Saturday, March 31, 2007

Marches On

My last three posts wound up being about Simon Cowell, the British hostage situation, and Doctor Who. An unintentional tour of the United Kingdom, those were. There has been both a lack of interesting topics to write about and a lackadaisical attitude on my part about the world around me anyway. I still do not feel well. I have done little else but sleep and veg out in front of the television periodically. I have a vague awareness of the US attorneys scandal and am giddy over Britney Spears’ airtight pre-nuptial agreement screwing Kevin Federline out of wads o cash, but neither has been enough to perk me up.

It has been a long, dragging month in which I really have just not had the energy for anything. I have no clue what is up beyond the things weighing on my mind, some of which I have written about. Others I plan to keep under my hat for the duration. Believe it or not, I am a very private, antisocial person. The idea of blogging diary entries ought to be anathema to me. In large part, they are. But sometimes you have just got to go with the flow.

It is the springtime now. Spring used to be my favorite time of the year. It warmed up, flowers bloomed, and all the possibilities of summer opened up. I understand that is a child’s view of what the time of the year is all about. Everyone outgrows it, but feels nostalgia. I think it is a bit more poignant for me these days. Seeing rebirth and renewal outside but nothing within me is extremely painful. Yeah, I know. Broken record. But the ending of one month and the beginning of another does this to me these days.

March came in roaring. Hopefully April will treat me to a time as peaceful as the kitten in the above photo. But I doubt it. I seem to be destined for nothing but turmoil.
Doctor Who--"Smith and Jones"

Tonight was the third season premiere of the revamped Doctor Who. Or the 29th season of Doctor Who, depending upon which said of that particular no debate you happen to fall on. A lot of stuff had to be crammed into this one. Rose Tyler is long gone, but you will not remember one bit of her after watching the lovely Freema Agyeman as new companion Martha Jones. Jones has a scientific mind (she is a med student) and more savvy about aliens thanks to the events occurring in London the last couple years. She even had a cousin, Adeole, die at Canary Wharf during the Cyberman-Dalek War. That explains how Agyeman could play both characters. It is a Patty Duke thing. The alien plot is typical Whovian fare, but we also get our first hints of MP John Saxon and his bid for Prime Minister. Can you “master” the clues of who he might be?

Martha’s hospital is transported to the moon. Something fishy was going down and the Doctor hitched a ride before it was transported. A storm trooper race known as the Judoon invade the hospital in search of an escaped convict who murdered some planet’s young princess. The Judoon are garbed in armor similar to the Sontarons, but with rhino heads. We only get to see one without a helmet, but I was impressed with the effects. Everything was quite impessive for a BBC budget. The convict happens to be assimilating human blood to appear human on Judoon scans. Through a contrived plot, the Doctor allows her to absorb his blood and thereby being detected. Before being captured, the convict launches a plot to fry everyone’s brain within a 250,000 mile radius in order to escape, but the plot is quickly thwarted. As a reward, the Doctor offers Martha a single trip in the TARDIS to escape her annoyingly bickering family. I do hope they are kept to more of a minimum than Jackie and Mickey were.

This was the best premiere since 2005’s “Rose.” In fact, I thought the introduction of Martha was done much better than the intro of Rose. It was something of an homage. Although they had met face to face earlier in the episode, during their first moment of action, the Doctor grabbed her hand and shouted, “Run!” Rose loyalists should be happy to know the Doctor and Martha seem reluctant to travel with one another long term. Whatever takes them in that direction, I am pleased she is more worldly than Rose and not so much a starstruck little girl. I am not too pleased with the offhand comment the Doctor has a brother. I hope they are not playing to make him and the Master siblings.

Ratings: *** (out of 5)
The United Kingdom's Standoff with Iran

It looks like the United Kingdom is just as feckless in its hostage crisis in Iran as we were during the embassy hostage crisis in 1979. Truth be told, the UK’s options are pretty limited. They do not have the capacity for a military strike on Iran without the Americans to back them up. This ain’t Argentina, you know. They lack even the capacity to blockade the Gulf even if that would not send oil prices through the roof. That leaves United Nations diplomatic actions. They would be better off with a mewling kitten than that organization.

I am trying to figure out what Iran’s intentions are. I think back to the US spy plane that was forced to land in China back in early 2001. The Chinese forced the US into a carefully worded apology in some sort of diplomatic game. One assumes Iran wants to do the same thing. China was careful, though. It knew placing Americans on trial for spying, even a show trial, could hve lead to a military confrontation, however small. Maybe even just saber rattling. But we have already established cannot do either convincingly.

Will the sailors and marines be put on trial? I do not know. It would be a fantastic why to humiliate the UK. It would leave Tony Blair with a black eye during his last time in office. One has to wonder, assuming the Bush Administration’s fortunes turn and an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities seems imminent, would this inccident been used as a jutification for war? There could be some interesting ays ahead. Interesting in the sense of the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times,” that is.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Competitive Morbidity

I am not too big on competition shows like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. I di wath AI during most of the opening auditions for the same reason everyone else did: to see the train wrecks they humiliate on the air. I also peeked in on DWTS every now and then last year because I assumed there were expectations Tucker Carlson an Jerry Springer would embarrass themselves. Carlson did not disappoint in that regard, I believe. You cannot help but hear about both shows these days even though I have paid little attention to either. There appear to still be train wrecks of a different sort present.

Who is this Sanjaya fellow and why is there so much animosity for him? I for the life of me cannot remember his audition, but now Simon Cowell claims he will leave the show if Sanjaya wins. For whatever reason, he is still competing even though Howard Stern has begun a campain to have him voted off, Sanjaya is still hanging in there. Even a MySpace member named only “J” has begun a hunger strike until he is gone. (For the record, I am not J.) Frankly, it could be the best thing for the 17 year old. Clay Aiken has become the most successful singer and Kate Hudson has won an Oscar. Neither were the AI winner. Perhaps it pays to get booted early.

As for DWTS, this artificial leg watch going on with Heather Mills is morbid. Good grief, people. You know you all want to see the thing fly off and smack one of the judges in the head. There is no need to carry on with countless newws articles speculating how macabre it would be if it happened. The only reason producers sined her up is the hopes that it would. I guess that would be worth never being able to feature a Paul McCartney song on the show.

UPDATE: Howard Stern is, in fact, attempting to skewer the vote towards Sanjaya since he is a bad singer. i had not previously gotten the nuance of that. Now I do.
Battlestar Galactica Season Three

We have come to the close of a fascinating season of Battlestar Galactica. I believe out of all three seasons thus far, this has been my favorite. It was certainly the most even season. Last time around there were a number of stand alone episodes that did not hold up as far as I am concerned. There were also some pat solutions to logrunner story lines, like Roslin’s cancer being cured out of the blue by the hybrid baby’s blood. There were a couple of weak spots in season three. The supposed virus/biological warfare plot that never materialized comes immediately to mind, but I was pleased with it overall.

I even enjoyed the role reversal present in the New Caprica storyline. The situation was clearly an allegory for the Iraq War with the Cylons as the Americans and humans as the insurgents. My support for the real war has tempered some in the last few months, so I am much more amenable to such things. I recognize very few television shows could get away with such a thing if they were not cloaked in science fiction elements. The conclusion, with the rescue of the humans by the Adama boys and Baltsr being forced to oin the Cylons to save his own skin was the most action packed sequence I have seen on television since the Battle of Cardassia in the season final of Star Trek: deep Space Nine. Interesting that Ron D. Moore had a hand in that one, too.

There was a run of stand alone episodes there with many weak entries. I would say the only dud was “Hero,’ solely because it seemed like a weak part on the Cylon’s part to send an ex-Colonial warrior to assassinate Adama. It seems like if they knew where the fleet was, they could just destroy it en masse and not worry with the iffy proposition of no one capable of leadership replacing Adama. But the rest tied into dealing with the wounds of the occupation. There was a clear rift between those who fought and those who collaborated now that they had to live to gether again. “Unfinished Business” was my favorite, as it dealt directly with relationships, both personally and with all the survivors.

