Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Lost--"What Kate Did"

One of the biggest questions on the minds of Lost fans has been exactly why is Kate on the run? Tonight, in an episode filled with lots of new twists and tidbits, answers that question. In short, it was murdering her mother’s abusive boyfriend by blowing up his house, insurance fraud, assaulting her arresting officer, leaving him fo dead, and crossing state lines to see her father. Quite a little spitfire, that Kate. Can’t call her lazy, either, now can we?

Kate has been keeping a bedside vigil for the wounded Sawyer. He is still fighting infection from his bullet wound. She even stays with him while the rest of our Castaways hold a funeral service for Shannon. It’s a touching ceremony, although it seems a little rushed considering how many separate storylines are rolling along in this episode. Back at Sawyer’s bedside, Kate dreams/hallucinates/your guess is a good as mine Sawyer reaching out and choking her while screaming, “Why did you kill me?” She runs off in a panic and sees a black horse in the jungle--the same type of horse she saw when she left her arresting officer lying wounded on the ground years before.This obviously represents something important. Considering the emotional bond between little girls and horses is meant to convey Kate’s lost childhood.

Locke and Eko are bonding inside the hatch as all this is going on. Locke shows Eko and Michael the Hanso movie. Afterwards, Michael starts fiddling with the computer while Eko reveals to Locke he found other splices of the film on the other side of the island. When put together, the movie doesn’t say much other than what I imagine is foreshadowing the season finale: if you don’t push the button, another “incident” may occur. Dum. Dum. Dum.

When Sawyer awakens, he and Kate bond. Jack approaches Ana Lucia on a remote part of the beach and hints at bit at what might have happened to Sarah, as he says, “Are you going to try and convince me all women aren’t crazy?” Meanwhile, Michael gets a message on the computer screen. He starts chatting and soon realizes it’s Walt on the other end. Fade to black until January 11, 2006.

Arrrggghhhh!

This was such a good episode. I haven't been all that interested in Kate but now I see from her backstory that even her family thought she has always been rotten to the core, yet she can have a sweet nature at times. I hope her character gets more redemptive development as time goes on. I can’t stand these long intervals between them! I already have to wait until January to see the conclusion of the Battleatar Galactica cliffhanger. Now I have another one to wait o? It isn’t fair, but it is fun.

Rating: ***** out of 5
The Gospel Meme

I've been tagged by Jack at Idle Mendacity with an interesting meme: quote the Gospel verses corresponding to your birthday. I used the King James Version for this, although I use the New American Standard (large print with magnifier. *sigh*) for my devotions.
"And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?"--Matthew 12:11

"This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes."--Mark 12:11

"And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:"--Luke 12:11

"Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus."--John 12:11
Anyone else who wants to try it should consider him/herself duly tagged.
The End of Reality As We Know It

There are rumors floating about that Lindsey Lohan has been seen cavorting through nightclubs with Johnny Knoxville. That would be the same Johnny Knoxville with whom Jessica Simpson had a tryst on the set of The Dukes of Hazzard. Consider if you will, the two biggest search engine draws to Eye of Polyphemus are Jessica Simpson and Lindsey Lohan, who now have a common point--Johnny Knoxville. This was unintentional on my paart, but must lead one to wonder is Knoxville is some sort of focal point, like November 12, 1955 was in the Back to the Future trilogy.

Could Knoxville very well be the center of the universe? Does all life revolve around him? This could be his world; we just happen to live in it. Such a messianic theory would explain the idiot devotion cetain teenagers have for him. One fan even broke his back emulating a stunt on Knoxville’s prank show. Perhaps rather than idiocy, that was merely a show of devotion, like some Benedictine monk flogging himself as penance. A cult that maybe we should all be paying attention to? Perish the thought.

But…but what if something happens to Knoxville? If he is the center of the universe, such a catastrophe could rip a hole in the space-time continuum destroying all reality. If we run the risk of that, plus the Cubs winning the World Series next year, I believe there will be an en masse conversion to Christianity, as the end will surely be nigh upon us.

Thou hast been warned, thus sayeth the prophet. What do you think, Jessica?
"If I helped destroy the universe, Daddy is going to be soooo mad at me!"

Yes, yes he will.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Roundup

Interesting news has been sparse as of late, which means another catch all posts in whih I tackle several small subjects and no one is spared. Here we go…

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is up for reelection and oddly eough, he is going to run. He has admitted the mistakes he made during and after Katrina--namely, not callig for an earlier evacuation, not using municipal buses in the evacuation, and waiting for the federal government to save him. The good news for him is that so few people actually live in New Orleans ow, can can try the same tactic he did running for student body president in high school: throwing an ie cream party for everyone who votes for him. Given the notorious corruption of Louisiana politics, most people will probably find that quaint.

Jessica Simpson is single. I didn’t have to listen to any Hollywood gossip to find that out. All I had to do was look at my Sitemeter statistics. Guys, I know she has low standards, *cough* Johnny Knoxville *cough* but let’s get real. Enjoy the bikini pics here, because that’s as close as you will ever get. That is, unless you convince her dad you can further her career and therefore his retirement fund.

I am already tired of turkey.

My birthday is coming up on the 11th. I will be 29. That’s an awkward age in whih you dread turning thirty because you have to grow up or you will be considered weird. I never envisioned my life being like this when I reached that age. Am I down in the mouth about it? Yes, but no more than usual. No one’s life plan are carved in stone. I accept that, but I wish things hadn’t gone so irreparably awry.

HBO has effectively cancelled Rome. Next to Lost and Battlestar galactica, it was one of my favorite shows. Production costs for the extremely expensive show were split by HBO and the BBC. It was a hit on HBO, but the BBC had to edit out so much of it, the stories never came through. It flopped in the United Kingdom, so half its financing is gone. It is dangerous to fall I love with a TV show nowadays.

Heck, it is dangerous to fall in love period.
Star Wars Personality Test

Yoda
You scored 37% airiness, 10% squishiness, and 84% edginess!

According to our patented JawamaticTM technology, you are most like Yoda in personality.



A traditionalist at heart, Yoda has honed his intuition through
hundreds of years of meditation and study. But don't let that fool you
-- he believes the old ways are the best ways. To him, the known is
preferable to the unknown.



Yoda is, in a word, reliable.



(The polar opposite of Yoda is Luke Skywalker.)




My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 24% on airiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 9% on squishiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on edginess
Link: The Star Wars Personality Test written by MiguelSanchez on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test
There Will Always Be a William Kunstler

Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark has joined Saddam Hussein's defense team. He has done so with the noble idea of Saddam's inability to get a fair trial, but how exactly is having an American defense lawyer going to help with that? This is pure ego stroking on Ramsey's part, and not for the first time. Like Kunstler, he has been an apologist for every evil regime of the last 20 years.
O Canada

Liberals did not survive a no confidence vote last week in the Canadian parliament, therefore there has been a call for new elections. Uh, big deal. The Liberals have been plagued by scandal which the politically connected news groups in Canada have barely covered, yet no one can reasonably expect the new elections to turn out any different than the last. Does anyone really think a country that legalized pot, considers handing out other drugs, sanctioned gay marriage, maintains an expensive, overburdened socialized health system, and dismantles its military is suddenly going to turn red? No way. Come election day, it will be meet the new boss, same as the old.

The Liberals are corrupt and arrogant, not unlike the current GOP, but the Canadians aren’t ready to hand over control to Paul Harper and the Conservatives. Who can blame them? Would you present this man on the world stage:I have my doubts.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Musings of an X-Phile

Another blog to which I refuse to link to out of general principle had a post earlier today featuring the blogger’s favorite episodes of the X-Files. I am a big fan of that show. It’s one of the best science fiction shows of all time. I have stopped reviewing Bones, which I did earlier this season, because of how much the show tries to copy the exploits of agents Mulder & Scully and just can’t pull it off. As content ideas have been a little sparse of late, I’m going to copy said blogger’s idea. Here are my favorite episodes of the X-Files. Pretend to give a rat’s behind, won’t you?

1. “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’”--Everyone involved in a supposed abduction is interviewed by low rent author Jose Chung. They all have wildly different and hilarious views on what actually happened. The episode had some of the best lines of the series: her hair was red…a little too red, you don’t play Dungeons & Dragons for years without learning a little something about courage, They found your bleeping alien, and tons more. Add in Jesse Ventura and Alex Trebek as Men In Black, and you’ve got the best X-Files of all time.

