Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Joe Biden: Open Mouth, Insert Foot?

Sen. Joe Biden was set to begin his2008 presidential run today, but he has put his foot in his mouth instead. Biden made a few choice, pretty much unwise either way, comments regarding fellow Sen. Barack Obama and his presidential bid. I am not so sure what he said is not just a slip of the tongue or has been inaccurately reported. (See Sen. John Kerry’s “tearful” ending of his 2008 presidential bid as proof of the press’ frequent stretching of the truth for the sake of a good story.) But more on what I think about it after I quote from the interview.
“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
The knee jerk reaction --and not just among conservatives, I hasten to add-- is that Biden’s use of the word “clean” is a racist implication that ost blacks are dirty. Matt Drudge and a ton of bloggers have jumped on that bandwagon to one degree or another. I have not searched around a whole lot yet, but I am sure there are long posts out there right now talking about Sen. Trent Lott’s supposed embracing of segregation at en. Strom Thurmond’s birthday party years ago and Sen. Robert Byrd’s use of the n-word on Meet the Press back in the late ’90’s. If I had to further guess, there is commentary that the left gets a free pass, as yrd did, while conservatives are hounded forever, as Lott is.

I think that is unnecessary talk here. A big reason is that Biden is not a serious presidential contender, so who cares? But the main one is I do not think he meant what it sounds like. I believe by clean, he meant no skeletons in the closet. Consider in recent years black presidential candidates have been Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Amb. Alan Keyes. All have some sort of baggage, either scandalous or are totally out of the mainstream. I am not a big fan of Biden by any stretch, but I have to cut him some slack here. He surely could have choen his words carefully, but I do not think he deserves a firestorm about this. It was agenuine compliment about his colleague.
Sheldon Leonard (1917-2007)

Sheldon Leonard, screenwriter, playwright, television writer, producer, and novelist (whew!) passed away. Sheldon was a jack of all trades and one of the rare men who was also a master at all of them. Interestingly, he did not try novel writing until he was fifty years old. Leonard is probably most famous for producing The Patty Duke Show and creating I Dream of Jeanie, the show in which Barbara Eden’s harem outfit did to your father what Carrie Fisher’s slave girl outfit did to you during Return of the JedI. We ought to remember him forever just for that.

You do not have to be a big fan of I Dream of Jeanie. You see, like Uma Thurman said in Pulp Fiction with Elvis and the Beatles, the world is divided into two people: I Dream of Jeanie people and Bewitched people. You can like both, but there is always one you like a little more. I fall into the Jeanie category, for what it is worth. What red blooded American guy has not wanted a hot blonde to all him master? Heh. No wonder our romantic relationships are all screwed up.

Godspeed, Mr. Leonard.

I finally gave in and upgraded to the new Blogger. Google is our new Overlord, you know. So far I am underwhelmed just like I am with every upgrade. Oh,, well. One cannot stand in the way of progress-- such that it is.
The Media's Crying Shame

Evidently Sen. John Kerry's tear filled announcement the press covered last week (and I blogged about) never occurred. At the very least, there were no tears, sobs, and nary a sniffle. I will bet he never even wiped his nose on his sleeve. Further proof of why you just cannot trust the mainstream media to tell you much of anything accurately and why it was a good thing I did not choose journalism as a career.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Reese Witherspoon XVI

Yes, two Reese Witherspoon posts in one week. I am working on fattening up my FBI file. Stalkers gotta earn their chops. Here are some photos of the lovely Ms. Witherspoon on the red carpet at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards a couple nights ago. I do not believe she was nominated this year, nor did i watch the awards show to see if she was a presenter. Perhaps she was there just to look radiant. Mission accomplished.
You can click to enlarge any photo should you deem it necessary. There are more celebrity photos on the sidebar.
Battlestar Galactica--"Taking a Break from All Your Worries"

I was expecting this to be a lackluster episode considering last week’s preview and the Cheers homage. The homage even went beyond the title, but this was surprisingly good. I am not sure I can claim Baltar as my favorite character, but he definitely is one of the more intriguing. He is someone who is unlikable, yet circumstances make him much more evil than he actually is. The guy is a victim of fate, something to which I am sympathetic. After the brutal interrogations he endured here, I imagine many others will be sympathetic as well.

There is no way to watch the episode and not draw parallels to Camp Gitmo. The show has already made commentary about the war in Iraq by subtly making the humans the insurgents in a battle against Cylon occupiers who were claiming to be liberators wishing to live in peace beside humans. Here we have so attempted connection with the inmates at Gitmo that is even more blatant. Baltar is force fed during a hunger strike, threatened with mind games, and, at Adama’s suggestion, is given hallucinatory drugs to make him talk. Baltar even imagines he is drowning during the interrogation, a nod to the interrogation technique water boarding. It was a disturbingly brutal scene.

Roslin and Adama want to know what the Cylons know about Earth and whether Baltar collaborated during the original attack on Caprica. We learn they know very little about Earth, Baltar did not collaborate, and he is not a Cylon. That shoots down the theory he is one of the final five once and for all. It would have been a cop out, I believe, if he had been one. In the end, security has to intervene to keep Gaeta, Baltar’s right hand man on New Caprica, from killing him. Roslin acquiesces at the end and opts to give Baltar a fair trial for his actions on New Caprica.

None of this has anything to o with Chers, I know. That bit comes in when our famous love quandrangle is finally resolved. Apollo and Starbuck finally give up on each other and rekindle the relationships with their respective spouses. Apollo still seems to be unhappiest about the resolution. I never much got into the soap opera of it all, but the most pivotal moments take place in the ship’s bar, so there you go. While the relationship problems seem to have been resolved, I think there are hints Apollo is going to fall deeper into the abyss, especially if spoilers about the future fate of Starbuck are true.

Rating: **** (out of 5)
Britney Spears on Doctor Who?

Take this one with a huge grain of salt. Seriously. A grain large enough to choke a rhino, but Doctor Who executive producer Russell T. Davies is a huge fan of Britney Spears (not surprising, all things considered) and would like for her to play asex crazed alien on the how. The thing that kill the rumor-- well, other than how ambivalent I am about Britney Spears --is the article states he is pushing the BBC to film the episode in Hollywood. That says to me this is bunk. But it brings in the blog hits, so here it is.

The BBC films its shows on modest and tight budgets. Granted, there was some location filming done in New York City for an upcoming Dalek two part episode, but no main cast members were flown out there. It is just too expensive to do so. Presumably, Spears is too much of a prima donna to spend a week or so in Cardif during the dead of winter to film an appearance. I am warm blooded. I am not sure I can blame her.

But a cameo as a cloned alien? What a peculiar idea. Sounds taky enough for Torchwood. I expect better from Doctor Who. You can read the article yourself, if you so desire.Yes, i had to throw in a photo of Britney Spears in a bikini. For the sake of giving the post legs and making you wonder why RTD would want to clone her. Sheesh.

Monday, January 29, 2007

24--"11:00 AM - 12:00 PM"

Wow. We have Bauers all over the place here. Some fans think it is strange that for si seasons we did not know Jack had a brother. Come on, ladies and gentlemen. We have only seen five days of Jack’s life and they have all been rather busy ones at that. I can let the revelation slide. Besides, check out how the sibling rivalry is going. It does not seem all that odd Jack and Graem do not speak to each other much, no? Within the first four minutes, Graem has spilled his guts about his and his father’s role in the bombs being stolen. Jack takes Graem with him as he follows his father’s trail.

From the Office of Learning Something New Everyday, you can get across Los Angeles in lunch our traffic in fifteen minutes. I am impressed. I can barely do that in Hartsville. It was impossible in Columbia, or Virginia Beach. In the interim-- very short interim, that is -- the president’s advisors are making moves to suspend habeas corpus and squabbling amongst themselves over the relevancy o the Constitution when a nuclear bomb has ecimated an entire city. We used to debate that in law school, too. It made things easier that most of the fundamentalist Christians at Regent thought the Bill of rights was written by Karl Marx. They would have loved the fact Karen resigned under pressure halfway through the episode, leaving no barriers to the militarization of the United States.

After snooping around Graem’s place of employment for a bit, Jack is ambushed. Seemingly these guys work for his father, Phillip, played by the great James Cromwell. (Side note-- if you need someone to play Kiefer Sutherland’s father, why not get Donald Sutherland?) Phillip has Graem freed from the handcuffs, but it is definitely not a happy family reunion. It especially turns sour when it is revealed the men actually work for Graem, an obvious traitor. Graem has had the two CTU agents waiting outside killed and instructs his men to do the same to Jack and dear old dad. Not the most original of cliffhangers, but only so many nuclear bombs can go off in a day, no?

