's bit. Unfortunately, I didn't know precisely when it was, so I cut into the movie half an hour late - it conflicted with, of all things, Martial Law - and I figured that'd do. I mean, she had a name this time (Fran, as opposed to "Student at Book Party") so she must have had more to do, right?

Wrong. I watched a good slice of the damn movie and didn't catch more than a passing reference to her character. I downloaded a script later and found out something. She was in the first minute of the film. That's all.

So I watched it again tonight, with no sound. (Stubborn fellow that I am, I couldn't get it through valid means so I tried stealing it. Couldn't descramble the sound in time, though.) It sort of dulled the impact, especially since it was a singing bit....

But I noticed something. You want to talk about the whole Ripley impersonation thing? Never mind that, Gretchen was impersonating her Quiz Show character. No, really. I'm not smoking anything, just hear me out.

Both Quiz Show and The Talented Mr. Ripley took place in the late 1950s (despite being filmed half a decade apart). Both of the scenes in question were at some formal party thing. She had a similar hairstyle in both films, similarly-cut dresses, similar passing relevance to the plot.... (Okay, so she was at least a good deal more important in The Talented Mr. Ripley because if she wasn't there the whole thing wouldn't have happened.)

If anything, she was playing the same person both times. Get me a hammer, we'll see if we can make the scripts fit together even better.

But seriously, what the hell is it about her that makes people think "She'd be great at a party, circa 1958."?

July 24, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V5.0)
Let's pretend I'm not writing this in advance (on the 14th) to kill time.

Read up on my June 29th entry and you'll notice that today, the 24th of July, is Gretchen's second wedding anniversary. In an odd coincidence, it's also her husband Mason's second wedding anniversary.

I'd wish them well, but the last time I made a well-wishing comment of that sort to a couple I didn't really know, I wound up regretting it for reasons that the couple involved likely wouldn't want explained in public. So I think I'll just nod and smile and keep my big fat mouth shut.

July 28, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V3.25)
(I know I should be on V6.0 now, but this one ties in with V3.2: July 1, 2001 AD.)

I watched The Talented Mr. Ripley last night (well, this morning - 1 AM) for the third time. Sound, this time. Adds a whole new dimension, let me tell you; much more than I expected. But more on that later.

Were I a good Catholic, I'd assume the Big Guy Himself had a hand in this. But I'm a horrid bastion of false faith, so either it was just serendipity or God has a real good sense of humor.

Remember how I tried stealing (is there a statute of limitations on these things?) a movie channel and couldn't get the sound? Well, someone I know in passing - but have done favors for - finally had their cable fixed. In celebration for the months of downtime, they pulled a few strings I didn't know they had to pull and got the technique to properly rip off a few premium channels. As a favor, they (not knowing about any of this) gave it to me, three days before the channel's final showing of The Talented Mr. Ripley for the month. So I committed the dire acts needed to invoke the sound, and it worked. At least, for a few seconds at a time. A bit of my own trickery, and I had the sound all the time, crystalline flawless.

I had a VCR set up - on SP, a rare setting for one as cheap as me - and a mass of wires rigged to an audio tape deck. The living room floor looked like a Radio Shack blew up. I was not missing this. Fate had seen fit to deliver it to me, chance would not take it away. About the worst thing (adding insult to injury or affront to a fatality, as it were) would have been to die right there. Found slumped over my cabalistic electronics setup, what a way to go.

The opening song fired up. Just the background music, not Gretchen - a good thing, since the singer's voice was rather unimpressive. Started out fine but was taken too far out of its range at the end and fell flat.

I waited for Ripley to go into his brief lamentation that makes it obvious the whole thing is a flashback. Then we got to the singing bit. Hey ho, here we go. Crank up the headphone volume (it was 1 AM) and sit back.

I got one hell of a surprise.

I know that Matt Damon likely wasn't the one really playing the piano. Fine. It's a bit more jarring that Gretchen Egolf likely wasn't the one really singing. Physically, it was her. Sure, yep, know that face almost anywhere, including from a few vivid hallucinations. Looked like her, just didn't sound like her. Unless she's the illegitimate child of Jim "talks in one voice and sings in another" Nabors. Which would make for an interesting National Enquirer article. But I digress.

Gretchen sounds like she has a good vocal range, but the singer's pitch and undercurrent of power seemed to be well beyond Gretchen, like a voice that rich wouldn't "fit" into her frame. When her voice was hers, it was higher and - this is the clincher - weaker. It hadn't sounded like her (even a person who just heard her lines of dialogue later in the scene could make that diagnosis if they were listening for it) and it hadn't looked like it sounded like her.

On the off-off-off-chance it was indeed her, I'd like to know where the hell she hides her secondary larynx and third lung. Oh, and her accent. A person's accent is somewhat muted (to me, anyway) when they're singing, but in the singer I picked up something with a distinctly European flavor.

The thing that completely throws me is why they needed two people for the one bit character. You don't need a Juilliard education and four years of New York stage experience to say all of about five* lines. What was is about the actual singer that made her incapable of appearing on camera?

(* "You're so kind." and "Thank you." in the background just after she finishes, er, singing. "Oh, we've really enjoyed meeting you." and "Oh, well thank you! That's very kind." when speaking to Dickie Greenleaf's parents, and finally she switches interjections and says "Ah, you were great!" to Ripley just before she leaves.)

Update August 17, 2001 AD: From Rez, who knows more about this than I do. Five lines is a cheap gig that cost the producer very little; singing on camera AND acting gets into another can of worms with regard to union rates and suchlike, plus MOST professional singers couldn't deliver 5 lines convincingly. OTOH, studio work singing is also cheap. So dubbed may not sound perfect but it probably saved $100k in production costs.

August 1, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V7.0)
Care to read this? Or, just the excerpt below.

LEAP OF FAITH - From the writer/producer of "Sex and the City" comes this comedy about spirited Faith Wardwell (...), who rethinks her life's direction and marital commitment right before her wedding - then decides to chuck it all to continue her search for Mr. Right. After Faith's fling with a hunky stranger (Brad Rowe, "The '70s") prompts her to cancel her nuptials, she relies on her outspoken circle of friends, who include the free-spirited Patty (Lisa Edelstein, NBC's "The West Wing"), her co-worker in an ad agency; Faith's married neighbor Cynthia (Regina King, "Jerry Maguire"); and clueless Andy (Brian A. Green, "Beverly Hills, 90210"), who has abandoned dating. Faith also gets advice from her snooty socialite mother Cricket (Oscar winner Jill Clayburgh, "An Unmarried Woman"). "Leap of Faith" is a production of NBC Studios. Jenny Bicks ("Sex and the City") is the executive producer and writer. Alex Graves (NBC's "The West Wing") directs the pilot.

I'll be honest. Given that sort of description, I'd never watch it. I mean never. It's shows like this that are the reason I haven't watched a sitcom since Wings really started to suck. I'd sooner make a bid at performing a vasectomy on myself using a steak knife and a bottle of Captain Morgan instead of a scalpel and anesthetic. But there's a wrinkle. There's always a wrinkle. A wrinkle that's going to at least force me to watch the opening episode. It's in the part I cut out with (...). Most of you know it already, if you bothered to read the heading for this entry. But some of you might not be awake yet, and you need a bit of a nudge. It originally read ...Faith Wardwell (Gretchen Egolf, "The Talented Mr. Ripley"), who rethinks....

I must admit to finding the Ripley reference amusing, since damnear everything else she's ever done had more lines in it than that. (Okay, not Quiz Show, though at least there she was the one speaking her own lines.)

Let's go through the reasons why I hate this idea already.... These are, of course, all conjecture at this point. Maybe the show will turn out to be the funniest thing on this side of Monty Python. But I'm really not expecting it.

It's a midseason replacement: And we all know how great those are.

From the writer/producer of "Sex and the City": I tried watching that show once. I couldn't. I really didn't like it. Five minutes of it revealed only two sophomoric gags that I smirked at and two truly wince-inducing moments (including a disturbingly close shot of an animal's hindquarters). Most other shows on TV offer a better level of joke-to-wince ratio for me. If the gags had been witty, I could tolerate it. But their only humorous value was as off-color humor. Hell, I got the impression that I could write a decent "Sex and the City" episode after that. Have the four regulars in a public place discussing Mr. Wrong 1 and Mr. Wrong 2, after which they agonize over their own emotional baggage for a bit or go about setting up the plot which is going to lead to more emotional baggage. Mousy looking one lowers her voice when talking about sex, cleavage-showing one goes out of her way to sound trampy, etc.

I'm sure there's more to it than what I got in five minutes, but I got the feeling that there really wasn't that much more to it. Just general hatred of humanity masquerading as paper-thin male characters and female characters who act cheap enough that they deserve the paper-thin males.

"Spirited" Faith Wardwell: I like the name, enough to forgive the weak pun in the title, since "Wardwell" sounds cool. My problem is that I'm not entirely sure I like the use of "spirited". Presuming they don't mean perpetually drunk or haunted (though that would make for an interesting sitcom...), I hope that they don't mistake "spirited" for "perky" and by extension "perky" for "ditzy". I want to survive the opening show.