2. “Ghost in the Machine”--A different sort of Monster of the Week theme. This time, an inventor creates a security system with a survival instinct. When the CEO of a company using the system wants to shut it down, the system kills him. Who in the world would believe that? It ends in classic fashion--the government steal the system for ambiguous, but no doubt nefarious purposes.

3. “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man“--Here we find out that CSM has been behind everything from JFK’s assassination to the 1980 Miracle on Ice--or was he? A nifty mythology episode.

4. ”The Host”--Mulder is insulted to be investigating a dead body that washes up in the New Jersey sewers--until he realizes the killer is a giant fluke worm. Creeped the heck out of me the first time I saw it.

5. “Beyond the Sea”--After Scully's father passes away, her scepticism is tested by a prisoner on death row who claims that by using recently gained psychic powers, he can help catch a kidnapper. And without Mulder's guidance, she must decide for herself whether or not the man's visions are truth or a by-product of her grief. The first time Boggs looked up at Scully, smiled, and said, “Did you get my message, Starbuck?” I almost dove under the bed. The last scene is one of my favorites of any moment in TV. Boggs is being marched to the gas chamber. Along both sides of the hallway are the ghosts of everyone he murdered watching him the whole time.

6. “Small Potatoes”--Mulder & Scully go to a small town to investigate a suspect who is nearly impossible to catch as he can alter his facial appearance. Eventually, he replaces Mulder and tries to put the moves on Scully.

7. “Post-Modern Prometheus”--A letter from a single mother brings Mulder and Scully to a small mid-Western town where they pick up the trail of a modern-day Frankenstein., whom they befriend and take to a Cher concert.

8. “Bad Blood”-- In the same vein (heh) of “Jose Chung,“ Agents Mulder and Scully are at odds over how to explain their part in a bizarre death that occurred while investigating an X-File case involving vampires in Texas.

9. “The Field Where I Died”--Mulder has past life regression while investigating a Jonestown-like suicide cult.

10. “The Pine Bluff Variant”--While investigating a dangerous group of anti-government terrorists experimenting with biological warfare, Scully begins to grow suspicious of Mulder, whose increasingly strange behaviour suggests he may be serving another agenda. Actually, Mulder is serving as a double agent for the government. Thi episode is memorable for one scene in particular. The terrorists are using flesh eating bacteria. They plan to put it on the money supply at a federal reserve, but want to test it first. They do so on a roll of movie tickets. We see the movie screen, but the theater is deathly quiet. As we pan the audience, we see everyone is a skeleton, still wearing clothes and with popcorn boxes in their laps. I can’t believe they got away with that on network television.
EU Could Suspend Nations Over CIA Prisons

Sheesh. Would you have ever imagined a time when Jordan calls for an all-out war against terrorism in alliance with the US while Belgium, France, and Germany want to back down? The times, they are a'changin'.
Kudoes to Jolie

I often find Hollywood activistism to be obnoxious, self-serving, and hypocritical, but I have to hand it to Angelina Jolie--not many people in general would travel to the mountains of Pakistan to make the case for more aid to earthquake victims, much less Hollywood starlets.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Ulysses

Years ago this poem struck me as poignant. I just ran across it again recently. It resonates with me even more now, expecially the last stanza and a half of Alfred Lord Tennyson's epic:
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die
. It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in the old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal-temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Estate Planning at Its Finest

Friday, November 25, 2005

Ghosts of Christmas Past & Future

Everyone is gone today. They have either gone to work or gone shopping, respectively. I’ve had this quiet time to play with the cat fo one thing and reflect for another. Right now the Christmas tree is up in the living room. It irritates Boo, as cats are used to things being a certain way and dislike change. In that regard, the entire year has been hard for her. She has moved to a new house and seen my eldest niece, with whom she has bonded, leave for college. I am sympathetic, as I have moved to this new home, too, and am without anyone I have “bonded” with in the past, either because of death or distance. I have a different beef with the Christmas tree--there are no presents under it. I’ve always thought that was depressing.

In my previous life, we always bought presents and stacked them in an unused room in the back of the house. We usually started shopping in Octoberr or so, as well, for specially requested items. At no point was out tree ever without presents. We often took the tree on Christmas day just because. None of us ever went for the idea that it is bad luck to take the tree down before New Year’s. Considering how life turned out for all of us, maybe we should have. You know what? That sort of good holiday tradition happened so long ago, I can’t even tell you the last year every fell into place. Could it have been 1990? That’s possible. I remember some of the last family “heart-to-hearts” before everyone said the heck with it and started doing their own thing a few months later.

I’m not being materialistic when I say I lament a tree without presents. It has been years since anyone around me actually celebrated a real Christmas to the point I no longer cared about the giving or receiving of gifts. When I said above that everyone started to do their own thing, I included myself in it. Whenever I wanted anything, I just went out and got it, no matter what time of the year. I’ve never been an extravagant shopper, so who cares if I did? While I do lament the loss of family fellowship for the last 14 years, I have to admit it has helped me embrace the spiritual aspects of Christmas. Ironic I know, considering it is really a pagan holiday and jesus was most likely born in the Spring. (Shepherds don’t keep their flocks out in December.) I think--without ego--that I appreciated it more than many of my devout friends who got caught up in the gimme gimme of the season.

Not to say that I don’t do the same. I ran out and bought anything I wanted without consulting anyone else at any point. That surely fits someone’s definition of materialistic. Consider me contradicting myself or being judgmental if you wish. I won’t argue with it. I’m just putting my thoughts down for myself and interested parties to see.

I used to feel this sense of melancholy around the holidays in the past. My family had fallen apart. I knew no one was going to be there except mother who’d hit the bottle three or four days before Christmas and stay there until I left for vollege, my apartment, or law school, depending upon the year. I always thought I was eventually going to escape. One day, I’d have my own house, my own brood who would never look at me in anger for ruining their childhood memories. Kids forget much of the year passed their birthdays and Christmas. It isn’t fair to take thoe days away from them.

Alas, that is not meant to be. I can only wonder if I would have made my future family’s holiday’s special or if I would have just corrupted them into another generation of gimme gimme. I always thought my disabilities were going to make that aspect of life hard. I never discusse it with anyone and sunk my claws into anyone who dared insinuate anything about it. Maybe subconsciously, I knew it was impossible, but I never let on I thought that way. I always assumed their would be someone out there anyway. It never dawned on me life was going to end this way, with me staring at a bare Christmas tree, petting a cat that isn’t even mine, while everyone else gone on about their lives. From here on out, no less.

I suppose there is a certain inevitableness to this. Everyone hit’s a wall at some point in their lives. I’ve had a heck of a lot more chances than most, and think I played a good game with the hand I was dealt. I’m grateful for the good times. I wish I had embraced them more. I’m even grateful for the lessons learned about the rotten times. I’ve have mixed emotions when I meet optimistic, naïve people. For one I am irritated that I have learning experiences scarred ion me that they’ve only seen on After School Specials, yet I am glad they were spared the angst that haunts me. Sometimes I suspect I have taken affliction just so someone else soft could be spared. I don’t say so in self pity or a sense of heroism, just as a matter of symmetry.

On the first day of class as a political science major, my professor got up and said, “The definition of politics is the allocation of scarce resources: who gets what, when, how and at what cost. That will be the first question on your final exam. Miss it, and you fail the course.” That was ingrained in every last one of u throughout the four years with toiled with the subject. In my own mind, I extened the definition to the intangibles. There is only so much love, peace, faith, health, and hope to go around. For someone to get it, someone else has to do without. I don’t know how valid that is, mind you. I always thought it had a sense of poetry about it, so I floated the idea about to anyone who cared to hear about armchair philosophy. I’ve bounced it around in my mind again in these last few months. I still wonder how true it is.