Rating: *** (out of 5)
The 2008 GOP Field

The Democrat field of candidates is making an awful (I choose that word deliberately) lot of noise lately. Perhaps they are emboldened by their party’s takeover of Congress and are in a hury to get their names out there to jockey for position. I cannot necessarily agree there has been a drastic change in the political climate. You will have to wait at least 100 days or so to gauge the popularity of the new Congress and you may not rally know anything until the 2008 election when the first opportunity to throw the bums out presents itself.

It is way too early to make any serious predictions for the presidential race. At this time in the 2004 election, Sen. Joseph Lieberman was the frontrunner and Sen. John Kerry was an also ran. Gov. Mario Cuomo was a shoo in at this point in the 1992 election with some Arkansas governor named Bill something running in 11th place. Anything can happen, usually because the public gets sick of overexposure too early for one candidate or another. If I had to take a guess now, Sen. Barack Obama is going to be a victim of that the same as Gov. Howard Dean was in 2004. Again, it is really too early to tell.

But I have written a lot about the democrats as of late while ignoring the growing GOP field. One reason is that I have little excitement for the presidential race period, much less enthusiasm for any conservative candidate thus far. Maybe I am burnt out on politics. Leaving law and politics behind after seven years of studying both may have done that to me. Or, more likely, this is honestly a pitiful crop of candidates.

I have to start with my disappointment in an early favorite, Secretary of State Condi Rice. I have liked her ever since her speech at the 200 convention. She struck me as someone who was conservative, yet knew the proper time for ideology to be cast aside for practical reasons. Every politician has to do that at one time or another, but I rarely trust them not bet the farm in the process. With rice, I did. But she has proven by running the State Department that she is an academic, not management material. If she is overwhelmed by that job, the presidency would be a disaster. I sadly cannot support rice.

But mercy, the rest of them. Sen. John McCain may have been a favorite of folks for a about ten minutes there, but I think he is borderline too old, does not have the anger control, and seems wishy washy by now embracing the Religious Right that he blasted in 2000 At the same time, I am not a fan of Sen. Sam Brownback, who is trying hard to be the conservative choice, but has wound up being a watered down Gary Bauer. He is more electable than Gary Bauer, but considering what a long shot Bauer was, that is not saying much. Then we have Gov. Mitt Romney. A pro-choice Mormon from Massachusetts. Let the novelty of that one sink in for a moment. In a GOP primary, especially in the Bible Belt, all three are going to be strikes against him. You do not have to be a big baseball buff to know three strikes is an out.

For now that leaves Mayor Rudy Giuliani. I have expressed a lot of trepidation the mayor here and in conversations with politically astute friends. From one, the jump from mayor to president sounds implausible, even if it is New York City with a population bigger than most states. Aside from that, he is pretty much famous for his actions on 9/11. While I do not want to discount the inspiration he gave his fellow New Yorkers and the nation at the time, we have forgotten 9/11. It has been replaced by Iraq, and American Idol. I am not so sue bringing 9/11 up again is going to inspire anyone anymore than Bush 41 constantly bringing up the Gulf war victory during the 19 92 campaign when the nation was more interested in domestic issues. Bush looked like Nero fiddling while Rome burned. Giuliani might run that risk himself.

My other concern is his left leaning political stance. Colleagues say he is more conservative than he appears, but he hides it very well. Being pro-choice, pro-gun control, and for gay civil unions might serve him well in the Northeast GOP circles, but not so much in the more relevant Southern and Heartland primaries that he is going to have to wade through. It is going to be tough going, but he knows it. A bight spot there is that Ronald Reagan was at one time a moderate who admired FDR, yet became a conservative icon when called upon to do so. Can Giuliani do that? I do not really know. But I will say this. I do not think it matters anymore whether a candidate is for or against abortion. Roe v. Wade is here to stay. I do not honestly think gun control will ever become a serious reality here, either. If Columbine and other such incidents did not spur it on, nothing will. As for gay civil unions, I honestly do not care. So while these positions might keep him out of consideration, they are not hang ups for me.

For now, it would appear my man is Mayor Rudy Giuliani. I just wish I could muster more enthusiasm for him.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

David Lee Roth Reunites with Van Halen

Wow. I sit it out for a day and look what happens. Diamond David Lee Roth reunite with Van halen for a summer tour. Did he not rejoin the ban for about five minutes back in 1996 or so? For that matter, did he not tour with his replacement, Sammy Hagar, for a while? He was also in a one man Las Vegas show for a while in which he swore he would never go back to rock and roll because, “I ain’t that angry anymore.” I suppose the band heard him traveling around doing bluegrass versions of their songs ad decided they needed to keep an eye on him.

Van Halen is a cool ban.d. I liked them much better with Roth than Hagar. I read Roth’s manic autobiography a few years ago and enjoyed it thoroughly. I call it manic because he would wrote some insightful chapter about how a band gets nickle and dimed by the record company, tour management, the lawyers-- everyone right down to the guy elling tee shirts outide. The only way to make any money just when you hit it big is to own the rights to songs you have written and you need at least three or four of those. (Ironic, considering Rotth's solo hits, "California Girls" and "Just a Gigolo," were classics not written by him.) Then he would turn around and go off on a twenty page rant about how much he hates Eddie Van Halen. Feuding in the band is legendary an often petty. Roth admits the 1996 tour was a bust because of Eddie’s hip surgery. He did not elaborate beyond that in the book, Crazy from the Heat.

Will this tour happen? The band will get together in March when they are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so there is still a good chance they will find something to fight about and cancel the whole shebang.

Whoever thought it was funny to give me a 24 hour virus just two weeks after I have gotten over a stomach bug deserves 39 lashes (so he will not lose his brother's respect. It is Biblical) with a wet noodle. I hate writing about these things all the time because it seems implausible I could be this fragile on the one hand and it seem like I am jockeying for sympathy on the other. Neither is true, but when I have a habit of blogging everyday, it seems appropriate to explain why I have skipped a day or so.

Now you know.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Goodwill to Men

Here is the Hanna-Barbera sequel to "Peace on Earth" which I posted a couple of weeks ago. the antiwar message is till there, but too heavyhanded if you ask me. The cartoon was made in 1955 and therefore had aCold war backdrop. I do not think it works as well as the 1939 version that hinted at the devastation that was about to come as the Nazis rolled over Europe. It does not help that the mice starring in the cartoon resemble Jerry, although they are a different color. Still it is worth seeing for animation buffs, so I posted it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Reese & Ryan: Alimony & Custody

Reese Witherspoon has filed papers regarding her alimony and child custody claims. I have a thing for reading family law documents. They rank right up there with tort law cases with their creative ways of staking claims to large amounts of cash. I am also forever bemused by the rotten things family members do to each other.

What I really like here is the spin over the money. I do not believe there will be a conflict over custody. I would be surprised if Ryan wanted the responsibility of being anything other than a “weekend treat” dad. I am not blasting him when I say that, believe it or not. There is just no such thing as a paternal instinct. It is rare for fathers to fight for custody for any other reason than to get back at his wife. Ryan is planning on taking Reese for tons of money, so that is covered as far as he is concerned. California splits property fifty/fifty regardless of fault. Without a renup, there is not much she can do about that. But she can paint him as greedy for seeking spoual support. It is genuinely beautiful how her lawyer has managed that already:
Ms. Witherspoon allegedly earns $20 million a movie, while Mr. Phillippe earns $2.5 million. Ms. Witherspoon starred in at least nine films since 1999, Mr. Phillippe starred in at least two. Under California law, marriage earnings are equally divided if no prenuptial agreement is in place. It has been reported the couple did not have a prenuptial agreement.
I am all for the subtle jabs that Ryan is all about the money. O course, when I read this:
It was reported Ms. Witherspoon’s fortune totals between $70-90 million.
all I can think of is how much I truly love this woman.
Scooter Libby Trial

Has the Scooter Libby trial put anyone else to sleep yet? I have followed some tidbits here and there, but found the whole deal a nonstory. Not that I am making light of the trouble Libby is in. It is considerable. What I am thinking about is how much of a big deal the media made out of the Valerie Plame affair when they were hoping to see Karl Rove frogmarched (Was that not a fun buzzword for a time?) out of the White House. Once that prospect was gone, no one really cared anymore.

i just cannot get into the trial. Truth be told, I never thought much about the affair to begin with. the White House is huge, information flows freely, and things happen. Federal crimes as well. I do not know if Libby is guilty or a sacrificial lamb, but I also know it does not really matter. His will be the firt pardon Bush signs in 2009 under the wort of circumsances.