... to continue her search for Mr. Right... So at least part of the time each episode is going to be spent meeting Mr. Wrongs. There's a new idea....

Faith's fling with a hunky stranger... There's a good character. Pre-wedding and she hops into the sack with someone else, then cancels the wedding. There is a way to do this well, I know this can be done well. People make such mistakes, it can be very dramatic to see a resolution. But this is a sitcom, there's no drama. Unless it's going to be one of those "dramedies" I've heard of, which in my experience are mostly called that because of how similar it is to the word "Dramamine". And we all know what ailment you take Dramamine for, don't we?

And if the ex-fiancé stays past the first episode (as in, after he gets dumped by Faith) there's a male character who's a complete moron. No man with any brains is going to attempt to win back a woman who cheated on him and then dumped him. If he shows up once to get his ring (and maybe break the finger it's on), then disappears forever, I'll be fine with that.

All in all, the cynic in me is setting off the ditz alarm so far. A "spirited" character having a fling, leaving someone just short of the altar and plunging right back into the dating scene? There's someone who's obviously running on all one cylinder. Main characters are usually meant to be identified with (and no one is going to identify with an idiot). It's a rare main character (like Archie Bunker) that can be successfully wrong.

... she relies on her outspoken circle of friends... Oh, God. If sitcom lore has taught me one thing, it's that an outspoken circle of friends has few friends in it. Either that, or it's a bunch of people with a penchant for giving Deep Meaningful Tirades on the plot of the day.

The free-spirited Patty, Faith's married neighbor Cynthia, clueless Andy who has abandoned dating, Faith's snooty socialite mother Cricket. I've just got to say it. These had better be the worst aspects of each character, or I'm going to need a bigger dartboard.

Also, notice that the one male on the list is "clueless". I get the feeling this is going to give me another case of estrogen poisoning. I'm all for pro-woman programming (Not that anything even vaguely like "Sex and the City" is my idea of pro-woman anyway!) but if the male characters get dumbed down as badly as that sounds, the line between "pro-woman" and "misandristic" comes dangerously close, in the same way that "pro-man" and "misogynistic" often get confused. Which is why I don't watch any of those shows. Misandry and misogyny are just general misanthropy that had to choose a gender to use the public toilet.

Jenny Bicks ("Sex and the City") is the executive producer and writer. She's also the only human being who could get away with ripping off "Sex and the City" this badly without getting sued by the series creator! It seems like "Sex and the City" redone for the slightly more family-oriented (as in, you can only use the word "dick" as part of a sexual innuendo, not as an overt reference to the male anatomy) NBC.

(Update, March 10, 2002 AD: Care to see how many of my predictions came true? Quick rundown: Yes, it does feel like Sex and the City. No, Faith wasn't a ditz, quite the opposite. Patty is 10% free-spirited and 90% tramp. Cynthia wasn't really on camera much - didn't even know she was married. The "snooty" socialite mother was a real demon. Andy was completely counter the description here. The show was actually rather misogynistic, but it was just general misanthropy that had to choose a gender.)

August 25, 2001 AD (The Egolf MetaChronicle)
Ever wonder why I settled on the name "The Egolf Chronicles" for this section? Pretend you did.

Well, today I found out that one of the story arcs late in Roswell season two - long after Vanessa Whitaker and the entire Earth-bound contingent of her species were cold in the ground - was called "The Hybrid Chronicles". But since I just found that out today, that's not it. In reality, it was the only word that worked. Look at the other options:

Files. As in The X-Files.
Papers. As in Hacker 2: The Doomsday Papers.
Documents. As in nothing I can think of offhand.
Archives. Which is only used for parts of college libraries, really.
Archives. Oh, and obsessive fanboy image archives.
Chronologies, Records, Saga, Stories, Histories, and the oft-sophomorically-misspelled Annals.

Not one of them works. "Chronicles" is a notorious catch-all, especially when a name is involved.

So there you have it. I was batting synonyms around. My Lack-of-Sleep Litanies were similar - I started with "Lack-of-Sleep" and figured out an "L"-word from there. The original choice (quickly abandoned) was "Liturgies".

September 3, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V6.1)
One who's read my depraved fanboy rantings may have noticed an odd turn of phrase I used at one point. "She's become something of a little pearl resting in the sand for me." Now, I suppose the phrase "diamond in the rough" would be a better choice, but there's a reason I picked that specific gemstone. It's an example of my twisted sense of humor and how I'm willing to bury an in-joke very deep even in my less humorous moments. (Never trust me entirely when I say I'm going to be serious for more than a paragraph at a time. I can't be dead serious short of a life-or-death situation, or when I'm mad. Of course, when I'm mad I sometimes make jokes that are colder and more mordant than anything I've ever let slip on this page. Wit can be a nasty weapon.)

I delight in insanely obscure references that very few will understand without explanation. If I need to explain it, I get to show off my knowledge a bit. If not, I've likely succeeded in writing a rather funny joke. Now's the time for the former.

Way back in the all-obscuring mists of time, the Greeks came up with a word for "pearl". "Margaron", or (as my various dictionaries claim), "márgaron" or "margarites". Being a word for something pretty, it became a name. (Ruby and Esmeralda - Spanish for "Emerald" - are two other gem-names.)

Through various languages it passed. French gave us Margot and Marjorie (yiicch), and other languages gave us Margaret, etc. Some language (debatably Swedish) dropped the "Mar" sound and spawned Greta. Then German gets involved. (I must thank a German fellow I know - who shall remain anonymous as I don't think he'd want to know what twisted fanboyishness was behind the seemingly innocent questions I asked him one day - for the information in the next paragraph.)

"-chen" is a German suffix for diminutive things. As an "ente" is a duck, an "entchen" is a duckling. When a German invites you in for a "bierchen", it's the equivalent of someone English inviting you in for a "quick beer" (in this case it's used to minimize and not imply that your beer will be served in shot glasses, unless your host is cheap). Eventually, someone thought to affix it to someone named Greta or Grete (hopefully as a sign of affection), and it became a name in its own right. So, technically, "Gretchen"'s roots lie in the Greek for "pearl" and the German for "little". Hence my use of the phrase "little pearl". To be honest, that rather improves the name, which I can't say has a good North American reputation.

(An amusing side note is that at least two different German-language items on Martial Law expressed surprise at the fact that there was a member of the cast named "Gretchen". One suffixed her first name with "(!)" and the other editorialized "(kein witz!)" - "(no joke!)".)

Don't ask me where the name "Egolf" came from, though. That one's outside the scope of even my dustier tomes.

However, it's one of "Gretchen"'s etymological cousins that I stumbled across that holds my interest, even if the substance itself disgusts me. Margaric acid is a fatty acid found naturally in lichens; it resembles palmitic and stearic acids. It gets its name from the pearl-like appearance of its crystal form. ("Margarite" is an archaic word for a pearl, by the by.)

It also has another use, made synthetically. It was a key component in the prototypical version of a certain kind of fake butter (could still be, for all I know), and that is where the word "margarine" comes from.

Amazing how far one little word can go, ininit?

September 14, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V6.3)
While poking around the stranger corners of Usenet, I found this. A Russian page with a cast list for The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Sounds exciting, doesn't it?

Hot underage Russian text. It is for me, since I'm always looking for something to fire up an odd intellectual pathway. And here I found it. See the "etxe" in the first line? I remembered from my brief study into Greek that "x" in Greek is "chi". And Cyrillic (the Russian alphabet) is based off of Greek. Most Greek-rooted words with a chi in them - "archon", to name one - use "ch". I realized that it shouldn't be hard to convert the Russian back into English. I cracked open my encyclopedia and here's what I got.

German in Russian.     1st letter: "G" as in "go". Okay.
    2nd letter: "R" as in "thrice", with a roll. A rolled "r"? Makes it sound like Tony the Tiger's saying it, but okay....
    3rd letter: "Ye" as in "yet". That explains a good deal of the Russian accent....
    4th letter: "T" as in "toe".
    5rd letter: "Ch" as in "Loch". Uhhh, if you say so, but that's a (slightly muted) "k" in my brand of English!
    6th letter: "Ye" as in "yet".
    7th letter: "N" as in "not".

So it's not a translation - I should have known - it's a transliteration; a letter-by-letter conversion! If that's true, the enigmatic third line could be one as well, and not actual Russian.

Some other language in Russian.     1st letter: "E" as in "effort".
    2nd letter: "G" as in "go".
    3rd letter: "Aw" as in "awe". Since the letter looks like an "o", that makes sense. Assuming that Gretchen's family has anglicized the pronunciation* as "e-golf", it makes even more sense.
    4th letter: "L" as in "law".
    5rd letter: Special. To quote the World Book: Usually softens preceding consonant, adds a "ye" sound, as the "n" in "canyon". Uh, okay....
    6th letter: "F" as in "for".