If it is true, then I guess I am glad someone out there is happier than they would otherwise be while I struggle. I wish I had a warmer heart in saying that, as Christ would want me to, but I really can’t. I’m fallible, weak, and weary. It is the best I can do, but at least I have it all out in the open now. Whatever the next weeks and months bring for me, whatever existence I eke out, I keep this thought in mind: the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Have you ever really thought about that? What it truly means? The heart attitude it calls upon you to have should certain dire circumstances arise? I never did in my previous life, no matter how bad things got. No I do. Knowledge can be a dangerous, costly thing to seek, particularly spiritual knowledge. O know that now, and I am going to be keenly aware of it the remainder of my days. I suppose in the grand scheme o things, that is highly worthwhile. Much of me still regrets how things have turned out. Emotionally, anyway. Logically--blessed be the name of the Lord.
Pat Morita (1932-2005)


Mr. Miyagi (and original owner of the Fonz's hangout) has passed on. There will be no more, "Wax on, wax off." Godspeed, Mr. Morita.
Upon Further Reflection...Oops

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a likely VP candidate for the Democrats in 2008, admitted that after further study, he realizes he was not drafted by the Kansas City A's in 1966 after all. Richardson apologizes for sprucing up his campaigns with the falsehood. In a realted story, I realize after discussing the issue with friends and family that I was, in fact, never king of Prussia. I am sorry for the confusion. I am currently correcting all printed resumes. Please disregard if you received one with the erroneous information. Let it be known I am still looking for a small country to be absolute ruler over despite this unfortunate setback.
No Reviews for The Apprentice

No reviews of The Apprentice doubleheader tonight. As noted in the last post, I had other things to do besides watch television--like mourn my Cowboys defeat at the hands of the Broncos. To lose by an overtime field goal is just too painful to dwell upon. We are still on for the playoffs though, babe. I'm still thinking Randal is going to win. I have heard buzz that the editing of tonight's two episodes showcaed him in a fantastic light. I'm going to be sorry to see that cute little Rebecca go when the time comes.

Speaking of babes and having better things to do, I note that a lot of you took notice that Jessica Simpson officially split with her hubby, Nick. More accurately, about 1200 of you did. It’s Thanksgiving and you guys are on the internet looking for naked pictures of Jessica Simpson? So are you all thankful she’s single again, shows off a lot of skin in photos, or some combination of the two? I have to admire you keeping in the spirit of the holiday, but I’ll bet that’s not what Ben Franklin had in mind.

Oh, who am I kidding? He was a womanizer. He’d probably visit Eye of Polypemus for bikini pics, too.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Stuffed

The festivities ended a short while ago. Now most everyone is sprawled out with bellies full of turkey and cranberries. Even Lexi and Boo have been seen laid flat and grunting with satisfaction. We are all in a state of what can best be described as fat, dumb, and happy. I thought I’d sit back and watch the Dallas Cowboys play the Denver Broncos and cruise the web a bit while things are quiet.

Thanksgiving was interesting this year. Tony’s mother is in declining health and rally can’t host the whole family. It hasn’t been said, but I think I have just experienced the new tradition of my sister, Denise, hosting. We had all the trappings of a traditional southern Thanksgiving. I don’t care if the holiday did originate in New England, no one does big family meals the way southerners do. We will be eating turkey, macaroni, and oreo crème pies right on up until Christmas when it will be time to cook it all over again.

One thing made this holiday significant, and it is something I don’t think I have ever mentioned here. It has been deliberate. Considering what I have said about the last few years of my life, I don’t think you, my dear readers, would believe such a soap opera thing, but now I don’t care. Denise and I discovered on the day of our mother’s funeral that we had a sister we knew nothing about. It was hard to wallow at first, but considering who or mother was and the depths of cruelty she could reach, we both realized abandoning a child decades ago to a string of distant relatives never to be seen or heard from again was par the course for her. I can’t tell you that the three of us are bosom buddies. I turn 29 on the 11th, Denise is 36, and Dee is 41. We’ve all had lives of quiet brutality are mutually wary of surprises--particularly involving relatives.

Nevertheless, Dee and her husband have come down for Thanksgiving and will probably do so again at Christmas. I have not let the significance of having so much family around for the first time in my life pass me by. It is strange to note that I had virtually nothing to do with any of them in my adult life (through fate, not by choice) but it all came together anyway. I confess even my battle scarred, world weary, and antisocial self recognizes what a unique moment today was. I’ve never been much of a family man, mainly because I know I’ll never be the patriarch of one, but I know this is as close as I will ever get. The fact is not lost on me.
Happy Thanksgiving

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing I asked for --
but everything I had hoped for.
Almost, inspite of myself, my
unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men,
most richly blessed.

--Anonymous Confederate Soldier

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Lost--"Collision"

What a powerful episode. We have been waiting two weeks to see the aftermath of Shannon’s death, and it was worth the wait. This was also the first episode featuring a Tailies’ flashback. In this case, we got a lot more insight into why Ana Lucia is the way she is. I think there is a big telegraphing about where her character is heading as well, but I will hit on that momentarily.

We begin right where we left off two weeks ago. Sayid is cradling Shannon’s lifeless body as Ana Lucia stands like a statue holding the smoking gun. Sayid rises in anger and storms her. They struggle, but Ana gets the best of him and knocks him out. When he awakens, he is tied to a tree with everyone surrounding him. Ana is in a complete mess. She thinks he’ll kill her and doesn’t know how to convince him it was an accident. Everyone else is paralyzed.

Eko decides he has to save Sawyer and against Ana’s wishes, heads off to find the Castaways camp. He runs up on Jack and Kate playing golf and tossing out innuendoes rearding putting it “straight in the hole.” Kate panics when she sees Sawyer. Yeah, she’s hooked on him. Back at the Tailies’ camp, Ana decides she must run off before she hurts anyone else. She instructs Michael to go to camp and gather something for her. He agrees, and winds up nearly joining Jack in a hunting party to avenge Shannon. Eko calms them both down and agrees to take Jack to Ana--sans arms. He agrees.

Meanwhile, Bernard has had enough. He leaves to find his wife. Ana gives up and lets them all go except Sayid. They have a heart to heart and come to an understanding about how similar they are. Both of them have many regrets over the terrible things they have done to people. We learn in Ana’s flashback what that means for her. She was a cop once who made a mistake in letting a suspect reach for his ID. Instead, he pulled a gun and shot her four times. The suspect was later arrested, but she denies that it’s him. The cops let him go, but Ana tracks him down at a bar later. Outside, she confronts and shoots him four times. She was pregnant when he shot her, you see. Anyone who can’t predict that Ana is going to sacrifice herself to save someone--probably a child--has never watched television in his life.

I loved the final montage of reunions. Jin finds Sun, Bernard finds Rose, Kate comforts Sawyer, and Jack meets face to face with Ana for the second time in his life. It all proves what a great show this is. It’s not some cheap sci fi thriller or some tawdry soap opera. It manages to do both weirdness and drama well at the same time. That’s a rare quality these days when most shows have a hard time accomplishing just one of those tasks. Now, i still don't like the character of Ana, but at least they are explaining why she acts the way she does. Perhaps we will now get a deeper look at her. This was a great start.

Rating: **** out of five.
A Day of Thanksgiving

Tomorrow we will all gather together with our families and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. Virtually every civilization has had such a day--Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese. Most of these people founded their tradition because of a belief that the devine had granted them good fortune and harvest throughout the year. In the united States, it means two things, both of which I think we have sorely forgotten. One is fellowship and the other is the grace that God has bestowed upon us.

The first American thanksgiving festival was held by the pilgrims of Plymouth Rock. They had faced a long journey to America in the name of religious freedom and a hardscrabble time establishing a community once they arrived. If not for the help of the Native Americans, they would not have survived at all. The governor of the colony declared there should be a feast for the pilgrims and Native Americans to share both their fellowship with one another and to thank God for His guidance. How quickly, I think, in this day and age of computers, Ipods, and video games that we have separated ourselves from each other to the point the idea of such a fellowship is quaint. We seem to be separating ourselves more and more. Our self reliance and individualism is rapidly devolving into an antisocial storm of moral relativism which threatens to break up the glue that holds society together.

I believe that glue is grounded in a belief in god and the keeping of His commandments. If you do not, that is fine, but do realize and appreciate the Christian nature of our Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving was not an annual holiday until president George Washington suggested the idea in 1789. His Protestant Episcopal Church, of which President Washington was a member, announced that the first Thursday in November would become its regular day for giving thanks. It did not become an official, annual holiday until President Abraham Lincoln issued the famous Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863.