That realization in the back of everyone's mind probably has a lot to do with the ho hum reaction to the proceedings.
Battlestar Galactica--"Rapture"

It took me a few days to get to the midseason premiere of Battlestar Galactica, but it was worth the wait. The episode felt like a pivotal season premiere, in all truth. Before I review it, I have to say the new time slot is incredibly inconvenient. I liked starting my weekends with the show on Friday, not ending with it on Sunday. That and The Dresden Files is a banal lead in. Why not pair it up with the Heroes repeat instead? The Sci Fi Channel rarely makes good decisions about its shows. Just ask Farscape fans.

We begin right where we left off. Cylon raiders are headed to the algae planet, Starbuck has been shot down, the landing party is conflicted whether to rescue her or stand their ground, Tyrol is trying to find the Eye of Jupiter to point the way to Earth, and Adama is ready to nuke the temple to keep the Cylons from getting it. Somehow this all manages to get resolved along with Sharon rescuing her baby and Baltar returning to the fleet as a prisoner. Whew.

Apollo compromises and orders his wife to rescue Starbuck. She reluctantly does so, aiding the wounded pilot, even though she knows Apollo has feelings for her and can barely contain her animosity. Meanwhile, the rest of the landing party have a firefight with Cylon Centurions. For a relatively low budget show, every dime was on the screen with the fight. The CGI Cylons were perfect. The party tries to hold the Cylons off long enough for tyrol to find the Eye inside the temple, but time eventually runs out. Tyrol is order to blow the temple, but cannot bring himself to do so.

In space, the Galactica standoff ends when all the Cylon raiders turn back except for the ship carrying Baltar and D’Anna. Adama refuses to use nukes just because o one ship, so it lands safely. D’Anna believes she is the Chosen One to look upon the face of god, so he and Baltar enter the temple on some divine mission. They deactivate the explosives, hence the party’s inability to blow it up. D’Anna sees a vision of the five final Cylons and seems to be in awe of who the fifth and final one is. It is not clear whether she apologies to him because of her past treatment of him or because she dared look upon his face, but since we never get to see him, I have to assume he is instantly recognizable. She dies from looking at him. Baltar angrily wants to know if she saw him. Before we find out anything, he is captured by the party.

Back on the Galactica, Athena convinces her husband to kill her so she can be resurrected on the Basestar and find her child. He reluctantly (not to mention dramatically) does so. She awakens there and is taken to her baby by Six. After a confrontation with another Boomer, Six decides to take Athena to the Galactica so a human doctor can tend to the baby. It all ends with the party returning safely with intelligence about the way to Earth, Athena and the baby back on the ship, Six and Baltar held prisoner, all the D’Anna models being boxed fo their messianic flaw, and Starbuck revealing she has had special precognition of symbols inside the temple years before. She has a destiny.

I liked this episode a lot. There was quite a bit packed in, not the least of which was the mystery of the five Cylons. Obviously we have seen at least one of them before. One of the main characters is secretly a Cylon Fans have been buzing about it for a while now. I think Roslin is a good choice to be one, but the one D’Anna recognized was clearly a man. Baltar is too obvious a choice. Could it be Zarek? There is no telling when we will find out. I thought the special effects were awesome. I have already spoked of the CGI in the firefight, but the sun going nova over the planet was totally cool, too. As was the final scene with all the boxed D’Annas deactivated in one big storage room. It reminded me of the ending to Raiders of the Lost Ark. Very good beginning to the second half of what is fast becoming my favorite season.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

John Kerry's Epiphany

Today Sen. John Kerry tearfully came to the same conclusion the rest of the country made the day after the 2004 election-- he cannot win in 2008. I have to admit it was pitiful to watch there. It was pitiful not only because he was the last one to know, but how clueless he has been the last three years in thinking he could run again. One thing Democrats do not like is a previous election loser. See the photo? Poor guy thinks he missed it by that much.

Conventional wisdom says his botched joke about the uneducated being forced to fight the war in Iraq did him in. That is probably as good an excuse as any to avoid saying he was a bad candidate all around. The party made a mistake nominating him and they know. He has been practically shunned by all poobahs in favor of Hillary and now Obama. It has to be galling. Hence the tears.

I roll around in my mind when things like this happen who the democrats should have nominated instead. Howard dean would have been too much of a firebrand. He would have been a one term president on the miraculous chance he won. John Edwards? Maybe, though he reintroduction of class warfare was irritating. The only reason he ran at all was because his senate career was over after one term. Truth be told, it was an awful crop of candidates. In hindsight I have to wonder if they deep down thought Bush was unbeatable and just nominated the guy who felt it was his turn like the GOP did with Dole in 1996.
Political Anemia

True to my word, I did not watch the State of the Union speech last night. Or American idol, for that matter. I could not even tune in to the SOTU even for the entertainment value of watching Speaker Nancy Pelosi decide when to clap or grimace. If you watch one of these speeches, you have pretty much seen them all, especially where Bush is concerned. His have been pretty much interchangeable over the years with the only difference being the desperation in his proposals based o Iraq. From commentaries I have heard and read thus far, that has not changed much.

The key rason I did not watch the speech-- indeed am not interested at all in it --is that Bush is now a lame duck in every sense of the word. He will never get any major policies implemented. No GOP presidential candidate for 2008 wants anything to do with him. Even former supporter of the war in Iraq are backing off the latest proposal to increase the number of combat trops. 9Though in all fairness, every GOP senator turning against the proposal is up for reelection in 2008 and do not want to face voters after supporting such a move. Politial expediency trumps principle every time.) The center of federal power is now the Democt controlled Congress.

But wait. Nothing much is going to come out of there, either. They were not elected because the voters had a whole lot of faith in their policies. The election was a referendum on Bush’s war in Iraq and GOP corruption. The Democrats might as well have run on the slogan “You Don’t Have to Love Us. You Just Have to Hate Bush.” In fact, they pretty much did. I have yet to see any interesting ideas come out of the new Congress. Speaker Pelosi wants a committee to study global warming? Excuse me while I try to stop yawning. I am no Democrat. I do not want to see leftist policies in place, but at the same time, I do not particularly want to see Congress wasting time on issues totally unrelated to governing. I am encouraged they do not want to fall into the trap of countless investigations into the Bush Aministration and screw things up like the GOP did with Clinton, but I am not so pleased with the prospect of the democrats fulfilling the wish lists of the liberal activists who put them in charge. Start using electric cars to save the polar bears? Puh-leeze.

Politics is more anemic now than I can ever remember it being. You will never convince me that is not why the media is focusing so much of the 2008 election two nearly two yearrs before it will even matter. They are boed! So am I. It is going to be a long two years.
I Am No Leftist

You Are 8% Democrat

If you have anything in common with the Democrat party, it's by sheer chance.
You're a staunch conservative, and nothing is going to change that!

You would think my irritation with the current GOP crop and my slide to libertarianism would lessen my conservative ties. Apparently they have not.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Jessica Simpson XXV

Here is the Eye's first Jessica Simpson photo of 2007 and it is a doozy. She is letting it all hang out. Boobs, that is. Side view. This is even more gratuitous than the Ali Larter naked with whipped cream photo I posted a few weeks ago. I still draw the line at posting naked photos, but I am not above whoring myself out for blog hits.
State of the Union

As Bush prepares to give his next to last State of the Union speech and his polling numbers hit Nixon levels, I think the SOTU can be summed up thusly: "Where are we going and why are we in this handbaskt?"

There. I just saved you from a boring evening. Go outside and play instead.

Monday, January 22, 2007

24--"10:00 AM-11:00 AM"

We continue right after last episode’s cliffhanger with what Keith Olberman has labeled scare mongering by FOX. Fayed has detonated a nuclear device in the heart of Valencia, California. Casualty estimates top 12,000 and CTU learns there are four more bombs still out there. Jack is off the grass after his breakdown and after staring in disbelief at the mushroom cloud over American soil, snap out of his funk and rejoins CTU. He also manages to save a news crew from a crashed helicopter in three short minutes. Talented guy, that Jack Bauer.