(* I suspect that the language that spawned the name "Egolf" - which individuals have identified as everything from German to Welsh-by-way-of-German - is something rife with vowel sounds that mine Canadian ears would puzzle over.)

Okay, now it's time to bring my weapons to bear on the third line.

Looks nothing like the Russian for Actor....     1st letter: "A" as in "far".
    2nd letter: "C" as in "calm".
    3rd letter: "T" as in "toe".
    4th letter: "R" as in "thrice", again rrrrrolled.
    5th letter: "Ee" as in "feet".
    6th letter: "S" as in "soot".
    7th letter: "A" as in "far".

That was simple: actress. Funny, that's also what a Russian-English dictionary I have on my PC (don't ask) says is the word for "actress" - it's a genuine translation and not a transliteration. I didn't think the Russians would need to co-opt our word for something so common. The word for "actor", incidentally, is completely different. I guess they can't bastardize their language for a different-gendered word quite as easily as we can.

(September 28, 2001 AD: I've just realized that the transliteration for "actor" is also used on that website instead of the proper Russian word. Go figure.)

Those two things on the side aren't Cyrillic. They're parenthetic.     1st letter: "F" as in "for".
    2nd letter: "R" as in "thrice", with a roll.
    3rd letter: "E" as in "effort".
    4th letter: "N" as in "not".

Funny, they don't have the "ah" sound for "Fran"?

So, transposing English for Russian, you get....

Transposition trainspotting. (I've kept the lack of capitalization on "actress". Talk about integrity.)

Lot of work for something so silly, isn't it?

But there's more. I noticed something about the Russian translation of "Gretchen". Unless I'm missing some Russian subtlety here, there's one letter that could be changed to force it a bit closer to its English pronunciation. While most Greek words with a "chi" sound in them transliterate it as "ch", it's not pronounced "ch". It's pronounced like "k" (or a "kh"), which is closer to the modern-day "x" than "ch" is. "Archon" is pronounced "ar-kon", just as "architect" is pronounced "ar-kih-tekt." Only on certain words where it flows a bit better as a "ch" and on English constructions does it use the "ch" pronunciation. "Archimage" ("Ar-ke-") and "Arch-mage" ("Arch-") are synonyms - more than synonyms, they're basically the same word - yet their "Arch-"es are pronounced differently.

The proper ch sound. ("Arch-mage" is the modern version, common in fantasy games to describe a powerful wizard. "Archimage" or "archimagus" is originally Greek, and referred first to the high priest of the Magi, later to powerful wizards.)

Y-ish. This is, according to my books, the proper Cyrillic letter for the English "ch" sound. (As in "cheek".)

Figure it out. Replace the "x" with this, (and the "e"s with the reverse "e as in effort") and you get that mildly blasphemous-looking thing to the upper right, with the (?) next to it. For all I know, this could be Russian for something really obscene. Of course, this one to the immediate right is probably far worse.

(Update: February 1, 2002 AD: Yet another site uses the original. I mentioned it down below.)

September 25, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V9.0)
What a way to go. Well, the images on this site got a re-working, for reasons gone into here. The new ones are smaller, but them's the breaks. From now on, you'll be offered a choice between high-gamma and low-gamma shots. The on-page shot will be somewhere in the middle. This isn't retroactive, though, so all the old shots are just the original high-gamma/no-gamma. Hey, whaddayer want for nothin'?:)

Of course, now that I have a source for Roswell episodes - which I refuse to divulge in light of the ever-more psychotic copyright protections trying to become laws - I can grab a few screenies of my own. For instance, this lovely one of Vanessa Whitaker just realizing that maybe this whole kill-them-with-electricity thing wasn't such a bright idea after all.

Though I wonder if it's safe to watch the five episodes of "The Skins" story arc at once. As the organic survival unit their species uses - the skin for which they're named - ages, it begins to peel like mad. I watched a few episodes and damned if I don't have this slowly-growing patch of peeling skin on my right hand. I know I'm a fan of Gretchen's, but gaining empathy for her character? This is a bit much.

September 26, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V9.1)
As noted above, after a heavy bit of downloading I had happily w4r3zed copies of Roswell episodes, specifically "The Skins" story arc:

"Skin and Bones": Where Gretchen shows up playing Vanessa Whitaker.
"Ask Not": Where Whitaker shows up acting drunk out of her mind.
"Surprise": Where Whitaker shows off her true colors and learns the hard way not to play with electricity.
(Skip 2 episodes that looked a little heavy on relationship angst and other stuff geared more for the target audience than me. Besides, Whitaker wasn't in 'em.:)
"Harvest": Where Whitaker shows up as a corpse.
"Wipe Out!": Where Whitaker doesn't show up at all, but the episode is still - may I say - a fine piece of SF that I enjoyed, even if it was a bit pulpy.

After a small war between codecs, I finally got sound and video going. Oooh. Not full-screen resolution (though I can run it like that) but it works okay. Much enjoyment to be had.

You know, I think I found out why some people liked Gretchen's acting better here. Her character is a plot pillar, not a plot dialogue pillar.

In Martial Law she often got stuck with expository dialogue/monologue, be it for the plot or her character. Not to say that any other of the ML regulars didn't have that problem, certainly. Sammo Hung suffered the least, partly because fights were his big thing. Besides, giving an actor with a poor command on the English language (Not to say he's not trying, but no one will mistake his delivery for Anthony Hopkins'!) a long and complex monologue upon which critical plot points hang is suicide.

In Roswell, a lot of her lines are relevant only by her presence. Whitaker got humiliated in front of a congressional board. She didn't say she did, we saw it. She found out about her boyfriend dumping her in a high-tech "Dear John" letter (of course, she knew it was a lie, as she had killed him the night before) and reacted accordingly, she didn't tell someone about it later. She had one plot monologue through the whole three episodes.* Of course, the regular characters on Roswell didn't have that many plot monologues either. To abuse a quotation, "Show, don't tell." I suppose Martial Law's major problem, then, was that characters were built up by recollection of past events or by discussion of their motivations (which need to be described, not shown) more than their reaction to current events (which can be shown).

You don't watch a show like Martial Law for its writing, since the writing's there more to entertain and tie the carnage/suspense together than to be deep and complex. Certainly, I found assorted character contrasts and subplots and other aspects of a Deep TV Show in it, but no good writer is going to write a series of entirely mindless scripts without going completely mad.

* See below for an update, slightly out of chronological order.

September 30, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles Addendum, V9.15)
And, incidentally, that monologue was also by far her worst scene in all three episodes! Hell, it even beat out some of her worse Martial Law moments, where at least she looked like she was making an attempt and missing the mark. Here she's either trying way too hard or not at all. This was the major moment in what I've seen of her acting where she was doing it wrong. Acting poorly is one thing, but this was just... wrong. (Plays it again. Listens again to Gretchen's line about "The royalty they tried to save by sending you here!" complete with arching her eyebrows and turning up her nose slightly at the "royalty" in question.) And it's not aging well.

The over-inflated importance she was conveying might work if the script/character was bombastic, but even then it would be overacting. It needed more of a sarcastic or contemptuous edge; a cold bite, if you will.

What if you'd spent the last fifty years clothed in a life-support "skin" on a hostile planet, trying your damnedest to act human - a step down - and navigate the pathetic human-made political environment? What if you were fairly close to death (unless a hare-brained scheme of your leader's worked)? What if you'd finally met the person you'd been hunting and learned that they were nothing more than a semi-human teenager, completely ignorant of their past and true power? What if they - and the artifact they were hiding - were your one ticket off that miserable planet? I can't see anything but contempt or hate as a viable emotion.

The scene had its moments, but Gretchen's one (IMHO) good slice of emotion was mired in the strangest bit of pseudoscience outside of the closing of the first episode of the season, "Skin and Bones". How a person could deliver these lines and not wince while doing it, I'll never know. Depending on precisely how much she understands of what she's saying, either all her concentration is going into keeping a straight face or ignorance really IS bliss. Umbrella-Plot-Reinforcing Meaningful Speech with a side order of cliché and pulp SF logic. Oy vey. At least she looked sort of good while doing it - except for that eyebrow thing, which just looks wrong - and the brief chase scene was rather nice.

The big finale was also enjoyable, if guilty - like "Wipe Out!" - of the Deus Ex Machina of a good guy getting a new power. It was also heavy on hackneyed lines from the writing/acting school of "Since I've been revealed as the bad guy, no sense in not going completely over the top!" At least Gretchen can flare her nostrils convincingly.

Hmmm. Strange. Martial Law's writing was sometimes mediocre, occasionally painful, but still good when taken in the context of the show it was used on, as was (IMHO) Egolf's performance. The Roswell episodes in question had a generally higher quality of writing, but when it fumbled it fell into the abyss. As did her performance. The worse the writing, the worse Gretchen's performance. It's not an absolute, but it's a little too close a relationship for me. Quality of writing and acting are linked somewhat, but they don't normally have that powerful a bond. A good actor can do something halfway viable with poor writing, and a bad actor can hurt otherwise good writing. Gretchen seems to be neither.