Then we got the big reveal: the fleet now has a good ideathe way to Earth and we know who four of the final five Cylons are. At the same time, we get the trial of Baltar. I have already written my thoughts about Baltar as quisling and how his actions were likely justified under the Just War Theory, but it is nice to see his acquittal supported my opinion. Yeah, I like to toot y own horn. Sue me. Baltar’s trial was lead up to by several family oriented episodes which I enjoyed, but hit extremely close to home. Absent fathers, abusive mothers, the desire to practice law, roads not taken, and family members estranged and dying alone. Good, but painful stuff.

It appears the show is winding down. It has not been absolutely stated, but it appears they will find Earth next season and resolve the conflict with the Cylons. Presumably the fifth and final Cylon is the key to it all. Katee Sackhoff, whose character of Starbuck appeared to have been killed, will return to the cast, but may onlybe in Apollo’s mind like Six is with Baltar. That could be interesting. We have a long time to chew on it. Aside from a television movie in the fall, we will not get anymore BSG until at least January 2008. Patience is a virtue, they say.
Don't It Make You Want to Go Home?

Quite by accident, I ran across this 1969 song by Joe South. I do not believe I have ever heard of either the song or him before, but perhaps I have. He does not appear to be a one hit wonder, as “Games People Play” appears to be a more famous song of his. Regardless, it is kind of hokey and sentimental, but I am in a melancholy mood and susceptible to such things. Hence, I am going to place the song on my blog.

It talks about the death of the past, how everything changes, and you can never go home again. Some nasty subjects for a song. Some nasty subjects to be bothering someone as young as I am. But it is a nasty, unfair world, so we wind up listening to three minute songs to feel not so alone anymore.

Whoever made the video decided to make it a slieshow. Sometimes I think those are cheap even though I have made a few myself. This is another time I think it is cheap, but pay it little attention and listen to the lyrics of “Don’t It Make You Want to Go Home” by Joe South instead. To answer the question: yes, Joe. Pretty much everything makes me want to go home. I wish I had spent less time dwelling on a future that would never happen instead of enjoying what meager happiness I could muster. If I had only known it would be the only happiness I would ever get.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Amanda Tapping & Jewel Stait Join Stargate: Atlantis

The creators of the Stargate franchise are going all out to keep Statgate: Atlantis on the air until the third spin off, Stargate: Universe, is ready for prime time. They have added Amanda Tapping, reprising her col as Lt. Col. Samantha Carter, for 14 episodes this season. Along with Tapping, former Firefly star Jewel Stait will also join the cast. Judging by my stats, you all want naked photos of both actresses. I cannot accomodate, but here are a few good photos of them regardless:

Battlestar Galactica--"Crossroads, Part II"

While I did not get the same sense of anticipation with the cliffhanger as I did last year, this was a worthy season finale. It had to be, since we will not get any new episodes until January 2008 at the earliest. At least we will get a television movie in the fall dealing with the Pegasus during the Cylon annihilation of Caprica. Ron Moore has gone on recor saying the entire cast will also be featured. I am getting a vibe like Babylon 5’s In the Beginning from it. Considering how much I liked Babylon 5, I have faith. But dealing with “Crossroads, Part II” right now, there were three major story lines to play out.

The first was the trial of Baltar. Apollo is forced to take the stand and lays out the argument that everyone did bad things back on New Caprica and were given a blanket pardon even though some of the actions were mass murder. Why would Baltar not receive the same mercy considering he took actions as a leader to preserve the human race. He made mistakes, he did bad things, but he had little choice. The panel of judges buys the argument and acquits Baltar. Despite personal contempt for the man, Adm. Adama is the swing vote, angering Roslin. Baltar finds himself a pariah, but is whisked to safety by followers who consider him a messiah of some sort because of his book.

Second, Tigh, Tyrol, Anders, and Foster follow the music in their heads to an abandoned part of the ship and realize they are four of the final five Cylons. That throws everything for a loop. Tih is older than the Cylon program that we know of and fought in the Firt Cylon War. Oviously the Final Five Cylons have a secret which will be dealt with before the fleet reaches Earth.

Finally, that might be soon. The Cylons attack the fleet, forcing the four to return quietly to their stations. Apollo dons his flight suit even though he resigned his post and encounters Starbuck in a Viper. She tells him she has been to Earth and we lead the fleet there. Sticklers for such things should not fret. Starbuck is likely still dead or altered or some such. She may even exist only in Apollo’s head, a la Six and Baltar. Either way, Katee sackhoff does return to the cast next season, perhaps as a guide for Apollo, again like Six to Baltar. We have a while to wait before we find out.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lost--"Expose"

What a cool episode. Nikki and Paulo were pretty much designed to be one season characters apparently to shed light on some part of the mythology of Lost. Most of what was seen in the flashbacks were key moments of the past couple seasons through their eyes with only two main mythos bits: Paulo was aware of the others’ plan to kidnap Jack, Kate, and Sawyer and th smoke Monster may have had something to do with Nikki and Paulo meeting their fate. I will get to that in a moment. The episode was written by Brian K. Vauhn, one of the top comic book writers of the last five years or so. The ending shows his talent and his influence from comics. It was a very Tales from the Crypt sick twist.

Nikki and Paulo were running a con in Australia stealing an old man’s diamonds. They unfortunately hitched a ride on Oceanic 815 to the united states. Their thievery explains why they kept such a low profile. Along the was, they encounter Boone, Shannon, and Dr. Arzt, the latter of whom shows Nikki a spider he has discovered whose bite can paralyze for eight hours and pheromone sends males of the species out in droves. That is foeshadowing, folks.

They lost the diamonds in the crash and the pair go about the island hunting them down. They encounter the plane that Boone was killed in, the Pearl Hatch, and the river in which kate found her friend’s toy plane. Paulo suspects Nikki does not really love him. She just wants the diamonds. He finds them in the river, but denies it. He then spends the remainder of the episode hiding them from her. One night he goes back to the Pearl to hide them in the toilet when he overhears Ben and Juliet plotting to ue Michael to lure our heroic trio into a trap. Paulo never warns anyone. That is cold.

He recovers the diamonds at the point earlier in the season when the Lostaways find the Pearl. He stashes them on himself. Nikki eventually discovers he has them and angrily seeks a gun from Sawyer. When he refuses, she uses a jar with Arzt’s spider. It bites Paulo during their argument, paralyzing him. The males come running, too, but so does the Smoke Monster sound, so who really gives the pair their just desserts? Before being totally effected, Nikki heads for the beach and encounters Hurley and Sawyer Nikki collapses. The effects of the poison slow the breathing to the point bite victims appear dead. They discover Paulo in the same situation and decide to bury them both, not realizing they are not actually dead. Creepy for network television in prime time, but I liked it.

Rating: **** (out of 5)
Is Fred Thompson What the GOP Needs?

Many conservatives are excited at the prospect of former Sen. Fred Thompson running for president. I am not so sure they should. I certainly am not. Nothing against him per se. I am ut getting more skeptical about both conservative qualifications candidates claim and how lack of executive experience can quickly overwhelm the officeholder. We have had six years of Bush as proof of how bad things can get when those two criteria are not satisfied. That said, Thompson has quite a few obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is at one time thinking country singer Lorrie Morgan was the cat’s meow. That one I can hardly forgive.

But seriously, Thompson is ranking third in the GOP polls behind Guiliani and McCain. Not that that is a huge obstacle at this pint in the game. Bill Clinton was way down the list in 1991 at this point and we all know what happened there. The problem is, if he is serious, Thompson needs to start raising money now. The announced candidates are already holding fundraisers 20+ days out of the month for their campaigns. These days dollars count more than clout within the party as far as the nomination goes. A slow cash flow means no presidential run. Just ask Tom Vilsack.

Peole are also questioning his conservative stripes. He did support McCain-Feingold, which is the kiss of death as far as I am concerned, but it goes deeper than that. There are claims he was a do nothing Senator. Maybe that is true. I cannot name any significant legislation or actions he took in his years there, but that does not mean a stellar record of conservatism will not emerge. The problem is he already has to deny being a do nothing. Never start any campaign on the defensive. You may never recover. Recall Sen. Bob Dole angrily shouting, “Quit lying about my record?” Dole never became president.