Assad arrives as CTU to a cool reception. They have been hunting the terrorist mastermind for years, after all. He is just as stunned as they are Fayed used nuclear weapons and has the will to detonate four more. Through Assad they get a list of persons of interest who have been in contact with the Russian who sold the nukes. A key name on the lit is Phillip Bauer, Jack’s estranged father. Jack opts to question his dad himself. He calls, but his dad has been gone for days to parts unknown. So has Jack’s brother, but unknown to him, his brother has the phone tapped and learns that Jack has retuned from China. He is not happy. Definitely interesting foreshadowing going on here.

(Note the homage that Jack’s brother is played by Dr. “Rocket” Romano from ER who was killing by a falling helicopter just like the opening action sequence. Nice touch, that.)

The guy with the know how to detonate the nukes died in the Valencia blast, forcing Fayed to search for someone-- anyone --who can blow the other four. Meanwhile Jack has figured out there is something sinister up with his brother just like we have. He confronts him at his home, cold cocks him, then proceeds to go medieval on his hiney just like he would any other terrorist. I thought my family was dysfunctional. The Bauers take the cake. Across the country, the FBI has established an informant among the inmates to discover more about the bombsas the president, with shay voice, addresses the nation.

Tossing the rest of Jack’s family into things seems awfully contrived, but it was enough of a quirky twist that I do nott mind. The casting of Jack’s brother is perfect. It is Romano in all his nasty glory. I am looking forward to seeing the story with Jack’s dad develop further I for no reason than to see James Cromwell again.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Idol Cruelty

As I wrote earlier, I have not watched American Idol this season, but I have been following the increased accusations of cruelty on the part off the judges. One expects that from Simon Cowell since that is his motif. Now some are saying Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul are joining in on the action. I previously speculated the criticism was from rival networks frustrated at their inability to put a dent in AI’s ratings. Indeed, the show has increased its ratings over last season’s record breaking numbers. The criticism just keeps on coming though and now I have a few more details which have raised an eyebrow.

I was not aware that several contestants had obvious mental and/or physical disabilities and were mocked for both their appearance and performance. Specifically, Kenneth Briggs, a sufferer of Aarskog’s Syndrome (which causes enlarged facial features and stunted growth. Internet legend Brian Peppers suffers from it as well.) was called “bush face” by Cowell. Secondly, Steven Thoen was labeled weird by Cowell and Jackson, probably because of his mild retardation. However, Jonathan James, who has a mild case of autism and has competed in the Special Olympics, was only subjected to mild criticism and was encouraged to keep persevering by Abdul.

There has been some outrage about all this, but the more I think about it, I just cannot muster any myself. First and foremost, AI is a huge cash cow for FOX. They are not going to let the show get any black eyes. If they thought anything was going to be even remotely offensive, it would not see the light of day. With that said, the only reason people watch the early episodes is to see the truly awful singers get mocked unmercifully. Honestly, there is a three tiered process to getting on the show before you ever get to perform for The Big Three. The lower tier judges let terrible, gaudy singers who no chance of doing anything other than embarrassing themselves through just because it is “good” television. I am certain after five seasons, every contestant knows that already. Two of the three gentlemen I spoke of above are making the talk show rounds now and milking their experience for all it is worth. They do not seem to be any worse for it.

Franly, what do you expect? The show is not really a talent contest. I personally would not classify any of the past winners as great singers. Talented for the most part, but all either good looking or have some sort of gimmick that makes them a marketable quantity. I am being realistic when I say that someone whose face would not look good on a CD cover is not going to win AI even if he or she sings like a Motown canary. Even portly Reuben Studdard had his appeal going for a time, but fell off the map, and is now more famous for promoting a diet plan than making hit records. So I am thinking the critics are being unfair to AI. It is not only a beauty contest, but 31 million people are tuning in every week to watch the less than pretty people get hammered. You cannot complain when that actually comes to pass.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Carmen Electra Likes Coke

I think she also likes the simlarly named soft drink, too. I was a fan of the soft drink myself before I kicked the caffeine addiction. Now I rarely have a soft drink at all and it is usually the occasional Dr. Pepper for the sake of variety. But I do enjoy the bikini Carmen is wearing here regardless of her or my taste in poionous beverages. I assume the photo will warm up your frigid Sunday as much as it did mine.
The Sunday Evening Post

Today was another one of those days where I dozed off after lunch and wound up in a near coma. There is something disconcerting about thinking you are going to take an afternoon power nap and winding up popping you eyes open at night instead. I missed Battlestar Galactica, for which I am bummed. I will acquire it through alternate means and post a review shortly after I do. If anyone spoil s the cliffhanger for me in the interim, they shall incur my nigh infinite wrath. That is right-- I will get sarcastic.

I just discovered a little while ago they have not buried James Brown yet. Geez. The guy has been dead since the day after Christmas. His body has traveled around to at least two memorial services. Currently his casket is being kept in a climate controlled room at his home in the great and sovereign state of South Carolina. I have yet to understand the entire dispute, but evidently his family wants to put him in a mausoleum but for whatever reason, that cannot yet happen. Perhaps Brown did not leave a will specifying his wishes upon his death. Whatever the specifics, there are now lawyer involved. I always enjoy it when the legal eagles jump in on the macabre cases.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is jumping into the 2008 presidential race. He would become the first president of Hispanic ethnicity if elected. It does not surprise me that he is running. He was touted as a running mate for both Gore and Kerry as I recall. If it were not for the star power of Hillary or the novelty of Obama, you would probably be hearing much more about Richardson’s prospects. He has credentials. Aside from his tenure as governor, he has been a Congressman Cabinet Secretary, and United Nations Ambassador. I liked how he irritated other diplomats in the Security Council by wearing a sports coat and no tie to meetings. That move sums up my opinion of the UN in general-- the organization has to be there, you have to participate in it, but you just cannot respect it because it is all pointless. I am inclined to think the nomination will come down to Hillary v. Richardson and it will be another Bush v. McCain just like in 2000.
Art Garfunkel's Reading List

Simon & Garfunkel are my favorite singer/songwriters of all time. There may be musicians I listen to more often or have more fun with, but I recognize the high quality and sheer brilliance of their work. It is only natural that two people so creative would have such a tumultuous relationship. It is safe to say Paul Simon has been in the spotlight more over the years with his Grammy winning album Graceland and touring with a South African a cappella during the height of apartheid. On the first Satuurday Night Live after September 11th, he persevered somber rendition of “The Boxer” even though he had not had a an album out in years. There was simply no one else who could have brought us back at that moment but him.

Art Garfunkel is different in many ways. He has had the kind of life that I have envied. I do not mean his wealth and fame, either, although those would be nice, too. I am referring more to his personality and the opportunities to which he has taken advantage. He started out as an academic, earning a masters degree in mathematics. He has always had an educator’s personality with all the quirky trimmings. Even after having a huge hit and sweeping the Grammies with “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” he took a job teaching math at a prestigious private school befoe continuing his music career and beginning one in acting. I have always thought it was neat that he still kept doing whatever he wanted regardless of the money he made doing other things or how risky the addition endeavor might have been to his image.

Not that he is not strange. He definitely is in that “cosmic energy” brand a New Age gooeyness. But that is all right with me. As I get older, I have begun plummeting towards kookiness myself. Having a tenuous grip on reality can be quite liberating when it all gets to be too much. I have now discovered the two of us have a few other traits in common. His website (sanctiond, I believe, but with insider info) has a very od journal and what intrigued me most, >a massive list of ever book he has read in the lat thirty years.

I had one o those myself at one time. Admittedly, it was not all great literature. I was honest about dipping into the cheap science fiction novel or two, particularly in college when bogged down in studies and James Joyce just was not all that appealing bedtime reading. Needless to say I have had to abanon that since my retinal detachment. I miss it terribly. The written word is the bread of the soul. It is even more poignant after spending three years at a fundamentalist Christian university where you know where a good book burning for the sake of society’s health is always on the verge of occurring.

You know, I have tried listening to books on tape. My first couple of Christmases and birthdays were full of them as gifts. But it just is not the same. I know it sounds like I am being whiny because I cannot have things my way. Believe me, I have had no shortage of people, then or now, lining up to lecture me over it-- usually people who do get most everything they want, to boot. Regardless, I am feleling melancholy about it tonight. In some ways I wish I had not stumbled across Garfunkel’s home page, but here it is and here I am. Forever more, it would appear.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Conservatism is Dead

In a follow up to my other post today, Hillary is planning to paint herself as an American Margaret Thatcher with some leftist tweaks. I can see it happening. Thatcher was a Gauullist-- conservative, but room for liberal positions that suited the United Kingdom's "best intersts." That describes Rudulph Guiliani as well. He is conservative and liberal at his convenience.