Lincoln's original Thanksgiing Proclamation came - spiritually speaking - at a pivotal point in his life. During the first week of July of that year, the Battle of Gettysburg occurred, resulting in the loss of some 60,000 American lives. Four months later in November, Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address. It was while Lincoln was walking among the thousands of graves there at Gettysburg that he committed his life to Christ. As he explained to a friend:
When I left Springfield [to assume the Presidency] I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.
Think about these two points tomorrow when you gather with family and friends ti give thanks. Remember the purpose of fellowshipping together and just who you are giving thanks to.
Withdrawal Symptoms

It forever amazes me how quickly peace activists are willing to sell out oppressed people in order to maintain their own misguided principles. They just don’t seem to grasp that the old adage about ‘fighting for peace is like…you know” is total bunk. The only way to ensure peace is to get rid of aggressors. Odds are good Iraq is going to plunge into further conflit. New democracies are always tough births. Recall that Shays Rebellion followed quite soon after the American Revolution, not to mention the country was divided over the issue of state v. federal for 90 years before that matter was settled on the battlefield of Gettysburg. Bear in mind the sides in that conflict still recognized their similarities outweighed their differences enough to be united in the face of conflicts against the British and Mexicans.

The Iraqis don’t have that luxury. Former favored minorities, Baathists, and al Qaeda operatives are pursuing their own goals regardless of who gets killed in the process. Just because our troops pull out doesn’t mean there will be any peace. It just means fewer TV cameras to show what is going on. Perhaps that suits peace activists jut fine. As long as you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist? Ignorance truly is bliss.

But the knowledgeable know better. The American armed forces are in Iraq to aid a new ally in finding its legs. It isn’t easy. It has been and will be costly. But the establishment of a stable regime which will also allow a permanent placement of US forces like in Germany and Japan will stabilize Iraq in the long run and provide a means to keep an eye on future troublemakers Iran and Syria. Vigilance is the means to keeping peace, not cutting and running.
Am I Thomas Aquinas?

The answer is a resounding no, as you have already determined. I am no theologian, nor do I claim to be. I feel that the Bible in all its intricacies is too much for any person to grasp logically. That is why Jesus spoke highly of the faith of a child--that is what is necessary to be a Christian. Lean unto thine own understanding, as it were.

So when I babble on about issues like I have in recent posts, I am doing so as a matter of working through thoughts on my own with no illusions of divine revelation or a deep understanding of theology. You definitely should not take it as such. Consider it working through issues out loud rather than trying to impart any wisdom. As life as proven time and again, I have no wisdom to offer.
No Surpise

Take the quiz: "What SuPeR HeRo Would You Be?"

Spiderman
You are a little on the geeky side, but you love saving that special someone, you jump from rooftop to windows trying to save the people of your town!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Angelina Jolie Becomes Citizen of Cambodia

Wow. Now she can have that grass and mud hut on a rice paddy she's always wanted. There will be malaria to bookend the monsoon season. If Brad comes around, it really will be the Pitts. Maybe they'll even get shot by a 14 year old member of the Khymer Rouge. Wouldn't that be the stuff of Hollywood legends?
Dealey Plaza: November 22, 1963

Oddly enough, I had completely forgotten what day it was until just a while ago. Forty-two years ago, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. I’m no fan of JFK, and neither was much of the country. His approval ratings the day he died was at 32%. His remaining policy proposals were carried out by his successor, LBJ, and they proved so unpopular (not the least of which was an escalation of the Vietnam War), he opted not to run for reelection. The Camelot aspects of JFK are history revision created by a nation angry that a disaffected loner like Oswald could end a presidency. I view the assassination with an historian’s eye.

In 2003, I was invited to spend Thanksgiving with my then roommate’s family. They happened to live in Ft. Worth, and I spent a day in Dallas touring Dealey Plaza (the exact point JFK was shot) and stood in the schoolbook depository where Oswald fired the fatal shot. It was an interesting experience to have seen the Zapruder film over the years and now to actually be in the spot. I have only felt that way two other times in my life. Once was the first time I visited Ft. Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. The second was standing on Omaha Beach, the site of the D-Day invasion of Europe. It was times like those they make me wish I had become a history professor instead of studying law.

At least I have the moments, no?
Navigational Defects

I don’t think I was very clear in the post prior to the Jessica Simpson indulgence. I wrote that on three hours sleep, and it shows. Let me try to hit on things a little better. In my usual state--unfettered by idealism--I don’t think there is a clear, established path that God ordains you must go down as far as things like career and marriage are concerned. Some Christians do believe that, and it’s fine with me that they do. I can see their point, considering how things are given and taken away for either a purpose we cannot understand or maybe that is all just random acts of time and chance. Regardless of which, guidance in life is often fuzzy and a wee bit nonresponsive.

So here’s my rub: at some point, I went totally off course. I fiddled around with exactly what point this may have occurred. The best I can figure is the late fall of 1998 for reasons I’m sharing here. I spent a year heading in the wrong direction and four more rolling along on a track I never expected to be on. It was so strange and so far off where I ever envisioned myself being that not much of life made since. That happens. I never understand the adage “life is what happens while you are making other plans” until the last few years. Is that a bad thing? Considering my wings would have been clipped by my poor health either way, I guess not.

I liken the last few years of mylife as traveling through a foreign country without a map. I’m not where I am supposed to be, yet there is not really anywhere I am supposed to be. It is all in my mind. Therefore, I can wander aimlessly through the country, seeing the sites and experiencing worthwhile things. It’s not a total waste. But would all that be worth it once I realize I can never reach my original destination? Should I have tried harder to stay on course? Would it have mattered at all? These are the questions I seek the answers to, and realize at the same time they are impossible to answer in this lifetime.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Yeesh

Jessica Simpson looks like ten miles of bad road, yet you guys can't seem to get enough of her. Simple rule of economics--supply every demand, so here you go:
it would appear marital troubles, therapy, and fooling around with Johnny Knoxville is taking a toll on Jessica. I wonder if her minister father will stop touting how hot his daughter is now that she is on the verge of being a Prozac Queen.
Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood

The Bible says we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12) We fight an enemy we can’t punch, kick, stab, shoot, nuke, or jab with witty banter. I gather by this verse and personal experience that the world is a nasty, nasty place. The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike, thus there are no particular rewards for battling this enemy. It is simply a duty that we will gain a temporary victory or two at, but ultimately lose until the world is purged of all evil in whatever spiritual battle you believe will occur, premillennialist or post.

Where does that leave us? Fighting a spiritual battle, yes. Preserving ourselves as temples of the Holt Spirit, yes. Creating a life on Earth? Ooh...there’s the issue. In Jesus’ teachings, he said to not fear physical enemies, for they can only destroy the body and do no more. Further, in regards to temptation, he says if your right eye offends you, pluck it out, for it is better to enter the kingdom of heaven blind than to go to hell fully sighted. Taken together, aong with many other related verses, seem to indicate a lack of importance of this life compared to the next.

So what is the purpose of life? Is there truly such a thing as a calling? Biblical figures had them, but for the Old Testament, it was all a preparation for the coming of the Messiah. In the New Testament, the purpose was to minister to spread the Gospel before the Second Coming. Id that it? In some ways, I am beginning to think so. It seems to me that God doesn’t call one to be a certain thing in a certain place at a certain time. Have you ever heard some of the evils backslidden ministers do and wondered if they were truly called to preach the word of God? Odds are, they weren’t. At least that is the opinion that I am developing.

I don’t--and never have--bought into the notion that God has a definite plan for your life, in the sense of moving chess pieces around. I think more that a Christian does what he wants in the confines a Christlike behavior and is utilized that way. You bloom where you are planted or you wilt away and die. We head back to the original point of how unpredictable this nasty world is.

I don’t know that there is even a point to this discussion, other than some rationalizations on my part. I am a world weary soul trying to tell myself that I’m not missing much by having my life peter out as it has. Indeed, the past seems to bear that out. It is more important for me to dwell on the spiritual now, yet I am not inclined to believe that we are born simply to live on Earth as a test of faith for a while, then die. We are here to accomplish things, to love and be loved, to leave a legacy, to climb mountains and lick strawberry ice cream cones. It is too bad those experiences are not readily available for everyone. What I wonder is, why not? Solomon said it is all random and nothing but vanity. Good things happen to bad people and vice versa. Here’s the ultimate question for me: is the world at everyone’s fingertips at one time or another?Just how doomed are people to fate?