As for qualifications, I am not going to poke fun at his acting career. I was and still am a big Ronald Reagan guy. Thompson has a law degree, has taken staff legal position throughout Washington and Tennessee for decades, and served as a US Senator. But I am wary of his lack of executive experience combined with the acusation of him not being an innovative thinker. While I am a firm believer that the government governs best that governs least, I fear in our current climate a president who will fiddle while Rome burns as Bush does.

I am still a Guiliani guy.
In the Pale Moonlight

Like I wrote yesterday, this weekend was not good. I spent half of it sick as a dog and the other half sleeping it off. I have no clue what was wrong. It is not very likely I caught any sort of bug. I have not been exposed to anything, anywhere, at anytime. I was suspicious at first that salmonella had reared its ugly head again. (Thanks, peter Pan.) But I have not eaten peanut butter period since that lovely little incident, nor have I eaten anything else that might even remotely make me ill. All I can conclude is I have rotten luck. If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you are already aware of that little nugget o’ knowledge.

The most irritating part of these bouts with illness is the food cravings. I cannot eat even the mushiest of food, yet ome of the oddest things sound good at four in the morning when you are in bed with the ceiling spinning over your head from lack of food. I wrote last Sunday of how I had a serious case of it in August while hospitalized for an obstruction. At that point, I was completely on an IV drip and was not even drinking water or a cracker or two. In those days, I wound up craving a lot of the things my mother used to make. It knocked me for a loop. Even during the nastiest days after my colonectomy, I did not think about that. But at one point in August, I was even sedated in order to find some peace.

Peace has been a rare commodity for quite some time now. The problem constantly torments me, but never so much as when I am lying in bed ill and life seems like nothing more than one misery after another. I used to bounce back from these silly bugs and viruses in no time flat. Now sometimes I wonder why I should bother. What does that to me is thinking of loss and comparing it to a future in which I have nothing to gain and no capacity to enjoy it even if I did. Resiliency will only take you so far. There has to be a goal at the end of the road. Thee used to be, but now there is not. If thinking of your dead mother’s cooking is enough to throw you for a loop, you are in bad shape.

Oh well. I have been eating soft foods and have gotten fluids in me since Monday. I am still a bit wobbly and lightheaded, but that will fade away as time goes on. In the meantime, I am taking the opportunity to sleep the days away. There is a certain comfort to it, but not so much in the realizaton I see very little reason to do much else but lay in bedand think of opportunities gained and lost. I should stop that, but I cannot. It is a sad game, but after you have folded your hand, what else is left for you to do except dream of lemon pies and fudge brownies and fried chicken in a home you will never see again?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

24--"8:00 PM-9:00 PM"

It is almost as though season six is actually two seasons. Fortunately, the second is turning out to be much better than the first. There has not been a hint of Bauer family drama (save for a flash of sorrow this time around. I will get to that in a minute.) and it is not missed. Three story lines come to a head here with all of them equally enthralling. There was not a weak spot present. One bit I did realize, though: it just does not pay to be the US president in the world of 24. You either get assassinated, stabbed, attempts to assassinate, or a coup de tat. You cannot even recover from a coma in peace.

Doyle discovers proof that Nadia’s computer wa compromised and she was not hiding the drone. He sits on it for a while, building up tension as to whether he is going to cover his own rear end for so adamantly wanting to put her in irons in the dungeon. He does the right thing eventually. Nadia is angry, but reluctantly returns to work because of the grave situation developing.

Jack is still on Grodenko’s trail. He is in contact with a security consultant for a nuclear power plant. The consultant is using hi brother, an autistic computer whiz, to break into the plant’s computer system. Chloe traces down the consultant’s house. Jack reluctantly uses the autistic brother to go through with the handover with Grodenko. It works 9barely) and Grodenko is captured. Jack feels twinges of pain when he sees the connection the two brothers have for each other. It is not mushy, mind you, but it was there. It was a lament for what might have been in his own life. Despite the fact the consultant was using his brother to commit treason, they still wound up trusting and protecting each other. Bittersweet, really. But so is life in general.

The Veep insists on going through with his nuclear strike. Karen Hughes convinces President Palmer’s sister to bring him out of the coma he has been in since the assassination attempt to stop the attack. It is risky and builds tension throughout the episode, but in the end, the carrier group gets a stand down order from the president. Implausibly, he appears perfectly fine. Not even sedated, even though he has a life threatening brain swelling. Only on 24. The Veep is infuriated. He insists the President is not in his right mind and makes moves to have him removed from office.

Rating: **** (out of 5)
The Anna Nicole Smith Autopsy Report

Anna Nicole Smith died of a prescription drug overdose. I think I speculated way back when it would be drugs. Not that any average four year old could not have guessed that about her. I promised to have myself flogged with a wet noodle if I turned out to impugn the poor woman unfairly. I did, however, mean narcotics, but I used an ambiguous enough term, so drugs are drugs as far as everything is concerned. If you are a stickler for accuracy, here is the gist of the actual report:
"Anna did not take methadone the day she died, but there was evidence she had taken it several days earlier. Dr. Perper concluded was combined drug intoxication, including anxiety and depression medication, valium, ativan and antihistamine. She also had chloral hydrate, which was the major component in her death.None of the drugs in Anna's system were enough to kill her by themselves -- it was a lethal combo. The infected abscess in her buttock contributed. Dr. Perper says the death was accidental. It was not a suicide."
"Dr. Perper?" That just sounds creepy as all get out. She actually died of a lethal prescription drug cocktail and an abscess on her butt. You know what? i have made mention of a lack of dignity surrounding Smith's death, but every time i do, something even more bizarre and humiliating rears its ugly head. I am just going to stop now. There is no such thing as dignity in death to begin with.
By His Silence, Ye Shall Know Him

I had a little forced blogging hiatus this weekend. The eact cause was unknown, but I was sick to oblivion this weekend. It started early Friday morning and did not let up until late Saturday. The symptoms were identical to what occurred to me twice already this year. Further proof 2007 sucks just as badly as 2006 did. A know fact and we are only three months in. For joy, for joy.

I have literally slept the weekend away when I was not busy making an offering to the porcelain god. I have just now gotten to the point where I can eat and drink again, but I am still really lightheaded. It is going to take a day or two to not only get back on track with proper snoozing, but to get enough fluid and food in me so I do not feel like I am on a tilt-a-whirl every time I are sit up.

Needless to say, some regular features like reviews for 24 and the Battlestar Galactica season finale will be delayed a bit until I get my head on straight. Truth be told, blogging will probably be light, sporadic, and/or strange for quite a while. I have had some strange thoughts percolating in the old noggin during what at least seemed like lucid moments. I am not really sure they are fit for public consumption just yet, if ever.

Yes, I am pretty sure I am losing my grip.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Reese Witherspoon

She turns 31 today. now if she would just lift that restraining order off me, we could celebrate....
Doctor Who Renewed

No surprise here, but executive producer Russell T. Davies has confirmed the show will return for a fourth go around in 2008. Rumors have floated about constantly over the last few months whether David Tennant will return for a fourth season. everyone remains tight lipped on the issue. One assumes if he left, a new actor would take part in a regeneration scene in the season finale. Few details have emerged about the finale beyond the return of the Master, so who knows? That could be quite a shocker.
Battlestar Galactica Fourth Season Expands

I have been writing a lot about Battlestar Galactica over the last couple days. Consider it a lack of other interesting topics floating about. Besides, the show ends its third season on Sunday and it will be a long drought before we get any new episodes. Adama and the gang are not expected back until early 2008. You know, that is going to mean the Eye will take a hit in the television blogging department in the fall. Every show I cover, sans Doctor Who, will not begin airing new episodes until early 2008.

But take heart. There is good news regarding BSG. The fourth season, originally announced to be thirteen episodes, has been expended to twenty-two. There is no word yet on whether that means the fourth year will be it and Ron Moore needs the additional eight episodes to wrap up what would have been the propsed fifth and final season. I will try to be optimistic and say a full fifth season is in the offing as well.