According to a new poll, both are the frontrunners for 2008.

While a heck of a lot an and will change between now and then, their early success means the other candidates will emulate at least some of what they are doing to gain traction. what they have done is separate themselves from the face of the current conservatives-- the Bush Administration, which is about as popular as botulism these days.

If either wins, I doubt we will ever have another conservative president again, assuming we ever were to begin with. Liberalism is going to become tooo ingrained in our culturee. Welcome to the twilight of the republic, courtesy of George W. Bush and Company.
Hillary Clinton Makes It Official

We have known for close to eight years it was going to happen and now Sen. Hillary Clinton has made it official. She is running for president in 2008. Well, color me shocked. She pulled the carperbagger RFK trick of moving to New York to become senator solely as a stepping stone for the presidency and New Yorkers embraced it wholeheartedly. Whatever float your boat, ladies and gents. I suppose you must be going through the DTs with not having an Empire State president in over half a century.

Personally, I think we are in for a torturous two years. Hillary (and that is what she is presenting herself as. Ironic trying to separate herself from her husband while adopting a warmer presence the same way he went by Bill rather than William) is the most polarizing figure in America. You either love her or hate her. Just wait until the campaign really gets rolling. The reputable press will go on about Whitewater, Vince Foster, and the like. The radical right media is going to start on accusations of murdering Foster and lesbianism. Mark my words-- Jerry Falwell is making the videos now, I guarantee.

I was honestly hoping for an election that did not come down to a handful of votes in Florida or Ohio, but I am sure that is what we are going to get. I am not so sure Hillary can win the whole shebang, mind you, but I cannot see a Republican running away with it either. This is going to be one tedious election cycle from beginning to end. Brace yourselves.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Coming Out of Hibernation

Remember when I wrote earlier that even though I am over the virus, I can still sleep on command? I managed to get eight hours last night and five hours this afternoon. I do indeed dislike cold weather, but even I did not know I could train myself to hibernate until the spring. Who says you cannot develop new talents in your old age? Life has pretty much passed me by today-- not that I really care. After scanning my usual online haunts, I note there is not much anything of interest going on. It is probably just too cold for anyone to be up to trouble.

With no central post theme, I had a tough time coming up with a photo to go with it. Well, not that Ali Larter is a tough choice. She has shown up so much lately, I was wary of making another celebrity post of her. I already have a reputation for Reese Witherspoon obsessing. Heaven knows I do not want to seem like even more of a weirdo than I already do. This is too nice a photo of her from the TCA convention currently going on. Here she is at the Heroes panel. The show has just been renewed for a second season even though it will be up against 24 and Dancing with the Stars soon, which might cut pretty badly into its rating. The chance to continually watch Ali Larter cavort near nakedly ought to count for something in the ratings, no?

Speaking of ratings, I have already mentioned American Idol has set a new record in its fist two episodes back. I have yet to watch it, but I have her critics blasting the supposed increased cruelty of Simon Cowell this time around. I cannot vouch for that with any honesty, but I assume a lot of folk watch because he is cruel to contestants. I suspect the criticism is sour grapes from television executives upset the powerhouse show is not showing any signs of aging in its sixth season. The other networks have been moving their solid shows out of the juggernaut’s way (Lost move to 10 when it returns February 7th) in an admission of defeat. It is bad news for those of us that could take or leave AI. It generally means mediocre programming, cheap reality shows, and a whole lot of repeats. is all we will get as counter programming.

Anytime I start to think about alternate careers I might have liked to try other than law, something always pops up to show me why I made the right choice originally. TIME, Inc., the parent company of TIME, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, and People has just trimmed 289 people. These are top level editorial staff, not just bean counting front office folks. Granted, I would have preferred freelancing articles while teaching or practicing law rather than having a few time byline job, but freelancers are the lowest spot on the totem poll unless your name happens to be Christopher Hitchens or Tom Wolfe. If the editors are being shown the door, it means freelancers are not being allowed anywhere near the other side of it. I understand why they are cutting back. I have been on two staffs in my time. One produced a high school yearbook and the other an academic journal for law school. There was always a string of higher ups who would change things the lower members did just to justify their jobs. Too many cooks spoil the stew.

You know, I suspected writing about Robert E. Lee earlier would be more divisive than it turned out to be. Even down South he has his detractors. I still admire the man for his place in history. I used to be much more of a southern partisan than I used to be. After traveling the country, living in different states, and spending a summer in Europe, I have become much less so. So call that maturing. I suspect it is a product of world weary cynicism. I suspect no one does much of anything properly, so why be a cheerleader for any particular region? Regardless, you have to give out your kudos where you can or else you will wind up in a blackened, smoke filled with a bottle of Jim Beam in one hand and a shotgun in the other.
The General

Love him or hate him, today is the 200th birthday of Robert E. Lee, causing even me to admit Virginia is good for something, since he was a native. I am not an adherent to the myth of The Lost Cause, but i have to admire the man for his chivalry and personal integrity. His motivations for fighting were to preserve Virginia, not any racist desires to preserve slavery. To wit:
"There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil. It is idle to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it is a greater evil to the white than to the colored race. While my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more deeply engaged for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, physically, and socially. The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their further instruction as a race, and will prepare them, I hope, for better things. How long their servitude may be necessary is known and ordered by a merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild and melting influences of Christianity than from the storm and tempest of fiery controversy."
Patronizing, yes (and I do abhor a patronizing attitude), but much less fiery than some of his colleagues. So I feel all nice and comfy wishing the General a happy 200th.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Art Buchwald (1925-2007)

The famed Pulitzer Prize winning satirist has died at the age of 81. Buchwald had been terminally ill for some time. He was diagnosed with kidney failure a year ago and elected to forgo dialysis and die his own way. By doing so, he hoped to bypass the normal infirmities of the old age decline. He checked into a Washington, DC hospice with expectations his health would decline much more rapidly than it did. Instead, he resided there five months, then returned to his summer home on Martha’s Vineyard to complete his final book, one chronicling his experience dying.

Buchwald had a fascinating life. He joined the Marines in 1942 even though he was too young to do so legally, served in the Pacific during World War II, edited the school magazine for the University of Southern California, and eventually skipped out to Paris where he began writing about the night life. Eventually he returned to the United States and got his mosy famous job as a columnist for The Washington Post. There moe many times over the years his was the only voice of absolute truth at the paper.

I must confess I have only read his wok in passing. He was always someone I would run into, really enjoy, make a note to seek out more of him, and then promptly forget until the cycle repeated itself. It would appear I have dragged my feet too long. At least we all still have his legacy. Godspeed, Mr. Buchwald.
The Dark Side of the Force

The power nap I took yesterday afternoon had me wide awke at the near ungodly hour of 5:00 this morning. While I have gotten over the stomach virus and the fatigue, I still pass out pretty much on command. Or at least I could before the aforementioned ungodly hour of 5:00 in the morning. What a time to return to normal, huh? It just would not be my life if it wee not two steps forward and one step back. i would have to check in the mirror, a la Sam Beckett othwise just to make sure I was still there.

I had to tiptoe around to find food and wet my whistle since everyone else was in the middle of sawing logs. Boo is still turning her feline nose up at me, so she did not join me in the kitchen as she so often does. Normally she is hassling me to fill her food and water bowl, both of which are the center of her life. You know there has to be a deep animosity going on there for her to wait patiently the three hours it will take for someone else to get up and tend to her. I guess she senses the dark side of the Force on me. Her ears do perk up and bend down like Yoda’s.

By the time I had eaten my Fruity Pebbles and cleaned up, someone was already up ahead of schedule. Buddy had been taken out for his morning *ahem* relief and met me in the hallway. The last time I wrote about the Rottweiler, we were not\t on the best of terms. You may recall he tried to take my hand off, turning me into Luke Skywalker. Maybe the two of them have something there. Perhaps I am turning to the dark side.

Let us see. High ambitions, desire for power, and urge to do the impossible, all fueled by anger and pain. Throw in longstanding family issues and the fact I look good in black and we may have something there, no?