I am interested exploring that question. What constitutes satisfaction? Can everyone achieve it? Is there a spiritual need to suffer and not achieve it? Why is so much of one’s life at the mercy of other people? What sort of bad things can rejection, dejection, and disappointment lead to? Are those necessary bad things? Do they make you stronger or more ready to embrace the spiritual? These are the thoughts that have been running through my head lately. I imagine they will be dealt with further as the mood strikes.
Tony Stewart Wins His Second NASCAR Title


Details about his national championship here.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Alien Nation

The Internet Killed the Alien Star: An interesting premise winds up being a mediocre essay regarding the decline of UFO conspiracies. Truth be told, the author must have never floated about the web, or else he’d see the tin foil hat crowd is out in full force after being probed by EBE. (Extraterrestrial Biological Entities, for the uninitiated.) The author makes no real argument other than the X-Files has been cancelled, therefore the fad of UFO sightings has waned. I also find it funny that he believes the fad is somehow attached to the Clintons and that the internet is a source for truth against conspiracy theories. That’s so naïve, it’s adorable.

It was the mention of the X-Files that grabbed my attention. I loved that show, and the Sci Fi channel has began reairing the show the show starting with the pilot last Wednesday. One bit about the X-Files I that it wasn’t so much aliens as it was the mystery of whether the government was up to shenanigans and using aliens as a cover. It was all about not trusting the government which went out of style shortly after 9/11.

Neither a belief in aliens nor conspiracy theories have died down. If I may be snaky, sightings of strange lights is the sky may be on the decline because all our secret military aircraft are being tested over Iraq now instead of New Mexico and Nevada. The conspriact theorists are still here, of course--it is just that the leftwing nuts have supplanted the rightwing brethren. Some are practically claimed George and Barbara conceived little Georgie for the sole purpose of invading Iraq at some point in the distant future.

Bringing the ,I>X-Files and its spinoff, The Lone Gunaman into this, The opening of the X-Files movie (where the government blows up a high-rise to hide something) and the pilot episode of The Lone Gunmen (rogue defense contractors plot to crash a jetliner into the World Trade Center to start a profitable war with a "tin pot dictator,” echo the rantings of today’s leftists conspiratorial nuts. Obviously the government doesn’t need alien boogiemen, it just needs to be controlled by the right in order to be scary.

Anyway, I think with Surface, Threshold, Inavasion, and The 4400 on television, and War of the Worlds and Zathura in theaters, the idea of aliens hasn’t faded from culture at all. So where has this guy been since 2001?
Memoirs of a Jewel Thief

A 75 year old international jewel thief looks back on her "career."

Saturday, November 19, 2005

New York State of Mind
It must be a slow news day. The Associated Press is talking up a Clinton v. Giuliani 2008 presidential match up. What in the world for--and i'm not asking that simply because it is way too early in the game. Even the article states why this is such a longshot scenario:
New York has not had one of its own elected president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt won a fourth term in 1944. Since then, several New Yorkers — almost all of them Republicans — have come close to the Oval Office or earned a spot on a national ticket.

Gov. Thomas Dewey, who lost to Roosevelt in 1944, finished a close second to President Truman in 1948. William E. Miller, a New York congressman, was Barry Goldwater's running mate in 1964. Former Gov. Nelson Rockefeller was appointed vice president during Gerald Ford's administration in the 1970s. Jack Kemp, a congressman and then housing secretary for the first President Bush, was on the unsuccessful 1996 GOP ticket as Bob Dole's running mate.
Well, I'm sure how much an Empire State Curse would matter. Clinton is a carpetbagger from Illinois by way of DC and Giuliani came to power through appointments in the Reagan Administration. If Mayor David Dinkins hadn't been so incompetent running the city, Giuliani would be a footnote in NY political history when you look up the term "also ran."

Don't get me wrong--I'll give Giuliani credit for leadership during 9/11. I think his constant calls during the aftermath to check the death toll from pearl Harbor to see if the WTC attacks was worse was tacky and so of his other actions were showboating. Being mayor, even of a large city like New York, does not a president make. He may very well sail through New Hampshire and Iowa, but he's going to come to a dead stop when it hits South Carolina. Pro-choice, pro gay civil union supporters aren't going to fly here in the Bible Belt. John mcCain never recovered from the Palmetto State primary in 2000 and he is iles ahead of Giuliani as far as conservative views.

I don't think a pro choice candidate is going to get the GOP nnod. it doesn't matter that Roe will never be overturned anyway. It is a litmus test fo the character of candidates as far as conservative voters voters are concerned. the moment we nominate a pro choice candidate, we will never be able to close the door to future pro choice nominees. Yes, I am an all inclusive Republican. i think the party is broad enough for everyone to be in, but i think the presidential nominee ought to represent the best to pary has to offer, and not candidates who have to adopt lefty positions to win in new York or California. I don't think it really matters much in the general election as far as abortion is concerned. The country seems just as happy to elect a pro lifer as a pro choicer.

I don't think Giuliani is going to get the nod. I don't know who will otherwise. i do think Clinton is the presumptive Democrat choice. She'll run away with it, although I picture John kerry hanging on just a little too long just like Bradley did against Gore in 2000. The press wants her for contradictory reasons. They are largely lefyist on the one hand and they can't wait to rehash all the dirt that came out about her during her hubby's administration. It is going to be the 1990's all over again. I am not looking forward ton it.
Paramount Gets Rid of the Killer B's

While Rick Berman is still attached to the as yet unwritten and undeveloped 11th Star Trek film, he and Brannon Braga are done with any future TV projects. It comes not a moment too soon. Berman offers his rationale:
I think when Roddenberry created The Next Generation it was similar in many ways to the original shows, but obviously with a brand – new cast and a lot of new elements to the universe and to the spaceship," he added. "But since then, we did nearly 700 hours of Star Trek." To reinvigorate it, Berman noted, a new show will "have to be something very fresh and new, and my guess is that it would very possibly be from someone other than the people who have been creatively involved with it in the past.
It is true that there was quite a bit of dreck in those 700 hours, but Berman leaves out two bits that are the consensus of many non-hardcore Trekkies. One, the Gene Roddenberry produced years on The next generation were the worst of that show's run. Two, the rest of the dreck was generally credited to Berman and Braga, who were pumping out scripts as much as possible knowing the shows would be rerun into infinity and the royalty checks would never stop.

The best bits of Star Trek since 1990 or so have been because of the late Michael Piller, who introduced an open script policy for for writers outside the system to pitch story ideas, and Ronald D. Moore, who created story arcs that stayed fresh for years. It is going to be tough to replace the two of them on any future Trek shows, as Voyager and Enterprise have demonstrated. At least we have Moore's great Battlestar Galactica to tide us over.
Class Act

Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones has argeed to a restructuring of his contract to free up money in order to keep star shortstop Raphael Furcal and allow the Braves to pursue a power closing pitcher. Jones i sihgned for the Braves throgh 2008 with an option for 2009, which essentially means he will spend his entire career with the team. He wants them to be a winner and is willing to sacrifice salary in order to do so. While it is true his motivation is more than likely another World Series ring to match his one from 1995, it is still a classy thing to do to help his team win.
South Carolina Gamecocks v. Clemson Tigers

Let's pound those Tigers, boys.

UPDATE: So much for that idea.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Called Bluff

The GOP in the US House forced a vote on whether to immmediately pull troops out of iraq. Democrats have been talking tough lately, but it turns out they are a bunch of bannty roosters. The vote was 403-3 against a nonbinding resolution to pull our forces out of iraq. withdrawal. Yes, it was a political stunt regarding something that should not politicized, but hopefully both sides will now be shamed into dealing with the issues surrounding the war in a more respectable manner--and no, I'm not holding my breath waiting.
Whoops


I don't know if Robert Blake killed his wife, but the civil verdict this afternoon was pretty definite, doncha think?
Superman Returns

The first teaser trailer for Superman Returns has arrived. We can expect a more detailed trailer shortly before the summer 2006 release date, but from what we see here, they are playing up the Christlike overtones of the superman mythos. This isn't anything new. Some writers in the comics deal with it, others do not. It became popular to do so after Mark Waid & Alex Ross took a turn with it a decade ago in the Kingdom Come miniseries. Have a look:
Note how an older Superman here has the wooden plank over his shoulders like Jesys carrying the cross and the rusty nails in his pocket. Some called it blasphemous at the time, but the story took on all sorts of religious imagery in a very respectable manner. But being a longtime comics fan, I am more open to such things being dealt with in "funnybook" form. I wonder how movie audiences will take it.
We All Want the War to End, But...