The Sci Fi Channel is producing a movie regarding the Pegasus and its actions during the Second Cylon War. Rumors have it will have some Pearl Harbor type elements (the real deal, not the Josh Hartnett movie) regarding the devastating attack on Caprica from the miniseries in 2003. The movie will also head to a DVD release. At least we will get our appetite whetted a bit between Sunday and 2008, no?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lost--"The Man from Tallahassee"

I identify a lot with John Locke. It is not just the family issues or his disabilities, but the emotional baggage that occurs from both. In his flashback, we have seen his failed relationships and his efforts to do what is right, but it always proves the axiom no good deed goes unpunished. While my experiences have mirrored the character’s in many ways, I have wound up with a bitter, cynical attitude more closely associated with Sawyer. Nevertheless, I look foreward to episodes that center around Locke, if for no other reason than to nod my head and say to myself, “Yep. I’ve felt that way before.” tonight was a bit more of an exception. It was no less enjoyable. It answered the question we have been asking since the fourth episode: how did Locke wind up in a wheelchair?

Ut first, a recap. This was a dialogue intensive episode rather than being action oriented. Kate, Sayid, Locke, and Danielle encounter Jack seeming having a good time with Tom, Juliet, and Ben. They decide to wait until Jack is alone to find out if he actually wants to be rescued. They split up with Kate confronting Jack, who is not happy to see her. Sayid and Kate are both captured. Locke runs off on his on personal mission to find Ben. Their discussion is the bulk of the episode. Locke wants to find the submarine in order to destroy it. Ben secretly wants Locke to blow it up as well so he does not have to go through with his promise to let Jack leave on it.

Ben is in a wheelchair now and ues the fact to bond with Locke. He believes Locke has some ort o communion with island he does not have. After all, Locke has been healed. Ben has not. He reveals he knows all about Locke’s history. He also talks about some mysterious box on the island which apparently grants wishes. To his credit, Locke thinks he is a nut. He uses Ben and Alex to steal Sayid’s duffel bag with the C4 and successfully destroys the submarine an hour before Jack was set to leave. Jack is not a happy camper. But Ben is happy and he rewards Locke with something the magic box produced: his father, Anthonny Cooper.

The flashbacks were what we were all waiting for. Locke is approached by a young man named Peter. Peter explains his wealthy mother I about to marry a man Locke donated a kidney to. Locke does not reveal that is his father, but does track him down and confront him about conning this old lady out of her money. When Peter winds up dead, locke believes his father killed him. Locke goes to his apartment fo an angry confrontation. His father says the wedding is off, but as they argue further over it, Locke edges closer to the window. His father pushes him out. Locke falls eight stories, breaks his back, but manages to survive. Later we see a physical therapist put in the wheelchair for the first time. Locke looks at his useless legs and bursts into tears.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Gaius Baltar and the Just War Theory

One of the most fascinating things about law school, and about the only positive thing about attending the Regent University School of Law, is that you get to study certain subjects you will never see in a law practice. Studying Political Science in college was like that all th time, which I surmise is why the degree is for all intents and purposes useless. Law school afforded me the chance to spend time studying international law. The subject matter wound up being much different than my undergrad emphasis on international relations. The most current episode of Battlestar Galactica, “Crossroads, Part I,” demonstrated well the difference between the two.

As a quick recap of what you need to know, Dr. Gaius Baltar was elected president of the surviving remnants of humanity. His first official act was to establish the settlement of New Caprica, a planet hidden from the murderous Cylons who destroyed their home world. One year later, the Cylons invaded and ordered Baltar to surrender New Caprica or face decimation. He did so and remained puppet president under Cylon rule. While in that role, he was forced to aid in the putting down of a rebellion of former allies, all under the duress of utter annihilation. The colony was finally liberated by Admiral Adama, but being declared a enemy of the state, Baltar had to flee with the Cylons. He remained with them until being captured, quite by accident, some months later. Over 5,000 people died under his and Cylon rule.

As a political scientist, I would consider Baltar a quisling, one who works with the enemy against his own people. A traitor. As an international law buff, I can see good arguments why he is a patriot instead. Politics is a nasty game, but Baltar took unpleasant, yet necessary steps to serve the people who elected him. Interesting how six years ago I would have thought him scum not worth preserving, yet after law school, I would already have formulated a defense for him. Is that why people hate lawyers so much?

All that suvived of humanity on New Caprica totaled approximately 48,000 people. Other than what they consider the mythological Earth they were searching for, those are the only humans left in the universe. Baltar first surrendered to keep enough of humanity alive to ensure the human race continued even if it was in captivity. They lacked the capacity to repel the Cylons. That was his only real choice to protect his people. An insurgency sprung up anyway, one that committed acts of terrorism and inflicted collateral damage on collaborating humans in order to strike back at the Cylons. Baltar was reluctantly forced to approve brutal actions against the insurgency, including imprisonment without trial, brutal interrogations, and summary executions.

We are not privy to original Caprica law and social mores to determine how off kilter those practices were in more civilized times. One assumes they were frowned upon as war crimes. However a big deal was made at establishing the rules for trying Baltar for crimes against humanity. Much like the Nuremberg Trials, prosecutors were establishing a set of laws after the fact out of a sense something had to be done because of the weight of the crime committed. They were straddling a fine line between jurisprudence and vengeance. So are the humans with Baltar and I think they have crossed it.

Baltar is charged with crimes against humanity the same as the surviving Nazi command staff. But the Nazis were accused, and most convicted of, various acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Baltar did no such thing. He was reluctantly putting down a doomed to failure rebellion that was disrupting civil order and endangering the survival of the human race. Yes, he approved brutal methods of doing so, but those can arguably fall under the jut war theory. In simple terms, sometimes the enemy just gives you no choice of actions. You have to fight them any way you can.

I have it on good spoiler authority Baltar is found not guilty in the season finale on Sunday. I have no idea how elaborate the explanation of his getting off the hook will be, but so far his trial has railroading him every step of the way. The surviving humans wants blood, but justice appears to stay the hand of vengeance. It will be interesting to see if any of my analysis comes to mirror the rationale for the not guilty verdict.
Calvert DeForest (1921-2007)

Calvert DeForest, better known as Larry "Bud" Melman from Late Night with David Letterman from the NBC days, has died. Letterman lost the legal rights to use the stage name, so Melman appeared on the CBS version under his real name of DeForest. Old age and chronic infirmity kept his appearances to a minimum in recent years. DeForest died Thursday not of a heart attack.

Letter man took ill yesteray and did not host. The remainder of the week's episodes of The Late Show are either pretaped first runs or a scheduled rerun. Presumably Letterman will have a few words to say when he gets back on Monday. Too bad clips of Larry "Bud" Melman, the funnier bits compared to the CBS years, will be of limits to show in tribute. Personally, I remember DeForest from an early '90's mmusic video by Vince Gill in which he played a dancing cowboy. How few folks probably even know he did that.

Godspeed, Mr. DeForest.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith's Diaries Up for Auction

Welcome to the Post-Modern information age in which everything has a price and you can usually set it at E*Bay. The diaries were allegedly written by Anna Nicole smith from 1992-1995 before she hit it really big. The diaries are said to contain frank discussions about a pregnancy scare, her love for husband J. Howard Marshall, and her sleeping pill abuse. From the few things I have seen online about the diaries, most are just impressed Smith could tring four words together and make a sentence.

What gets me is how they became public in the first place.. Smith’s mother was throwing them out when a neighbor, a memorabilia collector of some sort, claimed the diries and other such items. He held unto them for years (Obsessed fan?) before allowing an online memorabilia seller to authenticate the diaries. Apparently they are good an juicy, ince their value is estimated at $ 500,000-$ 1 million. The auction will begin on March 22nd.