But seriously, Buddy and I are getting along. You pretty much have to make an effort when Rottweilers are puppies or they will never accept you into their circle later in life. The critter still has a tendancy to either sit on my feet or bite them whenever the mood strikes, which is often. I chalk it up to having a serious, complicated relationship with the dog. As good as a cat fancier can manage with a dog at any rate. But sometimes I really wish I could do that Darth Vader choke thing. It woul not do for me to have that power, I just know it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Warm Thoughts

It is as cold as a witch’s teat here. I am having Virginia weather flashbacks it is so bad. For those not familiar, Virginia flashbacks are similar to the shellshock Vietnam POWs suffered from, except scarier and with fundamentalist Christian overtones. I posted the above picture to remind me there is such a thing as a warm, sunny day. I easily forget that that these days.

You know what else I forgot? American Idol. I do not particularly like the show, but the early auditions are usually fun. Everyone watches waiting for the next William Hung to show up, right? I have watched the final twelve perform whenever there has been an interesting theme. To me, most AI contestants butcher the songs so badly, listening to them is like suffering the same way the aforementioned Vietnamese POWs did. But I watched neither last night or tonight. I am in a minority of television viewers, of course. Last night AI scored 31 million viewers, setting a new record for the show.

Speaking of a show, everyone’s favorite Cylon, Tricia Helfer, posed nude for Playboy. While I will post risqué photos now and then, I draw the line at nudity. But I do recommend seeking them out if you are a fan. She looks nice. That Baltar is one lucky guy. For now, anyway. Spoilers for upcoming Battlestar Galactica episodes have him in hot water. Ah, heck. He deserves it.
Obama to Give It a Go in 2008

I honestly thought I had Sen. Barack Obama figured out. I assumed he had no real ideas he could ever win the White House in 2008 and was “running” for the sole purpose of positioning himself as Sen. Hillary Clinton’s running mate. I even smirked a bit (I do that sometimes) at Clinton’s statements that his campaign will fizzle out and she will let the electorate decide his fate, both backhanded ways of letting Obama know he is not on the veep list. It seemed like a way of putting the brakes on what was already simply a novelty idea.

Yesterday Obama formed an exploratory committee, the first step towards an actual run. The guy really *does* think he can be president. I have little doubt his star will fade as soon as people gain familiarity with him and realize he does not, in fact, agree wholeheartedly with everything they do. While I am confident that will happen, I have to note some similarities between Obama’s run for the White House and Jimmy Carter’s. It is a valuable history lesson.

I first recall an anecdote Carter used to tell of calling his mother and telling her he was running for president. Her response: “President of what?” When your own mother thinks you cannot hanle it, you probably cannot. Like Carter, Obama’s previous experience was as a state senator before landing histop job, although Carter was governor and Obama is a senator instead. Both had only a few years political experience before running for president. Look to Carter’s presidency-- one of the worst in recent memory --for what the inexperienced will do in the job. For that matter, look at Bush. Six years as governo before being given the top job and he has been completely overwhelmed by it.

I do not think we can afford to elect Obama in this current climate.
Donald Trump Gets a Walk of Fame Star

Donald Trump has been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. More precisely, Donald Trump coughed up the cash to buy a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

What has Trump done to deserve a star? He is the host of The Apprentice. He has done commercials for Pizza Hut. He has hosted Saturday Night Live. He owns the Miss USA pageant. He owns a lot of real estate. Not exactly the greatest of resumes for what is supposed to be honoring a life of achievement in the entertainment industry. Perhaps it was feuding with Rosie O’Donell that put him over the top.

Bearingin mind recent honorees Ryan Seacrest and Tim McGraw, one has to realize getting a star ain’t what it used to be. It has pretty much become a joke. Heck, I have seen a lot of movies. I used to be the class clown at every level of education I attended. Surely I am famous for it. Can I have a star?

(Note as well how much that young ‘un looks just like his daddy, comb over and all.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Castro Kaput?

Is Fidel Castro finally on his way out? The 80 year old dictator is reportedly gravely ill after a third intestinal surgery. He has not been in power since July when he placed his brother Raul Castro, in charge. Funny thing, really. The US has been trying to kill Castro since 1959 (yes, I know the official word on assassination is no since Allende, but we tried all kinds of strange ways to oust him for years.) yet he has continued through nine American presidential terms and is well into his tenth. He has outlived six of the nine former presidents.

While his death would be welcome news, I do not believe it would change much. Raul appears to be just as much a hardliner as his brother. Castro would not trust him if he did not completely believe in his loyalty.

Personally, I would like to see Fidel Castro’s death lead to a lifting of the embargo. It is hypocritical to have fair trade with China, a Communist regime every bit as brutal, if not more so, than Cuba’s, while ignored the island ninety miles to our south. Nothing would spell the end of communism quite like a good dose of American capitalism.

But I do not expect it to happen, particularly not under a Republican president. The Cuban exiles in Florida have been staunchly for the GOP because of the party’s hard stance against communism in general and Cuba specifically. There is no way Bush will jeopardize his party’s support in Florida in 2008 by changing policy now.
Benny Parsons (1941-2007)

Sad news out of NASCAR today. Veteran driver and announcer Benny Parsons has died of complications due to lung cancer. Posted above is a photo of Parsons with my favorite driver, Jeff Gordon. No flames, please. This is an obituary.

Parsons fit the classic mold of a NASCAR driver. Born into humble beginnings in a small North Carolina town, Parsons moved with his parents to Detroit after World War II so his father could find work. Parsons eventually went from a taxi driver to race car driver when he was invited to a race track one day, the driver did not show up, and he volunteered to fill in. The rest is history.

Parsons raced all throughout the Midwest before joining the NASCAR Circuit in 1964. He narrowly defeated Richard Petty for the 1973 championship in legendary fashion. His car was heavily damaged on lap 13, but his team literally patched the car back together. He rejoined the race near the end and managed to place 28th. It was enough to win the season’s points race and deny Petty the Winston Cup. Parsons retired from racing in 1988 and became a announcer and racing analyst for ESPN and eventually NBC and TNT. Parsons was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1994 and named one of the Fifty Greatest NASCAR Drivers of All Time in 1998.

Parsons was diagnosed with lung cancer several months ago even though he stopped smoking in 1978. His cancer was in remission, but radiation treatment had damaged his left lung irreparably. He checked into the hospital the day after Christmas and never left.

Godspeed, Mr. Parsons.
Amanda Tapping Joins Stargate: Atlantis

Rumors have flown for a while about various Stargate SG-1 cast members joining its sister show, Stargate: Atlantis, once the show goes off the air this summer. The prime subjects were Michael Shanks and Amanda Tapping, with Tapping the most likely. That rumor has turned out true. Amanda Tapping will join the cast of Stargate: Atlantis for fourteen episodes of its fourth season. The idea has been circulating for a while to give SGA a bigger connection to SG1, but the main series kept on going, tying up the cast.

The addition of Tapping as Col. Samantha Carter is not the only change. Show runners Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper will be leaving SGA in order to work on the upcoming direct to DVD SG1 movies, titled Ark of Truth and Continuum, respectively. Atlantis will be left in the hands of producers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie for its fourth season.

In other news, Paul McGillion will not be returning to SGA as Dr. Beckett in the fourth season. Many assume that he will be featured in the proposed next spin off, but that is nothing more than idle speculation at this point. For that matter, so is the proposed spin off. With every creator’s hands full with with SG1 or SGA projects, one suspects nothing will come to pass until well into 2008 or 2009. But really, is anyone outside of MGM clamoring for more Stargate anyway?
Gasp! It's the Dreaded Google Meme

(Here is a nifty meme for those with large blogs that get a steady stream of Google hits. The idea is to take the most popular search terms and make a post out of them just to mess with the search results. I have run across the meme on the blogs of writers Ken Levine and Lee Goldberg. They made it look like fun. Ergo, I am giving it a shot.)

Jessica Simpson took off her hot pink bikini and stared at her naked boobs in the mirror. She was in a hurry, but could still hear the water running in the shower. She shifted on her bare feet impatiently until she heard the water cut off. Amanda Tapping stepped out of the shower, naked and dripping wet, with her golden locks slicked back.

“Were you waiting long?” she asked.