Maybe the lass just has a sharper literary sense than I give her credit for.:)

September 26, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V9.2)
Another funny Roswell thing. The Skins want something called the "Granilith". Fancy name, no? Obviously coined from English combining forms, at least to my ear. I dug up my dictionary and found this:

Grani-: As in graniform (shaped like a grain), granivore (seed- or grain-eater), and (via Italian) granite. It comes from Latin "granum", meaning "grain".

-lith or lith- or litho-: As in monolith (a large standing stone), trilith (three standing stones, the third held up by the other two - think Stonehenge), acrolith ("stone extremities" - a statue with a wooden torso and stone limbs), lithophyte (a plant that grows on stone), and (via Latin) lithium. It comes from the Greek "lithos", meaning "stone".

Granilith. Latin "granum", Greek "lithos".

Granilith. Grain-stone.

Helluva name for a nigh-omnipotent artifact, ininit?

October 5, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V9.3)
There was something that bothered me about Gretchen's death scene in Roswell, when she gets blown up. Well, the character of Vanessa Whitaker gets blown up, not the actress, of course. But it didn't look right. The spot where she's standing at the instant of detonation is the wrong color - it's far too dark. Fine, they put up a black crate and put the pyrotechnics on it. No attention to detail, but there you go.

After some abuse, I figured out how to get Windows Media Player (the decent Win95OSR2 version that looks like a Win3.1 escapee, not the ungodly current version) to do frame-by-frame advance. And I got a surprise.

For two frames (1/15th of a second, as this seems to be running at 30 frames a second - PAL standard IIRC) there's a dummy there which is plainly meant to look like Gretchen. Blonde wig, suit-dress like the one Gretchen was decked out in, flesh-tone legs, reverse-articulated knees (funny, I was about 99% sure that her knees face front like everyone else's), black around the base to match Whitaker's black high heels, holding the electrical cord that was Whitaker's undoing. (I started off with the actress' first name and ended with the character's last. What the hell's that about?) Someone went through some trouble to get this right.

Tragically, it falls apart thanks to wardrobe. The suit-dress Gretchen wore was gray, which showed even in the low light of this scene. The pyrotechnic pseudo-Gretchen was wearing a black (or navy blue) suit-dress. Which sort of throws the fine detail on the black shoes right out the window. Likely that's the reason they had to cut it down to two frames. If the suit jackets and skirts matched color, they could have extended it to about a quarter-second (about three times as long). It would have driven home the effect of Whitaker getting char-broiled and looked great. But instead, it had to be hacked down to one or two miserable frames; even with that brief moment, it looked poor. All that work for one-fifteenth of a second. One-twelfth in NTSC.

This is why I never want to work in TV in any complex capacity.

October 5, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V9.35OT)
Funny thing: if I set Windows Media Player to play movies at double size, it overrides Activemovie's own controls and that program starts playing them double size too. Activemovie, however, has a far superior full-screen mode as far as MPEGs go.

October 15, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V10.0)
Well, last night was a treat. My channel-surfing brought me on to one of A&E's Nero Wolfe movies. A quick check of their schedule confirmed what I hoped - it was the one entitled The Doorbell Rang. Wanna guess who had a bit part as Marian* Hinckley?

(* Marion, maybe? Her closing credit line was "Miss Hinckley", so it's hard to tell. I'll take a leap of faith (yeesh...) and go with the IMDb's "Marian". Presumably the IMDbers at least read the original novel.)

Gretchen was simply adorable, especially in the first of her two scenes; her hair was curled (I like it when her hair is curled). Cute as a button. Even her red lipstick didn't look that bad, partly because this was set in the 1950's; I don't think they had the vast color range that they have these days. (The narrator - Archie Goodwin, played by Timothy Hutton - calling Hinckley "a dish" got a self-conscious laugh of agreement from me.)

I taped a bit of it, then set the VCR to record the whole movie's second showing. Ironically, it turned out she was only in the two scenes I recorded the first time around! No matter. Not only did the first copy get eaten later, but I saw something highly amusing in the opening/closing credits. But first, a quick digressional paragraph or two:

Read the IMDb entry for my pet obsession and you'll note something odd. Not only does (as I write this) Nero Wolfe have two entries (one as a TV series, one as a film - both sort of apply, it's kind of complex**) but one of them misspells her name as "Gretchan Egolf". No matter, I figured it was a typo.

(** It could be seen as a series of movies, except some - as I remember - are only one hour long. It could be seen as a TV mini-series, but that still doesn't work because of the episodes' different lengths. Some last an hour, some last two, and I think there was a two-part one that was four hours total.)

The actual credits were made more memorable by the fact that her name, in inch-high type, prominently featured an "A" in place of the second "E". For once, the IMDb was right. I'd like to give a nod to whoever punched that in: good show.

Incidentally, I know that "Gretchan" is a name, a variant spelling of the real issue. (I've beaten that one to death already.) As are, according to a baby-name/numerologyish*** page I found: "Gretchene", "Gretchenn", "Gretchenne", "Gretchin", "Gretchon", "Gretchun", and "Gretchyn"****. (Though a couple of those are really out there.)

(*** It didn't mention numerology outright - save a few vague "mathematical formula" comments I found - but with a name like You do know what the Kabala (or Qabbalah, as I am wont to spell it) is, don't you? Of course, they have their own take on it.)

(**** Am I the only person who sees the name "Gretchyn" and automatically thinks "Oh God, not another RPGer!"?)

I know it's a name. It's just not hers, unless she's been misleading publications and production companies her entire adult life.

October 15, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V10.5)
Hmmm. I was looking at those "Gretchen" variants listed above and realized something. It's possible to take a name that's not incredibly amazing to start with and really louse it up. If you have ANY of these as a name, stop reading. Unless you have a good sense of humor. Feel free to make fun of my name all you want. Lord knows I've cut into it enough.

"Gretchan" - It almost works. If I didn't keep thinking of someone stereotypically Chinese. See also: "Gretchin".

"Gretchenn" - Never get your child baptized by someone who stutters. I'm not a fan of redundant letters. (The "O" in my first name is not redundant. It's there for balance.)

"Gretchene" - My high-90s average in chemistry leads me to think this is a Gretchen containing double carbon-carbon bonds. (I can't help but default to pronouncing it "Gretch-ene".) More reactive than a regular Gretchen, so she ignites easier. You can go further if you have it in your car, but you have to pay more at the pump. What next, a triple-bond "Gretchyne" or a single-bond "Gretchane"? A new aromatic hydrocarbon: benzo-Gretchene? Identifiable simply because she always smells rather nice, she has many uses in industry (including the manufacture of explosives) but will later be proved carcinogenic if she gets inside you. (Dear God, I've gone off the deep end.)

"Gretchenne" - For people who can't decide if they're German or French.

"Gretchin", "Gretchon" and "Gretchun" - I'm sorry, but I can't see any of these as being viable....

"Gretchin" sounds like it was written down by someone lacking previous experience reading the name.

"Gretchon" is just out there. I can't say it's wrong; it just isn't right.

"Gretchun" is wrong, on the other hand. I'm not wishy-washy on this one. My condolences if you have this name.

"Gretchyn" - Sorry, it still reeks of a tacky RPG. The ones where dragons are Wyrms, goblins are goblyns, etc. etc.

"Gretchen" - Hey, don't mess with mediocrity perfection.

October 15, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V10.6)
Fanboy jealousy time! My obsessive fanboy TV archive.

Entschuldigung, ich spreche kein Deutsch. "The Doorbell Rang: A Nero Wolfe Mystery"... check.
"Roswell"... check, though only as MPGs**.
"The Talented Mr. Ripley"... check.
"Martial Law"... check. Twice each.
"Quiz Show"... check.

(** Hey, at least I can screencap. Including the dread "catching the person in a blink" we all live in fear of. It adds a certain glazed-over component to Gretchen's face, and improves the scene - if she took one high school chemistry class, she knew this entire area of the script was one mass of pseudo-scientific trash and glazed-over is about the best reaction to that that I can think of....)

So, of the IMDb's list, I'm only missing her "Cracker" episodes, "Nicolas" and "Leap of Faith" (though neither of those last two is currently anywhere the public can get them anyway).

October 20, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V12.0)
Been an interesting night for me. While double-checking an entry on this page, I stumbled onto a mailing list for people with the last name "Egolf".

(Someone in the audience sees where this is going. I know someone does. No matter, since most of you likely don't.)

Figuring that someone on the list would mention one of the better-known members of the family tree, I poked through the mail archives looking for a good-sounding thread name. Let's be frank: the 5th most famous Egolf on the American branch of the tree(s) is probably a regional used car dealer. I can name two Egolfs offhand. Two. And you know who the first is.