I am not surprised someone wants to cash in on Smith’s tragic death. What I am surprised about is her mother tossing the diaries in the garbage in the first place. If one wants to maintain the privacy of thoughts, that is a stupid way of going about it, as is letting a collector have them. I am not really sure how I feel about the diaries becoming public. Famous people have to endure all sorts of intrusive indignities into their private lives. By all accounts, Smith wanted and enjoyed fame, even though the trappings eventually lead to her death. But there is still something creepy, maybe tawdry is a better word, about selling the diaries by someone clearly in it for money and not any sense of humanizing Smith in her death.
Battlestar Galactica--"Crossroads, Part I"

Yet another intersection of family politics and legal drama with a dash of mystery and cylon pursuit thrown in for good measure. At least this one was not quite as disturbing to watch as some of the most recent episodes have been. They often cut a little too close to home for my tastes. Tonight there was only one bit that really choked me. There was the one scene in which Adm. Adama was helping a drunk Tigh back to his quarters when he mentioned his dead wife. Specifically, he said he could no longer smell her. A kept all her clothes and other belongings after she died to keep her scent around. But it was now gone. Hearing that filled me with such a deep sense of sorrow. Odd after all this time, but true.

The main storyline is Baltar’s trial for crimes against humanity. In fact, the episode was pretty much a courtroom drama. I yet again felt the twinges of not being able to practice law. I guess I always will if something as inconsequential as a n episode of a science fiction show can do it to me. The trail makes for some dark revelations about Tigh and Roslin. First Tigh appears drunk on the stand and completely discredits himself by admitting in rage he would say anything to have Baltar killed. Adama later confronts Apoolo over the courtroom exchange, accusing him of betraying Tigh. Apollo winds up resigning his commission and taking on the legal defense job full time. He gts Roslin to admit she is smoking an hallucinatory drug (Think medicinal marijuana.) because he cancer has returned. Apollo’s wife leaves him in anger over his actions.

Meanwhile, several memers of the fleet are having strange, similar dreams and hearing music. It appears the fleet is also being followed by the Cylon thanks to a radiation leak on one of the ships. Both these incidents are set up for next week’s season finale, as is the conclusion of Baltar’s trial. It appears they are setting him up for an acquittal. Everything is going his way thus far other than the mod mentality urge to tear him apart limb from limb. His defense makes a compelling case his surrender of New Caprica save the lives of everyone and his further actions were often the lesser of two evils. Very interesting developments Good layering actually. Lord, I miss my chance to do that myself.

Rating: **** (out of 5).

Monday, March 19, 2007

Par Avion

Claire hatches a plan to get the Lostaways rescued. video is set to "I'm Like a Bird" by Nelly Furtado.
Enter 77

I have finally caught up making music videos for the latest episodes of Lost. Sayid, Locke, Kate, and Danielle encounter what may be left of the DHARMA Initiative.
24--"7:00 PM-8:00 PM"

Another interesting episode, but also one with repeated plot twists. It seems like every season, Jack loses a loved one and there is a mole inside CTU. Season six is no exception. Should there not be a little more creativity in this plots? I understand sticking to a working formula, but the show already has loyal viewers tuning in. Tweaking things a bit here and there cannot hurt things a whole lot. Outside of the lack of originality, I thought this was an enjoyable, if predictable, installment.

Gredenko and Fayed launch one of the missile drones. CTU discovers it is headed for San Francisco, but they lose it while tracking. They lose it because of a mole, but whoever that is remains a mystery. The new guy, Doyle, is the number one suspect. The new president decides he will attack Iran with nuclear weapons if the bomb hits San Francisco. Lennox desperately tries to convince him the Iranian government has no connection to the terrorist organization. It does no good.

On a personal level, Jack’s not exactly in mourning sister-in-law comes on to him. He resists by telling her he was involved with Aubrey before being imprisoned in China. He then learns Aubrey was killed in China while trying to get him released. Jack is furious with Chloe for not telling him. In further proof Jack is invincible, he casts that all aside long enough to swerve the drone off course and saves the city. The drone lands in an industrial park and while the bomb does not go off, the first responders get a dose of radiation. They will surely glow in the dark for the remainder of their short lives.

Everyone is happy the bomb did not go off except the new president. He opts to attack Iran anyway as a deterrent to fuure attacks. He is on the verge of starting a third world war, but does not seem concerned about that in the slightest….

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Life's Faded Mystery

I survive yesterday in less than spectacular fashion. I figured I would. In the grand scheme of things, losses mean less and less and time goes on. I believe folks conider that healing. Sometimes I it is a defense mechanism we use to keep us going despite believing it is no longer worthwhile to do so. Then again, I am a cynic, so you probably asking the wrong person if you are seeking the bright side of just about anything. Chance may favor the prepared mind, but so does pessimism. Life’s mystery seems awfully faded these days. There is much trouble left to for which to brace myself. Pretty much any rotten thing that can happen already has.

What does one do when that has occurred? Good question. I am pretty much lost on it. I am not anywhere near the person I used to be in mind, body, or spirit. I cannot even identify with myself anymore. I would be intrigued by the change in me if it were a clinical study rather than something I have to live with from the time I wake up in the morning until I mercifully pass out at night. That is an academic distance, I believe. It now amazes me how many people I have probably encountered in my life struggling with such issues, possibly with their lives falling irreparably apart, and I gave it a passing, but sympathetic thought at best, while bebopping along on my merry way. Just like how time ebbs the sting of loss, I think we ignore the pain and loss of others because we just cannot stand to wrap our minds around it long . Ah, but if only I could blissfully escape like I used to.

But I cannot anymore. I wish I could. That is the key reason I do not wag my finger in the faces of those who have forgotten. I would do it myself in their shoes and I am loathe to be a hyppocrite. They do not want to wrap their minds around a life falling apart. Neither do I. The future looks daunting, pointless, and a complete wate of time. It is not even a matter of not achieving dreams. Those are moe often than not fantasies anyway. It is a matter of lie having a point with a few pleasures along the way to make it all seem worthwhile. I am astounding at the changes in my life and my attitude of what I value about it. There were some rotten circumstances I lived under, but for whatever reason, I was more comfortable battling those emons than the ones that haunt me now. I guess restless people are never satisfied with anything.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Elegy

I have been in a funk lately and it pretty much all has to do with today. It was on march 18th 2003 my mother took her own life. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you understand I have mixed emotions about her. We had a strained relation for over a decade that reached the breaking point in 1997 after my stepfather died. She went over the edge and I had to leave to protect myself. To have some sort of semblance of a life. Yet I still kept coming home for holidays and the like even in spite of the fact it was more often than not the two of us eating leftovers at the video store on either thanksgiving or Christmas day. Towards the end, it was not even that. I would come home and watch her spend the entire time on a drunken bender. I swore in 2002, whether I had the natural instinct to go home for the holidays or not, I never would again. Maybe she sensed I meant it this time. She waited three months, but it is an unanswered question for me.

Everyone grieves in their own way. She used to sit by my stepfather’s grave on a daily basis and talked to him. I swear even six years on she acted as though he died the day before. She was clearly losing her grip, but no one had the patience to help her when she did not want to help herself. One by one, we all left. I take a certain battle scarred pride in telling you I was the last one to go. Since her suicide, I have only been to her grave once. It was right before I went back to Virginia. I have never had the urge to revisit her final resting place. I guess I have always believed goodbye means goodbye. Oftentimes funerals are open casket. It has always creeped me out, but it is a psychological thing to see a loved one as an empty shell. It reminds you they are gone. We could not have this one open casket. I would have refused to have it that way even if circumstances had been better, but I have relieved that decision was taken out of my hands, just to preserve the last memory of her. More precisely, the memory of what she had become. She was not dead yet, but she was as much a shell then as he was in the chapel of that funeral home.

I last saw my mother, alive but hung over, just a few days into January 2003. I was going to catch a ride back to Virginia with a classmate from North Carolina. Momma still fancied herself a closet drinker but there was no hiding the rults at this point. I spet a year at home recovering from my first detached retina just before law school. It was the lowest point of my life and clearly contributed to my rough time at Regent University. She went on bender almost like clockwork. She would literally lay in her room for weeks at a time while I tried to figure out how to survive hal blind on my own until she straitened up. Finally leaving for law school in 2001 was a relief I cannot decribe. I never in my life wanted to go to Virginia or Regent, but it was the furthest I could get away from her on short notice. I took the opportunity. Yet still I came back for the holidays. No matter how violent she got, no matter how abusive, no matter how cruel, I came back. Like I said above, I determined in my heart 2002 was the last time. I did nott tell her that, but she knew it. We sat in a McDonald’s eating breakfast at 6:30 AM waiting for my friend to show up The night before, for the oddest reason, we played two games of Scrabble for the first time in years. I am reasonably sure those were the last gentle words we spoke to each other. I do not even remember saying goodbye or hearing it from her.