“No,” came the curt reply. Jessica Simpson’s pouting lips told another story. Amanda Tapping knew Jessica simpson had been angry for days now and did not take it personally. There was a sibling rivalry going on between Jessica Simpson and her sister Ashlee Simpson. It began when Billie Piper quit Doctor Who. Jessica Simpson was a fan of Freema Agyeman and thought she would make a fantastic companion for the Doctor. Ashlee Simpson had seen Jennifer Ellison naked and thought she should have joined the cast instead. They argued and argued until finally Ashlee Simpson gave an up skirt flash and stormed off. The two could agree that Allison Mack has nice boobs, but little else.

Amanda continue to dry off her naked, wet body while trying to sooth Jessica Simpson’s bruised ego.

“You, I just read an obituary for Richard Dean Anderson and he is not even dead. It is worse than when they said I, Amada Tapping, had an affair with Richard Dean Anderson. I wonder if that is why Richard dean Anderson left Starate SG-1?” she said.

But Jessica was not listening. She marched out o the bathroom naked. Her boobs bounced righteously as she walked past Kte Hudson in a bikini. She was starring at Locke’s blast door symbol painted on the far wall by some DHARMA operative. Kate Hudson called out to Jessica Simpson as she blew passed.

“Say, have you heard anymore about the Kevin Smith fued with Reese Witherspoon? Even when Reese Witherspoon is wearing a blue bikini on the beach, he calls her Greasey Reese Witherspoon. Isn’t that hilarious?”

Jessica paid her no attention. She also nearly knocked over Torri Higginson, who was admiring her boobs in a hallway mirror. Her buddy, Col. John Sheppard, liked her boobs, too. Unfortunately, neither one of them knew why Billie Piper left Doctor Who, only that they would both like to see her naked. Especially her butt.

Jessica Simpson finally made it to the bathroom at the other end of the house only to find Evangeline Lilly in the shower. He was, of course, naked and therefore showing off her boobs. She thought about starting up a conversation with Jessica Simpson about how difficult it would be to impeach Bush, but she noticed by looking at Jessica Simpson in the nude that was not a good idea.

“Have you heard the lyrics to “Joe Sure Knows How to Live?” The line moonlight bouncing off Betty’s blonde hair keeps running through my mind,” Evangeline Lilly told Jessica Simpson.

“No,” Jessica Simpson impatiently answered. “I have been more concerned with what President Bartlet said in Latin in “Two Cathedrals.” I am also curious what is the real reason Michelle Rodriguez left Lost, how Thelma Todd died, and where I can find either a video of the Smurf village being bombed or Saddam Hussein’s execution. But mostly I have been thinking about Ali Larter naked.”

“I see. Well, the shower is all yours,” Evangeline Lilly said as she walked away, her naked boobs jiggling. Before she left the bathroom, she bent over to pick up her bikini off the floor. Before she left, she turned back to speak to Jessica Simpson again. “Just so you know, I just saw Katee Sackhoff naked. She had a detached retina and has contracted diverticulitis. I believe she is going to have a colonoscopy, but I think most of her pain is from eating blueberry muffins. You can’t do that with diverticulitis, you know. They do not go together like two ships in the night, so it is a wonder she did not have a single hair on her head after eating one.”

After saying that, Evangeline Lilly left, showing off her butt as did so. Jessica Simpson did not get her last statement, but Dolly Parton forgave her anyway. She stepped into the shower and her naked body got all wet. She wondered to herelf out loud, "Is Aaron Sorkin an atheist," but quickly lost herself in the steaming hot water before any answer came to her.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ali Larter X

Hot off the presses, here are some photos of Ali Larter on the red carpet for tonight's Golden Globe awards. She llooks reeaaallyyy nice.

You can click to enlarge any photo should you deem it necessary. There are more celebrity photos on the sidebar.
24--"9:00 AM- 10:00 AM"

What and ending. That is what I love about this show. It is nothing but escapist mind cand, but every now and then you just have to look at the person next to you with dropped jaw and ask, “They did not just do that, did they?” It is especially surprising in our current jittery climate regarding the escalation of terrorism. One of the first thoughts I had was how bad this episode is going to look if a similarly unthinkable act occurs on our soil. The plot to James Bond’s Tomorrow Never Dies was altered dealing with the handover of Hong Kong over fears something bad might really happen. We may be waiting (hopefully forever) to see if this comes back to haunt us.

Fayed’s organization has been in possession of a suitcase nuke for some time, but they need Imed (the escaped terrorist) in order to get it to work. The search for Imed gets desperate when the US agents assigned under Bauer, who is still shaky and unsure of himself, do not want to work with Assad. Who can blame them? While he has been straight with them thus far, he has been responsible for any number of agents and other innocent Americans being killed over the years.

Ahmd forces his neighbor’s father to deliver a package which turns out be the bomb. His wife notifies authorities who get in touch with the feds. The hunt for Imed turns into the hunt for the husband instead. Meanwhile, the ambassador from Assad’s home country offers him a partnership in the government in exchange for halting his terrorist activities. The US president offers him a full pardon for his cooperation with both his home government and the US.

The pardon does not sit well with one of the agents aiding Jack. His Gulf war platoon was killed by Assad and he attempts to shoot him in revenge rather than let him get off scott free. After a Mexican standoff, Jack has no choice but to kill him to save Assad. Jack has an absolute breakdown afterwards, assuring Buchanan he cannot go on. At the same time, agents raid Imed’s hideout. During the raid, I med sets of the suittcase nuke. A mushroom cloud appears over the crater that used to be Valencia, California.

Rating: **** (out of 5)
24--"8:00 AM-9:00 AM"

Loyalties get questioned as the screws tighten. Should the US be working with Assad? Should civil libertarians stand against the detentions or is that a necessary part of national security? Does young Achmed really want to go through with his act of terrorism even if it means killing friends? Can his friends find the nerve to stop him? It is all here with very few clear answers, only lesser of two evil choices.

Jack and Assad hook back up and continue their pursuit of the other bomber. A further terrorist act has killed 200 people in Baltimore. In response, Fayed calls the president with his demands. He insists 100 ‘freedom fighters” be freed from US custody within the hour or there will be further, even more devastating attacks. The president seriously considers following through just to be buy more. Mean while, Achmed holds his neighbors hostage in anticipation of whatever act he has agreed with Fayed to commit.

Jack and Assad manufacture a fender bender with their quarry so he will have to travel with Assad to his destination. Using Assad’s cell phone to track the two, everyone winds up in hot pursuit. The prisoners Fayed has demanded released are being rounded up an headed to a charted, nonmilitary plane to be sent safely outside US airspace as Fayed has demanded. Ironically, the former president’s widow and her accomplice arrive at detention after their actions from last episode.

There is a shootout once the suspect reaches the storage facility he was originally headed for. He opts to kill himself rather than be captured, throwing a wrench into the works. Our heroes are still clueless as to his intentions. An examination of his hard drive determines Fayed wanted the release of a terrorist who posses a Russian nuke. With the help o an apparent American collaborator, the terrorist escapes from the other prisoners.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
The Price of Fame

Here was a show for a time on E-- the network that considered Laci Peterson’s murder to be a True Hollywood Story --that featured old celebrity scandals and tragedies like the time Fatty Arbuckle crashed a hooker under his own girth. Surprisingly, the show did not last long. The most memorable thing about it was host A. J. Benza’s tagline, “Fame. Ain’t it a b*tch?” Indeed it is, A. J., and I have three cases in point to prove it. What they really prove is how pathetic our celebrity worshipping culture has become.

First up, Jessica Simpson has been banned from a local grocery store for distracting customers. The poor girl cannot reach for her Cocoa Puffs without 100 photographers following her and clogging up the aisles. I can understand the irritation customers would have with that. I can even understand why Simpson got banned. After all, she knows full well what she is doing. Most every celebrity has a personal assistant to run such errands just to avoid during mundane tasks like grocery shopping. Simpson does it herself because she knows the cameras will be following. That is what we have come down to, folks. Celebs are so fame hungry, they announce when they are buying Rice-a-Roni to the National Enquier just to keep their names and faces out there.

Second, we have one near and dear to me as both a Tucker Carlson fan and a former video store clerk. A video store clerk named Charles Williamson, who happens to also have a blog, signed up the political commentator to a membership. Later that night, he wrote about it on his blog, insulting Carlson’s taste in movies, calling his wife crazy, and threatening to send 1,000 copies of Jon Stewart’s book to his home. A few days later, Carlson came to the video store to confront Williamson. Evidently Carlson Googles himself. Have we not all done that in bored moments?By all accounts the encounter was tense and a fearful Williamson deleted the post from his blog. But not before being fired-- and rightly so. That is a very big breach of video store ethics. I like the idea that Carlson takes a page from Harlan Ellison’s playbook about taking matters into his own hands, but one does have to think those in the public eye should be a bit more discreet.