The second? In my archive search, I found the following item on writer Tristan Egolf. I figured it was worth a look since (through other channels) I had heard of him. But what are the odds that the only two Egolfs I've ever heard of are related? About one in a thousand, right? Read the following text. (Edited slightly for punctuation. No words added/removed.)

Tristan is indeed the author of Lord of the Barnyard.

His sister is indeed Gretchen Egolf, now in a broadway play, and living in NYC.

Both Tristan and Gretchen are adopted children of Gary Egolf.

Gary lives in Pennsylvania, previously in Indiana. Tristan lived for a time in southern Indiana, which is sort of the basis for his book.

(Snip some information on the bloodline back a few generations. Suffice to say the poster would be an uncle to Gretchen and Tristan. If the date given for this is accurate, the play was actually off-Broadway More Lies About Jerzy.)

Oh ho ho ho. This is interesting, since it shows evidence of a sibling and a slightly more complex parentage than I had hitherto suspected. Of course, I'm not willing to believe any random person. However, this person did provide information on who they were, and I can't see any reason to try faking being an Egolf on a mailing list packed with them. I'm not saying it's impossible, I just think faking one's ancestry when surrounded by people who are interested in that same ancestry is not exactly the brightest way to lie your way through a situation.

Moreover, a quick search on Tristan turned up an interview, part of which is quoted below. (Edited to better differentiate between interviewer and interviewee.)

Tristan Egolf: Well, I wasn't exactly lord of the barnyard, but I took care of a lot of pigs and chickens and sheep. Between the ages of around eleven and eighteen I grew up in Lancaster County, Penn., a rural part of the state.

Reviewer: And before that?

Tristan: We moved all over. I was born overseas; my father was a writer and we traveled through Europe a lot when I was younger. After my parents got divorced, I moved with my mother, a painter, and my stepfather, a bicycle explorer, to Washington, D.C., and then to Louisville, Ky. My sister's an actress and we're all in cutthroat competition. I don't mean we work against each other, but we keep each other moving.

...crashes any browsers. Let's see if my HTML abuse... With no major contradictions (save Tristan's fixed addresses, which aren't mutually exclusive anyway*), the two items act as confirmation for each other. While Tristan doesn't mention Gretchen by name, how many actresses are there with the last name "Egolf" who also lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during their teenage years? While Tristan obviously has some element of fame, I can't see any writer faking this interview. And faking it to be consistent with a second, obscure document that was written after this one? I'm often skeptical, but even I give it up after a while. I'll be a brave lad and assume that the facts presented above are truth.

(* Another interview gets all the addresses right, but the family wasn't referred to. Indeed, the interviewer seems to have assumed that Mr. Gary Egolf and Tristan's writer father are the same person. Nothing wrong with that, since I'd committed a similar ancestral sin when speaking of Tristan's sister, and I'm not about to condemn myself!)

So my pet obsession was/is a stepkid, presumably also adopted by her stepfather. Makes some of my German-related commentary completely off-base, since "Egolf" isn't actually her last name by birth, like that means anything to anyone save a few somewhat hinky genealogists. I'm just left wondering at someone with a perfectly serviceable German first name being paired with a German last name after the fact. Sort of a funny coincidence. (Not to say her original last name wasn't something even more German-sounding. How should I know? I'm obviously weak on knowledge of her family.)

But she's still my little German potato salad. Or something.

October 20, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V12.666)
Further Mistruths Regarding the Archon: Right now, I'm wearing: dark blue jeans, a dress shirt, an ascot tie, with a silver pentagram pendant (blue gemstone in the center pentagon), all topped with an oxblood leather jacket (cut like a suit jacket). I'm holding a glass of red wine in one hand and dictating this particular Chronicle to my secretary. All in all, I look rather Satanic this evening. Luciferian vespertine, if that weren't a cosmic contradiction in terms*.

(* Lucifer: Venus as the morning star. Vesper: Venus as the evening star. Can't have both shining at the same time.)

By now you might have decided that I'm lying through my overbitten teeth. Maybe I am, I'm not telling.

I'm here to illustrate a point. First, this wine's too old. I told them that, but they simply couldn't get any 1948, so they had to get the vile 1947 stock.

Second, I'm not against lying to alter my image. To wit: Somewhere on this site, I've altered a comment about Gretchen's ancestry to point out the unlikelihood that any random person is a stepchild, adopted, or both. Beforehand the unlikelihood was a given assumption (hadn't even occurred to me, to be honest), now it's a plainly stated fact. Read alone, someone might take it as an amusing show of ignorance. It isn't. It was written a few hours before Egolf Chronicle V12.0 was drafted, despite being dated over a week before (or am I lying about that?). It's a deliberate manipulation of my site (and my audience) in such a way that a false statement can be taken as a joke instead of as an incorrect piece of information. If the assumption of truth in Chronicle 12 is later proven incorrect, mine ass hath been completely covered since the cute ignorant joke becomes truth again.

Do I need to go through all this trouble? Not really, since the odds of it being wrong are a trillion to one. But with the problems I've seen of late involving disclaimers and the Internet and truth and all that, I figured I needed to drive home the point that this page is one big assumption and me sitting here whining about it won't do the trick. And that's assuming that I haven't written this whole page up from scratch and every supposed bit of trivia involving Gretchen is a complete lie. Like the reference to the particularly revealing photograph of her in the April 31st entry on this page.

Well, they aren't lies. If it's printed here it's true, to the best of my knowledge. Or am I lying?

Your call. If you'll pardon me, my wine's getting warm.

October 22, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V12.7)
Same ingredients, different similar flavor? Ever like something? A lot? Ever dislike something else similar to that first something? Ever realize that this is exactly the opposite reaction to 97% of the rest of the world? Ever get hit in the head with a brick of role-reversal realization?

Ever get a bit of a suspicion that you don't really like either of those things, but you're too nearsighted to figure it out in the case of the former? Ever realize precisely the point I'm trying to get across?

Ever realize I might not be talking about what you think I'm talking about? Ever realize that maybe I am? Ever realize that I'm having too much fun running this page?

October 25, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V13.0)
I was relaxing to some nice, peaceful death metal (Mortum's "A Cursed Mankind") and reading through some stuff at Sammo Hung's official fan site. And I hit the following in the "Ask Sammo" subpage, from early 2000. (Edited to fit this page's format, but otherwise intact.)

"RB"'s Question: Never would have guessed that the lady who plays amy has nice legs so will we be seeing her in more skirts in future episodes?

Sammo's Answer: Hmmmm... This is more a producer question.

I got such a laugh out of this that it isn't funny. (Parse that sentence, if you dare.) It's just so humorous on so many levels that I'm still getting a smirk out of it. At least I know that I'm not the only one who noticed.

Producer question. Heh. Excuse me for a minute.

Dear Mr. Goldberg....

November 6, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V13.1)
Trading in the death metal for Britney Spears, I visited another page on the Internet and found out something funny. Just follow these instructions.

Visit Google. Though you'd better open it in a new window, else you'll miss the next instruction and be left feeling silly.

Search for "Gretchen Egolf". With the quotes, without the quotes, doesn't matter.

Look at the first entry on the page. At least, as I type this.

You're right back here.

Ah, I knew that deliberately manipulating my TITLE tag would get me far.

Update, November 11, 2001 AD: Even further. The same trick works with Northern Light. But there's something funnier about Northern Light. They now have "Custom Search Folders", that try splitting the results up into different "folders" automatically.

This page gets put in the "Movies" folder. I guess it's because of my references to various... uhh... movies.

But that doesn't explain why Martial Law Season Two and A Half also gets tossed there. But it's also listed...

... under "Love and Romance", along with Martial Law Season One and A Half. The word "half" must have something to do with it. Either that, or the phrase "the bane of all true love", but that's pushing it. I don't love her, but I still want to be friends. Speaking of which....

... under "Friendship" comes several Roswell pages. Why? Vanessa Whitaker and her inhuman brethren were all members of a front organization called the "Universal Friendship League". Not my kind of friendship, thankee. After all, Vanessa Whitaker was violent, domineering, no stranger to using pain to get what she wanted.... Domineering.... Pain.... Hmmm.... Where do I sign up?

Martial Law Season One is listed under "Jokes". I suppose I am a joke, but that's a bit offensive.

Martial Law Season Two is nowhere to be seen. Ditto several other pages on this site.

Cat(harsis) fight! Cat(harsis) fight!, and both index pages get put in the "All others" folder. In other words, filed under "Misc."

November 7, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V13.2)
After some classical music while poking around Google, I'm back to metally-punkish stuff. Specifically, Machinae Supremacy. Give a listen to "Follower" or "Timeline" (ignore the Witchblade-stolen voiceover, which is IMHO a nuisance) or "The Great Giana Sisters". Good stuff.

But anyway. I suppose someone's waiting for me to mention the stuff Google produced about Gretchen's recent sojourn (just ended a week and a bit ago, apparently) up to San Diego to appear as Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream. But I'll be honest - here's all I know about Shakespeare:

I had to read Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and Macbeth in high school.