I only spoke to her once between then and the time of her death. Shecalled in the middle of February to tell me she was selling the house and asked me where I wanted my stuff to be stored. My jaw dropped, but only. I knew what was happening. It was akin to watching a car accident unfold. You watch it, you have enough time to know what is going to happen, but no way of stopping it. I told her there was no turning back on this. Do not make a rash decision. I knew good and well the only decisions she ever made were rash. It was all part of the hidden drinker in her. She needed people to know she was doing well. If she could not do that, well then she would just leave. She used to do all sorts of irrational things on a euphoria high. Big spending sprees, going on like a wild teenager, or finding some new man. At some point, she would come down, realizing what she had done, and tear on a huge drunk. She had been arrested a number of times for her acts during low points. Selling the house was the biggest and stupidest thing she had ever done on a high and I knew when she came down, she would match her action. Turn out I was very much correct. There was absolutely nothing I could have done about it. I even had to go through with the sell two weeks after she was buried. I assumed the fact the previous owner killed herself in the main closet would deter the buyer and let me keep the place. No such luck. I could have fought it. In hindsight, I wish I had. But I let it go because I thought the future would be so much brighter than the dreariness and pain that place brought me.

Two things stuck out broadly in my mind the afternoon one of the few friends she had left tracked me down in Virginia to tell me she was dead. The first was whether she killed anyone else She did not, by the way. She had wandered into the now empty house days before. Evidently she sat on the floor in the pitch dark for the better part of a week before ending it all. I was not surprised. I was already calculating how to beat off the numerous vultures I am related long enough to sort everything out before they picked her and my bones clean. The second thing I thought about is how to deal with certain estranged family I had no real animosity for. The third was whether to slip out of Virginia without telling anyone from Regent. In hindsight, I wish I had. The final nail in that school‘s coffin was the number of people who ran up to me to ask, “So was your mother a Christian?” I guess I was supposed to answer, “Nah. She is burning in hell right now.. Good luck on your trial brief tomorrow.” My roomate at the time created some drama by taking a collection of money gathered up for me (Unbeknownst to me, I assure you.) and putting it into his personal checking account.. Somehow or another it slipped out, by speulation I assume, she took her own life, so there was that lovely Christian charity about me being somehow tainted because of it. Add in a morbid curiosity about my mother’s will and you can figure ouut Regent was a hive of unpleasant weirdoes.

But enough about all that. It is far enough in the past to no longer matter. What does matter is the memories that come bubbling to the surface in the middle of the night. Memories of when my mother was still my mother. Memories of her sitting by my hospital bed when no one else did. Memories of scrabble games, of weekends at the beach with just the two of us. Memories of eating supper on lap trays in front of the television. Even the mundane things have more meaning now than I ever thought they would. She used to cook all the time. Lemon pies, cookies, brownies, fudge. Whatever she did not cook, she bought. Right up until the end, there was always loads of food in the house. I never realied how muh I cared about that until it was gone. Back in August when I had my obstruction, I could not eat solid food for the duration, but I had all sorts of strange cravings. I found myself raving things my mother used to make. That was one of the first times since her death I felt a deep sense off loss. That aspect of my mother had been gone years prior to her actual death, but I never stopped to mourn it or even recall how much I would miss it. It threw me into a very dark place that I have yet to leave.

For whatever pain she caused, she was still my mother. There was a bond there no matter what. There were a lot of horrible times. I will not lie about it. There was one desperate moment when I started throwing my clothes in my newly bought car ready to drive off until I knew she could never find me. Young people unaware their parents’ feet of clay are not evil do things like that. Do not get me wrong about that either. My mother had an evil streak in her. Days after her funeral, I discovered a sister I never knew I had she abandoned as a toddler. But despite all that, I tolerated momma. I had fun where I could. We had fun where we could. We loved each other. We were not the Waltons, but we loved each other. I always struggled through the bad times with her because I thought the future would be brighter and it would all be worth it. I now know better.

I have whined enough about my present health status to not go into it here. I know my deep sense of loss oozes out of every word I write. No one has to tell me, although you frequently do. If I had known what the future was going to be like, I would have enjoyed the past more. What I terribly regret is not realizing how happy I should have been many more times than I was compared to now. There is nothing I can do about it now except mourn for my pat mistakes and wish fate had been a little less cruel to both my mother and me. For all that has gone before, I miss her. I miss her. She was the first of many great losses to befall me.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Standing Still

I had a fitful night of sleep last night. I wound up sprawled in my chair watching one of my all time favorite movies, The Day the Earth Stood Still, at 3 AM before tip toeing into the kitchen for some cereal, which I ate in the pitch black dark at the breakfast table. I am a wold man, let me tell you. The movie was every bit the classic I remembered. Rumors are floating about of a remake, although there is no script or director, with Angelina Jolie attached to play the heroine. I think TDTESS is one of those untouchable films it would be blasphemous to remake, but thinking about it even further, it just cannot updated to modern times,

The story is a Cold War allegory filmed in 1951. At that point, the brutality of world War II was still fresh in everyone’s mind. Pearl Harbor still stung, the Nazi death camps were etched vividly in collective memory, as was the different kind of Holocaust of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Cold War was then in full swing with the idea that a hundred Hiroshimas could occur on either or both sides of the ocean at any point. It was a world that seemed likely to destroy itself if given half the chance and there had been recent, bloody confirmation of the possibility. The alien Klaatu, visited Earth with the message that carrying out conflicts beyond our world would ensure our destruction by a race of robots, of which his eight foot tall companion Gort was, who policed a collection of worlds.

Every time I watch the movie, I get a new vibe from it. First off, this time around I was contemplating a possible remake and why it would not work. We have gone from an ideological struggle with the potential to be settled by nuclear arms to a religious struggle with extremists using with amounts to random acts of personalized brutality. Bin laden is not involved, nor would he ever be involved, in a space race. Our conflict just would not resonate with the message of TDTESS.

Truth be told, I had a few new flashes about the message it does send while watching it last night. Klaatu explains that a large number of planets have surrendered there policing to a race of giant robots. These robots wipe out any form of aggression with extreme prejudice, which is emonstrated several times throughout the course of the movie. It is made clear that if Klaatu is killed by humans, Gort will destroy the planet. It struck me and my Political Science/law degree holding mind how philosophically wrong that it is. I am skeptical of human nature without a doubt. I think the only way to keep a mass of people on the straight and narrow I through an authoritative force. But what Klaatu describes amounts to velvet cage slavery mized with random brutality.

He says there is no war, but that is because the robots immediately eliminate any aggressor. By klaatu’s own definition, this mean anyone from a n armyr unlawfully invading another country to a mugger slapping an old lady around. All dead in an instant. When Klaatu warns Earth to keep its destructive ways to itself, he is implying the other planets do not want their utopia destroyed. But there is no utopia. Their lives are controlled under a brutal dictatorship which will eliminate any dissenters. I am not certain why it just struck me last night how cynical a movie TDTESS is, but this was the first time the light went off in my head. Interting, because I do not generally miss cynical themes, especially in stories I have seen numerous times. I must really be in an odd mindset.
St. Patrick's Day

As the son of two raging alcoholics, the holiday does not mean squat to me, but if you enjoy it and all the trappings, more power to you.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I Tied on Jeopardy

That was the big twist on tonight's installment. It was a three way tie for the first time ever. At least, it was the first three way tie when no one went bankrupt. The three way tie was an anomaly in large part because one player didn't play the game to win. Going into Final Jeopardy!, here's how the totals stood:

Scott: $13,400
Jamey: $8,000
Anders: $8,000

Scott, the returning champion, screwed up (More or less. he technically only lost the chance to be considered the winner.) by not playing to win. James and Anders made the right wagers. Neither one could afford the risk that the other would bet more than he did. You'd also assume that the odds are that it's unlikely you will get the answer right and the other two will both get it wrong. That's possible but it's much more likely that it either stumps everyone or no one. So you'd wager as each of them did: The full eight thousand.