Hawkish Democrat US Rep. John Murtha called the continuing war in Iraq "A flawed policy wrapped in an illusion," articulating the growing feel that the costs outweigh the benefits. US Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) has the response fromthe most important constituency involved in the matter:
“An arbitrary call for the withdrawal of our troops serves only to embolden our enemies and makes meaningless the sacrifice of American men and women. The universal message I hear from our troops – from enlisted soldiers to West Point classmates of mine serving in the Middle East – is that we are making progress."
He also offers a reminder to the rest of us:
"I think it's important to understand the political climate in which these shameful statements have been made. Ayman Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's deputy, as well as Abu Musab Zarqawi, have made it quite clear in their internal propaganda that they cannot win unless they can drive the Americans out. And they know that they can't do that there, so they've brought the battlefield to the halls of Congress. And, frankly, the liberal leadership have put politics ahead of sound, fiscal and national security policy. And what they have done is cooperated with our enemies and are emboldening our enemies."
Via: Talking Pounts Memo
Bob Woodward Apologizes

Woodward apologizes for planning a future tell all book, er...I mean, keeping his part in Plamegate a secret from the Washington Post:
Bob Woodward apologized today to The Washington Post’s executive editor for failing to tell him for more than two years that a senior Bush administration official had told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame, even as an investigation of those leaks mushroomed into a national scandal.

Woodward, an assistant managing editor and best-selling author, said he told Leonard Downie Jr. that he held back the information because he was worried about being subpoenaed by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel in the case.

“I apologized because I should have told him about this much sooner,” Woodward said in an interview. “I explained in detail that I was trying to protect my sources. That’s Job No. 1 in a case like this. . . .

“I hunkered down. I’m in the habit of keeping secrets. I didn’t want anything out there that was going to get me subpoenaed.”
Old habits die hard, huh, Bob? Am I being cynical to wonder if he misses the notoriety of keeping secrets since Mark "Deep Throat" Felt passed on?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Apprentice, Week Nine

Tonight was one of the strangest tasks I’ve ever seen on this show considering Trump is looking for management material to run major real estate projects. The two groups had to each find an artist, produce a song for that artist, and then pitch it successfully to a satellite radio station specializing in light rock. In the past, Trump has not appreciated the more creative types among his candidates, so it is interesting that he wants to gauge that now in the current crop.

Capital Edge chose a pianist for their artist. He reminded me musically of Harry Connick, Jr. At one point, the project manager had to interrupt his studio recording session in to request toning down the jazzy feel of his song, as he was headed too far into Connick territory. Both the radio executives and the listeners who called in liked the song.

Just like last week, Excel missed the mark from the beginning. Clay moved over to their group. Rebecca welcomed him on the task because she felt he was immensely creative. I don’t recall at any point in previous episodes where he actually was, but I never argue with a pretty girl. It’s just good policy. Maybe I should change my mind, though, as Rebecca went ga ga over this Nigerian singer who reminded me a lot of Seal. He was much more a pop artist, but the group went with him anyway. From the moment they sat down with him to write, Cly was a pain. He didn’t like the song idea, he didn’t like the way the artist’s backstory was going to be introduced to the executives, and he even sabotaged the interview by letting him in while Rebecca was still talking.

That was only the beginning of their trouble. Randall got the wrong channel numbers on their presentation poster, and none of the listeners wanted to hear a pop song. Excel got no positive marks from anyone--the listeners, the executives, or Trump. Capital Edge won by a landslide.

In the boardroom, Rebecca took on Clay as being difficult to work with. Trump agreed. Every PM thas complained about him. Randall did a classy thing by admitting his error on the channel number rather than take his turn to speek as an opportunity to deflect criticism to Clay. Trump criticies Rebecca’s leadrship abilities, which is valid. She follows her emotions rather than her head way too much. In the end, Trump takes past success into account and even though they all made deadly mistakes, decides to finally fire Clay.
This Was Your Life

In an interesting case of symmetry, Ralph Edwards, the original host of This is Your Life, died on the same day a revival of the show was announced. Edwards lived to the ripe old age of 91 or 92, depending on the source, but you will never convince me he didn't croak over the fact that his successor will be Regis Philbin. Who could survive such an insult, I ask you?
Stoned

If he can get passed E*Bay's sstrict rules about selling body parts, William Shatner plans to put the kidnet stone he passed a few weeks ago up for sale. He hopes the sale of the "ultimate piece of Star Trek memorabilia" can bring in a decent amount of cash for charity. Noble idea, but man is this creepy.
Urban Decay

I’m a country music fan, but I did not watch the Country music Association awards ceremony on Tuesday night. I am now aware of the winners and am extremely disappointed in some of the choices. What in the world is happening to country music? Keith Urban wins Entertainer and Best Male Vocalist of the Year while I can’t name a single song he put out this year. I can’t name one mainly because they are not only indistinguishable from each other, but sound just like something emo bands like Rancid or the White Stripes would release. Country music has not just forgotten its roots, it hunted those roots down with a butcher knife, hacked it into bits, and buried it under an electric amplifier somewhere in West Hollywood.

I’m not one who constantly laments that radio stations don’t play George Jones and Waylon Jennings anymore. I like old country, but I recognize that older artists are going to fade away to make room for new ones. I don’t hear many folks complaining that the Rolling Stones aren’t tearing up the charts anymore. I remember the tail end of the urban cowboy days in the early 1980’s because that’s the music my parents liked. I went through my rock phase up until rock music was taken over by grunge and rap, then I switched back to country. These were the days of Garth Brooks and Billy Ray Cyrus, so I assume I came back to country at the same time older fans were being alienated. Even with me being tainted by modern country, the output of recent years has me dismayed.

It started with the duets. I didn’t mind Jimmy Buffett singing with Alan Jackson, and not just because I am a Parrot Head. Buffett doesn’t stray far from country at any point. But some of the other stuff has just gone too wild. Kenny Chesney and Uncle Kracker? How about Tim McGraw and Nelly? Who are the powers that be marketing that for? A combination of rap and twange isn’t going to please either fan base, and to my knowledge, it didn’t. Some things were good, I’ll admit. Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nail’s “Hurt” was quite poignant considering Cash’s history with substance abuse. The success of that sort of thing has opened the door to the watering down of country.

I don’t see this as the end. I have heard buzz that even the most adamant of fans were bemused by the CMA duet of Dolly Parton and Elton John. That may have crossed a line that will get country fans motivated to take back their music. Even some of the awards couldn’t have skipped over traditional country. Gretchen Wilson is as redneck as they come and she won for Best Female Vocalist. I was very pleased that a personal favorite, “Whiskey Lullaby,” won Song of the Year. It grabs me hard. If you’ve ever heard it and are even vaguely familiar with the last few years of my life, you’ll know why.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Lost--"The Other 48 Days"

Here we have the much hyped story of the tail end survivors, hereafter referred to as the Tailies. It would appear they had an even rougher time than our favorite Castaways. This was a unique, fast paced episode--sometimes a little too fast. Each day was introduced by a fade to black with the action sequences occasionally lasting only a few seconds before the next fade to black. Still, some interesting tidbits were revealed regarding the other Castaways we’ve been following for the last season and a third.

The episode begins right after the plane crash. The Tailies are in the ocean, dragging the wounded to shore. We get a similar montage as the Castaways had in which there is panic among the survivors, wounded, and the dying. After a few days, the Tailies realize no one is coming to rescue them. The pilot had announced they lost communications right before the crash and that they were a 1,000 miles off course. The real trouble begins when the Others show up. They sntach several Tailies, including a little girl Ana Lucia saved from the crash and promised to return to her mother. Mr. Eko is forced to kill one of the Others, but can’t save the kidnapped. He blames himself and withdraws from the Tailies. They do make a point to emphasize that he is marking up his walking stick. That must have some significance for future episodes.