We were supposed to read Hamlet instead of Macbeth but there weren't enough books. We were grateful, even if it meant I had to sit in a class with a bunch of emotional juveniles and watch the Hugh Hefner-produced movie. And if Hugh's got his fingers in it, can't you tell that there was so-called "artistic" nudity? As far as I know, The Bard himself never had his tackle out on stage, no reason to start having his characters do it! (Yes, I know that these plays are pretty raunchy at times. I don't think there was quite so much full-on nudity, though.)

Of course, that doesn't explain Olivia Hussey's breasts attacking the camera in the version of Romeo and Juliet I was subjected to. Wasn't she still jailbait when that was made?

Olivia Hussey and I share a birthday. The years even look identical when written by a one-year old. Just like our names.

Watching Jesus of Nazareth on one channel (with Hussey as the Virgin Mary) while Romeo and Juliet runs on another is great entertainment. Symbol of absolute purity and lolling-in-her-honeymoon-bed teenager. It's contrasts like this that save the acting profession and its practitioners from earning my complete and utter contempt.

Macbeth is cursed. Several famous people have met with calamity after quoting it. Of course, many more have met with calamity after not quoting it. So, by my odds, quote a passage every night before going to bed and you have a 1/1000 chance of dying horribly in a situation that a non-Macbeth-quoter would automatically die in.

There's an old story (truth debatable) that a company had to play Hamlet without Hamlet after the actor got an attack of acute stage fright. So they acted around the Melancholy Dane. Almost the entire audience liked the play better.

Microsoft apparently has two CD format specs out called Joliet and Romeo. The second is - so I'm told - about as useful as the joke is funny.

You never call someone a "Shylock" at a bar mitzvah.

Kiss Me Kate is the musical version of Taming of the Shrew.

The easiest way to fake knowing Shakespeare is to download the complete works, burn them to CD, then use Windows Find to scare up text when you need a fancy quote. Hence my occasional use of the phrases "Bonny Kate" and "Kate the curst" to refer to Kate Botello. I've never read Taming of the Shrew, except for that one line.

Even a good actor can't make iambic pentameter English sound natural.

Getting the thin, mousy girl in the class to read the nurse's lines in Romeo and Juliet without any pre-study of them is a sure-fire way to get a cheap laugh at the girl's expense, since she's going to stutter over the point where she learns the difference between a modern-day nurse and a not-quite-as-modern-day wet-nurse.

The title role in Julius Caesar is great. You're the title character, so you get top billing, and you have all of one speech and a bit more before being offed. Why was the play even named after him?

Update, November 16, 2001 AD. From Rez: "Yes, a good actor CAN make iambic pentameter sound natural, but the trick is you DON'T just slavishly follow the metre when you recite your lines. Rather, follow the normal pattern of speech and let the beats fall where they may. Good classical stage acting is a lot like -- um, singing without music." Of course, I can't sing, so I can't really say. Anyone care to hear my rendition of the Pet Shop Boys' "King's Cross"?

November 7, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V9.4OT)
A bit of Roswell ranting I forgot to do before.

SF TV should never justify their science. They should just say "it works, let's leave it at that" rather than try to throw carbon-dating and that into the mix. Like the whole "Cadmium-X" thing.

I don't mind the idea of a heavy element being called "Cadmium-X" because it's supposedly a few lines down from cadmium on the periodic table. Some people rag on that one without knowing that Dimitri Mendeleev himself called the empty spots he found in his first periodic table eka-aluminum and eka-silicon - now they're gallium and germanium. (I've been told that someone in the episode mentions it's actually supposed to be a heavy isotope. I must've missed or misheard it. But until I have proof, I'll stay on my periodic table.)

But the line calling it "not human" was rich. Do humans have monopolies on certain elements? We're just masses of hydrocarbons and hydroxyls with some other stuff tossed in for good measure. Plutonium could almost be called "not human" since we don't need it - but it just loves slotting itself into our bone marrow and causing cancer like it was meant to be there. We don't need it, but we can't magically expel it from our bodies, either. "Not terrestrial" or even the hackneyed "not of this Earth" would have worked better, since the implication Vanessa Whitaker was trying to get across was that aliens were afoot (and she should know...). Whoever wrote those scripts needed a better science grounding.

And (of course) - since I can't recite the line without giggling - I'm left wondering if Gretchen's delivery is a superior effort at acting or merely another case of "ignorance is bliss".

(If you notice a variance in audio quality, it's because it switches from the Roswell good guys watching Whitaker on TV to a shot of Whitaker and then back. If you notice variance in acting quality, that's not my fault either. Poor taste on my part, maybe, but I never could say no to a nose that cute.)

November 18, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V10.8OT)
Well, it sort of ties into everything Nero Wolfeish. Hie thyself over to my Lack-of-Sleep Litany 12.0.

November 22, 2001 AD (The EGOLF Chronicles, V15.1)
As mentioned on this site, Gretchen and her brother Tristan aren't actually Egolfs (Egolves?) by birth. (Like this matters.)

Howsabout an Egolf who has that name by "birth", but isn't related to anyone else? The European Group of Official Laboratories for Fire Testing fit that bill. (I love that logo.) I'm told that they just happened to pick an acronym that worked (which is why the "T" is missing), and then were greatly amused when someone with that name showed up at the door!

So now you know why I used caps on the word "Egolf" in this Chronicle's header.:)

November 22, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V15.2)
Elsewhere on this site, I say the following: Sort of like how Gretchen Phillips (nee Egolf) sounds like someone related to the guy in The Mamas and The Papas. No wonder she kept her maiden name for her acting work (as almost all actresses do, but that's beside the point).

Well, I was sort of right. Turns out there is indeedy someone named Gretchen Phillips who's involved in music. But she's not related to any of the other Phillips' from various musical groups of the past, as far as I can tell. Nor is it her last name by marriage, since (as every page predominantly points out) this music maker is a lesbian.

It's days like this that I'm glad our* Gretchen is an actress**, a profession where keeping one's maiden name (or whatever name one started acting with) is almost expected. (Yeah, it's a habit picking up some popularity in the Real World, but let's pretend it isn't.)

For once the adults are getting more than the teens on a teen-type drama. I mean, could you imagine if she was an accountant or some other profession like that and was using her married name? Meeting with someone important and all of a sudden the important person asks, "Hey, aren't you that lesbian musician?"

I don't know about you, but that would about kill my day.

(* Our? Like we have her stowed in the attic or something?)

(** And a straight one at that. I'm just glad some guy's getting the benefit. Besides, it makes in flagrante delicto*** scenes like the one in this oddly green-tinted image**** a leetle more convincing.:)

(*** Though this is closer to, uh, in tepesco delicto? In tepescante delicto?*****)

(**** And just so you'll know who to be insanely jealous of, the guy who's trying to discover if Gretchen's lost her lower pharyngeal slits yet (and better seen here) is David Conrad, playing FBI agent Daniel Pierce. Well, playing shapeshifter Nasedo who's pretending to be Agent Pierce. While Gretchen's playing Congresswoman Vanessa Whitaker. Well, playing an alien in a humanlike husk who's also a congresswoman. Congressperson. Congressbeing. I'm confused again.)

(***** Slight update, December 10, 2001 AD: The proper spelling of my less passionate alteration of in flagrante delicto is actually in tepescente delicto.)

December 4, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V7.1)
I'm uploading things a bit early (I'd have held off for another fortnight) because this just fell into my lap.

Stolen from November 20, 2001's People. Or, at least, from a website claiming to be People's....

GREENLIT: NBC has okayed a new sitcom called "Leap of Faith," written and produced by Jenny Bicks, who won an Emmy for her work on HBO's "Sex and the City." The series, starring Gretchen Egolf ("Martial Law"), will premiere in March, 2002, following coverage of the Winter Olympic Games.

So much for my fodder for the next few months! I'm gonna have to learn CGI and do some cheap web poll thing.

December 5, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V7.15)
(Pardon my typos and double-uploads of this page - I'm typing fast. I want to get this out ASAP. Even I am not immune to the lure of the scoop.)

So much for my fodder for good? A gossip columnist (who I trust implicitly*) has spawned this.

(* Sarcasm-to-English Translation: as far as I can throw the Empire State Building.)

* * *

--NBC is ready to take a "Leap of Faith." The network has greenlit production on a midseason comedy about a group of friends in their early 30s whose lives aren't what they might have hoped. Sarah Paulson ("Jack and Jill," "What Women Want") will star as a woman named Faith who declines to make the "Leap" into married life. The project, from Emmy-winning "Sex and the City" scribe-producer Jenny Bicks, was originally developed for fall 2001 with Gretchen Egolf ("Martial Law") in the lead role; when NBC ordered the series as a midseason backup last spring, it did so contingent on producers finding a new lead. "Leap" will revolve around the relationship between Faith, her ex-fiance and her new blue-collar boyfriend. The show will bow in March, right after NBC's broadcast of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. "Leap" joins the upcoming Julia Louis-Dreyfus series on the network's roster of midseason comedies. Also on the NBC winter/spring bench: new episodes of reality series "Fear Factor" and "Spy TV."
--Sarah Paulson has joined the cast of NBC's midseason comedy "Leap of Faith," replacing Gretchen Egolf who starred in the pilot, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Paulson will play 33-year old Faith Wardwell, who backs out of her engagement to a wealthy corporate lawyer after realizing that marriage would have been the only successful goal completed from her list of things she had hoped to accomplish before turning 30. "Leap," from "Sex and the City" writer-producer Jenny Bicks, has received a six-episode commitment from the network.