I amm assuming the Game Theory expert opined that this wouldn't happen again because future players will recognize that Scott blew his chance to win and they won't make that mistake. Personally, I consider the whole bit an interesting bit of trivia (Ironic, no?) but not really worthy of the intense hype. Perhaps you feel differently.
Place Yer Bets, Justice Department Edition

It does not matter if I care about the US attorneys scandal or not, it appears enough people in high places are that Attorney general Alberto Gonzales' days are almost up. Bush is loyal to his buddies to a fault, but he loves his own rear end even more. I suspect Gonzales is going to suddenly find some deep, personal reasons he has to resign his post. The wager is when.

While we are on the subject, yes, I am still giddy this will keep him from consideration if there is a Supreme Court vacancy.
Battlestar Galactica--"The Son Also Rises"

This is the third week in a row in which Battlestar Galactica has a had a plot which deeply resonated with me and things I am reflecting on in my life. Sometimes I think Ron moore has it out for me personally. First it was family issues, then it was the death of a mother with whom Starbuck had strained relations, and the current episode was all about mourning the loss of a loved one and the deep seeded need to study law. See what I mean? Those combinations are incredibly peculiar. there is a pall over the entire episode regarding Starbuck's last week. Sam and both the Adamas are particularly effected.

Otherwise, the plot is actually pretty thin. The poignancy lies in a number of conversations Apollo has with his father and the lawyer he is guarding. Baltar is about to go on trial, but his lawyer is assassinated. Apollo, still mourning Starbuck, is grounded by Adama and assigned to bodyguard the subsequent lawyer. He is absolutely every stereotype of the slimy attorney you have ever heard. However, he and Apollo develop a bond. Apollo’s grandfather was a world class attorney, you may recall. The lawyer explains to Apollo-- and reiterates my motivations for studying law --hat he is a lawyer because he wants to understand human nature. Why do people do hateful and cruel and spiteful things to each other? The only way to know is to talk directly to the dregs of humanity. His speech sent my cynical little heart fluttering.

The assassin turns out to be a flight deck technician who is angry he has sent friends out to die fighting the Cylons while Baltar gets a fair trial. He makes a last attempt on the second lawyer before he is discovered. The lawyer is injured, bt survives. Apollo gets the notion to join the defense team. Adama is enaged and grounds Apollo permanently. Apollo finally takes up his grandfather’s law books and follows in his footsteps.

You know, I am so torn up about not practicing law due to poor health that I can barely watch shows with legal aspects to them. I have tried to deal with the pain, because it honestly is the least o my troubles. I have tried rationalizing law would be an unpleasant career and finally, banging my fists against the walls to let out frustration. Nothing has worked and the the pain of Apollo trying to absorb himself in legal work to deal with the sorrow of losing Starbuck was like having a knife jabbed in my chest and twisted. I thought this episode was really good, but I ws not in the emotional right condition to watch it.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Jeopardy Tomorrow

The producers of Jeopardy, my favorite game show, have issued a press release for tomorrow's episode, claiming it is the first time some event has occurred in 23 years. They have also allegedly consulted a game theorist (think Russell Crowe's character in A Beautiful Mind) who assured them it will likely never happen again:
"This Friday, March 16, 2007...for the first time in 23 years, Jeopardy history will be made...it was such a remarkable event we consulted a game theory expert, and he said it may never happen again!"
If a game theorist was consulted, it likely has to do with wagering. Perhaps a three way tie. perhaps no one qualifies for Final Jeopardy? There is also a possibility one contestant runs through the board getting all the questions correct.

There is no way to know right now, but here is a heads up for tomorrow if you are curious.
New Anna Nicole Smith Evidence

I thought I could end my Anna Nicole Smith coverage, but the plot doth thicken. Maybe. I suspect gossip rags are grasping unto all sorts of speculation to squeeze yet more blood out of the turnip, especially sense the Richard Jeni suicide was not as juicy a story as they had hoped. He will get some dignity in death. Smith is going to go down as a poor man’s Marilyn Monroe forever. Well, maybe more Thelma Todd, all things considered.

The autopsy report is being held up because of some allegedly crucial evidence on smith’s computer. Yes, I was more shocked she has and can operate a computer than the revelation there may be evidence on it. The computer was being used in the hotel room by the wife of smith’s bodyguard. Supposedly the evidence is e-mails regarding Smith’s drug supply. Some speculate this may lead to a homicide investigation. I predict it will lead to countless conspiracy theories from now until we hand the Earth back over to the cockroaches.

The story has officially hit the big time: Law & Order is planning an episode surrounding the story. Ripped from today’s headlines, donchewknow. There will only be Smith and Howard K. Stern characters. Larry Birkhead will be left out , proving yet again no one seems to care one whit about him or his role in things. (For good reason…?)
Republican California Dreaming

The Golden State of Ronald Reagan is long since gone. Heck, the Golden State of Pete Wilson is long since gone. But that fact has not stopped Republicans from believing the state can be competitive again. I have my doubts, as I am sure most of the wiser GOP pundits do, that will happen. Several years ago, virtually every major office holder in California was a Democrat and the legislature was in their hands. Pundits cooed the state was to become a laboratory for progressive social policy. It did, right until the point that the governor was recalled iand a Republican took his place to fix things. But California has been hospitable to republicans since Bush 41 carried the state in 1992. But the GOP is hanging its hat on two unlikely candidates.

There is a movement afoot to convince Gov. Arnold to run for the US Senate in 2010. His opponent in the race would be Sen. Barbara Boxer, an extremely popular incumbent. In the 2004 election, Boxer received the third highest vote total in the country behind John Kerry. The Governator might be gun shy to end his short political career on such an iffy proposition as challenging her. I am also not sure a personality like his would flourish in a legislative body. He seems to be the sort who needs to be in charge all the time, not compromising constantly to other folks with whom he has equal standing.

National Republicans are backing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the hopes he can pick of not only California, but a Northeastern state or two. Party poobahs fear the GOP becoming exclusively a Southern and Midwestern party. Not only would it not bode well for party growth, but it increase the chances of more razor thin victory margins and controversies like Florida and Ohio. The trick is whether moderate Giuliani can carry California without alienating South Carolina, et al. If conservatives are unhappy with the Republican nominee, they will defect for a third party as a protest vote.

Will any of this come to pass? It is too soon to tell for sure, but right of hand I have more confidence in Giuliani becoming the GOP presidential nominee than Arnold running for the Senate. I think Arnold’s ego will keep him from running the risk of losing to Boxer for a job he probably will not like anyway. Unless a consensus conservative favorite emerges-- and I cannot name one --Giuliani has a goo shot at the nomination and becoming president. But a lot can change between now and election day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lost--"Par Avion"

Thus far I have found Claire to compete with Charlie as the least interesting character on Lost it makes sense to me, with that in mind, that they would hook up. But tonight’s episode was centered on Claire and it introduced a twist that will seemingly be a big part of the Lost mythos from here on out. I will reveal it further on down the line and have a few thoughts on its consequences. I will say this was one of the rare episodes in which the flashbacks were more enthralling than the main story. The “B” story had its moments well, especially the final scene.

Charlie and Claire are about to have a picnic when Desmond approaches. He is insistent Charlie go hunting boar with him. It is clear to us Desmond has had another premonition of Charlie’s imminent demise. While they passively argue, Claire spots a pigeon and has a brainstorm. The birds are migratory and have been tagged. They can put a message on captured birds’ legs and hope the scientists read it. She recruits Jin and sun to help while skeptical Charlie watches Aaron. Desmond seems to sabotage their efforts, but in the end, he risks his neck to catch a bird. He finally reveals all to Claire, saying Charlie would have broken his neck trying to catch the bird. He also tells her all about his past premonitions of Charle’s death.