Paranoia grips the Tailies as Ana Lucia suspects there is a traitor among them. She hold one fellow prisoner who was missing for two hours, suspecting that he was not on the plane. He escapes with the help of and is killed by the real traitor The tailies decide to leave the beach and head inland for safety. They eventually find a source of fresh water and decide to cap there. They also discover another Dharma hatch with a radio inside. Ana Lucia hikes up to higher ground with the radio, conning the traitor into believing she isn’t onto him. He tells her that he does have the kids and they are “better off now” plus the people the Others didn’t kidnap were “not good people.” We are unsure precisely what that means. The two scuffle and Ana Lucia kills him. The girl is racking up quite a body count.

Later, Bernard finally gets an answer on the radio. It’s from Boone in the drug smuggler’s plane from last season. So we did actually hear, “No, we’re the survivors of Flight 815!” on the other end of the transmission. It also means Boone has only been dead for about ten days. It is easy to lose perspective on that. Things are happening in a relatively short period of time on this show. The episode ends with Jin, Sawyer, and Michael arriving and we see the events of the last few episodes, including last week’s cliffhanger in which Ana Lucia accidentally shoots and kills Shannon. Next week, we go back to that storyline.

I still don’t like Ana Lucia, but at least there was a move to humanize her here. She’s more sympathetic as we learn her bitterness is over a failure to keep her promise to the litle girl she saved. Ana Lucia and Eko are poised to become major characters it would appear. That does not bother me, as I I think Eko probably has a fascinating backstory and much to bring to the show. This was an interesting episode. I think it was a little too much too quickly, but it was still one of the best this season.

Rating: **** out of 5
Subservient Donald

Have you ever wanted too boss Donald Trump around? Now you can.
Reign O'er Me

Oliver Stone has gotten over his obsession for mining the 1960’s for conspiracy theories and durm und strang long enough to reimagine the history surrounding Alexander the Great and now he is playing with 9/11. It is inevitable for Hollywood to address 9/11 but is it too soon to procide films about it, particularly given Hollywood’s political climate? Films about Pearl Harbor appeared shortly after the attack, but they were of the rah rah variety. Recall that Hohn Wayne’s fanciful, pro Vietnam war The Green Berets was released as that war was still on. No one expects any 9/11 film--particularly Oliver Stone’s--to be even handed, much less present America in a positive light. Hollywood just won’t allow it. I know that because of the negative buzz surrounding another 9/11 project recently announced.

Let me be honest, I can see why eyebrows are being raised on all sides. Reign O’er Me is set to feature the story of a man who loses his family in the Wold Trade Center and is counseled be his former roommate back to emotional health. The film is set to star Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle. The comments that Hollywood types are murmuring--and if you look around a bit for them, they are brutal--are not that such a serious film is going to feature the goofy Happy Gilmore/Billy Madison actor, but that he is a Republican who has performed at past GOP conventions and is a quiet supporter of George W. Bush. The fear is not that he will make a mockery of the film that no one will take it seriously, but that it will be pro American.

True confession: I see a lot of hyperbole going on with the Hollywood left and the potential center-right fan base for this film. It is going to be a small film with a relatively cheap $20 million dollar budget. Sandler’s salary is usually that amount for other films. It will deal with 9/11 on a very personal level, not some wide scale, jingoistic, “Let’s get those raghead camel jockies.” That will still be too much for the Hollywood elite. On the other side, I see a large group of folks not caring it’s not a jingoistic film, and hailing Sandler as a fine conservative representative the same way that Christians who decried Mel Gibson’s films as ultra violent and vulgar embraced him after his ultraviolent The Passion of the Christ.

It will be fascinating as the project nears completion just how much press it gets. Will the Bill O’Reilly, who probably thinks Sandler is a brainless vulgar actor, promote the film the way that Pat Robertson, who probably thinks Mel Gibson is a vulgar actor, promoted The Passion? My appreciation for the annoyance of the left coupled with my love of irony makes me positively giddy to see how this all plays out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Significant Other Quiz
Romance



Romance is most important in a boyfriend/girlfriend. You need romance in your life. You love the extra dimension that romance brings to a relationship and you tend to fall in love very quickly.


Perfect BF/GF Piechart - QuizGalaxy.com

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Itchy & Scratchy

Whenever I am in the kitchen making a meal, Boo always shows up. It’s odd, as I usually am not eating anything a cat would want, although when no one else is around, I have gotten in the habit of breaking off a piece of ham or turkey for her to try. Usually, she sniffs it and refuses. Nevertheless, the bond between us has been preserved. It just reinforces the notion I should have been a diplomat. Anyway, often I think Boo just wants to watch whatever action is most interesting in the house at any given moment and thanks to diverticulitis, that is usually my eating habits.

Last night, Boo strolled into the kitchen with two large white splotches on her. One was on her neck and the other on her left haunch. She smelled like baby powder, too. Boo is like any other cat in that she is insanely curious about everything. She is unlike most cats in that she is completely without nimbleness of foot. The poor cat is a klutz. I assumed she’d been into my niece’s toiletry stash and spilled some on herself. That wouldn’t be a surprise. Boo knocks over lamps, small furniture, and any glass of liquid she can find, usually with a, “Who the heck did that?” look upon your discovery.

Alas, that is not so this time. Boo has--believe it or not--dermatitis. I didn’t know a cat could have that problem. Turns out it is an old problem for her, one she had long before I showed up. She used to get steroid injections for it. I have a major aversion to steroids now that will last me a lifetime for the best (worst?) of reasons, so I am sympathetic. The medication she’s on now has a twofold purpose. One, it treats the dermatitis. Two, it keep Boo from scratching the irritated spots. That is necessary as Boo decided prebiously that scratching was not nearly as good a solution as ripping her fur out in big clumps

Boo has been and continues to be a major grouch. She has followed me around all day just to raise cain. There’s not much I can do other than listen to her complain which gets old after three minutes or so--to me, anyway. To Boo, it is an ongoing and mesmerizing activity. I can’t tell if she’s mad that it itches, that she has a self inflicted bald spot, or that she smells like a grand opening at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. We’re keeping all possible weapons out of reach for the next 5-7 days just in case she loses even more patience. We wouldn’t want the photo above to become a reality.
We Wuz Robbed

Albert Pujois wins National League MVP over Andruw Jones. All right, Pujois carried the injury plagued Cardinals to the NLCS. I'll give him his due. *Grumble* *Grumble*
Growing Up Gracefully

How did I ever miss this cutie? She is Alexis Blede, and apparently stars on Gilmore Girls. That’s a show I haven’t seen and no desire to. I’ve heard Ain’t it Cool News’ TV reviewer rave about it, but since he believes Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the greatest television show of the last 25 years, his opinion is suspect. I also think he must be a 16 year old girl in disguise. Stranger things have happened. Anyway, Alexis here is a petty little thing--kind of like a Cabbage Patch Doll all grown up. In this picture, she looks like she’s about to belt out “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company C.” I don’t think Gilmore Girls is set in the past. Is anyone out there willing to confess they watch the show and explain what’s going on?

Speaking of cute actresses I barely know, Katie Holmes has decided to retire from acting in order to raise the TomKat offspring. I’d say she’ll be sorely missed, but outside of Dawson’s Creek and some film in which she was strangled by some old guy whose name I don’t recall (I’m a biiggg Katie Holmes fan, as you can tell) I can’t recall a darn thing she’s been in that I liked. Now she’s going to retire from acting? Who’ll be able to tell the difference? The scary part is she’s going to devote all her time to raising her new kid. My advice? Hand the kid over to a nanny. Frankly, it’s the only chance the young one has of not being a total Zenu devoted whacko.