* * *

For the rest of this Chronicle, I'm assuming it's true, if only because I am a fanboy and self-torture and overreaction are common hobbies for fanboys. Though I'm checking out the opening episode now just to see who in hell's the lead. But anyway....

I'm not given to profanity. I do use it on occasion, when I see fit. I use "damn" a lot, the occasional "bitch", etc. I stay away from the "f-word", since it's not really needed much. I have a large vocabulary. I never need that harsh and crass word.

Now, on the assumption that this is true, let all of us Gretchen Egolf fans join virtual hands and together say: Well, that's a total fuck.

December 5, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V7.17)
This whole Leap of Faith thing's gonna be a fun trip. I'll be looking for halfway legitimate sources over the next week and change. I'll bust a leg or two if I need to, though it's hard to bust legs over the Internet. Sex is easy, violence is hard. Just my luck.

If the previous item is...

... false, then I sincerely apologize for any undue stress I caused you. Enjoy the show. I'll be sure to kill the gossip columnists.

... true, then if any of you work at NBC, please understand that I do not advocate theft of unused pilot episodes for later digitization and/or mailing to me. That's wrong. Very bad, wrong. No, no, no. Cough, cough.

December 17, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V10.987654321)
Just so you all know, I've added some mirror links at the bottom of this page, for when you want your foozball fix and Tripod's down.

But onto topic.... I stumbled across a Christmas present for fellow fans. According to this, Nero Wolfe: The Doorbell Rang will be on Tuesday, December 25. 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM (Eastern or Pacific, depending on which feed you get).

Assuming it comes on at exactly 8:00 - though it's likely to be a few minutes off, what channel isn't? - here's a few moments to look for. Oh, and I take no liability for any gross errors, which are likely since A&E's split the episode into two halves, meaning that the credits might be shown twice. Or not. I don't know.

8:00:39 - Opening credits. Picture of a rotary phone dial, made more amusing by the credit list "Robert Bockstael, Nicky Guadagni, Gretchan Egolf".

8:26:30 - I'm pretty sure that Hinkley's mentioned during this conversation. She doesn't show, though.

8:34:50 - Another Hinkley reference. But, later in the same scene....

8:35:30 - "The pictures in the Gazette files understated it. Marian Hinckley was a dish." Here we go! Gretchaen shows up in a fabulous dress, fabulous hair, fabulous white gloves. Fabulous. You also get a look at the fabulous little whatsit on her left cheek that I spoke of in "Final Conflict, Part 2": If I do this too much I'll go blind.

8:37:00 - Commercial. Boo.:)

8:44:45 - Nothing to do with Gretchæn*, but the argument between Nero Wolfe and Fritz Brenner about the juniper berries was priceless. Gourmand and gourmet, such a volatile combination!:)

(* One word outta you on my abuse and misuse of a ligature and I'll smack you.)

8:46:06 - Gretchen and a truckload of other actors seated at a table. I'm not as impressed with the hair. Love the dress, though. As to who's in it? Well....

8:50:58 - I think that's it. I could be wrong, though. Tape the whole thing, tell people you're a fan of Rex Stout, or something.:)

?:??:?? - Closing credits, yet another reference to this Gretchan person.

Oh, and is it just me, or is there a disturbing number of "typoed" names in the Nero Wolfe guest list at the IMDb? (There's even more in the individual listings for each episode!)

And, check that schedule link and get a load of what A&E's taken to calling infomericals: "Info-Documentaries"! What a load of bull....

December 17, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V9.5)
If you happen to be here more for the Roswell stuff than the Gretchen stuff (not odds I'd bank on...) you might like Vanessa Whitaker's journal-diary-whatsit from the now-defunct I'd put it up for some Usenetters and decided to move it here.

The connection to Gretchen is, of course, tenuous at best since it's entirely about the character and I doubt the actress ever even saw it. (I still say it feels like it was written off of character notes and isn't entirely retcon, though.)

Still, you might like it.

By the by, the triangle that's replaced the pentagram I normally use as an "a" is the logo of the Universal Friendship League from I wonder if any of the 20-odd downloaders noticed.

December 24, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V2.301 with hints of V10.32)
I was looking through the Nero Wolfe items on the IMDb, and (after some abuse of the guest stars page) I realized something. Of the 50 or so people who have guested on Nero Wolfe, 30 are part of a "mini-ensemble". They come back several times playing different people. (One woman, for instance, has played Archie Goodwin's love interest several times. And not the same character, unless she stubbornly refuses to stay dead after being strangled in "Prisoner's Base"!)

The other twenty, of which Gretchen is one, only had one-off engagements. Taken alone, it's nothing. Taken with the fact that NBC has apparently bumped Gretchen off of Leap of Faith, one wonders precisely why. Conspiracy theorist fanboys will point at the networks and scream. Conspiracy theorist nonfanboys will point at Gretchen and scream. Heterosexual women will point at me and laugh.

December 24, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V1225)
Back in 1999, Gretchen spent Christmas Day with her parents. Assuming this wasn't a convenient coincidence, it means that her family worships at the altar of Somewhat Conspicuous Consumption. Or they're pagans in drag, you never know.

But anyway.... A merry Christmas/happy Hanukkah/joyous Kwanza/blessed Yule/pleasant day off work to all my page's readers, and special holiday nod to the assorted actors, authors, and artists who've been attacked, aspersed, abused and anathematized around this area. If it wasn't for you people, I'd be a fanboy without a cause.

December 30, 2001 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V16.0)
Well, this is interesting. (Update, December 21, 2002 AD: The URL has succumbed to link rot. Updated link and news item available here.) I found it while looking through a review of Ring Round the Moon. Might not be true, but there's enough presumably-true stuff to make it an interesting read. (Guesting on Cosby? Why does that just sound wrong?)

Wrong or not, some of it's right...
Broadway: Ring Round the Moon. Jackie. Yep.
West End: Jackie. Yep.
Off-Broadway: Speed-the-Plow (Alchemy Theatre Company). Didn't know the company, or the hyphens, but apparently it's true.
Cardenio (Musical Theatre Works). Never heard of it! (Update, July 7, 2002 AD: Now I have.)
Crocodiles in the Potomac (Women's Project). This is new. However, see below.
Regional: Indiscretions (Coconut Grove Playhouse). Apparently, yeah.
Hay Fever, The Illusion, Four Dogs and a Bone, and Keely and Du (Berkshire Theatre Festival). What? Never heard of this!
Film: Quiz Show. Natch.
TV: Cosby, Cracker. I still don't believe it. (Update, May 3, 2002 AD: Believe it.)
Juilliard graduate, 1995. Yep. Somewhere around there.

I did some checking, and a very nice person who works at the The Women's Project confirmed for me that the Crocodiles in the Potomac credit is valid. Even gave me the name of Gretchen's character (Jackie Crayton).

So, it boosts the credibility of the others. I'll be darned. This girl has a longer résumé than I had hitherto thought.

Hey, wait a minute. Indiscretions? Coconut Grove Playhouse? That's in Flordia! Is Gretchen making a 50-state theatre circuit, or something?

Speaking of which, here's a link to the Berkshire Theatre Festival. A couple of comments:

A) No, I doubt Gretchen was in the 1931 production of Hay Fever. Keep looking.

B) 1996 sounds better.

C) Sharp-eyed readers might have noticed that, just above Kafka's Wick in the 1995 listings, is a play called The Fox. No, it's not the same The Fox as Mason Phillips was in about a year ago (while the missus was keeping busy with More Lies About Jerzy), since Mason's The Fox was a premiere.

D) The Fox that Mason was in wasn't just a premiere, it was also a play written by Carne Ross, someone who's fairly high up in the UN.

E) No, there's no play called Kafka's Wick. The play, don't ask how I know, is called Kafka's Dick. No, that's not a typo. The title item apparently puts in a performance similar to Godot in Waiting for Godot.

F) Update, February 2, 2002 AD: Northern Light, whose redesign I am learning to hate, has some new Special Collection documents purportedly containing the phrase "Gretchen Egolf". One of 'em is for the Berkshire Theatre Festival's "Hay Fever".

January 12, 2002 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V7.2)
Apparently, given the number new Google entries saying it, Sarah Paulson is now officially the lead on Leap of Faith.

Also, given the same entries, the show is either going to be a breakout triumph or it's going to die an ugly ratings death. (Notice that I'm carefully trying to avoid triggering - for good or ill - the unspoken rule that causes all my assumptions of truth to be proven false.)