Finally, we have new University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban’s exorbitant salary. Saban was lured away from the NFL contrary to the normal career pattern by being offered a sn 8 year, $ 32 million salary. Alabama is one of the worst states in the country as far as education quality and teacher salaries go, so people are up in arms about it. I cannot say much. The Alabama football program brings in huge bucks and to quote my hero Lewis Grizzard, “Eighty thousand people never showed up to watch a chemistry test.”

Sunday, January 14, 2007

24--"6:00 AM-7:00 AM"

24 debuted and gained popularity while I was stranded in the wilderness of law school with little opportunity to watch it. To be honest, last season was the first I had ever been able to regularly follow, but I got hooked. It was a pins and needles seven month wait for the new season to start, particularly after that cliffhanger and speculation season six would take place in China. That rumor did not pan out, but after watching the first two episodes of the season, I no longer care. This eason has gotten off to enough of a rocking start to put any previous speculation to shame. Yes, I have seen both episodes early, as you can tell by the timestamp. they are around if you know where to look.

Up until now, Jack Bauer has been something of a superman. He has saved the world five times at great personal cost. He has lost his wife, friends, his job, and has an estranged daughter-- and nary a word of thanks for any sacrifice. He is a complete nihilist doing his job any way he can simply because that is what he is supposed to do. There was always a sense he made the tough choices that had to be made and let the chips fall where they may. In season six, we get a different Jack Bauer. Jack here is a broken man, completely unsure of himself, yet called upon to save the world yet again regardless.

The US is a different place, too. The country is under siege. Terrorists have conducted a major suicide bombing campaign in major cities. Nearly a thousand Americans have been killed with no end in sight. A presidential advisor is even starting up plans to create detention camps for Muslims, a la interning the Japanese during world War II. In the midst of all this, an informer offers the US the location of the terrorist mastermind in exchange for a favor. He wants Jack Bauer. Jack tortured the terrorist’s brother in 1999 to find information about an embassy bombing. His brother died as the result of torture and now he wants Jack to have the same fate. The President is desperate enough to negotiate for Jack’s release from Chinese prison to fulfill the bargain.

When we finally see Jack, we know it has been a torturous two years in prison. He has Robinson Crusoe hair and bread and is covered in horrible looking scars. Jack agrees to go through with the plan because, as he says, he survived Chinese torture because he wanted to did for a reason. Jack is captured and tortured by the terrorist, who sets the season plot in motion by revealing the guy they are trying to kill is actually in the US to make peace, not jihad. Jack’s torturer, is the real mastermind and he wants the other guy out of the way. Jack channels his old Lost Boys character in what has to be the most gruesome kill in boradcast television history and is on the run by the time 7:00 AM clicks.

Rating: **** (out of 5)
24--"7:00 AM-8:00 AM"

An interesting second hour ensues in which the suicide bombing plot thickens and the US slides towards a new World War II style detention against Muslims this time instead of the Japanese. It is cool to see Alexander Siddig as Assad. I have not seen him on American television since he played dr. Juliam Bashier on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. His name has been recently bandied about in some circles as a potential Doctor Who, but it was curious to see him in such a brutal role now, essentially the exact opposite of the highly moral Bashir and often happy-go-lucky Doctor.

Jack makes his escape and contacts the White House with what he knows about Fayed being the real mastermind behind the terrorist attacks. Jack wants the air strike to kill Assad called off, but the President’s advisors assume Jack is still batty from his imprisonment. Instead Jack takes matters into his own hands. He identifies Assad’s location (with a little Nextel product placement) and convinces him he is about to be killed. He assures Assad he knows he is here to make peace rather than jihad. Jack and Assad escape just before the air strike.

The plan to create detention camps for Muslims inches even further as President Palmer’s widow contacts the current president to warn him about stomping on civil liberties and racial profiling. She is not found of the president’s National Security Advisor who has come up with the plan. He is clearly being set up as trouble somewhere down the line as he has her arrested a few moments laterfor reasons of national security.

Next we see the change Jack has gone through because of his ordeal. He and Assad took a traitor who was working for Fayed with them. Jack tries his old ways of interrogating the guy with little success. Assad on the other hand uses a knife to full and blood curdling effect. He tells Assad exactly what the next bombing is to be. During the entire incident, Jack has a shaky look on his face. He is completely unsure of his ability to do any of this again. Assad takes control, but he needs Jack’s help in stopping Fayed. Jack sadly says he really does not know how to effectively do this anymore.

He does bring it together enough to stop a subway bombing plot in classic Jack style while Assad follows the bomber’s partner. Unortunately there was a hotel suicide bombing in Chicago which killed 57 people. The White House intercepts a call from the henchmen to Fayed. The US is now aware they made a mistake in killing Assad, but have no idea he is still alive and working to stop Fayed. The clock ticks to 8:00 AM as Jack and Assad trail their quarry.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Torchwood Finale Music Videos

I am a little behind in posting them, but I made two music videos for the final episodes of the first season of Torchwood. First up is "Captain Jack Harkness," in which our Capt. Jack meets the real Capt. Jack when the rift transports him and Tosh back to 1941. Video is set to "Moonlight Serenade" by Glenn Miller.
Next up is the actual season finale, "End of Days." The Rift opens and unleashes Abaddon once again to roam the Earth. Video is set to "Run" by Snow Patrol.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Feline Barometer

I have discovered over the last two and a half years that if I need a barometer of how quickly I am recovering from a health lapse, I need look no further than Boo. Cats are obviously intuitive creatures. If she wants zilch to do with me, then I know something still is not quite right. Well, I knew something still was not quite right when I fell asleep for thirteen hours today, but the cat makes a more interesting confirmation. Everyone should be so lucky as to have such a diagnostic tool as an ambivalent feline.

I finally got out of a groggy sleep when the sun was literally going down. My sleep patterns get reversed quite often as long time readers note, so that is not entirely unusual or even disorienting. It is, however, a great way to wake up dry and hungry. I opted to make two PB & J sandwiches rather than put forth a heck of a lot of effort into finding real food. One thing I am most certainly not these days is demanding.

Boo decided to join me in the kitchen for the first time in a couple of weeks, but she kept her distance and on her toes the entire time. She acted pretty much the same as she did when I returned from the hospital in August. Hence, I know there is still a few more days of zombie sleep. Watching Boo is kind of like looking for the groundhog’s shadow. If only I could market it.
The Tainted Republican Party

Looking back, I have been trying to find the last time I really espoused any Republican policies or wrote highly of any particular politician. It has been a while. A few months ago someone even told me after reading a bit she could not figure out if I was a Democrat or a disappointed Republican. I believe I answered I was a disappointed Republican, but I do not believe that is an accurate description. It is probably more fitting to say I am a Tucker Carlson Conservative. I lean heavily to the right, but I am not necessarily a fan of the GOP. Like Carlson, I seem to have incurred the wrath of conservatives at best, their ambivalence at worst, judging my blog stats and comments. So be it. I am more a political scientist than a partisan pundit anyway. Or at least I want to be.

Public opinion appears to be shifting in that direction anyway. Being Republican these days seems to be an actual taint rather than just a leftist smear. The GOP certainly lost much of its ideals while in power. Whatever happened to shrinking government, as a for instance. There is the boig reason I lost my GOP loyalties. Well, that and the Abramoff and Foley scandals and the like, but that falls in with both parties. It just happened to be the GOP in power at the time. I am grossly cynical about elected officials of any stripe these days. It will not be long before the Democrats stop their reform push and move on to business as usual. That is what the party in power does.

But I am amazed at how badly the GOP has squandered things. Congress is at ridiculously low approval ratings. We are in an unpopular war with no way out, yet sending more troops there to essentially baby sit a burgeoning civil war. Bush is too far gone to inspire the country about the war or anything else, for that matter. Presidents often use their second terms in office to build a foreign policy legacy, but our country has been immersed in geopolitics over terrorism for over six years now with enough failures to scrap the whole thing and start over. There is a quiet notion in Washington the State Department is in shambles because of Secretary Rice’s lack of leadership skills. She has served her career as a staffer, never as a manger. You will not very few seem to bandy her name about as a presidential contender in 2008 anymore. All tolled, there is not much going on for the GOP.

How can I possibly, with any honesty, be an advocate for them?