Later today, the National League MVP will be named. There is a better than 50/50 chance it will be Atalanta Braves centerfielder, Andruw Jones. Injuries throughout the season made the Braves’ outfield Jones and a cast of thousands, but he still lead them to the playoffs. Jones was the youngest player in World Series history in the (painful) 1996 series against the much despised Yankees. The New York Post headline the day after the Yankees won read, “Yankees Burn Atlanta--Again” We never have been able to take revenge, but Jones’ winnning MVP might offer some solace. Whadda ya say?
New Lost Tidbit

The Hanso Foundation website has been updated. If you click on the first link regarding The Life Extention Project, you will now be taken to a pess release. it's an interesting read, but go down to the last line. It is a hidden link that will take you to a scarmbled page that says Access Denied. Regardless of what it says, go to the log in part and type in "COPENHAGEN." A page will come up with the following quote:
“From the dawn of our species, Man has been blessed with curiosity. Our most precious gift, without exception, is the desire to know more - to look beyond what is accepted as the truth and to imagine what is possible.”- Alvar Hanso, Address to the U.N. Security Council, 1967
This is an official site. In the past few weeks, the creators of Lost have updated it with bits and pieces of info that will be of interest in upcoming episodes. It looks like we are going to get more insight into the experiment that went wrong in the coming weeks.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Another Memorial

Earlier I was flipping through the channels headed towards the Dallas-Philadelphia game on Monday Night Football when I ran across one of the WWE shows. I’m not a fan of wrestling, but I am aware that one of its biggest stars, Eddie Guererro, died yesterday of a heat attack. He was only 38 and reports about his death are awkwardly not mentioning that it was likely due to steroid use.

I stopped to watch the beginning of the show to see what kind of tribute they would have. I was very impressed. The WWE wrestlers were all lined up behind Vince McMahon and could barely control their emotions as McMahon spoke a few eloquent words. By all previous accounts, McMahon is a greedy creep who is widely believed to have supplied steroids to his wrestlers. Tonight, though, he seemed quite genuine.

There was a montage of still photos and video clips of Guererro in action set to Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails, “Hurt.” It was a subtle reference to Guererro’s troubled, short life. It was nice touch for a “sport” not famous for sentimentality. Godspeed, Eddie. Even though I didn’t know you, you were apparently well loved.
Disabled Veterans Memorial

It has never occurred to me that we don't have one. That's a shame--we should. A disabled veterans group formed in 2000 for the purpose of establishing such a memorial has selected actor Gary Sinise as a celebrity sopkesman for the project. The CSI: New York actor played Lt. Dan Taylor, a soldier who lost both legs in Vietnam, in 1994's Forrest Gump.

Yes, I do note the sad irony this is reported in the BBC but not the American press.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Regent Law Shenanigans

This is more about Jay Sekulow, head of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a group attached to Regent University that cherry picks the 'true believers" from graduating classes to do its grunt work. I am a less than thrilled alumnus of Regent Law (technically speaking) who didn't drink the Kool Aid and it's stories like this that make me that way:
According to documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service, funds from his nonprofits have also been used to lease a private jet from companies under his family's control. And two years ago, Sekulow outsourced his own legal services from the ACLJ, shifting from a position with a publicly disclosed salary to that of a private contractor that requires no public disclosure. He acknowledged to Legal Times that his salary from that arrangement is "above $600,000" a year.
Sekulow is supported with donations from followers who believe he is doing the Lord's work, and believe me, this is not an isolated case. A group calling itself The Common Good ewxruited a number of my classmates to participate in an American Center for Law and Justice like group that folded last year among financial scandal. I don't have to list some of Pat robertson's "interesting" financial and political deals, do I?

I have personal issues with the university and much of the student body, a lot of which I have been conflicted about how much blame should be put on me. it has lead me to question just how good a Christian I am. When things like this article come to light, I feel immensely validated that I am on the right track after all.
Going Out Like a Lamb

There haven’t been enough mews worthy bits deep enough to merit many posts this week, as I am sure you’ve noticed by the off kilter things I’ve put up. Only a few things caught my attention, none of which I could muster a thousand words about. Regardless, I hate to not wax poetic on even the miniscule, so how about a recap of things that wouldn’t make a good post on their own, but taken together make one manic essay?

I assumed, but did not know until a map graphic was published a few days ago, that a great deal of the rioting violence in France was occurring in Strasbourg. I only spent five weeks there in the summer of 2002, but quickly learned to appreciate the place. It was a fine mixture of old and new, both culturally and technology wise. It was an interesting place because it was an international city. Walk along any street at any time of the day and you will see just as many turban and sarapes as you will berets. The city had its dark side. There was a Muslim slum at one end, tucked away from the tourist spots and the Council of Europe delegations. Kids wandered around all day instead of going to school while their parents sat on their front steps chatting up neighbors instead of working. I never knew if I should consider them the benefactors or victims of the legendary French welfare system. That’s a conflict my conservative mind has always had about social services: how much I a necessary help and how much is a velvet cage with no key? I’m not sure whether to blame the Muslims as shiftless or the French government as not being as enlightened as it believes itself to be. What I do know is that the city in which I spent a quiet, enjoyable summer has become a war zone, and it upsets me to no end.

Bush continues to be unimpressive. He denies that we torture prisoners, which is something of a dodge. He’s right, we interrogate prisoners, and when they prove uncooperative, we hand them over to Egypt where they can be tortured. Cheney is struggling hard to prevent Congress from limiting ou ability to tor--er, I mean interrogate prisoner, which, according to Bush, we don‘t do anyway. Leave it to Bush to say in his Veteran‘s Day speech that we shouldn‘t criticize the situation, because you‘re an Al Qaeda sympathizer if you do. Geez,we‘re lucky that the terrorists are their own worst enemy or else one would have a hard time keeping a straight face about all this. I mean, really. Most of the world‘s population is against Us actions abroad against terrorism as being heavy handed. So what does Al Qaeda do? It sets off bombs in Great Britain, Indonesia, Jordan, and has a thwarted attempt in Australia. Instead of ttying to build up resentment for the US, it sparks the animosity of other countries who are either ambivalent to Al Qeada or sympathetic. The whole war on terror is becoming a farce for both sides.

All four of Gov. Arnold‘s ballot initiatives failed, thereby proving conservatives (even RINOs) are not welcome in the Golden State. The Governator is figuring out that he is no longer coasting on his movie star reputation, but now has the record of a politician to run on. Unfortunately, Arnold’s political record isn’t the big hit he thought it would be. I’ll bet you right now he will not stand for reelection, particularly since hi poll numbers are reaching the same levels as Grey Davis’ when he was canned. Sometime before the summer, Arnold will announce he will not stand for reelection. Perhaps then he will finally get around to filming Crusade like he has been promising for the last decade.

It doesn’t matter much hoe well he does as governor. The media has lost its fetish with lefty Republicans running for president in 2008. When was the last time anyone promoted Arnold, McCain, or Giuliani as president? No, the MSM has gotten its nerve back. It either wants Hillary Clinton for its own political inclinations or it feels like the scandals they’ll be able to cover will make for juicy copy over the next few years. I’ll be curious as time goes on to see which of those possibilities is more true.

FOX cancelled ,Arrested Development this week. I watched the show three or four times and never got into it. Frankly, what turned me off the most was the fans. When you declare you don’t like the show, its devotees automatically insult your intelligence. Good grief, people. How about different strokes for different folks? The show has bled viewers every week it has been on the air. Fans claim the network didn’t get behind it, but in fact FOX renewed AD against all better judgment for this year and got no reward for it. Other fans have claimed it is an indictment of how bad television is these days. I agree. If AD is the best show on, then it says more about the poor quality of programming than it does how good AD was. But what so you expect? Americans come home from an 8 hour workday, have to deal with spousal and kid issues, and maintain the rest of their households. They don’t want to plop down in with Shakespeare o James Joyca. They want to be mindlessly entertained. That’s what television is for. They don’t call it the “idiot box” for nothing.
Weird Quote of the Day

"My mother and Steven Seagal are the two most important people in my life." So says the daughter of the latest incarnation of Buddha.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Quick Quiz: What's Worse?

A. Being so famous that you can't even enjoy a quiet pizza lunch without paparazzi snapping pictures of you?

B. Having some half blind, crippled guy post those embarrassing and intrusive pictures on his blog like some crazed stalker?

Take your time coming up with the right answer. This will account for your entire grade for the semester, and there will be no extra credit, so don't ask.
South Carolina 30 Florida 22

The South Carolina Gamecocks stun the 12th ranked Florida Gators, giving them not only a good chance at a bowl bid, but the potential to win the SEC Eastern championship. Game recap.