For instance, look at following summaries of articles I found regarding LoF. I can't decide the pro/anti ratings of any of them.

NBC's highest-rated sitcom of 2001-2002 used to be in LoF's new slot.
It got cancelled. Along with everything else that's lived in that slot recently.

NBC has made some great sitcoms over the years.
Just not this year.

There was a big hubub over the LoF press event-thing.
Because one of the actresses let a massive Ally McBeal teaser out.

But, no matter. I stand by my dissing of the very concept. And, now that all is said and most is done, I'm rather happy that Gretchen's not in it. Saves me from watching it. (Though, if possible, I'm still taking in the opener.)

January 29, 2002 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V16.1)
I suppose many of you lads have searched for "Gretchen Egolf" on Google. Well, did you think of searching for the opposite? As in, "Egolf, Gretchen"? While there's a few copies of normal sites that use the name twice in a row (looking at them makes me think of the series "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"), it's one of those things that gets brought to the fore. (How I missed it before, I'll never know.) Namely, a supposed autograph-type address. The site seems legit, and a Californian I know claims the address is valid (even if he doesn't remember precisely what's there).

Update: Seems the site is down on occasion, and this is one of those occasions. The address is now obviously wrong, though. But the worst that can happen is it can rot away on a desk somewhere, right?

February 1, 2002 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V6.35)
There's obviously something I fail to understand about Russian. (Google has it cached, if you need it.)

Or, if you'd like my handy-dandy Russian-to-English mangling, keep reading. Of course, this is just a transliteration, not a translation. Transliterated words are marked off by [brackets]. Some guesses were made, like where they meant "kh" (or ch, as in the mispronounced "Gretchen") and where they meant "h" (as in "Hinkley") since the symbol for both is the same. The "soften preceding consonant" letter is represented by "*".

* * *

[Gryetkhyen] [Egol*f] (Gretchen Egolf)



  1. [Neekolas] (2001)
  2. [Zvyeneet] [dvyernoy] [zvonok] (2001) ...[Mereean] [Heenklee]
    Doorbell Rang: A Nero Wolfe Mystery, The ...Marian Hinckley
    Doorbell Rang, The
  3. "[Meestyereeee] [Nyero] [Vool*fa]" (2001) ...[Mereean] [Heenklee]
    "Nero Wolfe Mystery, A" ...Marian Hinckley
  4. "[Rozvyell]" (1999) ...[Vanyessa] [OOaytekyer]
    "Roswell" ...Vanessa Whitaker
  5. [Talantleeviy] [meestyer] [Reeplee] (1999) ...[Fren]
    Talented Mr. Ripley, The ...Fran
  6. "[Keetayskeey] [gorodovoy]" (1998) ...[Emee] [Deelan]
    "Martial Law" ...Amy Dylan
  7. "[KHvastoon]" (1997)
  8. [Veektoreena] (1994)
    Quiz Show
* * *

"OOaytekyer." Love that. If you say it out loud, it sounds like one of those old digitized speech programs trying to render the name "Whitaker"!

The site seems to be regarding Martial Law, since the CONTENT meta tag reads "Amy, Dylan, Amy Dylan, [Emee] [Deelan], [Emee], [Deelan], [syereeal] Martial Law, Martial Law, [syereeal] [Keetayskeey] [gorodovoy], [Keetayskeey] [gorodovoy], [Gryetkhyen], [Egol*f], Gretchen, Egolf, [Gryetkhyen] [Egol*f], Gretchen Egolf, [aktreesa], [feel*mografeeya]".

Also, her name on the index page - a complete bastard to find, until you realize that the reverse E entries are listed on the page last - has an image attached whose ALT tag reads, presumably "Actress, series 'Martial Law'".

February 2, 2002 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V16.05)
A classic case of hiding in plain sight. I just tripped over a page I saw long ago and forgot about. How'd this guy know about that Cosby thing before I did?

And if I spoke Finnish, maybe I could decipher what the hell Lancaster County 2020 means. Beyond the fact that Gretchen spent some time in Lancaster County... but what's 2020? (Sounds like a B movie name.)

(Pokes around.) Hmmm. Lancaster County's neighbor (Chester County, the thing a Lancastrian has to drive through to get to Philadelphia) has something called Chester County 2020. Maybe someone got their wires crossed?

(Grabs encyclopedia, looks at map.) These so-called puritans are deviants. If you go from Lancaster to Philadelphia using something approximating "as the crow flies" instead of taking the 222 up to the Pennsylvania turnpike, you pass by two places called Paradise and Intercourse not 5 miles apart. Really, is it such a good thing to have any situation where the phrase "after Intercourse, we'll be in Paradise" might actually be uttered?:)

I'm sure someone's made that joke before. However, I appeal to an international audience*, many of whom don't see much Intercourse.:)

* Judging by IP addresses, one fan lives somewhere in Indonesia, but that could just be a search engine mis-hit. Another lives in Switzerland: amusingly enough, the same corner of the world where Gary Egolf's great-great-greatn-granddaddy died in the early 1700's. (This is according to Michael Egolf, Gretchen's uncle.) Hmmm. Maybe a distant cousin checking up on family?:)

February 2, 2002 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V16.07)
Another thing.... Anyone know if that Excedrin commercial Gretchen was supposedly in is for real or if it's another IMDbism that got propagated?

February 7, 2002 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, V3.3)
I do hope that those of you who get The Movie Channel have seen The Talented Mr. Ripley by now, or at least the first five minutes. They've been beating it to death of late.

(To wit.... Just for the rest of this month, all times Eastern/Pacific: 16th 9:00 PM | 22nd 11:00 PM | 26th 6:30 PM)

Speaking of beating to death - watching Ripley clip Dickie in the head with the oar just before beating him to death is immensely cathartic if you're depressed and angry, as I learned tonight. I just might need to buy this movie. Or tape that part. It sort of helps the realism to know that Jude Law had apparently cracked a rib during the filming of the scene.

Yes, I'm in that bad a mood.

February 11, 2002 AD (The Egolf Chronicles, Version X)
No version this time, because you've reached the end of the first part of this weird and less-than-wonderful trip. It continues on the current Egolf Chronicles page.

Well, if I start hating her now, at least I can call these pages "The Rise and The Fall", or something else "artsy".

Image links....

    Rating: Argh! (Martial Law, 1999ish)
    Rating: An Improvement - but that's not hard. (Martial Law, 1999ish)
    Rating: Now We're Getting Somewhere. (Nicolas, mid/late 2000ish)
    Rating: Hey, Not Bad! - unless she gets blindsided. (Roswell episode "Ask Not", 2000ish)
    Rating: Kind Of Plain, but considering the environment.... (Roswell episode "Harvest", apparently Los Angeles, September 22, 2000)
    Rating: Rather Nice - but it was taken not long after that first Roswell one. (Roswell episode "Surprise", 2000ish)

    The biggest sparkler you'd ever hope to find. (Roswell episode "Surprise", 2000ish)
    The biggest firework you'd ever hope to find. (Roswell episode "Surprise", 2000ish)
    I know what they've been doing together (almost daily) for over a year now....* (Helman Gallery Party, NYC, September 6, 2000)

* Sharing living expenses, like all married couples. What did you think I meant?

    It's a framing piece. What do you want for free? (Roswell episode "Surprise", 2000ish)
    Ever have one of those moments where you realized that you shouldn't have got up this morning? (Roswell episode "Surprise", 2000ish)
    You're a professor at a university and you don't understand carbon dating? And please don't try using "carbon dating" as a convenient way to make a cheap pass at me. I've killed before and don't really need much of an excuse. (Roswell episode "Skin and Bones", 2000ish)
    I see a strong resemblance: they're both pixelated. (Stolen from two different sources; click on 'em to find out more. That's all you need to know.)
    Some politicians get caught fooling around with their interns. This one gets caught fooling around by her intern. If I were a politician, I'd never have interns. I'd be resisting temptation and also less likely to be caught succumbing to it. (Roswell episode "Skin and Bones", 2000ish)

    Hey, how'd this Gretchen-free shot sneak in? (Martial Law, 1999ish)
    Another Gretchen-free one? Not that I'd be able to pack her vast cuteness into fifty pixels. (Bruce Lee for the Commodore 64)

Season One, Part One | Season One, Part Two | Midseries Metamorphosis | Season Two, Part One | Season Two, Part Two
The Index | The Annotated Index | The Progenitor Rant | The Original Page
Chronicles, Litanies, and Fanboy Obsessions: (Recent Updates)
The Egolf Chronicles: Current | May 2001 - February 2002 | February 2002 - July 2002
Image Magic | New Image Magic | ImaG.E. Listings
Len's Lack-of-Sleep Litanies | The (Previous) Litanies

Run along home.

This site and everything on it are Copyright (C) The Archon 1999 - 2005, unless otherwise noted. So there.
Oh, and if you use this stuff without my permission (except for the stuff I've taken from others without their permission...), I'll hurt you.
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