On the other side of the island, Kate, Sayid, Locke, Danielle, and Patch run up on a sonic security fence. Locke pushes Patch through the fence, which result in an incredibly gruesome death for prime time. They decide to go over it instead after a harsh confrontation between Sayid and Locke. Interestingly, befoe dying, Patch revealed he knew quite a lot about the Lostaways. He began to say he knew about Locke’s paralysis, but was interrupted by Danielle. One wonders if Locke killed him to keep that a secret. Whatever the reason, they soon arrive at the Others’ living compound to discover Jack happily playing football with Tom.

The flashbacks were particularly poignant. They go back to Claire’s goth days as a teenager. She is driving when she and her mother have an accident. Her mother is thrown from the car and siffers severe brain injuries. She is in a permanent vegetative state. Christian Shepard comes to visit her with a big revelation-- he is her father. He tries persuading her to let her mother go. She refuses. Years later, she even appears at her mother’s bedside very pregnant, but still keeping her mother alive all this time.

The idea of characters secretly being related is an old fairy tale gimmick that has frankly been overdone. Star Wars and the X-Fiiles are ust the most recent pop culture examples. I hope it pays off here. It might, honestly. The him Ben spoke of last season might be the grown up Aaron time traveled back to head the Others, taking a particular interest in caring for his own birth by having Claire kidnapped and taking a special interest in Uncle Jack. That would be an interesting twist, no?

Rating: *** (out of 5)
The US Attorneys Scandal

I would like to comment on the buhaha, but I am frankly at a loss as to its significance. US attorneys are partisan appointees, so it does not surprise me at all they have been investigating Democrats to Republicans at a ration of 7:1. I recognize that is not good, but I am a realist to know that it is politics as usual for every administration.

Plus i suspect Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may be forced out the door. if not, at the very least he will never, ever be a Supreme Court nominee by Bush, which was my biggest concern before Roberts and Alito showe up.

In other words, I do not care.
Michael Shanks Cast on 24

Gateworld is reporting Michael Shanks, who plays Dr. Daniel Jackson on Stargate SG-1, has signed on to a recurring role this season with 24. His character has not been revealed, but the episodes currently filming are the last few. If the usually pattern holds up, the big villain is revealed during those episodes. Perhapsshanks is getting to play the criminal mastermind tangling with Jack Bauer.

If not, I can see him playing a CTU type, although I imagine it would not be too different from some of the later Daniel Jackson SG-1 episodes. In that case, he would not exactly be broadening his horizons. It has to be boring playing the same character for eleven freaking years.

Whether he is the villain or CTU, neither possibility precludes Jack from kicking his rear end all the way back to Stagrate Command in Colorado, no?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Follow Up on Richard Jeni

His family left a poignant and painful to read message on his home page.
Watchmen v. Heroes

I still have not checked out Heroes beyond the first two episodes as I said I was going to a couple of months ago. I believe it is currently in reruns until the middle of April anyway. I am thinking about holding off and watching the summer run through to try out some episodes. There are, of course, others methods. Somehow I think my old fogey self will emerge the same way it did with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I just will not be able to get into it. We will see. Maybe.

Traveling through my online circles, I cannot help but encounter Heroes spoilers regardless. On occasion they bring up memories of old comic book storylines. The writers of Heroes are old comic book buffs the same as the Lost bunch. Because the writing staff is loaded with comics geek, I am surprised the season finale storyline has not truck any of them as a rip off of the most acclaimed comic book series of the last twenty years. It certainly raised my eyebrow.

I am going to spoil the season finale, so beware. Oh, and I do not know the names of characters, so I am not even going to try and be specific. Presumably you will know who is who. The villain is planning to nuke New York City in order to untie the world in a common cause. The plot is directly lifted from Alan Moore’s Watchmen the 1986 series that pretty much defined comics, along with Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, pretty much right up until now. In Watchmen, a character is planning to do the same thing for the same reason, although he leaves it as a mass hallucination.

There is a Watchmen movie finally in production. While comic book movies are often butchered for the big screen, I have to assume the climatic plot against New York will stay in. How is Heroes going to look after that happens? Or will the Watchmen series be blasphemed and changed because of the show?
Evangeline Lilly's Naked Butt

You are all searching or it anyway, so you might as well find it here. Yes, I have finally crossed the line that dare not be crossed. Grow up, folks. Anyway, Evangeline Lilly was swimming during some downtime in Hawaii when the ocean caused her bikini bottom to do a little downtime of its own.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Blue Side of Blogging

I got a late start blogging today. Not that I run on any particular schedule, but not posting at all until 10:00 PM is unusual for me. I guess any one who has been reading the eye for a while has noticed a pattern in the tone of posts. I have been told there has been a darkening on the tone since I got out of the hospital in August. Maybe so, but I am more in tune with my emotional state and tend to think there is an up and down scheme throughout.

A lot of times I stumble through life, melancholy but still going through the motions. Other times there is a crippling sense of overwhelming loss and a daunting future which lays me flat. Today was the latter days. I felt very low and discouraged. I did not much get out of bed, much less feel like writing. I generally avoid writing on these days even when I do feel I have something to say. Consider it a means of not having something come back to haunt me.

When I am consumed by nastier thoughts, there is not much room for anything else until the mood passes. It comes and goes pretty quickly. Usually some simple thought or reminder sinks me into despair and another pulls me out just as quickly. I never know which will happen on any given day. Normally I would not announce such things are going on, but I have received several e-mails lately from readers who have similar health issues to deal with and say they appreciate hearing my philosophy on coping myself. Sometimes I feel more willing to oblige than others.I hope upon reading this post yo can understand why it just does not seem wise to make posts in a certain state of mind regardless of subject matter. Things just have a way of seeping out.

Tomorrow is going to be another day. We will play it by ear then.
Place Yer Bets

Las Vegas bookies are now taking odds on whether Paul McCartney's ex Heather Mills' artificial leg will fly off during the new season of Dancing with the Stars. When i heard the news, I laughed and then wondered if I should be ashamed of myself. Maybe i should, but so far, I am not. Part of me would like to see it fly off and smack one of the judges right between the eyes.

Is that not just awful?
24--"6:00 PM-7:00 PM"

It is difficult to believe, but true, that a season that began with a nuclear bomb destroying a California city has only just begun to really crank up in the latter half. I can see now the Bauer family drama drug through the early episodes was a distraction from the action. I have faith it will come back later to have more meaning, but for now, Jack Bauer is in his proper element: right in the heat of an international incident with major disaster just around the corner if he fails. Why did it take twelve episodes before we got to classic 24?

Jack escapes his holder and hides out in the Russian consulate’s basement. He knows how to find Grodenko, but the Russians cut off the power before he can alert CTU. There is a new field operations director for CTU, Mike Doylee. Doyle has little leadership skills, barking orders at an already frazzled team, and has a history with Milo, who does not trust him. Doyle is planning an assault on the consulate, risking war, because getting the location of Grodenko is that important. Charles Logan asks to consult with his estranged wife. He believes she may persuade the Russians to allow the assault without any diplomatic consequences.

Meanwhile the Veep has assumed presidential powers and convinced Lennox to keep quiet what he knows about the assassination attempt. Lennox even agrees to pin the bombing on Assad. The Veep threatens to use the full force of the United States military on Iran I that country does not aid in finding the remaining three nukes. Martha Logan takes time out of her busy schedule stabbing Charles in the throat to intervene with the Russians. The CTU is authorized to attack the consulate. They do and rescue Jack. But Fayed is ready to launch a nuke drone.

Seeing Jean Smart as the former first lady and Rick Schroeder as Mike Doyle struck me as an ‘80’s sitcom over load. If you want to stretch it a little further, you might even include Keier Sutherland from his Lost Boys role, a ‘80’s favorite as well. The episode as a whole was quite good even if it was relatively Jack-lite. Given the rest of the team and even the guest cast a chance to shine is a gutsy move for a show centered around one character, but 24 pulled it off.

Rating: *** (out of 5)